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November 2000

Windows Assistance

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It's Never To Late To Start-Up November 30, 2000

In our last tip, we mentioned that the Windows 98 startup disk includes real-mode CD-ROM drivers, meaning that if you ever need to boot from this disk, you can still reinstall Windows 98 using the installation CD: Assuming you've opted to start the system with CD-ROM support, pop the CD in your CD-ROM drive, and at the command prompt type

X:\setup

(where "X" is your CD-ROM drive PLUS one letter, in most cases). Then press Enter.

If you didn't make a startup disk when you were prompted to do so during setup, we highly recommend making one now. To create a startup disk, open the Control Panel, double-click Add/Remove Programs, and select the Startup Disk tab. Click the Create Disk button, insert a blank disk when asked, then wait for Windows 98 to finish copying files. And of course, be sure to store the disk in a safe place.

In our next tip, we'll explain why in most cases, your CD-ROM drive letter changes when you start from the Windows 98 startup disk.

Hard Drivers, Will Set Up November 29, 2000

Remember all that nonsense about not being able to reinstall Windows 95 from a CD after booting from a startup or boot disk unless you had real-mode CD-ROM drivers on that disk? Not so with Windows 98. Now, the startup disk includes the drivers necessary to communicate with most CD-ROM drives from a command prompt.

If trouble should arise (you can't start Windows 98), and you want to reinstall the operating system, turn off your machine. Pop the startup disk in your floppy drive and turn the system back on. When you see the startup options, select Start Computer with CD-ROM Support, and press Enter. Eventually, you'll see an A:\ prompt. With the Windows 98 installation CD in your CD-ROM drive, type

X:\setup

where "X" is your CD-ROM drive PLUS one letter, in most cases. So for example, if it's normally D, you would type

E:\setup

Press Enter and Windows 98 will take you through the setup process.

What's that? You don't have a Windows 98 startup disk? Shame, shame. In our next tip, we'll show you how to create one.

Which Came First, Messaging or Fax? November 27, 2000

In our last tip, we mentioned that you can install Windows 95's Microsoft Fax off the Windows 98 installation CD. Pop the CD in your CD-ROM drive, navigate to Tools/OldWin95/Message/Us folder, and run awfax.exe. We also pointed out that Microsoft Fax "requires a Full MAPI Client in order to function, such as: Microsoft Exchange, Windows Messaging, Microsoft Exchange Server Client or Outlook [the full version, not Express]." The question then becomes, assuming you want to run Microsoft Fax on Windows Messaging, how do you do it if this program isn't part of Windows 98?

Well, wouldn't you know, Windows Messaging is available on the Windows 98 installation CD, too. To install it, navigate to Tools/OldWin95/Message/Us folder, and run wmw.exe. (Note: We recommend reading wmw-fax.txt, in the same folder, for more detailed information on Microsoft Fax and Windows Messaging.)

Wherefore Art Thou, MS Fax? November 24, 2000

Just buy a new Windows 98 system? Can't figure out where Microsoft Fax is located (you remember, Start, Programs, Accessories, Fax)? Well stop looking, because it isn't there. If you want to use this utility, you'll need to install it from the Windows 98 installation CD.

Pop the CD in your CD-ROM drive, click Browse This CD, and navigate to the Tools/OldWin95/Message/Us folder. Run awfax.exe to install Microsoft Fax. (Note: According to Microsoft, this utility "requires a Full MAPI Client in order to function, such as: Microsoft Exchange, Windows Messaging, Microsoft Exchange Server Client or Outlook [the full version, not Express].")

Editor's Note: Tomorrow MS Messaging.

All-In-One Defrag November 22, 2000

In our last tip, we mentioned that defragmenting your hard drive is a great way to ensure that your applications start quickly. Do you have multiple drives on your Windows 98 system? Don't waste time
defragmenting them one by one. You can attack them all in one fell swoop.

Select Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Defragmenter, and in the Select Drive dialog box, click the down arrow to display the list of drives on your system. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the list, select All Hard Drives, and click OK. (Then go grab yourself a bagel--it's going to take awhile!)

editor's note: You can also reach the Defrag utility from Windows Explorer. Right-click on a drive and select Properties. Select the Tools tab and click on the Defragment Now ... button. Now Stop the defrag and click on the Select Drives button. 

Do The Defrag November 21, 2000

Want to be sure your applications start as fast as systemly possible? Defragmenting your hard drive is a great place to start, especially since the new-and-improved Windows 98 version includes an option that rearranges your program files for optimum performance.

Select Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Defragmenter, and in the Select Drive dialog box, select the drive you want to defragment. Before clicking OK -- and here's the important part -- click the Settings button and be sure that "Rearrange program files so my programs start faster" is selected. Click OK, and then click OK again to start the operation.

editor's note: You can also reach the Defrag utility from Windows Explorer. Right-click on a drive and select Properties. Select the Tools tab and click on the Defragment Now ... button. Now Stop the defrag and click on the Settings button.

Trash Bins November 20, 2000

Have you used Windows 98's Drive Converter to convert your hard drive(s) to the FAT32 file system? Then you have no need for a compression utility -- remember, you can't compress a FAT32 drive. So there's no point wasting valuable time and space loading DoubleSpace and DriveSpace drivers into memory at startup. Delete those resource hogs.

Open the Find window by selecting Start, Find, Files or Folders. On the Named line, type

d*space.bin

then select the drive on which Windows is installed (on the Look in line). Click Find Now, and when the finder stops, delete all the files in the list. (If you prefer, rename these files and then wait a day or two, to be sure that their absence won't affect anything. Then ditch 'em.)

Deep Space Help November 17, 2000

Need help beyond the scope of Windows Help (not an unusual scenario)? Try Microsoft's Support Online. There, you can search the Knowledge Base, a library of technical support documents, with the hopes of finding the answer you need.

You can access Support Online directly from Windows 98 Help. Assuming the Help window is already open (if it isn't, select Start, Help), click the Web Help button at the top of the window, then click the Support Online link at the bottom of the right pane. (Note: If you aren't online, complete any necessary steps to make a connection.)

Complete the Registration information (if this is your first time using the Knowledge Base), then follow the steps to initiate a search -- select a product, type in a question or keyword, and click Find. If the Knowledge Base has any articles that match your search criteria, they'll appear in list form. (Or you may get a very annoying 'Server too busy' message, in which case you'll need to try again later.) If an article sounds like it may answer your question, right-click it and select Open in New Window. (That way, if it isn't the right one, you can get back to the list without having to click Back and wait for the page to reload.) Good luck!

Fast Start Menu Scrolling November 16, 2000
If your Start menus won't fit on screen, Windows 98 and IE4 let you access the excess content with scrolling arrows-but the scrolling is slow. You can dramatically speed up scrolling with an undocumented keystroke: Hold down the Ctrl key while you scroll.
'D' Is For Desktop November 15, 2000

J. Heath writes, "I recently discovered a keyboard trick that works in Windows 98. Hold down the Windows key, press the letter "D," and the desktop appears. Press the same combo again, and all minimized windows are restored to the screen."

Thanks for the tip, J.!

Here are some more keyboard combos for the Windows key (assuming you have one). Press:

Windows-D to access the Desktop
Windows-E
to open Windows Explorer
Windows-F to open Find
Windows-M to minimize all open windows (or Shift-Windows-M to undo this command)
Windows-R to open the Run window
Windows-F1 to open Help
Windows-L to log off Windows
Windows-Tab to cycle through the Taskbar buttons
Windows-Break to open the System Properties dialog box.

To Err Is Human November 14, 2000
If you change a file-by renaming, copying, moving or deleting - and wish you hadn't, you can undo it, even if you've done other things in the interim. Open any folder and select Edit/Undo to reverse the most recent file action. Repeat that to undo the second most recent action and so on.
Back To Menu Basics November 13, 2000

A visitor writes, "Is there a way in Windows 98 to go back to the 95 way of viewing program menus? I don't like the scrolling menu."

Absolutely (and thank goodness). You can turn this option off from the Display Properties dialog box. Right-click the desktop, select Properties, and in the resulting dialog box, click the Effects tab. Under Visual effects, deselect Animate Windows, Menus and Lists, then click OK. Back to basics.

Easy Access To Web Pages November 10, 2000

Is there a Web page you check several times a day? Put it in a Win98 toolbar to make it easy to access. Right-click on the taskbar and choose Toolbars/New Toolbar, then enter the full URL in the dialog box that opens and click on OK. The new toolbar will appear on the taskbar. Drag it off the taskbar and hold the mouse pointer at the right edge of the screen until the toolbar automatically mounts itself there. Now drag the left edge of the toolbar to the width of the Web page. Finally, right-click on the toolbar's gray title bar and choose Auto Hide. (You can also choose Always On Top.) Whenever you move your mouse pointer to the extreme right side of your screen, the Web page will open; move the pointer off the toolbar, and it will automatically close. (note:  With IE4's Desktop Update, Win95 users can perform this tip as well.)

editor's note: Did you understand this tip? If yes then you voted OK in Florida. If not then you are just one of the regular folks. 

Disk Space Savings - 2 November 9, 2000

You can also limit the disk space used by IE for cached files to a specific amount by hacking the Registry. Launch RegEdit from the Run command line and drill down to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Internet\Settings\Cache\Content. Double-click on CacheLimit and change the Value Data to the amount you want (for example, enter the hexadecimal value 2800 for an even 10MB).  (NOTE:  Editing the registry can be dangerous.  Always back up your system before editing the registry.)

Netscape Communicator users can set the limit on their disk cache more easily.  In Communicator, go to Edit/Preferences.  In the Category section, double-click on Advanced, then click on Cache.  Change the Disk Cache value to reflect the amount of disk space the cache should use.

Disk Space Savings - 1 November 8, 2000
Make sure IE is using a minimum amount of disk space when caching Internet files. First, select View/Internet Options and click on the Delete Files button under the Temporary Internet Files section to clear your current cache. Then, click on the Settings button and make sure the "Amount of disk space to use" option is set to 1%. (Netscape users stay tuned.  Tomorrow's tip will show you how to do this in Communicator.)
Break Free Of Frames November 7, 2000

Internet Explorer offers an easy way to follow a link that's inside a frame and break completely from the framed interface. Instead of just clicking on the link you want to follow, drag the link up to the address bar and drop it there.

In Netscape Communicator you can break out of a frame by right-clicking on the framed page and selecting "Open Frame in New Window." 

Flexible Dialog Boxes November 3, 2000
One of Win98's subtler capabilities is support for stretchable dialog boxes: You can expand some of them by dragging their corners or edges. This is especially useful in IE 4.0's Favorites/Organize Favorites dialog box, so you don't have to scroll if the Favorites list doesn't fit in the default view. But try it also in the System Configuration Utility and other Win98 utilities and applets.
Hands-Off System Maintenance - 2 November 2, 2000

In our last tip, we introduced the Maintenance Wizard, a utility that will run Disk Defragmenter, ScanDisk, and Disk Cleanup for you, so you don't have to bother with these time-consuming maintenance routines. To start the Maintenance Wizard, select Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Maintenance Wizard. Previously, we suggested selecting Express for the easiest schedule setup; but if you'd prefer to give the wizard more customized instructions (such as setting an exact time for each task to run), go for the custom setup.

When the Maintenance Wizard appears on-screen, click the Custom button, then follow along as the wizard asks questions about each of the maintenance tasks. Select whether you want to run each utility or not and feel free to give detailed instructions for each task. Click Reschedule to select the exact time, and how often, a task should run. Click Settings to do things like choosing the exact drive to defragment. When you reach the last dialog box, detailing all of the wizard's instructions, click Finish to set the new routine in motion.

Hands-Off System Maintenance - 1 November 1, 2000

It's common knowledge that the fastest, most efficient systems are defragmented, error-free, and clean as a whistle (leaving hardware out of the equation, of course). To help you accomplish this perfect state, Windows 98 offers three utilities -- Disk Defragmenter, ScanDisk, and one newcomer, Disk Cleanup -- all of which are available in the Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools menu.

Are you one of those people who just never seems to get around to these maintenance routines? Ask the Windows 98's Maintenance Wizard to run these tasks for you. Just set up a schedule, and the wizard takes care of the rest.

To set up a Maintenance Wizard schedule, select Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Maintenance Wizard. For now, just select Express and click Next. (We'll discuss the Custom option in our next tip.) Choose a time of day for the maintenance routines, then click Next again. (We recommend following the wizard's suggestion: Select Nights, then leave your system running all the time. Then, you'll be sure the routines won't interfere with your work.)

Last but not least, click Finish, and rest assured -- the wizard will complete all of those dreaded maintenance tasks for you. (Hey, wouldn't it be nice if you could get someone to change the oil in your car while you slept?)

October 2000