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Here is a Windows NT Workstation 4.0 tip from reader Warren C.:
"I recently deleted Command.com in the \Winnt\System32 folder. I didn't realize what had happened until I tried to run an old MS-DOS program. After some gnashing of teeth, I discovered that all I had to do was insert the Windows NT Workstation 4.0 installation CD into the drive and enter
expand d:\i386\command.co_ %systemroot%\system32\command.com
at the Command Prompt to copy a new Command.com to my system."
This assumes your CD-ROM drive is D:. If yours is not, just substitute the appropriate drive letter.
Thanks for the tip, Warren.
GETTING RID OF FINDFAST
Here's a question we see rather frequently: You've installed Microsoft Office, and now you would like to get rid of FindFast. How do you do this?
You can remove FindFast from your Start Up folder, but this won't quite finish the job. To do it right, click Start, Settings, Control Panel. When Control Panel opens, double-click the FindFast icon.
In FindFast, click an entry and choose Index, Delete Index. Repeat the process for each of your index listings. After you have deleted all the index listings, choose Index, Close, Stop.
Finally, right-click Start and choose Open. Double-click Programs and then double-click Start Up. Delete the FindFast entry and restart your computer.
KEEP THE FILES ON YOUR HARD DISK
Reader Della C. has an installation question:
"Is it possible to expand the entire contents of the i386 folder on the Windows NT Workstation 4.0 installation disc to a local hard disk? This would help when I want to copy files into my current installation."
Yes, it is possible. To expand the files to your hard disk, insert the installation disc in the CD-ROM drive and open a Command Prompt window. At the prompt, type
d:\i386\winnt32 /t:c /x
and press Enter. When the Windows NT 4.0 Upgrade/Installation dialog box opens, click Options. Deselect the check box labeled Create Boot Floppy Disks and click OK to close the dialog box. Now click Continue to expand all the files to the C: drive. After all the files expand, you'll get a dialog box asking if you want to restart. In this dialog box, click Exit To Windows NT.
At this point, all your expanded Windows NT Workstation 4.0 files appear in a folder on drive C: named $win_nt$.~ls. Change the name to something like NT; you now have a folder on your hard disk with all the Windows NT Workstation 4.0 files expanded.
DOES YOUR TASKBAR LEAVE A TRAIL?
Reader Maurice C. has a question about the Windows NT Workstation 4.0 taskbar:
"I activate the taskbar AutoHide because I like having the taskbar hidden when I don't need it. Lately, though, the taskbar leaves a trail when it disappears. Do you have any idea how to get rid of this trail?"
We tried to simulate this problem, and the only way we could do it was to tell Windows NT to select Show Window Contents While Dragging. So we suggest that you disable this feature.
Right-click the desktop and choose Properties. When the Properties dialog box opens, click the Plus tab. Deselect the check box labeled Show Window Contents While Dragging and click OK to save your selection and close the dialog box.
PUT THE MICROSOFT INTERNET EXPLORER ICON BACK ON YOUR DESKTOP
This question is from reader Linda O.:
"I deleted my Microsoft Internet Explorer desktop icon. Now I want it back. I know that I can create a shortcut, but I would prefer to have the original icon."
Right-click your desktop and choose New, Folder. Name the folder
and press Enter. We suggest that you copy the name, then paste it into your new folder's name box.
USING UNNAMED ICONS IN WINDOWS NT WORKSTATION 4.0
Reader Nancy B. sent this question:
"Is it possible to have a shortcut icon on your desktop with no name? I have some icons I downloaded from the Internet that are self-explanatory (for me, anyway), and I would like to eliminate the names. The problem is that Windows NT Workstation 4.0 forces me to enter a name."
You can't enter a space, but you can use a comma. We know this isn't an entirely satisfactory method, but you can't eliminate names on individual shortcuts. Try several keys to see what suits you best. You could also try entering a character from the keypad. Just hold down Alt and enter your number using the keypad (this won't work with the numbers across the top of the keyboard). Try 0128 and up to see if you can find a character you like.
BAD FILE ON INSTALL?
Reader Elwin C. has a question about Windows NT Workstation 4.0 repair:
"I recently had to use my repair disk to reconstruct a Windows NT Workstation 4.0 installation. Every time I stepped through the procedure, I got a message telling me that the file riched20.dll wasn't copied. The third time I went through the procedure, I decided to heck with it and continued. All seems well now, but it worries me that I got that error. Am I asking for trouble down the road? Should I try another repair?"
This can happen when you upgrade or when you repair an installation if you have installed Microsoft Office. It isn't anything to worry about. What happens is that Microsoft Office installs a file named riched20.dll, and Windows NT Workstation 4.0 also installs the same file to support WordPad. Just ignore the message and continue with your repair.
WHERE IS SERVICE PACK 6?
Reader Pete K. has a service pack question:
"I have not been able to locate Service Pack 6. Do you know where I can find it?"
As this is written, Service Pack 6 is at
You can find the 128 bit version at
Microsoft will most likely move these files to
in the near future--perhaps by the time you read this. By the way, before you install Service Pack 6, make sure you go over the Readme file thoroughly--we have had reports that it doesn't work well with some older hardware drivers.
ASSIGNING SHORTCUT KEYS
Here is a tip from reader Anita B.:
"I like to use shortcut keys, but soon discovered they work only when an object is either on the desktop or in the Start menu. In view of this, I decided to create a special folder for the shortcuts I want to assign keys to and place it in the Start menu. This way, I can have my shortcut keys and easily make any changes necessary."
To do this, you can right-click Start and choose Open. When the Start Menu window opens, right-click it and choose New, Folder. Name the new folder Shortcuts.
Now you can drag some shortcuts into the new folder. To assign a keystroke to one, right-click it and choose Properties. When the Properties dialog box opens, click the Shortcut tab. Now click in the Shortcut Key entry box and enter the character you want to use for your shortcut key. For example, you might enter a C for the Windows NT Calculator. Windows NT Workstation 4.0 will add Ctrl-Alt to your key, so you would then press Ctrl-Alt-C to open the Calculator. After you make your selection, click OK to close the dialog box and save your new key assignment.
By the way, you can also use your new Start Menu Shortcut folder to run the entered programs.
Thanks for the tip, Anita.
CREATING REG FILES WITH NOTEPAD
We have received several questions from people who are having problems creating REG files. For example, instead of Test.reg, they get Test.reg.txt.
The best approach to this problem is to enclose the name in quotes. If you need to name a file
in Notepad, choose File, Save As and type
and then click Save.
ASSIGNING DRIVE LETTERS
Here is a question from reader Mac McC.:
"I have five computers, all running under NT 4.0 with Service Pack 5. All have a hard disk (of course), a 3.5-inch floppy, a CD reader, and an Omega Zip drive (100MB). All drives are labeled differently. Is there a way to reassign the drive and partition letters so that all computers look the same--short of starting all over again from scratch?"
You can use Disk Administrator to assign the drive letters. Since we have no specific information on your current drive letter assignment, let's run through an example using two computers. Both computers use drive C: as the primary Windows NT Workstation 4.0 partition. A second partition, drive D:, is used for data storage and so forth. The CD-ROM drive is drive E:, and the remaining removable storage is drive F:.
On the second computer, the removable storage is drive E: and the CD-ROM drive is F:. So on computer 2, click Start, Programs, Administrative Tools (Common), Disk Administrator. When Disk Administrator opens, click the CD-ROM partition and choose Tools, Assign Drive Letter. Set the CD-ROM to drive X: (or anything not in use). Now click the removable storage partition and choose Tools, Assign Drive Letter. Set this drive to E:. Repeat the procedure and set the CD-ROM to F:.
There is usually no problem with changing the drive letters of CD-ROM drives and other removable storage devices. You need to be a little more careful with hard disk partitions, though. If you have loaded programs on the partition, Windows NT Workstation 4.0 won't be able to locate the program files after you rename the drive.
Don't rename the partition that holds Windows NT Workstation 4.0.
SOME Y2K INFORMATION
The time is upon us, and here is a Y2K tip from reader Claude F.:
"I decided to check my computer for Y2K problems. I set the date to 1/1/2000 and restarted the computer. I got an Invalid System Time error. I found this was entirely due to my BIOS, and the manufacturer sent me an upgrade disk.
"If anyone has a similar problem, I suggest that they call the manufacturer for upgrade information. Most recent computers allow a software BIOS upgrade. All you have to do is run the program on the disk the manufacturer ships you."
You should first check your manufacturer's Internet site. Most manufacturers post the latest BIOS upgrades for their computers. Follow the manufacturer's instructions very carefully when upgrading your BIOS. An error could render your computer unusable.
Thanks for the tip, Claude.
WORKING WITH LONG FOLDER NAMES AT THE COMMAND PROMPT
This Command Prompt question is from Chuck L.:
"I have yet to be able to type anything more than eight characters long at the Command Prompt. Everything I do needs to end with ~1. I'm sure this must be a setting somewhere. Do you have any suggestions?"
We don't have that problem with Windows NT Workstation 4.0 SP 5. However, you should be able to use the full names if you enclose them in quotes. For example, to go to the Program Files folder, you would type
cd "c:\Program Files"
and press Enter. Give this a try and see if it works. You might also want to install the latest service pack.
OPENING THE START MENU
Reader Andrew S. asks us to point out that you can open the Start menu from the keyboard even if your keyboard doesn't have a Windows key. All you have to do is press Ctrl-Esc. In previous versions of NT, pressing Ctrl-Esc opened the Windows NT Task List. In Windows NT Workstation 4.0, you press Ctrl-Shift-Esc to open the Task Manager.
Also, as Andrew pointed out, you can use Alt-Esc to toggle between open programs. This does not work like Alt-Tab. When you press Alt-Esc, Windows NT Workstation 4.0 toggles directly to a new window. This works only with windows that are not minimized. If you minimize a window, you can't reach it with Alt-Esc.
Thanks for the tips, Andrew.
PRINTING A WINMSD REPORT
Here is a question from reader Gerald N.:
"I have found that you can get WinMsd to print a full report if you type
at the Command Prompt. Is there a way to get WinMsd to print a report without opening the program from Windows NT--perhaps by clicking its icon or a shortcut?"
Yes--you can assign switches to Windows NT programs without going to the Command Prompt. Just run Windows NT Explorer and go to \Winnt\System32. Locate the winmsd.exe icon and use the right mouse button to drag it to the desktop. When the menu appears, choose Create Shortcut(s) Here. Now right-click your new shortcut and choose Properties. When the Properties dialog box opens, click the Shortcut tab. To the end of the existing line in the Target entry box, add
This should leave you with something very similar to
in the entry box. Click OK to close the dialog box and store your new settings.
When you double-click the WinMsd shortcut, you'll get your printout without ever seeing WinMsd open.
WHEN BATCH FILES STOP WORKING
Reader Kristen D. has a Command Prompt question:
"When I first installed Windows NT Workstation 4.0 on my computer, I could go to the Command Prompt and simply type
to run myfile.bat. Now I have to type
to get the batch files to run. Obviously something has changed. Can you offer any suggestions?"
It sounds like your PATHEXT environment variable has been damaged somehow. Give this a try: Click Start, Settings, Control Panel. When Control Panel opens, double-click System. Now click the Environment tab and click PATHEXT in the System Variables entry box. In the Variables box, add .COM;.EXE;.BAT;.CMD and click OK.
If you have no PATHEXT, you can add one. Just click the System Variables entry box and then the Variable entry box. Enter PATHEXT and press Tab to get to the Value entry box. In this box, add .COM;.EXE;.BAT;.CMD and click OK. Choose File, Close to close Control Panel.
EDITING AT THE COMMAND PROMPT
Here is a Command Prompt question from reader Tom D.:
"Is there an easy way to copy and paste between Windows NT programs and the Command Prompt window? I know about choosing Edit, Mark, and so on, but I keep thinking there is a better way."
As you've pointed out, one way to copy and paste in the Command Prompt windows is to choose Command Box, Edit, Mark. Then you use the Shift-Arrow keys to select the portion of the window you want to copy. After you make the selection, press Enter to copy to the Clipboard.
However, you could choose to use QuickEdit mode, which makes the process a bit more Windows-like. In QuickEdit mode, you can use the mouse to select the portion of the window you want to copy and then simply press Enter to copy your selection to the Clipboard.
To enable QuickEdit mode, choose Start, Settings, Control Panel. When Control Panel opens, double-click the Console icon. When the Console Windows Properties dialog box opens, click the Options tab. Now select the check box labeled QuickEdit Mode, then click OK to save your new selection and close the dialog box.
FINDING YOUR CD KEY
Reader Joanna B. has a CD key question.
"I somehow managed to lose my Windows NT Workstation 4.0 CD case. The CD key was on the back of the case, and I don't have it recorded anywhere. This will be a problem if I ever have to install Windows NT Workstation 4.0 again. Is there a way to retrieve the CD key from Windows NT Workstation 4.0, so I can record it somewhere for future use?"
To get the CD key, right-click My Computer and choose Properties. When the System Properties dialog box opens, click the General tab. You'll find the CD Key under Registered User. The CD key is the middle 10 digits. The entire number format is:
In this example, the CD key is 012-3456789.
ASSIGNING FUNCTION KEYS TO PROGRAMS
Reader Marcy D. has a shortcut-key question.
"I know how to assign a character on the keyboard to a program, but you have to use Ctrl-Alt-Something. I would like to assign some function keys to start a program--perhaps press F2 to open Notepad. Is there some way to assign something besides Ctrl-Alt-Something?"
You can assign almost any key to a program. The problem is finding a keystroke that doesn't already have some other function. For example, suppose you decide to use F5 to open Notepad--but when you're working in Microsoft Internet Explorer and decide to refresh the page, you press F5 and Notepad opens.
If you still want to assign function keys to program shortcuts, right-click the shortcut and choose Properties. When the dialog box opens, click the Shortcut tab and click the Shortcut Key entry box. Press the function key you want to use, then click OK to close the dialog box and save your assignment. If you have a problem, you can always follow the same procedure to assign a new key. To remove all assignments, click the Shortcut Key entry box and press Backspace.
Reader Joe B. has a question about file associations:
"How does one change a program type that has been associated with a file type using the Open With window?"
Once you associate a file type with a certain application using the Open With window, it stays associated. You can change it to another association the same way--in the Open With window. Try this: Run Windows NT Explorer and click the file you want to change. With the file highlighted, hold down the spacebar and then right-click the file. Choose Open With from the menu and the Open With dialog box will open. Select the new program and click OK.
If you want to make the new selection permanent, make sure you select the check box labeled Always Use This Program To Open This Type File before you click OK to close the dialog box and save your new selection.
VIEWING FAT 32 AND NTFS PARTITIONS
Here is a comment from reader Andre C.:
"A recent tip stated that you can't see NTFS partitions from a FAT32 partition. I can do just the opposite. I have two computers, one running Windows NT Workstation 4.0 with NTFS partitions and the other running Windows 98 with FAT32. From either machine, I'm able to save, delete, and copy files without a problem. What's the deal?"
On any given computer, you cannot access a FAT32 partition from Windows NT Workstation 4.0. Also, on that same computer, you can't see the NTFS partition when running Windows 95/98.
It's different when you use a network. Let's say you have one computer running Windows 98, networked with another computer running Windows NT Workstation 4.0. You can work with files over the network even if you use FAT32 on the Windows machine and NTFS on the NT 4.0 Workstation machine.
But suppose your Windows 98 computer can dual-boot and therefore has an NTFS partition. You will not see that partition on either computer. You can't see it because Windows 98 doesn't recognize NTFS.
VIEWING DIRECTORIES AT THE COMMAND PROMPT
Reader Ken A. has a Command Prompt question:
"I have to work at the Command Prompt often. I was wondering if you know a way to do a DIR and see only the directories available on a specific drive."
You can modify the DIR command to display directories only. Type
and press Enter. If the listing is too long, you can add the pause switch as well. Type
dir /ad /p
and press Enter to view the directories one page at a time. If you need to see all the subdirectories in the current directory, type
dir /s/ad /p
and press Enter.