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Make Your Win98 Computer a "Powerful PC!
As you Win98 users know, you can set the "Typical Role of your PC" in the Control Panels System applet. The usual tweak is to set it to "Network Server" for increased file-system performance. However you can add one more choice: "Powerful PC" which will give your file-system an even further boost. "Powerful PC" sets VFAT (the Virtual File Allocation Table in RAM) so that it will remember about twice as many files and folders as the "Network Server" setting. Sound like something you'd like to try? Well then, back up you Registry and read on:
  • Close all your running programs.
  • Highlight the text below and press Ctrl+C to copy it.

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\FS Templates\Powerful]
    @="Powerful PC"
  • Launch Notepad or your favorite plain text editor and paste it into a new file called PowerPC.reg. Make sure everything one the line that starts with "[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE....\Powerful]" is on one line. Also make sure that there is one carriage return after the last character in the text you paste.
  • Close your text editor and find your new REG file. Right click the file and select Merge from the context menu.
  • Reboot and then go to the Control Panel. Launch the System applet, click the Performance tab and then click the File System... button.
  • Note the small window with the drop down menu. By default it will be set as Desktop Computer. As stated above, normally you will have two other options: Mobile or docking system and Network server.
  • You should now have a third alternative to the default called Powerful PC. If you check this option you may see a significant performance increase under certain circumstances. If you don't like the results simply change back to Desktop computer or whatever your previous setting was. Each time you make a change you'll be prompted to reboot. Do so.
  • For those of you as may be interested, here's an explanation of what this REG file does:
    The a0,0f,00,00 means 0FA0hex (yes, it is stored backwards) or 4000 decimal. VFAT allocates memory to record the last 4000 files accessed.

    The 80,00,00,00 means 0080hex or 128 decimal. VFAT allocates memory to record the last 128 folders accessed. This setting will use about 80K of memory.

    The Network Server setting will record the last 2729 files, and 64 folders, and will use about 40K. (0AA9 hex - A9,0A,00,00 in the registry, and 0040 hex - 40,00,00,00 in the registry)
  • Enjoy!

Launch Your Windows Programs With A Typed Command!
Are you keyboard-centric? Would you prefer to quickly hit WinKey+R and type in one or two letters to launch a program? Here is an example of how to set up Notepad, a commonly used text editor, to launch by typing just one letter! You can adapt this technique for virtually any program. It's so easy too.

  • Close all your running programs.
  • Launch Regedit and drill down to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ Software\ Microsoft\ Windows\ CurrentVersion\ App Paths\.
  • Now, with App Paths highlighted, select Edit then New and then choose Key.
  • Now type in a name for the shortcut you'd like to use for Notepad. If your memory is bad and you're a quick typist go ahead and call it Notepad.exe. Note that the name must have the .exe extension. However, you are otherwise free to call it anything reasonable you please. In my case, I'll call it NP.exe. That's easy for me to remember and it's quick to type.
  • Now, with your new NP.exe folder highlighted, double click (Default) in the right pane and enter the full path to the executable. In our example: C:\Windows\Notepad.exe. Note that you can use this trick with any executable, regardless of it's location. It need not be located in C:\Windows. It can even be in a completely different partition.
  • Now let's run a quick test. Type WinKey+R, type in NP and hit Enter. Presto!
  • Actually this is a very good example. Unless you've created a shortcut to Notepad on your desktop, and your desktop is exposed, it would take four steps to launch Notepad (Start/Programs/Accessories/Notepad). This technique is much faster and it can be employed regardless of how many windows happen to be open.
  • Enjoy!

Spruce Up Your DOS Box In Win9x!
If you habitually immerse yourself in your work such that you forget that you are in a maximized DOS box in Windows rather than in pure DOS, then you might find this of interest. Of course, the problem with forgetting that you're in a maximized DOS box is that you may reach over and simply hit the kill switch to shut down the computer -- as you would in pure DOS. Unfortunately this is rather hard on Windows. (To see what I mean, launch a DOS box within Windows and while at the command prompt press ALT+Enter. This will maximize the DOS window. Just press it again to minimize the window.)

A convenient way to maintain a clearly discernible difference between pure DOS and a DOS box in Windows is to add a header to the Windows session of DOS. This can be done quite easily with a quick copy and paste thanks to some great tips I've picked up from others.

    • Highlight and press CTRL+C to copy the following line:
      SET WINPMT=$e[s$e[f$e[0;316;41;1m$e[KMS-DOS Prompt - Type Exit to close, Alt+Tab to switch, Alt+Enter for Window Mode$_$e[0;40;37;1m$e[K$e[u$P$G
    • Now launch Explorer and locate your Autoexec.bat file. Set it's properties so that it is not read only.
    • Right click Autoexec.bat and choose Edit.
    • Paste the line you copied by pressing CTRL+V and make sure there is a carriage return after it.
    • Note that all of the text must be on one line. When you edit Autoexec.bat with Notepad, make sure that Word Wrap (click Edit then Word Wrap) is unchecked before you paste the line in. The existing spaces are OK, but it must be on one line.
    • Save and exit.
    • Highlight and copy the following lines:
    • Now, while still in the root directory, locate and double click your Config.sys file. (Make sure it is not set as "Read Only" as well.) This should launch it in Notepad for editing.
    • Once again, make sure that Notepad is not set to Word Wrap and paste [COMMON] in on one line and DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\ANSI.SYS immediately below, also on one line.
    • Save and exit both files.
    • Make sure to set the file attributes back to what they were before starting.

When you reboot you'll find that a DOS box in Windows looks like this:


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