This month's newsletter will give you some information on some of the inner workings of Windows, potential problems with program installation/removal, and Win 98 backup.
DLLs, registry changes, and crashes
We have all run "setup.exe" and watched "Installshield" load new software. If you watch closely, you will see files copied to the program's folder and likely to your Windows and possibly Windows\system folders. What happens when "Program A" installed Ver. 3.5 of a certain DLL (dynamic linked library) file and "Program B" software needs Ver. 4.1? Setup usually installs the newest version, assuming that it is backwards compatible with the older version. Most programs also add information to the Windows registry database. Uninstalling the software rarely removes the newer DLL files and registry entries. (That's how most Microsoft programs "miraculously" remember settings when you remove/reinstall them.) This is also a great way to induce "bugs" in the system. Some DLLs, like all software, can be buggy or have compatibility problems. The biggest advantage toward the move to Windows 2000 or ME is Microsoft's insistence that programs keep their DLLs, etc. in their individual program folders and not the Windows folders. Older programs will still use the "old" method, obviously. Many other items can cause crashes too. Video and printer drivers interface with all programs. Check the taskbar at the bottom of your screen for the additional "helper" icons (software) that slow your PC's booting and cause problems. There are no easy solutions to these problems short of never adding new software. Buying quality software and waiting a few months after the "newest" comes out for it to be somewhat debugged will help. I don't advise randomly loading patches unless they they address problems that affect you. (If it ain't broke, don't fix it!)
Windows 98 and the ERU...
I've been a strong advocate of using the ERU to back up the Windows 95 registry. Microsoft does NOT provide an ERU with Win 98. You can "easily" backup the Win 98 registry by going to Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-System Information-Tools-Registry Checker. Restoring the backup is easier. I'll get to the details of that in a minute. The Win 98 system file checker is one of Microsoft's ways of keeping track of DLL file changes. The problem is that unless you change its' default settings, it will just update its' database and not catch any potential problems except for corrupted files.
How to backup/restore the Windows 98 registry...
Windows 98 automatically backs up certain critical files upon the first time it is booted each day. These files are compressed and stored in "CAB" files in the C:\WINDOWS\SYSBACKUP folder. To restore a backup is relatively easy. Boot Windows 98 to a DOS prompt ONLY. You can do this by pressing the Ctrl key while the computer first starts to boot, then selecting safe mode DOS prompt. Type SCANREG /RESTORE at the C:> and pick the desired backup.
One last hint... now that fall is here, be sure to keep that CPU away from temperature extremes like heat registers and cold drafts.
That's it for this issue... Happy Computing !!!
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That's it for this month... if you have a topic you would like me to discuss, just email me!
Until next time... Happy Computing !
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