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Special Laptop Tips for

Older Laptops
New Laptoppers
Troubled Portables
10-18-2000
Ojatex

Ojatex's Laptop Tips for Old, New + Troubled Portables page:


http://web.archive.org/web/20060208220718/http://members.aol.com/ojatex/splaptop.ht
m
Ojatex's Old, New + Troubled Laptop Tips in PDF format (freeware):
http://web.archive.org/web/20061117000315/http://members.aol.com/ojatex/splappdf.zi
p
You need a PDF reader (free) to view PDF files:
http://www.mdgx.com/nettoys.htm#PDF
Ojatex's Complete Laptop, Laptop98, Laptop2000 + LaptopME Tips in Windows HELP
format (freeware):
http://web.archive.org/web/20070113205603/http://members.aol.com/ojatex/LapHlp.zip

AA. Restoring Back-up & Drivespace: Compressing a drive with Drivespace3 is


often done out of necessity. When a restoration of a previous Back-up is done,
previously set compression ratios may be altered, 'Free Space' as reported by
the Properties function of the hard drive may plunge dramatically, and your
system may run out of space before a restore can be accomplished. The problem
arises because, when the backup was made, the wrong compression option was
selected. When making a backup of a compressed drive, always select "Never
Compress Data". If you need to restore & are stuck with a backup that was
compressed, restore only the essentials as a start; for instance, when
restoring the Windows folder, save time and space by not restoring [at this
time] the Help and Font folders. Before restoring files on the hard drive,
decrease the free space on your Host Drive to a minimum, zip up as many non-
system files as possible, send unneeded files to portable disks. In other
words, max up the available free space on your hard drive before a restore
operation with a 'compressed' backup is attempted. After successfully
restoring the essentials, run Compression Agent to reclaim lost free space;
this may take several hours depending on how many files/bytes were restored.
When more free space is regained, successive restores of more files can be
made, intermittently running Compression Agent when needed.

BB. Disappearing Zip Drive: A Zip Drive connected through the parallel port
comes with a "Parallel Port Accelerator" which is designed to optimize the
speed of the drive. However, using the accelerator can cause the drive to
become inaccessible. Though the drive is listed in the My Computer screen,
whenever accessed, an error message is returned that the drive is not ready or
that it is not formatted. If a reboot will not bring the drive back, reopen
the accelerator [ppaopt.exe], re-optimize the drive and reboot.

CC. One Rotten Apple: Back-ups are often time consuming but can be a system or
data saver. However, back-ups go bad too, especially those done on floppy
disks. One bad disk in a multi-disk backup set can render the entire set
useless or can incur substantial cost if the data from the bad disk is
recovered from a professional service. When it's really critical data, such as
the last several months/years of personal financial data, make a double back-
up. Another way to insure the availability of some critical data, is to
occasionally print it out to hard copy; the raw data may have to be
re-entered, but it is at least available. When using personal financial
programs, consider archiving data sets annually rather than dragging forward
several years of information; program performance will also improve.

DD. Toss the Bytes: If your system is squeezed for space & you run WinZip, it
is possible to get back about 500KB of free space. WinZip won't work without
certain Help files [Winzip.hlp & Wzwizard.hlp], but you can 'fool' Winzip with
the Zero-Byte procedure:

First, zip up the Winzip.hlp & Wzwizard.hlp files; you can also add to this
zip, any non-critical files in the WinZip folder such as wztutor.hlp &
"*.txt" files.

Second, delete all the files that are safely in the new zip file EXCEPT FOR
"Winzip.hlp" & "Wzwizard.hlp".

Third, start MS-DOS and locate the Winzip folder [c:>winzip]. Type "edit
winzip.hlp" [no quotes] & hit enter. Highlight the entire contetns of the
winzip.hlp file; then select Edit/Clear. Save your changes; then open
"wzwizard.hlp" and clear out the contents in the same manner. Exit MS-DOS
with changes saved. Now check the Winzip folder to make sure the file
properties of the "*.hlp" files show zero bytes.

NOTE: If you are a bit apprehensive about using MS-DOS, do the zero-byte
procedure on copies of the Help files placed on your desktop. [The MS-DOS
prompt would read C:\>windows\desktop.] After successfully zero-byting the
two Help files, copy them back to C:\winzip to replace the originals.
Options: a- Save hard drive space by sending the new zip file to a portable
disk. b- Maximize hard drive space savings by running Winzip from a portable
drive. If you do move Winzip to a portable drive, repath every instance of
the old path in the Registry [use the "Find/Find Next" function] & "Win.ini"
[use the "Replace" function]. Change C:\winzip to E:\winzip where "E"
represents the letter of the portable drive. Backup the Registry & "win.ini"
before making changes unless you've earned your stripes in repathing. Many
thanks to partner MDGx:
http://www.mdgx.com/
who's boss in DOS [& Windows too] for his suggestion.

EE. Save a Registry: Windows automatically backs up the Registry on a regular


schedule; this is usually but not always adequate Registry protection. If your
system has been having serious problems [such as complete loss of Internet
connectivity, VFAT errors or recurring Write to Drive problems] and the
problems have been finally resolved satisfactorily [without reinstalling the
OS], make a Registry backup immediately upon problem resolution. You will then
have a bit of extra insurance until Windows makes its scheduled backup. If
your old problem returns within a few days, it may be because a Registry
restoration occurred that put in place a saved Registry that was made before
problem resolution; replace the current Registry with a backup that was made
when your system was not impaired. For extra safety, do a backup of your
entire system or at least the Windows & Program Files folders. Also make a new
emergency Windows Start-Up Floppy.

FF. Screen Shots & BMP Bloat: Pictures may be worth a thousand words -- they
can also be a million bytes. Squeeze them down to a bare minimum. Small hard
drives, slow CPUs and email recipients will save time and space. You may have
all the tools at hand or they are all available [for FREE]. Get a free image
converter [IrfanView at http://www.irfanview.com/], and [optional] program
launcher. Full screen shots on Laptops are usually made with the Fn+PrtSrc
keys; active window screen shots are made with Fn+Alt+PrtSrc keys. If you have
an old [& somewhat beat up laptop, sometimes these screen shots don't work
well because the keys are well worn. If you don't see a little hard drive
activity from the hard drive light indicator when making the screen shot, try
making the shot again.
Double check that the shot "took" before opening Paint, by opening Clipboard
{direct short cuts to Paint & Clipboard on the Desktop &/or the Start Menu
saves digging through layers of "Programs" on the Start Menu}]. To minimize
the byte size of screen shots:

1- Before making an active window [rather than a full] sceen shot, move the
active window to the top left corner of the screen.

2- After making screen shot, open Paint, set Width & Height [from Image/
Attributes] to a small space [e.g. 32 x 32], select Edit/Paste and "Yes" to
bitmap enlarged query. If bitmap does not contain extra areas that you need,
select Edit/CopyTo in order to save the bitmap with name/location of choice,
exit Paint without saving "Untitled" & skip to Item #4 below. If there are
areas of the screen shot that you do not need, continue to Item #3.

3- By using the Select Tool, draw a box around only the desired area of the
screen shot. Select Edit/CopyTo in order to save the bitmap with name/
location of choice. Exit Paint without saving "Untitled".

4- Highlight the saved bitmap, right click while holding the Shift Key,
select OpenWith, browse to graphic program that will convert bmps to gifs
[e.g. IrfanView]. Do not check "Always Open" with unless you want bmps to
always open with a program other than Paint. [If you use Multilaunch, the bmp
converter {such as IrfanView} can be put directly into the right click
context menu, and the Shift, OpenWith, select program routine is not
necessary.] Once the bitmap is opened in the converter program, save it as a
"gif" file, close the converter, and delete the bmp file.

GG. A Pile of Disks: Laptoppers often use portable drives &/or the floppy
drive for back-ups, security and just plain necessity because of a small hard
drive. Eventually a pile of disks is the result. Searching through that pile
for a particular file/program can be a real chore with lots of wear and tear
on the drive itself. Disk labels can't always hold all the files contained in
the disk. There is a free program named "Directory Printer":
http://www.karenware.com/progs/ptdirprn-setup.exe
which has the option of printing to either file [install a "Generic/Text"
Printer on your system from Control Panel] or your printer, the entire
contents [folders & files] of your portable [& hard] disks. To use Directory
Printer you need to install "Visual Basic Library version 6", Free, at
http://download.microsoft.com/download/5/a/d/5ad868a0-8ecd-4bb0-a882-
fe53eb7ef348/VB6.0-KB290887-X86.exe
first. Best of all, Directory Printer will output in spreadsheet :) format as
well as text.

HH. Upgrade Old or Buy New?: Key internal upgrades to Laptops include the Hard
Drive, CPU, Display & RAM. Generally a Display upgrade, if even possible, is
too expensive relative to the machine's FMV [fair market value]. RAM upgrades
are the most cost effective with material performance improvement. CPU
upgrades can be worthwhile, if the system is not too old and if a substantial
upgrade is available. Many CPU upgrades will only take an old machine up to
about 100-133Mhz which is still on the low side. But if you're not a "gamer"
or into fancy multimedia, this level is adequate to run standard applications.
The "Portable Upgrade Center":
http://www.pocketpctechs.com/
carries a wide variety of hard-to-find upgrades for many old portable models.
But if your system is "old" on all or most of the key upgrade categories, a
new machine may be a wiser choice; more RAM & CPU speed may be a poor choice
if you're still stuck with a tiny screen and low resolution. And if you do buy
new, don't automatically sell your oldie for a few bucks; it can be networked
to your new system.

II. MAIL MUDDLES: Email from a non-AOL account to an AOL account or vice versa
especially when attachments are involved often causes problems to the
recipient [it's even been known to cause "flame" wars on newsgroups]. Here are
a few rules that are useful for overcoming these problems:

A. Non-AOL account to an AOL account

1. Send only in plain text format.

2. Zip up all files that are to be sent as an attachment into one "zip"
file; attach only the "zip" file. If you don't have a "zip" program, go to
http://www.thefreesite.com/easyzip111.htm
for Easy Zip; it's free.

3. When including a link [URL] in the body of an email, write it in an "AOL


live link" format [which is the same way a link is written on a webpage].
For instance, if you want to send the URL for Yahoo which is
http://www.yahoo.com/
there are two methods to write it:

1st Method: <a href="http://www.yahoo.com/">Yahoo</a>


will appear as Yahoo [in blue] in the AOL recipient's mail.

2nd Method: <a href="http://www.yahoo.com/">http://www.yahoo.com/</a>


will appear as http://www/yahoo.com/ [in blue] in the AOL recipient's mail.

4. When sending mail to both non-AOL & AOL recipients, send the link in the
regular style [e.g. http://www.yahoo.com/] and in the "AOL live link" style.

B. AOL account to a non-AOL account

1. Follow the same routine as #A1 & #A2 above for composing email & sending
attachments.

2. When sending a link in your email write it in plain text format, such as
http://www.yahoo.com/
It will appear as
http://www.yahoo.com/
[in blue] in the recipient's email.

3. When sending mail to both non-AOL & AOL recipients, send the link in the
regular style [e.g. http://www.yahoo.com/] and in the "AOL live link" style
as oulined in #A3 above [or, if Yahoo is in your AOL "Favorites" list, drag
it into the body of the email.]

JJ. HARD COPY PROTECTION: The number of passwords to hardware, software,


email, Internet Access, forums, etc. can grow to an unmanageable amount.
Though password saver programs & managers can ease the load, the ultimate
backup is on a piece of paper. Use a blank page on your machine's manual or
keep a list of all user IDs with passwords in the manual. If you rely on
online banking, credit card statements &/or investing, print out detailed
reports on a regular basis. Catastrophic losses can occur; Windows can be
replaced fairly easily but personal data can't be. The IRS doesn't buy the
"dog ate my homework" excuse.

KK. WINSOCK BACKUP: If your system has gone through several O/S upgrades
[where newer versions of Windows are installed over old ones], you may have a
folder in C:\Windows named "ws2bakup"; it holds several files [mostly "vxd" &
"386"] plus a batch [bat] file which installs the other files in the ws2bakup
folder. If you have Winsock problems [i.e. cannot connect to the Internet],
"ws2bakup.bat" [run from DOS] is meant to restore a saved version of Winsock.
However several of the files in the "ws2bakup" folder may be quite old [1995 &
1997 dates] & incompatible with your present configuration. Before you run
ws2bakup.bat, make a list of all the files in the ws2bakup folder, extract
those files from your current O/S disk onto a floppy disk. [If you can't find
the files on the O/S disk find the comparable file on your system [usually
C:\windows\system & copy them to the same floppy disk]. Also make sure you
have a current Registry backup. If you then run "ws2bakup.bat" & severe
problems result [e.g. a BSOD message about VFAT or VIP errors that ends with
the words "SYSTEM HALTED"], reboot into DOS, safe-mode or with a Start-up disk
to the point where you can get to a DOS prompt. Insert your floppy disk, copy
the files therein to C:\Windows\System as follows:

copy a:\*.* c:\windows\system

If subsequent problems persist, restore a backed up copy from the Registry


made prior to the execution of ws2bakup.bat from DOS mode at the C:>Windows
prompt as follows:

scanreg /restore

See webpage, "Internet Explorer cannot open the Internet site" at


http://support.microsoft.com/kb/175722
to determine O/S compatible Winsock version & settings.

LL. LAPTOP FANS: Old notebooks didn't have fans; that was just 'sissy' stuff
for fussy desktops, but newer notebooks with faster CPUs, big hard drives &
high resolution displays have fans. The manual typically warns against
blocking the fan vents, which can put a crimp into how one may like to use
their portable such as on one's lap, couch or bed. There are "pads" you can
buy, but a TV tray [removed from its stand] can do the job or any "board" that
fits. Don't waste the TV tray stand; if you usually "park" your laptop on the
couch, put the stand behind the couch, place a narrow board [about 5"-6" wide
by 18"-22" long] on it, pile the power strip with various adapters & other
peripherals on the board, toss all the excess [often tangled] cable behind the
couch. Your new notebook will be happy, & your favourite parking spot will
look a lot neater.

MM. INF FILE BLOAT: The ".inf" files in the C:\windows\inf folder are used by
Windows to install hardware & some software. On older laptops, the number of
"inf" files [+ older "pnf" & back-up "inf" files in the "infback" sub folder]
can grow quite large. If hard drive space is at a premium on your machine, the
Inf folder can be pared down drastically. [I saved a much needed 20MB on an
old Win3.1 laptop now running Win98SE.] If you have an "infback" subfolder in
the INF folder, zip up all the files therein into one zip file, delete the
files that were zipped, send the new zip to a portable drive in a "mirrored"
location. [A "mirror" is a folder structure on the portable disk that exactly
replicates the folder structure on your hard drive. To work swiftly between a
hard drive folder & its "mirror" on a portable drive, change just the drive
letter on the Address Bar.] Therefore the new home of the zip file will be
D:\windows\inf\infback where "D" is the letter of your portable drive. Since
"Inf" files often compress to a fraction of their original size, the zips can
be saved to floppy disks easily. As an example, 8.375MB's of 423 inf files
compressed to one 1.28MB zip file. After polishing off the infback files, move
on to the INF folder. Select all the "pnf" files if any, zip them up, delete
the "pnf" files, send the new zip to a mirrored location on a portable drive.
Now select all the "inf" files & zip them up also performing the same
operation just done on the "pnf" files. As there may be several hundred "inf"
files you may want to make two or more separate "zip" files such as selecting
all the "mdm*.inf files for a separate zip file. When finished with the "Zip &
Ship" operation, defrag your hard drive because there's lots of empty space
among the clusters. As a reminder to yourself, you can create a txt file in
the "inf" & "infback" folders noting where the inf/pnf files went & the date
they moved out. Note: If you need to install/uninstall hardware and certain
software, locate the relevant inf file in the zip file & decompress it into
the C:\Windows\Inf folder.

NN. DOWN BUT NOT OUT: Big time disasters such as trashed hard drives, an
unrecoverable operating system, or a bad virus infection can take time & often
money to recover from. However, Internet connectivity & even email
functionality can be had by using the FREE QNX OS/Browser at
http://www.qnx.com/demodisk/
that fits on a floppy disk. If your new machine has to go in for repairs, an
older machine with the necessary hardware can do the job. Minimum requirements
are: [1] 386 or better Processor, [2] Colour VGA or better Video, [3] 8M or
more Memory, [4] Plug-and-Play, PCMCIA, or COM1, 2, 3, or 4 connected Modem
[5] Serial, bus, or PS/2 Mouse. No hard drive or Windows is required. To use
the QNX program, your IP's access [phone] number & IP DNS address are needed
to get online. To obtain the DNS address, which is in the form of
xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx, contact your IP's support if unknown. Often, the DNS number
can be found by typing "winipcfg" in the Start/Run box when online [click on
the "More Info" box & look under "DNS Servers"]. Certain IP's do not work with
QNX such as AOL, but there are some FREE IP's whose DNS numbers will work with
QNX. To use an email account with QNX, use a free POP server, not web based
mail such as Hotmail. You must have a pre-established POP account because QNX
does not take Cookies. If you don't have a POP email account, go to a site
such as ZD NET at
http://www.zdnet.com/
access a current news article where there is the "Email to a Friend" function,
and fill in the comments section the message you want to send to either
yourself or to a friend. If you have access only to a "borrowed" system, such
as when traveling, bring along a QNX floppy to get on the net; no tracks of
your presence are left on the system and no hard-drive installation is
required.
QNX is loaded into & run from RAM; there is no viral exposure to your system
but the floppy version cannot download files or hold "favourites". To increase
the funtionality of QNX, if you know how to write simple HTML pages, upload
a "start page" file when in Windows that contains links to frequently visited
places, help sites such as Microsoft Search at
http://search.microsoft.com/
and Search Engines. Your "start-page" will remain in memory after it is
accessed on a per session basis.

OO. YES YOU CAN: Microsoft's Knowledge Base article # Q199074, "Cannot Store
Outlook Express Messages on Removable Media" at
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/199074
contends that "the Outlook Express message folder must be located on a local
hard disk, not on removable media". This is NOT true. Though the location of
the message folders when installing Outlook Express is the hard drive
[C:\Windows\Application Data\Identities\{GUID #}\Microsoft\Outlook Express],
after Outlook Express is installed the location of the message folders can be
changed to removable media. There is a bit of risk in doing so, but for
systems with little hard drive free space, the risk can well be worth the
space savings of several megabytes. When moving the message folders to
removable media, always change the path in the Registry to agree with the new
location by doing a search [from Edit/Find on Regedit's Menu Bar] for the
"Store Root" [no quotes] string which is under an Identities sub-key in
HKEY_CURRENT_USER. If you open Outlook Express without having the removable
media mounted that contains the message folders, a new empty set of folders
will be created in the default location. Close Outlook Express without
performing any mail/news functions. Delete the newly created set of folders in
the default location, search the Registry to repath the "Store Root" string to
the portable disk location, mount the proper removable media, and re-open
Outlook Express.

PP. NO WAY OUT?: When trouble comes, the phrase "reinstall the O/S" or "run
Windows setup" for an old laptop with a small hard drive that has an external
CD-ROM from where the last O/S was installed is equivalent to "reformat" if
the only O/S available at [emergency] boot-up is MS-DOS. MS-DOS does not
support "card-services" that give access to a PC-Card CD-ROM. Even if CD-ROM
support were available, with a compressed drive, installation of the O/S may
not be possible because of inadequate free space on the Host drive. But there
are ways to avoid a forced reformatting when Windows has become unusable:

1 - If you have a backup of your system [or at least the Windows folder] on a
portable disk and can get access to another system, install the portable
drive on the other system. Extract key system files [especially 'VXDs' &
'386s'] to floppy disks. From MS-DOS, copy the extracted files on the floppy
disk[s] onto the "disabled" laptop's hard drive.

2 - If you have access to another system, extract to floppy disks from the
installation CD, "key" system files and copy those files to the laptop's hard
drive.

QQ. SCANNER SOFTWARE: If your system is squeezed for space, the application
software [e.g. graphic & OCR apps which can require 50+MB of space] that comes
with the scanner can often run from portable drives, but the scanner drivers &
supporting files may have to be run from a Twain or Twain_32 sub-folder in
Windows. However, if you rarely scan documents, zipping the contents of the
Twain folder[s] can save 10+ MBs of hard drive space. Then when ready to scan,
unzip the files.

RR. MULTIPLE ISPs: With the availability of FREE Internet access in many
areas, users may have multiple providers each of which puts a shortcut on the
desktop or an item in Dial-up-Networking. For fast access to all providers &
to reduce desktop clutter, make a folder "ISPs" on the hard drive, create
shortcuts for all access providers from their "*.exe" files and/or the
Dial-Up-Networking folder. Paste the shortcuts into the new "ISP" folder.
Either use "C:\ISPs" [no quotes] as the Start page of your browser or make a
shortcut of the ISPs folder & paste it to the location of choice:

1. on the Desktop

2. in the Start Menu

3. in the Quick Launch Bar

The Ad Banners that several of the free providers place on the screen can
interfere with system functionality & must be moved in order to complete some
functions. Some relief can be had by running the browser in a Restore mode
rather than in Maximized mode. In Restore mode, drag the edge of the browser
window to the edge of Ad Banner.

SS. STACKED LAPTOPS: If you have 2 networked laptops & are the sole user,
arrange them for convenient use in the same location by stacking one behind
the other. Put the client machine behind the host on a raised platform above
the host's screen; a step stool about 9" to 10" high will give a good view of
the client's screen & access to its keyboard. Using an external [3 button
type] mouse with the client can minimize the need to use the client's keyboard
and make simultaneous web browsing easier. If using a free Internet provider,
note that when browsing the Internet, the Ad Banner does NOT appear on the
client's screen.

TT. AOL ACCESS: Internet users who have AOL as their primary access provider
[not BYOA users] & have another ISP[s], can use the other ISP to access AOL in
the same manner BYOA [Bring Your Own Access] users do:

1. Use the Setup Button on the AOL Sign In screen to create a new location.

2. Select "create a location for use with new access phone numbers or an
ISP".

3. Then select "Add a Custom Connection (for example, TCP/IP)". This will
create another location named "ISP/LAN Connection".

4. To access AOL when connected to another ISP, open AOL & select the
"ISP/LAN Connection".

5. If not already connected to another ISP, open AOL & select the "ISP/LAN
Connection". This will bring up the Dial-Up Connection box where you can
select the ISP of choice if you have more than one. However, some ISPs do not
have Dial-Up connectoids & will not show up in the Dial-Up box. To use this
type of ISP, connect through the Shortcut to the "exe" file, then connect to
AOL with the "ISP/LAN Connection".

6. If you have "mixed" ISPs, that is some Dial-Ups & some "Exe" type, see Tip
"RR. Multiple ISPs" [above] for an easy way to access all ISPs at once.

Note #1: Changing from a "Regular" AOL subscriber to a "BYOA" subscriber can
save more than 1/2 the current monthly charge. Before you make the change,
make sure that your new main ISP has good connect speeds, robust connections,
infrequent busy signals, and minimal network problems. Some of the low cost &
free providers have been known to disappear or suffer from serious network/
overload problems.

Note #2: If you [as Host with an installed AOL program] are networked, where
the client[s] is already connected to an ISP or may want to connect, use the
"ISP/LAN Connection" to access AOL. Both the Host & the Client[s] can access
AOL email through "AOL Net Mail":
https://my.screenname.aol.com/
& the Host can access all AOL content/screen-names directly if desired.

UU. NO LIMITS: Most individual users of the Internet do not have dedicated
access; they are sharing access lines with other users. When too many users
compete for the same lines, busy signals & slowdowns result. Providers will
often try to increase available capacity, but they will also seek to enforce a
"reasonableness of use" policy which can over-ride what a customer thinks is
"unlimited" access. Commonly this policy may set about 250 hours per month or
about 8 hours per day as the high end of usage; when the customer regularly
exceeds this threshhold, a warning or termination may be sent by the provider
especially if the provider's service has been inundated with customer
complaints about access problems. The "limited-unlimited" provisions of
service usage are not generally well known, but they can usually be found in
the small print or in various provider policy statements. If you are a heavy
user, this problem can be avoided quite easily without loss of service by
switching usage among different services. With the widespread availability of
free services, having three [or more] service providers can give you virtually
unlimited online hours, serve as a back-up if one or more providers are
overloaded & keep your name off the "Abuser-User" list.

VV. SEARCH & DESTROY: Uninstalling applications can be done in several ways:

1. From the Control Panel's Install/Uninstall Tab.

2. From the Control Panel's Windows Setup Tab.

3. If the program does not appear in either of those locations look for an
uninstaller in the program's folder or as a shortcut in the Start Menu.

4. If no uninstaller is found, the last resort is to delete the entire


program's folder with all its contents either through a deltree command in
MS-DOS mode or through Windows Explorer by highlighting the folder &
selecting File/Delete.

After an uninstall [& reboot], look for program remnants such as left over
shortcuts, empty folders, & uninstallers to delete manually. Although the
"Find" function may locate some items, a visual search through Windows
Explorer including Temp folders may turn up more leftovers; look for not only
the program by its name but also by the name of the program's maker. If
planning to reinstall the same application because a prior install was flawed,
save data type files whose information you want to transfer into the new
install such as email, spreadsheets, & financial data. Running a Registry
Cleaner program can aid in removing Registry entry leftovers, but always save
the "cleanup" file. When installing/reinstalling new software, watch for files
that are installed in the Windows/System folder. Some software overwrites
original Windows system files, especially "dlls" with a version that cripples
existing programs. If, after installing new software, problems occur with
other programs, replace the overwritten system file[s] with the prior version.
Using the "System File Checker"/"Version Conflict Manager" [Win98] or the
"Find" function [Name & Location/Date Tabs] can aid in locating changed system
files. There are some *uninstalled* programs that may leave behind files &/or
Registry entries that actively interfere with some system functions or a
successful reinstall; AOL, Outlook Express, Internet Connection Sharing,
Dial-Up-Networking, & Winsock are possible culprits. Aggressive removal/
replacement of Files/Registry entries/Network components pertaining to these
programs may be the only solution short of an OS reinstall/reformat to solve
the problem. Have current System & Registry backups and a Windows Start-up
disk; backup files/Registry entries before deleting.

WW. PCMCIA CARD SETTINGS: Windows, by default, will complain with a warning if
a PCMCIA card is removed without stopping it first; to remove a card select it
from Control Panel/PCMCIA/Socket Status Tab; then select the "Stop" button. If
two cards are socketed, on some systems, it is difficult to remove one card
without disturbing the other; you may want to stop both cards.

1. Remove Warning Options:

a. The removal warning can be disabled by deselecting [unchecking] the


option: "Display warning if card is removed before it is stopped". If you
commonly run with Systray disabled as I prefer in order to save space,
resources & redundant power mode notification [laptops have power mode
indicator lights, taskbar notification of same is not needed], disabling the
warning re-enables Systray; to disable Systray again, go to Start/Run, type
"msconfig" [no quotes], select Startup Tab, uncheck SysTray & reboot.

b. Or, disable the warning in the Registry which will not re-enable
Systray; this saves running msconfig & rebooting. To disable the warning
via the Registry, go to:
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Applets\SysTray
Select [double click] the DWORD "PCMCIAFlags", change the Value data from
"0" [no quotes] to "1" [no quotes]. The "0" value is for Warning On; the
"1" value is for Warning Off.

2. Another option which can be disabled from the Socket Status Tab is "Show
control on taskbar", but it will only disable if SysTray is enabled; if
SysTray is disabled, deselecting the item then selecting the Apply or OK
buttons will not cause the option to be disabled even though the item is
apparently active [i.e. not greyed out]. Deselecting "Show control on
taskbar" will clear the check mark, but after selecting OK to close PCMCIA
Properties then re-opening it, shows the check mark has returned.

a. To successfully deselect "Show control on taskbar", first re-enable


SysTray via "msconfig", reboot, then deselect the item from Control Panel/
PCMCIA, run "msconfig" again to disable SysTray & reboot again.

b. Or do it the easy way from the Registry; go to:


HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Applets\SysTray
Select the DWORD "Services", Base "Decimal"; change the Value Data "15" [no
quotes] to "13" [no quotes]. The Registry method will not require running
msconfig or rebooting.

3. PCMCIA sound effects [activated when a card is inserted or removed] can be


disabled from Contol Panel/PCMCIA/Global Settings Tab by deselecting "PC card
Sound Effects" or from the Registry via the key:
HKLM\System\CurrentContolSet\Services\Class\PCMCIA
From that key, open the Binary Value "Options"; change the value:
"0000 05 00 00 00" [no quotes] to the value "0000 1D 00 00 00" [no quotes].

NOTE: Back-up the Registry [or at least the Keys that are being edited] before
making changes or risk unfortunate consequences.

XX. AOL Clients: Running an ICS [Internet Connection Sharing] Network with a
WIN98SE or WIN2000 Host enables client systems Internet access. Clients
[especially those with limited free space and resources] who wish to access
AOL on a network using Microsoft's Dial-up-Adapter can install an old version
of AOL [such as AOL3.0; see
http://web.archive.org/web/20060208220254/http://members.aol.com/ojatex/lap2000.htm
#AOL2000
for tips on where to obtain this version & how to configure it]. This version
requires about 6.5MB of space, can be run from a portable drive if necessary,
and requires no entries in Control Panel's Network. If the Host has an
established connection, clients can access AOL by signing on to AOL via TCP.
If the Host is not connected, the client can request a standard dialup
connection then sign on to AOL via TCP, or open AOL directly and sign on
through a TCP [rather than an AOL.net] setup. Clients who are pressed for free
space are advised to empty the user Cache folders in the AOL directory as well
as any other browser cache folders often.
YY. New Kid on the Block: As programs and operating systems grow larger, back-
ups [& restores when needed] become an ordeal. The 100MB or 250MB zip disk [or
now defunct Shark Disk] are inadequate to handle the job. A read/write CD-ROM
is one possibility, but there is now a laptop friendly solution which is
easily portable, uses removable disks and runs faster than most portable
drives, but your system must have a USB port. It's an ORB drive:
http://www.geek.com/hwswrev/hardware/storage/orbide/
each disk holds 2.2GBs of data which is fine for making back-ups, storing data
& running apps of all sorts. The ORB works both on Win98 & Win2k. A few
cautions about using this drive:

1- Before installing, go to
http://www.geek.com/hwswrev/hardware/storage/orbide/
as the manual & the software may well be outdated.

2- Do not leave a dismounted disk hanging out of the drive; put it in its
sealed case.

3- The ORB may nab a drive letter already occupied. Before you try to change
drive letter assignments or go on a Registry repathing rampage, if you are
going to also install a USB Hub [to accommodate additional USB devices], the
ORB drive letter may right itself.

ZZ. Hitting the Wall: If you install a non-Windows OS within Windows [such as
QNX RTP at
http://www.qnx.com/
running Defrag may result in a continuous loop when it encounters the large
non-Windows files. Even running Defrag from Safe Mode doesn't succeed; at some
point Defrag "reverses" and then tries again and again without ever finishing.
To avoid this problem, cut/paste the large files to another media [such as an
Orb disk]. Run Defrag to conclusion and return the large files to their
original location.

aa. Cool It!: If your laptop fan seems to run too often, is a noisy bother
&/or temporarily freezes your machine when it kicks in, then it may be time to
add another fan -- externally. Internal laptop fans can still leave your
machine "feeling" hot especially near the bottom of the screen & around the
indicator lights. A small AC [120 volt] fan that is used in a desktop's case
[commonly found at an electronics store] sitting behind your laptop will
provide additional cooling & runs fairly silent. Splice on an appliance-type
cord [that has a male end] with wire connectors & add an inline cord switch
for ease of use.

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