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Windows 9x (95, 98, ME) Notes



Windows 9x requirements


Windows 95
CPU - 386DX required but 486DX or Pentium is preferred
Memory - 4MB required but 8-16MB preferred
Hard Drive Space- 50-85MB space
Video - VGA or better
Mouse and Keyboard are required

Windows 98
CPU - Pentium but Pentium II is recommended
Memory- 32MB but 64-128MB is recommended
Hard Drive Space - 455MB - 2GB
Video - VGA or better
Mouse and Keyboard are required

Windows ME
CPU -Pentium but Pentium II is recommended
Memory- 32MB but 128-256MB is recommended
Hard Drive Space - 455MB - 4GB
Video - VGA or better
Mouse and Keyboard are required

Windows 9x core files

KRNL386.EXE - The core system files of Windows
USER.EXE - The user interface module of Windows
GDI.EXE - Graphical Device Interface, responsible for the graphics and printer interface of Windows

Windows 9x System Files

FAT16 - File Allocation Table is a list of clusters available on a disk. It's a 16-bit program that stores clusters with wasted space. Under FAT16 your partition can only go up to 2GB per partition

FAT32 - A 32-bit file system that stores clusters in a more efficient manner. Under FAT32 your partition can go up to 2TB

To install Windows 9x you must type the command setup from the command line

Windows Setup options

Typical - allows setup to choose standard options
Portable - allows laptops dealing with PC cards and Advance power management
Compact - minimum space
Custom - users have control of the installation process

Windows 9x is installed by default in C:\Windows (system folder)

Setup log files

Windows 9x makes several key logs during the installation process. Below details the log files and their role in the setup process

BOOTLOG.TXT - This file contains a record of the current startup processes involved in starting Windows 9x when you install windows 9x this created automatically
NETLOG.TXT - a log file of network components created during installation
SETUPLOG.TXT - a log file created during win 98 setup that stores what took place during the setup process
DETLOG.TXT - This file keeps a record of devices found during the setup process

Creating a new Windows 9x installation

Windows installation phase

0. Start at ground level
1. Preparing to run Windows 9x setup
2. Collecting information about your computer
3. Copying Windows 9x files to your computer
4. Restarting your computer
5. Setting up Hardware and finalizing settings

Win 9x boot up sequence

IO.SYS - I/O files use to communicate with the BIOS
MSDOS.SYS - Handles I/O, and loads into memory (configure boot files)
SYSTEM.DAT and USER.DAT - system and user settings
CONFIG.SYS - loads device drivers
AUTOEXEC.BAT - sets system environment
WIN.COM - Initiates the Windows 9x protected load phase
SYSTEM.INI - use to configure 16-bit drivers
WIN.INI- sets 16-bit windows environment
VxD - loads virtual device drivers

LFN- Long file name Support

Windows supports up to 255 characters

Cannot use the following characters in a windows naming scheme

/ \ Forward and backward slash
? Question mark
< > Greater than and less than
: Semicolon
* Asterisk
" " Quotation marks
| Pipe character

PnP - The ability of a device to run without user intervention

3 things needed in order to be PnP
PnP OS - examples are Windows 9.x and Windows 2K, DOS and Windows NT 4.0 are not PnP
PnP BIOS - Any BIOS made after 1995 are typically PnP
PnP Device - Any Device made around 1996 are typically PnP

PnP Load Order

Desktop settings in Windows 9x

My computer icon - Displays all the disk drives and properties settings

Recycle Bin - Where deleted files are stored until complete erased

Windows explorer - Windows 9x user interface
Right Click Start>Explore
Start>Programs>Accessories>Windows Explorer

The desktop is a virtual desk upon which of all your programs and utilities will run.

Display properties
Right click desktop > Properties
Start>Settings>Control Panel>Display

Background - Use to select a picture or document to display on desktop
Screen saver - Allow you to setup a screen saver on your desktop
Appearance - Use to collect color scheme for your desktop
Effects - Contains numerous options for visual effects
Web - Allow for configuration of Active desktop settings
Settings - Use to set color depth, resolution and monitor configuration settings

Taskbar - contains the start menu and the system tray

System Properties
Right Click My Computer>Properties or
Start>Settings>Control Panel>System

General - Contains information about OS version, service packs, updates, User information,
license, serial number, CPU and memory

Device Manager
- Contains information about devices, drivers and resources

Hardware Profiles
- Contains information about hardware profiles (useful with laptops)

Performance - Contains information about advance settings such as file system, hardware acceleration and setting virtual memory in windows 9x. (win386.swp)

Device Manager - A graphical view of all the hardware installed in your computer

Yellow exclamation point- there is a problem with a device in the device manager
Red with x - means the device has been disabled
Question mark - device drivers has not been loaded or recognized

Start Menu Settings

Shutdown menu - Allow you to shutdown, restart or go into DOS mode in your computer

Log Off menu - Allow you to log off and have someone else log into your computer

Run menu - Used to start programs if they don't have shortcut in the desktop

Help menu - Allow you to look for Windows 9x help topics

Find menu (Win98) Search (WinME) - Is use to search for files, folders, computer, Internet and people.

Settings submenu - Gives access to your control panel, printer and taskbar/start menu

Document menu - To keep track of the last 15 data files you opened

Programs menu - Contains the programs and applications you will use

Run Menu commands

Start > Run >NOTEPAD
Windows GUI Text Editor

Start > Run > EDIT
Command Line Text Editor

Start > Run > MSCONFIG
The system configuration utility has a number of tabs use for enabling and disabling drivers and startup and shutdown programs

Start > Run > ASD
Automatic Skip Drivers (use for allowing or disabling certain drivers from loading)

Start > Run > COMMAND
Start the command prompt in a windows environment

Start > Run > HWINFO /UI
Hardware Information Diagnostic Utility

Start > Run > SCANREG
Scans and backs up the registry for errors

Start > Run > REGEDIT
Starts the Windows Registry

Start > Run > WINIPCFG
Starts the windows configuration utility

Start > Run > DRWATSON.EXE
Starts the Dr. Watson utility useful for taking snapshots of windows 9x environment

Starts the Windows 9x System Information Utility

Start > Run > SYSEDIT (only Windows 98)
Use to modify settings such as the PROTOCOL.INI, AUTOEXEC.BAT, CONFIG.SYS, WIN.INI and SYSTEM.INI

Start > Run > CVT1.EXE (only Windows 98)
Converts FAT16 to FAT32 (once this is done you cannot go back to a FAT16 environment)

Start > Run > SFC (only Windows 98)
Starts the System File checker

Start>Run>VCMUI.EXE (only Windows 98)
Starts the Windows 9x Version Conflict Manager

Control Panel Options

Control Panel is the main utility for configuring your computer's setup. You can access the control panel by selecting Start>Settings>Control Panel.

Accessibility Options
Allows you to configure options that make Windows more accessible to users with limited sight, hearing and mobility

Add/New Hardware
Allows you to install, remove, and troubleshoot your hardware (especially non plug-Plug-play hardware)

Add/Remove Programs
Allows you to change or remove programs that are currently installed in your computer or add or remove windows components

Allows you to set date, time and time zone for your computer

Allows you to configure your computer's display, including background, screen saver, appearance, Active Desktop, resolution, colors and visual effects

Allows you to manage fonts installed on your computer

Game Controllers
Allows you to add, remove, and configure game controllers, including joysticks and game pads

Internet Options
Allows you to configure Internet Connection properties, security, content settings, and Internet programs

Allows you configure keyboard settings

Allows you to configure your mail program

Allows you to configure telephone dialing options and modem properties

Allows you configure mouse settings

Configures audio and video options and settings

Allows you to configure network devices and settings

Contains information of open database connectivity drivers

Provides a simple tool for managing passwords

Power Management
Allows you to configure power schemes, hibernation, APM and UPS options
3 Main power management schemes:
Home/Office Desk
Always On

Allows you to install and manage printers

Regional Options
Allows you to set regional options, including numbers, currency, time, date and input locales

Allows you to configure sound devices and to assign sound to system events

Allows you to configure system properties, including device manager, hardware profiles, and performance settings

Allow you to configure settings for telephony

Provides a simple tool for managing users

System Tools

Start>Programs>Accessories>System Tools

Backup and Restore files in Windows 9x

Character map
Determines which letters, numbers and characters the machine will use

Clipboard viewer
Allows you to see what has been copied onto the system clipboard

Drive Space 3
A utility use to compress files

Compression Agent
Used with Drive Space 3 allows you to set up parameters for compressing your files

Disk Cleanup
A utility, which goes through the system and deletes, unneeded files to free up disk space

Disk Defragmenter
A utility use to make your drives contiguous

Maintenance Wizard
Sets up a system maintenance plan

Net Watcher
Checks the performance of the network

Resource Meter
Gives a quick look in how system resources are used

Checks drives for errors and problems

Scheduled tasks
Enables to run tasks automatically

System Information
Finds information on the hardware and software installed in your PC

System Monitor
A utility in Windows 9x to track performance and create a baseline

System Restore (only Windows ME)
A utility use to restore your computer

DEFRAG - A Windows utility that defrags your hard disk. In Windows 95, you run Defrag by selecting Start->Programs->Accessories->System Tools->Disk Defragmenter

SCANDISK- A Windows utility that finds different types of errors on hard disks and is able to correct some of them. In Windows 9x, you can run Scandisk by selecting
Start->Programs->Accessories->System Tools->Scandisk.

Among other things, Scandisk checks the disk platters for defects and also looks for lost clusters that are sometimes created when a program aborts and also the following below
Crosslinked files- This can happen when two or more files have become confused as to where their data resides
Bad Sectors-This happens to wear and tear and prevents your computer from running properly
Lost clusters-These appear when data areas have not been correctly identified as either in use or available for use by a new file

System Information Utility - Used by Windows 9x for gathering information about the current configuration and layout of Windows 9x system

Windows Report - This tool will generate a diagnostic report about your computer
Update Wizard Uninstall - Tool use if you installed a new patch or driver on your Windows Update tool and want to uninstall it.
System file checker - This tool will verify the integrity of your OS files
Signature verification - This tool will search for both signed and unsigned files
Registry checker - This tool will verify that your registry is not corrupted
ASD - Automatic Skip Driver
Dr. Watson - This tool will take a snapshot of your system whenever a system fault occurs
System Configuration - This utility allows you to point and click in various supplied checkboxes to modify your system configuration files, including WIN.INI, SYSTEM. INI, CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT
Scandisk - This tool will check your hard disk for errors
Version conflict manager - This tool allows you to manage different versions of your files and drivers

System Monitor - A Windows utility use to track usage system resources

The General Categories you can monitor include the following:
Disk Cache
File System
Memory Manager
MS Network Client

Windows 9x Registry

Registry - Stores all the information on your PC, network information, user preferences, file types and any other Windows 9x system files

Registry consist of 2 binary files
SYSTEM.DAT - Where all the system information is stored
USER.DAT - Where all the user information is stored
If both of these files become corrupted you can use their back up files to restore your registry. These files are known as USER.DAO and SYSTEM.DAO

To get to the Windows 9.x registry you type REGEDIT in the run command

The registry consists of six main root keys

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT - Contains information about class objects used by Windows
HKEY_CURRENT_USER - Contains information about the current user settings
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE - Contains information of every device ever installed in your PC
HKEY_USERS - Contains information of all the users on a PC
HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG - Contains information of your current device installed in your PC
HKEY_DYN_DATA - A registry data stored in RAM to speed up system configuration

CLICK HERE for Windows Error Messages

Trouble shooting in Windows 9x

F5 or safe mode (will load only generic drivers)
F6 safe mode with network support
F8 step-by-step confirmation

Boot Menu

Normal - This boots Windows Normally
Logged - This logs the boot process in a file called BOOTLOG.TXT
Safe Mode - A trouble-shooting menu with loads minimal device drivers for a mouse, keyboard and VGA
Step-by-Step configuration - Step-by-Step confirmation of features will be loaded in Windows 9x
Command prompt only- this process all startup files but does not start the GUI
Safe mode command prompt only - Safe Mode in a non-GUI environment


A backup is a term for copies on your computer drive (data files, applications and even setup information.) You can choose from several types of backups, depending upon what information you want to safeguard and how you want to restore data in an event of a loss.

Types of Backup

Full Backup - A full backup copies everything

Incremental Backup - An incremental backup is faster to perform than a full backup because it records changes made to files since they were last backup (whether that last backup was full or incremental) Using a system of incremental backups, a user might perform a full backup once each week, with daily incremental backups recording the progressive changes to files

Differential Backup - A differential backup records all the changes made since the last full backup.


Win 98 networking
How to setup peer to peer networking in Windows 9x

1. Right Click Network Places (ME) or Network Neighborhood (98)
2. Properties
3. Click the Configuration TAB
4. Click Add
5. Select Adapters and pick the vendor or have disk (usually the easiest method for installing the Network adapter card's drivers is to install the accompanying CD or disk drivers that came with the component)
6. Click Add Client Services from Microsoft Network
7. Click Add Protocol Services from Microsoft pick NETBEUI for peer to peer networking since its faster, the only drawback is it's not routable. Also add the TCP/IP protocol in order to connect to the Internet
8. Click Add File and Print Services from Microsoft
9. Click File and Print Services from Configuration tab and check both boxes
10. Select Client for MS Networks as Primary Logon
11. Select Identification TAB and write the name of computer, workgroup and description of that will become part of the peer to peer network
12. Select Access Control TAB and select either Share or User level Access
13. Restart Computer
14. Double Click Network Neighborhood or Network Places and see if you are part of the network

Share Folders in Windows 9x

1. Double Click My Computer
2. Double Click a drive
3. File>New>Folder
4. Right Click Folder>Sharing
5. Click on Share this folder and give it a share name
6. Apply
7. OK
8. (You will see a hand on the Folder that means it has been shared)

Windows 9x supports share-level security; that is a password is assigned to a resource when the resource is shared

Windows 9x support three options in share level security

Read-Only: Allows users on the network to see and run applications in that folder, and to see and open files

Full: Allows all users on the network full rights including, read, creating, modifying and deleting files and folders

Depends on Passwords: Allows users to set different passwords for Read only or Full access. You give the appropriate passwords to users based on their rights you want to give them



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