1. I've closed all of my programs, but Windows reports that applications are still running? What should I do to shut these applications down so that I can run Scandisk?
Reader: When I run Scandisk on Windows 95, I see the following message:
"Scandisk has restarted 10 times, there may be another program writing to this one, Please close running programs."
What does this mean? I have gone to ctrl-alt-del and closed all programs except Explorer and Systray, Do I need to do anything else?
Computer Doctor: You may have other programs that have been installed and activated via your registry, .INI files, or Startup Folder. In some cases it can be difficult to locate and remove them all. Try uninstalling or disabling any software that runs in the background like virus scanners, any bots or programs that automatically search the web or download things, any system scanners, registry scanners, go-back programs, Norton System Works, etc.
If all else fails you can run Scandisk from Safe Mode. In many cases that is a better way to run it anyway, although it is slower.
2. Since there's no CD driver on the Windows 95 boot disk, how do I access my CD-ROM drive after I've formatted my drive?
Reader: I recently reformatted my hard drive, then found out that Win95 doesn't put the CDROM driver on the boot disc. After finding the driver and adding it to my boot disc with what I think are the appropriate lines in config.sys & autoexec.bat, I still can't get my CDROM to run the Win95 installation disc. When I try to switch to the CDROM driveletter I continue to get "invalid drive specification". What am I doing wrong?
Computer Doctor: Page 803 in the 12th edition of my book has the answer for you in detail. The short answer is to add:
to your CONFIG.SYS file and:
to your autoexec.bat file. Substitute your driver for "mycdrom.sys" and make sure that it and MSCDEX.EXE are copied to the root directory of the boot floppy.
Another solution is to use a Win98 startup floppy. It will work perfectly with Win95 and has generic CDROM drivers and proper configuration statements already included on the disk by default. If you can get a Windows 98 boot disk from a friend or co-worker, this will make booting with CD-ROM support much easier.
3. When installing Windows, I receive messages reading that Windows has disabled direct access to protect long file names. How do I override this and finish installing Windows?
Reader: I'm installing a formatted hard disk into my Pentium computer. When I try to run the Windows 98 Setup program after booting from a floppy, a BIOS alarm goes off and this message is displayed:
"disk boot sector is to be modified Y/N"
I answer Y(es) but I cannot finish installing Windows; the system halts after displaying the following message:
"Windows has disabled direct access to protect your long file names. To o/ride this protection, see the LOCK/? command for more information. The system has been halted." How can I override this and finish installing Windows?
Computer Doctor: This problem is due to your having boot sector virus protection enabled in your BIOS Setup. This feature also stops legitimate programs like the Windows Setup program from changing the boot sector on your hard disk.
To disable this feature:
1. Turn the system on
2. Press the appropriate key during the POST to access the BIOS Setup.
3. Locate the boot-sector virus protection setting in the menus and set it to disabled.
4. Select save changes and exit and the computer restarts
You should now be able to install Windows without this problem. You can turn the protection back on after Windows has been installed.
4. What is a general protection fault (GPF)?
Reader: What is a general protection fault (GPF)?
Computer Doctor: GPFs are generally caused by software bugs or corrupted files, but they can also be caused by memory problems. They are the result of invalid instructions being given to the processor, which cause a violation of the processors protected mode of operation.
A GPF means generally that a program (module xxx.exe) has committed an error causing it to access a location in memory which is outside of it's allowed area. In other words, MOST of the time these are software problems (bugs or incompatibilities between different programs or drivers), but they can also be caused by literally ANY failing component in the system which can corrupt data either in memory or being transferred to or from it. This includes every single part in the machine, in fact from a hardware perspective I have found often that marginal power supplies are the cause of a flaky system such as you describe. It can also be caused by improper CMOS settings, an IDE cable too long or of improper impedance, mixing tin and gold contacts with memory modules, failing or improperly specified memory modules, electromagnetic interference (local radio transmitters), electrical spikes or surges, ESD events, overclocked systems, and too many other potential causes to list them all.
Technically a GPF occurs when a value exceeding the segment limit is used in the processor's CS, DS, ES, FS, GS registers. This is a very common bug in programs, usually caused by miscalculating how much memory is required in an allocation. GPFs are also caused by transferring program execution to a segment that is not executable (for example, jumping to a memory location that contains garbage instead of valid instructions), or by attempting to write to a read-only or a code segment, loading a bad value into a segment register, or by using a NULL pointer (a value of 0 is defined as a null pointer). In protected mode, it is always invalid to use a segment register that contains zero.
Bottom line, GPFs can be caused either by defective or corrupt software or defective or corrupt memory (hardware). If reloading the suspected module does not solve the problem, then I usually suspect either memory or some other hardware in your system is bad, flaky or possibly intermittent. If the GPF happens only with a particular program or combination of programs, check Microsoft's Knowledge Base http://search.microsoft.com for the program that is causing the GPF, as the Knowledge Base often lists solutions.
5. Why does my printer work fine when printing from DOS, but fail when printing from Windows?
Reader: When I print from DOS, there is no problem, but when I try to print from Windows, the printer doesn't work.
Computer Doctor: This indicates a software problem, not a hardware problem. Since you can print from DOS the port, cable, and printer all must be working. The problem is with Windows or your Windows printer drivers. Contact the printer mfr. to see if there are updated Windows drivers. Try reinstalling your printer drivers or even Windows entirely.
Remember, replacing hardware won't solve a software problem!
6. My computer won't shutdown or enter sleep mode. What do I do?
Reader: My computer (which uses Windows98) has begun refusing to shut down, or enter sleep mode. No matter which mode I select, the computer always returns to full boot-up, and when left alone, no longer shuts itself down into standby.
Computer Doctor: This is almost certainly a software problem with ACPI (Advanced Configuration Power Interface) which is a new standard incorporated into Win98 as well as newer systems. ACPI replaces the older APM (Advanced Power Management) standard, taking over all power related controls, as well as Plug and Play (PnP), taking over control over system configuration as well.
As ACPI is relatively new, many of the first systems to support it in their BIOS had some bugs, and MS has had a few problems in the Windows code as well. The incorporation of ACPI in Win98 is why so many systems needed BIOS updates to properly run Win98. Additionally MS updated the ACPI support in 98SE (Second Edition), and some systems that worked fine with the original implementation had problems with the ACPI updates.
If you have Windows 98SE, the first thing you should do is check to be sure you have the latest BIOS in your machine. Go to the manufacturer's web site and download the latest BIOS version for your system and install it on your system.
If this doesn't cure the problem then there is a specific "shutdown supplement" fix for this problem you can download from Microsoft. Here is the description of the fix:
"The Windows 98 Second Edition Shutdown Supplement addresses shutdown issues on systems with specific hardware/software configurations running Windows 98 Second Edition. These issues include systems restarting when selecting shutdown and systems hanging on shutdown."
You can download this fix from: http://www.microsoft.com/windows98/downloads/contents/
You can find more information on troubleshooting Win98 shutdown problems at:
You might want to apply the rest of the Win98 updates you can download from:
7. In Windows9x, what does the system resources x% free (in system resources tab of the System Properties) represent?
Reader: In Windows9x, what does the system resources x% free (in system resources tab of the System Properties) represent? Can I increase the amount of free resources?
Computer Doctor: Windows maintains regions of memory called "heaps" used by the graphics device interface (GDI) and USER system components. These heaps store information allocated when an application calls a Windows function. The amount of space available in these two heaps is identified as a percentage of system resources that are free under System Properties, Performance, System Resources.
Note that this percentage of System Resources shown as free has little or nothing to do with how much actual RAM memory you have free, only with how much space is free in the GDI and USER heap areas maintained by Windows. Typically, the more programs running in memory or the more graphic icons on-screen or in a program menu, the lower your free system resources percentages will be. When they drop too low, you can have system crashes.
For more information on this subject, I suggest reading the "Performance Tuning" section of the Windows 95 or Windows 98 Resource Kits. These are published books which you can purchase but they are also included free on the Win9x CDROMs. Search for the file "win95rk.hlp" on the Windows 95 CD, or "rk98book.chm" on the Windows 98 CD. When you find the appropriate file for your Windows version, click on it to display.
Windows 9x also offers both a simple "Resource Meter" and a more comprehensive "System Monitor" application, which offer more detailed information on these and other system resources. These applications are found under Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools. They are documented in the Windows on-line Help, as well as in the Resource Kits mentioned above.
8. How do I boot from a floppy instead of my hard drive?
Reader: How do I boot from the Windows 98 Startup disk? I made one during installation, but when I put the disk into the A: drive and restart the computer, the computer boots from C: drive instead of from the floppy.
Computer Doctor: Most systems have a boot menu screen in the BIOS Setup for setting bootup features and the boot sequence. Turn on your system and when prompted, hit the appropriate key to enter your BIOS Setup menu. Go to the boot menu page and change the boot sequence to specify the floppy drive first and hard disk second. Save and exit the BIOS Setup.
The next time your system boots, it should check the floppy first. If the boot sequence had been set correctly all along, then your startup disk has been corrupted; you'll need to get another.
9. My video card driver causes fatal exception errors, but the standard VGA 16-color driver works fine. How do I get the correct driver to work on my system?
Reader: I think I have problems with my Windows display driver. When I run the system using the standard VGA 16-color driver, it works fine, but when I use the driver made for my video card, I'll get Fatal Exception Errors. I need to use high-color or true-color display modes, so I need to keep using the driver made for my video card, but until I get a new driver, can I avoid these errors?
Computer Doctor: You can adjust the performance of the display driver by opening the Performance tab of the System properties sheet in Windows. Click the Graphics button and adjust the slider one click at a time from Full to Basic (two clicks to the left). This will allow some acceleration with your current video driver but will disable the most typical causes of problems. Then, download a new video card driver from the video card vendor.
10. How do I get around a Windows Protection Error when starting my system?
Reader: I installed a new motherboard PC so I could use a much faster CPU. When I start up the system it finds the video card, checks the memory and displays the Starting Win 95 screen. When the startup is almost finished I see a "windows protection error" message and I must restart my computer. Any suggestions?
Computer Doctor: This is typically caused by upgrading the motherboard and trying to use the previous Windows setup on the same hard drive without completely reinstalling Windows from scratch. Anytime you upgrade a motherboard, I recommend you wipe the hard drive clean and reinstall Windows from scratch to the freshly formatted drive.
Why take this extra step? During the installation process, many drivers related to the specific motherboard and chipset are installed, and the best way to change these is to reinstall from scratch anytime the board is changed with a different one.
Be sure to add the DOS CD-ROM device drivers to your Windows startup disk (if you use Windows 95). If you are using Windows 98, its startup disk already has the CD-ROM drivers, and it also works very well to start a Windows 95 installation.
11. How do I stop files shown in bootlog.txt from starting up?
Reader: I am trying to fix my computer and have encountered something called the IOS. Do you know what this is and what it does? Could it cause a Windows protection error? Also when I make a bootlog.txt, how would I stop some of the things shown in the log from loading?
Computer Doctor: If you want to stop loading a particular file, you can rename the file and it won't be recognized on the next boot. You can also try hitting the F8 key on the next boot when it says "Starting Windows 9x" in the upper left hand part of the screen (you have two seconds to comply), which will take you to the Windows startup menu. At that menu you can select "Step-by-step confirmation" which will enable you to dynamically bypass certain startup events and programs.
12. Can setver.exe cause a Windows Protection Error?
Reader: What does setver.exe do and could it cause a Windows Protection Error?
Computer Doctor: SETVER is designed to "fool" DOS command line programs into believing that a specific version of DOS is running. For example the DOS that comes with Windows 95 identifies itself as version 7.0. Most older DOS command line programs first check the version they are running under, and will often refuse to run under a DOS version newer than when the program was released. Using SETVER, one can fool this program into believing that DOS 6.0, 5.0 or earlier is running, and the version check will then pass, allowing the program to run.
SETVER does not cause protection errors (I am running it right now under Win95B), and you don't need it to load UNLESS you like using lots of older DOS command line programs like I do. Note that SETVER will allow you to run older programs that CAN cause protection errors, disk corruption, etc., so be careful about what older programs you run.
Reader: I am looking for a Diagnostics program that I could load onto a laptop which would then be connected to a failing system via direct cable connection (printer or com port or modem). Do you know of any program that will help me?
Computer Doctor: There are some diagnostics which allow you to run them remotely, but only after first loading the software on the failing system prior. Some vendors install this on the systems they sell, and then if a customer later has a problem, they can call the system via modem and run the diagnostics remotely. Note that this is better for solving software problems than true hardware problems, as most true hardware diagnostics must be run from a boot floppy under DOS.
When I service systems, I use a laptop to make backups of the failing system hard drive for data recovery and restoration purposes. I also use the laptop as a storehouse of my many different utility and diagnostics programs, as well as a technical library of information (ie the MicroHouse utility). I can simply format floppies and copy the utilities I wish to use on them laptop, and then run those disks on the suspect system.
14. How do I get Windows to recognize my 3.1 GB hard drive as such, not 2.1?
Reader: I recently purchased a second-hand PC which came with no software. Before and after I installed my copy of Windows 95 from my previous PC onto this computer, the BIOS setup confirmed that the hard drive has a 3.1GB storage capacity.
However, after I loaded Windows 95 and checked my hard drive properties, Windows 95 informs me that it is only a 2.1GB hard drive! The cover of the hard drive confirms that it is 3.1GB. It is a Caviar 33100 HD, with 6136 cylinders/16 hds/63 spt = 3166.7KB. What could the problem be, and how can I rectify it?
Computer Doctor: Windows 95 and Windows 95a have a 2.1GB limit per drive letter. If you want to use the rest of the drive's capacity, you need to run Fdisk and create an extended partition and set up a logical drive D: inside the extended partition. Windows 95B and above will support hard drives up to the limit of the BIOS on your system as a single drive letter because they use the newer FAT32 file system. Unfortunately there is no upgrade available from 95a to 95B. I recommend you purchase Win98SE, since it is the best general OS upgrade for systems currently running Windows 95.
15. My laptop has big problems on startup...
Reader: When I start my laptop Toshiba 2065CDS, with Windows 98 OS, a blue screen appears:
Fatal Exception OE at 0028:C005929 in VXD VMCPD(01) + 000007d9 press any key
Computer Doctor: First make sure you are running the latest BIOS for that system, which is version 7.80. If not download: ACPI Flash BIOS version 7.80 for Satellite 2060/2065 (2868)from Toshiba and install. You can get these files from the Toshiba support center at http://www.pcsupport.toshiba.com. From there select "Tech Support Center and follow the prompts to get the file list specific to your system. After downloading and installing the latest BIOS, you'll also want to download the following updated drivers:
Toshiba TBios driver for Win95/98/NT/2000
-Windows 95/98 Display Driver for S3 ViRGE/MX
-Toshiba Windows 98 Utilities for Satellite 2060/2065
-Windows 98 V.90 Modem Driver for Toshiba 56K Internal
-Windows 95/98 Sound Driver for ESS ES1978 (10762)
If the system came with a Recovery CD, then I'd try to load that. If not, then reformat the hard drive, load Win98 from scratch, and then immediately load the drivers listed above, I recommend you load them in the order I listed. If this doesn't work then the motherboard or other internal component is probably defective and you'll probably have to take it in for service. For Toshiba service see the options on their support webpage or call 1-800-457-7777.
16. How do I customize the System Properties of PC?
Reader: When you view the System properties, you see the System, registered to, computer and the OEM design information. Is there a way to change the OEM design? Or is there a way to enter your own design? Since I'm the 'OEM' (I built this system), I'd like to customize this if I can.
Computer Doctor: The OEM logo and "Support Information" button under the System Properties box are controlled by 2 files in the C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM directory that you can modify.
The image is stored in OEMLOGO.BMP. It is a 180x114 bitmap; up to 24-bit color can be used. Larger images will be cropped to fit, and smaller images will be centered in the space allowed.
The Support Information is contained in OEMINFO.INI, which is a standard text file. If this file exists, the "Support Information" button and 2 lines of text will be visible in the properties box. Click on the button and the rest of the information contained in the text file will show up.
Each line of displayed text must start with a variable, and there are two sections with headings in brackets. Here is an example:
Manufacturer=Cletus's Custom Computers
Model=Pentium 10 Deluxe
Line1=If you're having problems with the system,
Line3= READ THE MANUAL!
Line5=Because Tech Support is like, closed or something...
Line7= Our Motto: Quality is Job 2 (or 3, or was it 4?)
I don't know how many lines you can add, but all lines need a LineX= variable as a start. If both of the customized files are saved in C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM they will automatically be used the next time you open System Properties.
17. How do I stop all applications from running to allow Disk Defragmenter to run?
Reader: I have a problem with disk Defrag for Windows 9x. Defrag starts, then keeps restarting. Something in the background is running and I don't know what it is. I've tried disabling antivirus, etc. and even reloaded my operating system, but it still does the same thing. Any suggestions?
Computer Doctor: That's a normal situation with Defrag. If you are patient (really patient) and just walk away, it should eventually finish. If you aren't, then you have two solutions. One is to read and follow the tips at http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q186/9/78.ASP. This tip suggests that if you run Defrag in safe mode, it should work more quickly.
A better recommendation is to dump Defrag and get something better designed and more suited to the job, like VOPT from Golden Bow. http://www.vopt.com.
VOPT is perhaps the best and fastest defragmenter on the market. I highly recommend it! Also, the one that comes with the Norton Utilities and Norton SystemWorks isn't bad either http://www.symantec.com.