MDGx MAX Speed WinDOwS
WinDOwS Tricks - Part 4

Go to ALL WinDOwS ©Tricks + Secrets Contents
11-11-97 Win9x/DOS7/DOS6 Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE and in MYTIPS31.TXT, part of W31-11D.ZIP:


BOOTUP FLOPPY


How many times did you need to boot from a startup/bootup floppy disk just because your "beloved" Operating System screwed up one way or another? I for one am used to doing this quite often. [unfortunately :(] So I added some "new features" to the plain startup files (CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT), and some useful (read *VITAL*) DOS tools to my bootup floppy to make my [computing] life a little easier. :)
This tip applies to ALL MS-DOS users (beginning with version 5.00), and to ALL Windows users (beginning with version 3.10), except NT/2000/XP/2003.

    NOTES:
    1. If you reach the 1.44 MB floppy capacity limit before copying all the files listed below onto your bootup floppy, you can select to copy only the files you deem necessary, and skip others not so "vital" (like the Dosshell files).
      Or you can copy the rest of these files that didn't fit on your first floppy to a SECOND startup floppy, in case you don't have a recordable/rewritable cd-rom or another removable drive (Zip, Orb, Jazz, Sparq, Shark, Syquest, LS-120 etc) to boot from.
    2. In the case you do have such a high capacity boot drive, and if your motherboard BIOS/CMOS supports booting from a removable/cd-rom, you don't have the limited (boot floppy) size problem. Just copy all your files on a cd-rom, and label its jewel case as "Boot CD-ROM" (or if using a removable disk, label its cartridge). Eventually you can have a full blown (or at least a "bare bones") operating system running off a cd-rom/removable, by copying there all your OS related directories and files from your boot hard disk. This is very useful to access your most important files if you are a Windows 3.1x/95/98/NT and/or MS-DOS 5.00/6.xx user, and if your (primary) hard drive has gone "south" unexpectedly.

YOU MUST REMEMBER to stick a self-adhesive paper label on each of these floppies, and name them let's say: "BOOTUP FLOPPY #1" and "BOOTUP FLOPPY #2" respectively.

From now on you can use the BOOTUP FLOPPY #1 whenever you need to boot from something else other than your "temporarily impaired" hard disk.
This is my bootup floppy CONFIG.SYS file, which includes Microsoft's upper/expanded memory manager (EMM386.EXE), the CD-ROM driver (XDVD2.SYS) and Microsoft's 32-bit disk access driver (IFSHLP.SYS):

SWITCHES=/F
DEVICE=A:\HIMEM.SYS /Q
DEVICE=A:\EMM386.EXE I=C800-EFFF I=B000-B7FF AUTO RAM NOTR
DOS=HIGH,UMB
BUFFERS=11,0
FILES=60
FCBS=1,0
STACKS=0,0
DEVICEHIGH=A:\XDVD2.SYS /D:MYCDROM
DEVICEHIGH=A:\IFSHLP.SYS
SHELL=A:\COMMAND.COM A:\ /E:512 /P
SET PATH=C:\;C:\WINDOWS;C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND;A:\;
SET TEMP=C:\TEMP
SET TMP=C:\TEMP
SET PROMPT=EMERGENCY FLOPPY BOOTUP!$_$P$G
SET WINPMT=Type EXIT & Hit Enter 2 return 2 Windows!$_$P$G

The CD-ROM driver above (XDVD2.SYS), freely distributed, is compatible with most popular internal IDE/ATAPI compatible cd-rom drives out there: Acer, Creative Labs, NEC, Matsushita/Panasonic, Teac, Toshiba etc, connected to the motherboard IDE controller.
Note that the PATH line above applies ONLY to typical Windows 95/98 systems installed in C:\WINDOWS (change the drive/directory if different on your computer).
MS-DOS 5.00 - 6.22 users need this typical DOS/Windows/WfWG PATH line:

SET PATH=C:\;C:\DOS;C:\WINDOWS;A:\;

ATTENTION MS-DOS 5.00 users: You NEED to place ALL the SET lines (listed above in my CONFIG.SYS) into your AUTOEXEC.BAT file, because MS-DOS 5.00 does NOT support this feature!

And below is my startup floppy AUTOEXEC.BAT file, including Microsoft's CD-ROM extensions driver (MSCDEX.EXE), Microsoft's floppy/hard/cd-rom disk cache (SMARTDRV.EXE) and Microsoft's Mouse driver (MOUSE.COM):

@ECHO OFF
LOADHIGH=A:\MSCDEX /D:MYCDROM /M:16 /E
A:\SMARTDRV 2048 16 A+ B+ C+ D+ E+ F /N
SET MOUSE=A:\
LOADHIGH=A:\MOUSE
SET DIRCMD=/A/O:GEN/P
SET COPYCMD=/Y
A:\MODE CON: RATE=32 DELAY=1

I've also added the files listed below to my startup floppies (I find them VITAL for performing routine maintenance and diagnostics tasks, trying to determine what might have caused a system lockup):

CRUCIAL: ALWAYS BACKUP YOUR FILES BEFORE MODIFYING THEM!

    FYI: See these topics [also part of both W95-11D.EXE + W31-11D.EXE], for more details and guidelines:

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5-18-98 Win9x/ME Original Registry ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


DITCH THAT SOUND ICON


You can get rid of the sound Volume (the small speaker icon) from the Taskbar 3 ways:

  1. Start Control Panel, (double-)click on the Multimedia applet, select the Audio tab, and uncheck the "Show volume control on the taskbar" box with a left click. Click OK. This change should take effect immediately.
    But even if you did as shown above to make it disappear, in certain configurations, with some sound cards, third party software, or after installing a new multimedia application or game, the Volume icon misteriously reappears on the Taskbar!
    So I found another method to remove it:

  2. Start Regedit.exe and go to:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

    In the right hand pane, you'll see this entry:

    Systray      "systray.exe"

    (Double-)click on it and rename Systray.exe to let's say Systray.old.
    Click OK. Close Regedit.

  3. "Start Regedit.exe and go to:

    HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Applets\SysTray

    Set the "Services" DWORD Value so that the third binary digit is a 0.
    I.e. if the Decimal value is currently 7=111 change it to 3=011.
    Then execute Systray.exe, usually located in C:\Windows\System."
    Third method courtesy of Bryan.

Next time you'll start Windows the Volume icon will be gone!

BONUS: [;-)]

This UNDOCUMENTED trick works with ALL Windows 9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003 releases.

BUG:

Depending on your installed sound card hardware/software and/or selected Desktop size [especially if using 640x480 screen resolution :(], some of the Play/Recording Volume Control applet [started by running SNDVOL32.EXE = found in %windir% (usually C:\WINDOWS on Win95/98/ME) or %windir%\SYSTEM32 (usually C:\WINNT\SYSTEM32 on WinNT4/2000 or C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 on WinXP/2003)] sliders may display outside the fixed window or Desktop space.

FIX:

In such cases you can decrease the size of the Sound Volume/Play Control/Recording Control Properties window by holding Ctrl and S at the same time. Voila, a smaller window which accomodates all available sliders and displays entirely inside the screen.

BUG + FIX:

The Ctrl + S fix grays out (dimms) the Advanced Controls menu.
Press Ctrl + S together again to reenable it.

This setting takes effect immediately, and it is kept under this Registry key (all users):

HKEY_USERS\.Default\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Applets\Volume Control\Options

or (current user):

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Applets\Volume Control\Options

as DWORD [REG_DWORD] Value:

If you toggle this key combination once again, the original size is restored.

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5-18-98 Win9x ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


APPLICATION PATH


You can add/modify/delete an application's path into the Registry, if you moved it to a different folder/drive (something similar to the AUTOEXEC.BAT PATH statement).
But BACKUP YOUR REGISTRY FILES FIRST!
Fire up the Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) and go to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths

This key contains a series of subkeys that identify executables/programs following the standard Filename.exe. A list of such subkeys includes:

  1. The "(Default)" entry, which contains a path to the designated executable/program.
  2. The "Path" entry, which identifies the folders that are passed to that specific executable/program.

When you run a "Filename" (without quotes, and without the dot and the "exe" extension that follows), Windows first looks for it in the Windows folder, then in the Windows\System folder, and after that in the "PATH" statement, usually mentioned in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file (and loaded in memory at boot time when AUTOEXEC.BAT is processed), before Windows was started. If Win95/98 doesn't find an executable with that particular name at any of these locations, it looks into the "App Paths" Registry key. If it finds the corresponding key, Win95/98 runs the specified executable.
Example: to run Netscape.exe without having to type its full path (i.e. C:\Netscape\Program\Netscape.exe) every time, create a new Key entry in the left hand pane, and name it Netscape.exe.
Now (double-)click on the (Default) string in the right hand pane and type in:

C:\Netscape\Program\Netscape.exe

Under Netscape.exe, create a new String (right hand pane), and call it Path. (Double-)click on Path and type this:

C:\Netscape\Program

Close the Registry Editor and restart Windows.

You may need to add to, modify or delete some of these filenames, subkeys or entries, in case you moved an application to another folder or drive (because Win95/98 doesn't adjust the "App Paths" entries in some cases, even if the Microsoft Windows Interface Guidelines claim the opposite), or you can add the paths to your most often used programs/apps/batch files, to speed up your system response.

NOTE: A filename you add/modify doesn't have to be identical to the executable but it MUST match the key name!

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4-28-98 Win95 ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


DISABLE DNS FOR WINS RESOLUTION


Windows for WorkGroups 3.1x and Windows NT have an "Enable DNS for WINS resolution" check box under the Control Panel Networks applet which is turned off by default.
In Windows 95 (the original retail release, without any DUN/TCP/IP/PPP/PPTP/ISDN updates installed) this feature is turned on by default, and there is no check box to turn it off. :(
But there is an "EnableDNS" Registry switch you can manually "toggle" on/off.
If "EnableDNS" is turned off, DNS is still enabled, but it isn't used for WINS resolution.

NOTE: Windows 95/95a OSR1 systems upgraded with DUN 1.2a/1.2b/1.3/1.4 Upgrade or with the ISDN Modem Update, Windows 95 B/C OSR 2.x, 98/98 SP1/98 SE(U) and ME systems do NOT exhibit this BUG.

To disable the NetBIOS name resolution on a DNS server, especially for TCP/IP Dial-Up Networking Internet hookups, run Regedit and go to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\VxD\MSTCP

In the right hand pane you can see the "EnableDNS" String Value entry.
Right-click on it and select Modify. Replace 1 (default value) with 0.
Close Regedit and restart Windows.

FYI: See the "How to Disable NetBIOS Name Resolution on DNS" MSKB article for more details.

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4-28-98 Win95/OSR2 Registry ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


INSTALL MS PLUS! 95 OVER MS IE 3/4/5


This is an old (and often overlooked) Microsoft BUG...
If you have already installed Microsoft Internet Explorer 3/4/5 on your Windows 95/OSR1/OSR2 system, you canNOT install Microsoft Plus! Pack for Windows 95 anymore. :(

BUG: MS Plus! 95 Setup looks in the Registry for previously installed MS Plus! components, "sees" your current MS IE version, and as a consequence aborts, displaying an error message.

FIX: Run Regedit and go to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer

In the right hand pane look for the "IVer" String Value with the default numeric value of "103", but which could be different on your PC, depending on your particular MS IE build.
Delete the IVer Value: right-click on "IVer" select Delete or press the Del key click Yes or press Enter.
Close Registry Editor and restart Windows.
Now install the MS Plus! 95 Pack by running SETUP from the CD-ROM.

CAUTION: Do NOT apply this workaround to Windows 98/98 SE(U)/ME, because MS Plus! 95 installs OLDER system files, which are INCOMPATIBLE with 98/ME!

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4-24-98 Updated Win3.1x/9x/DOS Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE, and in MYTIPS31.TXT, part of W31-11D.ZIP:


SERIAL KILLER!
[UPDATED 4-24-98]


This tip is intended for all PC users who:

FIRST CASE:

If you have a serial mouse connected to the COM1 serial port, you need to set your internal modem for COM4, and if your mouse is on COM2, your modem needs to be set for COM3.
Why? Simple, because the IBM PC clone has a major limitation: [I wish it would be the only one... :(] it has only 15 usable IRQs (hardware interrupts), and a maximum of 4 COM (communication) ports. And it's not used to share (the hardware resources anyway). This is the complete PC/AT COM ports list of valid (hardware default) assigned resources:

As you can see, the four COM ports share a total of only 2 (two) IRQs:

• COM1 + COM3 use the same IRQ = 4
• COM2 + COM4 use the same IRQ = 3

So if you hook up your serial mouse to COM1, you can't connect your modem to COM3, because they share the same interrupt (IRQ 4). You could have your serial mouse and modem share the same IRQ, but you'll experience conflicts. Better avoid them. Same is valid with COM2 and COM4 (they share IRQ 3).
EXAMPLE:
Therefore I had to set my modem (Philips PCM33IA internal PnP modem/fax 33.6/14.4 kbps, jumper adjustable) to use COM3, while my serial mouse is connected to COM2. In ANY other configuration my modem was unable to properly access the internet.
I had to assign this particular COM port configuration on 3 different PC/AT Pentium class motherboards:

• Intel Plato II Premium Intel Pentium 90MHz + Award BIOS;
• Tyan Tomcat 1 S1562 Triton II HX Intel Pentium 200MHz + Award BIOS;
• Megatrends HX83 Triton II HX Intel Pentium 233MHz MMX + AMI BIOS.

SECOND CASE:

Connect your serial mouse to COM port 1. Then if your motherboard BIOS supports it, go into SETUP (usually by pressing the Del key while your machine is stepping through the boot up sequence). In the Peripherals screen (available on AMI BIOSes) or similar (depending on your BIOS type), disable Serial/COM Port 2 entirely. Reboot. Now set your internal ISA modem to use COM port 2 in all your DOS and Windows applications.
EXAMPLE:
I have done this on a Megatrends HX83 Pentium motherboard with AMI BIOS, using an ISA internal PnP jumperless 3COM/US Robotics 56K V.90 Winmodem.

... I really hope the new USB (Universal Serial Bus) standard will do away with this annoying limitation once for all.

NOTE: These workarounds don't apply to newer PnP modems that can also use other IRQs, besides the two standard IRQs (3 and 4) used by the four standard COM ports (newer 3COM/US Robotics modems can also use IRQ 7 or 9).

ADD-ON: Windows 95/98 can use higher COM ports (COM5 - COM8) beyond the 4 physical serial communication ports (default) on a PC/AT computer, alternate IRQs and different base addresses for each of them, in order to avoid hardware conflicts. For example, you can assign your modem to COM5, IRQ9 and BA180h (but this won't work in native MS-DOS mode!), but ONLY if you are using a PnP jumperless modem (or a modem that supports other IRQs besides 3 and 4). And to make all this possible, your PnP BIOS has to support more than 4 COM ports in Windows.
Using higher IRQs also gives you the advantage of giving your modem higher priority over the standard COM (lower) IRQs: 3 or 4.

PS/2 mice/pointing devices have IRQ 12 assigned by default (usually not used by other devices on a standard PC), therefore avoiding such compatibility issues. BUT to my knowledge, the PS/2 mouse interface is slower than a COM port, IF your motherboard COM ports have a fast UART chip to boot: at least a 16550A. Therefore if you have both a serial AND a PS/2 mouse adapter (some mouse vendors will provide both), and both an external serial (COM) port AND a PS/2 mouse interface on the back of your computer case, then I suggest using the serial plug to hook up your rodent, and then configure your BIOS/Operating System properly to accept it, and avoid IRQ/BA conflicts.

IMPORTANT: To learn your hardware specs and supported standards, read your motherboard/BIOS and modem manuals and help files.

FYI: More info @ MSKB.

Good luck...

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4-14-98 Win3.1x/9x/DOS ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE, and in MYTIPS31.TXT, part of W31-11D.ZIP:


CD-ROM NAME


This BUG fix applies to all Windows/WfWG 3.1x/95/98 users who own a CD-ROM/CD-R/CD-RW/DVD-ROM/DVD-R/DVD-RW/DVD-RAM/etc drive and load the MS-DOS (native/real/true/pure mode) 16-bit CD/DVD device driver from CONFIG.SYS and the CD Extensions TSR (i.e. MSCDEX.EXE) from AUTOEXEC.BAT.
Do NOT create/rename a directory bearing the same name as your MS-DOS CD/DVD drive name, mentioned on the CONFIG.SYS CD-ROM device driver line and on the AUTOEXEC.BAT MSCDEX line!
Generic CONFIG.SYS lines for CD/DVD MS-DOS mode device drivers:

Replace all "drive", "path" (no quotes) and file names with your actual drive letter(s), directory name(s) and file name(s).

See "CD-ROM DRIVERS 4 DOS", also in MYTIPS95.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE], for details on DOS mode CD/DVD drivers and (in)compatibilities.

You also need to load MSCDEX.EXE (MicroSoft Compact Disc EXtensions) or a similar TSR in your AUTOEXEC.BAT, for your CD/DVD drive to be properly recognized by the system in native/real/true/pure MS-DOS mode.
Generic AUTOEXEC.BAT line for MSCDEX:

LOADHIGH=drive:\path\MSCDEX.EXE /D:MYCDROM

In this example MYCDROM is the CD/DVD drive name and MUST be IDENTICAL with the one on your CD/DVD device driver line in your CONFIG.SYS!
The CD/DVD drive name specified with the /D:XXXXXXXX switch on your MSCDEX line may NOT exceed 8 characters (case insensitive), and spaces or punctuation symbols are NOT allowed!
Therefore, do NOT create/rename a directory on ANY of your fixed/local drives/partitions with the name MYCDROM!
If you do, it won't be recognized, and you'll get an error message like this:

"Unable to run/copy/move/rename/etc XXXXXXXX.YYY file/directory"

whenever you try to access any file(s) or subdirectories located in that directory, or if you try to delete/rename/move/etc that particular directory.

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11-21-97 Updated Win9x/DOS7/DOS6 Original ©Trick, in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE, and in MYTIPS31.TXT, part of W31-11D.ZIP:


ORDER, PLEASE!


Below I have tried to list the detailed correlation between CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT command lines, the order in which devices (drivers, TSRs) load in memory (conventional, upper, high, extended, expanded), and the Win95/98/ME OS bootup sequence.
The order of loading devices into memory (RAM) is the order in which they are loaded at boot time, depending on the availability of DOS UMBs (Upper Memory Blocks), and on the mapping of all installed RAM above the first Meg (MegaByte) as extended and/or expanded memory. This is provided by the extended memory manager (Microsoft's HIMEM.SYS with or without the "help" of EMM386.EXE), and depends on the amount of the largest contiguous upper RAM region, available for drivers, known as UMBs (UMBs apply only to the Upper Memory Area = UMA, and ONLY if an expanded/extended memory manager is loaded, like EMM386.EXE, using the proper parameters to enable UMA and/or expanded memory).
Each device driver (TSR = Terminate and Stay Resident) must find a "comfy" (read contiguous, large enough) place to load in memory (its initial loading size is usually larger than its final size).
Some Win95/98/ME vital (essential) devices load first, independent of size, and all the others follow, as the Windows 95/98 OS boot routine (the MS-DOS part) searches for what to load first when the computer boots up.
The drivers that load from CONFIG.SYS come ALWAYS before the ones from AUTOEXEC.BAT. The OS processes these two startup files in this specific order: CONFIG.SYS first, AUTOEXEC.BAT last.
The order of loading devices/drivers/TSRs from the startup files during MS-DOS 7.xx bootup sequence:

    First, Win9x/ME OS startup routine looks for IO.SYS and then for MSDOS.SYS in the root directory/folder of the boot drive (default is C:\). These are hidden/system files. The OS gets the information about the directories where the Bootup/System/Registry files are located by reading the [Paths] section of MSDOS.SYS.

    NOTE: For MSDOS.SYS complete parameters details read the "Complete MSDOS.SYS Reference Page".

  1. Win9x/ME System/Configuration files in C:\ root (default):

    • MSDOS.SYS = Load MS-DOS/Win9x/ME Operating System defaults.
    • IO.SYS = Load Operating System I/O defaults.
    • COMMAND.COM = MS-DOS/Win9x/ME command line interpreter.
    • CONFIG.SYS = Not necessary for proper operation.
    • AUTOEXEC.BAT = Not necessary for proper operation.
    • WINBOOT.INI = Not necessary for proper operation (only present during Win9x/ME Setup, erased at the and of a successful setup). Temporary installation file, the equivalent of MSDOS.SYS.
    • WINSTART.BAT = Not necessary for proper operation (only present during Win9x/ME Setup, erased at the and of a successful setup). Temporary installation file.
    • MSDOS.DOS = Previous MS-DOS 6.xx system file (if any).
    • IO.DOS = Previous MS-DOS 6.xx system file (if any).
    • COMMAND.DOS = Previous MS-DOS 6.xx system file (if any).
    • CONFIG.DOS = Previous MS-DOS 6.xx configuration file (if any).
    • AUTOEXEC.DOS = Previous MS-DOS 6.xx configuration file (if any).

    NOTES:

    1. All .DOS extension files above belong to the previous MS-DOS 6.xx version and are present ONLY on Win95/98/ME AND MS-DOS 6.xx dual-boot systems!
    2. Windows 98/ME's IO.SYS is renamed to JO.SYS (Windows 95/OSR2 renames its IO.SYS to WINBOOT.SYS), if you are booting to an older MS-DOS version (6.xx), in a dual-boot environment, provided by Win95/98's Startup Menu, option 8 (on networked or TCP/IP enabled systems): "Previous version of MS-DOS".
    Read "DUAL BOOT" in MYTIPS95.TXT and "DUAL-BOOT IN OSR2/WIN98", also in OSR2TIPS.TXT [both part of W95-11D.EXE], to learn how to PROPERLY dual-boot with your version of Windows 95/OSR1 or OSR2/98/ME!

  2. Windows 95/98/ME Registry files in the Windows folder (default C:\Windows):

    • SYSTEM.DAT = Win9x/ME Registry data file: read-only, hidden
    • USER.DAT = Win9x/ME Registry data file: read-only, hidden
    • SYSTEM.DA0 = Win95/OSR2 Registry backup: read-only, hidden
    • USER.DA0 = Win95/OSR2 Registry backup: read-only, hidden.

  1. IO.SYS and MSDOS.SYS (mandatory, processed before the startup files);
  2. HIMEM.SYS (or a 3rd party memory manager that can provide extended memory mapping, like: Quarterdeck QEMM386, Helix NetRoom RM386, 386MAX etc, mandatory for the Windows 9x/ME GUI to load);
  3. SYSTEM/MSDOS module (mandatory, loads part in upper memory if available, part in conventional memory);
  4. DOS=HIGH,UMB (if present in CONFIG.SYS, otherwise defaults to the DOS presets: DOS=LOW,NOUMB if HIMEM.SYS is not present in memory);
  5. BUFFERS, FCBS, FILES, LASTDRIVE, STACKS (if present in CONFIG.SYS, otherwise default to DOS presets: BUFFERS=30; FCBS=4,0; FILES=40; LASTDRIVE=Z; STACKS=9,256);
  6. EMM386.EXE (or similar 3rd party expanded/extended memory manager, if any);
  7. DRVSPACE.SYS (loads DRVSPACE.BIN, which is mandatory, IF using MS Win95/98/ME disk compression tool, DrvSpace 3.xx);
  8. IFSHLP.SYS (mandatory for Windows 9x/ME 32-bit disk access compatibility with MS-DOS mode);
  9. All other DEVICEHIGH and DEVICE lines in CONFIG.SYS (if any);
  10. All INSTALL and then INSTALLHIGH lines in CONFIG.SYS (if any);
  11. The SHELL line in CONFIG.SYS (if any);
  12. The SET COMSPEC command/line (mandatory, loads as a preset if the SHELL line is not found). The bootup routine looks for COMMAND.COM in: C:\WINDOWS, C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND and in C:\ root (if C:\WINDOWS is your Win95/98/ME folder, set in MSDOS.SYS). If not found, the boot sequence stops, prompting the user for action, making necessary to manually type in the location (path) of COMMAND.COM (the MS-DOS command line interpreter);
  13. All other SET lines in CONFIG.SYS (if any);
  14. SETVER.EXE (if found in its default directory, C:\WINDOWS);
  15. All LOADHIGH (LH abbreviated), all SET and all other loading lines in AUTOEXEC.BAT.
    AUTOEXEC.BAT lines are processed in the order in which they are listed.

Some programs (like MS Windows) and some drivers (like SMARTDRV) need an extended memory driver (like HIMEM.SYS) enabled in order to load properly and access the provided extended memory (which is usually set to the maximum of installed RAM on the respective system). Each extended memory device driver has its own limits to the amount of memory it can provide to the system (HIMEM.SYS v3.9x can enable up to 4 GB of extended RAM = SXMS).
If HIMEM.SYS or another extended/expanded memory manager is not present, Windows (or/and SMARTDRV) display an error message and abort their loading sequence.
Most other drivers load low (in conventional memory) if an extended LIM (Lotus/Intel/Microsoft specifications) compatible memory manager is not detected.
Windows 9x/ME (MS-DOS 7.xx/8.00 actually), loads HIMEM.SYS, IFSHLP.SYS, SETVER.EXE and DRVSPACE.SYS (if disk compression is detected) even if they are not present in your CONFIG.SYS, BUT it needs to find them in their default locations, specified in Win9x/ME's Registry files AND in the [Paths] section of your MSDOS.SYS.
Also if you have a SCSI, an older ESDI/IDE/ATA, or a large FAT32/FAT32X (over 8 GB) hard disk, MS-DOS 7.xx/8.00 (COMMAND.COM) tries to load DBLBUFF.SYS, the double-buffering device driver, to allow proper operation under the SCSI/ESDI/ATA/FAT32/FAT32X standards. This is possible only if you kept the file DBLBUFF.SYS in your Windows folder.

NOTE: For more double-buffering details, read the topics listed below [also part of W95-11D.EXE]:
• "DOUBLE BUFFER", also in MYTIPS95.TXT [Win95 and 98 users], and
• "WIN98 PHANTOM DRIVE BUG", also in TIPS98.TXT [Win98 users].

If you use any real DOS mode programs, you may want to load all CONFIG.SYS drivers with the DEVICEHIGH command, to gain more conventional memory (but make sure you have an expanded/extended memory manager loaded, like Microsoft's EMM386.EXE, to make this possible).
The only drivers that can ONLY load low (in conventional memory) are the memory managers themselves (HIMEM.SYS and EMM386.EXE, or similar 3rd party, like QEMM, RM386, 386MAX, etc), so their only choice is the DEVICE command line in CONFIG.SYS.
The AUTOEXEC.BAT command counterpart for loading TSRs in upper memory (RAM) is LOADHIGH (which can be abbreviated to LH).

FYI:

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11-15-97 Win9x/DOS7/DOS6 Original ©Trick, in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE, and in MYTIPS31.TXT, part of W31-11D.ZIP:


COMMAND.COM


For y'all DOS fans out there I have decided to list all Win95/98/ME [a.k.a. MS-DOS 7.xx/8.00] COMMAND.COM parameters, including the ones Microsoft "forgot" to tell us about. :)
When you run:

COMMAND /?

from any MS-DOS prompt, you get this help screen:

"Starts a new copy of the Windows Command Interpreter:

COMMAND [[drive:]path] [device] [/E:nnnnn] [/L:nnnn] [/U:nnn] [/P] [/MSG]
        [/LOW] [/Y [/[C|K] command]]

[drive:]path    Specifies the directory containing COMMAND.COM.
device          Specifies the device to use for command input and output.
/E:nnnnn        Sets the initial environment size to nnnnn bytes.
                (nnnnn should be between 256 and 32,768).
/L:nnnn         Specifies internal buffers length (requires /P as well).
                (nnnn should be between 128 and 1,024).
/U:nnn          Specifies the input buffer length (requires /P as well).
                (nnn should be between 128 and 255).
/P              Makes the new Command Interpreter permanent (can't exit).
/MSG            Stores all error messages in memory (requires /P as well).
/LOW            Forces COMMAND to keep its resident data in low memory.
/Y              Steps through the batch program specified by /C or /K.
/C command      Executes the specified command and returns.
/K command      Executes the specified command and continues running."

And the help display stops here. But now comes the nice part. :)
The COMMAND.COM switches below are NOT DOCUMENTED (so I added them to this list):

/D              Prevents the execution of AUTOEXEC.BAT at bootup [MS-DOS 5]
                or disables disk "Fail" response if using /F [MS-DOS 6/7/8].
/F              Removes the "Abort, Retry, Fail" error message and if the
                disk is not ready automatically goes to "Fail".
/T              Loads COMMAND module in low RAM and executes AUTOEXEC.BAT.
/Z              Displays ERRORLEVEL return code messages after executing
                external DOS commands.

IMPORTANT: To become familiar with COMMAND.COM's documented command line parameters:

The following COMMAND.COM switches can be included on the CONFIG.SYS SHELL line (makes the command interpreter permanent until the next reboot): /E, /F, /L, /MSG, /P, /U and /Z.
Example of Win9x/ME CONFIG.SYS SHELL line:

SHELL=C:\COMMAND.COM C:\ /E:512 /L:128 /U:128 /F /P /Z

All switches can be run from any DOS prompt (except /P and /MSG if you already mentioned them on the SHELL line in your CONFIG.SYS).

NOTE: See "COMMAND.COM HIDDEN PARAMETERS", also in SECRETS.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE], for complete details on all undocumented COMMAND.COM parameters.

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


RUN FASTER


This interesting Win9x tip was sent by The Captain.

"If you choose Run under the Start Menu, you can click on the down arrow and select any item that is already used in the list. But if your Run list is fairly long, there's a faster way. Type the first letter(s) of the item you want to use, then press the up or down cursor key to select the last entry that starts with that letter (or letters)."

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11-3-97 Win9x ©Trick in TIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


AUTO ARRANGE


In Windows Explorer, My Computer, Desktop + Network Neighborhood (they all use the Windows Explorer interface) you can have all your open folders keep the "Auto Arrange" icons setting turned on by default.
To do this just follow these steps:

  1. Open a folder, any folder.
  2. Select View from the menu bar and then click Arrange.
  3. Arrange the icons the way you want (by Name, Size, Type or Date).
  4. Click on View and Arrange again.
  5. Select Auto Arrange.
  6. Press and hold Ctrl while closing the folder window.
  7. The folder should now have Auto Arrange always selected.

Auto Arrange should be the default selection for all existing folders, and also for all the ones you are going to create from now on.
To line up a folder's icons (again) by Name, Size, etc., all you need to do is click the respective "Arrange by..." icon setting.

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11-3-97 Win9x ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


WALLPAPER POSITION


In Windows 95/98 you have the following options for displaying a background wallpaper (bitmap):

  1. "Centered" or "Tiled" and
  2. "Stretch to fit the desktop" (this one is available ONLY to MS Plus! for Win95 and OSR2 users).

NOTE: To learn how to stretch your Desktop bitmap to the screen size in Win98, read "STRETCH WALLPAPER", also in TIPS98.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE].

By editing the Registry you can add a third option: to position the wallpaper anywhere on your screen by specifying values for the X and Y coordinates.
Run Regedit.exe and go to:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

Create 2 new Strings and call them "WallpaperOriginX" and respectively "WallpaperOriginY" (don't type the quotes). Give these entries the desired values to position your bitmap off the center on your Desktop.
Example:
"WallpaperOriginX"="1"
"WallpaperOriginY"="1"

NOTE: The repositioned wallpaper must be smaller than your desktop size (duh...).

MS Plus! for Win95, OSR2 and Win98 users can stretch the wallpaper size to fit your screen, by adding a new String entry (under the same Registry key above):
"WallpaperStyle"="2"
Don't type the quotes.
Accepted values for "WallpaperStyle" are:

MS Plus! for Win95 users: The wallpaper style can also be changed without modifying the Registry:

  1. Right-click on an empty spot on your Desktop.
  2. Select Properties.
  3. Click on the Plus! tab.
  4. Check the "Stretch desktop wallpaper to fit the screen" box.
  5. Click OK or Apply.

Have fun!

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11-1-97 Win95/OSR1 ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


SAVE SETTINGS - Part 1


These Registry workarounds seem to work ONLY with Windows 95 (retail) and Windows 95a OSR1 (upgraded with SP1).
This one is really annoying. Whenever I open an Explorer or Control Panel window a second time (or again after a while), it doesn't have the same "look" as it used to, especially if I initially customized that particular window (enabled the Toolbar, display items as a plain List or with full Details, moved or/and resized that window etc).
But there are 2 ways to have your Explorer/Control Panel window keep its settings for good:

  1. Start Regedit and go to:

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

    In the right hand pane you'll find the "NoSaveSettings" key. No matter what value is given to this Registry key, the Desktop/Explorer/Control Panel settings will still be modified by Windows 95 again after opening 29 of those windows (that's the maximum number of window settings "stored" in Windows 95's Registry "memory"). MS IE 4/5 and Windows 98 up this limit to 99.
    Now delete the "NoSaveSettings" key. Close the Registry Editor and press F5 after left-clicking your mouse on an empty Desktop area, to refresh it.

  2. Run Regedit and go to:

    HKEY_USERS\xxxxx\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

    Substitute the "xxxxx" string above with your password profile name, or look for the ".Default" key if you don't have a password profile:

    HKEY_USERS\.Default\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

    Delete the "NoSaveSettings" key in the right hand pane. Close Regedit and refresh the Desktop (implement Registry settings without a restart), as described above.

From now on all your window "looks" will stay the way you told them to.
BTW: Have you made a backup copy of your Registry beforehand? I was hoping you'd answer yes to this one. For your own sake. :)

NOTE: Read "SAVE SETTINGS - Part 2", also in REGISTRY.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE], for an alternative Registry fix to keep your most used window positions in Windows 95/98.

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10-22-97 Win9x Registry ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


DEFAULT BROWSER - Part 1


You can have a browser other than Microsoft Internet Explorer (default) launch when you (double-)click the Internet icon on your Win95/98 Desktop.
May it be Netscape Navigator, Communicator or whatever your favorite browser would be, this can be done by editing the Registry.
Start Regedit and go to:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{FBF23B42-E3F0-101B-8488-00AA003E56F8}\Shell\Open\Command

(Double-)click the "Default" key in the right hand pane, and change the line that points to Internet Explorer to let's say Netscape Communicator default path and filename (modify it to match the location of your browser executable is different on your system):

C:\Program Files\Netscape\Program\Netscape.exe

Click OK when ready, close Regedit and press F5 to refresh the Registry.
In case you want to revert back to your default Win95/98 startup browser (Internet Explorer), type it back into the "Default" String, under the same Registry key above.
Default Internet Explorer path is:

C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\Iexplore.exe

NOTE: You may also need to apply these fixes: "DEFAULT BROWSER", also in TIPS95.TXT, and "DEFAULT BROWSER - Part 2", also in REGISTRY.TXT [both part of W95-11D.EXE], to make this trick work properly.

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