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Windows Tools

MSCONFIG ( Screen Shot )

If you go to --Start--Run--Type in--msconfig, a window pops up, click on the Startup Tab. You will see a window with a list of items with checked boxes, these are programs running all the time on your Computer. On my Computer the only things I have check are SysTray, Explore (do not uncheck these two they run the Computer), Norton email scan, my sound card runs a program called WSload, 3dfx tools (my video card), Taskmonitor (Windows program), mdac-runonce (Windows system program) and Zone Alarm (my Firewall Program). The other 14 I unchecked, to stop them from running all the time and using resources. Every time I install a program, it tries to run a program in my System Tray (lower right hand corner of the monitors screen) and I have to go to msconfig to turn it off. Windows 95 does not have this feature, but you can use a small free program made by PC Computing Magazine called Startup Cop (link to a picture of it), actually I have Startup Cop even though I have Windows 98, it is easier to use and gives me the option of removing a program entry that is no longer on my Computer and I do not have to Reboot every time I check or uncheck a program. For XP and Vista you can use Startup Control Panel by Mike lin. Here are some Links to Pages that show the different files, a description and whether to leave it checked or to unchecked in msconfig and more info on Startup Problems and msconfig. For Windows 7 go to the Control Panel and then open Administrative Tools, then open System Configuration, msconfig will pop up, then go to the Startup tab.

Startup Programs

Here is a link to my page on programs that startup when windows boots up. Startup List

Scan Disk ( Screen Shot )

Start--Programs--Accessories--System Tools. This Scans your Harddrives for disk errors, set it on, automatically Fix errors, run it every couple weeks.

Disk Defragmentor

Start--Programs--Accessories--System Tools. Before you run Disk Defragmentor (link to a picture of it) (you should first run Scan Disk). Geeks call this Defraging your drive, what it does, is puts all your files back in order, like having a messy desk and reorganizing it. You should Defrag if you get below 87% of Disk Defragmented or your computer is running slow.

Defragmenting Problems 98

When you run Windows Defragmentor or any Defragmentor, go to Ctlr-Alt-Delete and End the Tasks on everything , except SysTray and Explorer. Defragmentor will take forever or just keep restarting when all those programs are running. Here is a picture of it.

System File Checker "Windows 98 only" ( link to a picture of it )

Go to Start--Programs--Accessories--System Tools--System Information --Choose Tools--System File Checker (link to a picture of it ). Windows Scans it's files and replaces any Corrupted or Damaged files. If it finds any corrupted files or entries, Windows will ask you for the Windows Disk or use the Restore Disk if you did not receive a Windows Disk, Windows will fix the damaged file.

Direct X Diagnostic Tool 98 ( Screen Shot )

Go to Start--Programs--Accessories--System Tools--System Information--Choose Tools--Direct X Diagnostic Tool. This will give you Information concerning Direct X, you need this for your software, especially Games or Graphics Programs. The Latest Version out is Direct X 9.0c. There are Tabs for Sound, Video and Network, check each Tab, in the bottom window it will tell you if there are problems and if you should reinstall Direct X, when you Install Software, sometimes it will replace or change a file of Direct X. In my Input Tab it shows my Joystick files and says I should should reinstall Direct X, I don't have my Joystick connected, so I just ignore the message. Also in my Sound Tab it shows I have uncertified Sound Drivers for my Sound Blaster Card, this is ok, it just means Microsoft hasn't tested them yet.

Winipcfg 98

This will tell you about your Network connections, IP addresses, Network Card, Adapter Address, Subnet Maske, Default Gateway, the name you gave the Computer and Renew buttons to refresh the settings. Go to Start-Run-Type in-winipcfg Screen Shoot. In XP, Vista and Windows 7 this is in the Network Utiliy in the Control Panel. Click the change adapter settings and then right click on the Icon and go to Properties.

Device Manager ( Screen Shot )

Go to Start-Settings-Control Panel-System-Device Manager Tab, in Vista and Windows 7 go to the Control Panel-Device Manager. This is where you can check for Hardware conflicts. If there is a Yellow Exclamation Mark on an item there is a problem. Check the properties of that item, it should tell you about the problem. Generally it is a Driver or an IRQ conflict for that Hardware, if it is a Driver reinstalling or Updating the Driver will take care of the problem, if it is an IRQ Conflict, Remove the item and Reboot and let Windows Reinstall it ( make sure you have the Driver Disk if you or your Restore Disk). If it is a Controller or an item that does not have a Driver, try Removing the item and Reboot and let Windows Reinstall it. Check out the Device Manager and get acquainted with what is shown here, so when there is a problem, you will be familiar with what it should look like. If your system for some reason out of the Blue, want's you to start in Safe Mode, Windows probably doubled some of the entries, go in and remove the extra ones and reboot. This has happen to me several times, once Windows doubled every entry in the Device Manager, why ? who knows. You should Print out what is in the Device Manager, there is an Option to do that.

Auto Run for CD-ROM Drive 98

Go to Start-Settings-Control Panel-System-Device Manager Tab. Double click your CD-ROM drive-go to Properties-Settings Tab, check the Auto insert notification box, your CD-ROM will now Auto Run CDs. Here is a Screen Shot.

Windows Disk Cleanup Utility ( Screen Shot ).

This cleans up Four Folders, the Temporary Files, Recycling Bin, Internet Downloaded Program Files, Internet Temporary Files. You can get to this Utility two ways.
1. Click on My Computer-Right Click on the C: Drive-Properties ( Screen Shot )-Disk Cleanup Button.
2. For Vista and Windows 7 go to Start-Computer, then right click on the C Drive and choose Properties, click the Disk Cleanup button.
3. Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-Disk Cleanup.

Windows Registry Editor

There are some uses for the Editor on the Windows Tips Page, before you mess around in the Registry make sure you make a Backup of it. Go to Start-Run-Type in regedit this is what you will see. ( Screen Shot )

Backup Registry 98

If you are going to make changes to the Registry, use the Registry Checker,( System Information-Tools-Registry Checker ) and have it make a backup before you change the Registry. (Screen Shot and info ) after making the changes, go back to the Registry Checker and run it again, if it finds that the Registry is corrupted, it will use the Backup you made to Restore the Registry. There are 2 files System.dat and User.dat, but you should make backups of these 4 files, System.dat-User.dat-Win.ini-System.ini,( you want be able to access them, so you must unhide them, Go to Windows Explorer and choose View- Folder Options-click on the View tab and check Show All Files ) These files are located in the C:\Windows Folder. Here is a ( Screen Shot ) of what they look like. One way to back these up is to make a New Folder, maybe name it Reg Backup, COPY and Paste these 4 files into this folder or onto a Zip disk ( to big for a floppy ). Windows automatically Backs up the Registry every time you Start it and will restore that copy at startup if it finds problems. But if it Backed up the Registry with a problem, you would need to use your backups to Restore those files. Go to the folder where you Saved the Backups, COPY them and Paste them into the C:\Windows Folder, say YES to overwrite the Existing files.

Here is a Link to more Information on the Registry, please learn more about the Registry before you mess with it : )

Information about the Windows Registry


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