This page is my knick knacks drawer for little things pertaining to Microsoft that don't really fit somewhere else yet.

Reinstalling Windows

Do the following if you have has *.cab files (usually in /windows/options/cab/):

  1. Restart as DOS.
  2. Copy cab directory to new directory.
  3. Rename /windows & /programs for backup.
  4. From new cab directory run setup.

To wipe clean an old system:

  1. Copy your CD driver onto a disk.
  2. Make a DOS boot disk (,, format.exe, fdisk.exe,,
  3. Boot from DOS boot disk.
  4. At command line enter: Format c: /s/u [for system files unconditionally]
  5. Install CD driver.
  6. Insert Windows CD.

Make sure you back up your registry files:

  • Win 3.1. All the .ini files located in the WINDOWS directory.
  • Win 95/98. The SYSTEM.DAT and USER.DAT files.
    • Boot to MS-DOS
  • Win NT. All the files located in the SystemRoot\System32\Config directory.
    • Run RDISK.EXE to backup your registry

Customizing Windows

Desktop Images. The default wallpaper choices given come from several potential places (depending on your version of Window). Just clean up the available choices in those areas and you should have greater control over the default wallpaper listed (because a huge list is annoying).

  • C:\Documents and Settings\user\My Documents\My Pictures
  • C:\Program Files\Plus!\Themes
  • C:\WINDOW\WEB\Wallpaper
  • C:\WINNT. The image shown while Win NT or above is locked, is your latest BMP wallpaper. This gives you choices:
    • Select a BMP desktop and keep it. Your lockdown and desktop images are synched.
    • Select a BMP desktop then select a different non-BMP desktop. Your lockdown image will be the BMP, while your desktop image will be different.
  • C:\WINNT\Web\Wallpaper.

The following changes can be made to C:\WINDOWS, or C:\WINNT\Profiles\user, or C:\Documents and Settings\user.

  • To change Favorites: \Favorites
  • To change Links: \Favorites\Links
  • To change Start Menu: \"Start Menu"
  • To change Quick Launch Toolbar: \"Application Data"\Microsoft\"Internet Explorer"\"Quick Launch"
  • To open things quickly with right-click and Send To: \SendTo


  • To change miscellaneous system sound: Go to the Control Panel and use Sounds.
  • To get rid of the speaker icon rin the system tray: Deselect it from the Multimedia icon in the Control Panel.
  • To open Windows Explorer from a command line: explorer.exe /n, /e[driveLetter:\pathToDesireDirectory]. Use the /select switch if you don't want the directory selected expanded.
  • To make .bat file that users can run to set up their mapped drives quickly simply have the file include a command with the following syntax: NET USE DriveLetter: \\ServerName\SharedDirectory. EG: NET USE H: \\FILESERVER\SALES.
  • To change what shows to the right of titles in the title bar of Microsoft applications like Internet Explorer or Outlook Express: Run regedit and modify the stuff like following:
    • HKCU > Identities > {Some long hexadecimal} > Software > Microsoft > Outlook Express > 5.0 > Window Title
    • HKCU > Software > Microsoft > Internet Explorer > Main > Window Title
    • HKLM > Software > Microsoft > Internet Explorer > Main > Window Title
  • Mapping to a network drive is usually something like \\servername\sharedFolder or \\serverName\C$.
  • If that Windows key (aka Start key or WIN key) is annoying, then you can disable it at the registry. Go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout. Add a new binary value. Rename it to: Scancode Map. Modify its value data to:
    00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
    03 00 00 00 00 00 5B E0
    00 00 5C E0 00 00 00 00

    Of course be very careful when modifying the registry.

  • To turn off "personalize menus" in MS office apps, go to a MS office app, then Tools > Customize > deselect "Menus show recently used commands first".
  • To have the Security tab on the Properties page of most folders or files in Windows XP: Windows Explorer > Tools menu > Folder Options menu item > View tab > Advanced settings > deselect "Use simple file sharing (Recommended)".

NT Tips

  • Make sure your hardware is NT compliant. NT has, for security purposes, an abstraction layer between HW and OS that is not found in 95/98. Most good HW is compatible.
  • If you have a multi-OS system, esp. NT and 95/98, make sure NT is on a separate partition or hard drive since the OSs would undesirably end up sharing the \Program Files directory.
  • If you have a multi-OS environment, make sure you have at least one FAT16 partition to be shared between NT and 95/98. This is because NT can read FAT16 and NTFS but not other OS specific FATs such as FAT32 and HPFS (High Performance File System).
  • Be prepared for basic emergency NT repair. You will need three floppies to make a set of NT boot up disks. Create it by running WINNT32.EXE /OX off of your NT CD. You should also make an ERD (Emergency Repair Disk). Make it by running RDISK.EXE. The disk contains these files: autoexec.nt, config.nt, default._, ntuser.da_, sam._, security._, setup.log, software._, and system._. This will enable you to recreate your system instead of having to reinstall the system.
  • Adjust your pagefile to an appropriate amount. The pagefile is virtual memory, i.e. hard disk space reserved to be used as a substitute for RAM, especially for items that need to be in RAM but are not frequently used. The old formula for sizing pagefile was RAM+12 MB. The newer formulas are RAM*2 for workstations and RAM*1.5 for servers.
  • If you are trying to communicate between two NT machines, you may have to make sure the guest account in user manager is enabled.
  • NT is not a good game machine. NT is 32 bit and many programs, esp. older games, from DOS/95/98, may not play on NT. Also NT does not yet support Microsoft's DirectX which is commonly used by newer games.
  • You may not want to ghost NT network installs because each install has a unique SID (Security Identifier). If you have problems and call MS support and they find out you've got cloned SIDs, they won't help you.
  • The net send command line command is the nifty way to do instant messaging. Here is the syntax: net send {name | * | /domain[:name] | /users} message. Here are some notes direct from Microsoft:
    • name. Specifies the user name, computer name, or messaging name to send the message to. If the name is a computer name that contains blank characters, enclose the alias in quotation marks (" "). Long user names may lead to problems when used as NetBIOS names. NetBIOS names are limited to 16 characters, and Windows 2000 reserves the 16th character.
    • *. Sends the message to all the names in your domain or workgroup.
    • /domain[:name]. Sends the message to all the names in the computer's domain. If name is specified, the message is sent to all the names in the specified domain or workgroup.
    • /users. Sends the message to all users connected to the server.


  • Laptop to Desktop: Laplink cable, i.e. serial to serial
  • To ID Dynamic IP: winipcfg.exe
  • To Edit Registry: regedit.exe, regedit32.exe, or regsvr32.exe.
  • To Edit System Policies: poledit.exe.
  • To edit major initial files: sysedit.exe.
  • You can create a link to a file with no extension that opens the file with Notepad.
    • Create a shortcut to the NOTEPADE.EXE.
    • Open the properties of the shortcut.
    • Modify "Target" so it points to the desired file.
    • EG: In Windows 95/98, use:
    • EG: in Windows NT, use:
      C:\WINNT\NOTEPAD.EXE C:\WINNT\system32\drivers\etc\HOSTS
  • The HOST file is initially HOST.SAM before use because it is a SAMple file. The SAM extension must be removed for the file to be active.
  • The system icons are usually stored at some place like: C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\SHELL32.DLL.
  • To use long file names in DOS or older versions of Windows, enclose the name in quotation marks. EG: cd "My Documents".
  • To verify miscellaneous network information for your computer, go to a DOS command prompt and enter either winipcfg (for Windows 9X) or ipconfig /all (for Windows NT).
  • To verify your computer name, double-click the Network icon in the Control Panel.
  • Depending on which version of Microsoft Office you have, the location and name of files can vary.
    • EG: The .exe for the later versions are usually in Program Files/Microsoft Office as opposed to Program Files/MS Office.
    • Templates accessed from the Start button are different from templates accessed from the Ctrl+N in the application. They are kept in Program Files/Microsoft Office/Templates and SystemRoot/Profiles/user/Application Data/Microsoft/Templates.
  • MTS (Microsoft Transaction Server)
    • Placing a new dll in MTS:
      1. Make a dll.
      2. Copy the dll from your development dir to a production dir in the server.
      3. Drag and drop the dll from the production dir to the apropriate package in MTS.
    • Making changes to the dll:
      1. Make your changes and make the dll.
      2. Find your dll in MTS and delete.
      3. Copy the dll from your development dir to a production dir in the server.
      4. Drag and drop the dll from the production dir to the apropriate package in MTS.
      5. Shutdown the package to make sure the dll is clear from memory.
  • Command line switches for Windows Explorer:
    EXPLORER.EXE [/n][/e][,/root,<object>][[,/select],<sub object>]
    /n is for a single-paned window
    /e is for a 2-paned window. The default, so a silly switch.
    /root,<object> Without specifying this, the default is desktop.
    /select,<object> Goes to the dir and hilights the object

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