Windows Tips and Tricks
Last updated: 9/24/03
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Do you want to see what is going on behind the Windows XP and 2000 splash screens? When Windows first starts up it displays a screen with the Windows logo known as the splash screen. To see what is going one behind it use notepad to edit the C:\boot.ini file (to see the file listed, you may need to set your Windows Explorer, Tools, Folder Options, View to see hidden files and folders, and to unhide protected system files). You'll see a line that looks similar to this:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional" /fastdetect
Add a space and /SOS to the end of the line so it looks like this:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional" /fastdetect /SOS
The boot.ini file can also be edited in Windows XP by right-clicking My Computer, Properties, Advanced, Startup and Recovery, Edit.
Here's a quicker shortcut to the Windows 9X/Me/2000/XP System Properties
(submitted by Doug Gould)... Press the Pause/Break key while holding
down the Windows Logo key.
A quicker shortcut to the Windows Explorer (submitted by Nigel MacGeorge). Press
the key with the Windows logo on it, together with the "e" key. This
will immediately launch the Windows Explorer. Use the Windows key and "i" and
you immediately launch the Internet Explorer (the second one didn't work on
my computer with Windows Me and IE 6.0--Larry).
How to get at the Windows 9X System
Properties in Two clicks (submitted by Martin Halvorson). Right
click My Computer on your desktop and Select Properties from the menu. Actually,
it may take more clicks to get at My Computer. In Windows 98 just
click the Show Desk Top icon on the System Trey (next to the Start button).
How to Get at the Windows 9x Display Properties
in one click. Right-click any bare spot on your Desktop and Select
The Windows 9X Start button is bigger than
it appears... Click any bare spot on your Desktop with your mouse
and the Start menu will pop-up.
How to avoid processing the config.sys
and autoexec.bat files when booting Windows 9X. (This is useful
for trouble-shooting. For example, use it if Windows doesn't get
past the Splash screen when booting-up.). Hold the Shift Key down
while Windows boots.
How to shut-down a non-responding program
without shutting-down Windows 9X. You don't need to turn-off
your computer to clear a misbehaved program/frozen Window. Hold the
Ctrl and Alt Keys down and press the Delete Key (once!), select
the non-responding program and Click the End Task button. If the
program does not shut-down after reasonable period of time, repeat the
process. Clicking Ctrl-Alt Delete twice will shut-down Windows and
reboot the computer.
How to make a shortcut on your desktop to for shutting
down your PC (submitted by "deerslayer"). Right click,
choose new shortcut and type in this
C:\WINDOWS\RUNDLL32.EXE user.exe,exitwindows. Make sure you name it properly,
if you click on it by mistake it will shut down. I do not recommended for PC's
with small chidren's access)
To put it in your start menu choose start, settings,task bar and start menu
the put the above command in.
TweakUI.INF (submitted by Matt Thyng). There's
an incredibly handy utility on every Win98 disc called TweakUI (User Interface).
Do a filesearch for TweakUI.INF on the CD, and then right click on it and
choose "Install". The program will be installed in your Control
Panel, and lets you customize Windows, including Icons, startup/shutdown
screens, clearing various caches automatically, etc. Very handy for any type
Built-in Back-up. Windows
9X includes a very good backup program which many users do not know about
because it isn’t included in the “typical” Windows installation.
To install it, Click Start>Setting>Control Panel>Add/Remove Programs>Windows
Setup>System Tools>Details>OK>OK. I use the program to back-up
customer hard disks and to back-up my own data to my NT file server. If you
are installing a new hard disk, keep that old hard disk, if it works, install
it on the Secondary IDE port with your CD-ROM, and use MS Backup (which is
really a program developed by Seagate Software) to do disk-to-disk backups
of your critical user data. I include My Documents, my FrontPage web sites,
graphics, C:\WINDOWS\FAVORITES, C:\WINDOWS\COOKIES, and a few others. Altogether,
its about 240 Mbytes of data and it takes only a few minutes to run, and
is a heck of lot faster than a tape drive or even a Zip drive. The program
will also work with Zip and Tape drives. It is very easy to restore individual
files from previous backups. I have found it to be very reliable. I would
be happy to answer any questions about it.
How to Fix a Windows 98/98SE Frozen (Locked-up)
Splash Screen. You just upgraded Windows to Windows 98 and it
freezes at the Windows 98 splash screen (the screen with the big flag on
it)… Many things can cause this problem, but a frequent cause is
an anti-virus program. If the hardware is in fact not locked-up by another
problem, such an IRQ conflict, you can quickly determine what is causing
it by pressing the Esc key to display DOS screen behind the splash screen.
McAfee, in particular, causes this problem and it is a memory problem with
DOS-based scan.exe, which is executed upon boot-up by a line in the autoexec.bat
file. To fix it, press the F8 key just as windows starts to boot (or hold
the Ctrl key), select boot to the command prompt from the resulting menu,
edit the autoexec.bat file:
In the following line: C:\PROGRA~1\NETWOR~1\MCAFEE~1\SCAN.EXE C:\
Change SCAN.EXE to BOOTSCAN.EXE
Exit, save, and reboot.
Other virus programs may be displaying a menu under the splash screen and waiting
for you to make a selection. To fix the problem choose the option which allows
the anti-virus program to update affected files.
How to Make Exploring Easy. If
you are like me, you use the Windows 98 Windows Explorer frequently. Are
you tired of Clicking Start, Programs, scrolling up or down the menu, and
clicking Windows Explore to fire-it-up? You could right-click (click the
right mouse button) Start followed by Explore, but that still isn’t
fast enough for me. So, put it on your Quick Launch toolbar on the Start
Menu, which is immediately to the right of the Start button in most Windows
98 configurations. A simple way to do that is click Start, Programs, right-click
the Windows Explorer shortcut, select copy, right-click your desktop, and
select Paste to put the shortcut on your desktop. Next, click and hold the
mouse button over the shortcut, drag it with the mouse, and drop it in the
desired position on Quick Launch toolbar. Now, the Windows Explorer is one
click away. You may want to remove the shortcut from your desktop… Just
right click it and choose Delete. I also put shortcuts to my most used programs
on the Quick Launch toolbar (and remove the View Channels shortcut by right-clicking
it and Deleting).
Q. What versions of Windows support USB?
A. You need Windows
95 versions OSR2, 2.1, or 2.5 or Windows 98 for USB. The
OSR versions require the USB supplement. You can obtain the supplement
and answers to additional USB questions at the USB
I'll try to add to this as time goes by. If
you want to contribute, please post a message in our Operating
Systems Forum, where you will find solutions to many problems. Larry
Also, see our Windows