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WinDOwS Tricks - Part 11

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3-24-99 Win9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7 Registry ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


Sometimes when you try to shut down/reboot/restart your Windows 9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7 computer, you might get an error message like:

"PROGRAM.EXE is still running. Close all programs first, and then exit Windows."

This is because once in a while [and more often than we'd like :(] certain buggy [especially older, 16-bit (Win16) or poorly written] programs/games hang, not allowing you to exit the Windows GUI.
One (temporary) solution is to perform the "three finger salute" (Alt + Ctrl + Del) and click End Task in Windows 95/98/ME or terminate the non-responding program/process (Task Manager in Windows NT4/2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7) to force the incriminated (locked up) application to exit, and then shut down/restart Windows as usual.
But I found a better (permanent) solution, valid for all Windows 32-bit (Win32) OSes.
Run Regedit.exe and go to:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

In the right hand pane look for the "AutoEndTasks" String Value. Create it if not present: right-click select New String Value name it "AutoEndTasks" (without quotes).
Now (double-)click on "AutoEndTasks" and give it the value of 1 to enable the "forced program exit" feature.
From now on, whenever you want to shut down/restart/reboot Windows, you won't be "greeted" by those error messages anymore. :)
You can also disable the "forced exit" by giving "AutoEndTasks" the value of 0, or by simply deleting it.
These Registry changes do not require a system restart.

See also "END TASK TIMEOUT", also in REGISTRY.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE].

More info:

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3-24-99 Win9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7 Registry ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


One of the advantages using a 32-bit (Win32) OS (Windows 9x, NT, 2000, ME, XP, 2003, Vista, 2008, 7), is that all 32-bit applications/games start in protected mode, and furthermore, in Windows NT4/2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7 (true 32-bit multitasking multithreading OSes) they are alloted a separate memory space, thus making them less prone to crash/lock up.
On the other hand, older 16-bit Windows apps (Win16) and DOS programs [these are all 16-bit :)] running in a dedicated Virtual DOS Machine (VDM, a.k.a. DOS session/box/window) are more likely to freeze Windows, especially upon shut down.
But who hasn't seen a Windows program that didn't lock up once in a while?
Fortunately, there is a way to shut down an "offending" application, by performing the "three finger salute" (Alt + Ctrl + Del) and then clicking End Task (Windows 95/98/ME only), or run Task Manager (Alt + Ctrl + Del) and terminate the non-responding program/process/service (Windows NT4/2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7).
The only disadvantage using this feature is that sometimes Windows waits a long time (sometimes longer than a minute) to finally acknowledge that a particular program is "Not responding" to the shutdown call, and only after that allowing you to manually shut it down by clicking the End Task button.
But this can be changed in all Windows 32-bit (Win32) OSes.
Run Regedit and go to:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

Create two new String Values in the right hand pane:

  1. Right-click select New String Value call it "HungAppTimeout" (no quotes). (Double-)click on "HungAppTimeout" and give it a value of 1000 (default is 5000 milliseconds = 5 seconds).
    This value sets the manual timeout until a program is terminated by using System (Task) Manager.

  2. Right-click select New String Value call it "WaitToKillAppTimeout" (no quotes). (Double-)click on "WaitToKillAppTimeout" and give a value of 2000 (default is 20000 milliseconds = 20 seconds).
    This value sets the automatic timeout until Windows shuts down/restarts, while trying to close all open programs.

An additional Registry setting, valid ONLY for Windows NT4/2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7, allows the administrator/power user to control the timeout delay all open services, apps, DLLs etc... take to close and "clean up" after themselves and/or save any cached data to disk(s) before complete system shut down. At the end of this interval, the remaining open services will be automatically shut down by Windows.
If your OS is running lots of services, this may take a looong while. :(
But you can decrease the default "killing" time delay alloted to each service by starting Regedit and going to:


Right-click on the "WaitToKillServiceTimeout" String value in the right hand pane select Modify type any integer number between 1000 and 20000 (I use 2000 = 2 seconds) click OK close the Registry Editor.
In case your Registry doesn't have the "WaitToKillServiceTimeout" String, create it: right-click on an empty spot in the Regedit window select New String name it "WaitToKillServiceTimeout".
Default value (or if not present) is 20000 milliseconds = 20 seconds.
Restart Windows when done so all these changes take effect.

CAUTION: You can try different values here to find your optimal timeouts. Minimum in all 3 cases is 1 millisecond (1/1000 of a second), but it's more than likely Windows will hang! :)
If using any time sensitive or critical applications (i.e. MS Exchange, DNS, SQL), you may want to increase or leave those numbers unchanged, to avoid possible system errors, lockups, and/or data loss.

See also "FORCED EXIT", also in REGISTRY.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE].

More info:

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3-24-99 Win9x/ME Registry ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


When you press Alt + Tab you access the so called "cool switch" feature, which allows you to switch among all open applications, and restore or maximize the one you want, by highlighting its icon.
To permanently enable this feature, start Regedit and go to:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

Create a new String in the right hand pane: right-click select New String call it "CoolSwitch" (don't type the quotes).
Now (double-)click on "CoolSwitch" and give it the value of 1, to enable it.
To disable it (for security purposes in multiuser computing environments), give it the value of 0.
This setting works ONLY on Windows 95/OSR1/OSR2 systems ONLY WITHOUT MS IE 4/5/6 installed!
The following "cool switch" Registry settings work ONLY with Windows 98/ME systems (all these install MS IE 4/5 by default), and let you adjust the width (number of columns) and height (number of rows) of the Alt + Tab dialog box.
Just open Regedit again, and go to the same key above.
Create two new DWORD Values in the right hand pane:

  1. Right-click select New DWORD call it "CoolSwitchColumns" (no quotes). (Double-)click on "CoolSwitchColumns" and select the Decimal box.
    Give it any integer value between 1 and 99 (default column size is 7).

  2. Right-click select New DWORD call it "CoolSwitchRows" (no quotes). (Double-)click on "CoolSwitchRows" and select the Decimal box.
    Give it any integer value between 1 and 99 (default row size is 3).

These settings will resize the "cool switch" box to whatever you want.
To restore the Windows defaults, just delete both DWORD values above.

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3-9-99 Win9x/ME ©Trick in TIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


For this tip to work, you need to be subscribed to an Internet Service Provider (ISP), and connect to the Internet through the Windows 9x/ME built-in Dial-Up Networking (DUN) tool, using one of these TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) protocols: PPP (Point To Point) through an analog dial-up modem (i.e. 56K), or PPPOE through an xDSL (Digital Subscriber Line) modem, or RASPPOE through a digital Cable modem.
To avoid accessing your Internet Connection link hidden in your DUN folder, to log on to your ISP, which usually requires at least 4-5 mouse (double-)clicks, you can use one of these three methods, to reduce this process to a mere single (double-)click:

  1. Open the DUN folder: right-click on the My Computer icon select Open (double-)click on the Dial-Up Networking folder highlight your connection icon (has your ISP's name) right-click on it select Create shortcut click OK when asked whether to create the shortcut on your Desktop.
    This will make a new DUN shortcut (link) with the name "Shortcut to Your ISP's Name". You can rename it if you want (I hate "Shortcut to..."), or move it to a different folder (I suggest the Start Menu, for easy access).
    You can also change its default icon. Just right-click on it click Change icon browse to the icon of your choice, in any of these formats: .DLL, .EXE, .ICL, .ICO click OK twice.
    Just (double-)click on it to connect to your ISP.

  2. Open the DUN folder: right-click on the My Computer icon select Open (double-)click on the Dial-Up Networking folder highlight your connection icon (has your ISP's name) left-drag it onto the Desktop or the folder of your choice.
    This will create a new .DUN file (DUN shortcut) with your ISP's name, containing all your custom TCP/IP settings. It's actually a plain text file, and can be edited with Notepad to modify your connection preferences.
    .DUN files are associated by default with the Dial-Up Networking tool (Rnaapp.exe, located in C:\Windows\System). Do NOT rename the .DUN file extension! If you do, you won't be able to use it as DUN shortcut anymore.
    The .DUN file acts exactly like the shortcut created at paragraph #1 above: connects to your ISP when (double-)clicked. You can move the .DUN file to the folder of your choice, just keep it handy (i.e. in the Start Menu) so you can run it directly. Would be redundant/useless to create another shortcut to an already existing shortcut. ;)
    The only difference is that a .DUN file does NOT allow changing its default icon. :(

  3. Create a new Dial-Up Connection shortcut: right-click on an empty spot on the Desktop select New Shortcut copy this text string in the Command line box:


    Call it whatever you want, and then click Finish to save your shortcut.
    You need to replace "My DUN" (generic example) with your actual connectoid name, to match the one you created when you subscribed to your ISP. And if yours uses LFNs (Long File Names), i.e. more than one word, and/or more than 8 characters, type it in between quote marks as shown above.
    Change the paths to match yours if different.
    Such command lines are case insensitive.

From now on you can run one of these new shortcuts to open the Dial-up Networking dialog box with a single mouse click, if you are using Windows 98/ME, or 95/OSR1/OSR2 with MS Internet Explorer 4/5/6 (or newer) installed, and the single click option enabled for local links/shortcuts.

To avoid opening the Dial-Up Server tool hidden deep into your Dial-Up Networking folder by "mousing" around at least 4-5 times, do this instead:
Create a new Dial-Up Server shortcut: right-click on an empty spot on the Desktop select New Shortcut copy this text string in the Command line box:


Change the paths to match yours if different.
Call it whatever you want, and then click Finish to save your shortcut.
From now on you can run this new shortcut directly to open the Dial-up Server dialog box with a single mouse (double-)click.

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1-27-99 AOL Win9x Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


There are two ways you can make sure your serial rodent (connected to one of your computer's serial COM ports) runs at top speed in Windows 9x:

  1. This applies especially to LogiTech serial mice owners, but other users who installed the free LogiTech MouseWare drivers can benefit too.
    Start Regedit and go to:


    Note that the "Serial" subkey above might have other values like: "SerialM", "SerialV" or "GTI0001" on some systems, depending on your mouse hardware type.
    In the right hand pane of the "0000" subkey (default, but yours might actually be 0001, 0002 etc) scroll down to the "BaudRate" String.
    Modify its value (default is 1200) by (double-)clicking on it. Type in 9600 in the Value Data field. Click OK.
    Exit the Registry Editor. Press F5 on the Desktop to make changes take effect without rebooting.

  2. Pop in your Windows 9x Setup CD-ROM, and extract the file VCOMM.VXD.
    Use the EXTRACT command lines below, presuming your CD-ROM drive letter is D (change if necessary).

    • Win95/OSR1 users:


    • Win95 B/C OSR2 users:


    • Win98/98 SE users:


    Then move VCOMM.VXD to your C:\Windows\System\Vmm32 subfolder. Reboot.
    This way Windows 9x will use this protected mode 32-bit driver instead of the one built into VMM32.VXD, a "generic" Virtual eXtended Driver (VXD) file located in C:\Windows\System, the OS created at install time, and which takes care of the basic hardware setup. But your hardware configuration might have changed since, therefore it's a good idea to rely on individual drivers to rule out potential bugs, because VCOMM.VXD takes care of ALL your communication ports, including the one your modem is connected to.

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1-27-99 Win9x AOL Registry ©Trick in AOLTIPS.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:

AOL 4.0/5.0 MTU FIX

This Registry fix applies to ALL AOL users who installed AOL v4.0 or v5.0 32-bit software for Windows 95/98, and is aimed to obtain MAXimum transfer speed on AOL, with a 28 - 56 kbps analog modem.
This is THE ONLY way you can force AOL 4.0 and 5.0 to use a MTU value other than 1500 or 1472 (default), which is optimized ONLY for LAN/WAN networks, xDSL and cable and satellite modems, but NOT for analog modems, no matter how you connect to AOL:

CREDITS: This workaround was successfully experimented by Arvid with AOL 4.0 and by Jeff with AOL 5.0. Many thanks for sharing!


When you install AOL 4.0 or 5.0 on your Windows 9x computer, it creates this new Registry key, you can see by running Regedit:


and in the right hand pane you'll notice one of these DWORD values (default):

mtu   0x000005dc (1500)


mtu   0x000005c0 (1472)


  1. You MUST apply this fix [delete the "aolsock" Registry key], and then set your TCP/IP MTU to 576, as described in "AOL MAXMTU REVISITED", also in AOLTIPS.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE], to make all this work properly!

  2. On some Win9x machines you'll also notice this AOL 4/5 Registry key (using Regedit):

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\America Online\AOL\AolsockBack

    If your Registry doesn't have this key, you need to create it: start Regedit go to:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\America Online\AOL

    right-click on "AOL" select New click Key type "AolsockBack" (no quotes) click OK or press Enter.
    This is the "AolsockBack" MTU DWORD value in the right hand pane (default):

    mtu   0x000005dc (1500)


    mtu   0x000005c0 (1472)

    To create a new "mtu" DWORD (if not present) under "AolsockBack": right-click in the right hand pane select New DWORD Value name it "mtu" (no quotes) click OK or press Enter.
    To change the MTU used by AOL to 576 (for MAX speed) under "AolsockBack": right-click on "mtu" select Modify check the Decimal box type 576 click OK or press Enter.
    Now restart Windows and log on to AOL.
    According to Arvid (using AOL v4.0) and to Jeff (using AOL v5.0), their download speeds went from 1-2 KB/sec to 4-5 KB/sec, sometimes even faster, ONLY after applying this tweak!
    Have fun.

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1-27-99 Win9x ©Trick in TIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


Another cool workaround from a good friend (Ojatex).

"Here is a quick way to reenable a program that has a key file residing in bad sectors. [This happened to an AOL 4.x DLL file on my system.]

  1. Copy/Paste the folder which contains the program that isn't working to a new location. [In this case the AOL folder.]
  2. The Paste operation will halt with a report that "FILE NAME" can't be copied.
  3. Rename the file residing in the bad sectors.
  4. Obtain a fresh copy of the file in the bad sectors from Backup, prior copies, FTP, the vendor, or a friend.
  5. Paste the fresh file into the appropriate location.

This little workaround saves all those AOL Registry Tweaks, favorites, email, phone numbers, modem setup and re-download/reinstallation of the program."

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


You can turn off modem logging in Windows 9x.
By default all modem activity is logged into a text file called after your modem's name installed in Control Panel System Device Manager Modem Your modem name. This file is located in your Windows folder (default), and has the .LOG extension.
Example: if the name of your installed modem is "US Robotics 56K Fax INT PnP", then your modem's log file name would be:
• Long File Name (LFN):
US Robotics 56K Fax INT PnP.log
• short file name (8.3):
But you can disable ALL modem logging by applying a simple Registry change.
First, make sure your modem is completely disconnected (offline). Then run Regedit and go to:


Your modem might be found under the 0001, 0002, 0003, etc keys, depending on your particular setup, and on how many modems were installed on your system (i.e. if you replaced your old modem with a new one).
The String to modify is "LoggingPath". (Double-)click on it and delete ALL characters found there. Exit the Registry Editor, and press F5 on the Desktop to make the change "stick" (refresh).
You also need to delete your (now useless) modem log file from C:\Windows.
Similarly, you can change the path of your modem log file to anything you want, also by editing the "LoggingPath" String value above, and typing a new path: drive letter and folder name.
Only make sure you BACKUP your Registry BEFORE making ANY changes!

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2-9-99 Win3.1x/9x/ME AOL ©Trick in AOLTIPS.TXT, part of both W95-11D.EXE and W31-11D.ZIP:


Many thanks Ed for your cool trick!

"Saving your AOL artwork and Personal Filing Cabinet

This is a little trick I learned when my AOL software crashed (due to a power surge and I didn't have a recent backup) and I found out my Personal Filing Cabinet was too large to be transferred to another installation using AOL's standard procedures (i.e. reinstalling the software). Follow these steps to recover your information:

  1. From Windows 9x, exit to DOS.
  2. Rename your original AOL directory to something like AOL30BAK (RENAME C:\AOL30 C:\AOL30BAK where C represents the drive letter to which you installed AOL.)
  3. Restart Windows and install the AOL software, being sure NOT, repeat NOT, to let the installation software search your hard drive for a previous AOL installation.
  4. After AOL has installed, DO NOT start it. Exit Windows again to DOS.
  5. Go to the AOL30BAK\IDB directory (CD\AOL30BAK\IDB) and copy everything but the MAIN.IDX file to your new AOL IDB directory (COPY *.* C:\AOL30\IDB). DO NOT, repeat DO NOT tell the COPY command to overwrite files always when it asks if you want to.
    You can overwrite every file but MAIN.IDX. Failure to follow this step could cause problems later on.
  6. Go to the AOL30BAK\ORGANIZE directory (CD\AOL30BAK\ORGANIZE). Copy the contents of this directory to your new AOL directory (COPY *.* C:\AOL30\ORGANIZE).
  7. Restart Windows. Start AOL and follow the instructions for signing on as a new user. When AOL asks, enter your Screen Name and Password to sign on to the network. Go to the Members drop-down menu and select PREFERENCES.
    Set both Graphics and Personal Filing Cabinet to at least 30MB.
  8. Sign-off and exit AOL. Then exit to DOS one last time.
  9. Go to the AOL30BAK\IDB directory (CD\AOL30BAK\IDB) and copy the MAIN.IDX file to your new AOL IDB directory (COPY MAIN.IDX C:\AOL30\IDB), overwriting as necessary.
  10. And that's it. When you sign on in your new installation, AOL tries to create a new Personal Filing Cabinet for you. Since your old filing cabinet is already in the ORGANIZE directory and providing that it is not corrupted, AOL recognizes it and acts accordingly. Your data should be recovered. Copying MAIN.IDX into your new installation preserves any artwork you have acquired, and when you sign on again the software will automatically update and (providing none of the files in the IDB directory is corrupt) all of your old settings should be restored. But double check your modem setup all the same.

I've only tried this with AOL 3.0 (I don't care for 4.0 because of the way it handles mail), but I suspect it will work with 4.0 as well because the architecture is basically similar."

UPDATE: "Here's another way to save your File Cabinet if you have to reinstall AOL (this works with AOL 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0). Since AOL will save the Download and Organize folders when you uninstall, copy only your Idb folder somewhere else, uninstall, and then reinstall AOL. Then copy it back under your new AOL folder, replacing the one there."
This update courtesy of Tom.

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2-9-99 Win9x Registry ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


Got an IBM scanner? Read and learn. Keep'em coming, Ojatex!

"Here's a tip for those users at the "low" end of the Power Scale which saves me 3% System Resources on Bootup [plus a lot of hard drive space for those in the C:\ squeeze]. This tip was discovered when I installed an IBM colour scanner.
  1. Install the scanning and OCR software to a portable drive to save 53.6MB of hard drive space. [IBM Tech Support frowns on this practice.] This step is optional depending on your available hard drive space.
  2. From the Registry, backup then delete from:


    the string which reads:

    "InstantAccess"="D:\\XEROX\\BIN\\INSTAN~1.EXE /h"

    Substitute the proper drive letter for D depending on the location of the software. Now on Bootup, Instant Access won't load automatically. For those who need to husband their system resources carefully, after Bootup do a Ctrl+Alt+Del just to see what can be done away with.
  3. Make a shortcut in the START Menu to the program whose string was deleted when you need to use the program.

BTW: IBM's Tech Help will not divulge how to disable "Instant Access" loading on Bootup. HA! And they were on my short list when I replace this old Compaq.

PS: MS Money99 is another candidate on the "resource hog list". It loads a program called "loadwc" on bootup and it is a real resource drainer. Users complain in the Newsgroups, but the MS MVPs won't tell them how to stop this resource gobble.

Ojatex [who needs every little bit of system resources]"

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2-9-99 Win9x Registry ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


Another cool tip from The Captain...

"Configuring Internal PC Speaker Beeps

You can use this tip to enable or disable the internal PC speaker in Windows 95, 98 or NT 4.0:

  1. Click Start Run Type Regedit. Then press ENTER or click OK.
  2. Browse to this Registry key:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Sound

  3. Find the Beep value in the right hand pane, or create it if it doesn't exist, by clicking Edit New String Value and naming it "Beep" (no quotes).
  4. (Double-)click on Beep and change its value to "Yes" (no quotes) if you want PC speaker beeping turned on, or "No" to have the beep sounds turned off."

NOTE: This topic is also included in TRICKS98.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE].

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11-11-95 Win9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7/8/8.1/2012/10/2016/2019 Registry ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


This works with all Windows OSes 32-bit (x86) + 64-bit (x64): 95, 98, 98 SE, ME, NT4, 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, 2008, 7, 8, 8.1, 2012, 10, 2016, 2019 + newer.
There are 3 ways of getting rid of ALL those pesky, annoying Desktop shortcut arrows (overlay icons):

  1. UNSAFE (?):

    Open Regedit and go to all these keys:


    Each of these registry keys has the "IsShortcut" String Value in the right hand pane. Right-click on it select Delete click Yes/OK to confirm.
    Close Regedit and restart Windows.

    UPDATE: "This prevents Windows 9x [95/98/98 SE/ME] from recognizing these files as shortcuts, and also causes TrayMenu (free GPL) to stop working properly. :(
    To disable the arrows, one should change the arrow icon (SHELL32.DLL,29 = shortcut overlay icon) to an empty (transparent, blank) icon, using the next topic below: 'CHANGE ARROWS'."
    This update courtesy of Yuri.

    NOTE: Some Win9x programs might "complain" or stop working properly after deleting these values, so BACKUP your Registry FIRST!

  2. SAFER (?):

    Submitted by Michael.

    "To safely hack the Registry to permanently remove those funky little shortcut arrows without adversely affecting your program shortcuts, start Regedit and go to all these keys:


    Each of these registry keys has the "IsShortcut" String Value in the right hand pane. Right-click on it select Rename change it to read "IsNotShortcut" (no quotes).
    This forces Windows to treat shortcuts as real files, but Explorer (C:\WINDOWS\EXPLORER.EXE) may "misbehave" after these changes, and/or Windows XP/2003/Vista/2008/7/8/8.1/2012/10/2016/2019 Start menu/Taskbar shortcut pinning feature may stop working properly. ;-( In such cases just rename "IsNotShortcut" back to the original: "IsShortcut".
    Close Regedit and restart Windows.
    The arrows are gone now, but Windows still sees all the affected icons as shortcuts and treats them accordingly. :)"

  3. "ELEGANT" (?):

    • Windows Vista/2008/7/8/8.1/2012/10/2016/2019 users: get WinaeroTweaker (freeware).
      Use WinaeroTweaker: Shortcuts Shortcut Arrow Customize Shortcut Arrow to replace the shortcut's "arrowed" icon with "No arrow": its own built-in transparent (empty, blank) icon.

    • Windows 95/98/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003 users: get TweakUI Power Toy [110 KB, free, unsupported].
      Use TweakUI to replace the shortcut's "arrowed" icon with a transparent (empty, blank) icon.
      Get the empty (transparent, blank) icon as separate file [766 B, free, right-click to save!].

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11-11-95 Win9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7/8/8.1/2012/10/2016/2019 Registry ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


To change the shortcut arrows on your shortcut icons, open Regedit and go to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Icons

Change the value labeled SHELL32.DLL,29 (could be different on your system depending on your Windows OS edition) to another icon of your choice. Browse your fixed/local drives/partitions/volumes for the desired transparent (empty, blank) icon, in either .DLL, .EXE, .ICO or .ICL format. Just make sure you type in the full path to this file.
SHELL32.DLL is located in your C:\Windows\System folder in Windows 9x [95/98/98 SE/ME] or C:\Windows\System32 in Windows NTx [NT4/2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7/8/8.1/2012/10/2016/2019/newer].
In this case a transparent icon means a 32x32 pixels (or larger) icon, in 16, 256, 64000 or 16 millions colors, "painted" with the "see-through" color (most icon editors are calling it clear, transparent or see-through) for all pixels (squares), except ONE. This last pixel, located in the lower left corner, has to have assigned the black color. Use your favorite icon creating/editing tool to do this.

You can assign a see-through (transparent, blank, empty) icon to all your (Desktop) shortcut icons by using one of the free(ware) programs listed in "DITCH THOSE ARROWS!" (see above), under the "3. ELEGANT (?)" section.

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2-1-98 Win9x/ME Original Registry ©Trick in REGISTRY.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


This applies only to dial-up (analog) modem owners using Windows 95/98/ME.
To customize your modem's default initialization string, open Regedit and go to:


and change the default value, or add new strings, but BACKUP YOUR REGISTRY FILES FIRST!
Depending on your installed modem you might have all three or only one of these subkeys in your Windows Registry.
00nn represents the subkey number assigned to your modem, and can be any integer number between 0 and 50. Examples: 0000, 0001... 0011... etc.
These are mine (ONLY an example):




The strings above apply to these 56K V.90 internal modems (as displayed in the Control Panel Modems applet):Note that both are hardware modems, NOT software based Winmodems, which use slightly different INI strings.
Some of these strings include the AT prefix and some don't. Also, some include the full initialization string necessary to initiate your modem upon connecting. You need to respect these conventions for proper operation.
The "easy way" would be to open Control Panel Modems Your modem name Properties Connection Advanced Extra settings add/modify whatever you want, but would THAT be fun... without messing with the Registry? ;-)

FYI: I do NOT e-mail ANY modem INI strings/command sets upon request! Refer to the web pages listed at the end of this article for info on other modems.

Below are a few recommended INI strings (I use all the time) to add to the default, for ALL 56K modem owners, no matter which protocol is used (3COM/US Robotics x2, Lucent/Rockwell 56KFlex, or the ITU V.90/V.92 standards):

You can also try different values for S10 and S11 until you reach an optimum, depending (not only) on your modem type, line quality, location and ISP used.
S10, S11 and S28 can be also used with most 28.8 - 33.6 kbps modems.

CAUTION: Some of these strings might NOT work with your particular modem! READ your modem's documentation for details.

To learn more on how to maximize your modem's performance, read these topics [also part of W95-11D.EXE], applying to all Windows 9x/ME users:

A MUST: Modem INI strings.

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12-12-95 Win9x/Win31 Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE, and in MYTIPS31.TXT, part of W31-11D.ZIP:



If you try to start an installation/setup program that installs a new application/program on your Windows 9x system from a temporary folder that is listed in your path (your PATH line is found in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file, in the root directory of your boot drive, C:\ by default), it may end up hanging/locking up your machine!
This BUG is valid for some older (read "poorly written") 32-bit and some BUGgy 16-bit Windows 3.xx programs that you might attempt to install under the Windows 9x environment, and the Setup included with that particular program uses an older routine, that requires the presence of all installation files in a directory/folder NOT listed in your PATH.


To avoid this BUG, run any Windows Setup/Install program from a (sub)directory/(sub)folder not listed on your PATH line, to ensure a "smooth" installation. Also check your AUTOEXEC.BAT file for the contents of your PATH or SET PATH lines.
You can edit AUTOEXEC.BAT with Notepad in Windows, or EDIT.COM in DOS, BUT BACKUP your ORIGINAL file FIRST!
If you modify your AUTOEXEC.BAT, you'll need to reboot for the changes to take effect, or create a batch file to include your PATH statement, and run it from the native/real/true/pure MS-DOS mode, OUTSIDE the Windows GUI, similar to booting with the "Command prompt only" option from the Windows 9x Startup Menu.


Read "COMPLETE MSDOS.SYS REFERENCE" and "2 DOS OR NOT 2 DOS", also in MYTIPS95.TXT [part of W95-11D.EXE], to learn how to boot to native MS-DOS mode the easy way.


To see the Windows 9x Start Menu at work, check out my Startup Menu page.

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12-12-95 Win9x/ME Original ©Trick in MYTIPS95.TXT, part of W95-11D.EXE:


I bet you've heard of this one before, but here it is anyway... ;)
I have discovered some time ago that if you right-click on any command line in any dialog box, you are presented with a Windows 9x/ME standard "Undo/Cut/Copy/Paste/Delete/Select All" drop-down menu, and you can do any or all of these operations on ANY open window that has the command line box available. Most of them are available even in some of your Password dialog boxes... Talk about Windows security! :(
BTW: The standard keyboard "combos" work here too:

Example: I found this pretty useful when I want to paste a web address (URL) from Netscape into Internet Explorer, or the other way around.
You can even paste your password this way into the Dial-Up Networking (DUN) applet box to connect to the Internet, that is if you are using an ISP that supports the DUN (TCP/IP) features under Windows 95/OSR1/OSR2 (this may NOT work if using Windows 98 or ME though).
Cut & Paste away... ;)

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