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WinDOwS Tricks - Part 14

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8-19-99 Win9x/OE5 Registry ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


This great OE5 Registry trick appears courtesy of Ojatex. Many thanks for sharing!

"Here's a Registry tip for users of Outlook Express v5 who use a non-default location to store their mail & news folders, particularly if that location is on a portable/removable disk. If Outlook Express is opened and the portable disk holding the mail & news folders is not mounted, Outlook Express will create a set of default [and empty] folders in the default location: C:\Windows\Application Data\Identities\{GUID}\Microsoft\Outlook Express, rather than notify the user that windows can't locate the users folders, which are correctly pathed in the Registry under this Key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\{GUID}\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\5.0

The tip-off that all is not well is finding the sole mail message in the new Inbox folder is the default "Welcome to Outlook Express" message. At this point it is wise for the user to close Outlook Express without downloading/sending any messages to avoid splitting their data between two sets of folders. The simple fix is to remount the portable disk containing the users mail/news folders and go to:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\{GUID}\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\5.0

in order to repath the default location of the Store Root string from C:\Windows\Application Data\Identities\{GUID}\Microsoft\Outlook Express to the physical location which can be something like F:\Windows\Application Data\Identities\{GUID}\Microsoft\Outlook Express, where F is the drive letter where the user's mail/news folders are located. Also the user should delete the newly created "dbx" folders in C:\Windows\Application Data\Identities\{GUID}\Microsoft\Outlook Express."

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8-19-99 Win9x ©Trick in TIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


Just "another" [:)] tip from Ojatex. Thanks a lot, good friend!

"The TraySaver [freeware] program that you recommended, I have passed on to others who suffer similar suicidal "explorer.exe" problems.
Most of them have had good results; some thought upgrading to Win98 SE was going to help, but found "explorer.exe" exhibit the same self-destruct behavior.
Here are a couple of instances when TraySaver users should actively kill "explorer.exe" before the latter does itself in:
  1. If left clicking on a Desktop or File Icon brings up the Properties Menu rather than opening the program/file.
  2. If, when left clicking on a Desktop or File Icon, the previous item selected is not released [i.e. deselected].

How to safely kill the current running instance of "explorer.exe": [Only if TraySaver is open!]
  1. Using Ctrl+Alt+Del, highlight "explorer.exe" and select END TASK.
  2. After a new Explorer.exe is created, you may have two instances of TraySaver running. Use Ctrl+Alt+Del to close one instance and leave one running.

The 3-finger salute has also been found to be an effective workaround to the Win98 SE shutdown problems on some systems. To use this shutdown method:
  1. Use Ctrl+Alt+Del to END TASK all running programs except explorer.exe.
  2. Use Ctrl+Alt+Del and select the ShutDown button with explorer.exe running.
  3. Often 1 & 2 above will bring up the "Windows is shuttting down" screen and proceed to the "It is Safe..." screen.
  4. Even if the "It is Safe..." screen does not appear, a hard shutdown can be performed from the Windows shutdown screen and subsequent bootups will be successful without the imposition of Scandisk or other problems."


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8-11-99 Win9x Original Registry ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


This FIX applies to ALL Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live! PCI sound board owners (Full, Value, OEM, Platinum, X-Gamer, MP3 etc) who installed the Live!Ware 2.0 Update and/or 2.1 Patch drivers/tools. If you already installed the newer Live!Ware 3.0 driver release you do NOT need this FIX! If you have installed Live!Ware 2.0/2.1 it is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED to upgrade to version 3.0 to avoid this BUG altogether!

This one has hit me unprepared [well, not quite :)], and it hit me hard. :(
Why? Because of a careless software vendor who didn't take in consideration a Windows 9x Registry limitation. Let me explain.


The BUG I'm refering to is that the MS Windows 9x Registry canNOT be recreated (compacted, reconstructed, shrunk, or whatever else you want to call it) from a .REG file in native/real/true/pure MS-DOS mode, by running either REGEDIT.EXE (all Win9x releases) or SCANREG.EXE (all Win98 releases), IF (and this is where the big WARNING comes in) ANY of the 6 main Registry keys (hives = HKEY) are too large to fit in memory, by containing too many subkeys! [Thank you Nomad for your thorough investigation!]
See the "Registry Structure" topic, also as Intro chapter in REGISTRY.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE], for details, and read these MSKB articles to learn about the REGEDIT recreation/import BUG:

In such cases the Registry recreation will FAIL, or the newly created Registry will become CORRUPTED, and Windows 9x will NOT start, will lock up or will keep rebooting the computer!
And the ONLY solution is to restore the Registry from the most recent backup to be able to get back into Windows!
These are the necessary command lines for recreating the Registry from a saved .REG file (I called mine SAVEDREG.REG), ONLY from native MS-DOS (examples):

Read these topics for more details: "SHRINK THE REGISTRY!", also in MYTIPS95.TXT, "REGISTRY BACKUP + RESTORE" [Intro chapter], also in REGISTRY.TXT + "SCANREGW, SCANREG + SCANREG.INI", also in TIPS98.TXT [all part of W95-11D.EXE].

But this is where my luck comes in... :) I ALWAYS BACKUP THE REGISTRY BEFORE MAKING ANY CHANGES TO MY SYSTEM! Otherwise I would still be locked out of the Windows 98 GUI. :(
This applies to ALL Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live! PCI sound card owners, and the BUG appears ONLY IF you upgraded to SB Live! Windows 95/98 drivers: Live!Ware 2.0 [28 MB!, free], and its newer "patch": Live!Ware 2.1 [1.9 MB, free].
The newest driver set, currently Live!Ware 3.0, does NOT exhibit this BUG!
The Setup routine included with 2.0/2.1 driver upgrades writes more than 190 (ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY!) new keys to the Registry, most of which deal with the surround sound presets for popular games, a new feature introduced beginning with the Live!Ware 1.2 driver release.
After installing these drivers, I've tried to "shrink" the Registry, which has grown to a whooping 12 MB in size (from 8 MB before installation). Guess what? The recreation process failed, no matter which method I used (see above), forcing me to restore the Registry from backups.
But this BUG hit me even harder when I installed Windows 98 SEU (Special Edition Updates) cd-rom. After Setup completed and rebooted my machine, Windows kept freezing at the blue screen of death (BSOD). Ouch! So I had to restore from backups once again! :(


The only solution I found is detailed below step by step:

  1. BACKUP your Registry: copy SYSTEM.DAT and USER.DAT to a safe location.

  2. Move the DEVCON32.DLL file from C:\Windows\System to a safe location, BEFORE installing Win98 SEU (or upgrading to any other newer Windows release) or BEFORE compacting your Registry. Otherwise the buggy "Devcon" key will be RECREATED the next time you start the Windows GUI!
    To move DEVCON32.DLL you need to boot to native MS-DOS FIRST: hold F8 (in Win95/OSR2) or Ctrl (in Win98/98 SE) at the bootup BIOS POST screen to bring up the Startup Menu select the "Command prompt only" option press Enter. Then run (example):


  3. Export the incriminated [read "BUGgy" :)] Registry key containing a ton of subkeys and values to a registration (.REG) file I called DEVCON.REG. To do this, run Regedit and go to:


    Highlight the key above click "Registry" from the menu select "Export Registry File" type a name in the "File name" field (DEVCON.REG in this case) Browse for a destination click the Save button.
    My DEVCON.REG is 11 MB in size, and the Registry was reduced from 12 MB to only 8 MB! Talk about "bloatware". :)

  4. Delete the "Devcon" key BEFORE installing Win98 SEU and/or shrinking your Registry: highlight it in Regedit hit Del press Enter or click Yes.

  5. Restart Windows.

  6. Install Win98 SEU.

  7. BACKUP your Registry: copy SYSTEM.DAT and USER.DAT to a safe location.

  8. OPTIONAL: if using "REGEDIT /C" (see above) to recreate your Registry, do this FIRST: save your entire Registry as a .REG file (I called it SAVEDREG.REG): run Regedit highlight "My computer" click "Registry" from the menu select "Export Registry File..." type SAVEDREG.REG in the "File name" field Browse for a destination click the Save button.

  9. Reboot to native MS-DOS: see paragraph #2 above.

  10. Compact your Registry using REGEDIT or SCANREG as described above.

  11. Type WIN and press Enter to start Windows.

  12. Move DEVCON32.DLL back to C:\Windows\System.

  13. Merge (register) the "Devcon" key you saved to DEVCON.REG back into your Registry: highlight DEVCON.REG in Explorer or File Manager (double-)click on it answer Yes/OK to the confirmation prompts.
    My "shrunk" Registry files (SYSTEM.DAT and USER.DAT) occupy now 10 MB.

  14. Restart Windows one more time.

End of story. :)


  1. "Holy $#@&. I think you just figured out why I (and many others according to DejaNews) are unable to upgrade to Win98 SE. Does this sound like what happened to you:

    1. You start the upgrade (from DOS or Windows) and all goes well...
    2. ... Until the reboot. Then you get a message (in DOS) that the Registry is corrupt.
    3. The DOS Scanreg "fixes" SYSTEM.DAT by emptying it altogether (new one is 16 KB).
    4. Win98 SE of course can't boot.
    5. If you try to reboot with the "unfixed" System.bad as your SYSTEM.DAT, you receive the BSOD complaining with several Vwin32 exception errors, followed by more exception errors in other DLLs.

    That's what happened to me, but only when I tried to upgrade my existing Win98 setup. I finally ended "manually" upgrading by overlaying a new 98 SE install over my existing Win98 and (painfully!) importing selected Registry keys from the fresh install.
    I still have a backup up of my original 98, so out of curiosity I'm gonna see if I can upgrade successfully after removing the Live! branch."
    This update courtesy of Stephen.

  2. This other SB Live! BUG fix comes from Mondak:

    "Here's what I did (running Win98 SE):

    1. Deleted the "Devcon" Registry key (mine was about 7 MB).
    2. When rebooted, SYSTEM.DAT was still the same size, almost 11 MB.
    3. Rebooted to DOS mode.
    4. Ran SCANREG /FIX.
    5. After that received message the Registry was successfully fixed.
    6. Rebooted into Win98 SE and checked SYSTEM.DAT size: was now about 5.5 MB.
    7. Went to Surround Mixer/w presets shown.
    8. Checked Environmental Audio, nothing there, so I imported just the items I wanted.
    9. All the other junk is gone, Registry size cut in half, and system resources jumped from 88% to 92%.

    This seems an easier way to accomplish the Registry cleanup.
    I didn't notice before doing this, but in the Surround Mixer there is a button to delete presets, which I suppose (?) should do the same as removing them from the Registry one at a time. After that you can do the SCANREG /FIX thing."

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8-11-99 Win9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003/IE Registry ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


This Registry hack works with ALL Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0x, 5.xx and 6.xx 32-bit releases for Windows 9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003. [Thank you Harry for sending the correct Registry key!]
First exit ALL MS IE instances.
Then open Regedit and go to (current user):

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings

or to (all users):

HKEY_USERS\.Default\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings

if you are the main or only user on this computer.
In the right hand pane you need to create these 2 DWORD [REG_DWORD] Values because they are not present by default [don't type the quotes though :)]:

Close the Registry Editor when done.
Now hook up to the internet, fire up MS IE and surf away.

CAUTION: Requesting too many connections at the same time can slow down your browser, even if you're surfing on broadband (Cable, xDSL or Satellite).

More info @ MSKB.

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8-11-99 Win3.xx/9x Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE, and in MYTIPS31.TXT, part of W31-11D.ZIP:


If you don't use any MS-DOS based applications or games from within a Windows/WfWG 3.xx/9x DOS box/session, and/or would like to prevent all other users that have access to your computer from running such programs for security reasons, take a look at these very simple ways of locking up all DOS sessions.

  1. Add this command as the last line of your AUTOEXEC.BAT file:

    C:\WINDOWS\WIN.COM %1 %2 %3>NUL

    if you prefer to start Windows from AUTOEXEC.BAT.
    In these examples I presumed you have Windows/WfWG installed in C:\Windows.

  2. To run all your batch file (.BAT) commands in "stealth" mode (invisible), by redirecting all standard on-screen messages from the display device (CON) to NUL, add this command as the first line (this is also recommended for AUTOEXEC.BAT):


    Then add this as the last line into your batch files (and in AUTOEXEC.BAT) to restore the output to the CONsole:


    This line is mandatory for making the MS-DOS prompt visible again, and this affects all DOS based programs that issue on-screen messages during operation.

  3. Create a DOS batch file using Notepad in Windows or EDIT.COM in DOS containing this single line:

    @C:\WINDOWS\WIN.COM %1 %2 %3>NUL

    call it WIN.BAT and place it in the root directory of your boot drive/partition, usually C:\ .
    For added security, you can write protect it (make it read-only), so casual users won't be able to modify it (but this won't stop advanced users who know their way around), by typing this command and pressing Enter from any DOS prompt:


    By running WIN.BAT, the entire screen (CONsole = display) output from WIN.COM will be redirected to the NUL device, which makes it invisible every time one tries to shell out to a DOS box/session/window, even full screen.
    It is known that a batch file with the name WIN.BAT is run BEFORE the Windows WIN.COM executable if such a file exists in C:\ root, which is valid for ALL MS-DOS executables: .COM and .EXE.

  4. For added protection you can use BAT2EXEC.COM DOS tool [34 KB, free], to convert any batch (.BAT) file to a .COM (binary) executable bearing the same name, for faster execution and/or to hide the purpose of your converted batch.
    Example: to convert WIN.BAT (see above) to WIN.COM, just run:


    from the same directory. Then place the new WIN.COM into C:\ root.

  5. Now modify the PATH line in your AUTOEXEC.BAT or CONFIG.SYS (the latter is a feature supported only by MS-DOS 6.00 and newer) to start with C:\; instead of C:\DOS; (MS-DOS 6.xx and Windows/WfWG 3.xx users) or C:\WINDOWS; (Windows 9x users). Note that you need to type a semicolon (;) at the end of EACH directory listed on your PATH line, so MS-DOS/MS Win9x can process it correctly. Examples of modified PATH lines in CONFIG.SYS:

    • Windows 9x [a.k.a. MS-DOS 7.xx]:


    • Windows/WfWG 3.xx [+ MS-DOS 6.xx]:

      SET PATH=C:\;C:\DOS;C:\WINDOWS;etc...

    Edit your startup files using Notepad in Windows or EDIT.COM in DOS. Save your work and reboot when done.
    From now on whenever one types WIN and hits Enter from the native MS-DOS this starts WIN.BAT from C:\ root, instead the Windows/WfWG 3.xx/9x executable (WIN.COM) located in C:\Windows (default).

    LIMITATION: DOS programs that use a graphical interface can still be run this way, ONLY IF one knows the executable filename and its location. Therefore keep such apps/games directories out of your PATH to minimize this risk.

  6. Moreover, you can make the entire DOS prompt disappear, both in native/real/true/pure MS-DOS mode and/or in Windows DOS boxes/sessions.
    For this you need to start by adding a line to your CONFIG.SYS for the ANSI console device driver, included with all MS-DOS and Windows releases beginning with MS-DOS 5.0 and Windows 3.0 (example):

    • Windows 9x users:


    • MS-DOS 6.xx users:


    I presumed that you want to load ANSI.SYS in Upper Memory Area (UMA) in order to preserve conventional RAM for other DOS programs/games (if using any). This is possible only by loading a memory manager like EMM386.EXE, QEMM, NetRoom, 386MAX, UMBPCI.SYS etc in your CONFIG.SYS file. All DEVICE, DEVICEHIGH, INSTALL and/or INSTALLHIGH lines (if any) MUST follow the memory manager line(s) in CONFIG.SYS for proper operation.
    In this example MS EMM386 provides upper and expanded memory:

    • For Windows 9x:


    • For MS-DOS 6.xx:


    Change the path if different on your computer.
    Now add/modify your SET PROMPT= and SET WINPMT= lines in AUTOEXEC.BAT or CONFIG.SYS (the latter supports SET <VARIABLE> commands only in MS-DOS 6.00 and newer) to read something like this (example):

    SET PROMPT=Real MS-DOS mode!$_$P$G
    SET WINPMT=Windows DOS box!$_$P$G

    The first line is what you'll see as prompt message at the plain native/real/true/pure MS-DOS mode, and the second takes care of the Windows DOS session/box prompt.
    This is possible by using the ANSI.SYS ACSII escape sequencies to force the background (screen) color to black (30) and the foreground (text) color also to black (40), thus making all text output unreadable.
    The Esc character () can be typed only in EDIT.COM, because Notepad does not support extended ASCII characters: hold down the Ctrl key and then tap simultaneously P and Esc until you see a left arrow.
    Save your work and reboot when done so the new prompts can take effect.

  7. Windows 9x ONLY: read "SYSTEM RESTRICTIONS", also in REGISTRY.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE], to learn how to modify the "Disabled" and "NoRealMode" DWORD values under the Policies "WinOldApp" Registry subkey, to disable completely ALL MS-DOS Prompt modes/sessions (and more).

  8. Windows/WfWG 3.xx ONLY: read "RESTRICT ACCESS" in MYTIPS31.TXT [part of W31-11D.ZIP], to learn how to modify your PROGMAN.INI settings to disable completely ALL MS-DOS Prompt modes/sessions (and more).

Voila. :)

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8-5-99 Win9x/IE Registry ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


Courtesy of Jorma.

"Automatic MS IE cache clear:

Make sure Internet Explorer (IE) is not running.
Run Regedit and go to:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\Cache

(Double-)click on the "Persistent" value in the right hand pane, and:Click OK.


These entries look like this on the Regedit screen:

  1. MS IE 3.0x and 4.0x [DWORD]:

    "Persistent"=0x00000000 (0)


    "Persistent"=0x00000001 (1)

  2. MS IE 5.0x and 6.xx [Binary]:

    "Persistent"=00 00 00 00


    "Persistent"=01 00 00 00

And this is how they appear in a .REG file:

  1. MS IE 3.0x and 4.0x [DWORD]:




  2. MS IE 5.0x and 6.xx [Binary]:




NOTE: If your IE cache folders contain lots of files, it may take a while to delete them all upon exit, depending on your CPU and hard disk speed.

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8-5-99 Win9x ©Trick in TIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


This is 1 cool tip! Way to go Captain:

"Often, Windows 95 machines that are logged onto a Windows NT based network must have the Browse Master option disabled or they may conflict with the Windows NT machine over which of the two will be the Browse Master. In Windows 95, the Browse Master's default setting is "Automatic". To work around this problem, open Network Properties, select "File and printer sharing for Microsoft Networks," then click the "Properties" box, select "Browse Master", select "Disabled" from the menu to the right, and click "OK" twice. You must reboot for the changes to become effective.
Windows 98/98 SE machines usually do not suffer from this problem, but if they do, applying same steps may help.

If your Windows 95 and/or Windows 98/98 SE machines have problems seeing one another on a peer-to-peer network then you should do the following:

  1. Ensure that both machines have the same networking protocols installed in "Network Neighborhood" (renamed "My Network Places" in Windows 2000). Windows 95 and Windows 98 install different protocols by default. I recommend using Microsoft TCP/IP and Microsoft IPX/SPX compatible protocols.
    Windows 98 Second Edition (SE) requires TCP/IP to be installed on all machines if utilizing the new Internet Connection Sharing [ICS] feature. ICS should only be installed on one computer if you use it. The IPX/SPX protocol is required to play most multiplayer network-enabled games. Only install the protocols you need to reduce traffic on the network and speed it up. Remove any unnecessary protocols.

  2. If using Win95/98 and WinNT Workstation 4.0 on a peer-to-peer network, you should install TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, and enable NetBIOS over IPX as well. This will allow Win95/98 and WinNT machines to see one another over the network.

  3. Disable the Browse Master in Windows 95 and enable it in Windows 98. Do not set it to "Automatic" in either. If you have multiple Windows 98 machines then only one should be the Browse Master. Disable the Browse Master on the other machines on the network. Keep in mind that the Browse Master machine must be turned on and connected to the network for any of the other machines to see one another.

  4. If you are using a Windows NT 4.0 Server then you should disable the Browse Master in all the Windows 95 and Windows 98 machines.
    Remember - all machines must have at least one common protocol in order to communicate over the network. You must share drives, folders, files, and/or other devices [such as printers etc] in order to see them from any other networked machine.

  5. To grant all Win95/98 machines access to the WinNT Workstation computer(s), open Windows NT Workstation's User Manager program and simply add an account for the user, which is identical to their Win9x user name. For example, my Win98 SE user name is Captain - so on Windows NT Workstation, in User Manager, I added a user named Captain [caps matter] and assigned Full Control as the user rights. Now I can easily access the Windows NT Workstation machine from my Windows 98 SE computer and manipulate files and folders etc.

  6. All computers on the same network should be setup with the IP address of this range [on the Network card, not the Dial-Up Adapter]:

    Substitute whatever you want for the xxx value, just be sure that no two machines have the same number listed."

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7-27-99 Win9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003 Registry ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


This works with all Windows 95/98/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7/2012/8/8.1/2012 R2/10 releases.
To prevent a drive or any combination of drives from appearing in My Computer, Windows Explorer and/or Internet Explorer, for security purposes in a multiuser environment, if you own the computer or have Administrator privileges, add/modify the "NoDrives" (don't type the quotation marks) Binary [REG_BINARY] hex or DWORD [REG_DWORD] value under this Registry key, using Regedit:


Give it a value from the list below to hide the individual drive(s) of your choice (don't type the spaces for Binary):

 Drive Letter  Binary Value  DWORD Value  Decimal Value 
00 00 00 00
01 00 00 00
02 00 00 00
04 00 00 00
08 00 00 00
10 00 00 00
20 00 00 00
40 00 00 00
80 00 00 00
00 01 00 00
00 02 00 00
00 04 00 00
00 08 00 00
00 10 00 00
00 20 00 00
00 40 00 00
00 80 00 00
00 00 01 00
00 00 02 00
00 00 04 00
00 00 08 00
00 00 10 00
00 00 20 00
00 00 40 00
00 00 80 00
00 00 00 01
00 00 00 02
ff ff ff 03

Example: to hide drives D, E, Y and Z give "NoDrives" this Binary value:

18 00 00 03

Where: D + E = 18 and Y + Z = 03 (cumulative values).

NOTE: These numbers are in HEXadecimal. Example: to hide drives A, B, C and D, use 0F, NOT 15, when cumulating multiple drives.

Show all drives (A to Z) "NoDrives" Binary value:

00 00 00 00

Hide all drives (A to Z) "NoDrives" Binary value:

ff ff ff 03

These "NoDriveTypeAutoRun" Binary (hex) values disable AutoPlay/AutoRun on different drives by type:

 Binary Value  Drive Type 

More info @ MSKB.

You can also do this by using TweakUI, one of the Microsoft Power Toys for Windows 9x/NT4/2000/ME + MS IE 4/5/6 [110 KB, free, unsupported].
Open Control Panel TweakUI My Computer tab check to show or uncheck to hide the desired drive boxes click OK/Apply.
Windows default is to show ALL local and remote (network) drives: A to Z.

More info:

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7-27-99 Win3.xx/9x/NT/2000/ME ©Trick in TIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE, and in MYTIPS31.TXT, part of W31-11D.ZIP:


Have you ever had the "privilege" of "admiring" the dreaded BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death), one of Microsoft Windows' most "treasured features"? :)
Well, if you haven't you're VERY lucky!
But for those who have (and this might include YOU, one dark, cloudy day), here are a few pointers.
The "birth" of the BSOD goes way back, being introduced in the early days of Microsoft Windows 3.0 (and possibly even earlier). It has been "spotted" on ALL incarnations of Windows Environment/OS, including Windows/WfWG 3.xx, Windows 9x, ME, NT, and even the newer Windows 2000 (formerly known as Windows NT 5.0) releases.
Whenever the BSOD pops up, it's baaaad news. :(
In most cases, returning to the Operating System (Windows GUI) is not possible ("fatal error"), and a reboot is the only way to "recover" your computer from an imminent disaster. Usually a classic "three-finger-salute" (Ctrl-Alt-Del) keypress "combo" (a.k.a. "warm reboot") will save the day, but sometimes a "cold reboot" (hitting your computer's Reset button) is required.
In the few cases the BSOD indicates a "non-fatal error", you MAY be able to return to the Windows GUI, but those situations are considered "rara avis" nowadays. :(
"Lucky" Windows/WfWG 3.xx users can bring up the BSOD "at will" by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del simultaneously.
Windows 9x/NT/2000/ME users don't have this "privilege", being able to "enjoy" the BSOD only if certain system conflicts/errors occur... Or try this one, if you really, REALLY want to see how the BSOD looks like on your shiny Windows 9x "speed demon":

  1. Pop in an empty formatted floppy into your A drive.
  2. Copy a non-essential file to disk A.
  3. Hit the floppy eject button while the LED is still on.
  4. Voila... here comes your "eagerly awaited" BSOD!
  5. Enjoy. :) [But do NOT complain if IF YOUR COMPUTER JUST CRASHED!]

This other "funny" BSOD pop up method was suggested by Michael:

"Edit the SYSTEM.INI file, located in your Windows directory. Under the [boot] section, change the line shell=explorer.exe to read shell= (leave it blank). Now, when you restart Windows, it will appear to load normally, then it will display the BSOD, saying some error has occurred and that "You MUST reinstall Windows". Of course, to fix it, just restore the old shell=explorer.exe line.
Though you will have to boot to MS-DOS to change it: press F8 at the Starting Windows 95 (98) screen. From the C:\> prompt, edit SYSTEM.INI using EDIT.COM by running:


Save the file, exit the editor, and then start Windows by running WIN."

Besides downloading and installing all the "latest" upgrades, patches, fixes, drivers etc... for your Windows version and particular hardware devices, there is not much you can do to avoid random system crashes (a.k.a. BSODs).
But there IS something else you can do: you CAN change the BSOD colors! ;-)
Sounds like fun? Then keep reading...
Open SYSTEM.INI (Windows SYSTEM INItialization file), a plain text file residing in your Windows directory, with Notepad or Sysedit (in Windows), or EDIT.COM (in DOS), and add/modify the following lines under the [386enh] section (example):


In this case BSOD will display bright red characters on a dark gray background. You can give them ANY value from the table below.
You need to restart Windows after making ANY changes to your SYSTEM.INI, so the new settings can take "charge".
Default BSOD colors are blue (1) for background and bright white (F) for foreground no matter the Windows version.
There are a total of 16 available colors: 0 to 9, followed by A to F (hexadecimal values), representing standard VGA color attributes:

0 = black
1 = blue
2 = green
3 = cyan
4 = red
5 = magenta
6 = yellow/brown
7 = white/bright gray
8 = gray/bright black
9 = bright blue
A = bright green
B = bright cyan
C = bright red
D = bright magenta
E = bright yellow
F = bright white

Colors 0 - 8 are usually used for background (screen color), and 9 - F for foreground (character color). You can use ANY color on this list for either background or foreground, BUT bright colors will show as dark colors if used on the background.


Have fun!

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7-27-99 Win9x/OE Registry ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


Perform the Registry edit below that applies to your MS OE version to disable the Microsoft Outlook Express startup splash screen (thanks a lot guys!), but exit OE first:

  1. MS OE v4.0 "no splash" tip was sent by Akmal Khamis:

    "Use Regedit to go to:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express

    Modify or create a new DWORD called "NoSplash" (no quotes) and give it a value of 1 in the Decimal box."

  2. MS OE v5.0 "no splash" tip was sent by Bo:

    "Open Regedit and go to:

    HKEY_USERS\.Default\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\5.0


    HKEY_USERS\Default\Your_User_ID\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\5.0


    HKEY_USERS\.Default\Identities\{6E709CC0-7461-11D3-9B66-861126026B25}\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\5.0

    Modify or create a new DWORD called "NoSplash" (no quotes) with a Decimal value of 1."

UPDATE: Check out these comprehensive OE User Tips pages.

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7-21-99 Win9x/ME Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


If your Windows 9x/ME system takes way too loooong to completely load the GUI (Graphical User Interface) upon bootup, even if you have a fairly new X86 CPU (300 MHz or faster), there are a few things you can do to cut down on that %$#&@ GUI loading time.
  1. Download the Boot Log Analyzer (BLA.EXE) tool [235 KB, freeware]. Boot Log Analyzer checks your BOOTLOG.TXT file found in C:\ root, times and reports about slow loading drivers, like .SYS, .386, .DLL, .DRV, .VXD etc. Just follow the guidelines in BLA.TXT to install it.

  2. Edit MSDOS.SYS (also located in C:\ root) using Notepad in Windows or EDIT.COM in DOS, and make sure you have these lines present under the [Options] section:


    The "BootMenu=1" switch allows the Microsoft Windows 95/98 Startup Menu to be displayed on your screen at boot time.
    The "BootMenuDefault=2" parameter tells the OS to boot with the 2nd option from the Startup Menu: "Logged (\BOOTLOG.TXT)".
    The "DisableLog=" entry is UNDOCUMENTED, and if its value is 0 (default), it enables the "boot-logged" Win9x/ME GUI startup (Windows creates a new, or updates an existing BOOTLOG.TXT file in C:\ root), for troubleshooting purposes.

    NOTE: To learn how to tweak all MSDOS.SYS parameters (even those UNDOCUMENTED) to optimize your Windows OS startup, read the "COMPLETE MSDOS.SYS REFERENCE", also in MYTIPS95.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE].

    First you need to "strip" MSDOS.SYS of its default Hidden, Read-only and System attributes, to be able to modify it.
    This can be done two ways:

    1. In Windows: open Explorer in the left hand pane click on the C:\ drive's root folder highlight MSDOS.SYS in the right hand pane right-click on it select Properties click on the General tab uncheck ALL "Attributes" boxes finally click OK/Apply.

    2. In DOS: run this command:


    I recommend using SYS95.BAT [also part of W95-11D.EXE], an optimized DOS batch file that allows you to perform all above operations in one swift move. SYS95.BAT opens MSDOS.SYS in Notepad (if running SYS95 from Windows GUI or DOS session) or EDIT.COM (if running SYS95 from native MS-DOS) for editing (after stripping it of its attributes), and after YOU modify the file and save your changes, it reenables its default attributes.

  3. Reboot your computer, and choose the "Step-by-step confirmation" option from the Windows 9x Startup Menu. Type Y for "Yes" to "Load all Windows drivers" when prompted. Now have your stop watch ready and start timing from the moment you press Y. Then stop the timer when the Win9x/ME "Working in Background" cursor stops spinning (if you are using an animated cursor, like I am), or until it is replaced for the last time by the default "Normal Select" cursor (if using static cursors).

  4. Open Boot Log Analyzer (BLA.EXE), and take a look at all the drivers that loaded successfully. Mark down the longest times (6-10 seconds and above).
    Possible "culprits" that you might not even need on your particular Win9x/ME system, and should consider removing, are (default locations used here):

    • C:\Windows\System\VNBT.386
    • C:\Windows\System\NDISWAN.VXD
    • other Networking (LAN, WAN, Novell, IBM etc) .386, .DLL, .DRV, .EXE or .VXD drivers/executables, ONLY IF you KNOW you are NOT connecting to or using such Networks!
    • C:\Windows\System\Iosubsys\DRVWPPQT.VXD
    • C:\Windows\System\Iosubsys\DRVWQ117.VXD

    The first 2 drivers on this list belong to the "Microsoft Virtual Private Networking Adapter" (VPN), which is NOT installed or used on my machine.

    AOLers: Beware that AOL 4.0/5.0/6.0/7.0 32-bit client for Windows 9x/ME ALWAYS installs (BUT DOES NOT USE!) the VPN component, which allows sharing [talk about privacy! :(] user information over the internet! Therefore I STRONGLY RECOMMEND, IF NOT using VPN, to delete the files above!

    Cable/xDSL modem users: Do NOT delete NDISWAN.VXD or ANY other Wide Area Network (WAN) related files or Registry entries! If you do, your broadband connection will STOP working!

    Boot Log Analyzer reported these 2 were EACH taking about 15-20 seconds to load! Geez... Talk about watching that spinning hour-glass! So I moved them "PRONTO" from C:\Windows\System to a backup file (.ZIP).

    Further more, Boot Log Analyzer reported a total loading time of 15 seconds for all the "TAPEDETECTION" sections (about 6 of them!) in my BOOTLOG.TXT. Since I don't use, or have any intention of getting a tape drive, I started a Registry search using the built-in Registry Editor (Regedit.exe, located in the Windows folder) for the TapeDetect string: click Edit select Find type the text string you want in the "Find what:" box (TapeDetect in this case).
    Then I deleted ALL references (Registry keys, subkeys and values) returned by the search (BUT I MADE A FULL REGISTRY BACKUP FIRST!), and also moved the two .VXDs (DRVWPPQT.VXD + DRVWQ117.VXD above) from C:\Windows\System\Iosubsys to the same .ZIP backup file.

    And there's more: if you [like me :)] never used or intend using MS Backup, a primitive file/folder backup/restore utility, which is actually a stripped-down version of the older Seagate Backup tool (licensed by Microsoft, and included with all Win9x/ME releases), I suggest deleting (AFTER MAKING BACKUPS FIRST!) also these files and folders from their default locations:

    • C:\Windows\System\Iosubsys\DRVWPPQT.VXD
    • C:\Windows\System\Iosubsys\DRVWQ117.VXD
    • C:\Windows\System\DRVWFFD.DLL
    • C:\Windows\System\DRVWCDB.VXD
    • C:\Windows\System\PNPWPROP.DLL
    • C:\Windows\Inf\PNPWPPT.INF
    • C:\Windows\Inf\PNPWFDC.INF
    • C:\Windows\Inf\PNPWIDE.INF
    • C:\Windows\Inf\PNPWTAPE.INF
    • C:\Program Files\Accessories\MSBackup

    and all their Registry references, by performing a Regedit search (see above) using file names [no extension] listed above as keywords.

  5. Finally, I rebooted one more time. Guess what? This way I managed to "shave off" almost an entire minute from the GUI loading time. Aha! Now we're talking!


... Do U feel the need 4 speed?! :)

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