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September 2001

Windows Assistance

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Check Your Registry September 28, 2001
Windows 98 comes with a handy way to check your Registry for errors. Launch the Microsoft System Information (MSI) utility from Start/Accessories/System Tools/System Information, then select the Registry Checker from the Tools menu.
Creating A MailTo: Shortcut September 27, 2001
No need to go to Outlook to send a e-mail message. Just create this shortcut. Just right-click on the desktop and choose New, Shortcut. In the Command line, type


and then give your Shortcut an appropriate name, something like Send Email. Whenever you double-click this icon, Outlook will automatically cue up a blank email for you, waiting to be addressed.

IDE And UIDE Drives September 26, 2001
Ultra DMA drives are capable of burst transfers at more than 33MB per second, double the rate of a standard IDE drive. Unfortunately, Windows may not be taking full advantage of this speed. (In Windows 98, this feature is disabled by default.)

To enable the DMA option, first go to the Control Panel and click the Systems Icon. Choose the Device Manager tab and click on the [+] next to Disk Drives. Select the icon for a drive that is UDMA. Click on the Properties button and then on the Settings tab. Click and check the box labeled DMA, close all dialog boxes, and restart your system.

CD-ROM Problems and Windows 98 September 25, 2001
Many people have reported a problem with their CD-ROM drives after installing Windows 98. Many CD-ROMS are dual channel IDE (Integrated Device Electronics) devices. Windows has a special setting you need to set in order to accommodate these devices. Try this fix if you experience the problem.

Select Start, Settings, and Control Panel. Then double-click System. Select the Device Manager tab,- double-click the Hard Disk Controllers branch to expand it, select your IDE controller, and then select Properties. Select the Settings tab. In the Dual IDE Channel Settings box, select Both IDE Channels Enabled, and then click OK (2 times), and restart your computer.

A Dialog for All Drives September 24, 2001
Here's an easy way to view the properties for multiple hard drives all at once. Open My Computer and select all your hard drives by holding down the Ctrl key and clicking on each drive. Next, right-click on any one of the drives and choose Properties from the Context menu that appears; Windows will create a single dialog with tabs for each drive. It also works for floppy, removable and mapped network drives.
No More Boring Shortcuts September 21, 2001
It's easy to change shortcut icons. Although this tip applies to Win9x, it works better in Win98, because Microsoft added to and refined its icon library. To change the icon for a specific shortcut, right-click on it, choose Properties, then click on the Change Icon button in the Shortcut tab. Enter C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\SHELL32.DLL in the File Name box, and select an icon from those in the palette. You can also use the Browse button to search through ICL, DLL, ICO and other files on your hard drive that may contain icons. Click on OK to change to the new icon.
My Computer Locks Up When In Suspend September 20, 2001
This is a little known bug in Windows 98 that causes the computer to hang when it is in suspend. You get this bug, believe it or not, when a drive letter is lower case in the SYSTEM.INI. There is a fix.

Select Start, Run, type msconfig, then press OK. Select the System.ini tab - Click the + sign next to the [386Enh] section to expand it - Select the line PagingFile= and click Edit - Change the lowercase drive letter to uppercase - Click Apply, then OK. When prompted, restart your computer.

Windows Hardware Compatibility List September 19, 2001
If you are planning any kind of upgrade of your Windows computer, whether it's a new video card or upgrading to Windows XP, you should first make sure it is compatible with Windows. Of course if you are upgrading to Windows XP then your entire computer needs to be checked.

Click here to access Microsoft's Web site:

Another option is to go to the Web site of the manufacture and verify that they have software drivers for your version of Windows for the hardware you want.

Temporarily Defeat StartUp Folder Programs September 18, 2001
During an isolated Win95 boot, it's possible to prevent the programs in your StartUp folder from automatically launching -- this is helpful for troubleshooting or fast boot-ups. Start your PC, and when you see the Windows splash screen, hold down the Shift key until Windows is fully finished loading. If you're on a network and you're prompted for a password each time Windows starts, wait to hold down the Shift key until you see the "Enter Network Password" box. Then, press and hold the Shift button and click OK. Keep holding down Shift until the disk stops churning. The next time you restart, all your startup programs will run again. This method doesn't turn off services run from System Registry.
Changing Your Windows Password September 17, 2001
If you work in an environment where you share your computer with others, you probably enter a password when Windows starts up to log into your User Profile. You can change this password at any time by going to Start, Settings, Control Panel and clicking the Passwords icon. Select the Change Passwords tab and then the Change Windows Password button. Type your existing password in the Old Password box and then enter a new password in the New Password and Confirm New Password boxes. Click OK, then close the Password dialog box. You'll be able to use your new password the next time you log into Windows.
Getting A Look At Your TCP/IP Configuration September 11, 2001
Curious to know what your current IP Address is when you're connected to the Internet? There's a little-known program hidden in Windows 98 that lets you check your current IP configuration any time you're online. To run it, go to Start, Run and enter


Click OK and the IP Configuration application runs. Use this to get a look at some arcane information about your TCP/IP setup -- info that's sometimes useful if you're trying to debug your setup.

Eliminating Prompt For Dial-Up Info September 10, 2001
If you're tired of having to click Connect after opening your Dial-Up Connection (after all, why go through another click?), you need to change your Connection settings. Go to your Dial-Up Networking folder (by going to Start, Programs, Accessories, Communications, Dial-Up Networking) and choose Connection, Settings from the menu. Uncheck the Prompt For Information Before Dialing box and click OK. With this setting, Dial-Up Networking will dial your connection automatically whenever you launch your Connection icon.
Defrag Drive Automatically September 7, 2001
Defragmenting your hard drive is one of the best and easiest ways to keep your computer running at peak performance, but who has the time? Defragmenting, after all, takes a while, especially in these days of multi-gig hard drives. And while the Defragmenter can run in the background while you're working, this slows performance. Your best bet for defragmenting your hard drive is to perform the action automatically on a weekly basis using Microsoft's Task Scheduler.

To set up a weekly defrag session, go to Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and choose Scheduled Tasks (if you have Task Scheduler running in your System Tray, you can just double-click that). Double-click Add Scheduled Task and click Next. Choose Disk Defragmenter from the list of programs, and click Next. Select the frequency with which you want to run the program, click Next, and then choose the day and time. As long as you leave your computer on all the time, set the Defragmenter to operate during the night, while you're sleeping.

Know Your Resource Limitations September 6, 2001
The handy System Resource Meter resides on the taskbar and tracks System, User and GDI resources. The more applications you have open and running, the more system resources are gobbled up. To install Resource Meter, go to the Control Panel and choose Add/Remove Programs. Under the Windows Setup tab, double-click on Accessories (System tools for Win98) you'll find the System Resource Meter there. note: The System resource only repeats the smaller of the two resources (User or GDI.)
Wipe Out Temp Files September 5, 2001
Windows 95/98/Me creates a lot of "temporary" files when it opens documents. It puts these files in the C:\WINDOWS\TEMP folder and intends to close them when the application is finished with them. But sometimes, temp files can become permanent files and eat up a lot of hard-disk space. It's a good idea to open the folder periodically and delete these files. Make sure no applications are running when you do it.
Before You Use Defrag September 4, 2001
When you run Disk Defragmenter, you might find that the program has trouble completing the task. Ideally, Disk Defragmenter should run with as few programs running as possible. It can get "stuck" and have to start over if some kind of change is made to the hard drive during the defragmenting process. The biggest nemesis for Disk Defragmenter is Screen Saver. If Disk Defragmenter has a hard time completing its task, make sure that both Screen Saver and any Power Management utilities are disabled before you run the program. Right-click on the desktop and choose Properties. Click the Screen Saver tab and choose None from the drop-down menu. Then click the Settings button in the Energy Saving Features section and make sure System Standby, Turn Off Monitor, and Turn Off Hard Disks are all set to Never. note: Check previous tips on System Maintenance, Using Scandisk, and Scandisk files.

august 2001 tips