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Windows 9X Special Interest Group

 
  Windows SIG Report

by John S. Krill jskrill@jps.net

What Is Enough Memory?

This is probably the most asked question about Windows 95 or any other operating system. The short snappy answer is all you can afford to buy and at today’s prices for memory this means you should be able to have all the memory you ever dreamed of.

If you are supporting several computers for a company then just adding more and more memory may not be the answer or cost effective. Some systematic method should be used to determine the least amount of memory required to operate smoothly.

Windows 95 Memory Management

Because their is a finite amount of real memory (RAM) in your computer Windows uses a virtual memory scheme to enable all active programs to share this limited resource using a program called the Virtual Memory Manager (VMM.) Each program is given 4GB of virtual address space. This virtual memory is mapped to the ‘Page Table.’ The Page Table maps the virtual memory to real RAM memory and that area on your hard disk called the swapfile. The swapfile will not be used until all of RAM is in use.

The ‘Page Table’ is used to keep track of what is in RAM and what has gone to the swapfile. If a program needs a certain block of data and it is not found in RAM memory then a ‘Page Fault’ occurs and the needed information is retrieved from the swapfile.

Disk Thrashing

If you have to many programs running or not enough RAM memory then you are going to get a lot of Page Faults. Excessive Pages Faults is sometimes called Disk Thrashing. You can monitor your memory status using the utility ‘System Monitor.’ This program can view quite a few things, one being Page Faults. Start System Monitor. Go to the Edit menu and select ‘Add Item.’ Under Category list select ‘Memory Manager.’ Then from the Item list select ‘Page faults.’

System Monitor

This utility is on the Windows 95 CDROM and can be loaded from the My Computer -> Control Panel -> Add/Remove Programs -> Windows Setup -> Accessories.

Windows Tips

Here we go again with a bunch of Windows Tips. Remember they have not been tested and their is no implied recommendation because a tip is listed here.

A JOURNEY THROUGH WINDOWS' PAST

We've had numerous requests for a tip on removing one of multiple extensions from a registered file type. For example, suppose files with .BMP and .PCX extensions are associated with Paint; and you'd prefer that .BMP files don't open in Paint. Instead, you want them to open in another program, such as Collage Complete's Image Manager. After struggling with the options on the File Types tab (select Options under the View menu of Windows Explorer), we found that the easiest way to accomplish this task is to use--believe it or not--the old File Manager.

Assuming you installed Windows 95 over a previous version of Windows and haven't deleted all your old Windows files, you can open File Manager as follows: Select Start, Run; type

Winfile

on the Run command line, and click on OK.

Inside the File Manager, select Associate under the File menu. Type the extension you want to remove from the file type, select (None) under Associate With (it's at the top of the list), and click on OK. That extension now has no association.

Note: If the file type with which you WOULD like to associate that extension already appears in the list under Associate With, just select it and click on OK. Otherwise, stay tuned for our next tip, when we'll show you how to create a new association for that extension . . . .

YOU CAN SHOW THEM ALL

To turn all your BMP images' icons into miniature versions of themselves, run REGEDIT, then drill down to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/Paint.Picture/DefaultIcon. Now, double-click on (Default) in the right pane and change the value of DefaultIcon to %1. Now all your BMP images will be represented in Explorer by icon versions of themselves.

PICTURE, IF YOU WILL

Turn your favorite BMP image into a Windows 95 icon. Change the file extension from BMP to ICO, and Win95 will automatically replace its generic icon with a miniature version of the actual BMP, converted to 32x32 pixels and 16 colors. To use the new icon, bring up the Properties page for any shortcut you want to change, and go to the Shortcut tab. Click on the Change Icon button and browse until you find your new icon file.

A FILE WITH A VIEW

For a light-and-fast file viewing utility, check out Quick View, which ships with Windows 95 (you won't see it if you opted for a typical Win95 install). By default, Quick View only pops up as an option for certain types of files, so if you change a TXT file extension, Quick View will no longer show up as an option. But you can enable QuickView for any file type you want by going to View/ Options in any folder window and selecting File Types. Select the file type you want to change, click on the Edit button, and check the box marked Enable Quick View. You can also put Quick View in the SendTo folder to view any compatible document on the fly.

ONE-CLICK WONDER

If you always refer to the same documents, and they're compatible with Quick View, create a shortcut that will open them with Quick View instead of the default application. For each file you want to set up, create a shortcut to the document; a good location would be in the Start menu or on the desktop. Then bring up the Properties window for the shortcut and click on the Shortcut tab. In the Target field, append C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\VIEWERS\QUIKVIEW.EXE to the front of the path.

EXPLOIT EXPLORER

You probably find the Windows Explorer view more useful than the default window view, so why not make Explorer the default? Bring up the View/Options menu from any folder within Explorer, go to the File Types tab and double-click on Folder in the list of registered file types. Select explore from the list of actions and click on the Set Default button. Double-clicking on a folder will now bring up Explorer, every time.

GET RIGHT TO THE ROOT

You can pop up rooted Explorer views on the fly by creating an option for them in the right-click menu for folders. Edit the action list for the Folder file type, as in the previous tip, and create a new action called Explore from Here. For the application path, type C:\WINDOWS\ EXPLORER.EXE /E,/ROOT,%1. You can also set this up automatically with Microsoft's Power Toys, available on WinMag's Web site.

DESKTOP ON TOP

If you like to work on your applications full-screen, but still want to get at your desktop icons quickly, this tip's for you. Create a shortcut to the Desktop folder - you'll find it in your Windows directory - and put it in your Start menu. You can also keep the folder continuously open and minimized on your Taskbar simply by minimizing it. The folder will stay there through all your reboots, as long as you never close it.

ROOT AROUND

To keep shortcuts to your favorite folders handy, set up permanent shortcuts that open a "rooted Explorer" view with your folder at the topmost level of a hierarchical tree. Right-click on the shortcut, select Properties and then the Shortcut tab. Place your cursor at the beginning of the Target field and add C:\windows\explorer /e,/root, (include the final comma) to the beginning of the command line. By double-clicking on the new shortcut, you'll get an Explorer window, with the folder you selected at the top.

DRAG-AND-PRINT

Create a shortcut to a printer by opening the Printers folder (Settings/Control Panel/Printers) and dragging a printer icon to the Desktop. You can then drag documents onto the shortcut and print instantly. You can also put a printer shortcut in your Send To folder so printing is always a right-click away.

REGISTER TO NOTE

Make it easier to open unrecognized file types by making them all default to Notepad. Create a new document on your desktop (right-click and select New/Text Document) and double-click on it. Then type the following lines into the file:REGEDIT4 [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shell\open] @="&Notepad" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shell\ open\command]Error! Bookmark not defined. %1" Next, save the file with a REG extension, rather than TXT. Finally, double-click on the file to add an entry into your Registry file (to see the actual changes, open up the Registry and look under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shell). Now, all file types will have a Notepad option in their right-click menus, and unregistered files will open with Notepad by default.

MY COMPUTER MAKEOVER

Back in July, we showed you how to change the icon Windows 95 uses to represent your Recycle Bin. As you might expect, you can use a similar technique to change your My Computer icon. (Note: As always, back up your Registry first.)

Select Start, Run, type

Regedit

and click on OK. Inside the Registry Editor, navigate your way to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\ CLSID\{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}\ DefaultIcon. In the right pane, right-mouse click on (Default) and choose Modify. On the Value data line, type the path and number of the icon you want to use for My Computer in the format "path, ##" (no quotes). For example, if you were using the 21st icon in the c:\Windows\System\Pifmgr.dll file, you would type (remember, the numbering in an icon file starts with zero):

c:\Windows\System\Pifmgr.dll, 20

Close the Registry Editor, click on the Desktop, and press F5 to refresh. Hey, it's a window.

(For those of your who don't remember the original tip on changing the Recycle Bin's icon, follow the above technique at HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\ CLSID\ {645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}\ DefaultIcon for both the "empty" and "full" values.)

THE PRINTER DOCTOR IS IN

If you're having trouble with your printer, help is just a CD away--the Windows 95 installation CD, that is. Pop it into your CD-ROM drive, navigate your way to D:\Other\Misc\Epts, and double-click on Epts.exe.

Introducing the Enhanced Printer Troubleshooter. Just answer the questions it asks, follow any orders, and in no time, your printer will be acting like its old self.

WHAT'LL IT BE, THE QUICKIE OR THE WORKS?

Need to format a floppy disk? Windows 95 offers the Quick (erase) option, to simply wipe out a disk's contents; or a Full format, which takes the disk down to bare bones and rebuilds it.

With the disk you'd like to format in your floppy drive, right-mouse click on your floppy drive icon and select Format. (Don't make the mistake of opening the floppy drive window first, as the Format command is only available from the icon's context menu.)

Which option should you choose? Select Quick (erase) and click on OK to remove the contents of an already-formatted disk. Keep in mind, however, that you should only use this option if you know the disk isn't damaged. Quick (erase) doesn't check the disk for bad sectors.

For a complete formatting job--for example, if you have a disk that was formatted for a Macintosh system, or you think a disk may have errors on it--choose Full. Click on OK and Windows 95 will proceed to wipe out the disk's contents, prepare it for file storage, and check the disk for errors.

ALL SYSTEMS GO

In our last tip, we showed you how to format a floppy disk: Right-mouse click on your floppy drive icon, select format, and choose from the Quick (erase) or Full options. Assuming you have a blank formatted disk in front of you, now may be a good time to create a system, or "boot" disk. This disk will get you to a command prompt in the event that you have trouble booting your system. (Note: Different from the Windows 95 Startup disk, a system disk does not include any diagnostic or repair tools--it simply gets you to an MS-DOS prompt.)

So, with your formatted disk in your floppy drive, right-mouse click on the drive's icon, select Format and choose Copy System Files Only. Click on OK, and Windows 95 will copy Command.com, Io.sys, Msdos.sys and Drvspace.bin (if applicable) to the disk. Why do you need this disk if all of these files are on the Startup Disk? Well, it never hurts to have a backup of the crucial files.

GET YOUR TITLE BAR DOWN HERE!

"I have a window that shows up with its top half off the screen. Is there any way to bring that window back to the center of the screen?"

There is, but you'll need to use the keyboard. Click on any area of the window to make it active, then press Alt-Spacebar (to open the menu that appears when you click on the window's upper left icon). Press M for Move, then press and hold the down arrow on your keyboard until the window is in full view on-screen. Press Enter to let go of the window.

(Note: You can use this same technique to move any window without the mouse.)

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