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Thread: Windows 98 Tips

  1. #1
    Right turn Clyde Nokia's Avatar
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    Aug 2003
    Button Moon

    Lightbulb Windows 98 Tips

    I cut and pasted these from a web site quite a while ago and still refer to some of them today!

    Unfortunately, it was that long ago I cant remember where I got them from.

    I divided them up into various O/S's, so I will post them in seperate threads to make searching easier!

    The first couple are VERY basic verging on stupid but since it is a cut and paste its not up to me to edit it! So just ignore them(if you know them)

    Speed up your programs

    The improved Disk Defragmenter in Windows 98 gathers the program files that you use most often and moves them to faster parts of the hard disk.

    To run Disk Defragmenter:

    1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Disk Defragmenter.
    2. Click Settings, and make sure that the Rearrange program files so my programs start faster option is selected.
    3. Click OK two times to start the process.

    You can schedule Disk Defragmenter as part of your regularly scheduled tasks in the Windows Maintenance Wizard.

    Getting back to the desktop quickly

    Ever tried to get back to the desktop when you have several windows open? It's quite a task minimizing all of those windows one by one. That's why Windows 98 has a Show Desktop button conveniently located on the taskbar. No matter how many windows are open, you can click just this button to minimize all windows at once. Try it out! If you change your mind and don't want to use the desktop, you can click the Show Desktop button again to restore all of your windows.
    Note If you don't see the Show Desktop button, right-click the taskbar, point to Toolbars, and make sure Quick Launch is checked.

    Rearranging programs on the Start menu

    Is there a program on your Start menu that you always use? Would it be more convenient to have it at the top of the menu? You can easily rearrange the programs on your Start menu by dragging and dropping!

    Click the Start button, and then point to Programs. To move a program, drag the icon to the place in the list where you want it. You can also move program groups folders by dragging them in the list.

    Give startup problems the boot

    Normally, you would create a startup disk when you installed Windows 98. If you never made a startup disk, if you have lost it, or if yours is old (Startup disks created with previous versions of Windows are not compatible with Windows 98.), now is a great time to make a new one. It’s easy.

    To create a boot disk, you will need a blank, 1.2 megabyte (MB) disk. You may also need your Windows 98 CD, so be sure to have it handy. To create a startup disk:

    1. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then click Add/Remove Programs.
    2. Click the Startup Disk tab, and then click the Create Disk button.
    3. Label a floppy disk "Windows 98 Startup Disk," insert the disk in your floppy disk drive when prompted, and then click OK. Click OK again, and then follow the instructions on your screen.
    4. Store the disk in a safe place.

    What else can you do to protect yourself? Practicing regular computer maintenance is always a good idea, and can be particularly helpful if you are recovering from a system crash. Windows 98 comes with tools such as Disk Defragmenter to help keep your computer in top shape.

    Under normal operation, files and applications that are stored on your computer are often divided into small units and scattered around the hard disk, which can make recovering them very difficult.
    Disk Defragmenter places files and applications into contiguous groups, thereby improving the chances of recovering your data (since files will not be scattered all over the drive), and keeping your system operating at optimum speed. Other tools in Windows 98 for keeping your system healthy include:

    • Disk Cleanup: Cleans your computer's hard disk by removing files you don't need, and lets you know when your hard disk is getting full.

    • ScanDisk: Checks your computer's files, folders, data structures, and the surface of the disk for errors. It finds and fixes errors, helps you regain unused disk space, and makes your computer run more efficiently.

    • Maintenance wizard: Performs maintenance tasks automatically, or at times that you schedule.

    Computer viruses can also cause any number of problems, including a system crash. Microsoft recommends you always use current anti-virus software, available from a number of third-party vendors. Many anti-virus programs also allow you to create a startup disk.

    Finally, if you do run into trouble and don't have a startup disk, many computer manufacturers offer them for download on their Web sites. But if you make a one now and put it in a safe place, you won't have to rely on your friend's computer for Web access when you are having problems.

    Track changes to your system files after installing software

    You can use System File Checker in combination with Notepad to track any system changes that programs make during their installation.

    System File Checker creates a log after each scan, which is then appended to the previous file by default; but you can also choose to overwrite it on each scan.
    If you choose to overwrite the log, you can easily print out the list of changes each program installation makes to your operating system files. Every time you install a program, follow by running System File Checker, open the log in Notepad, enter the name of the program at the top of the log, then print and save it for future reference.

    Here's how to do it:

    1. Click the Start button.
    2. Point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then point to System Tools.
    3. Click System Information.
    4. Click Tools from the menu bar and then click System File Checker .
    5. Click Start to run System File Checker.
    6. When the scan is finished, click OK and you will return to its main screen.
    7. Click the Settings button.
    8. Click the Settings tab and then click the View Log button to view the log in Notepad. (On the Settings tab, you will also see three options in the Log file section. These let you append to the existing log, overwrite the existing log, or create no log at all.)
    9. Type the name of the program you just installed at the top of the log and then click File and Print.

    Notes: A shortcut to starting System File Checker is to type SFC in the Run command on the Start menu.

    Let the Add New Hardware Wizard resolve your device problems

    If you are having problems with a particular device after installing Windows 98 or other software, try removing it and then let Windows 98 reinstall the device.

    Here's how to do it:

    1. On the Start menu, point to Settings, point to Control Panel, and then double-click the System icon.
    2. Click the Device Manager tab. (The problem catagory should automatically open and a symbol should indicate which device is faulty. If it's not working properly, there will be a yellow circle with a black exclamation point inside it; if it's not working at all, there will be a red X.)
    3. Click once on the problem item to highlight it, and then click Remove.
    4. During start up, Windows 98 should detect as missing the device you just removed and automatically run the Add New Hardware Wizard. If you recently downloaded new drivers from any of your hardware manufacturers sites, or from Windows Update, be sure to use the wizard's Have Disk option to ensure that Windows 98 installs the new drivers and not any old ones.

    Hint: When you download new drivers from hardware manufacturers or Windows Update, copy them to a disk and label them. This way, if you ever need to re-install them, and don't have access to the Internet, they are right where you need them.

    Use some cool, free tools from the Windows 98 Resource Kit Sampler

    The Windows 98 CD comes with some free tools and utilities in a sampler called the Resource Kit. These allow you to do such things as compare files and folders, check and delete obsolete shortcuts, read text and hypertext markup language (HTML) code in the Text File Viewer, and more. These tools don't load automatically when you do a standard installation, but they're easy to install:

    1. Insert your Windows 98 CD into your CD-ROM drive.
    2. Click Browse This CD.
    3. From the Tools\Reskit directory, run Setup.exe.

    Once installed, you can access these tools from the Start menu. Click Programs, point to Windows 98 Resource Kit, and click Tools Management Console.

    Converting a drive to FAT32

    The File Allocation Table (FAT) is the way in which data is stored on your hard disk drive. Until now, the only option has been to use FAT16, but Windows 98 has the capability of converting your drives to FAT32. The difference between the two is in how they store data. FAT32 stores data in smaller units than FAT16 and, by using these smaller units, can save a lot of hard disk space.

    Here's how to convert a drive:

    • On the Start menu, point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then click System Tools.
    • Click Drive Converter and follow the instructions on your screen.

    Older disk compression software is not compatible with FAT32, so if your drive is already compressed, you may not be able to convert to FAT32. For more information on this and other FAT32 issues, please read the Using Drive Converter Help on FAT32 before you convert.

    Here's how to check if your hard disk drive is already using FAT32, in My Computer, right-click the icon for the drive in question (typically C, for your hard disk), and then click Properties. The File System field indicates whether a drive is FAT16 (listed simply as FAT) or FAT32.

    Update Your Drivers

    Although many Windows 95 drivers will run under Windows 98, most of them work less efficiently with the newer OS--and some don't work at all. To ensure the best performance of your hardware, you need the latest driver. And that may not be the one that was with your original Windows 98 CD-ROM. Why? Because several vendors didn't create Windows 98 drivers in time for them to ship with the OS. Thus, Microsoft included interim drivers whose performance was less than ideal.

    The good news? By now most vendors have completed their Windows 98 drivers. The best way to get the latest drivers is to hit the vendor sites and look for upgrades. If you're as lazy as we are, have an online software updater such as CyberMedia's OilChange do the searching for you.

    Speed Up Reboots

    If you think Windows 98 takes too long to boot, you can remove the built-in two-second delay in the OS's start-up sequence. Here's what you need to do:

    • Under the Start button, select Find/Files or Folders.
    • Enter msdos.sys in the Named box and C: in the Look In box. Then click Find Now.
    • When the file appears, right-click it and select Properties from the pop-up menu.
    • Click to remove the check marks from the Read-Only and Hidden attributes, then click OK.
    • Right-click msdos.sys, select Open With from the pop-up menu, enter Notepad as the opening program, and then click OK.
    • Under Options, enter BootDelay=0 or BootDelay=1 on its own line. (This represents respective delays of zero seconds and one second, both of which are faster than the default).
    • Close Notepad and save your changes on the way out.
    • Return msdos.sys to its hidden, read-only state. (Right-click it, select Properties from the pop-up menu, and check the Read-Only and Hidden check boxes. Then click OK.)
    • Quit and restart Windows.

    Warning: Any time you make changes to your SYS files, it's a good idea to back up your important files and have your original Windows disk on hand in case you need to reinstall.

    Don't Autostart Anything

    Nothing's slower than having to wait for your computer to launch a bunch of programs each times it starts up.
    To stop a program from launching at start-up, just open C:Windows > Start Menu >Programs > StartUp in Windows Explorer and delete that program's shortcut.

    Windows 98's System Information tool (Start/Programs/Accessories/System Tools/System Information) gives you an even more detailed list of autostarting programs. Just expand the Software Environment menu and choose Startup Programs.
    This will show you any programs that are automatically launched by the Registry. To keep these programs from autostarting, consult each application's help file.

    Stop the Floppy Scan

    When Windows 98 boots up, it wastes time scanning for new floppy drives. You can reclaim these lost seconds via the System Control Panel applet (Start/Settings/Control Panel/System, or right-click My Computer and choose Properties). Select the Performance tab; click the File System button; select the Floppy Disk tab; and uncheck the option "Search for new floppy disk drives every time your computer starts." Voilΰ!

    Control Panel Shortcuts

    Your Control Panel makes easy work of configuring Windows 98, but if clicking through Start/Settings/Control Panel gets on your nerves, here's a quick fix: Open the Control Panel folder, select the icons of your frequently used applets (hold down Ctrl while you click for multiple selections), then drag them onto your Start button.

    The Start menu will open, allowing you to place your new Control Panel shortcuts wherever you want.

    We suggest leaving them in the root of the Start menu and renaming them something unique (go to C:\Windows\Start Menu in the Windows Explorer, right-click the icon, and choose Rename).
    That way, you can access them with just a click of the Windows key (or Ctrl-Esc if you don't have a Windows key) and the first letter or number of the shortcut's name.

    Back Up Your Registry Files

    To be safe, back up the Registry manually before you make any changes. Run the System Info utility (go to Start menu/Programs/Accessories/System Tools), then click Tools, Registry Checker.

    After a quick scan, Registry Checker will offer to make a backup. Click Yes to replace the oldest backup file with a fresh one.
    So, remember, when making changes to Windos registry, always back it up first, because you could end up with a dead pc, and having to reinstall everything.

    Check for Errors

    Hacking Registry entries is safer under Windows 98 than it was under Windows 95. Windows 98 adds a few safety nets that come in very handy in case things go wrong, and the Registry Checker is the best of them.

    This handy tool kicks in before Windows 98 loads, and inspects the Registry for serious problems. It usually finds no problems, and it will back up system.dat and user.dat--the two files that make up the Registry--as well as the two prehistoric Windows configuration files, system.ini and win.ini.

    Registry Checker also retains an audit trail of five backups in the C:WindowsSysbckup folder (in CAB files numbered sequentially,, and so on). When it adds a new one, it tosses out the oldest.

    Restore the Registry

    If the Registry Checker does find errors at start-up, it won't start Windows 98; instead, you'll get a warning message, "Windows has detected a Registry/configuration error." You then boot to a command prompt (select Shut Down from the Start menu, then select "Restart the computer in MS-DOS mode" and click OK), and Registry Checker automatically restores your most recent backup.

    Even if the change isn't serious enough to make Registry Checker kick in, it's possible to restore a backup. Restart your PC, but boot to a command prompt instead of Windows. At the command prompt, enter the command Scanreg.
    Follow the instructions to view your backed-up Registry files and restore the most recent one.

    Viewing the Registry

    Want to browse the Registry and the changes you've made to it? Use RegEdit (a.k.a. the Registry Editor) to export the Registry to a text file.
    It's easy to do: just launch RegEdit (select Start/Run and type RegEdit), then choose Registry/Export Registry File and select a filename for the text file.

    After you make your changes (or install new software), convert the new Registry to a second text file and compare the two text files.

    These Registry text files are enormous, but if you use Windows 98's WinDiff utility, you can see any differences highlighted.

    WinDiff is one of the little tools in the Windows 98 Resource Kit Sampler.

    After starting WinDiff, click File/Compare Files. WinDiff highlights the file differences in yellow, and you can jump between them with a click of the F8 key.

    Optimize Your Virtual Cache

    Notice your system periodically stalling while the hard drive thrashes? This phenomenon is often caused by the Windows virtual cache feature.
    Like onboard caching, this cache is designed to reduce disk access, but it can easily grow large enough to put a dent in your performance.
    If you've got 32MB of RAM or more, try setting the cache size at a fixed number. We recommend 4MB for systems with less than 48MB of RAM, and 8MB for those with 48MB or more.

    Here's how to set it up:

    1. Run SysEdit. (Select Run in your Start menu, type SysEdit in the text box, and press Enter.)
    2. Click in the system.ini window.
    3. Scroll down to the [vcache] section. If you don't see one, type in [vcache] as a new heading.
    4. If you have 48MB of RAM or less, enter these two lines: MinFileCache=0 MaxFileCache=4096
    5. If you have more than 48MB of RAM, enter these two lines: MinFileCache=0 MaxFileCache=8192
    6. Close SysEdit, saving changes on the way out, and restart Windows.

    Selecting multiple files

    When working in Windows Explorer or the My Computer window, you might need to perform the same action on more than one file in a folder.

    For example, you might need to copy a group of files to another location. You might think you have to copy each file individually, but you don't. Just select all the files at one time and then copy (or delete) them together.

    To select a group of files that are listed together in the folder window (contiguously), select the first filename, hold the [Shift] key, and click on the last file you want to affect. This technique selects all the filenames between the first and last files.

    To select noncontiguous files, select the first file, hold the [Ctrl] key, and click on the other files you want to affect. To deselect a file, hold the [Ctrl] key and click on the selected file.
    Then use the keyboard or right-click on one of the selected files to complete your action with the shortcut menu.
    Drugs have taught an entire generation of kids the metric system.


  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Pacific Northwest

    I implimented as many of the win98 tweaks that I could and did witness a speed up in boot and general processing.

    On the defrag section, it's real important for folks to shut off almost all applications running in the background, do a scan disk first, either set their screen saver to 60 min or shut it off, set all power saving functions to "never", and then run scan disk. I have lost track of how many times I went to defrag, and after about 10 minutes my screen saver makes it restart.

    If you're not in the room when it happens, upon your return, you'll have to restart the defrag again.

    Anyway things for the thread!

    Connection refused, try again later.

  3. #3
    Although old, i still found a lot of those tips very usefull Nokia..
    Especially like the
    Speed Up Reboots 
    Anyhow cheers

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Very useful and very informative, good information Nokia
    Space For Rent.. =]

  5. #5
    AO Decepticon CXGJarrod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Originally posted here by Relyt

    I implimented as many of the win98 tweaks that I could and did witness a speed up in boot and general processing.

    On the defrag section, it's real important for folks to shut off almost all applications running in the background, do a scan disk first, either set their screen saver to 60 min or shut it off, set all power saving functions to "never", and then run scan disk. I have lost track of how many times I went to defrag, and after about 10 minutes my screen saver makes it restart.

    If you're not in the room when it happens, upon your return, you'll have to restart the defrag again.

    Anyway things for the thread!

    You should really boot into safe mode when you are defragging a 95 / 98 / ME drive. Its the only way to do it and not have it restart the defrag a million times. In 2k and Xp they fixed it so you can do a online defrag.
    N00b> STFU i r teh 1337 (english: You must be mistaken, good sir or madam. I believe myself to be quite a good player. On an unrelated matter, I also apparently enjoy math.)

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Yeh, I've experienced that quite a number of time's. It's actually becoming quite a problem, then having to run scan disk to check for error's (which wouldn't check for a defrag error). Anyways, I didn't really know that booting in safe mode could help it to not restart, thanks CXG.
    Space For Rent.. =]

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