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Rocketman's Win 95/98 Tips

(that you can test out then tell me if they work)

These are things that I have done to my computer at work and my other one at home. Both of them boot up from stone cold in less than 45 seconds, never crash, and they are generally way faster than before. However, I should tell you that I really don't know a rat's ass about computers and everything on this page is USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.
It all worked for me but I can't guarantee it will work for you - or even that you will do it right. And this page does not come with tech support!

Here Goes....

Before you start tweaking you should do a few things. First, close all your open windows. Second, go to My Computer / right click on C / Properties / and take a look. This will tell you how full your C drive is. The fact is that the more stuff in there the slower your computer runs. Write down how many MB your "used space" is right now before you do anything else. If you have another hard drive do the same thing with that one, but you don't need to be concerned that the second drive will slow you down. It's a slave drive and a great place to store stuff to keep your C drive clean. Now click OK to close the Properties window. The will be the words "File Edit View Help" showing on the menu bar at the top of the My Computer window. Click View / Options / View / select "Show all files" / and click Apply then OK and close My Computer. Now print out this page, close any windows you may have open, and you're ready to rock!

Before you do anything be sure that you can undo it. Right click your Recycle Bin icon. Click properties and select "use one setting for all drives". Be sure the "Do not move files..." box is not checked and set your "Maximum size of Recycle Bin" to 50% of drive. Then go to Start / Run and type in the word "regedit". The Registry Editor box will open. Click registry / export registry file . A dialog box will open. Type in "regback1" and if you want select a place to save it. This will back up your registry in case you screw something up you at least backed up your registry and can recover it later.

A good place to start cleaning up your computer is to uninstall any software that you added before and don't use anymore. The best way to do it is to use it's own uninstall program. You get these from Start / Settings / Control Panel / and double-click the "Add/Remove Programs" icon. Then check out what is in the box and select and remove any that you don't use. If you don't know what they are then you might want to figure that out prior to clicking that "add/remove" button. This will generally remove the unused program as well as associated help and log files.

Win 98 only - Turn off Active Desktop: Go to your Display Properties and switch to the Web tab. Uncheck "View My Active Desktop As a Web Page". Active Desktop option Windows 98 uses a lot of system resources, and turning it off will really speed you up.

Win 98 only - Turn Off Animations: Go to Display Settings from the Control Panel and switch to the Effects Tab. Now turn off "Show Windows Content While Dragging". You can also turn off "Smooth Edges on Screen Fonts" too but you might not like the ragged look of your text.

Wallpapers slow your whole system down. Unless you really like that plaid desktop just use a plain solid color background. If you want to save a little more space delete all the wallpaper schemes you have. Go to Start / Settings / Control Panel / click the Display icon /. Go to Background and look at all the available wallpapers and see if thare are any that you can live without. Then use the Start / Find / Files or Folders / and find each one by name and delete it.

Fonts slow you down. When Windows starts, it loads every single font in the Fonts folder. Therefore, the more fonts you have, the slower the booting process. To get rid of unwanted fonts, simply go to My Computer / C / Windows / Fonts / and remove whatever you don't want. Fonts that have a red letter 'A' as their icon are system fonts, so don't delete them or you will screw up big time. Here is a decent minimum list of the other fonts I left:

  • Arial and black, bold, bold italic, and italic
  • Book Antigua Old
  • Bookman Old Style
  • Comic Sans MS and bold
  • Courier New and bold, bold italic, and italic
  • Impact
  • Lucidia Sans and italic
  • MT Extra
  • Symbol
  • Tahoma
  • Times New Roman and bold, bold italic, and italic
  • Verdana and and bold, bold italic, and italic
  • Wingdings (it looks like junk but you need it)

Installation programs leave junk all over the place, not just in Temp folders. If you see a folder called "msstartup" on your hard disk, that's one place you'll find leftover installation files. Delete the whole damn thing. If you've installed Outlook 98 or Internet Explorer 4, you can also look for folders named Outlook 98 Setup and IE 4.0 Setup which you can also delete.

Win 98 only - TweakUI lets you improve your PC's responsiveness by setting faster menu speeds, adjusting your mouse's double-click sensitivity, turning off time- and CPU-cycle-wasting animations, and much more. TweakUI on your Win 98 CD in the / Tools / Reskit / Powertoy / directory. Right-click on "tweakui.inf" and select Install. After it installs, open Control Panel, click on the TweakUI icon and play with the options.

Fix your swap file so Windows does not constantly waste time changing the size and scattering pieces of it all over your hard drive. Go to Start / Settings / Control Panel / System / Performance / Virtual Memory / and select "Let me specify my own virtual memory settings." Set the min and max both to the same number which should be 4 times RAM if you don't have much to 2 1/2 times RAM if you have a lot. For example, if you have 16MB Ram, set the min and max swapfile size at 64MB. Windows will give you a scary warning that "you may not be able to restart your computer..." Bullshit - Click Yes then OK.

Go back to System / Performance / File System /. Change the "Typical role of this machine" setting to "Network Server". This supposedly does a lot of stuff that makes your system run faster in general. I couldn't notice much difference myself.

A typical installation of Windows loads all kinds of useless crap that you probably will never use. You might have a bunch of this junk on your hard drive. To get rid of it select Start / Settings / Control Panel / and double-click the Add/Remove Programs icon. Then click on the Windows Setup tab, and target the sections listed below. To remove an item, click on the box next to it to remove the check mark, then click Apply. If you want to remove some but not all of a setting, double-click on it, and click to remove check marks from the items you want to delete. Here are some things you can probably live without.....

  1. Accessibility Options: Delete entire group. (Typical savings: 300KB for Win 95, 4.7MB for Win 98)
  2. Accessories
    • Desktop Wallpaper (Typical savings: 600KB-700KB)
    • Games (Typical savings: 600KB-900KB, 2.5MB for NT or Win 95/98)
    • Mouse Pointers (Typical savings: 500KB for Win 98, 1.4MB for Win 95 OSR2)
    • Screen Savers (Typical savings: 300KB for Win 95, 1.3MB for Win 95 OSR2 and Win 98)
    • Online User Guide Typical savings: 7.7MB, Win 95 only)
    • Windows 95 tour (Typical savings: 2.4MB, Win 95 only)
    • Win PopUp, under System Tools in Win 98 (Typical savings: 100KB)
    • WordPad (Typical savings: 1.2MB for Win 95, 1.7MB for Win 98)
    • Desktop Themes. (Typical savings: 48.2MB; Win 98)
  3. Multimedia
    • Multimedia Sound Schemes. If you use Windows default sound effects, delete all sound schemes. (Typical savings: 6.4MB-6.8MB)
    • Sample Sounds. If you use a sound scheme, delete these files. (Typical savings: 700KB)
  4. Online Services: Delete the whole folder or delete them all except the one you presently use. These are set-up programs only. For example, if you are using AOL and you delete AOL from the Online Services folder the AOL that you are using will work exactly the same. The only reason to save the one you use it that it's handy incase you need to reload it in the future. If you have the original online service CD then you don't need to keep anything at all in the Online Services folder. (Typical savings: 1.2MB)

Video files eat up space like black holes. Some Windows installations contain a wad of large .avi help files that show such things as cursors moving across screens as part of a beginner's tutorial. Ooooohh not good. Go to Start / Find / Files or Folders / Advanced / of type / and select .avi, .mov, mpeg, .viv. You can look at them if you want to see if you want to keep or delete; just double-click their icons from the results area of the Find dialogue. Delete everything that you don't need.

Graphics files also chew up a chunk of disk space. Go to Start / Find / Files or Folders / Advanced / of type / and select .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .pcx, .tif. If you use Paint Shop Pro, add .psp and pspbrwse.jbf to the list. You can look at them if you want to see if they are worthwhile. Be careful with the .bmp files because some programs use them for icons and backgrounds.

Do you have any speakers on your computer? Do you care about all those beeps and squeaks? If not, go to Start / Find / Files or Folders / Advanced / of type / and select .wav. Those are all sound files and you can blitz the lot of 'em.

Screen Savers are another space hog. Go to Start / Find / Files or Folders / Advanced / of type / and select .scr or screen saver. These are all your different screen savers. Check them out and delete everything that you don't need.

Find Fast is great for slowing you down all the time and causing the occasional crash. If you have Find Fast installed and want to remove it, go to My Computer / C / Windows / Start Menu / Programs / Start Up / and then delete Find Fast. If you really want to do a thorough job go to Start / Find / Files or Folders / and type in "findfast". Then delete everything.

Anything else that always starts automatically will slow the boot up process. The shortcuts for all these other programs are right in the start up folder where Find Fast was. Go to My Computer / C / Windows / Start Menu / Programs / Start Up / and see what's in there. Antivirus programs are real resource hogs and you can't get a virus unless you open an infected file or word document with an evil macro. You might want to manually start your antivirus program only when you need it and delete the shortcut from the start up folder.

When Windows 98 boots up, it wastes time scanning for new floppy drives. Duh - like you add a new floppy drive every week! You can save a few seconds by going to Start / Settings / Control Panel / System / Performance / File System / select the "Floppy Disk" tab, and uncheck the option "Search for new floppy disk drives every time your computer starts".

If your CD ROM drive fires up every time you insert a CD and it's driving you crazy you can disable the autoplay feature. This also saves a couple boot up seconds. Click the Start / Settings / Control Panel /. Double-click the System icon and click the Device Manager tab. Click the + sign by CD ROM and double-click the name of your CD ROM drive. Click the Settings tab and then uncheck "Auto Insert Notification". Click OK. The next time you install software you will need to use the "Add/Remove Programs" function from Control Panel.

Clean out all your temporary, history, and cache files often. How often is up to you. I do mine at least once per week and they usually contain about 30 - 50MB of crap. Windows98 has a built-in utility called Disk Cleanup. You can run it from Start / Programs / Accessories / System Tools / Disk Cleanup /. Select the drive you want to clean. From here you can delete:

  • Temporary Internet Files
  • Downloaded Program Files
  • Contents of the Recycle Bin
  • Temporary Files
  • Non-Critical Files
If you have Win 95 then you have to delete all this crap manually. You get to it by going to My Computer / C / Windows /. Open each one of folders listed below and delete all the contents. You do this by opening the folder and then click on "edit" and "select all" then click on "file" and "delete". These are the folders to clean out:
  • Cookies
  • History
  • Recent
  • Temp (only those files more than 1 week old to be safe)
  • Temporary Internet Files
Note: If you run Netscape it has it's own cache. You should periodically clean it out also. Go to Edit / Preferences / Advanced / Cache / and clear both the disk and memory caches.

This is kind of an internet tip but there are a couple free programs that can help you keep things tidy while also eliminating some internet annoyances and improving surfin' speed. I use both Anonymous Cookie (106KB) and WebWasher (1.1MB) and they are awesome and well worth a few nanograms of magnetic media. Also it's a good idea to minimize the size of your browser cache (temporary internet files), set your check for new version of page at "never" (hit reload or refresh if you want to check), and turn off all java script and active content.

ScanDisk is a useful tool. Go to Start / Programs / Accessories / System Tools / ScanDisk / select drive / select thorough / select automatically fix errors / click Advanced / select lost file fragments - free, log file - no log, check files for - invalid names and invalid dates and times / click OK / click Start.

Defragment is also useful. Windows 98's Defrag physically arranges programs on the drive so that applications will load faster. It actually works! Go to Start / Programs / Accessories / System Tools / Disk Defragmenter / select drive / click OK / click Advanced / select "full defrag (both files and free space)" / click OK / click Start. Even if you have Win 95 with the basic defrag it's still worth the time to run it occasionally. In fact, after you do everything else on this page, now would be an excellent time to defrag as a final clean-up.

Now clean up your Registry. If you have Win 98, begin by entering DOS mode by selecting Start / Shut Down / select "Restart the computer in MS-DOS mode" / select OK. When a DOS prompt appears, type SCANREG/FIX. This removes invalid Registry keys if you have any. Press Enter. Now type SCANREG/OPT. This compresses the Registry. Press Enter. Finally, type WIN and press Enter to return to Windows. If you have Win 95 get "Reg Clean" from your CD and run that once in a while.

Now it's time to see if your computer still works right. Turn it completely off and restart it. If it all works properly you are in business. If you get any error messages write down what it says and then go to your recycle bin and see if you can find what's missing. If you can't find it just restore the whole damn bin and then turn your computer completely off and restart it again. Still not fixed? Go to Start / Find / Files or Folders / type in "regback1" in the named box. This will find your backed up registry file. Right click on it and then left click at the top where it says "MERGE". Your computer should be back exactly where you started before you tried any of this foolishness. If this didn't fix it you will now understand the meaning of FUBAR ha ha.

Finally if everything is OK you need to minimize the size of your Recycle Bin. First, empty it. Then, right click on the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop, click Properties, and set the max size at 1% of drive. If you have more than one drive do the same for all of them.

Good Luck!!!

Revised 12/17/00
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