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Windows 9X Special Interest Group

  Windows 9X SIG Report

by John S. Krill

Welcome to the Windows 9X SIG

The primary purpose of the Windows SIG is to answer questions you have about Windows 9X (Windows 95 and Windows 98.) They can be: problems (software and hardware,) software suggestions (utilities, applications, etc.,) and how-to requests. Or you can just visit and learn about Windows 9X by being there. The meeting is held in Science 130 from 9am to 11am. You can show up and leave at anytime.

Note: Bring a 3.5", 1.4MB floppy. I generally have Zipped files full of information.

Change In Room Assignment To Science 130

We are now meeting in Science 130. With all the equipment I setup it is much more convenient to be in Science 130. We can also get a modem line into this room when we need it or whenever no one else is using the phone line.

Questions Between Meetings

If you have problems and can’t wait for the meeting you can e-mail me at the above address with ALL pertinent information. I will do my best to answer your mail. This is for NOCCC members only. Thanks.

Volume Control

For a long time I have tried to figure out a way to get rid of Microsoft’s volume control and replace it with Creative Lab’s Mixer utility. Well I never have found a way to REPLACE it but I have found a way to avoid Microsoft’s volume control. First I put a shortcut to Creative Lab’s Mixer into Quick Launch. That’s one of the Toolbars that can be installed onto the Taskbar. Now volume control is just ONE click away. Once that was working I went to the Multimedia controls in the Control Panel and removed the volume control icon from the Taskbar.

U.S. Robotics Internal WinModems

One member has a problem installing a WinModem. Internal WinModem software installation does not install a serial port, only the modem. One of his applications uses the modem but is looking for a serial port and he can’t find any way to install a serial port. What’s the problem.

In a perfect world U.S. Robotics would write software drivers that satisfied all requirements. The WinModem driver was design for the Windows 9X operating system and the users application is probably a Windows 3.X app. Windows 3.X applications do not use the Registry but the Win.ini file. Check your win.ini file under [Ports] and make use that the serial port is present. If not then add a line for the missing serial port. This may solve the problem. I haven’t tested this solution but it is worth a try. Also the IRQ and Addr for the missing serial port will have to be standard settings. Your application will probably have problems with anything else.

If you can get on the Web then go to the U.S. Robotics Web site and get their latest software driver. This may solve the problem.

How To Determine What Your Modems Top Speed

Another member spent good money updating his U.S. Sportser modem to 56k. He now thinks that this was overwritten by a tech. He said that the tech got the latest software from U.S. Robotics and installed it.

What the tech probably got and loaded was the software driver for the modem. This software is used by Windows to control the interaction between the modem and the computer. The software that the member spent money on to upgrade the modem is used by the modem to control the interaction between the modem and the outside world.

To check your modem to see what speed it can operate at go to >> My Computer >> Control Panel >> Modems. Now select the Diagnostics tab. Select the comm port or modem that you want to test. Now press the More Info.. button. I found under the AT17 command, Options, that it would operate at x2 and v.90 speeds.

If you have a U.S. Robotics X2 modem and it always reports a speed of 115kbs then go to the U.S. Robotics web site and get their latest driver. It will report the actual speed that the modem was able to sync at. Mine generally syncs at 48kbps, sometimes at 49,333bps. Not bad.

VCM is the Devil in Windows 98

Note: The information that follows is encapsulated from Jim Seymour’s column in the Nov. 17, 1998 issue of PC Magazine, page 93.

Version Conflict Manager. What is it? Why should I care about it? Where do I find it? How do I use it?

What is it? VCM is used by the Windows 98 setup program to replaced software drivers that it believes are old, bad, or non-standard. It does this behind the scenes and never tells the user what is happening or ask the users permission to swap out the drivers. The VCM does save the replaced drivers and if you have problems after setup then you can run the VCM utility and replace the drivers you think will fix the problem.

Why should I care about it? According to Jim Seymour, and it’s a raw estimate, 5 of 25 installs will have problems after setup is complete. If you can determine the cause of the problem and it is one of the replaced files then you can use the VCM utility to get back the replaced driver.

Where do I find it? How do I use it? To run the VCM utility start the System Information Utility. This utility is under the System Tools menu. After starting System Information utility go to the Tools menu and select Version Conflict Manager. You will now see a list of all the files that VCM replaced during setup. Just select the files you want to restore and press the Restore Selected Files button.

Jim Seymour reports the this procedure has solved many a setup failure.

December Meeting

If we can get the telephone line I will demonstrate the Update procedure for Windows 98. We will also look at desktop themes and maybe find one for the holidays. I just downloaded a Falling Leaves theme from the Microsoft Update site. It’s free to registered users of Windows 98.