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Category : PCs

FAQId : 52211
Subject : reformatting harddrive? I think

Question : what is the best way to empty my harddrive and restart all over again from scratch. This is new to me so plz be sorta detailed. thnx

Answer : First thing is to make sure you have backed up all the files you may have made - things like word processing documents (resumes, etc), email (may want to copy your inbox file from your favorite mail reader and put it back in place when you restore), your bookmarks.htm file from Netscape or IE, and so on...

Now on to the easy part...

Build yourself a boot disk that can bring up your CD-ROM drive. It will need at a minimum a few things. Open a DOS prompt within Windows and execute each of the following lines (hitting ENTER after each) with a blank floppy in the drive to get a working bootable CD-mounting floppy disk with tools:

format a: /u /autotest
cd \windows (making sure you are on C:)
sys a:
copy c:\windows\command\sys.com a:\
copy c:\windows\command\attrib.exe a:\
copy c:\windows\command\format.com a:\
copy c:\windows\command\fdisk.exe a:\
copy c:\windows\command\xcopy*.exe a:\
copy c:\windows\smartdrv.exe a:\
copy c:\windows\himem.sys a:\

Download idecd.sys from my web site to the floppy dir a:\


Now create a new config.sys & autoexec.bat on the floppy with (use ALT-F to get to the file menu when done and select EXIT - it will ask you if you want to save the changes - hit Y for YES):

edit a:\config.sys
(inside this file put the following:)

device=\idecd.sys /d:cdrom001

edit a:\autoexec.bat
(inside this file put the following:)

@echo off
lh \mscdex.exe /d:cdrom001 /l:f
lh \smartdrv.exe /n c+ f 8192 8192
echo y | lock c: /off

Now with both these files saved you are done with the bootable floppy. Reboot your system and test it BEFORE moving further along here. When you boot up on this disk you should be able to do the following commands

dir C:\
dir f:\ (with a CD in the drive please :-)

and get a response from both. If you can then you are ready to continue - if not go back above and start over.

Now we are ready to clean this disk off and start anew... Execute the following with your Windows 95/98 CD in the drive:

(make DANG sure you have everything off the disk you want as this next line is the end of the road for the data on the disk)
format c: /u /autotest
sys c:
(only execute one of the next two lines based on whether you have 95 or 98)
xcopy f:\win95\*.* c:\win95kit\*.* /e (WIN95)
xcopy f:\win98\*.* c:\win98kit\*.* /e (WIN98)

You now have a clean hard drive with only the system files needed to boot and a "kit" for installing Windows 95/98. Pull the floppy out and reboot on the hard disk then do the following:

cd \win95kit (or \win98kit)

You are now launched into your Windows install - hopefully you know what to do from here. Hope that was detailed enough for you!

Paul Doherty, CNA (3 & 4), CNE (4), MCP+I, MCSE, B.A.Sc.

FAQId : 52290
Subject : boot disk

Question : I made a boot up disk for win 95. I put in a drive and start computer. It shows a:\, when I enter dir it shows all files on startup disk. Had this been a real emergency, what are steps necessary to boot up?

Answer : If this was a real emergency and you needed to boot from floppy then that likely means you have a registry problem. In that event what you would do is the following (execute each line):
(will need attrib.exe from c:\windows\command on your floppy disk)

cd \windows
a:\attrib -r -h -s *.da?
copy user.dat user.bak
copy system.dat system.bak
copy user.da0 user.dat
copy system.da0 system.dat

OK now for a bit of explanation:

The files user.dat and system.dat are the entirety of the registry files in Windows 95. If you have a problem booting your system it is likely due to you adding a new piece of hardware or changing a setting for something critical which has rendered the system unbootable. In either case (hardware change/registry corruption) the restore is the same. First we copy the current *.dat files to a safe place (in case they end up being good). Once these are saved as .BAK files we then copy the .DA0 files over the current ones. The .DA0 files are the last good versions of system.dat and user.dat and are created on each successful boot (defined as booting all the way to the desktop). If you have trouble starting into Windows that's usually a good thing as it gives you a chance to rescind whatever crazy thing you did with this technique, as opposed to allowing Windows to boot "normally" at which point it updates these .da0 backups with the bad version!

A good idea when you get a system to a good point of configuration, and it's all running like you want, is to go ahead and perform the above steps to keep an archived version of the system.dat and user.dat (maybe name them system.ok and user.ok) so that in the event of a failure you'll have:

the current system version that's giving you headaches (*.DAT)

the last version you "successfully" booted with (*.DA0)

the version you liked enough to back up (*.OK)

Hope that helps,
Paul Doherty, CNA (3 & 4), CNE (4), MCP+I, MCSE, B.A.Sc.

Answer : Don't forget to rate the answers you receive on AskMe.com
Rating :
Rating : Thank you. Exactly the info I needed and written in an easy to understand manner. Such a response deserves 5 *****

FAQId : 63599
Subject : sound recorder wont record

Question : I have win 98 and want to get the sound recorder to record off mic. Mic plays thru speakers but nothing records or plays back in sound recorder... I've changed between available devices without success. The device manager shows everything working correctly! Any ideas, trouble shooters or utilities to try???

Answer : Double-click the volume control at the bottom-left (systray). When that pops up ensure that the MUTE checkbox below the microphone IS checked (you don't need to hear yourself, and this can cause feedback). Then from the menu select Options/Properties and choose the Recording option. Ensure that Microphone is checked below before clicking OK. Now check the box below Microphone that is labeled "Select" and crank the slider for Microphone at least halfway up. Now minimize or close the volume control window and run sound recorder and test it out. You should be working at this point.

Paul Doherty
Rating :
Rating :
Rating : perfect !!! Thanks

FAQId : 71446
Subject : Operating System>

Question : Greetings:

I recently talked with Compaq tech support and in the process of fixing my problem I called about he had me hold the "Ctrl" key down which brought up this black page with different "Operating Mode" selections..ie> Normal, Prompt, etc. My problem was corrected but now I am stuck with having to make a selection from this "Mode Selection" page each and every time I turn on my computer. How do I stop this page from coming up each time I turn on my computer?

Answer : You likely have a changed MSDOS.SYS file which contains startup settings for Windows 95/98 (it used to be a binary file in the DOS/Win 3.x days).

Open a DOS prompt and type the following:

cd \
attrib -r -h -s msdos.sys
edit msdos.sys
(once you hot enter on the edit command you will be in the editor - look for a section titled [Options] and under that the lines


If any of these lines is present just change the "1" to a "0" (zero) and this will disable the menu options and/or boots to safe mode. Then hit ALT-F to get the file menu open and use the cursor keys to select Exit (and it will ask to save changes - select Yes by hitting enter).

Then execute the following:

attrib +r +h +s msdos.sys
Now reboot your system and the menu should be gone (unless you press F8 to get it)

Good luck!

Paul Doherty

Answer : Don't forget to rate the answers you receive on AskMe.com

FAQId : 206123
Subject : Opening files

Question : Ther are some files, that when I try to open, a window comes up asking me to select which program to use to open file. This is a drop-down window with several (lots) of programs to choose from. No one I know has the answer, someone suggested I ask the Pros at Xpert.com......so here I am. Is there a program that you can install that would choose the correct program in this situation?

Answer : The problem you are describing comes about because you have no associated handler for the extension file you are double-clicking. Some file associations are made by Windows during installation. Others are made by programs you install. And still others can be made (or changed) by you. For example make a new document as follows:

Right-click your desktop and select New/Text Document from the menu - when the new icon appears type in the name test.ped - a prompt will appear saying that changing a file extension may render it unreadable. Just carry on with the new name (test.ped). Now click the new icon once to select it, then *while holding the SHIFT key* right-click the icon and select the item "Open With", scroll down the list of choices and select Notepad.exe and if you want put a description in the top field like "My text documents with PED extension".

As soon as you click OK and get out of the dialogs you will see the icon change to the Notepad icon. If you double-click the file it will not open in notepad.exe ready for editing.

you can use the same technique to change the association for any file type you want. One thing you may want to make sure of before you start this is:

Open My Computer, select View/Folder Options from the menu, go to the View tab, check the box for "Show all files", and uncheck the one for "Hide file extensions for known file types".

Paul Doherty
Rating :
Rating :

FAQId : 361783
Subject : Problem with Automatic Shutdown, using Win 98

Question : Hi!
Do you think you could help me with this:
My operating sysytem is Win 98 and I've never had any problems so far with it until recently. Once when I turned on my notebook, my screen went into 'safe mode' and a box appeared saying that Win 95 is not operating.(?!) I reboot my notebook again and it was alright until a few hours later while I was online and it shut down automatically and did an automatic rebooting of the system. This happened twice already and I'm kind of concerned.
Can you please advise? Thanks!

Answer : Likely culprits:


Here's how to begin to find the one responsible:

1) Try killing one of these tasks (sleepmgr) as follows:

a) Press CTRL-ALT-DEL once to bring up the task list.

b) Select sleep mgr and click End Task at the bottom. Wait about 10-15 seconds for a dialog to pop up and click End Task again when it does (doesn't always happen - some programs will die immediately).

c) Confirm the program is gone with CTRL-ALT-DEL

d) Use the system and see if the shutdown problem continues. If it doesn't sleepmgr caused it. If it does restart the PC and once in Windows kill one of the others and see what effect it has.

If you've tried all three separately and still experience the trouble try killing all three in the same session and see if that cures it (interaction is possible but unlikely).

Once you've found the bad guy you need to take it out so it doesn't load anymore. Three major places apps like this load from:

1) Start menu (Start/Programs/Startup) - too eradicate one of these right-click on the Start button at the bottom-left and select Explore from the menu. In the windows that opens go to the right-pane and double-click the "Programs" folder, then the "Startup" folder. Once in here you can examine the programs by name (but be aware that the name of the icon may not match the name shown in the task list). If the names are not easily tied to the name in the task list you can right-click and select Properties for each icon in turn and look at the text string in the "Target" field to identify the EXE actually being loaded. Once you find the offender (*if* you find it) delete it from this window pane.

2) WIN.INI - to check this file click Start, select "Run" from the bottom of the menu, and type C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\SYSEDIT and hit ENTER. In the WIN.INI window look for the lines near the top starting with "LOAD=" and "RUN=". These should be balnk and appear as I've shown them. If not then your program could be loading here.

3) Finally the most dangerous place to check (and unfortunately the most likely place) is the registry. To check here go to Start/Run and type REGEDIT to start the registry editor. Once inside proceed by double-clicking in the left pane to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version. Once here click *once* on the entry in the left pane marked "Run" and examine what comes up in the right pane (the contents of the Run item). If you see the exectable you seek on the right side click on it and delete it by pressing DEL - it will confirm the removal. Also check the "RunServices" item on the left in the same way.

That should rid you of your problem if it is being caused by a rogue program.

Good luck!

Paul Doherty

Answer : Anything is possible, but I find that unlikely. Tapping your phone line does not give anyone access to your PC at any level so, while that may have afforded a criminal the ability to call his Swedish masseuse for free from your line, it wouldn't allow him to upload and install programs to your PC. that would require him to phsyically be there... THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE YOUR HOUSE - GET OUT NOW! hehe I couldn't resist. What was the name of that movie - "Are you in the House Alone?" - yeah that's it.

Anyway, a RUN= line that is empty and no LOAD= line is fine - those are just two entries that can be used to load programs without your knowing. Have you disabled any of the three I indicated? You say things are fine now - does that mean you found and removed the offender and are not experiencing the problem?

Paul Doherty

Answer : It sounds almost like you may have a power management process of some sort that watches abttery life and is set to shut down your machine. I would look for any apps running in the systray (bottom-right of the main screen) and also try hitting CTRL-ALT-DEL once inside Windows and examine the list of running programs. If you see some that are listed that look suspicious (explorer *should* be there for instance) and you don;t see a corresponding icon in the systray or a window on the taskbar (at the bottom) then you may have some tasks loading from the registry and one of them may be the culprit. Give me a listing of what items you have running and I may be able to point out likely suspects.

Paul Doherty
Rating :

FUQuestion : Thanks alot for your advise. I did as you've suggested and all seemed proper. According to your pt.(2) I should see "LOAD=" and "RUN=", but what I have are:
Will that be the same thing?
One suggested that I may have a trojan loading. That's strange coz' I have been a careful surfer and not one to download any non-essentials. However, I did find out that my phone line had been tapped into recently in the early hours (4-5am) by "I don't know who" from outside. Could this be related to 'trojan loading'?

FUQuestion : Here's the list:
Microsoft Office Shortcut Bar
By the way, I wasn't using the battery when the problem occured.
Hear from you soon! Tks!

FAQId : 376083
Subject : Buying PC's in E-auctions

Question : Paul -
I have seen a number of E-business websites that offer PC's for sale in auctions. Examples of these are ebay, cnet, and ZDnet. It looks to me like most of the sellers are custom PC builders with smaller businesses and not with major companies like Dell or Gateway. These guys appear to be selling PC's comparable to those made by the big name companies for $1,000 to as much as $2,000 less. So my question is - are these "cheapie", low quality PC's they're selling? Are they likely to fail quickly or to significantly underperform the equivalents produced by the larger companies? Do they produce PC's with components that are "thrown together" and poorly optimized? Am I asking for trouble by purchasing one of these and am I likely to be very dissatisfied? What are your thoughts?


Answer : Yes - the old saying is true - you can't get something for (or with) nothing.

I would stay away from these types of systems unless you are a PC expert and can verify the components with the seller via email *before* buying as they have to be cutting corners somewhere to seel them at cheaper prices. A few example places they may be cutting corners and their impact:

1) Celeron CPU instead of Pentium 3/Coppermine Pentium 3

Result - decreased performance and longevity - Celerons are good CPUs but they don't compare well with the latest P3/P3 Coppermines and lack the SSE gaming instructions that are becoming more de riguer every day.

2) Less RAM than is optimal (64MB as opposed to 128MB)

Result - System performance will suffer; disk will "thrash" more often as memory pages are swapped into and out of virtual memory. Some newer programs may refuse to load (not likely yet). Windows 2000 has an effective minimum of 128MB so if you plan to upgrade to it or Windows ME (Millenium Edition - update to Windows 98) you will want 128MB min.

3) Cheap video chipsets/less video RAM

Result - Games will be the big losers here - cheaper video chipsets like ATI and S3 will tank your frame rates in games and produce lower-quality visuals. Lower RAM (less than 32MB) on the video card equates to lower color depths and resolutions and will also slow frame rates in games with large amounts of textures. Good chips to look for are NVidia TNT, TNT2, GeForce 256, and Voodoo 3 or later 3Dfx chips.

4) Slower spinning (5400 RPM) hard drives with smaller cache (buffer) sizes

Result - Windows boots slower - all disk accesses are more sluggish - swap file access "thrashing" is more pronounced and program loads are slower. Smaller caches mean more often the disk is asked to read or write when, with a larger cache, the requested data could have been fed from the drive's on-board memory. Look for 7200 RPM spindle speeds and 1MB of cache minimum.

5) Cheap monitors 17" or less

Result - Fuzzy text and graphics display; lower refresh rates at even modest resolutions; inability to utilize the resolutions and refresh rates of the latest video chipsets. Look for monitors with a .25mm dot pitch (or aperture grill pitch for trinitron-style monitors) or less. 19" monitors are not much more than 400 dollars these days and are well worth the additional money.

This all goes without even mentioning that any warranty offered (if any) has little weight if it's from an individual seller.

Good luck with your purchase,

Paul Doherty
Rating : Paul's comments were very helpful. I'll take a hard, close look now. I appreciate the effort he put in!

FAQId : 571426
Subject : crazy modem

Question : when someone trys to call me when im offline my modem ithink goes off sounds like a fax machine going off i can still here caller put just barly lasts for a minute or two then stops, when i cheak properties it says unable to port already open

Answer : Don't forget to rate the answers you receive on AskMe.com

Answer : Your problem is that your modem is in auto-answer mode. If it's an external modem there is likely to be a set of what are called DIP switches - usually a red block with white switches. A diagram on the back of the modem or in the manual will tell you which of these jumpers controls the auto-answer function.

If it's an internal modem or you can't figure out the jumpers you can disable the function with what are known as Hayes 'AT' commands. Open up a terminal program (Windows comes with HyperTerm - you can use that - if not installed add it from Add/Remove Programs control panel, under Windows Setup/Communications), get connected to the proper serial port and speed (verify you are talking to the modem by issuing an


you should get an


for a response

Now type this:


(those are zeroes above)

This sets the modem to not auto-answer and saves that setting to non-volatile memory so the setting will always be there.

Paul Doherty
Rating :

FAQId : 2665472
Subject : computers

Question : what is programming lanuage mean in simple words?

Answer : A programming language in simplest terms...

A way for a user who wants to solve a problem with the computer to tell the computer the step-by-step instructions to solve it. Since a computer (at a low level) is such a simple device we need to be able to define the steps to solving a problem exactly and then be able to communicate those steps to the computer. For example if we wanted to write a program that could add two numbers that we get from a user it might look something like this:

number1 = askuser("Please enter the first number: ")
number2 = askuser("Please enter the second number: ")
number1 = number1 + number2
telluser("Your total is: ", number1)

The items "number1" and "number2" are what are called "variables" - they are just places to put values. In this example each is being used to hold a number that we get by prompting the user. What the user would see when we run this program would look something like this:

Please enter the first number: 5
Please enter the second number: 4
Your total is: 9

When you get right down to it a programming language is simply a way to tell the computer what you want done in a way that doesn't require you to completely work at the computer's low level.

Paul Doherty, CNA, CNE, MCP+I, MCSE, A.A.Sc., B.A.
Home of PC DiskMaster and other Windows utilities

FAQId : 3009551
Subject : icon change

Question : Hi:

Could u tell me why this happened & how to fix the following:

I turned on my computer today to edit a web page when I noticed that all of my .htm files now have an aol icon.


Answer : Files that have an extension (like .HTM or .EXE) take on the appearance of the program that is associated with that file type. In the case of HTM/HTML files the default association is with Internet Explorer (IE). However this association can be changed by the user *or*, more commonly, by a program being installed that also works with that file type which registers itself as the default handler for that type of file. In this case an AOL app of some sort (probably their main program for accessing their service) has taken that association.

To put it to the program you actually want to handle HTM/HTML files do the following:

1) Single left-click one of the file types you want to change (HTM/HTML file).

2) While holding the SHIFT key right-click the selected item and choose "Open With".

3) Choose the program you want, either in the list, or by browsing to the EXE. Be sure to check the always use box at the bottom so Windows will make this association permanent.

Paul Doherty, CNA, CNE, MCP+I, MCSE, A.A.Sc., B.A.
Home of PC DiskMaster and other Windows utilities

Rating :

FAQId : 3074458
Subject : Solaris 2.6

Question : Hello Paul

I am in need of some help. I am setting up an old sparc 5 and I was trying to change the root password. Well I didnt do it properly and now i cannot log in as root. I know there is a way to circumvent this but am not sure how to do it. Could you please tell me how to accomplish setting the root password back to default or nothing at at.

Thanks in advance,

Brian J. Hill

Answer : Put the Solaris CD in the drive and then press the keys STOP-A to get to EPROM mode.

Then type:

boot cdrom -s

Once you get to maintenance mode then mount your root partition like this:

mount -F ufs /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s0 /mnt

(where c0t0 is the actual path to yours - likely the same as I used here).

Now do this:

cd /mnt/etc
vi shadow

In each entry you will see a line broken up by ":" characters - one of the first is an encrypted form of the user's password. Delet the characters between the colons where that password resides for the root line and then save with

(ESC) :wq!

Now you can do an init 6 or otherwise reboot and then either su to root or login as root with a blank password and reset it.

Paul Doherty, CNA, CNE, MCP+I, MCSE, A.A.Sc., B.A.
Home of PC DiskMaster and other Windows utilities

Answer : Just login as root and issue


and enter a new password twice.

Paul Doherty, CNA, CNE, MCP+I, MCSE, A.A.Sc., B.A.
Home of PC DiskMaster and other Windows utilities

Rating :

FUQuestion : Thank you that worked, now so i dont mess it up for a 3rd time how do I change the root password after I have it set to nothing.

Thanks again

Brian J. Hill

End :

FAQId : 3481763
Subject : pc troubleshooting

Question : whenever i boot my pc the 'system32' file props
up.I don't know how to rectify this error.
my pc specs are :
processor - AMDK6-2 400

Answer : OK like I said this is not an error, per se, but just something that is being loaded unnecessarily. Check your Startup folder (Start/Programs/Startup) for any items that may be doing it. You can also open C:\WINDOWS\WIN.INI and look near the top for the lines:


and see if they have anything to the right of the "="

Also can check (Start/Run/regedit)


With "Run" selected examine the items in the right pane to see if any are invoking your explorer window - if they are delete them.

Paul Doherty

FUQuestion : The error occurs after full bootup ie. at the
desktop itself.Nothing else is on the screen
except for the Icons and the mcaffe antivir
acknowledgement.The system 32 file opens showing all it's contents ie. all the files
in it.

FUQuestion : yes i can close the window and work properly
and actually iam doing so .But it does'nt look great when u have an unnessessary file opening .

Need More Information : Details... when does this error occur? How does it appear - what else is on the screen? How far into the boot are you when it occurs?

Paul Doherty

Need More Information : Sounds like you are saying you just get an explorer window opened to a directory on your drive. That isn't an error in itself. It is being loaded from your startup menu, the registry or an INI file. Can't you just close that window and go on about your tasks? If you can then all we need to do is find where it is coming from...

Paul Doherty

FAQId : 5172818
Subject : Disk Defragmenter

Question : Can anyone tell me if something is wrong with my disk defragmenter? I have let this run for about a week continuously. It only gets to 10% max and restarts over and over again. On my details list, I only have about the first three rows full of data boxes. That has taken a week to do. I cannot find anything as to check this defragmenter. I only find how to run it. Other people tell me theirs runs complete in a few hours. Is there anything I can do to speed this up? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Answer : This is a common problem. The issue is that you have some other task running (perhaps in the background without even a window to indicate it's presence) that is changing disk content. Once th disk contents change, the defragmented starts over again. Do this to prepare to defrag:

1) Close all open apps
2) Press CTRL-ALT-DEL once to get a list of running tasks
3) For every task except for "Systray" and "Explorer" click the task, click "End Task", wait about 10 seconds and then click "End Task" on the dialog that pops up.
4) Once the C-A-D list contains nothing but Explorer and Systray you can go on with loading and running Defrag.

Paul Doherty
DOS/Windows Utilities

Rating : This worked, but I also had to turn off my screensaver and desktop images. Thank you for your help.

FAQId : 5255632
Subject : system resources

Question : I have Win98 se with a 15 gig harddrive 56k modem and very little programs my desktop only has about 10 icons on it but my system recources is very low can you tell me a way to tune up my pc without paying out alot of money for software i have already scandisk defrag and cleaned up but my resources are still low 71% also i have a cyrex m II chip

Answer : 71% isn't that terribly low. Why are you so concerned with the system resources? Those are only used by Windows and are not the same as RAM available for programs. unless you are being adversely affected by low system resources you can safely ignore them. Now if you *are* being affected (like not able to launch apps due to it) then the best thing you can do to increase available resources is to eliminate as many of the systray apps as possible. The systray is the area at the bottom-right that contains the clock. If you have more than the speaker and Task Scheduler icon the rest are candidates for removal. Some will have menus associated with them (try left and right-clicking - also dbl-clicking) where you can remove them, while others may be started from Start/Programs/Startup or the registry.

To check the registry for these apps and remove them note the name of the app or the type of app by examining the systray first. Then run regedit by doing:

Start/run/regedit (press ENTER)

Once in maximize the window and browse on the left to:


With "Run" selected at the left examine the items at the right. If you spot some of the items from the systray that you are realtively sure match you can select them on the right and press DEL to remove them. Also check the item "RunOnce" at the left for any other items. Do not remove any items from either Run or RunOnce that you are not sure represent the icons from your systray as you may be removing something important to keep.

Paul Doherty
Home of DOS/Windows Utilities

Rating :

FAQId : 5263851
Subject : PC problem

Question : I am running WIN 95. When I boot up my PC, the
wallpaper color on the desktop loses color
momentairly. Is something dying??? Big Al

Answer : I doubt it. More likely you have a wallpaper image that uses a lot of colors, and have set a color depth on your display that can barely support it. Then what happens is another application or Windows needs a palette to display something during bootup and it has to rob a few colors from your image (which shifts the color of those pixels in the image to the new color, which is what makes it appear odd). Then that app quits and your image gets it's colors back again.

To make this not happen you can do one of two things:

1) Reduce the colors used by your wallpapers either by running them through a paint app or by not using wallpapers (or using less colorful ones). But what fun is that?? I like wallpapers too...

2) Set your color depth higher at the same resolution (video RAM permitting). To do this:

Open the Display control panel (Start/Settings/Control Panel/Display)

Go to the Settings tab

Note the resolution at the bottom-right and the color depth on the bottom-left. I'm betting you're set to 8 bit (256 color) mode. Try setting it to 16-bit or 24-bit (and make sure it doesn't drop your resolution at the right when you do so). If it doesn't lower your res to pick one of those color depths then click OK.

Paul Doherty
DOS/Windows Utilities

FAQId : 5625516
Subject : Print Screen

Question : Hello,

Ever since I got this new computer I haven't been able to print my screen, so I'm wondering if something needs to be enabled. I've tried ALT + Print Scrn, with no luck. If it helps any, I use Windows 98, and the key reads:



Answer : All the PrtScrn and Alt+PrtScrn do is to take a snapshot of the full Windows environment or foreground app, respectively, and places it as image data in the Windows clipboard. That's just the first step - now that the data is in the clipboard you must paste it into an app that can handle graphics like Paintbrush, Word, and email app, etc.

Once you've pressed PrtScrn or Alt+PrtScrn try doing this:

Start/Run/pbrush.exe (press ENTER)

Once Paintbrush opens press CTRL-V or select Edit/Paste from the menus.

Paul Doherty, CNE, MCP+I, MCSE, CCSA, CCSE
Home of DOS/Windows utilities

Rating :

FAQId : 5962024
Subject : transfer programs to a new computer

Question : I have a few programs that I want to transfer from my old computer to a new computer. I do not have the programs on disk. I can burn them onto cd, but I am afraid they will not work on the new computer, because there is no installation file in the program folders. How would I go about the transfer of these programs?

Answer : There are three main things I'd be concerned with:

1) The app itself (usually a subdirectory under "Program Files".

2) The files the app may or may not have copied into the Windows structure (Windows\System, usually).

3) The registry entries the app may have made.

#1 is the part you can easily get, and if the app didn't have any OS extensions, will be sufficient to migrate it to the new machine. Most apps will recreate the registry entries they need the first time you run them since that's how most do it in the first place (setting up those registry entries the first time you run them).

If you want (or end up needing) to get the registry part as well you can run regedit.exe, dig down into HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software and examine those branches for one - usually you're looking for the name of the company who made the app. If you find it you can export that branch for import on the other computer with File/Export Registry File.

As for the Windows\System files that might exist I say transport the app over without the registry or any support files and try running it (install it to the same disk location - ie Program Files). If it asks for certain files note their names, get them from the old computer, and copy them to Windows\System on the new computer. If it looks like the registry entries are needed run regedit on the new computer and import the .reg file you exported on the old machine.

Between these steps you'll be able to transport 95% of all apps.

Paul Doherty
DOS/Windows Utilities

Rating : Thanks, quite helpful info.

FAQId : 6122160
Subject : Excel Functions

Question : please can you help me before my boss sacks me. i am currently designing a spreadsheet using excel. the task requires me to round up the a half. for Example
5.32 rounded to 5.5
5.00 rounded to 5.0
5.78 rounded to 6.0.

i am able to round up, however i am unable to round to 0..5. instead the excel rounds to the decimal place. for example
5.32 rounded to 5.3
5.00 rounded to 5.0
5.78 rounded to 5.8.
i am presently using excel 97. Please Help

Answer : I think I may have worked out an answer for you. I put a number into A1 and this formula into cell B1, and then tested by changing the value in A1.

=ROUND(IF(A1>(TRUNC(A1) + 0.5),TRUNC(A1) + 1,IF(A1 > TRUNC(A1), TRUNC(A1) + 0.5, A1)),1)

Any number from .01 to .50 results in the original number .5 - for example

5.01 -> 5.5
5.34 -> 5.5
5.49 -> 5.5

Any number greater than 5.5 results in 6

5.64 -> 6

Just format cell B1 with a single decimal place and you will get the "5.00 becomes 5.0" etc that you are after.

Paul Doherty
DOS/Windows Utilities

Rating : Top Class. I eventually managed to do it before i recieved your answer. I basically used the same method as you (with the +0.5 and the < and > equalities) but i used more cells.GREAT ADVANCE.CHEERS

FAQId : 6527113
Subject : Hard drive space

Question : Hi, I bought a computer from Gateway, the notebook Solo 1200. Everything is fine. The only problem that I noticed is that the computer was suppoused to have 10 GB in the hard drive. When I opened the properties window of C: it says that the total capacity is 9.35 GB that is io 10,041,425,920 bytes.
So my question is if the computer is missing .65 of the 10 GB, or if this is something standard.
Thank you.

Answer : Hard drive manufacturers live in a special place, where a MB is defined as 1,000,000 bytes. We, in the real world, define a MB as 1,048,576 bytes. Thus the hard drive capacities are overestimates of what is truly there. In addition formatting a hard disk for use with an operating system uses some space as well. My advice is to sue. ;-)

Paul Doherty
DOS/Windows Utilities

Rating :

FAQId : 7176525
Subject : System Resources

Question : Hi,

I recently bought a PC, with a Duron 800 CPU and 512 Mb RAM, since I wanted a fast system. However, it doesn't run all that well. System Resources show that at any one time, half of my RAM is being used - at 256Mb, that would have to mean a lot of stuff is going on, but this is not the case. I have tried various apps to see if I could increase memory usage, but it still has delays when I try to open programs or folders, and music skips constantly. I know I'm running a few things at once, but that's why I got a good system. I'm running Win 98 SE, would that be the reason? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Answer : Use System Resource Meter under Start/Programs/Accesories/System Tools to view your resources - if it's not there install it from Add-Remove Programs/Windows Setup tab. You have plenty of RAM, but my guess is you're running a lot of systray apps (run down in the bottom-right corner of your screen, by the clock). No matter how much RAM you buy Windows has a few finite resource stacks and heaps it uses to manage the objects onscreen. Once you use that finite resource up it doesn't matter if you've got a Gig of RAM free, you're done loading apps, and will likely be crashing soon. When running that resource meter under a normal situation, with a few items loaded, you should be above 75% or so on all listed resources. If you're below that something is wrong, or you're using too many resource-hogging apps. Try removing some from your startup and see which is using the most. Also be aware that some apps are very bad about giving back resources after they've allocated them (under 9x OS's like your 98SE this is more of a problem). To test for this open and close one of your suspect apps several times with Resource Meter open the whole time. Note the amount of free resources before and after each load. If it's one of these "leaky" apps your resources will keep falling after each load, instead of returning to its previous levels.

Paul Doherty
DOS/Windows Utilities

FAQId : 7534477
Subject : Partition & Re-Format Hard Drive

Question : Can anyone please tell me how to Partition (currently have C:, D:, and E: partitions) AND re-format my hard drive. I have my start-up disk and drivers ready.

Answer : Make sure your working boot floppy has fdisk.exe, format.com, xcopy*.* *under \windows\command), CD-ROM driver and sys.com on it. Then boot from that disk and use fdisk.exe to wipe out the existing partitions. Then, in the same session of fdisk, create the new partition(s) you want. If you want more than one the proper method (and order) to create them is:

Primary (what will become C:) first - set it as active from the main menu.

Extended - make this the rest of the space available

Logical - these are created *within* the extended partition and are what will become D:, E:, etc...

Now reboot on the same floppy and use format to setup the partitions:

format c: /u /autotest
format d: /u /autotest

Once they're done do this to make the HD bootable:

sys c:

And now I would copy over the setup files for the OS so you can install from there. Since you didn't say what OS I'll give you 98 and XP as examples:


Insert Windows 98 CD
xcopy f:\win98\*.* c:\win98kit\*.*


Insert XP CD
xcopy f:\i386\*.* c:\winxpkit\*.* /e

After the copy is done you can remove the floppy and boot from then hard disk. Then issue the following to start the install:

echo y | lock c: /off
cd (win98kit|winxpkit)
start the install of the OS with:
98: setup
XP: winnt

You can get a universal CD-ROM driver off my web page:


Use it by adding these lines to the floppys CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files (ensure that you have MSCDEX.EXE, SMARTDRV.EXE, HIMEM.SYS and IDECD.SYS on the floppy before starting your fdisk chores):


device=\idecd.sys /d:mscd01


\mscdex.exe /d:mscd01 /l:f
\smartdrv /n c+ d e f g 8192 8192

Paul Doherty
DOS/Windows Utilities

Answer : The CD-ROM drive letter is so you can put the install files from the Windows 98 CD onto the hard disk. Then you can install from there instead of the CD, which has the advantage that you will never again need the CD for that install - when Windows needs something it will automatically look to the place it was installed from. If that was a CD-ROM it will ask for it again. If it was the directory I'm having you create on your hard disk you won't be prompted. Trust me - it's better this way. :-)

For 98 alone just do these:

echo y | lock c: /off
cd win98kit

Paul Doherty
DOS/Windows Utilities

Rating :

FUQuestion : I just want ONE partition (C:), do I have to set up a drive letter for the CD-ROM as well (F:) when I am partitioning?

BTW, I have the Win98 OS.

After the above is done, I am getting a little confused (sorry), but where do I type in the instructions starting with "echo | lock c:/off"...?
As I read your instructions further, I think I am mixing up the XP and Win98 instructions...could you delete the XP instructions and re-send and tell me where to type these in?

Thank you very much!

FAQId : 7836537
Subject : import / export Outlook Express

Question : Hi,

Just got a new PC. I was able to import the address book from the old machine but not in the files they were.

2) I cant seem to import the messages!
machine says "its not default" or .etc.

How do I get the messages over?

(outlook express)

Thanks in advance.


Answer : You're welcome.

Answer : Here's how:

1) On the old machine do a Start/Find/Files and Folders and search your hard drive(s) for the extension *.DBX

2) Once you've located the file Inbox.dbx (your main Inbox in Outlook Express) note the location and open this in an Explorer or My Computer window.

3) Zip up all the files in the same directory as Inbox.dbx.

4) Transfer this file to the new machine.

5) On the new machine load Outlook Express and create your account(s). Close Outlook Express after you confirm they work (send yourself a test email and ensure it comes to you).

6) Do a Start/Find/Files and Folders and search your hard drive(s) for the file Inbox.dbx - note the location and restore the files from your old machine there, overwriting the files that are already there.

7) Open Outlook Express and your Inbox and any other folders you had on the old machine, along with all your email, will be there.

Paul Doherty
DOS/Windows Utilities

Rating : thanks! I'll try it!!

FUQuestion : ok, re bookmarks, I found it at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q211089

That was easy enough.

The Outlook files are being zipped as we speak!!


Best, M/

FUQuestion : Paul;

While I've got your attention, do you know how to import all the "favorites" or bookmarks from the old PC to the new?

Best, M/

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