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Welcome to WebTechGeek.com ~ Windows 98 News Reviews & Tip Page!

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Windows 98 Tips!
The Latest Windows 98 News!






Tip of the Week!

Remove the Color Block behind the Names of your Desktop Icons!

Remove icon color block: by Raymond, WebTechGeek This utility will turn your Windows 9x or NT desktop icon text backgrounds transparent; allowing your wallpaper to show through. It will also allow you to easily change the icon text to any color. It's completely free, with no splash, and is only 25k. Get it here! Put the file in you startup folder. Remember to come back to WebTechGeek.com for more How~2s

Recycle Bin Tips!

Microsoft made it a point to put the Recycle Bin on the Desktop and make it hard to remove Windows 98. The Recycle Bin stores all the files that have been deleted from your hard disks. You have to go to only one place to find all your deleted files.

Want to get the Recycle Bin icon off the Desktop? Use TweakUI to clear it. You can still get to the Recycle Bin by going to the Recycled folders.

Release RAM - Free-up Ram - a utility which makes all Windows computers run faster & crash less.

The Best Icons: The worldest largetst collection of icons about 256: Color only icons for Windows 95/NT 4.0+. The most popular icon collections in 1995, 1996 and in 1997, don't be the only one without them.

Description The World's Largest 256 Color Only Icon Collection
Version/File 5.0 allicons.zip
Runs on Win 9x
File Size 2.50MB
Download Now

Web Accessories: By Raymond, WebTechGeek.com - Web Accessories from Microsoft, Don't forget about all these cool accessories free for Microsoft!

Internet Explorer 5 includes an extensibility feature called Web Accessories. Web Accessories are one way to add new features and functionality to Internet Explorer 5. Try out the Web Accessories, which were developed by Microsoft and several other leading Internet companies. Note: These Web Accessories are only for use with Internet Explorer 5x.

Web Accessories from Microsoft - Internet Explorer 5 Web Accessories, Dreamed up by Microsoft's own development team, this kit contains eight utilities that let you zoom in and out on any image, highlight text, do custom searches, and much, much more. Get them here!

No Risk Trial, Guaranteed!

Task Scheduler to accomplish various useful tasks while your computer is idle.

You might want to reschedule most of the tasks to take place once a month, and then remind yourself to leave the computer on that night only so Task Scheduler can accomplish Tasks while your PC is idle.

1. Click the Start button and choose Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Scheduled Tasks.

2. Click Add Scheduled Task, click Next, and wait a few minutes while the Scheduled Task Wizard searches your registry for registered applications. Highlight ScanDisk, and click the Next button. Continue using the wizard to define the task, and click Finish.

3. Right-click your ScanDisk item, and click Properties. Click the Settings button (not the tab), and make sure that Thorough and "Automatically fix errors" are marked.

4. Click the Schedule tab, display the Schedule Task drop-down list, and select Monthly. Click the Day option button and then choose a start time for this first task. Click OK.

5. Right-click the Maintenance-Disk Cleanup item in the Task Scheduler, if it's present. This task might be called Tune-up Disk Cleanup on your computer — if you're in doubt, check that the Run field on the Task tab says C:\WINDOWS\CLEANMGR.EXE. (If you don't see any Disk Cleanup item, follow Step 2 again, this time adding the Disk Cleanup task.) Click Properties. Click the Settings button on the Task tab, and make sure you've selected the files to be deleted automatically, Click OK.

6. Click the Schedule tab, and set Disk Cleanup to run an hour later than ScanDisk, but on the same night. Click OK.

7. Right-click the Disk Defragmenter task in the Task Scheduler. (It may also be called Maintenance-Defragment Programs. If you don't see any Disk Defragmenter item, follow Step 2, this time adding the Disk Defragmenter task.) Click Properties. Click the Schedule tab and schedule the Defragmenter to occur on the same day of the month as ScanDisk and Disk Cleanup, but an hour after the cleanup. Click OK.

OK you've set up your Task Scheduler to perform these tasks on one day of the month, be sure that there are no conflicts between the Disk Defragmenter and your power management, screen savers, or any other applications.

Be careful not to run intensive disk activities too often. Computer technicians recommend that you don't schedule a thorough scan of your hard disk every night, for example. This can wear out a hard drive more quickly than normal usage will. If you scan once a month that should take care of most problems that might arise.

Hard Drive Mechanic is the ONLY PC crash recovery program designed so anyone can get their PC back up and running in minutes. Click here!

Avoiding AutoPlay CD-ROM's: By Raymond, WebTechGeek.com - You can hold down the shift key when you insert a CD-ROM to disable AutoPlay.

Make the following changes: Open any folder and select view, options, file types. Select AudioCD and click Edit. Select Play from the Action listbox, choose Set Default (this actually toggles the default). If Play is bolded, the CD will play when inserted. If it is not bolded, it will not.

Online Recorder: Do you want to know what other people type on your computer when you are away from it?

Checking your system files for problems:
System files are the hardest working files in your computer: they literally "drive" the computer and house the "drivers" for your mouse, printer, and monitor, among others. Every application you install has its own set of system files, so when an application stops working or won't open, there is a strong possibility that something could be wrong with its system files. These files reside in the C:\windows\system directory and usually have extensions such as .386, .COM, .DLL, .DRV, and .VXD, among others.

The Windows 98 System File Checker scans all the system files searching for any that may have been modified or corrupted by a recently installed program. If it finds a problem file, it prompts you to restore the original file from the manufacturer's install disk. If you ignore the prompt, you'll be asked about it again the next time you run System File Checker.

To run System File Checker:

Click the Start button, point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then point to Select System Tools.
Click System Information.
On the menu bar, click Tools.
Click System File Checker.
Choose either Scan for altered files or Extract one file from installation disk.
If you choose to scan for altered files, Windows 98 will prompt you if it finds any corrupt or modified files. Follow the instructions on screen. However, if you know the file name, you can extract the file yourself.

Here's how to do it:

Select Extract one file from installation disk.
Either type the file name or click the Browse button to find the file.
When a file name is entered, click Start
In the Extract File dialog box, type the path from where the file will be restored, or click Browse to find the folder that contains the file. If Windows does not recognize the file you wish to back up, you may have to manually enter the path in Save file in to where the restored file should go, or click Browse to locate the folder where it should go.

Click OK.
Note: You may not see the file you need on your install disks because it may have to be "extracted" from a compressed file.

How~2 Change Windows Startup Graphic: by WebTechGeek.com - Before your computer displays the Windows Desktop, you're treated to an animated (640 x 400) Microsoft Windows advertisement. This graphic is embedded in the Io.sys file in your root directory, and is easy to change. more here!

You can make Control Panel Applets More Accessible: By Raymond, WebTechGeek.com - When you open the Control Panel, you are presented with a few dozen icons allowing you to control many aspects of the Windows environment. Here is a tip that not only makes these Control Panel Applets more quickly accessible, but allows you exclude the ones you don't want, and add your own custom icons:

The Steps:

* Open Control Panel and Explorer.
* Make a new folder directly underneath the Start Menu called "Control Panel".
* Select some or all of the icons in Control Panel, and drag them into this new folder.
* Windows will make a shortcut to each icon you drop into the folder, forming a new menu right off the Start Menu.
* Not only can you rename or remove any of the entries you wish, but you can add non-Control Panel items to the list, such as the Volume Control and Dial-up Networking (which should have been in the Control Panel in the first place).

How to Create a Backup Copy of Startup Files: By Raymond, WebTechGeek.com - You can use System Configuration Utility to create a backup copy of the startup files. To do this, click Create Backup on the General tab in System Configuration Utility. You can choose to save the files in a folder on one of your hard disks, or you can save the files to a floppy disk, which is recommended.

Static .vxd files are used to load virtual hardware and software drivers. Many third-party manufacturers add their own static .vxd files.

To Start System Configuration Utility at the Run command. To do this, click Start, click Run, type msconfig.exe in the Open box, and then click OK.

Net Detective - is an amazing new tool that allows you to "Find out the TRUTH about anyone you ever wanted to know about your friends, family, neighbors, employees, and even your boss!" You can even check out yourself. It is all completely legal. Click here!

You Can Add Custom Graphics in the Windows Properties Display: The system properties of any computer often include a logo or graphic from the manufacturer. Thanks to a cool little utility called OEM Logo Changer 1.3b, you can replace that graphic. This program seems to work well on all Windows 9x installations, Note not tested on NT or 2000. Your replacement graphic must be a bitmap image with a maximum size of 180 x 114 pixels. Download OEM Logo Changer 1.3b, Get it here!

Windows TIP: By Raymond, WebTechGeek.com - If you hold down shift while dragging items into the Recycle Bin they will be DELETED immediately rather than being placed in the bin. Just be careful not to accidentally multi-select more files than you wanted. Similarly, pressing Shift-Del gives you the same effect.

You can Stop CDs from Playing Automatically: By Raymond, WebTechGeek.com -
Usually when you insert a CD in to your drive it will automatically start by default, sometimes this can be very annoying when you don't want the CD to run, so to turn this off follow these simple instructions:

1. Go to Start, Settings and choose Control panel
2. Double-click on Settings
3. Click on the Device Manager tab, and click on CD-ROM
4. You will see your CD drive listed here, just double-click on it
5. Click on the Settings tab
6. Take the tick out of the Auto insert notification check box
7. Click OK, and click OK gain to close Device Manager

OK, just click OK and restart your computer for the settings to take affect
Now when you insert a CD you will have to double-click on it in My Computer in order for it to run.

Restart Windows without Restarting your Computer: By Raymond, WebTechGeek.com - Choosing Shut Down from the Start Menu gives you several choices, including restarting your computer. However, to restart Windows without restarting your computer, saving time and aggravation, follow this step:

One time:
Hold down the Shift key while pressing OK in the Shut Down box.


To make an icon on your desktop:
Using a Notepad or a text editor, type this by itself: @EXIT
Save the new file somewhere on your hard disk - call it whatever you like (exit.bat), as long as it has the extension .bat.
Make a shortcut to the batch file, and place it on your desktop (or wherever you want).
Right-click on the shortcut, select Properties, click the Program tab, and make sure the Close on Exit option is turned on.
Now, click Advanced, and make sure MS-DOS mode is selected, and Warn before entering MS-DOS mode is turned off.
Click Ok twice, and double-click on the icon to use it.

Evidence Eliminator: ~ This program offers complete protection, eliminating tracks you accumulate online. Speed-Up... your PC and Internet Browser, reclaim lost Hard Disk space - All in one click of your mouse!


Speed up the Start Menu: by Raymond, WebTechGeek.com - In the Registry Editor, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ Control Panel\ desktop, and add a string value named MenuShowDelay, with a value specifying the number of miliseconds (400 is default, smaller numbers are faster).

Speed up system restart: Add BootDelay=0 to the [Options] section of C:\MSDOS.SYS

Windows Tip! If you need to get to System Properties Fast! by Raymond, WebTechGeek - For most of you computer~geeks, every microsecond counts. Well, my impatient friends, Here's a tip for you. Press the Windows~key on your keyboard and the Pause\Break key on top roll of your keyboard. Now you can edit your computer's System Priorities, FAST!

Microsoft TweakUI

Microsoft TweakUI: Microsoft has released a new version of TweakUI that works with both Windows 2000 and Windows Me (as well as Windows NT 4, Windows 95 and 98). Make sure you download the file as instructed because what's actually being downloaded is a self-extracting zip file (made using WinZip). Run the exe, let it extract to the default Windows\Temp directory, shift to that directory, right click the tweakui.inf and pick Install. For those who don't know it, TweakUI is a wonderful set of tools for customizing various aspects of Windows—it even includes ways to customize the special Open dialog that Windows 2000 and Windows Me.

If you are looking for an updated version of the famous Tweakui powertoy, created by Microsoft, you've found it. This version boasts that the bugs that where present in the earlier version, released on the Windows 98 First Edition CD, have been fixed. Tweakui 1.33 also works with Windows 98, Windows 98 SE, Windows NT/2000. In addition to the bug fixes it also has a friendlier appearance with all tabs visible again as with Tweakui 1.1 the Windows 95 version. Just click here Tweakui~2000 or here download!

Temporarily turn off startup: You may have some programs that you'd sometimes like to run as part of your Startup group, but not always. A handy solution is to put the shortcuts to these programs in a separate "Start~Up~Not" folder beneath the C:\Windows\ start menu\programs folder. You can then easily drag the shortcuts form the "Start~Up~Not" subfolder to the regular StartUp folder when you want to recommence running the application at startup time. Remember to come back to WebTechGeek.com for more How~2s

Windows 98 Second Edition Features: Enhanced Encryption: Dial-Up Networking and VPN gets bumped to 128-bit encryption on USA copies. DeviceBay Support: OS-level support for the Intel DeviceBay standard (allows hardware to be hot-swapped) Euro Support: Fonts enhanced to include the Euro currency symbol Internet Connection Sharing: The most substantial feature addition, ICS allows multiple computers on a network to access the Internet through a single computer's Dial-Up connection. This will be great for home networks. TV Tuner Card Support: Windows 98 includes support for a small handful of TV Tuner video cards; Windows 98 SE supports additional cards Netmeeting 3.0: the latest version of Microsoft Netmeeting Internet Explorer 5.0: Microsoft's latest web browser. By WebTechGeek.com

Stubborn Log-In: By Raymond, WebTechGeek.com - Dialog Box Once you set up a Windows password, that Welcome to Windows dialog box just doesn't want to go away. If you don't need to control access to your system, get rid of this dialog box by setting the password to nothing. In the Control Panel, double-click Passwords and then click Change Windows Password. Type the old password and for the new password simply press Enter. Press Enter again on the "Confirm password" line and click OK.

Instant Device Manager By Raymond, WebTechGeek.com - Do you need to access the System Properties dialog box--for example, to access the Device Manager? Hold down the windows key and press the Pause-Break key!.Or Select Start, Settings, Control Panel, double-click System, and ... hey, wait a minute. There's an easier way. Hold down Alt as you double-click My Computer; or select My Computer and press Shift-F10; or right-click My Computer and select Properties. Once you see the Properties sheet, click the Device Manager tab.

One-Click Exits by Raymond, WebTechGeek.com - Do you want an easy way to shut down Windows? Right-click the Desktop and choose New, Shortcut. Then type c:\windows\rundll.exe user.exe,exitwindows (your path may differ), click Next, type a name for the Shortcut, and click Finish. Double-click this icon anytime to exit Windows.

STOP Windows Boot Screen: By Raymond, WebTechGeek.com - the boot screen is that Windows logo that you see as the computer's booting up. There are actually more methods to stop it. Simply press esc while the computer is booting. This allows you to skip the boot-screen. Replace or rename the logo.sys file in the C:\Windows directory.

Win TIP: I usually put a shortcut for each of my favorite apps in the Quick Launch section of the taskbar. It puts the applications a single click away, but doesn't take up system resources or add time to my startup. By Raymond, WebTechGeek.com

Chosse your Own Drive Letters in Windows 98: By Raymond, WebTeckGeek.com - Yes you can change the drive letters assigned by Windows 98~ Me. You can't change your hard drive or floppy connected to your mobos IDE adapter, But, you can change CD-ROM, Jaz, IDE Zip, and other removable drives. It's easy, Right click on My Computer and select Properties. Select the Device Manager tab in the System Properties window. Click on the device type you wish to change, for example your CDROM. Double-click the critter who's drive letter you want to set. You should now see the Properties window for that drive. Click on the Settings tab. At the bottom a box should read "Reserved drive letters." chosse a letter, under Start drive letter: and End drive letter:. If the Start/End letter options are grayed out, look for a checkbox labeled Removable. Check it, select your drive letters, and then uncheck it. Hit the OK button and reboot. You should see your new drive letter assignment when you open up My Computer. Easy!

Windows Tip: Keyboard Shortcuts By Raymond, WebTechGeek.com - Hold down SHIFT with the following: When inserting a CD-ROM, to skip auto-run.
While holding down CTRL and dragging to the desktop or to a folder, creates an instant shortcut. (Of course, you can do the same thing by clicking and holding the right mouse button, letting go on the desktop, and choosing "create shortcut.").
SHIFT+F10: equivalent of right-click
SHIFT+DEL: Deletes immediately, without removing to Recycle Bin
SHIFT+TAB: Moves to previous control in the dialog box " TAB alone goes forward,
SHIFT+TAB backward".
Function keys in Explorer: F2 - Rename object, F3 - Find: All files, F4 - Selects the Go to A Different Folder box on the taskbar, and moves down the entries, F5 - refreshes current window and F6 - Moves among panes

Windows Key If you have a Microsoft Natural Keyboard (or any other keyboard with a Windows key), you have access to all kinds of shortcuts. Hold down the Windows key with the following: By itself - brings up the Start Menu.

Windows+R - opens the "Run" dialog box
Windows+M - Minimize all
Windows+SHIFT+M - Undo minimize all
Windows+E - Windows Explorer
Windows+F - Find files or folders
Windows+D - minimize all open windows and show desktop
Windows+CTRL+F - Find computer
Windows+TAB - Cycle through Taskbar buttons
Windows+BREAK - shows System Properties dialog box.

Make Your Own Windows Toolbar: By Raymond, WebTechGeek.com - Create a new folder on your hard drive (easiest to find if it's on the desktop) and name it something like "My Toolbar." Right click on the start button, and click on Open. Go to the Programs group (folder). Open your "My Toolbar" folder into a second Explorer window. You should now have two-- one with Programs, and one, empty, "My Toolbar." Find the program group (say, Games) that you want the toolbar for, and copy all the shortcuts into your empty "My Toolbar" folder. Right-click on the taskbar, and choose New, Toolbar.

When the Explorer window comes up, point to your "My Toolbar" folder. Now you have a new toolbar. Customize it! Drag your toolbar to the desktop (top, side, wherever you want it). Resize it 'till you can only see the icons in the folder. Right-click on the sizing handle once your toolbar is in place. Uncheck "Show Text" and "Show Title." I have found this very handy, and have toolbars on every side of my screen parked with icons, so I can launch anything right from there." You now have a toolbar with shortcuts to your favorite games, without stray icons all over the place to drive you crazy.

Windows Tip: Kill Logon Screen: By Raymond, WebTechGeek.com - If you're the only user on a computer, odds are you don't need a logon screen to appear every time you boot up. Eliminate the need to input your user name and password with these steps. Open Control Panel. Double-click on the Network icon. In the Primary Network Logon, choose Windows Logon. Press OK. In the Control panel link the Passwords applet. Click Change Passwords tab. Press Change Windows Password button. Type in your current password and in the Old Password box. Leave both the New Password and Confirm New Password boxes blank. Click OK. Select the User Profile tab and make sure the "All users of this PC use the same preferences and desktop settings" is selected. Click OK. Restart Windows.

To prevent Windows from prompting you for a password at startup, follow these steps: Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click the Network icon. On the Configuration tab, click to select Windows Logon in the Primary Network Logon box, and then click OK. When you are prompted to restart your computer, click No. In Control Panel, double-click Passwords. NOTE: If you cancel the network logon dialog box when you first start your computer, the Change Passwords tab may not be available. You must logon so the Change Passwords tab will be available. Click the Change Passwords tab, click Change Windows Password, click to select any check box items you want to be included in the change, and then click OK.

In the Change Windows Password dialog box, type your current Windows password in the Old Password box. Leave the New Password and Confirm New Password boxes blank, click OK, and then click OK. Missing or Invalid Passwords Click the User Profiles tab and verify that the All users of this PC use the same preferences and desktop settings option is selected, and then click Close. Shut down and then restart Windows.
If the issue has not been resolved, this issue may be caused by the TweakUI tool in Microsoft Windows 95 Power Toys. If you have installed Microsoft Windows 95 Power Toys, and are using the TweakUI tool, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

Windows Tip: Restart Windows: Not Your Machine By Raymond, WebTechGeek.com - A major annoyance of Windows is the need to reboot after almost any change you make to the system. If you do a lot of installing or tweaking with your system, you have to restart a lot. In those instances, what do you care about the system memory check? If you needed a cold boot or full system restart, you'd make sure you had them. But what if your change only affects Windows? For most of you geeks, every microsecond counts. You can restart just the Windows session without having to go through the whole arduous startup process. Just go to Start, Shut Down, Restart, and hold down the shift key when you hit OK. This will just reload Windows-- and your changes-- without the whole long startup.

You can also take a few seconds off restart by adding a command to the options section of your c:\msdos.sys file. Add this command line: Bootdelay=0 To edit your msdos.sys file, you have to change its attributes first. The file is read-only. To turn it off: Go to your c:\ directory. Under the view menu, click folder options. Click on the view tab Check the box under the hidden files folder, marked show all files. Right-click on your msdos.sys. Go to properties. Turn off read-only Open the file in notepad, edit, and save Turn read-only back on.

Win Tip: Faster Startup: By Raymond, WebTechGeek.com - Eliminate programs from the startup process. Programs put icons directly into the startup folder. So that they automatically launch every time Windows boots. Try moving these icons to a NoStartup folder that you can make. Sometimes you can even do it by right-clicking on the icon in the system tray. Make them stop loading. Launch Start/Run and type in MSConfig. Click the startup tab and you'll see a checkbox list of all the applications that start with Windows. Uncheck the box next to the program you don't want to start.

Stop Windows from checks for a floppy every time it boots. Open up System in the Control Panel. Click on the Performance tab, then the File System button, then Floppy Disk. Uncheck the box next to "Search for new floppy disk drives each time your computer starts." Stop memory count on boot up will save you time. Go to your BIOS and uncheck this feature. Setting your system to boot from the C drive first will save you boot time. That way your system doesn't check for a bootable floppy or CD-ROM. Try turning on "quick start," or "quick boot," look for it in your BIOS setting and turn it on. By WebTechGeek

Device Problem: by Raymond, WebTechGeek.com - If your having problem with one of your devices like your netcam or CD-ROM you should try to reinstall your device drivers. Open the device manager (windows key and the pause/break key) in your system control panel. Scroll to your device on the list. If the problem dives is a CD-ROM then go to the CD-ROM on the list and click on it. Delete the device, you need to reboot your computer. Windows will find your hardware and reinstall the deviance divers for it. Have your windows CD ready and any the software for your dives. If the problem device is a USB device, Scroll to the bottom where you will see USB. You'll see a number of entries. Delete them and restart your machine. Windows will reinstall the drivers. That may solve your problem. Remember to come back to WebTechGeek.com for more How~2s

PC Locks Up Before Windows Loads: WATCH FOR CLUES Tip. By Raymond, WebTechGeek.com - Before Windows starts, your PC performs an initialization process for many of its components. As it does so, on-screen messages either confirm the devices' proper initialization or report errors. So watch for clues as your PC boots up; you may be able to identify a troublesome component. If a message flashes on and off the screen too quickly to read, you can freeze the screen with the Pause key. RESEAT EXPANSION CARDS. System lockups that occur before Windows' launch can be caused by poorly seated expansion cards. Reseat all cards following the instructions given above.

Win98 Bugs & Fixes

Step-by-step guide shows you how to fix Win98's most common problems. Top Six Tips for Bug-Free Updates If it had been up to us, the Windows logo wouldn't be a multicolored flag. We would have picked something that all Windows users could relate to, something that illustrates how Windows makes us feel day in and day out, something that instantly sums up Windows 98's pluses and minuses. Perhaps something like the comedy and tragedy masks often used to symbolize drama would've been better-you know, where one mask is smiling and the other crying.

Win98 are now familiar: It's compatible with far more hardware and software than any operating system (even its siblings), is better able to perform basic maintenance on itself and can even self-repair-to a degree. But that's light years away from saying it's the "best possible" desktop OS. It's not-and that's where the crying starts. So we tapped several sources for the most common Win98 problems and then set out to fix them. Surprisingly, we found that most could be remedied, or at least ameliorated, by following the simple fix-it process we'll describe. It's always wise to have current, known-good backups of your data before you make any significant alterations to your system. Why take a chance? Make a backup first.

Step 1: Read the READMEs Start with the basics: Win98 ships with some 300KB of information i n 13 separate README files that cover a wide range of known problems, workarounds, tips and support options for a range of hardware and software. All the documents are TXT files located in your C:\WINDOWS directory. To see if your specific problem is covered, start with README.TXT, which is a kind of table of contents for all the other README files. Also check GENERAL.TXT, which contains information too new to have been incorporated elsewhere. It takes only a minute and costs nothing to check out the READMEs-and they just might solve your problem.

Step 2: Get Up to Date (Part I) Microsoft itself has already released a number of updates and patches to Win98. Around the time you read this, the company should also be releasing a large service pack to remedy many of Win98's internal bugs and problems. To see what's available, run Windows Update (Start/Windows Update).

Step 3: Get Up to Date (Part II) Most major hardware and software vendors have also released Win98-specific updates: Peripherals: Win98's native driver model is different than Win95's and, while Win98 can run Win95-style drivers, the results are sometimes less than optimal. If Win98-specific drivers are available for your video card, printer, modem, scanner and so on, download and install them following the vendors' recommendations. Systems: Brand-new systems may need nothing-but it doesn't hurt to check. Systems older than six to 12 months may need new drivers for built-in or bundled peripherals (video, modems, printers and so on), and some older systems may need a new BIOS. (This isn't as dire as it sounds:

Most BIOSes can be updated simply by running a special piece of software.) Check your system vendor's site for details. Software: Most software that runs on Win95 runs fine on Win98, but there are exceptions, especially with low-level utilities (defragmenters, uninstallers and so on). Check your software vendors' Web sites and follow whatever Win98-specific recommendations you find there. Also, poke around vendor sites for BBS areas, searchable FAQs and other resources for solving Win98-related problems. You may find solutions to your immediate problems, as well as information that will help you avoid future obstacles. Note: If you haven't yet installed Win98, it's still a great idea to visit the appropriate hardware/software sites for your system beforehand, so you'll learn of any known gotchas or problems. That way, you'll have the fixes or workarounds handy when you do finally install Win98.

Step 4: A Fresh Start for Hardware If the first three steps haven't solved a hardware problem, try removing and then reinstalling the device: Open Control Panel and click on the System applet. Click on Device Manager and select the category and specific device that's not working properly. Click once on the malfunctioning item, then on the Remove button. If Win98 asks to remove files that are no longer needed, click on Yes and reboot. Windows 98 should now wake up, redetect the hardware you just removed and automatically run the Add New Hardware Wizard (you can also run it manually within Start/Settings/Control Panel). If you downloaded new drivers in Steps 1 to 3, use the Wizard's Have Disk option to ensure that Win98 installs your new drivers and not the old ones.

Step 5: A Fresh Start for Software Similarly, if Steps 1 to 3 haven't solved a software problem, reinstall the app or do a complete remove/reinstall cycle: Reinstall: Simply rerun your application's Setup program. Most applications install over themselves without losing any settings, alterations or customizations you've made, so this normally is a very safe approach. Remove/Reinstall: Use Control Panel's Add/Remove Programs applet, an application's own uninstall utility or a standalone uninstaller to completely remove a malfunctioning application. Reboot, even if it isn't required. Reinstall the software from scratch, and then apply any updates you obtained in Steps 1 to 3.

Step 6: Strength in Numbers (Part I) One advantage of using the world's most popular OS is that millions of other users are in exactly the same position you are: Chances are, someone, somewhere, has had the same problem or one very similar to yours-and there's a reasonable chance it's already been reported to Microsoft. The Microsoft Knowledge Base began as an internal resource for Microsoft support technicians: As they solved support problems, they'd document each one and its appropriate remedy in a database that other tech support personnel could reference. See the sidebar "Free Tech Support (with the Web)." After a while, Microsoft made the Knowledge Base available to the public. It's free, although you do have to provide some basic registration information to fully exploit its features. Go to http://support.microsoft.com, register and then spend some time learning the advanced features of the Knowledge Base. It's very powerful-and just may be your ticket to solving very specific problems that otherwise may seem intractable.

Step 7: Strength in Numbers (Part II) You can also tap a huge volume of specific personal experiences with Win98 by visiting any of the 30 or so separate Win98-related Usenet newsgroups. Log on to your ISP, fire up your newsreader, and search for discussion groups with "win98" and "windows98" as part of their names. As a place to start, you'll find one large series of discussions under the heading "microsoft.public.win98.xxx" where xxx stands for various subsystems and components (modems, displays and so on). Alternatively, search for discussion groups with your specific vendor, system, peripheral or app in their titles.

Step 8: Get Resourceful All normal retail Win98 CDs contain a copy of the online Resource Kit, the HTML equi valent of a 1,700-page book that can solve problems and answer a wide range of troubleshooting and tuning questions. Just click on \TOOLS\RESKIT\HELP\RK98BOOK.CHM on your Win98 CD. Remember to come back to WebTechGeek.com for more How~2s

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It's not a bug-fixer by definition, but Win98's Tweak UI will help you eliminate some common OS annoyances. By far, the best Windows 9x utility available is Tweak UI, made (but not supported) by Microsoft. The free Windows 98 version provides more than 100 easy tweaks to Windows: Use it to automate log-ons, remove shortcut arrows, speed up menus, remove the "unremovable" Desktop icons and much more. In fact, it makes you wonder why Microsoft didn't just build it into Windows 98. After all, the company bundles everything from browsers to TV-tuner software-why not user-interface customization? To get Tweak UI for Windows 98, just use Find to search the Windows 98 CD for TWEAKUI.INF. Right-click on the TWEAKUI.INF file and select Install from the Context menu that pops up. It's that easy. To use it, simply launch the new Tweak UI applet from Start/Settings/Control Panel.

Tips for Bug-Free Updates Windows Update makes Win98 renovations a low-stress affair by scanning your system and providing a single source for fixes, enhancements and drivers. You may not need it now, but when it's time to update a critical component, make sure you keep these tips in mind. Unlike the normal installation of files, Windows Update doesn't give you options for location, file and folder name, and so on. The best way to keep tabs on what it's doing to your system is to run System File Checker Start/Programs/Accessories/System Tools/System Information/Tools) after you've performed an update. Check for changed files, and you'll get a report of which system files were altered. You can uninstall some Windows Update software from the Web site. Click on Product Updates, then on Show All. You'll see an uninstall button next to each item that can be wiped clean. Device drivers available for download don't automatically show up in the list like the other downloads. To check for driver updates, click on Product Updates, then on Device Drivers. Note that you can install or uninstall only one driver at a time.

Always download and install the Critical Updates. They often contain bug fixes and security patches. Recommended Updates often include bug fixes as well. If you hide or delete the Internet Explorer icon from your Desktop, you'll likely get an error message when you try to access Windows Update from the Start menu. The fix is to either restore the icon to your Desktop or open your browser and head over to http://www.windowsupdate.microsoft.com . If you've got IE security settings on High, you won't be able to get to the Products Update Catalog. Change your settings to Medium or Low before going to the Windows Update site (select View/Internet Options, open the Security tab and select the desired setting). Remember to come back to WebTechGeek.com for more How~2s

Resolving Hardware Conflicts Tips!

Hardware conflicts is when two devices try to use the same resource, such as an IRQ or memory address. The telltale signs of a conflict is either a particular device not working, or your system hanging or crashing every time you try to use a specific device. You tell your devices which resources to use by setting jumpers or switches on the device itself; newer devices allow you to change these settings with software (drivers). Many new devices are now Plug-&-Play (PnP), meaning that they adjust these settings automatically to avoid conflicts. The more PnP devices you have, the less likely you are to experience a conflict. So, what remains is trying to resolve conflicts between non-PnP (Legacy) devices; here is a general attack strategy for this type of problem:

1.) Open the Device Manager, select System from the top of the list, and click Properties. Windows 98 tries to list all your resources, and which ones are being used by which devices.

2.) From here, you should be able to determine if there is a conflict, and which devices are causing it. Now, it's only a matter of reconfiguring one or more of the devices so that the conflict is eliminated (refer to the specific device's manual for information on changing its settings). If you can't find the cause of the problem here, continue to step 3.

3.) Remove or disconnect all unnecessary devices (sound cards, CD-ROMs) from your computer, except for the one that isn't working (if applicable). If the device still doesn't work, either it's broken, it's a driver problem (see below), or the conflict is with a key piece of hardware (such as the motherboard or video card).

4.) Now if the problem seems to have been fixed, start adding devices one-by-one, until the problem reappears. You've now isolated the culprit, and it's now only a matter of reconfiguring that device so that the conflict is eliminated (refer to the specific device's manual for information on changing its settings).

5.) Note that old drivers can cause problems too.

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