Experiment conducted by me in Windows using Virtual Machine:

I have collected all rogue security software that target a range of Windows versions and several latest malware (no older than a month) that target latest operating systems as well. I have used oldest (Windows 98) and latest (Windows 10).

In Windows 10: I can execute all kinds of malware (both oldest and latest), could install rogue security software, etc. and etc. Windows 10 is affected by all kinds of malware.

But on Windows 98: Since the version is much older I can install almost no rogue security software and execution of many malicious programs failed due to incompatibility issues, and may be due to several advanced facilities it uses.

So, I see Windows 10 gets more infected than Windows 98. And, there are still antivirus vendors offering their product compatible with Windows 98. So, how could Windows 98 be less secure or insecure than Windows 10?

  • 4
    Apart of missing any of the security controls (DEP, ASLR etc), older operating systems have the disadvantage that if a malware is written for it, you won't get the patch from the vendors and it will be forever vulnerable.
    – void_in
    Commented May 15, 2016 at 13:35

3 Answers 3


There is one flaw in your premise that since those malware ran on windows 10 but not on 98 and hence windows 98 is safe. By that logic, I can say that my shell script cleared the contents of a linux box but not windows and hence windows is more secure.

Edit: Modern operating systems are the primary targets for attackers as most of the users use them. If the features used in the attack are not supported by older operating systems, the attack will not run on them. It doesn't make them secure. The attacker is just not bothered about them.

The main reason older operating systems are not considered secure is that if a vulnerability is found on them, the vendor will not bother providing a patch for it. Their support has been ended.

All other reasons are secondary.


You need to make one adjustment to your conclusion:

So, I see Windows 10 gets more infected than Windows 98

Should be

So, I see Windows 10 gets more infected than Windows 98 by the programs I tried

You cannot make general comments about Windows based on the small sample set of software and malware you tried, especially since you indicate that there was incompatibility issues (which seems to indicate that you tried software bound to one OS).

  • I am a regular windows user. I love Windows I just wanted to know why lower versions is considered insecure Commented May 15, 2016 at 15:36
  • 6
    @VISWESWARAN1998 they are insecure because they have known vulnerabilities and they are not getting patched ...
    – schroeder
    Commented May 15, 2016 at 22:04

I believe older Operating Systems are in fact more secure and run way faster than modern OS.

The only reason Windows 98 is considered less secure is because there may be security holes or vulnerabilities that cause attackers to get into your computer remotely (remote attack without authentication, generally). Other than that, many modern software will need a different computer architecture than offered by older operating systems.

Windows version 2000 or higher is in fact less secure than older versions. Why? Because it is the biggest target. If hackers and malware writers, companies and those interested in hacking computers are not focusing on the small percentage of people using an operating system, how can it be less secure?

Back in 2004, the Windows 2000 Source Code got leaked on the internet. Many people, even so called security experts failed to see what this caused even a decade later. EVERY windows since Windows 2000/NT, has been built on the exact same architecture and relies heavily on .net framework, which is shared by just about every modern program. Learning how post Windows 2000/NT operating systems worked and handled code, and especially how the kernel processed code execution and pass them to the CPU caused the first real wave of malware, spam and ransomware outbreaks.

Older operating systems are not affected by these attacks, simply because these older systems do not have the framework needed to allow the same code execution. Similar to 32bit OS rejecting the code of 64bit programs.

All in all, Older OS's like Windows 95/98/ME are more secure than newer operating systems. There are software that will protect you even more than running newer OS like Windows 7/8/10.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Create two computer accounts - Main User and Exec
  2. Delete or disable all default accounts - Admin, Administrator and Guest
  3. Set the Main User to only have basic run rights on the PC
  4. Set the Exec to have Administrative rights on the PC - Set a password as well.
  5. Install a free firewall like Tiny Personal Firewall and block EVERYTHING, except the programs you know you trust.
  6. DO NOT install antivirus programs. These programs have proven largely ineffective and can only work AFTER infection in most cases, and NEVER really cleans up all files.
  7. Use your computer for about a week then create a backup. Free backup programs all over. Norton ghost may work best for older computers (I think version 7)
  8. If you ever get a virus, you can simply restore your stuff.
  9. Save your files to a cloud drive or external drive. Never save important stuff to your C Drive.

I've ran this setup for years, and know it works.

EDIT - A little research goes a long way. Here are a few sources you can simply click on and read. 1. https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/just-how-effective-is-antivirus-software-070816.html 2. https://slate.com/technology/2017/02/why-you-cant-depend-on-antivirus-software-anymore.html 3. https://www.csoonline.com/article/3146996/is-antivirus-software-dead-at-last.html

Also keep in mind that antivirus software are big targets as well, since they are sometimes touted as gate keepers of a computer system over a firewall. Imagine an antivirus getting hacked, how would you know?

  • 1
    And how do I run Eclipse in Java 8 ? I can't, your solution only works for you probably because you're the only one that don't use any software made from the last 20 years. Furthermore you're not protected against any kind of XSS attack, password phising and so on, so a pirate could still be able to get your cloud username and password. Just run a linux in a Virtual box with an up-to-date firewall, anti virus & malware and you're fine enough and connect to Internet from there. And don't open any mail that don't come from people you don't know and most of all their attachments
    – Walfrat
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 14:38
  • @Walfrat I think the concept is surreal, but partially works. Yes, it has a lot of disadvantages, too. The only "bad" thing I can see here is that he can run only old browsers, with their old - and very well known - security holes. Remember <img src="C:\con\con">. Also I would vote for the Linux solution.
    – peterh
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 15:24
  • @Walfrat - ever heard of KernelEx? No one said you MUST run windows 98 and use it for everything. The question was about security and infections. Also, there are several packaged updates that bring 98 up to speed on most of these well known exploits. Obviously you don't exactly know what a firewall is, especially a software based firewall. So called "up to date firewall" is a joke. A firewall is simply a traffic filter, additional features beyond that is outside the scope and definition of what a firewall is.
    – Leon B
    Commented May 17, 2017 at 15:06
  • 1
    @LeonB And ? firewall can have their own vulnerabilites that could let malicious traffic entered, so you still need to have it up to date. Like every sofwtare handling network related things (AD Server, LDAP, DNS, ...).
    – Walfrat
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 7:18
  • @Walfrat - This is why I specifically said "Software Based Firewall". These types of firewalls are much harder to break into, hack or even attack, why? Again, it's really crude and limited in it's scope, making it's effectiveness more than that of a hardware based firewall.
    – Leon B
    Commented May 19, 2017 at 13:09

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