Saturday, July 08, 2006

Full Windows Experience...

Towards Total Windows

By default, your Windows installs with most common component and settings optimized for common users. As an advanced user, you have to dig out and fish out some unusual advanced settings and components hidden beneath Windows to use it in total. Here, some such advanced settings had been fished out for you that you can cook for your total Windows experience. But beware, some tips given here involve fiddling with Windows registry and if they are properly not handled, they may render your machine in non usable state. It is recommended that prior to messing with registry; back it first to a safe and handy location so that you can restore it back easily; in case you find some errors or if you do not find new settings useful enough. Further, it is also recommended that you backup your valuable data before attempting to change these default settings to avoid any data loss.

Towards new Windows Startup Disk

(For Win98)

You are given option to create startup disk during installation of Windows 98 that has some useful utilities including drivers for common CD-ROM drives. The startup disk can also be prepared through Control Panel’s add remove program. But it asks you to provide path of Windows 98 installation files, which may not be handy at times. Windows 98 provides you two more easy ways to create Windows Startup Disk. Further, you can customize your startup disk as per your requirement.

There is a boot disk creator batch file called Bootdisk.bat, in your Windows directory‘s Command folder. Inside the Command folder, you will see a subfolder called EDB, which contains all the files that make a traditional Windows 98 boot disk. You can go to the EDB folder and add/remove the desired tool you want in your startup disk. But be sure that size of folder must not increase to that of standard floppy disk size. After adding and deleting required component from EDB folder, finally execute Bootdisk.bat to create your customized Windows98 boot disk.

Alternately, you can run a Windows98 boot disk creator program Nocomp.exe that you can found in your \Program Files\Plus!\System folder. You can also customize this utility to create customized boot disk through a simple configuration file called Nocomp.inf available at the same location. The Nocomp.exe utility can include configuration from your Autoexec.bat, Config.sys, Autoexec.dos and Config.dos files on your startup disk so that you can boot your Windows normally with the help of startup disk it creates. Simply run nocomp.exe from \Program Files\Plus!\System (if you find it necessary then after editing nocomp.inf file,) put a floppy disk in your floppy drive and follow on screen instructions. Your customized boot disk will be ready in no time.

Towards Maximum file cache

(For Windows9x/ME)

You can increase the size of cache that stores the quantity of last accessed directory and files for further improvement in your Windows performance, provided you have ample RAM. Since, now-a-days, 128 MB RAM are installed as bare minimum in entry level PC, you can go ahead to utilize every bit of your system’s memory. By default, your Win9x/ME installs to behave as workstation. You can change it to behave as Network Server so that it can handle more folders and files. For this, go to Control Panel ->System and click on Performance tab and then click on File System button and select Hard Disk tab. In "Typical role of this computer" box, you will be provided with options- "Network Server" "Desktop Computer" and "Mobile or Docking System". Select "Network Server". Similarly, move the "Read-ahead optimization" slider to Full. Finally click on OK and reboot your computer. This way, Windows provides you to increase cache up to the last 64 accessed directory paths and the last 2729 accessed files. You can further increase the size of folder/file cache to up to three times more as specified above and hence speed up hard disk performance further. Keep in mind that to increase cache further, you must have RAM 128 MB or above.

Increasing folder / file size cache needs additional registry entries that can be conveniently done through creating a registry file and merging it to the main registry. But before attempting to change registry, back it up first. Now, open Notepad and type in the text given below exactly as it appears:

REGEDIT4

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\FS Templates]

@="Max Cache"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\FS Templates\Super Cache]

@="Super Cache"

"NameCache"=hex:00,ff,00,00

"PathCache"=hex:ff,00,00,00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\FS Templates\Max Cache]

@="Max Cache"

"NameCache"=hex:00,18,00,00

"PathCache"=hex:c8,00,00,00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\FS Templates\Huge Cache]

@="Huge Cache"

"NameCache"=hex:80,13,00,00

"PathCache"=hex:90,00,00,00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\FS Templates\Large Cache]

@="Large Cache"

"NameCache"=hex:a0,0f,00,00

"PathCache"=hex:80,00,00,00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\FS Templates\Medium Cache]

@="Medium Cache"

"NameCache"=hex:20,0f,00,00

"PathCache"=hex:50,00,00,00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\control\FileSystem]

"NameCache"=hex:00,18,00,00

"PathCache"=hex:c8,00,00,00

Save this as a registry file having .REG extension, say MAXCACHE.REG file. Now open your Windows Explorer and right click on this file. You will be provided with options to what to do with this file. Select Merge and click Yes to merge this file in Windows main registry. Restart Windows, and go to the system settings from where you have selected role of your computer as "Network Server", as had described earlier. There, you will find 5 new entries “Super Cache”, “Max Cache”, “Huge Cache”, “Large Cache” and “Medium Cache”. You have to experiment with these setting to see which one suits you better, depending on for what purpose you are using your computer : Business, Graphics, CAD, Animation/video editing, Software Development, Desktop Publishing or 3D gaming etc.

Towards Faster Modem

(For Win98/ME/2000/XP)

You can give a little extra speed boost to your external 56K Analog or ISDN modem in handling Windows internal data transfers. Just go to Windows control panel, double click on Modems, select the installed modem whose setting you want to change, and click on properties button and select General tab. Here, you will see various incremental entries from 110 to 115200 in Maximum speed selection box. You can assign Maximum speed up to 115200 bps. This can be further increased to 921600 bps through Registry tweak.

To increase this speed further, start your registry editor and go to

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Class\Modem\0000

Here, note if you have more than one modem installed, then the modem for which setting is being changed may be installed under the 0001 or 0002 etc keys, and not necessarily under 0000 key. Highlight the appropriate one and in the right hand pane double-click the "Properties" Binary value. Change the 7th to 10th digits on the 4th row (the one that begins with 0018) from C2 01 to 10 0E. If you find it difficult, then create a registry file by typing exactly as shown below in notepad and replacing 0000 with 0001 or 0002 as the case may be for your installed modem.

REGEDIT4

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Class\Modem\0000]

"Properties"=hex:80,01,00,00,ff,00,00,00,ff,00,00,00,07,00,00,00,0f,00,00,00,\

77,07,00,00,00,10,0e,00,00,fa,00,00

Save this as a registry file such as Modspeed.reg and merge this file in your main registry by right clicking on it in Windows Explorer. You will see three additional entries 230400, 460800 and 921600 in Modem’s Maximum speed settings. Now you can reset your modem's "Maximum speed" to one of these new values to feel the difference. However, note that you be prepared for getting some abnormal behavior like modem lockup from some modem if it does not support higher speed.

Screen Shot Description:

Totwin01.png The size of Cache that stores current used file and folder can be increased for higher performance. This setting can be increased beyond the default permissible limit of Windows98/ME with the help of registry tweak.

Totwin02.png You can assign any name or symbol of up to 8 characters to your Time display in system tray through control panel’s regional setting.

Totwin03.png Modem’s speed can be increased up to 921600bps beyond the Windows default permissible maximum limit of 115200bps through new registry entries.

Totwin04.png Windows98 boot disk creator batch file located at Windows\Command folder can be conveniently used for creating boot disk without Windows98 installation media.

Totwin05.png Another easy way to create customizable Win98 boot disk that can have information from your Autoexec.bat and Config.sys files. This utility, nocomp.exe is installed with standard Windows98 installation and is available is \Program Files\Plus!\System directory.

(The article has been published earlier in it magazine)

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