MDGx MAX Speed WinDOwS
WinDOwS Tricks - Part 2

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5-25-98 Win3.1x/9x/ME Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE, and in MYTIPS31.TXT, part of W31-11D.ZIP:


STUBBORN CONTROL PANEL APPLET - Part 2


There is yet another way of getting rid of unwanted/obsolete Control Panel Applets (.CPL files), located in your C:\Windows\System folder.
FIRST: BACKUP your CONTROL.INI file, found in your Windows folder!
Now make sure your Control Panel is CLOSED, then open CONTROL.INI with Notepad, and scroll down to the [Don't load] section (or add it if it is not present).
You might find a few lines under this header, especially if you upgraded from the ol' Windows/WfWG 3.1x (example below shows my CONTROL.INI lines, inherited from my WfWG 3.11 days):

[Don't load]
snd.cpl=no
joystick.cpl=no
midimap.drv=no

This means that the old Win31 Sound Applet loads in WfWG's Control Panel (replacing "no" with "yes" on the "snd.cpl=" line, would disable it, preventing this applet/icon from showing).
The Win95/98/ME counterparts for the .CPL applets mentioned above are:

 Win95/98/ME  Windows/WfWG 3.1x 
 Mmsys.cpl Snd.cpl
 Joy.cpl Joystick.cpl

This way you can add/modify/delete/remark these lines to enable/disable ANY/ALL Control Panel Applets, without moving or deleting the actual files. Example:

[Don't load]
Desk.cpl=yes

This line disables the Display Properties, preventing it from appearing in the Control Panel. Therefore changing it to:

Desk.cpl=no

enables (shows) the Display Properties in Control Panel.
Note that you can replace "no" with "0", "off" or "false". Similarly, "yes" has the same effect as "1", "on" or "true" (but don't type the quotes).
Save your CONTROL.INI file and close Notepad when you're done. Changes take effect next time when you open Control Panel.
This feature is useful to block access to your system settings if someone else shares your PC, and you would like to keep your own customized Desktop, for security purposes.

NOTE: For a complete list of all Win9x/ME Control Panel Applets and what they do, see "STUBBORN CONTROL PANEL APPLET - Part 1", also in MYTIPS95.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE].

CAUTION: I have noticed on some Win95/OSR2 systems (especially with MS IE 4/5 installed), that ANY value/letter(s)/number(s) after the equal sign prevents an applet/icon from appearing in Control Panel!
So if you disabled a .CPL applet under the CONTROL.INI [Don't load] section, and you don't want to delete that particular line, just remark it with a semicolon (;). Example:

[Don't load]
; Desk.cpl=no

UPDATES:
  1. ".CPL files are automatically by default associated with:
    %WINDIR%\rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL %1,%*
    One may need to rename the:
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\cplfile\shell\cplopen
    Registry key to 'open'."
    [Thank you Yuri!]

  2. The TweakUI Power Toy [110 KB, free, unsupported] can also disable selected Control Panel applets from its Control Panel tab.

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2-4-98 Win9x/OSR2/IE4 ©Trick in TIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


START BUTTON ON THE MOVE


To move the Start button to another position on the Taskbar, follow these steps:

  1. Hold down the Ctrl key and press Esc. This brings up the Start menu.
  2. Press Esc to make the Start menu disappear, but to keep it selected.
  3. Press Alt + - + and M in this EXACT order: the Alt key, the Plus [+] key, the Minus [-] key, the Plus [+] key and then the M key.
  4. Press any of your 4 arrow keys: Up, Down, Right or Left.
  5. Left-click your mouse anywhere on your Taskbar. Poof! The Start button will suddenly move there.

In case you'd like to move it back to its original location, just left-click anywhere on your Taskbar once, or drag/resize the Taskbar. That's it.

NOTE: This trick might not work on some OSR2/Win98 systems, or/and if you installed MS Internet Explorer 4/5/6.

To make the Start button disappear, follow these steps:

  1. Left-click on the Start button twice to highlight it.
  2. Win95/OSR2 without MS IE 4/5 installed: press Alt and - in this EXACT order: the Alt key and then the Minus [-] key.
  3. Win95/OSR2 with MS IE 4/5 installed and Win98: press Alt and Space in this EXACT order: the Alt key and then the Space bar key.
  4. All Win95/98 versions: Select Close to make the Start button go away or to move it to the right.

NOTE: You'll have to restart Windows to make the Start button reappear. :(

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1-27-98 Win3.1x/9x/DOS Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE, and in MYTIPS31.TXT, part of W31-11D.ZIP:


OUTSMART SMARTDRIVE


Even now, in the "modern" Windows 95/98 days, it takes a long time to load the Windows 32-bit GUI, with all its (way too) many virtual drivers (VXDs), most of which are loaded by the Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) in real mode, before switching to virtual (protected) mode.
More info.
As you well know, Windows 95/98 32-bit Graphical User Interface (GUI) is still layered (loaded) on top of ol' MS-DOS command line based Operating System (16-bit OS). :(
So I found the solution to decrease Win95/98's loading time. [after all we DO want more speed! :)]
I simply load SMARTDRV in my AUTOEXEC.BAT, the MS-DOS mode disk cache.
SMARTDRV.EXE v5.0x is provided with MS-DOS 6.xx and with Win9x, found in your Windows 95/98 folder, or in your DOS directory if using MS-DOS 6.xx.
But the proper way to do this, AND saving memory the same time can be tricky!
You can customize the SMARTDRV line to your needs, to cache all your floppy, hard, AND cd/dvd drives in your system; though you need to include a line for MSCDEX in your AUTOEXEC.BAT BEFORE the SMARTDRV line, AND also load your DOS mode supplied cd/dvd driver from your CONFIG.SYS, if you want to have your cd/dvd available in native MS-DOS mode, AND to have it cached by Smartdrv. Example:

SMARTDRV 2048 16 A+ C+ D /N /Q

where A is the floppy drive, C is the hard drive, and D is the cd/dvd drive. Notice the absence of a plus sign after D, because cd/dvd drives are read-only. :)
I prefer the universal CD/DVD driver for DOS [XDVD2.SYS, free], because it is compatible with most internal IDE/ATAPI CD/DVD drives of ANY speed, and takes only 2.3 KB of upper memory.

NOTE: See "CD-ROM DRIVERS 4 DOS", also in MYTIPS95.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE], for complete details.

Alternatively you can load Smartdrv from CONFIG.SYS using INSTALLHIGH, AHEAD OF ALL OTHER INSTALL/INSTALLHIGH lines, if any (example):

INSTALLHIGH=C:\WINDOWS\SMARTDRV.EXE 2048 16 A+ C+ D /N /Q

to cache your other devices/TSRs that eventually load later in the sequence from your CONFIG.SYS, thus speeding up disk access.
In this case you need to specify the FULL path and the file extension (.EXE).
I suggest using the /N parameter with CAUTION! It allows the return to the MS-DOS command prompt BEFORE writing the entire data back to disk (before the completion of the previous DOS command), which may result in data loss, especially if a sudden power surge occurs!
The /Q switch (Quiet) tells Smartdrv not to display its status info while loading.
The first number (in this case 2048) sets the DOS mode cache size (also called "InitCacheSize") to 2048 KB (2 MB), and the second number (16), called "WinCacheSize", "shrinks" the cache size under Windows 3.1x/9x to 16 KB to preserve memory.
The minimum "WinCacheSize" valid value is said to be 128 KB (per Microsoft guidelines), but I found out that 16 KB is THE minimum accepted, if using SMARTDRV.EXE version 5.00 (included with MS-DOS 6.xx) up to 5.02 (bundled with Windows 9x). Windows 9x loads its own 32-bit disk cache, and if properly configured doesn't use Smartdrv anyway.
In the above example, the Smartdrv extended memory size (if Microsoft EMM386.EXE or a similar 3rd party memory manager is loaded in your CONFIG.SYS, and set to provide extended/expanded/upper memory, with the RAM switch) is 2048 KB.
Also, the default Smartdrv upper memory cache buffer is 16 KB. [kinda huge, huh...]
But you CAN decrease Smartdrv's upper memory read-ahead BUFFER size by using the /B:xxxxx switch. Example:

SMARTDRV 2048 16 A+ C+ D /N /Q /B:8192

which takes only 8 KB (8192 Bytes) of upper memory, not 16 KB as in the previous example (with no /B switch).
Another Smartdrv parameter you may want to adjust is the ELEMENT size (the /E:xxxxx switch). The default Smartdrv element size is 16384 Bytes (16 KB). Meaning that Smartdrv moves/copies a 16 KB "chunk" of data at a time. This may be enough for routine MS-DOS mode operations (copying/moving files around), but if you do frequent DOS disk maintenance tasks involving huge files, a 16 KB element might not be good enough. You can increase the element size to 32768 Bytes (32 KB).

NOTE: SmartDrive's BUFFER and ELEMENT sizes can be adjusted ONLY in 8 KB (8192 Bytes) increments, from a minimum value of 8 KB up to a maximum of 64 KB (65536 Bytes), and the ELEMENT size MUST be a multiple or at least equal to the BUFFER size!

And this is an example of fully optimized AUTOEXEC.BAT Smartdrv command:

SMARTDRV 2048 16 A+ C+ D /N /Q /B:8192 /E:32768

Now you're talking! This particular Smartdrv line takes only 22 KB of upper memory, and only 2 MB of extended memory, while improving disk performance!
To determine if your disk performance has REALLY increased after all this tweaking, keep in mind that SMARTDRV's cache "hit rate" must stay around 80-85% (ideal value), or at least 70%. To do this, start by running:

SMARTDRV /S

from the native MS-DOS prompt. You'll see a screen similar to this:

"Microsoft SMARTDrive Disk Cache version 5.02 Copyright 1991,1993 Microsoft Corp.

Room for 256 elements of 8,192 bytes each
There have been 2,150 cache hits
	and 350 cache misses

Cache size: 2,097,152 bytes
Cache size while running Windows: 16,384 bytes

		Disk Caching Status
drive     read cache    write cache     buffering
-------------------------------------------------
  A:      yes           yes             no
  C:      yes           yes             no
  D:      yes           no              no

Write behind data will not be committed before command prompt returns."

The Smartdrv settings shown here are the ones used in the example above.
Now calculate Smartdrv's effective cache "hit rate" using this formula:

CH : (CH + CM) x 100 = HR%

where:

By substituting these parameters with the real values above, you get:

2150 : (2150 + 350) x 100 = 86%

It is best to keep Smartdrv's hit rate between 70 and 85%.
If your hit rate is less than 70%, the cache isn't very effective, and you should increase the "InitCacheSize" number.
Beyond 85% typically means that you allocated SMARTDRV more RAM than it really needs. In this case, decrease the "InitCacheSize" number until your "hit rate" falls around 80-85%, and let other "memory hungry" programs use the extra RAM (i.e. Windows), especially if your computer has only 32 MB or less of installed memory.
If you prefer to determine your disk cache hit rate "the easy way" [:)], download one of these DOS utilities:

To view all SMARTDRV available parameters from any DOS prompt, run:

SMARTDRV /?

You'll get this screen:

"Installs and configures the SMARTDrive disk-caching utility.

SMARTDRV [/X] [[drive[+|-]]...] [/U] [/C | /R] [/F | /N] [/L] [/V | /Q | /S]
         [InitCacheSize [WinCacheSize]] [/E:ElementSize] [/B:BufferSize]

/X              Disables write-behind caching for all drives.
drive           Sets caching options on specific drive(s). The specified
                drive(s) will have write-caching disabled unless you add +.
+               Enables write-behind caching for the specified drive.
-               Disables all caching for the specified drive.
/U              Do not load CD-ROM caching module.
/C              Writes all information currently in write-cache to hard disk.
/R              Clears the cache and restarts SMARTDrive.
/F              Writes cached data before command prompt returns (default).
/N              Doesn't write cached data before command prompt returns.
/L              Prevents SMARTDrive from loading itself into upper memory.
/V              Displays SMARTDrive status messages when loading.
/Q              Does not display status information.
/S              Displays additional information about SMARTDrive's status.
InitCacheSize   Specifies XMS memory (KB) for the cache.
WinCacheSize    Specifies XMS memory (KB) for the cache with Windows.
/E:ElementSize  Specifies how many bytes of information to move at one time.
/B:BufferSize   Specifies the size of the read-ahead buffer."

Depending on how much memory (RAM) is installed in your system, you can further tweak the Smartdrv size to cache more (and larger) files. My Pentium II machine has 128 MB SDRAM, so I set Smartdrv's "InitCacheSize" to 8192 KB (8 MB), and the "WinCacheSize" to 16 KB (minimum allowed). This is my AUTOEXEC.BAT SMARTDRV line:

SMARTDRV 8192 16 A+ C+ D /N /Q /B:8192 /E:32768

There is no need to load Smartdrv with "LOADHIGH" ("LH" for short) in AUTOEXEC.BAT, since it is "smart" enough to find the optimum memory configuration upon loading, provided you have EMM386.EXE (or a similar upper memory manager) loaded in your CONFIG.SYS.
These are my OWN recommended optimum Smartdrv "InitCacheSize" values based on your installed RAM amount:

As a rule of thumb try to keep Smartdrv's "InitCacheSize" within 1/6 of your installed RAM, and at 1/8 if you have less than 32 MB.

REQUIRED ADDENDUM:

By loading ONLY the HIMEM.SYS device at startup (which can be further tweaked in your CONFIG.SYS file), your machine provides ONLY EXTENDED memory available to programs/residents, NOT upper or/and expanded!
To enable the use of UMBs (Upper Memory Blocks) and the Upper Memory Area (UMA) for loading devices/drivers/TSRs high, and/or EXPANDED memory (still needed by some older DOS programs), you need to add/tweak a CONFIG.SYS line for EMM386.EXE, the default Microsoft upper/expanded memory manager (comes with MS-DOS 6.xx and Win9x).
Below are EMM386.EXE alternative configurations to properly load Smartdrv in upper AND extended memory (and AVOID the use of CONVENTIONAL memory), you can further tweak to match your system needs:

  1. Example of EMM386 line in CONFIG.SYS to provide ONLY EXTENDED memory AND UMBs (Upper Memory Blocks) for loading devices/TSRs high:

    DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\EMM386.EXE NOEMS I=B000-B7FF D=256

  2. Example of EMM386 line in CONFIG.SYS to provide extended, EXPANDED memory and UMBs:

    DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\EMM386.EXE RAM I=B000-B7FF D=256 AUTO

    The expanded memory version above takes an extra 64 KB of UMA to load EMM386's Page Frame. The "AUTO" switch yields the use of expanded or extended memory to programs, as needed.

Windows 95/98 users: open the MSDOSDRV.TXT file with Notepad (located in your Windows folder) to see all available EMM386.EXE parameters.

MS-DOS 6.xx users: run:

HELP EMM386.EXE

from any DOS prompt, to see all available EMM386.EXE switches.

NOTE: Read also the related EMM386.EXE and SMARTDRV.EXE topics in MEMORY.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE], for more details.

Have a "smart" computing day!

FYI: Check out these Smartdrv related pages:

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3-30-99 Updated Win9x Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


FLOPPY (OR ANY OTHER DRIVE) ACCESS ANNOYANCE!
[UPDATED 3-30-99]


I'm sure you have noticed this at some point. Heck, I have received a lot of e-mail from frustrated users: a non-stop (annoying) floppy drive LED turned on for a minute or so, upon Windows startup. This means that your floppy drive is accessed at regular/random intervals for some obscure reason. [?!] But it doesn't stop here. Same thing also happens sometimes with your hard drive(s), or more likely with add-on/removable drives: external, cartridge, tape etc, as well.
Obscure till I figured it out... ;)
So far I could determine the following reasons that can lead to this "annoyance" (read "pain in the neck").

FYI: More info + tools:

Here we go...

  1. You have an AntiVirus tool installed (like McAfee VirusScan/WebScanX, or Norton AntiVirus etc), which is set to check/scan/detect your floppy/add-on drive(s) for viruses upon Windows startup/shut-down, and/or at preset regular intervals.

    WORKAROUNDS:

    1. FIRST SCAN and CLEAN ALL your drives (including removable) for potential VIRUSES!
      There have been reports the Neuville virus can also cause this!

    2. Just start your antivirus tool and disable the floppy (or other add-on drives) check/scan/detect option.

  2. At some point you have accessed/opened/worked with/saved files located on your floppy/add-on drive(s) with programs included with Windows, like Wordpad, Notepad, MS Paint, or with a huge number of commercial/retail/shareware Microsoft/3rd party apps/utilities.

    WORKAROUNDS:

    1. Consider NOT saving files to floppy/add-on drives (you might need to have to configure some of these apps to do so, read "behave").

    2. Remove ALL disks/diskettes from your floppy/add-on drive(s), and see if you get a pop-up (error) message at Win95/98 startup or whenever you run such a program. If you do, you need to select another target drive for saving files, reconfiguring the respective program.

  3. Every time you open ANY file associated with a program/executable in Win95/98, a link/shortcut to that document, zip, graphic, scrap, template etc file is created in the Recent Documents subfolder (C:\Windows\Recent usually). And your Recent subfolder contains ALL previously opened documents (the max limit is 15) IF its contents has not been purged lately!
    Example:
    Every time you open let's say a ZIP file (associated in Win95/98/NT with an zipping/unzipping tool, like Winzip 32-bit), a link to that ZIP file is created in the Recent documents folder.

    WORKAROUNDS:

    1. To clear ALL Recent documents, just right-click on the Taskbar (on an empty raised spot, NOT in the sunken area where the time is displayed).
      Select Properties, and click on the Start Menu Programs tab. Now click the Clear button. Voila! All your saved links to previously opened docs/files are gone.
      If this was the reason why your floppy/removable drive was being accessed, you won't have any problems from now on, ONLY IF you empty your Recent folder on a regular basis!
      You can also use the Microsoft TweakUI Power Toy [110 KB, free, unsupported] to delete the Recent folder contents automatically upon every Win9x startup.

    2. You can also do an "automatic cleaning" (my favorite) every time you boot up or shut-down Windows 95/98:

      1. Add a line to your AUTOEXEC.BAT file,
        or:
      2. If you start Win95/98 from a dedicated batch file (like I do), add this line there:

        ECHO Y | DEL %winbootdir%\RECENT\*.*

      3. A more radical approach, which can be achieved ONLY from outside the Windows GUI, in native/real/true/pure MS-DOS mode:

        DELTREE.EXE/Y %winbootdir%\RECENT

    A similar solution is described in "CLEAR DOCS & MORE...", also in REGISTRY.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE]. You can also use CLEAR.BAT [also part of W95-11D.EXE] in a Win95/98 DOS box for the same purpose.

  4. If you haven't disabled the "Floppy Seek" in your BIOS, your primary floppy drive is usually accessed every time upon bootup, even if you boot from your master hard disk (like most of us do these days).

    WORKAROUND:

    When you see the first CMOS POST (Power On Self Test) screen during boot, press Del, F1, or the appropriate key to access your BIOS Setup. Go into the "BIOS Features Setup" menu (title might be different depending on your motherboard/BIOS type/model), and disable the "Boot Up Floppy Seek" option (title might be different). Save your changes and reboot.

    WARNING: Certain boot sector viruses can "invade" your BIOS and render your PC "unbootable"! Therefore scan ALL your drives AND your computer's memory periodically, using your favorite Virus Scanner tool, especially after downloading files from untrusted Internet sites.

  5. Open your SYSTEM.INI file (located in the Windows folder) with Notepad or Sysedit. Scroll down to the [386enh] section, and look for the "device=filename.ext" lines listed there. The "device=" lines in SYSTEM.INI load Win95/98 specific protected mode device drivers or TSRs/programs, installed by the OS, and/or by software you are or WERE using. Some of these entries might be obsolete (especially if you uninstalled some of the programs that placed such lines in SYSTEM.INI).

    WORKAROUND:

    To isolate the possible "culprit", remark those device= lines one at a time, using a semicolon (;) in front of each line. Example:

    [386enh]
    ; device=vsbpd.386

    Now start a search for all these devices/files on ALL your drives, and then safely delete all "device=filename.ext" entries that don't point to actual files anymore (but BACKUP FIRST!).
    Reload Windows and see if that annoying floppy LED still goes on.

    IMPORTANT: Do NOT remark/delete ANY SYSTEM.INI "device=*" lines that have an asterisk (*) as the first character after the equal sign! These are Win95/98 virtual drivers, NOT real files, and they are needed for Windows 95/98 proper operation! Example:

    [386enh]
    device=*dynapage

  6. Open your WIN.INI file (found in your Windows folder) using Notepad. Look for the "load=" and the "run=" lines under the [windows] section. All programs/files listed there are Windows programs/residents that load/run at startup. Example:

    [windows]
    load=c:\windoz\wintsr c:\stuff\winstuff
    run=c:\myprogs\myprog.exe

    WORKAROUND:

    Remark one file at a time (by using a semicolon in front of the file name, and moving that file entry on a separate line), to prevent Windows from trying to load/run it at startup. Example:

    [windows]
    load=c:\windoz\wintsr
    ; c:\stuff\winstuff
    run=
    ; c:\myprogs/myprog.exe

    Restart Windows and see if the floppy drive is still accessed.
    Now start a search for all files listed on the "load="/"run=" lines, on ALL your drives, and then safely delete all "filename.ext" entries that don't point to existing files (but BACKUP FIRST!).

  7. It has been brought to my attention that there is another SYSTEM.INI line which can contain executables that automatically run when Windows loads.
    It is the "drivers=" line, found in the [boot] section of your SYSTEM.INI. This line looks usually like this:

    [boot]
    drivers=mmsystem.dll

    but it may also have other devices/drivers besides the Windows default "mmsystem.dll". All drivers (executables) on this line can have one of these file extensions: .DLL, .DRV, .386 or .VXD. No matter how many drivers are listed, they MUST ALL be on this same line, each separated by a space. Example:

    [boot]
    drivers=mmsystem.dll driver.vxd c:\stuff\weird.386

    Note that all files located in C:\Windows\System (default for your Windows System folder) don't need to have their path mentioned on SYSTEM.INI's "drivers" line.

    WORKAROUND:

    If your "drivers" line has other commands listed, beside "mmsystem.dll", proceed with the same steps as described at paragraph #5 (above), to disable (remark) them, one at a time. Restart Windows and notice any differences.

  8. Another place to look for loading programs is your Startup folder (default is C:\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup).

    WORKAROUND:

    Run Explorer, open your Startup folder, and determine which entries (shortcuts/links) are not valid anymore (actual files on your drives). Delete them (but BACKUP FIRST!).

  9. Run Regedit.exe (located in your Windows folder), and scroll down to the following keys:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnceEx
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce\Setup
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServices
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServicesOnce
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnceEx

    Look in the right hand pane of each key above. You'll see a list of programs there.
    More info @ MSKB.

    WORKAROUND:

    Write down/print a hard copy of all programs/executables found under these Registry keys, and then search ALL your drives for the correspondent file names.
    BACKUP your Registry and System files (SYSTEM.DAT, USER.DAT, SYSTEM.INI, WIN.INI, CONTROL.INI), and then safely delete/or move to a backup drive/folder all obsolete entries under the Registry keys above. Highlight each item you want to delete, and press Del. Answer OK to the confirmation screen.

  10. With Regedit started, check this Registry key for references to .DLL or .OCX files that might reside on your floppy/removable drive:

    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID

    WORKAROUND:

    Find the incriminated floppy/removable disk, copy the .DLL or .OCX files you found to a directory on your hard disk, and then change their path in the correspondent CLSID Registry subkey to point to the new destination.

  11. This one is not frequent, but you never know: search for a file called WINSTART.BAT, on ALL your local hard drives. ANY command line listed there will be executed BEFORE Windows 95/98 loads!

    WORKAROUND:

    If WINSTART.BAT is on your path line, specified in your AUTOEXEC.BAT, move it to a different location, NOT in your path! You can also open WINSTART.BAT with Nopepad, to see the program names listed there. Then if you decide to keep WINSTART.BAT in its original location, you can "remark" the program(s) you don't want Windows to run upon startup with a double colon (or using the old fashioned "REM"), followed by a space. Remark one line at a time, and then restart Windows after each change. Example:

    :: C:\PROGRAMS\MYPROG

  12. This topic is valid only for the hard drive your Windows 95/98 swap file is located on. Basically, if your swap file size is too small, or/and if your machine has only 8 MB (or less) of RAM, Win95/98 accesses the hard drive VERY frequently.

    WORKAROUNDS:

    1. Read both the "SWAP FILE - Part 1" and "SWAP FILE - Part 2" topics, also in MYTIPS95.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE], for details on how to adjust Win95/98's swap file to your needs (see especially "FIXED SWAP FILE", on selecting the swap file size based on your system installed memory amount).

    2. Buy more memory (no more excuses, the memory chips prices dropped so low now).

  13. Search ALL your drives for existent .PIF (Windows MS-DOS Shortcut) files that might point to programs/apps located on floppy/removable drives.

    WORKAROUND:

    Obviously, you need to delete/move ALL such PIF files (but BACKUP first!), or avoid running those programs.

    FINALLY:

    This step might be necessary for all topics above: REBOOT, RESTART or RELOAD Windows to cure the problem!

UPDATES:

  1. Maggie sent me her own tips on "squashing" the "drives access bugs". Many thanks for sharing, Mags!

    "Some programs keep their own Recent file history in WIN.INI, others do so in the Registry. Whenever my A: led flashes, the first thing I do is start Regedit and Sysedit, find A:, very often I find the entry.
    On some rare occasion I found it in another .ini file.
    The "FindFast" from MS Office 97 installs, even when you tell setup not to. It not only accesses A:, but all directories on all drives.
    Today I reinstalled Office, as well as a lot of other programs on my new 9 gigabyte hard disk, and forgot about FindFast. On the worst possible moment this bug-with-a-name started indexing my 9 gig...
    My system was so slow that even starting Regedit took me two cups of coffee. Only after deleting all keys containing "findfast" the noise of clicking HD heads stopped.
    Back to floppies:
    After installing IE4 I found out that Mijenix Explorer Plus was constantly accessing A:. A free updated version of Explorer Plus solves this problem."
    NOTE: This MSKB article explains how to disable FastFind.

  2. Here is another cool trick to circumvent the A: floppy drive from being accessed, courtesy of Dwayne.

    "I have another answer that fixed this problem for me.
    Using TweakUI (or something similar) you can hide the A: drive from the My Computer or Windows Explorer screens. The problem I was having is whenever I open these windows it would access the Floppy Drive, and hiding it fixed the problem (good ole Windows). If you don't have TweakUI, you can hide the A: Drive in the registry, go to:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

    Create a new Binary Value called NoDrives, with value 01 00 00 00, or create a .REG file in Notepad:

    -----Begin cut & paste here-----
    REGEDIT4

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer]
    "NoDrives"=hex:01,00,00,00

    ------End cut & paste here------

    Oh yeah, you can always add a shortcut to the A: Drive on your Desktop or Start Menu if you still wish to access it, or do like I do and use the Windows key and R together (on a MS Natural Keyboard), then type A: and press Enter.
    Or if you don't have a Windows key try Ctrl-Esc then R (unless you have an application in your Start Menu starting with R)."
    NOTE: See "HIDE YOUR DRIVES!", also in REGISTRY.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE], for more details.

  3. Bradford found yet another Windows 98/98 SE(U) "floppy annoyance", and he also offers the solution:

    "Under System Performance File System Floppy Disk uncheck the "Search for new floppy disk drives each time your computer starts" box.
    But the Biggie (at least for me with tape drive backup SW installed), there are 3 VXDs in C:\Windows\System\Iosubsys: unless you have a floppy/parallel port tape drive you should rename DRVWQ117.VXD and DRVWPPQT.VXD to something like *.OLD, as these sniff the floppy/printer ports, causing unwanted floppy access at startup. Search also the Registry and *.INI files for references to them, but the renaming is quicker. And NEVER access anything from a floppy in Win95/98, copy whatever you need to a HD first."
    NOTE: See "SPEEDUP YOUR GUI STARTUP!", also in MYTIPS95.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE], for details on how to do this.

  4. This one comes from Richard:

    "While my tip correcting the floppy drive being accessed and the drive light left on during bootup annoyance by renaming HSFLOP.PDR and letting Windows use the DOS floppy driver works, I finally located the source of my problem. A patch was required so that OSR2 would handle my AMD 380 MHz CPU. That patch contains an updated floppy driver. The problem arose when the patch didn't remove the references to the old driver in:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Class\fdc\0000

    The patch placed the new driver information under a key that contained the old floppy driver date. By deleting all entries referencing the old floppy driver (for some reason I had 5) and correcting the date in the remaining key to coincide with the subordinate listing the new driver date, the problem was solved, but ONLY AFTER doing this: Control Panel System Device Manager Floppy disk controllers Standard Floppy Disk Controller Properties disabled the hardware profile. Floppy drive works fine and the light doesn't turn on anymore."

  5. Try also [thank you Todd!]:

    "This has always worked for me: in Explorer, select View Folder Options and choose the File Types tab. Run slowly down the list of file associations one by one with the down arrow on your keyboard, until you hear your A drive seek.
    Then either edit or remove the offending association (you may have more than one)."

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1-21-98 Win3.1x/9x/ME Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE, and in MYTIPS31.TXT, part of W31-11D.ZIP:


LOAD/RUN


I discovered the following to be limitation in Windows/WfWG 3.1x. Could also very well be a limitation in Windows 95/98/ME. Till proven otherwise, I'll keep this as a Windows 3.1x/9x/ME BUG, and this topic as its FIX.
Here we go:

  1. If the "load=" line in your WIN.INI's [windows] section exceeds 128 characters (the Windows programs/residents that load at startup), the executables listed there beyond the 128 character limit WON'T BE PROCESSED by Windows.
    It's just another Windows limitation. To have such programs load anyway, you can load them from the "run=" line, found in the same section of your WIN.INI, located in your Windows directory.
    Example of "load=" line longer than 128 characters (consecutive programs MUST be separated by a space) in WIN.INI:

    [windows]
    load=c:\windoz\wintsr c:\winstuff\stufftsr c:\virus\virustsr c:\scan\scantsr c:\programs\progtsr c:\blahblah\blahtsr c:\whatever\whattsr  

    It is not necessary to specify the extension if that particular file is recognized by Windows as an executable (.386, .DLL, .DRV, .EXE, .VXD etc).
    Windows will load only the first 5 programs in the above example because the last 2 are beyond Windows' capacity of recognizing lines longer than 128 characters.
    But if you put the last 2 programs in this example on the "run=" line, they will be processed, but ONLY AFTER Windows reads and processes the "load=" line:

    [windows]
    load=c:\windoz\wintsr c:\winstuff\stufftsr c:\virus\virustsr c:\scan\scantsr c:\programs\progtsr
    run=c:\blahblah\blahtsr c:\whatever\whattsr

  2. Another solution is to load/run your Windows startup programs from the Startup group (which sometimes gets too cluttered for my taste).
    Edit WIN.INI with Notepad or Sysedit in Windows or EDIT.COM in DOS.

  3. A third solution (my favorite) to load/run executables or/and runtime libraries (DLLs) under Win95/98, is to edit your Registry (using the Registry editor, Regedit.exe, found in your Windows 9x folder). With Regedit open, scroll down to:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

    and look in the right hand pane. You'll see a list of programs there. You can add/modify/delete them at your will (with CAUTION though).
    To add an item to the list, highlight Run (left hand pane) and right-click in the same pane. Select New, String Value. Name it something similar (or identical) to the program name you want to add, and then right-click on it. Select Modify, and now type the full path, file name and extension for your program. Click OK. Done.

Restart Windows when you're done, so the changes can take effect.
And don't forget to BACKUP YOUR ORIGINAL FILES BEFORE MAKING ANY CHANGES!

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1-20-98 Win9x/ME Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


TIME SAVERS


For those who make frequent changes to their Win95/98/ME systems [tweakers apply first :)], there are a few Desktop shortcuts/links you might enjoy.
My all-time favorites are:First things first: you need to associate your .CPL files (a.k.a. Control Panel Applets) with CONTROL.EXE, if this is not already done on your system.
To associate a file extension with an executable, program or runtime library (DLL), you need to follow these steps:

  1. Open a Windows Explorer window and select View from the menu.
  2. On Win95 systems without MS IE 4/5 installed select the File Types tab.
    Or:
  3. On Win95/98/ME systems (with MS IE 4/5/6 installed) select Folder Options and then click the File Types tab.
  4. Click New Type... and type "Control Panel Applet" (no quotes) in the Description of type box.
  5. Type CPL in the Associated Extension box.
  6. Click the New button (under the Actions menu) and Browse to the location of Control.exe (found in your Windows folder). DO NOT check the DDE box!
  7. Click OK as many times as necessary (to save your work) until the new association appears on your File Types list.

Now you're ready to create the FAST Desktop shortcuts described below.
Just do the following:

  1. Start by highlighting your Desktop: left-click on an empty spot.
  2. Right-click and select New Shortcut.
  3. In the Command line box type respectively (using a separate shortcut with its own command line for each link mentioned at the beginning of this topic):

    C:\WINDOWS\RUNDLL32.EXE C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\SYSDM.CPL, System,1

    or:

    C:\WINDOWS\RUNDLL32.EXE C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\SYSDM.CPL,,1

    for the "System Manager" link;

    NOTE: To have the other System Properties tabs open automatically from separate shortcuts, replace 1 in the SYSDM.CPL command lines above with:
    2 = for the Hardware Profiles tab;
    3 = for the Performance tab.

    C:\WINDOWS\RUNDLL32.EXE C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\DESK.CPL,InstallScreenSaver

    for the "Display Screen Saver Preview" link;

    C:\WINDOWS\RUNDLL32.EXE C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\MAIN.CPL

    for the "Mouse Settings" link;

    C:\WINDOWS\SNDVOL32.EXE

    for the "Sound Volume" link, in case you don't like the yellow speaker icon displayed on your taskbar, for everybody to mess with it.

    FYI: You don't have to mention the full paths for any of these files, since your \Windows and \Windows\System folders are already included on your PATH.
    But I placed the file/folders names here to speed up the access to each file, by not letting your system search through the PATH line for the location of each file, which is a little bit time consuming. [And we DO want FASTER performance, don't we? :)]
  4. Click Continue and name each shortcut respectively (no quotes): "System Manager", "Display Screen Saver Preview", "Mouse Settings" and "Sound Volume".
  5. Click Finish, and finally click OK.

Now just (double)-click on each new Desktop icon to go there FAST, every time you want to:
Have fun!

UPDATE: ".CPL files are automatically by default associated with:
%WINDIR%\rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL %1,%*
One may need to rename the:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\cplfile\shell\cplopen
Registry key to 'open'."
[Thank you Yuri!]

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1-20-98 Win9x/ME Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


FAST EXIT | RESTART!


How would you like to EXIT, SHUTDOWN, POWEROFF, LOGOFF, RELOAD, RESTART or REBOOT Windows 95/98/ME FAST, with 1 mouse click, without the pain of going through the default 4 steps procedure: click the Start button click "Shut down" check the "Shut Down" or "Restart" box finally click the Yes/OK button? I know you would, 'cuz I did too... :)

IMPORTANT: In case using Windows ME you MUST install 1 of these WinME DOS Patches (free) in order to (re)enable the "Exit/Reboot to DOS" functions, otherwise available only in Windows 95/98. That's because Microsoft REMOVED COMPLETELY the access to native/real/true/pure MS-DOS mode from Windows Millennium Edition (ME), a.k.a. MS-DOS 8.00. :(
Some of these patches modify COMMAND.COM + IO.SYS (from C:\Windows\Command\EBD) + REGENV32.EXE (from C:\Windows\System) to allow Windows ME to boot to native MS-DOS and use DOS mode startup files (AUTOEXEC.BAT + CONFIG.SYS), Windows 95/98 style.

FYI: In case Stand by/Sleep/Suspend energy saving modes are enabled, some of these functions may not work properly.

    Even if using Windows 95/98, additional steps may be needed to enable "Exit/Reboot to DOS" functions to work properly:

And now the good part... here's how you do it:

  1. Left-click on (highlight) an empty Desktop spot right-click on it choose New select Shortcut from the drop down menu.

  2. In the Command line box copy & paste (Windows 98/ME only):

    RUNDLL32.EXE SHELL32.DLL,SHExitWindowsEx #

    The # flag can be any integer number between -1 and 9. Depending on the particular value substituted as parameter on the command line above, you can force Windows 9x/ME to carry out one of the following actions:

    • -1 = Reload Shell: close and then restart the Windows graphical shell [which by default is Windows Explorer (Explorer.exe), located in the main Windows folder] or whatever other (eventually 3rd party) shell executable you are using on the SYSTEM.INI "shell=" line, under the [boot] section. This option may prove useful for recovering from an Explorer or Kernel crash, i.e. an irrecoverable GPF (General Protection Fault) or BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death).

    • 0 = Logoff (similar to the Start Menu Logoff button): terminate all running processes/threads/executables/TSRs and close all open programs, then log off the current user and then restart the Windows graphical shell.

    • 1 = Shutdown: terminate all running processes/threads/executables/TSRs and close all open programs, then shut down the Windows GUI to the native/real/true/pure MS-DOS mode and then display the "It is safe to turn off the computer" graphical message on the screen, ONLY IF the Logos.sys file is present in the main Windows folder, otherwise it may [or may not :(] show this message as plain text at the MS-DOS prompt.

    • 2 = Reboot (similar to the Shutdown Menu Restart button): terminate all running processes/threads/executables/TSRs and close all open programs, then shut down the Windows GUI and then "cold" reboot the computer to the BIOS POST screen and then restart the Windows graphical shell, ONLY IF: the MSDOS.SYS "BootGUI=1" line is present under the [Options] section, or if the WIN command is present in AUTOEXEC.BAT, or if the WIN command is run from the native/real/true/pure MS-DOS command prompt (Windows 98 ONLY).

    • 4 = Forced Shutdown (unsafe: may generate data loss!): terminate unconditionally all running processes/threads/executables/TSRs and all open programs without warnings, and without "flushing" the data from the memory cache buffers back to the fixed disk(s), eventually powering off the computer if a supported ATX motherboard is detected.
      Avoid using this option if possible!

    • 5 = Exit To DOS: the "Exit To DOS.PIF" MS-DOS shortcut (Program Information File) is created ONLY IF using Windows 98 (Microsoft REMOVED completely native/real/true/pure MS-DOS mode from Windows ME!), then close all running processes/threads/executables/TSRs and close all open programs, and then shut down the Windows GUI to the native/real/true/pure MS-DOS mode prompt, which can be "unhidden" by running the MODE CO80 command. Read "2 DOS OR NOT 2 DOS", also in MYTIPS95.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE], to learn how to do this properly.
      FYI: You CAN regain access to MS-DOS mode if using Windows ME by applying the Unofficial DOS Patch, which modifies COMMAND.COM + IO.SYS (from C:\Windows\Command\EBD) + REGENV32.EXE (from C:\Windows\System) to allow Windows ME to boot to native MS-DOS and use DOS mode startup files (AUTOEXEC.BAT + CONFIG.SYS), Windows 95/98 style.

    • 8 = Poweroff (ONLY IF a supported ATX motherboard is detected): terminate all running processes/threads/executables/TSRs and close all open programs, shut down the Windows GUI to the native/real/true/pure MS-DOS mode, then display the "It is safe to turn off the computer" graphical message on the screen (ONLY IF the Logos.sys file is present in the main Windows folder, otherwise it may show this message as plain text at the MS-DOS prompt) and then completely power off the computer (the power cord may need to be unplugged and then plugged back in, in order to bring the power back on), ONLY on PCs with APM (Advanced Power Management) enabled, but this feature needs to be activated beforehand (if supported) in the BIOS Setup menu.

    NOTES:
    • You can add up some of these actions by using two # flags at the same time for combined effect. Example: 1 + 8 = 9, therefore you can use 9 as command line parameter, in case you wish to perform a Shutdown followed by Poweroff.
    • In all these cases except for option 4 (Forced Shutdown) Windows file cache routine safely "flushes" (writes) all data from the memory cache buffers back to the fixed disk(s) to avoid any information loss.

    CAUTION: Older, cheap, low quality, incompatible and/or defective computer hardware components, poorly written software drivers and/or programs may sometimes be responsible for undesirable lockups or data loss during the Windows shutdown/poweroff sequence.

  3. Or you can use this line with all Windows 95/98/ME releases:

    RUNDLL32.EXE USER.EXE,ExitWindows

    and call it "Shutdown!" or "Poweroff!" if using Win95B/95C OSR 2.1 - 2.5 or Win98/ME, because these OSes perform also a complete poweroff on ATX motherboards supporting this feature.

  4. For the Windows "Restart!" ("warm" reboot) shortcut (all Windows 95/98/ME releases) use:

    RUNDLL.EXE USER.EXE,ExitWindowsExec

    Note that you canNOT use RUNDLL32.EXE for this last command with Win98/ME because their GUI does NOT support this 32-bit DLL API redirect from the command line, and after all USER.EXE is only a "plain" 16-bit executable. :(

  5. Click Continue, and name these new shortcuts whatever you like.

  6. Click Finish.

From now on, (double)-click on one of the shortcuts created above, and you'll be taken to the plain DOS prompt, back to the GUI, or stare at the black monitor screen in only 1 swift move. :)
Don't forget to SAVE your work and close ALL open programs FIRST, BEFORE shutting down or restarting Windows!
Have fun.

More info on Win9x/ME shut down switches using RUNDLL(32) redirects:

Shutdown/reboot/poweroff free(ware) tools.

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1-14-98 Win9x ©Trick in TIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


VFAT ERROR FIX!


These fixes are brought to you by:

  1. Steve:

    "Sometimes Win9x can fail to boot with a VFAT error message, this error either halts the system asking the user to reboot or reboots automatically.
    But I have found a solution to this problem:
    To replace MSDOS.SYS with the one from your Win9x repair disk. If this is not available, use a text editor (like Notepad) to create one, or repair the existing one.
    The critical entries are those found under the [Paths] heading. It needs to include these valid lines (change WINDOWS with your Win9x folder name if different):

    WinDir=C:\WINDOWS
    WinBootDir=C:\WINDOWS
    HostWinBootDrv=C

    If these settings are corrupt or missing VFAT will fail to load halting the system in its tracks."

    NOTE: I recommend using SYS95.BAT [part of W95-11D.EXE], to edit MSDOS.SYS.

    UPDATE: "Looks like it can't find IFSHLP.SYS to load."
    [Thank you Yuri!]

  2. Dustin:

    "Another fix for this is to add:

    DOS=AUTO

    to your CONFIG.SYS file. This causes MS-DOS 7.xx to load SETVER.EXE, IFSHLP.SYS and (if not specified) HIMEM.SYS on startup. Without IFSHLP.SYS loading at startup (which adds support for VFAT, by the way), Windows 9x won't know what to do with itself. :)"

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©1996-2017 MDGx (a.k.a. AXCEL216): Everything here is FREEware. Always free of ad(vertisment)s, cookies, tracking, malware + spyware. I have created [August 1996], maintain and update these web pages entirely by hand using Programmer's File Editor [replaced Notepad].
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