Windows95/98/NT tips

  • Ctrl-Tab switches between windows in many multi-window programs: Opera, Enterprise Manager,
    Query Analyzer, Visual Intercept.

  • Windows NT - you won't be able to unmap (net use /del) a drive from command
    if that drive is current. Win 9x does let you drop the current drive.

  • To cleanup Control Panel in Windows NT, goto to c:\winnt\system32 and move
    some .CPL files elsewhere.
    • access.cpl - Accessibility options
    • appwiz.cpl - Add/Remove programs (probably wanna keep that one)
    • console.cpk - Console window properties
    • desk.cpl - Display
    • devapps.cpl - Tape devices, SCSI Adapters, PC Card
    • dtccfg.cpl - MS DTC (whatever that is)
    • findfast.cpl - MS Office Find Fast (you might also delete it from registry Run/Runservice key -
      it may slow cpomputer down)
    • inetcpl.cpl - Internet (if you move this, Internet Option won't work in IE)
    • intl.cpl - Regional settings
    • main.cpl - Fonts, Keyboard, Mouse, Printers
    • mlcfg32.dll - Mail
    • mmsys.dll - Multimedia
    • modem.cpl - Modem (surprise!)
    • ncpa.cpl - Network
    • odbccp32.cpl - ODBC
    • pacecfg.dll - 3COM Dynamic Access
    • plugincpl*.cpl - Java Plug-in
    • ports.cpl - Ports (serial)
    • prefscpl.cpl - RealAudio (and stay out!)
    • s32lucp1.cpl - LiveUpdate (In your face! Amazing how much crap some programs install in folders
      and Control Panel)
    • SMSCfg.cpl - Systems Management (the program sysadmins use to spy on users)
    • SMLCpl32.dll - Advertised Programs
    • smsrc.cpl - Remote Control
    • srvmgr.cpl - Server
    • sysdm.cpl - System
    • telephon.cpl - Telephony
    • timedate.cpl - Date/Time (heh)
    • ups.cpl - UPS

    • Sometimes Windows NT 4 goes crazy and loads Program Manager instead of Explorer.
      When this happens, load TaskMan and kill Progman.exe and Explorer.exe few times.

    • When you Right Click in Start menu, you can see unnecessary junk that
      some programs out there (Winamp is one of such programs). To clean these
      up, goto REGEDIT, HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell and nuke the keys
      that refer to menu options you don't want.

      This will allow you to kill the entries that cannot be removed by messing
      with Explorer's View/File Types/Folder.

    • Finding out the file owner in NT: "In NT Explorer, right click on the
      file and select Properties. Next, click on the Security tab and then the
      Ownership button. It will show you the name of the owner who created the

    • Add a "." and the CLSID of a shell folder to the end of any folder name. This will cause the items in the shell folder to show up in your folder. For example, to make a cascading Control Panel folder on the Start Menu, make a folder in
      "C:\WINDOWS\Start Menu\"and name it:
      (Tip submitted by
      Nolan Clark)

    • Sometimes WinNT doesn't admit that there are files in Recycle Bin. If that happens,
      you can go to C:\RECYCLED and purge them for good.

    • You cannot put a value from 'password' field into a clipboard.
      Now that I think about it, it makes sense for security reasons - otherwise it would
      be too easy to walk to somebody's computer and learn his Dial-up Networking passwords.

    • Win NT Notepad doesn't have limitation on the size of file it can load - I just saw it
      handle a 7M file!

    • Win98 - you can rearrange items in the Quick Launch bar by dragging.

    • Win NT - to see which process is hogging the CPU, goto task
      Manager, select Processes and click on 'CPU' heading.

    • The "Quick Launch" is pretty useless at first, but you can improve it
      - right click on empty space inside it and select Open - this will show you
      all items in the toolbar. I removed everything except Show Desktop - but you can
      also add some shortcuts if you want.

    • Saw this trick on ZDTV -
      drag any folder to the right edge of the screen to make it a toolbar!
      This works great with 'auto hide' option - though desktop must be visible
      for you to activate the toolbar.

    • Little feature that beautifies Windows appearance tremendousky - goto desktop, rclick,
      Properties/Plus and check box 'Smooth edges of screen fonts'.

    • Alternative way to minimize all windows: click on taskbar and press Alt-M.

    • Pressing Shift-F10 when file is hilited is the same as right clicking.

    • Some applications are impolite enough enough to add their own options
      the the right click menus - it's especially annoying when you right click
      on Start and see junk like 'Enqueue in Winamp' and 'Scan for viruses'.
      Solution - go to Explorer File Types dialog, find type 'File Folder' and
      remove all actions except 'Find'.

    • Win98 - fixing
      "Explorer caused an invalid page fault in module KERNEL32.DLL
      at 0177:bff7a382".
      This is apparently causes by IE5 installation going haywire.
      You can fix it by going to Control Panel/Add-Remove programs,
      selecting Microsoft Internet Explorer, clicking Add/Remove and poicking
      'Repair installation' option.
      Goto for more info

    • Warning - if you disabled all Active Desktop and IE4 stuff
      in Win98, clicking on Start/Settings/Active Desktop/View as Web Page
      will result in chaos and terror! I did this out of curiosity and
      desktop disappeared. It came back after reboot, but Explorer refused
      to open any other folder, mumbling something about "GPF in SHDOCVW.DLL".
      I ended up reinstalling Win98 - fortunately it kept all the settings,
      so I lost nothing but few hours of my time.

    • If you run program like Telix in a DOS window and then leave
      that window open after closing Telix, Win9x may not be able to
      use modem until DOS window is closed - you will get "port already

    • You can assign a hotkey for creating a shortcut on the desktop
      (as opposed to right clicking, navigating to 'New' and picking 'Shotcut').
      You do this by creating a shortcut to
      "C:\WINDOWS\RUNDLL32.EXE AppWiz.Cpl,NewLinkHere c:\windows\desktop\"
      ans setting hotkey for it. I've set it to Ctrl-Alt-C and I find
      it a great timesaver!

    • Hot tip
      Task Scheduler in Win98 is slower than a turtle with a hangover.
      Here's the workaround - instead of using the dreaded "Add Scheduled
      Task", right click on existing task, drag to the empty spot and pick
      'Copy here'. Now, edit the properties for the copy and you're all set!!

      And here's another way:
      Drag the app you want to schedule into the open Scheduler window
      (suggested by
      Tom Elam)

    • If you want to find what version of printer driver you have,
      print a test page - it will tell you!

    • How to install Windows Messaging (MS Exchange) in Win98:
      insert setup CD and run \tools\oldwin95\message\us\wms.exe.

    • Tip for getting rid of obnoxious Office Assistants:
      The easiest way to achieve this is by renaming the folder called
      something like "dead actors" -- the office assistants are stored
      in that
      folder so the annoying little beast will not pop up every time
      you try and
      write a letter.

    • System File Checker (one of the MOST useful components of
      Win98) is located at c:\windows\system\sfc.exe

    • When stuck at "please wait" window trying to shutdown,
      pressing ESC few times may help to get to "it's now safe" prompt.

    • My Win98 used to take 40 seconds to boot, and BLA.EXE showed
      that VNBT.386 was responsible for the 24 second delay.
      After searching dejanews for a while, I've found the following
      look at Control Panel / Network /TCP-IP/Properties
      Enter an IP-Number like and as Subnet-Mask
      After this (i hope) your pc will boot really faster
      That was it!
      My computer used to take 40 seconds to boot and now it's
      down to 18 seconds!!!!!
    • I just found the way to get rid of all the junk Find items,
      leaving only
      'Files' and
      'Computer' - open REGEDIT, goto key
      All subkeys under this one are junk - you may recognize their
      names - mine
      were for 'people',
      'in the registry' and 'using altavista'.
      Backup the registry, delete these keys, reboot and you're back in

    • To speed up access to commonly used Control Panel items,
      create folder 'Control' under Start menu and shortcut the
      CP items you want. This way they are faster to get to and not
      hidden among junk icons like "Regional settings" or "Date/Time".

    • To reduce the delay in Start menu, create string value
      MenuShowDelay="0" in
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\desktop.

    • To disable windows animation when minimizing/restoring,
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\desktop\WindowMetrics
      and create string "MinAnimation" with value of "0".
      After reboot, animation is gone!

    • Finding out what slows down Win95 booting
      My AMD 300 was taking a full minute to boot - I've searched Usenet over
      and over, read enormous amount of articles and still couldn't
      pinpoint what's slowing me down.

      Then I did "step by step boot" - but the slow part was obviously within
      "load all windows drivers" section. I thought: "If only I could get a
      timer for BOOTLOG.TXT,
      so I could know which of these drivers is the menace". Well, I went to, search for 'BOOTLOG' and found
      Bootlog Analyser.
      10 minutes later I've found the culprit - NDISWAN.VXD takes a good half of
      a minute -
      50% of boot time!! And NDISWAN belongs to MS Private Networking, that I have
      no intention of ever using!!!

      Give Bootlog Analyser a try - it's time to regain some control
      over our computers (the kind we had back in DOS days! :)

    • Control Panels items are actually .CPL files in
      \WINDOWS\SYSTEM - renaming .CPL will remove icon from CP.
      You will need to close Control Panel before you can rename
      these files, though.

    • Put line 'Logo=0' in C:\MSDOS.SYS to suppress win95 boot logo.

    • Making Inbox icon a regular shortcut: delete the default one
      and then make shortcut to exchng32.exe.

    • c:\windows\tips.txt contains some unexpectedly good advice!

    • "Hold down the CTRL key while entering Windows. This will keep items in the
      Startup folder from launching."

    • Volume Control button on the toolbar will work only if
      C:\WINDOWS is in DOS path.

    • If win95 hangs on boot, restarting in safe mode and
      then in normal mode again may take care of the problem.
      (Suggested by Yuri)

    • Sometimes "not enough mem" msg is a fluke - for example
      same shortcut may not start from desktop, but run ok from Start.

    • These win files contain many icons:
      C:\Program Files\PLUS!\Microsoft Internet\iexplore.exe
      c:\windows\system\pifmgr.dll - DOS Prg icons.
      C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\quartz.dll - MIDI icons

    • If cursor disappers in windowed DOS, switch to fullscreen view
      and back.

    • c:\windows\qfecheck.exe - shows what patches have been applied
      to Windows95 installation.

    • SCANDSKW supports cmdline parameters:
      drive: to specify the drive(s) you want to check
      /a to check all your local, nonremovable hard disks
      /n to start and close ScanDisk automatically
      /p to prevent ScanDisk from correcting any errors it finds

    • Increase conventional memory in OSR2

    • EXE files created by WinZip can be uncompressed by regular

    • There is less options for Win95 text mode programs
      than for DOS programs. To remedy that, you can start
      win95 prg from batch file. For example, this can help to
      set default font size, as well as to make minimized icon
      be the same as regular one.

    • You can use balance in Volume Control, so that WAV plays
      in one channel and MIDI - on another one.

    • Start/Run/. opens desktop as folder.

    • "Line up" can cause icon to be hidden under another icon -
      check desktop folder and the neighboring icons.

    • You can type dirname and still use Browse in 'create shortcut'
      as long as you terminate path with '\'.

    • Folder shortcuts can be used in Win Explorer: for example, type
      'media' or 'desktop' at Start/Run prompt.

    • If mouse stops responding, goto control panel/mouse, pick
      the same mouse driver, select change and say 'no' to 'restart
      the system'. After that mouse is reset and works again.

    • Use BackSpace to clear Properties/Shortcut key field.

    • The reason balloon help is not working could be that window
      is visible, but not current.

    • To time win program from 4DOS prompt, can use
      START /WAIT - it will not return to DOS untl win prg
      has terminated.

    • .RMI file extension is something like .MID (discovered by

    • Volume control in system tray and 'view source' in
      Internet Explorer stopped working. I ran TweakUI/Repair/System
      files and now they are as good as new. I wonder if problem was
      related to me +Ring files in SYSTEM... though why didn't it show
      up immediately ?

    • To protect \WINDOWS\SYSTEM from rogue programs
      overwriting good DLLs with crap, I've set all files
      in that dir to +R.

    • When adding new modem to Windows95, especially when
      changing from external to internal, delete old comm port from
      control panel/system, and then run 'add new hardware'.
      (Suggested by Yuri)

    • I got tired of every program creating its own shortcut
      folders during installation, so now when programs asks, where
      to put its icons, I route them all to Start\Trash - if there
      is useful shortcut there, I can move it out myself or I can
      cleanup entire fodler easily.

    • If volume control disappeared from taskbar, go to control panel/multimedia,
      uncheck 'show volume' box, click apply, check box again and click OK.

    • Modem Configure tab is common for all dialup connectoids.

    • When prg occupied entire screen and taskbar is invisible,
      press CTRL-ESC to see it.

    • Idea - errors like "GPF in MFC42.DLL" can be called by prgs
      overwriting libraries when being installed. I thought that
      filenames like this are unique by version, but I was very wrong - check output
      of Filez search for MCF42.DLL

    • F3 is a search key in Notepad. And just think - for the
      past 50 years I've been using the stupid Alt-S-F shortcut.
      I'll demand refund for extra keystrokes :)

    • If you are trying to kill the task and failing, try
      killing task 'Winoldap' (this only applies to DOS programs).

    • New release of Win95: - fixed bug when 800x600 display
      would require different horizontal centering than fullscreen
      DOS window.

    • SuperTip - how to get stuff from desktop to show as pulldown
      menus under Start: copy (not shortcut!) c:\windows\desktop to Start Menu.
      It works best if you don't keep real files on desktop, only shortcuts.

    • "If you're not sure if something should be deleted, try moving it to
      another directory first to see if it makes a difference."

    • "To make Open View behave more like Explore view, check
      'My computer/view/options/browse folders using single window'

    • .LNK files can be launched from DOS by Start. Even better, in 4DOS
      I defined .LNK as executable extension, assoced with START.EXE.

    • Sly way to reboot - prg that contains only EXIT and runs in DOS mode.

    • You can type URL in Start/Run - IE will be launched, if necessary.
      If IE is already running, page will load within current instance.

      Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/RegisteredOwner - change name of
      person Win95 is registered to.

    • PIF files are still used in Win95, but there is no PIF editor.
      To make changes, right click on PIF file and select 'properties'.
      For example, you can change "c:\windows\exit to dos.pif" to load
      alternate command processor for 'restart in MS-DOS mode".

    • To delete junk from desktop right click/new menu, look
      for 'shellnew' keys in Registry, delete the ones you don't want
      (the only 2 vital to survival are 'shortcut (.lnk)' and 'folder'.
      Some registry entries have shellnew key, but it's not on 'new' menu.
      Why ? Ask Allakh.

    • Hiliting several files in Win Explorer and choosing File/Open
      opens only the first file. This is opposed to GeoWorks, where I could
      open several programs this way. Once, in GeoWorks, I hilited directory of
      400 clipart files and mistakenly chose open - they started opening like
      crazy until my machine ran out of resources and hung.

    • To get rid of crappy arrow on the shortcuts, use TweakUI/Explorer
      and set Shortcut Overlay to 'None'. Strange thing - 'printers' on control
      panel didn't lose it's arrow after that. Also, this change can be lost
      if Windows crashes before proper shutdown is done at least once.

    • "You can hold down the shift key when you insert a CD-ROM to disable
      AutoPlay or you can make the following changes: Open any folder and select
      view, options, file types. Select AudioCD and click Edit. Select Play from
      the Action listbox, choose Set Default (this actually toggles the default).
      If Play is bolded, the CD will play when inserted. If it is not bolded, it
      will not."

    • "Microsoft Paint can serve as a bitmap viewer. Simply drag a bitmap
      icon onto Microsoft Paint window to view it. The current image will be
      replaced with the new bitmap."

    • "There's a folder in the WINDOWS directory called SEND TO. By creating
      shortcuts in this folder to your favorite applications, you can right
      click files, select Send To, and send the file to any of the applications
      on the list. This is a great way to send unknown file types to a default
      text editor, like Notepad."

    • "While the desktop is active press the F3 key. This will open the Find File
      window and allow you to search for a file on the computer."

    • "To make a network share hidden, put a dollar sign ($) on the end of the
      share name. Only people who know the exact name of the share will be able
      to access it."

    • As soon as Novell CAPTURE is run in DOS window, CAPTURE
      value is changed in Printers.

    • When SETUP asks you 'reboot you computer ? (yes/no)', say
      'no', and then do Start/Shutdown/Shift-Restart. This will reload
      Windows without cold booting.

    • Receiving Fax: open Inbox. Fax icon appears in few seconds
      in tray - right lower corner, next to the clock. Click fax icon
      and select 'answer now'.

    • Much feared FAT32 file system in Windows97 is optional - you can
      choose whether to use it when running FDISK.

    • Ridicilous Explorer option 'hide DOS extensions for filetypes that are
      registered also affects 'Save As' dialogs.

    • Avoid using 'logon to network' in DialUp networking - this
      option disconnects Netware drive, as soon as PPP/SLIP is

    • When you press CAD and 'close program' box doesn't disappear
      after hitting ESC, another CAD will reboot.

    • Programs can be launched on startup not only from
      SYSTEM.INI/STARTUP, but also from registry: see
      My Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run*
      keys (run, runonce, runservices, runservicesonce).

    • Balloon help for programs in Taskbar only shows when there is too many
      of them to see their names.

    • When installation program really wants all programs to be closed,
      easiest way to comply could be to do 'Close all programs
      and login as diff user'.

    • When you feel lazy to touch keyboard at all, you can
      paste with mouse only - right click in text field and paste is there.
      This works even in such simple app as Notepad.

    • If network printer under Win95 doesn't work for mysterious
      reasons, deleting and creating it again may help.

    • To receive Novell SEND messages under Windows95, you can
      either install Novell Win95 client (which, in my opinion, href="novell.htm">sucks, or run WINPOPUP.EXE

    • WINPOPUP minimizes itself after all messages are deleted

    • Turns out, word processors store Clipboard text in RTF
      format - for example you can paste bold/italic text form MS Word
      to Wordpad.

    • Fast way to remove beginnig of URL, leaving only filename -
      End, hold left arrow for a while, Shift-Home, Del.

    • If you can't reach title bar of a window, try Tile.

    • Yury: "You can copy printer configuration from one Win95
      comp to another - it is in C:\WINDOWS\SPOOL\PRINTERS".

    • Some programs may change assocaition for .inf file, thus
      killing the 'Install' option in its right click menu. To fix this, goto
      Regedit, locate the .inf filetype, change its root value to 'inffile' and
      delete subfolders under .inf, if any.

    • To restore functionality of FONTS directory (known to disappear after
      install/uninstall of MS Plus Pack), use
      MS PowerToys: TweakUI/Repair/Repair Font folder.

    • Searching in vain for a perfect macro recording program, I
      discovered to my amazement that Windows95 supported assigning
      shortcut to a program all along - it is in Properties, right over 'Run'
      setting. While cursor is over the field, press hotkey to be used.

    • You may have to switch several times between 2 windows before Alt-Tab
      remembers that you want to cycle between them.

    • On desktop: right click/line up icons - will adjust
      desktop icons to the grid without reshuffling them.
      Downside: it doesn't allow me to put icons on the far right side -
      after adjusting it will be no less then 2 centimeters from the

    • Occasionally printers may disappear from Control Panel/Printers.
      Reboot and they will come back.

    • Items in Control Panel can be shortcutted - access them
      from desktop directly or from menu.

    • Registry
      Search & Replace
      - if you click Ok after hit is found,
      it will keep searching

    • After you clicked on [+] to expand the tree, you only need to click
      on leftmost [-] once to collapse the branch.

    • Removing shortcuts from Start menu may be faster with right click on taskbar/
      propertes, than by using right click on Start/Explore.

    • You can change bass and treble - double click on speaker icon and select

    • To del folder you are in, press Backspace (goto parent)
      and del folder icon from there. It will also close child.

      Following tips are from PC Journal:

      • Opening folders nicely: If you want to open a
        sub-folder and have parent folder automatically close, hold the
        ctrl key as you double-click to open new folder.

      • Expanding all Subfolders in Explorer: To quickly
        expand the Explorer tree view to show all sobfolders for a
        highlighted drive or folder, simply press the asterisk (*) key
        the numeric keypad. (Be careful not to do it in default view -
        it will try to expand everything, inckudign network drives.

      • Quickly seeing properties: To quickly access the
        Properties information for any object, hold the Alt key while
        double-clicking it.

      • Opening an associated file with a different program: Hold the SHIFT key while right-clicking on the file in Explorer.
        The Open With can now be selected, and you can choose a different
        application to open file with.

      • What .DLL's are being used in a .EXE?: Right click on
        the application's name, and select Quick View.