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Windows 9X Special Interest Group

  Windows SIG Report

John S. Krill

Emergency Boot Disk?

Yes, create a Emergency Startup disk. If all else fails this may be your salvation. I also add some extra utilities to this disk: debug.exe, deltree.exe,, find.exe,, move.exe, xcopy.exe, xcopy32.exe. These utilities are all in the windows\command directory.

If you cannot start Win95 in Normal mode then reboot and when you see the line "Starting Windows 95’ press the F8 key. You have 2 seconds to do this. Select Safe mode. Once your system is up in Safe mode then restart your system and see if it will boot into Normal mode. If not, then reboot to Safe mode and reload a backup copy of your registry from either the cfgback.exe utility or regedit.exe utility. You can run regedit.exe from safe mode or from the dos prompt. Instructions for using regedit.exe from the dos prompt follow this section. You can also use cfgback.exe from Safe mode to restore one of the registry backups you made. Of course all this precludes that you made backups using either regedit.exe or cfgback.exe.

cfgback.exe is a utility that creates up to 9 backups of your registry. The program can be found on your Win95 CD-ROM.

Export the Registry from regedit.exe

To export a text version of your registry go to your computer right now and from Start > Run type regedit and press the enter key. Now from the Registry menu item select Export Registry File. This action will create a Registry file (its in plain old text but formatted so regedit.exe can understand it and import it later if necessary.) Note: Make sure you export the ENTIRE registry.

Using regedit.exe from the DOS prompt

Note: The following information is from the Windows 95 Resource Kit. The Resource Kit help file is on the CD-ROM version of Windows 95.

The Registry can be exported, imported, or recreated using either the Windows-based version of Registry Editor or the real-mode version on the Windows 95 emergency startup disk. By using the export capabilities of Registry Editor, a specific branch or the entire Registry can be saved in text format as a .REG file. A branch of or the entire Registry can be restored by importing a .REG file that was created by exporting the Registry.

If you are exporting or importing Registry files using the Windows-based version of Registry Editor, use the Export and Import commands from the Registry menu. The information in online Help can guide you through this process.

In rare circumstances when the Registry is badly corrupted, you can start the computer using the Windows 95 startup disk. Then you can use the real-mode REGEDIT.EXE utility on the startup disk to import a .REG file. In this case, the following command syntax can be used at the command prompt.

REGEDIT [/L:system] [/R:user] filename1

REGEDIT [/L:system] [/R:user] /C filename2

REGEDIT [/L:system] [/R:user] /E filename3 [regpath]

/L:system Specifies the location of the SYSTEM.DAT file.

/R:user Specifies the location of the USER.DAT file.

filename1 Specifies the file(s) to import into the registry.

/C filename2 Specifies the file to create the registry from.

/E filename3 Specifies the file to export the registry to.

regpath Specifies the starting registry key to export from.

(Defaults to exporting the entire registry).

Caution: Use the regedit /c option with extreme care, and only when you are sure that the specified .REG file contains a complete image of the Registry.

Windows 95 Tips


Use DriveSpace for diskettes. Just remember if you need to format them in the future, you must do so from the DriveSpace utility.


If you want applications to run minimized, maximized or in a normal window, create a shortcut for the app, right-click on the shortcut icon, select Properties from the context menu, click on the Shortcut tab and make your selection in the Run item.


The quickest way to put a file or folder on a diskette is to right-click on it, select Send To from the context menu and choose "31/2 Floppy (A)."


The Win95 Find utility sports some unique-and undocumented wildcard capabilities you can use in the Find dialog's Named box. For example, use a question mark to replace each unknown letter or number in a filename. Each question mark must replace exactly one unknown character, so you have to know how many characters are in the filename. Each asterisk, on the other hand, can replace any number of unknown characters. You can use combinations of question marks and asterisks to refine your search.


If you find yourself searching the same folder or for the same kind of file (say, a Word document), save your search for future use. After you conduct a search, select File/Save Search. It'll place an icon on your Desktop, which, when launched, will bring up Find with all the parameters preset.


If you give Win95 the ol' three finger salute (Ctrl+Alt+Del) you'll get the Close Program dialog, which gives you the option to close running applications one at a time. Task Manager, a holdover from Windows 3.x, lets you close any number of running applications-or all of them-at once. To launch Task Manager, select Start/Run and type TASKMAN and press Enter. From the resulting Task dialog, press and hold the Ctrl key, click on each of the programs you'd like to close and select Windows/End Task. To close all your running applications, press and hold the Shift key, click on the first application, then the last and select Windows/End Task.


Search your floppy, hard and mapped network drives simultaneously by selecting My Computer in Find's Look In box.


To make windows snap rather than zoom shut, select the General tab from Tweak UI and deselect the Window Animation box under Effects.


Make a folder on your desktop called TWEAK, go to the WinMag Free Win95 Software page ( and click on the Tweak UI item to download the file TWEAKUI.EXE to your new folder. Double-click on the file to auto-extract its contents. Right-click on the file TWEAKUI. INF and select Install from the context menu. A Help file will come up during installation. After you close the Help file, Tweak UI will be installed. You can then delete the TWEAK folder and everything that's in it.


Here's how to blast the contents of the Documents cascading menu from your Start menu (for those of you who know how to create batch files). Create a batch file that deletes all files in the C:/WINDOWS/ RECENT folder. Now create a shortcut on the desktop to the batch file (make sure you tell the shortcut to close on exit). Double-clicking on the shortcut in the future will clear your Documents menu.


If you download and install only one Win95 utility, make it Tweak UI. This incredibly handy tool lets you customize Win95 like nobody's business. Just check out the following tips to find out all the amazing things you can do with Tweak UI.


If you've got a folder window open and want to get to  the bottom of it, don't use the scroll bar. Just press  Ctrl+End. And of course, if you're at the bottom or  somewhere in the middle of a folder window and  want to return to the top, press Ctrl+Home.


Here's a tip for those of you who prefer the keyboard. Sometimes you'd like to select items on the desktop, but the desktop isn't the currently selected "folder." With your desktop visible, Press Ctrl+Esc to bring up the Start menu, hit Esc, then Shift+Tab. Now your arrow keys will let you navigate items on the desktop.


If you try to copy and paste a large scanned image (over 10MB) into a graphics application, Windows 95 often returns an "out of memory" error. As a work-around, don't involve the Clipboard at all. Save the image as a file using the scanner's software, then exit that program. Now you can open the scanned image using the File, Open dialog box of your graphics program.


Can't figure out how to get a program to stop loading every time you start Windows 95? (Software developers have a whole lotta nerve to assume this is a convenience. They should ask first.) There are three places where you can try to stop this annoyance:

The Startup folder. This is the most obvious location for a program reference. Right-mouse click on Start, select Open, double-click on Programs, then double-click on Startup. If you see a shortcut to the annoying program inside, delete it.

The WIN.INI file. Select Start, Run, type


and click on OK. Inside the System Configuration Editor, make the WIN.INI window active and look for a "run=" or "load=" line under the [windows] section.

Programs referred to on these lines load at startup.

If you feel comfortable doing so, remove the reference to the annoying program, and save your change. (If not, have your local computer guru help you. WIN.INI is a very important file and should not be messed with unless you know what you're doing.)

The Registry. Select Start, Run, type


and click on OK to open the Registry Editor. Navigate your way to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RUN. In the right pane, you'll find programs that load when Windows 95 starts. Right-mouse click on the one giving you grief, select Delete, and close the Registry Editor. (As always, before editing the Registry, back it up. One way is to zip your System.dat and User.dat files and store them on a floppy disk.)

Whichever method you used, restart Windows 95 and (in most cases) breathe a deep sigh of satisfaction!


Do you rely on your PC for everything, to the point where the only address book you have is the one in your e-mail program? Shame, shame. If your system crashes, not only will you be really upset, but you won't be able to call anyone to tell them about it! Back up your address book regularly.

In an Explorer or My Computer window, find your address book and take note of its location. (For example, if you use Outlook Express, this file is C:\Program Files\Outlook Express\Wab.exe. With a disk in your floppy drive, right-mouse click on the file, select Send To, and then choose 3 1/2 Floppy (A). (Or if you prefer, copy the file to your disk in some other way.) If you ever need to restore this file, just copy it from the disk back to its original location (in this case, the Windows folder).


If you're in a dialog box with multiple tabs and want to move from one to the next, your only option is the mouse, right? Wrong. If you don't feel like making the effort to grab the mouse, try the keyboard.

Press Ctrl-Tab to move one tab to the right. While holding down Ctrl, continue to press Tab until the tab you want is highlighted, then let go. Ctrl-Shift-Tab rotates you through tabs in the reverse direction.


When you select a menu item and then scroll down its list of options, your mouse functions as a highlighter, coloring each command it passes. (This highlight color will vary depending on the color scheme you're using.) Want to change the color it uses? For example, if you're using the Windows Standard scheme, you may want to change that dark blue to red for some real contrast.

Whatever your taste in colors, right-click on the Desktop, select Properties, and click on the Appearance tab. Click on the down arrow under Item, select Selected Items, and then choose a Color. Click on Apply to try out your change without closing the dialog box, or click on OK to make it stick. There, much better. Who ever heard of a dark blue highlighter anyway?

(Note: If you want to save the change as part of the color scheme you're using, before closing the Display Properties dialog box, select Save As, name the scheme--or leave the name as is, to write over the existing scheme--then click on OK.)