MDGx MAX Speed WinDOwS
Tricks of Past Weeks - Part 1

Go to ALL WinDOwS ©Tricks + Secrets Contents
8-25-95 Win3.xx/9x/ME Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE, and in MYTIPS31.TXT, part of W31-11D.ZIP:

SYSTEM.INI TWEAKS


SYSTEM.INI is a Windows 3.xx/95/98/ME INItialization text file and resides in your main Windows directory (%windir% = default C:\WINDOWS).
First, let's see the Windows .INI files editing rules:

The following are helpful lines to add/modify (using Notepad/Sysedit in Windows or EDIT.COM in DOS) under the [386enh] section of your SYSTEM.INI, valid for ALL Windows 3.1x/95/98/ME releases if not specified otherwise.

And now that we've cleared it all up, let's have some fun... ;)

32BitDiskAccess=ONTo turn on 32-bit disk access in Windows for maximum performance.
To disable 32-bit access ONLY for troubleshooting purposes (NOT recommended), replace ON with OFF. This is equivalent with starting Windows by running:
WIN /D:F
COMBoostTime=1To speed up keyboard buffered operations (decrease character download time) at high speed modem transfers (above 9600 bps), using communications/internet applications. Affects the time (in milliseconds) the Operating System processes a COM port interrupt. Default value is 2. If you notice any loss of keyboard characters while using internet/communications apps, increase it to 4 or higher. Experimenting may be necessary to determine your optimal setting.
COMxBuffer=1024To increase the buffer size (in Bytes) for characters sent/received by your communications device (modem) on a specific COM port. Replace x with the COM port number used by your modem. Valid COMx values: 1, 2, 3 and 4. Default Buffer value is 128. High values will decrease modem transfer speed slightly, but might prevent loss of characters at high baud rates (above 9600 bps). Experimenting may be necessary to find your "sweet spot".
NOTE: BEFORE increasing the COMx Buffer value, you need to add an empty (BLANK) COMxProtocol= line (see setting below):
COMxProtocol=To specify whether Windows should stop simulating characters in DOS boxes/sessions after the Virtual Machine (VM) sends an XOFF character, if a DOS based communications/internet program/game loses characters while performing text transfers at high baud rates (above 9600 bps), on a specific COM port. Replace x with the COM port number used by your analog modem. Valid COMx values: 1, 2, 3 and 4. Valid values: XOFF (to stop) or BLANK (to continue).
Default is any value other than XOFF. Set this line to BLANK (leave it empty) when performing binary transfers.
COMIrqSharing=ONWindows/WfWG 3.1x ONLY: To enable COM port IRQ sharing in Win31, ONLY IF using ANY serial I/O communications cards (UART, modem, NIC etc) that support IRQ sharing with other hardware devices in your computer. Default value is OFF.
ConservativeSwapfileUsage=1Windows 98/ME ONLY: To disable the "PageFile_Call_Async_Manager" feature that allows the Memory Manager to asynchronously write out swap file buffers during VFAT idle times. This reverts swap file usage back to Windows 95 style, and forces the use of the computer's physical memory (faster) first, before the use of the slower hard disk virtual memory (swap file). Default is enabled (0). See "CONSERVATIVE SWAP", also in TIPS98.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE], for complete details.
DMABufferSize=64To increase your 16-bit Direct Memory Access (DMA) channel buffer to maximum size: 64 (in KiloBytes). Affects ALL I/O (Input/Output) DMA operations: sound card FM/wavetable, MIDI playback/recording, disk buffered reads/writes. Default value is 16.
In Windows 9x/ME this can also be done in: Control Panel System Device Manager tab System devices Direct memory access controller Settings tab check Reserve DMA buffer box 64 K bytes reserved OK OK.
DualDisplay=ONMandatory for compatibility with extended/expanded memory managers (EMM386.EXE, QEMM386.SYS, RM386.EXE, 386MAX.SYS etc), to allow Windows to use the B000-B7FF Upper Memory Area (UMA) on VGA, Super VGA (SVGA) and eXtended VGA (XVGA) color monitors, ONLY IF NOT using a secondary display adapter/monitor. Default value is OFF.
You MUST also add/modify your memory manager CONFIG.SYS line to include this area (example):
DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\EMM386.EXE I=B000-B7FF
EMMExclude=A000-FFFFTo prevent Windows from searching the Upper Memory Area (UMA) for unused memory (RAM) upon startup. Safer if you use any 3rd party memory managers (QEMM, NetRoom, 386MAX etc), or any real MS-DOS mode devices/drivers/TSRs in CONFIG.SYS/AUTOEXEC.BAT. This is equivalent with starting Windows by running:
WIN /D:X
FileSysChange=OFFWindows/WfWG 3.1x ONLY: To prevent updating file changes in DOS sessions/boxes, and thus speed up disk operations in DOS sessions and File Manager. Default value is ON, which decreases system performance on slower computers.
HardDiskDMABuffer=32Windows/WfWG 3.1x ONLY: Memory allocated (in KiloBytes) for the Direct Memory Access (DMA) buffer for disk buffered reads/writes. Default value is 0. Maximum allowed value is 32.
If using SMARTDRV with double-buffering turned on:
DEVICE=C:\DOS\SMARTDRV.EXE /DOUBLE_BUFFER
this setting is determined automatically.
InitPS2MouseAtExit=OFFWindows/WfWG 3.1x ONLY: Disables the search for a PS/2 mouse upon Win31 exit, thus saving a few milliseconds. Default value is ON.
IRQ9Global=ONWindows/WfWG 3.1x ONLY: Use this setting if your system hangs when reading from floppy drive(s) in Win31. Default value is OFF.
IRQx=4096Windows 95/98/ME ONLY: Unfortunately this is just another urban myth. :-( More info.
KeyBoostTime=0.1To increase keyboard response (in seconds) to keystrokes with several background Windows programs running. Default value is 0.001 (1 millisecond = 1/1000 of a second).
LocalLoadHigh=1 To increase the amount of conventional (low) DOS memory (RAM) available to each DOS session/box to maximum. Default value is 0. See "LOCALLOADHIGH", also in MYTIPS95.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE], for more details.
MaxBPs=1500Windows/WfWG 3.1x ONLY: To increase the number of Maximum Break Points used by Windows Virtual Memory Manager (VMM) to fix General Protection Fault (GPF), application or out of memory errors, system crashes or lockups, caused by programs that do not release unneeded Break Points after closing. Default is 200. Maximum allowed is 1600 (rounded up to 1637), which allows for a total of 4 blocks of 4 KB each (4 x 4 KB = 32 KB total).
Each Break Point is a 10 Byte memory block used to keep track of the system state when Windows switches from one type of program to another, DOS based applications included.
Windows 3.xx allocates memory space for Break Points in 4096 Bytes (4 KB) blocks. A value of 200 is actually rounded up to 370 to fit into the 1st 4 KB block. If raised to 400 Windows opens a 2nd 4 KB block (8 KB total), if raised to 800 a 3rd block (12 KB total) is allocated, and 1500 opens up a 4th block (16 KB total).
OBSOLETE: NOT used by Windows 95/98/ME!
MaxPagingFileSize=xxxxxxTo define the upper (maximum) limit of the swap file size in KiloBytes (KB). Default is 50% of available free space on target drive. Maximum allowed has to match total available free space on selected hard drive/partition, equivalent to deleting this line. See "FIXED SWAP FILE", also in TIPS95.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE], for more details.
MinPagingFileSize=xxxxxxTo define the lower (minimum) limit of the swap file size in KiloBytes (KB). Default is NONE. Minimum allowed is 0 KB, equivalent to deleting this line. See "FIXED SWAP FILE", also in TIPS95.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE], for more details.
MaxPhysPage=40000To define the upper (maximum) limit of installed memory (RAM) allowed to be used by Windows in hex address. Default is to use all available RAM, equivalent to deleting this line. Maximum allowed is installed RAM upper hex address. 40000 = Windows allowed to use only first 1 GB (1,024 MB) of RAM. Used to troubleshoot Windows errors/limitations and/or RAM errors. See "BAD MEMORY?", also in TIPS95.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE] + in MYTIPS31.TXT [part of W31-11D.ZIP], for more details.
MessageBackColor=8To specify the BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) background (screen) color. Default is blue (1). See "BLUE (OR ANY OTHER COLOR) SCREEN OF DEATH", also in TIPS95.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE], or in MYTIPS31.TXT [part of W31-11D.ZIP], for complete details.
MessageTextColor=CTo specify the BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) foreground (text) color. Default is bright white (F). See "BLUE (OR ANY OTHER COLOR) SCREEN OF DEATH", also in TIPS95.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE], or in MYTIPS31.TXT [part of W31-11D.ZIP], for complete details.
MinSPs=8Windows 95/98/ME ONLY: To increase the spare stack pages, to prevent possible stack fault situations. Default value is 2. Read "MINSPS", also in TIPS95.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE], for complete details.
MinTimeSlice=40To increase the minimum time (in milliseconds) a DOS Virtual Machine (VM) is allowed to run before other VMs can take over. Default value is 20. Smaller values (i.e. 10) make multitasking smoother, but decrease overall system performance.
PageBuffers=32To increase the 4 KB page buffers number (in KiloBytes) for storing asynchronous read/write pages, and thus boost Windows fixed disk performance. Works ONLY if using 32-bit disk access (FBDA) AND a permanent swap file. Default value is 4. Maximum allowed is 32.
PagingDrive=X:To specify the (permanent) swap file fixed disk location (substitute X with target drive/partition letter). Default is C:. See "SWAP FILE - Part 1", "SWAP FILE - Part 2" and "3.1X/9X/2000/NT/ME/XP/2003 MULTIBOOT SWAP FILE", also in MYTIPS95.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE] and in MYTIPS31.TXT [part of W31-11D.ZIP], for more details.
PagingFile=X:\PATH\FILENAME.EXT To specify the (permanent) swap file location: fixed disk (substitute X with target drive/partition letter), path (substitute PATH with target directory name) and filename with extension (substitute FILENAME.EXT with WIN386.SWP for Windows 95/98/ME or with 386SPART.PAR for Windows/WfWG 3.1x). Default is C:\WINDOWS\WIN386.SWP for Win9x/ME or C:\386SPART.PAR for Win31. See "SWAP FILE - Part 1", "SWAP FILE - Part 2" and "3.1X/9X/2000/NT/ME/XP/2003 MULTIBOOT SWAP FILE", also in MYTIPS95.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE] and in MYTIPS31.TXT [part of W31-11D.ZIP], for more details.
PerVMFiles=60To increase the number of private file handles (similar to the native MS-DOS mode "FILES=" command in CONFIG.SYS) allocated to each Virtual Machine (VM), needed by DOS programs running in a DOS session. Default value is 30 for Win9x/ME, and 10 for Win/WfWG 3.1x. Maximum allowed is 225. The specified number (0 - 225) is added to the minimum of 30 VMFiles Windows allocates by default to each VM. In this example: 60 + 30 = 90 VMFiles. More info @ MSKB.
RemovableIDE=1Windows 95/98/ME ONLY: To turn on support for removable (E)IDE/ATAPI drives: Iomega, Syquest, Jazz, Shark, Orb, Zip, optical, CD, DVD, LS-120, tape etc. Default value is 0 (off). More info @ MSKB + MS TechNet.
SyncTime=ONWindows/WfWG 3.1x ONLY: You MUST enable this line IF TrapTimerPorts=OFF (see setting below), to synchronize Win31's time clock with the computer's BIOS clock periodically. Default value is OFF.
SysVMEMSLimit=-1To increase Expanded Memory (EMS) available to each DOS session for DOS programs that need EMS to operate. Default value is 2048 (2 MB). Maximum allowed is -1 (32768 = 32 MB).
TrapTimerPorts=OFFWindows/WfWG 3.1x ONLY: Helps time sensitive Win31 programs/games that rely on the computer timer to run more accurate. Default value is ON.
VGAMonoText=OFFTo allow Windows to use the B000-B7FF Upper Memory Area (UMA) if not used by other hardware devices (monochrome video adapters) or graphics/video (VGA/SVGA/XVGA) applications. Default value is ON.
If a hardware device/peripheral or an upper/extended/expanded memory manager using this memory range is installed, this area is NOT available to Windows.
WindowUpdateTime=200To decrease the time (in milliseconds) between display updates for slower non-Windows (DOS based) programs running in DOS sessions. Default value is 50.

Some of these settings can be loaded at Windows startup, as command line parameters. To see which ones suit your needs, run:

WIN /?

from any DOS prompt.
See also "WIN.COM SWITCHES", also in MYTIPS95.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE] and in MYTIPS31.TXT [part of W31-11D.ZIP], and "WIN.COM HIDDEN PARAMETERS", also in SECRETS.TXT [part of both W95-11D.EXE and W31-11D.ZIP], for more details.

    FYI:

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10-6-98 Updated Win9x Registry MTU ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:

HOW FAST CAN YOU GO? - Part 1
[UPDATED 10-6-98]


These Registry tweaks apply to ALL 28 - 56 kbps analog modem owners, to enable the fastest Internet transfer speeds supported by these modems, connecting through the TCP/IP protocol and using Dial-Up Networking (DUN) in Windows 95/OSR1/OSR2, ONLY WITHOUT Dial-Up Networking (DUN) Upgrade 1.4 installed [1.8 MB, free].

Windows 95/OSR1/OSR2 users who installed DUN Upgrade 1.4 AND Windows 98/98 SE users: READ "FASTEST INTERNET 98 - Part 1" and "FASTEST INTERNET 98 - Part 2", both also in TIPS98.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE], to learn how to improve your dial-up Internet performance by tweaking the "IPMTU" Registry values.

You need an Internet/Online Service Provider to connect to the Internet.

DEFINITION: Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) or packet size of a Network/ISP is the largest amount of data that can be transferred in one physical frame on that Network. Fragmentation will occur if a packet is sent across a Network that has a MTU smaller than the packet's frame length. This leads to lower performance as fragments need to be reassembled. The workaround in this case is to decrease the Winsock's MTU value to match the minimum MTU of ALL intervening Networks. Since it is virtually impossible to determine the minimum MTU of so many Networks, trial and error is almost always the best choice. Start by trying to match your MTU value with your Network/ISP's MTU. Typical cases:See also Microsoft's explanation of (Max)MTU.

NOTE: MaxMTU [Win95], IPMTU [Win98], DefaultRcvWindow [RWIN], DefaultTTL [TTL] and cachesize [NDI] are NOT present in your Registry if you have never used a "MTU tweaker" like EasyMTU, or added them yourself using a Registry editor like Regedit.

STRONGLY RECOMMENDED: Download ALL above mentioned Registration files (.REG) + complete usage guidelines (MAXSPEED.TXT): MAXSPEED.ZIP [12 KB]!

MANDATORY UPGRADES: You might also see modem speed improvements over the Internet by installing these free Microsoft communications upgrades:

UPDATES:

  1. I recommend using Rob Vonk's EasyMTU 3.0 [360 KB], the first, the best and the only FREEware AOL/MTU/TTL/RWIN/COMBoostTime/cachesize/etc tweaking tool!
    Rob Vonk's EasyMTU home.
    EasyMTU 3.0 includes FindMTU [a PING tool] to determine EXACTLY the MTU value used by your ISP/Online Service (i.e. AOL).

  2. ONLY for AOL users: To MAXimize your AOL performance, read "AOL MAXMTU REVISITED", also in AOLTIPS.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE].

  3. For extensive details/specs on analog/digital modems, Win95/98/ME communications, TCP/IP, DUN and more MTU/TTL/RWIN/etc tweaking programs, check out these reference links.

  4. Read the "Windows TCP/IP Registry Entries" MSKB article.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

"I feel the need... for speed!"
... And don't type the quotes! :-)

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2-23-99 Win9x Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:

MEDIA PLAYER


You can configure Media Player (MPLAYER.EXE) located in your Win95/98 C:\WINDOWS folder (default) to open, play once, and then close any media clip file: .AVI, .FLI, .FLC, .MID, .RMI, .WAV, .MPG, .MPE, .MVB, .MOV etc, depending on what multimedia (audio + video) codecs you have installed.
In Explorer click View, Options, and then the File Types tab. Choose the file type you want to be played once and then closed by Mplayer (any of the media files listed above, if listed on your Files Types list).
In the File Types window, choose for example the MIDI Sequence (RMI, MID) files, click Edit, highlight "Actions:", click Play, click Edit, and then Browse to find Mplayer.exe. In the "Application used to perform action:" box, type a space after "C:\Windows\Mplayer.exe", and then type "/play /close". The text in the box should look like this (no quotes):

C:\Windows\Mplayer.exe /play /close

Click OK three times to close all open dialog boxes. Now you should be again in Explorer's main window, back where you first started.
You can repeat this operation with all media clip files listed above (and more if you have any other file types installed by your audio/video software on your machine).
From now on, when you (double-)click a .MID or .WAV file, Mplayer will play the file once, and then exit, without prompting you for confirmation, nor waiting for you to manually click all necessary exit buttons.
This is also useful for previewing new media files you download, or from a new cd-rom.

HINT: You can also create a shortcut in the Startup folder, to play once and then automatically close your favorite media clip file, when Win95/98 loads.

Have fun!

UPDATE: You can use the same command line above (/play /close) with WMP 7.1 (free).
Microsoft DirectX/ActiveX Media Player2 v6.0 runtime extensions: ActiveMovie, DirectAnimation, DirectShow (free).
MPlayer2 uses ActiveX controls and DirectX APIs, and can also be used as a MS IEx/Netscape browser plug-in, to play ALL Multimedia file formats: .AVI, QuickTime (.MOV), NetShow (.ASF), Video/Sound MPEG (.DAT, .MP3, .MPE, .MPG etc), General/Extended MIDI (.MID, .RMI), Microsoft Wave (.WAV), CD Audio (.CDA), Real Audio/Video (.AU, .RA, .RAM) etc.
This is the MPlayer2 command line used to play once and then close a Multimedia file (default installation):

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Media Player\Mplayer2.exe" /play /close "%L"

Type the quotes to allow the proper use of Long File Names (LFNs) on the command line.

FYI:
MSKB: Media Player Command-Line Switches.

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8-25-95 Win9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003/IE ©Trick in TIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:

TO DRAG OR NOT TO DRAG


This works pretty much the same with all Windows 9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003 releases.
Control Object (File, Folder, Shortcut, Link, URL etc) Dragging can be achieved by holding down the SHIFT and/or CTRL keys while Left Mouse Button Dragging an Object (or Group of Objects) for different actions:

NOTE: Certain folders do NOT allow objects to be dropped (i.e. Control Panel + Printers), others ALWAYS Move To regardless of the SHIFT/CTRL status (i.e. Recycle Bin).

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9-18-95 Win3.1x/9x/DOS6 Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE, and in MYTIPS31.TXT, part of W31-11D.ZIP:

LASTDRIVE


If you don't specify a LASTDRIVE= line in your CONFIG.SYS, Windows 95/98 sets the last drive to Z by default (that's a total of 26 drive letters, what a waste!), similar to:

LASTDRIVE=Z

If you are not connected to or using a network or a direct cable/peer to peer link, you lose a few hundred bytes of low or upper DOS memory, because you probably have a total of 3 to 9 drives (logical partitions and removable drives included) in your system (about 7 if you use a disk compression utility, like DrvSpace or DblSpace, bundled with Win95/98 or MS-DOS 6.xx).
Each additional drive letter on your LASTDRIVE= line takes 96 Bytes of conventional memory in MS-DOS 5.00/6.xx, or upper memory in Windows, but ONLY IF using an extended/upper memory manager, i.e. EMM386.EXE, included by Microsoft with your operating system/environment, beginning with MS-DOS version 4.00.
If you use DrvSpace, DblSpace, Stacker or any other disk compression utility, change (or add if not present) the LASTDRIVE= line to read:

LASTDRIVE=M

Examples:
If you don't use any disk doubler/compression tool, change it to:

LASTDRIVE=D

if you have 1 hard disk (HD) and 1 CD-ROM drive installed.
If you have 2 HDs and 1 CD-ROM or 1 HD and 2 CD-ROMs, you need:

LASTDRIVE=E

If you have 2 HDs and 2 CD-ROMs or 3 HDs and 1 CD-ROM:

LASTDRIVE=F

You get the idea.
The rule of thumb is to assign an additional drive letter to your system, on top of the last letter used by your last drive/partition.
Some are using RAM (virtual drives in the system memory) or removable (backup) drives. Don't forget to count them in!
Don't bother counting the floppy drive(s) on your machine, they ALWAYS take the first 2 letters: your first floppy drive is A (usually 3.5", 1.44 MB), and if you have a second (i.e. 5.25" 1.2 MB floppy) drive, that would always have assigned the letter B.
Even if you don't have a secondary floppy drive (B), your first (bootable) hard drive/partition is always C.

CAUTION: ALWAYS BACKUP YOUR STARTUP FILES BEFORE MAKING ANY CHANGES: AUTOEXEC.BAT + CONFIG.SYS (located in the root directory of your boot drive/partition, C:\ by default).

From a DOS prompt, run:

MEM /C/P

and write down the amount of your free conventional/upper memory.
Then edit your CONFIG.SYS with Notepad in Windows (or EDIT.COM in DOS), place LASTDRIVE=X (replace X with the desired drive letter) as one of the first lines (after the DOS=HIGH,UMB line), save the changes and reboot.
Go to that DOS prompt one more time, and run:

MEM /C/P

again, to see if you gained any more free upper or/and conventional memory.

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9-15-95 Win3.1x/9x/ME Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE, and in MYTIPS31.TXT, part of W31-11D.ZIP:

DATE/TIME FUN


Did you know that you can change the Windows date and time display format to your liking? The Control Panel Regional Settings Date/Time won't let you mess around with those settings too much (you're limited to a certain number of characters and symbols), so you'll have to hack a little.
It's very easy, as almost anything goes. Let me explain. Just open your WIN.INI file (found in your Windows directory) with Notepad or a better plain text/ASCII editor [free(ware)].
But first, back it up before modifying it, just to be on the safe side. ;-/
And now, back to the business at hand: in WIN.INI, scroll down to the [intl] section (stands for "International"). It looks something like this:

[intl]
iCountry=1
ICurrDigits=2
iCurrency=0
iDate=0
iDigits=2
iLZero=1
iMeasure=1
iNegCurr=0
iTime=1
iTLZero=0
s1159=AM
s2359=PM
sCountry=United States
sCurrency=$
sDate=/
sDecimal=.
sLanguage=enu
sList=,
sLongDate=dddd, MMMM dd, yyyy
sShortDate=MM/dd/yy
sThousand=,
sTime=:

And now for the fun changes. As you can see, the "iTime=" line has a value of 1 on my machine. Win95/98 assigns it a value of 0 by default.
It actually changes the looks of the time display in Explorer, File Manager, Status Bar, and in whatever application/utility shows the date and the time.
When it is 0, the time looks like this: 12:00:00AM (don't you hate somebody telling you it's 12, midnight?) I do, so with the value of 1, the date looks like this: 00:00:00AM (we're doing better already..., just read on).
The line "iDate=" has 1 as default value. That means the date looks like this: 1/1/96. I don't like this look, so I changed it to 0. Now it looks like this: 01/01/96.
Also, the date and time separators, the "sDate=" and respectively "sTime=" lines, can be changed to use most any punctuation and/or symbol crosses your mind.
I personally tried these: / (default separator for the date), -, =, +, \, |, : (default separator for the time), ;, ~, `, ', ", @, #, $, %, ^, &, *, (, ), [, ], {, }, _, and even the . (period), and the , (comma).
You decide which ones you like best for your own date/"time machine".
You can also change the way the date shows the order: month/day/year, or a bit bizarre: year/month/day, etc. Just modify the "sShortDate=" line to the way you see today's date.
Same principle applies to the way the long date shows: the sLongDate=" line (capital M on this line means the name of the month is going to begin with a capital letter).
You can find infinite combinations, to make the date/time look good on your screen, so... Make my day... :-)

But this can also be done by hacking the Registry. Run Regedit and go to:

HKEY_USERS\.Default\Control Panel\International

Example: add/modify these String values (don't type the quotes): "sShortDate", "sDate", "sTimeFormat", "iTime". Then (double-)click on each of them and type in the characters below (these examples are the ones I use) to customize your date/time "looks" (don't type the quotes):

"sShortDate"="M·d·yy"
"sDate"="·"
"sTimeFormat"="H:m:s tt"
"iTime"="1"

Have fun.

UPDATE: "In all versions of Windows 9x/ME I have been able to alter these settings by highlighting the required white box and retyping the appropriate settings (if the box is grey you are unable to alter it).
You may have a small drop-down menu to choose from, but you are still able to alter at your will. Examples of "Time style" entry:

h:mm:sstt       8:21am
HH:mm:ss        08:21
hh:mm:ss tt     08:21 am

You can also alter the "Time separator", "AM symbol" and "PM symbol" in a similar fashion. The same applies to the Date settings."
[Thank you Brian!]

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8-28-95 Win3.1x/9x/ME Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE, and in MYTIPS31.TXT, part of W31-11D.ZIP:

LOCALLOADHIGH


For maximum DOS memory in a DOS session/box/window under Windows 3.1x/9x/ME, add/modify this line to read:

LocalLoadHigh=1

under the [386Enh] section of your SYSTEM.INI file, found in your Windows directory/folder. This will give you an extra 2-12 KB (or more, depending on your system configuration) of conventional (low) memory (RAM) in DOS sessions.
This setting determines the way Windows uses the Upper Memory Blocks (UMBs) in a DOS session. Valid values are disabled (0, off, no, false) or enabled (1, on, yes, true). Any of these values are recognized. Default is disabled, equivalent to this SYSTEM.INI line:

LocalLoadHigh=0

If this line is absent (default), Windows uses the entire Upper Memory Area (UMA) available, leaving no extra UMBs for DOS sessions running in protected mode, each in its own Virtual Machine (VM).
If this entry is enabled, Windows does not use the entire UMA, thus making UMBs available to each VM (DOS session).
If you load your DOS mode TSRs/drivers/devices high (in upper memory) in your CONFIG.SYS and/or AUTOEXEC.BAT files (using "DEVICEHIGH" and "LOADHIGH" respectively, enabled by the HIMEM.SYS and EMM386.EXE memory managers "combo" in your CONFIG.SYS), and have a memory configuration (on bootup, before launching Windows) of less than 16 KB of free upper RAM (the Upper Memory Area is the first 384 KB of memory above the 640 KB boundary), make sure to remove, or better, remark the following line with a semicolon (;), in the [386enh] section of your SYSTEM.INI file:

; LocalLoadHigh=1

CAUTION: If this line is enabled, you may NOT be able to start Windows with less than 16 KB of free upper memory on certain system configurations!

On some systems, you might find necessary to add/modify the following line under the [386enh] section of your SYSTEM.INI file to read:

EMMExclude=A000-FFFF

to provide better compatibility with 3rd party memory managers (i.e. QEMM, NetRoom, 386MAX, UMBPCI.SYS etc) or TSRs (Terminate and Stay Resident programs) loaded in your startup files (CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT).
Also, you might want to remove all the WIN= switches from the EMM386.EXE line in your CONFIG.SYS file (located in the root directory of your boot drive, usually C:\). Example of EMM386.EXE line with two WIN= switches:

DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\EMM386.EXE WIN=EE00-EFFF WIN=E000-ECFF I=B000-B7FF RAM AUTO

Remark the entire EMM386.EXE DEVICE line (put REM or a semicolon in front of it), and copy it as the next new line, but this time delete the WIN= switches. Open CONFIG.SYS with Notepad in Windows or EDIT.COM in DOS (the MS-DOS text/ASCII editor), whichever you're comfortable with.

NOTE: You need to restart Windows every time after making ANY changes to your SYSTEM.INI.

... And don't forget to BACKUP YOUR SYSTEM.INI BEFORE MAKING ANY CHANGES!

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8-30-95 Win9x Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:

MS-DOS PROMPT


To go to the ol' MS-DOS command prompt screen from Win95/98 (which is so well hidden by Microsoft under Windows GUI interface), there are 3 ways:

  1. Click Start Programs MS-DOS prompt icon to start a DOS prompt session inside Win95/98. Type EXIT and press Enter when done in DOS to return to the Win95/98 interface.
    To remind yourself that you are running a full screen DOS session from within Windows, add/modify these lines in your AUTOEXEC.BAT to read (example):

    SET PROMPT=MS-DOS Mode!$_$P$G
    SET WINPMT=Type EXIT & hit ENTER 2 return 2 Windows!$_$P$G

    The SET WINPMT= statement line is what you'll see as prompt during your DOS session (Windows DOS box), and you won't forget to go back to Windows when you're done working/playing in DOS.

  2. To go to the native/real/true/pure DOS (version 7.xx, called MS-DOS mode, which is actually the 16-bit OS layer underneath Windows 95/98), click Start, Shut Down, choose "Restart the computer in MS-DOS mode", and click Yes.
    Your PC will perform a warm reboot, if you don't hold down the Shift key (and if no modifications are made to your MSDOS.SYS file), loading the DOS real-mode 16 bit drivers specified in DOSSTART.BAT, located in your Windows folder (Win95/98 renames it to AUTOEXEC.BAT for that MS-DOS session).

  3. To boot to DOS with different configurations, if you need to run specific (weird) DOS programs/games that require large amounts of memory or special video modes (VGA, SVGA), and won't run (or will lock up) if started from a DOS session/box, make separate shortcuts on the desktop (or create a new DOS Games folder to include your MS-DOS prompt icons), and give them specific names (similar to your DOS programs/games). Then right-click on each one of them and select Properties to create custom CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files to load your DOS real mode drivers/TSRs necessary for each application/game. Now you can reboot with each different PIF file settings.
    When you set up a Program Information File (PIF) to run an MS-DOS program in MS-DOS mode, you can select the "Specify a new MS-DOS configuration" option.
    If you select this option, you can create specific CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files to be used when you run that MS-DOS based program.
    When you run a program this way from Win95/98, the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files in your boot drive's root directory are renamed to CONFIG.WOS and AUTOEXEC.WOS, and the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files specified in the PIF settings are copied to the root directory. The only difference is that a new entry "DOS=SINGLE" is added to the top of the new CONFIG.SYS specified by the PIF to cause Win95/98 to start ONLY in MS-DOS mode. You can go back to Win95/98's GUI when you're done in MS-DOS by typing EXIT and pressing Enter, which performs a warm reboot.
    When you quit the MS-DOS based program properly, the PIF-specific CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files in the root directory are replaced again by your original files (the OS renames the .WOS files back to AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS respectively).
    If your computer locks up, you turn it off, or restart it while it is running in "single" MS-DOS mode, the PIF-specific CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files are retained in the root directory, and the computer restarts in MS-DOS mode again, without letting you return to the Win95/98 GUI. If this happens, remark the DOS=SINGLE line at the beginning of the CONFIG.SYS with a semicolon (;). Then reboot, and now you can return to Win95/98's GUI.

Did I mention? :) BACKUP YOUR FILES BEFORE MAKING ANY CHANGES!

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10-9-97 Win9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003 Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:

ANYTHING GOES


In Windows 9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7 you can use any icon file (.ICO format) as mouse cursor (a.k.a. pointer).
Open Control Panel (double-)click Mouse browse through your .ICO files folders (choose "All files" from the browser menu) pick your favorite icon file make it your default mouse pointer click OK, and you'll see your mouse pointer change to that icon instantly. :)
You can repeat this operation with any/all your mouse pointers.
If you are using a dedicated graphic/icon editor/viewer [see "Windows 9x/NT/2000/ME/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7 Graphics Editors", also in SOFTWARE.TXT (part of W95-11D.EXE), for freeware examples], you can create, edit, convert a .BMP file to the .ICO format (or the other way around). You can even decrease the size of a full screen bitmap (.BMP you created or scanned) to 64x64 pixels and 256 colors, convert it to icon format (.ICO), and then make it your default static mouse pointer.
Free online image converters.

The same principle applies to shortcut/link icons. To change a shortcut icon: right-click on a shortcut (.LNK, .URL or .PIF) file click Properties click Change Icon browse to your drive/partition and folder containing your image/icon/cursor files (with "All files" choice highlighted or by typing in the "File name:" box and then pressing Enter) (double-)click on any .BMP (Windows BitMaP), .RLE (Run Length Encoded), .CUR (static mouse CURsor), .ANI (ANImated mouse cursor), .ICO (standalone ICOn) or icon library/executable (.CPL, .DLL, .EXE, .OCX, .ICL etc) file click OK twice.
More info @ MSKB.

To change permanently a file type icon, open Windows Explorer: click View Options File Types highlight the desired file type click Edit click Change Icon browse through your folders with the "All files" choice highlighted, until you find a(n) bitmap/icon/cursor to your liking click all Apply/OK/Yes buttons until all dialog boxes are closed.

TIP: Download my Windows Icons archive (in DLL, ICL + ICO formats, 32x32 pixels, 16 colors, ZIPped freeware), to use as custom shortcut/link/folder icons or/and as custom static mouse pointers.

NOTE: Compressed icon libraries/executables (.CPL, .DLL, .ICL, .EXE, .OCX etc) canNOT be used as mouse pointers! :(

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10-19-97 Win9x/ME Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:

UNATTENDED DEFRAG/SCANDISK


To have Defrag run unattended every time you start Win9x/ME, create a shortcut for Defrag with this command line and place it in your Startup folder:

%windir%\DEFRAG.EXE /ALL /F /NOPROMPT

Meaning: defragments ALL your hard (and RAM) drives, performs full and unconditional defragmentation and exits automatically upon completion, without prompting you for confirmation.
Same goes for Win9x/ME's ScanDisk: to run Scandskw unattended, type this in a shortcut command line box (and optionally place it in your \Startup folder, to have Scandskw run every time you start Win9x/ME):

%windir%\SCANDSKW.EXE /A /N

to scan ALL your hard (and RAM) drives, performing a standard scan (no surface scan) and to exit upon completion, without confirmation prompt.
If you purchased the Microsoft Plus! Package for Windows 95, or if you have Win98/ME, you can achieve all of the above by scheduling System Agent (Task Scheduler) to do periodic unattended "runs" on all your (hard) drives using the above Scandskw and Defrag switches.

WARNING: System Agent (Task Scheduler) puts a significant drain on your system resources when enabled!

Windows 9x/ME Disk Defragmenter switches are displayed when you run:

DEFRAG /?

from the native MS-DOS prompt:

"DEFRAG [drive: | /all] [/F | /U | /Q] [/noprompt] [/concise | /detailed]
drive:     Drive letter of the disk to be optimized
/ALL       Defragment all local, nonremovable drives
/F         Defragment files and free space
/U         Defragment files only
/Q         Defragment free space only
/CONCISE   Display the Hide Details view (default)
/DETAILED  Display the Show Details view
/NOPROMPT  Unattended mode: do not stop to display confirmation messages."

Below are the Win9x/ME Disk Scanner parameters, shown when you exit Windows to the real MS-DOS prompt, and run:

SCANDISK /?

"Runs the ScanDisk disk-repair program. To check and repair a drive, use the
following syntax:
   SCANDISK [drive: | /ALL] [/CHECKONLY | /AUTOFIX [/NOSAVE]] [/SURFACE]
To check and repair an unmounted DriveSpace compressed volume file, use:
   SCANDISK drive:\DRVSPACE.nnn [/CHECKONLY | /AUTOFIX[/NOSAVE]]
To examine a file for fragmentation, use the following syntax:
   SCANDISK /FRAGMENT [drive:][path]filename
To undo repairs you made previously, use the following syntax:
   SCANDISK /UNDO [drive:]
For [drive:], specify the drive containing your Undo disk.
/ALL         Checks and repairs all local drives.
/AUTOFIX     Fixes damage without prompting.
/CHECKONLY   Checks a drive, but does not repair any damage.
/CUSTOM      Configures and runs ScanDisk according to SCANDISK.INI settings.
/NOSAVE      With /AUTOFIX, deletes lost clusters rather than saving as files.
/NOSUMMARY   With /CHECKONLY or /AUTOFIX, prevents ScanDisk from stopping at
             summary screens.
/SURFACE     Performs a surface scan after other checks.
/MONO        Configures ScanDisk for use with a monochrome display.
To check and repair the current drive, type SCANDISK without parameters."

WARNING: There is A DANGEROUS UNDOCUMENTED SCANDSKW SWITCH (Win9x/ME GUI mode only) to be avoided by •ALL MEANS• !!! Here it is:
SCANDSKW /O
/O = The letter O (ou), NOT zero (0) DELETES ALL Long File Name (LFNs) references, with NO WAY of restoring them !!!

See also "SCANDSKW HIDDEN SWITCHES", also in MYTIPS95.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE].

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10-19-97 Win9x/ME ©Trick in TIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:

MINSPS


At some point in your computing life, while working in Windows 9x/ME, you may receive the following message:

"There are no spare stack pages. It may be necessary to increase the setting of 'MinSPs' in SYSTEM.INI to prevent possible stack faults.
There are x currently SPs allocated.
"

NOTE: This has nothing to do with the DOS mode CONFIG.SYS "STACKS=" setting!

Stack overflow indicates errors in [poorly written :(] drivers, and Win9x/ME sets aside 4 KB of RAM for each stack page used by drivers. But if a driver tries to use more than 1 page at a time, stack overflow occurs, in which case your computer may crash. If Windows can successfully "bypass" a stack overflow situation, it reclaims this memory and returns it back to the system.
To prevent such errors, add the following line under the [386enh] section of your SYSTEM.INI file, located in your Windows folder (example):

MinSPs=8

If after doing this you still get those error messages, try increasing the MinSPs number using multiples of 2: 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 etc.
Each stack page requires 4 KB of memory. Default MinSPs value is 2.
To do this edit SYSTEM.INI with Notepad or Sysedit.
Restart Windows when done for this change to take effect.

FYI: More info @ MSKB.

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10-17-97 Win9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7/8/2012 ©Trick in TIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:

WINKEY SHORTCUTS


All Windows 95, 98, NT 4.0, ME, 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, 2008 + 7, 8, 8.1 + 2012 releases come with built-in support for Microsoft Natural/Internet/Multimedia Keyboards and similar 3rd party, independent of the keyboard port/interface [Keyboard (old, legacy), PS/2 (typical, legacy) or USB (new, digital)], using the Windows special (logo) keys, built into most 104-105 keys or more (including multimedia/internet/power ready) touch/digital keyboards.
Here is a list of useful WinKey WinKey (Windows logo keys) shortcuts ("hot combos").
Note that some may not be available, and/or some may take different actions, depending on specific Windows 32-bit/64-bit (Win32/Win64) OS builds and/or installed software:

WinKey = Open Start Menu
WinKey + D = Maximize (restore) or minimize all open windows or open Desktop menu [Win98/2000/ME/XP/2003 only]
WinKey + E = Start Windows Explorer
WinKey + F = Start Find Files/Folders dialog box
WinKey + G = Cycle through Gadgets (if any) [WinVista/2008/7 only]
WinKey + L = Start Welcome screen [WinXP + Fast User Switch XP Power Toy only] or Lockup Workstation [Win2000/XP/2003 only]
WinKey + M = Minimize or maximize (restore) all open windows
WinKey + P = Select presentation display mode [WinVista/2008/7 only]
WinKey + R = Start Run dialog box
WinKey + T = Cycle through and preview programs on Taskbar [WinVista/2008/7 only]
WinKey + F1 = Start Help Menu and Support Center [Win98/2000/ME/XP/2003 only]
WinKey + Tab = Cycle and select (press Enter) through all open apps/games Taskbar buttons
WinKey + Ctrl + Tab = Cycle through all open apps/games Taskbar buttons, Tray icons, Start Menu and Quick Launch toolbars (press Right or Left arrows to cycle through Toolbar and Tray items)
WinKey + Pause/Break = Start Systems Properties Control Panel applet
WinKey + Ctrl + F = Start Find Computer dialog box
WinKey + Shift + M = Undo Minimize (restore) all open windows
WinKey + L + Enter = Logoff Windows [Win98/ME only] or Lockup Workstation [Win2000/XP/2003 only]
WinKey + Q = Cycle and select (press Enter) through all users [Win2000/XP/2003 only] or Fast User Switch [WinXP + Fast User Switch XP Power Toy only]
WinKey + U = Start Utility Manager [Win2000/XP/2003 only] or Ease of Access Center [WinVista/2008/7 only]
WinKey + U + R + Enter = Restart Windows [Win95/98/ME only]
WinKey + U + S + Enter = Shut down Windows [Win95/98/ME only]
WinKey + X = Start Mobility Center [WinVista/2008/7 only]
WinKey + Number (1 to 5) = Start/switch to program pinned to Taskbar in Number (1 to 5) position [WinVista/2008/7 only]
WinKey + Shift + Number (1 to 5) = Starts new instance of program pinned to Taskbar in Number (1 to 5) position [WinVista/2008/7 only]
WinKey + Ctrl + Number (1 to 5) = Switch to last active window of program pinned to Taskbar in Number (1 to 5) position [WinVista/2008/7 only]
WinKey + Alt + Number (1 to 5) = Open Jump List of recently accessed items for program pinned to Taskbar in Number (1 to 5) position [WinVista/2008/7 only]
WinKey + Tab = Cycle through open programs using Aero Flip 3D [WinVista/2008/7 Premium/Professional/Business/Ultimate/Enterprise only]
WinKey + Ctrl + Tab + Left or Right Arrow = Cycle through open programs using Aero Flip 3D [WinVista/2008/7 Premium/Professional/Business/Ultimate/Enterprise only]
WinKey + Ctrl + B = Switch to program with notification message [WinVista/2008/7 only]
WinKey + hold Ctrl + Mouse click = Taskbar scroll through multiple windows of same icon [WinVista/2008/7 only]
WinKey + Up Arrow = Maximize window [WinVista/2008/7 only]
WinKey + Left Arrow = Dock active window to left half of screen [WinVista/2008/7 only]
WinKey + Right Arrow = Dock active window to right half of screen [WinVista/2008/7 only]
WinKey + Down Arrow = Minimize window [WinVista/2008/7 only]
WinKey + Shift + Up Arrow = Stretch window to top and bottom of screen [WinVista/2008/7 only]
WinKey + Shift + Left or Right Arrow = Move window from 1 monitor to another (if more than 1) [WinVista/2008/7 only]
WinKey + Home = Minimize all windows except active window [WinVista/2008/7 only]
WinKey + Space = Scroll down one page at a time (same as Page Down) in any web browser
WinKey + Back Space = Scroll up one page at a time (same as Page Up) in any web browser
Menu Key = Popup right-click context menu for selected item.

BONUS: ;) If you own a Microsoft Natural Keyboard or similar, and have installed Microsoft IntelliType Software, you can also do this:

WinKey + A = Start Accessibility Options Control Panel applet (if installed)
WinKey + C = Start Control Panel
WinKey + I = Start Mouse Properties Control Panel applet
WinKey + K = Start Keyboard Properties Control Panel applet
WinKey + L = Logoff Windows
WinKey + P = Start Print Manager
WinKey + S = Toggle Caps Lock ON or OFF
WinKey + V = Start Clipboard Viewer
WinKey + Space = Display Microsoft IntelliType shortcut keys list.

FYI:

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©1996-2014 MDGx (a.k.a. AXCEL216): Everything here is FREEware. Always ad(vertisment)s, cookies, tracking, malware + spyware free. I have created [August 1996], maintain and update these web pages entirely by hand using Programmer's File Editor [replaced Notepad].
I do not promote, speak in the behalf of, advertise or work for any computing, news or internet profit business. All ©copyrights and ®registered trademarks retain owners' property.

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