Windows98 Tips and Tricks

Friday, March 02, 2007
Posted by Takumi 86

Windows 98

Mystery Bar


  1. Hold down "Ctrl", then access the toolbar properties in 2 ways:
    • Click "Start".
    • Point to "Settings".
    • Click "Taskbar and Start Menu".


    • While mouse is over the toolbar, right click mouse and select "Properties".
    • There will be another tab along the top of the toolbar properties box.

Usage: If you have the quick launch tool bar visible on your task bar, you can drag it (or any other toolbar) from the taskbar to the right, left, or top side of the screen and have it reside in it’s own toolbar that can be set to autohide just like the taskbar. If you have multiple toolbars present, and then use the above procedure, it will show the tool bars you have created under the mysterious "Deskbar" tab. This only works for "docked" toolbars.

  • Another Toolbar
  • Also, you can drag a folder from the desktop to the side(s) of the screen which will create a toolbar showing that folder’s contents.

    Windows Easter Eggs

    Ever wondered why Microsoft applications seem to become slower and fatter with each new release? Here's how to find these "Easter Eggs".

      1. Open a blank work sheet.
      2. Press F5 and type X97:L97 in the "Reference" box, then click "OK".
      3. Now hit your tab key once (you should end up in cell M97).
      4. Press "Ctrl" and "Shift" while clicking once on the "chart wizard" icon (the one at the top with the blue-yellow-red bar chart).
      1. Open a new document.
      2. Type the word "BLUE" (in uppercase and without quotes).
      3. Highlight the word.
      4. From the menu, select "Format" and "Font", and change the color to blue.
      5. Make the word bold-faced.
      6. Click at the end of the word "blue", type a space.
      7. Click "Help" from the menu, select "About Microsoft Word".
      8. Click on the Word icon.
    • MS Flight Simulator in EXCEL 97
    • After a few moments you should be flying. Steer with the mouse, accelerate and decelerate with the left and right mouse buttons respectively, and look for the monoliths with the programmer’s credits. You can exit the screen by pressing "Ctrl"+"Shift"+"Esc".

    • MS Pinball in WORD 97
    • After a few moments, you should see a pinball game on the left with programmer’s names scrolling on the right. Right flipper=M, left flipper=C, exit=ESC.

    Various Shortcuts

      1. Navigate in the Registry to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTCLSID{20d04fe0-3aea-1069-a2d8-08002b30309d}Shell
      2. Right-click and choose "New", "Key".
      3. Type in "open" and hit Enter.
      4. Right-click on "Open", choose "New", "Key".
      5. Type in "command" and hit Enter.
      6. Double-click on "(Default)", type in "explorer /e, c:" and hit Enter.
      1. Open up Notepad and type:
        C:WINDOWSRUNDLL.EXE  user.exe,exitwindows
      2. Save the file as "exit.bat".
      3. Create a shortcut to the file by clicking the right mouse button and selecting "Send to" and "Desktop (Create shortcut)".
      4. Right-click on the shortcut and select Properties.
      5. Click on the Program tab and select the "Close on Exit" box.
      6. Now click on the Advanced button and make sure "MS-DOS mode" is selected.
      7. Make sure "Warn before entering MS-DOS mode" is not selected.
      8. Click on the OK button twice.
      9. Give your new shortcut a unique icon and name.
      1. Open Notepad and type:
      2. Close the document and give it a name with a .BAT extension.
      3. Now save the file somewhere on your hard disk.
      4. Create a shortcut to the file by clicking the right mouse button and selecting "Send to" and "Desktop (Create shortcut)".
      5. Right-click on the shortcut and select Properties.
      6. Click on the Program tab and select the "Close on Exit" box.
      7. Now click on the Advanced button and make sure "MS-DOS mode" is selected.
      8. Make sure "Warn before entering MS-DOS mode" is not selected.
      9. Click on the OK button twice.
      10. Give your new shortcut a unique icon and name.
    • Explorer Shortcut
    • Ever notice when you double-click the explorer icon, it brings up a folder showing printers, networking, etc..? Wouldn’t it be nice to have it open something useful like Explorer?

      Note: you can put any path after the "c:" as long as it is a valid path.

    • Windows Shutdown Shortcut
    • Procedure:

    • Windows Restart Shortcut
    • Procedure:

    Makes cascading menus of some system folders on the Start up menu.


    1. Right-click the "Start" menu, click "Open". A Window will open showing all, if any, shortcuts in Start menu (this folder may be empty).
    2. From the toolbar menu, select "File", "New", "Folder".
    3. Name the folder with one of the items below. USE THE WHOLE STRING! (Hint: Copy a FULL name below and paste it as the new folder name).
    4. Hit Enter and now the Start menu should have a new drop down list.

    Below are the names of the folders.

    • Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}
    • Dial-Up Networking.{992CFFA0-F557-101A-88EC-00DD010CCC48}
    • Printers.{2227A280-3AEA-1069-A2DE-08002B30309D}
    • Inbox.{00020D75-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}
    • My Computer.{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}
    • Recycle Bin.{645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}
    • Network Neighborhood.{208D2C60-3AEA-1069-A2D7-08002B30309D}
    • Desktop.{00021400-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}
    • Briefcase.{85BBD920-42A0-1069-A2E4-08002B30309D}
    • Fonts.{BD84B380-8CA2-1069-AB1D-08000948F534}

    Windows Performance boosts

    These tips 'n tricks should help improve Windows performance a little. But, there is only so much you can do to the OS. The best performance boost would be a faster processor, more/faster (if your motherboard supports it) RAM, and maybe an ATA66 EIDE controller card for your compatible hard drive(s). Note: Most newer motherboards have the ATA66 controller built-in.

      1. Open Notepad and type this line:
        Mystring = Space(80000000)


      2. Now save this file as "MEMORY.VBS". This creates a one-line VBasic program.
      3. Whenever Windows starts to feel sluggish, close all non-used apps and double-click on the file.
      4. Assuming your computer has the runtime files, this should help free "leaky RAM" (RAM used by apps that doesn't get freed on exit).
      1. First, create a permanent swap file on your PC. Go to Control Panel, System. Click the Performance tab, then the virtual memory button.
      2. Select "Let me specify my own virtual memory settings".
      3. I set my system to about 5 times my RAM size (I have 96 Mbytes RAM, so my swap file is about 500 Mbytes). The file needs to be big so Windows never runs out of disk "memory".
      4. Set both minimum and maximum to the same value. This prevents Windows from resizing the swap file when needed, which keeps it from fragmenting.
      5. Accept the changes and reset to allow changes to take effect. Bootup will take a little longer than usual (this time only) due to the changes made.
      6. Now either run Norton's SpeedDisk (if you have it), OR follow the next 3 steps. Either one does the same thing, but Norton's is easier.
        1. Reboot to the DOS prompt.
        2. Delete the swap file ( C:Win386.swp ) and reset the PC again.
        3. Don't worry about deleting it; when Windows restarts, it will create a new unfragmented swap file with the size you specified! Again, bootup (this time only) will take longer because it has to erase a big file and then recreate it.
      7. Now Windows won't try to keep resizing the swap file which results in faster performance.
      1. Run Sysedit.
      2. Click on the "system.ini" window.
      3. Scroll down to the [vcache] section.
        If you don't see one, type in [vcache] as a new heading.
      4. If you have 48MB of RAM or less, enter these two lines:
      5. If you have more than 48MB of RAM, enter these two lines:
      6. Close Sysedit, saving your changes, and restart the computer so changes take effect.
      1. Right-Click "My Computer" and select the Performance tab
      2. Click the "File System" button.
      3. Select the Floppy Disk tab.
      4. Uncheck the option "Search for new floppy disk drives every time your computer starts".
      5. Accept the changes and reset the computer when prompted.
      1. Click the "Start" button and select "Find" and then "Files or Folders".
      2. Enter "msdos.sys" in the Named box and "C:" in the Look In box.
      3. Then click "Find Now".
      4. When the file appears, right-click it and select Properties from the pop-up menu.
      5. Unclick the check marks labeled "Read-Only" and "Hidden", then click "OK".
      6. Right-click msdos.sys and select "Open With" from the pop-up menu.
      7. Select any text editor as the opening program, and then click "OK".
      8. Once the file opens, scroll down to "Options".
      9. Enter "BootDelay=0" on its own line.
      10. Save the changes and close the file.
      11. Return msdos.sys to its hidden, read-only state. (Right-click it, select "Properties" from the pop-up menu, and check the "Read-Only" and "Hidden" check boxes. Then click OK.)
      12. Restart the computer so the changes take effect.
      1. Click "Start" then "Startup" and then right-click on "FindFast" and select "Delete".
        (Note: if you are running Windows95, you'll have to navigate to this menu with explorer, and then delete the FindFast shortcut).
      2. As always, restart the computer so your changes will take effect.
      3. That's it!
      1. Click "Start" then "Run" and then type "MSCONFIG.EXE".
      2. From the program that opens, select the "Startup" tab.
        These are all the other programs that are running when windows starts.
      3. Un-select any program by un-checking the respective box.
        What's cool about this is you can undo whatever you do later on by re-checking the box.
      4. Once you make all your changes, close the program and click "Yes" when it tells you that you need to restart.
      5. Incidentally, you can change other startup options in this program, but you're on your own if you decide to do so!
    • Free System RAM to the Swap File
    • Optimize the Swap File
    • Optimize the Virtual Cache
    • Ever notice how sometimes the PC will freeze up and the hard drive will thrash? This is sometimes caused by the Windows virtual cache feature, which is designed to reduce disk access, but can adversely effect performance in certain situations.

    • Stop the Scan for New Floppy Disks at Bootup
    • When Windows 98 boots up, it looks to see if any other drives have been added since shutdown. This, of course, wastes a few moments. If you are sure you never add drives, you can disable this feature and speed up rebooting a little. Procedure:

    • Speed Up Reboots
    • There is a two-second delay in Windows start-up sequence. You can set this delay to 0 and gain an extra 2 seconds. it doesn't sound like much, but every effort to reduce that slow, clunky startup any amount of time is worthwhile! Procedure:

    • Remove Microsoft FindFast
    • Do you have Microsoft Office97 installed? If so, you also have FindFast. This program is supposed to make file access faster by building a sort of database which helps Windows find file locations easier. The trouble is, this "indexing" makes the system slow down while it is looking for the files to index. You can adjust the time between its execution, but it always seems to be in a really important part of an intense game or something. The easiest solution: Keep it form running at all!
      Procedure (and it is REALLY simple):

    • Removing startup programs
    • You probably know that any program in the Startup folder in the Start menu runs on startup, but there are other programs that load up on startup that aren't in this folder.

    Windows Registry Fixes

    Is your registry having problems (meaning the whole or part of the OS isn't working right)? There are a couple of software programs out there that really help things get back under control: MicroSoft's RegClean and Norton's Utilities.

    • RegClean is a free utility by MicroSoft. Just go to their website ( and search for it. Make sure you get the appropriate one though! There are separate versions for Win95 and Win98. This program fixes common registry problems caused primarily by Microsoft's applications.
    • Norton's Utilities, on the other hand, is much better I think! It isn't free, but you can get it for about $50 pretty much anywhere. This has several tools to make life easier.
      • Windoctor finds all kinds of common registry problems and lets you decide how to fix them, or the program can find the best solution by itself.
      • SpeedDisk is a disk defragmenter which is faster than the one that comes with Win98. It also lets you optimize the registry (hint: Use the optimization swap file procedure above and then let Norton defrag the swap file). This isn't really a registry tool, but it is nice.
      • Finally, Optimization wizard optimizes the registry by compacting unused portions for faster access.

    I use these each time before I back up my system and it has kept my PC running smoothly.

    Windows Registry Tweaks

    The following tweaks are done using REGEDIT. You must enter EXACTLY the values shown or severe problems may result. BACK UP your Registry in case. I cannot be held responsible for any problems you have from the use of these tweaks. If unsure, DON'T DO IT!!
    Note: Some of these settings can be done through TweakUI, a free MicroSoft unsupported program that comes with Win98 (first edition). This is obviously preferable to mucking with the Registry.

      1. Run Regedit and navigate to:
        [HKEY_CURRENT_USERControl PanelDesktop]
      2. Modify the value of 'MenuShowDelay' according to the delay you would like before the menus are shown (the value is time in milliseconds). If the value doesn't already exist, then simply create a new string value (between 0 and 999 only) and name it 'MenuShowDelay'.
      3. Close Regedit and restart the computer for the change to take affect.
      1. Run Regedit and navigate to:
      2. Create a new DWORD value named 'ContigFileAllocSize'.
      3. Set the value to equal to '200' (in hex) or '512' (in decimal).
        The entry should now look like this:
        ContigFileAllocSize  0x00000200 (512)
      4. Close Regedit and restart the computer for the change to take affect.
      1. Run Regedit and navigate to:
      2. Click on the long list.
      3. In the right-hand window, double-click (Default), and change the name from Recycle Bin to whatever you prefer.
      4. Click OK and close Regedit.
      5. Click anywhere on the desktop, then press the F5 key to refresh the screen and show the new name.
      1. Run RegEdit and navigate to:
      2. Select Edit/New/Binary Value from the menu bar.
      3. Name the new entry "NoLogOff"
      4. Press Enter and set the value to "01 00 00 00".
      5. Close Regedit, and restart the computer for the changes to take effect.
      1. Run Regedit and navigate to:
      2. Double-click the "RegisteredOrganization" and/or "RegisteredOwner" options, and type in a new name.
      3. Close Regedit and restart the computer for the changes to take effect.
      1. Run Regedit and navigate to:
        HKEY_CURRENT_USER, select Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Policies/Explorer
      2. Select Edit/New/DWORD value.
      3. Change the default name to "NoFavoritesMenu".
      4. Press Enter and change the contents of the Value Data to 1.
      5. Close Regedit, and restart the computer for the changes to take effect.
      1. Run Regedit and navigate to:
      2. Under Uninstall, locate any keys you don't want, and press Delete to remove them one by one.
      3. Close Regedit, and restart the computer for the changes to take effect.
      1. Run Regedit and navigate to:
      2. In the right-hand pane, right-click "NoSaveSettings" and select Modify.
      3. Add a 1 to the value to disable Windows' ability to save settings on exit.
      4. Close Regedit, and restart the computer for the changes to take effect.
      1. Run regedit and navigate to:
      2. highlight the gif, jpg, bmp, or art key.
      3. Either modify or create the key value named "ShellEx" and highlight it.
      4. In the ShellEx key, create another key named:
      5. Now change this key's default value to:
      6. Close Regedit, and the change should be immediate. You may have to refresh a folder's view.
      • Scene 1: You uninstalled a program properly; using Control Panel's Add/Remove Programs. But, the entry is still there! So you try uninstalling the program again and get an error!
      • Scene 2: You installed a program and don't want anyone uninstalling it. So, you'd like to remove it from the list.
    • Changing the Menu Show Delay
    • This one changes the delay from when you highlight a menu to when it actually appears. I changed my delay to 0 and the menus move much faster. You can experiment with different values and see which one suits you.

    • Configure the Contiguous File Allocation Size. Don't know what it is, but it works.
    • I'm not sure what this actually does, but I quote:
      "This setting optimizes the contiguous file allocation size for the file system. This is especially useful for disk intensive applications."
      Sounds good, doesn't it?

    • Rename the Recycle Bin
    • You can rename almost every desktop item by either right-clicking on it and selecting rename or slowly double-clicking on the item. You can't do that with the Recycle Bin however; you have to do it in the Registry.

    • Remove "Log-Off" From the Start Menu
    • If you aren't on a network or using the Microsoft Family Logon feature, this Start Menu entry only takes up space.

    • Change the Registered Name
    • Removing Favorites Menu from the Start Menu
    • Note: Even though the Favorites Menu is gone form the Start Menu, you can still access this folder in Explorer or in IE.

    • Remove Items From the Add/Remove List
    • Typical Story:

      This provides a way to solve both these problems.
      Note: Once removed, the uninstall option will forever be gone for that specific program...unless it has its own uninstall program. So, make sure before you do this!

    • Lock the Desktop Settings
    • This adjustment will prevent Windows from saving the way the desktop looks when shutting down.
      The desktop will revert to its default state when the computer is rebooted.

    • Troubleshooting Thumbnail View for Images
    • Do you like to use thumbnail view for viewing a folder's contents?
      Do some images display as thumbnails OK while others don't? Occasionally, after installing and removing various graphic programs, file associations can get muddled. This can lead to the accidental removal of the thumbnail view functionality for certain file types. To fix this, do the following procedure for each image file type that doesn't display properly.

    Other Stuff

    Below are a few odd items of interest. Nothing spectacular, just stuff I thought noteworthy.

      1. Right-click on the folder whose contents you wish to view as thumbnails, not on a shortcut to a folder, and select "Properties".
      2. Check the box next to "Enable Thumbnail View".
      3. Now, open the folder and select "Thumbnails" from the View menu.
        Note: If the "Thumbnails" option doesn't appear like it should, simply click on another folder and then back to the other one again.
      4. It may take a few moments for Win98 to draw the thumbnails.
      1. Open an explorer window.
      2. Select "View", then "Folder Options", then "View".
      3. Check the box marked "show all files".
      4. Click "OK" and hit the F5 key to refresh your system.
      5. Now in the Windows directory look for a file called "folder.htt" and delete it. The warning is now gone!
      1. Click on the Start menu and select "Find", then select "Find files and folders".
      2. Type *.pwl in the "Named:" box and hit Enter.
      3. When the PC is done searching, delete all the files ending with pwl.
      4. Close the Find box.
      5. Now, open the Control Panel and click on "Network".
        (Click "Yes" if a dialog box pops up saying "The Network is not complete. Do you want to continue?".)
      6. Delete "Windows Logon" and/or "Microsoft Family Logon".
      7. Close the Network Panel and Control Panel and restart the computer.
      8. The login prompt should be gone!
      1. Before you begin, you may want to find all three of the files listed above and copy them to another folder in case you want them back.
      2. The finished image HAS to be 320 pixels wide by 400 pixels high. Simply find an image that's 640 by 480, crop the bottom or top until it's 400 pixels high, then resize the width to 320 pixels. Note: in whatever graphics program you use, you cannot maintain the aspect ratio, otherwise both length and width will be resized. You don't want that.
        The resized image WILL look horizontally squashed...this is what it is SUPPOSED to look like, really!
      3. Now you need to save the file as a BMP file with ONLY 256 colors or less.
      4. Then, rename the BMP file to the appropriate SYS file and put in the appropriate directory for that file.
    • Enable Thumbnail View
    • This is an easy way to display a folder's contents without having to open each file. It displays a little thumbnail view for each image and HTML files.
      To enable this function, follow the steps below:

    • Remove the View Windows Folder Warning
    • Are you tired of seeing the Windows Warning Message (the one that says "Modifying the contents of this folder can be dangerous....") every time you hit the Windows folder in Explorer?
      The file you need to modify is a system file and needs to be "unhidden".

    • Remove the Windows Login Prompt
    • Do you get that annoying prompt that asks you to enter your username and password to use Windows? You sorta need this if you ARE on a network; but, if not, why not get rid of it? Once you do the following steps, you'll be able to start Windows without signing on.

    • Changing Windows98 (or 95) Startup/Shutdown Logo Screens
    • Yes, it CAN be done, and you DONT have to be a rocket scientist to do it! There are actually three files (which are actually BMP files renamed to SYS files):

      C:logo.sys          (the one you see at startup)

      C:windowslogow.sys (the one you see while your PC is shutting down)

      C:windowslogos.sys (the one that says it is OK to turn the PC off)

      You may not see C:logo.sys on your system. If it doesn't exist, the computer extracts the necessary image from a system file. So, if it isn't there, make one! All you have to do is create your own pictures (or download them) and do a few minor adjustments to change the Windows default.

      Animated startup screens: These are too complex for me to go into here. There IS a site, however, that explains it in detail: Animated Logos.
      There are also many pre-made logos waiting to be downloaded at various sites as well as some programs that organize logo screen collections

    These tips and tricks were found on My Fav. Warez Forum W5A!!!

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