Looks like or their was a problem downloading this morning or you have a problem with your internet.
In both cases first check your preferences in Internet explorer, see if everyhing is set to medium.
then try downloading it again.
By the way, are you using another firewall except that one from Windows itself ?
actually i downloaded it straight to the win98 machine, so no firewall (except on the router, netgear DG834 v2) no nothing, and using broadband, I will leave it a couple of hours and try and download again, but i dont think its a download problem, could be wrong of course. settings in IE are default settings as its a clean install. usually I have no problem with downloads in fact this would be the first I ever had if it is bad…
Free firewalls with Win98? I don’t have a lot of suggestions, I’m afraid. Jetico Personal 1.x is supposed to work on that OS, I think, but requires a lot of configuration AFAIK. Maybe not the best for some folks. I know SafetyNet is free and works on Win98; it’s not great, but it works, and is pretty much trouble-free. This page has some firewall test results http://www.matousec.com/projects/windows-personal-firewall-analysis/leak-tests-results.php. If you scroll down about halfway or so, you’ll see their overall ratings of a number of FW’s. You can look those up and see if any fit the bill.
Alternatively, if they want to/are willing to learn to use Linux, that would be easy enough to set up on an old machine and has a built-in firewall through IP Tables configuration… That obviously is not the route for all users, either. Or, given the scenario, if you have access to an old computer (that still works) you could install a minimalist security-hardened linux distro on it to serve as their gateway (and thus, their firewall).
PS: Sorry for going a bit overboard… the easiest route is probably to find a compatible firewall that works and isn’t going to pester them all the time. No that’s not the best security, but it would seem that retired folks aren’t spending their time doing p2p downloads of porn and visiting hack/crack/warez sites, so maybe it’s sufficient.