This is a section of the most common Frequently Asked Questions that we are asked. We are only placing currently supported technology up which includes Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000 server and professional, all XP versions and Novell software. Hardware in the FAQ's is Pentium class and up and appropriate peripherals. Also look at Tips'N'Tricks.

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  • I have an older Pentium 60 system that still does all I want it to do. My hard disk was beginning to make noise so I have purchased a new one that is much larger. The system is a Packard Bell and the drive in it is about 520MB. The new drive is a Western Digital that is about 8GB. I have backed up all my data and programs to a tape but the new drive does not allow me to see all of the space it indicates it has. Can you give me a quick resolution?

The answer is a definite "Maybe" on the resolution but a "No" to quick. This is a brief (are you kidding?) tutorial on drives and BIOS conflicts. I wrote it several years ago for Microsoft and have recently updated it for them. I caution you to prop yourself up with a pillow and consume all the caffeine you can prior to reading it. This article can also be found in reasonable facsimile on Microsoft's support site.

All you ever wanted to know about disk drives and BIOS conflicts...

  • My small home network does not seem to work. I have network cards, am running W98 on all of them, and the W98 System Properties say they are working correctly. I can't see any of the other computers or printers from any computer. Why?

Assuming that you have the cables going into a hub and the mechanical and electronic functions are all correct, you need to verify that NetBEUI is loaded (in the NETWORK section of Control Panel) and then SHARE resources on each computer that you need to access from others. This is done by clicking on properties of the drive, folder, files or printers associated with that computer and sharing them. Any computer that is on the network will show up in Network Neighborhood. By utilizing the menus, you can make the resource available only this session or anytime you boot up. Good luck and happy networking!

  • I have scanned in several pictures saved in different formats. I can save them to my ZIP drive but not to my floppy drive. I have used all the extensions that I could find. Any suggestions?

Depending on the way your W95 and W98 systems are set to VIEW the desktop and folders, you may not see details of the files by sizes. Chances are the file size is larger than the capacity of the diskette. Also extensions need to correspond to the format the scan was saved in, such as JPEG (JPG) or TIF as examples. My history with file viewers is that MOST determine what kind of file they are trying to open for you by the extension. Often, the scan is a "good one" but shows on a system as garbage because the scanning software saved it in .TIF format but someone renamed it to .JPG or something else. If size is your problem, reduce the density of the graphic, try to save it as a different type from within your scan or graphic manipulation software, get a file utility that breaks up large files into smaller parts that will fit on a diskette, or try a compression utility such as WINZIP or similar programs that reduce the size of the object file. The downside to the last two possibilities is that the object must be processed in reverse as you carry it to another computer. Most of these utilities are free at many places on the Internet.

  • My software indicates that it has documentation with it. I have tried to view it but I can't see it. How can I view it?

Most software has adopted Adobe's PDF format for documentation. Often they do NOT supply the reader. Download and install the Acrobat reader (current release 4.05) and you probably will be able to view your documentation.

Adobe Acrobat Reader

  • I have a Windows 95 system that I use only on the Internet. I recently made some patches suggested by some articles I read in several computer magazines. Now my passwords are no longer saved in my dial up networking connections. They worked before but not now. What did I do wrong?

As for what you did wrong.... I have no idea but since I have limited space (a condition I don't do well with), I'll just address the problem with your dial up network scripts. Actually this is a common problem in both W95 and W98. In the old days, we would call this an undocumented feature since not storing the password makes unauthorized use of the connection more difficult. Now we just call it another Microsoft problem. Some registry entries and files are vulnerable during updates and OFTEN become contaminated or confused. Microsoft has several articles on the support site that are good. This is the procedure we use. Save the whales and passwords...

  • What is the straight story on Intel's Pentium III released about the end of February, 1999? There has been a lot of hype but is it really all that much better than the Pentium II's?

In our opinion, in the beta test we did prior to release, we tested a 450mhz hot rod. I saw very little difference except in the area of 3D graphics calculations and display. Intel has purchased that technology from S3 and it is very good. It is pricier and the street rumor is that it has fixed some internal bugs resident in the II's. Since then we have tested several against PII's and found more or less the same results. We do feel that as software is written to incorporate the new functions of the chip, the differences will widen. Here are some other opinions...

  • Exactly what is bandwidth? Why is it that sometimes my Internet connection is fairly fast and sometimes it just drags? I understand there is newer technology called DSL that really speeds up the Internet. What is it?

I think you should take a look at our Glossary for the answers to your questions. The definitions are pretty complete and will link you to many related words and terms. If you would like to dream about DSL and bandwidth, take a quick look here...

  • I am not a very technical person. I went to Microsoft's site to download some files but became confused at all of the files and options. Is there an easy way to get something from Microsoft?

Microsoft has recognized that problem in the fact they have come up with automated support on the W98 platform. It was an experiment that virtually everyone agrees has been a great success. They also have gone to great length to create a large document based database they call Knowledge Base. It covers all the platforms and all the Microsoft applications. While it has a ways to go, it also in my opinion is a great effort. For more information about how to download files from the Microsoft Software Library, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
Q119591 How to Obtain Microsoft Support Files from Online Services.

  • We have a very small network but we do not have a dedicated server. Most of our files are kept on our local hard drives and we network to share our laser printer. We have noticed that sometimes the same file printed from one computer to the printer prints considerably differently when printed from another computer. All are Windows 98 computers and all are using Word in Office '97. In the words of Andy Rooney, "Why is that"?

Actually, this is a very common problem but one that most people live with becasue each person may CHOOSE to have a printed file look a certain way. If that is not the case, here are the things to consider. Windows 98 now comes in two versions and has so many patches that you can't count them. Try to standardize on similar products. If you can, stay up to date on patches. Also, many applications install fonts. Some of the fonts have the same name but are not the same. Therefore choosing Buttercup 12 on one computer may not be the same on another. Or perhaps, you are just choosing (intentionally or otherwise) a different font or size. Defaults may be different within Word. If one machine, has one font and another does not, Word tries to make an intelligent substitution. Sometimes intelligence is a matter of definition. Finally, there are differences in how printer drivers handle text streams sent to them. In the case of HP printers, HP often updates drivers and version 1.XX that came with your printer may be superseded by version 9.XX available on the HP website. Microsoft also has versions of printer drivers that can be loaded by default. Often as updates are made, new drivers are loaded over old ones, with or without your knowledge. These differences often are seen in the weight of the print, the printable area of the page, the amount of "white" on the page and the way graphics are processed. In the PRINTERS section of W98, you can get all the details about the driver your printer is using. I strongly suggest getting the most recent drivers and see if they work for you satisfactorily. In the case of HP and others as well, most printers are backward compatible with drivers but if older drivers or definitions are used, all the newer printer features may not be available. For instance, the LJ3 driver will print just fine on LJ 4's, 5's, 6's and higher. It may do all you want and if you also have a LJ3 in the office, this only entails loading one driver to have print look the same from both printers, even though they are different printers. In the case of the 2100 and 8000 LJs, the newest drivers always form feed one blank page after whatever you print. HP has not worked that out yet but suggests you use the LJ4 driver if it is an irritation to you. (IF? Are you kidding?) The same applies to ink jets, bubble jets and some dot matrix printers. Find a common ground and most of those problems (if they are problems) will go away.

  • Does Microsoft really care if I snitch a copy of W98 from my buddy? How would they ever know? What if someone just "gives" it to me? That is not really theft is it?

They care! Illegal use of software is the same as any other kind of theft. It is just dishonest, period! You can call it stealing, you can call it giving or anything else you want. It is still not right unless you have a legal serial number and a certificate of authenticity from Microsoft! How would they know? Microsoft is a big organization with big resources. Beginning with W98, the ability to update information in a semi-automatic fashion from the Internet gives big brother a look at your system. (Do they have a right to do that? That is debatable but they do have a right to expect that you pay for the software from them that you use.) When he is looking, do you think he might possibly look at the serial number of the operating system? If he happens to compare it to a database that has the same number in it 25 times to 25 different people, do you think he might get a clue? Big brother IS watching. Here is an example...

  • Many people said that there was not going to be another revision of W98 after the second edition. Is that true? I have heard that there is and that W2000 will go in the direction of business and the W98 successor will go toward home use.

We predicted that about the time NT4 came out, though Microsoft never confirmed it or even insinuated it until recently. We are told the same thing by Microsoft. Rumor is that the next edition of W98 is going to be called Millennium. It will follow the path of FAT32 as a file system while the W200 product will continue to offer a better system called NTFS (the NT File System), carried over from the NT beginnings. I am a fan of moving away from the DOS based structure of W95 and W98 as it limits memory structure so much. W2000 has made inroads at eliminating that problem.

  • How can I erase my history in where I have gone on the Internet? (Updated 3/1/2004, to include all versions through XP.)

By opening your Internet Explorer, clicking on the TOOLS drop down on the toolbar, then Clicking on Internet options, you will come to a general setup function of Internet Explorer. There is a main section, near the bottom of the page on most versions, called History. You can set how many days you want to retain the history of where you have been. (Sometimes having a history is a good thing, sometimes not.) You can also delete your history as viewable from all sources other than in the registry. You may also want to clear your cache of temporary Internet files and cookies, usually on the same page.

  • I have accidently opened or tried to "type" files that I thought were text files. They seemed to have junk in them and not just text. Where does that stuff come from? Some of the characters were "smiley" faces.

Obviously not all files are text files. By definition, text files are pure ASCII files. You can generally "type" them as you indicated you tried. However, there are also different character sets and different forms of data files that you cannot "type". Even in pure ASCII, there are control codes that can't be seen or printed and will cause "strange" but predictable things to happen if you "type" them. Take a close look at various extensions listed in our glossary, section "other", and also look at the ASCII character set.

What is the most frequently asked question by people on the phone? Survey says...

  • How is the weather there?

Since you are not on the phone, you obviously don't get a chance to ask that of us. But just in case you just have an uncontrollable need and desire to know what the weather is like in beautiful, downtown Palm Springs, California ...

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