You Asked Us- PC August 1998

by Alan Zisman (c) 1998. First published in Vancouver Computes, August 1998

Minh Van wondered:

How do I maximize and minimize the current active window with the keyboard?

Alan Zisman replied:

Windows was designed so almost everything can be done with the keyboard as well as the mouse.

Alt+Spacebar opens the Control Menu (what you get by single-clicking the top left-corner of a window)... then you can use X to MaXimize, or N to MiNimize... so:

Alt+Spacebar+X to maximize
Alt+Spacebar+N to minimize
Alt+Spacebar+R to restore

(Alt+Hyphen to do the same thing for a window WITHIN a program's main window)

Mark Vos asked:

I work for about 99% in Windows 95. I'm not a DOS freak at all. but in some cases I want to be able to have DOS access to certain devices and to load certain drivers ONLY in DOS mode.

Can you tell me how this works with these confusing files AUTOEXEC.BAT, AUTOEXEC.DOS, AUTOEXEC.PAK, CONFIG.SYS, CONFIG.DOS, CONFIG.WIN?

I know the drivers in AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS are added to a Window session, but I have some parameters I exclusively want to load for DOS sessions. My logic assumed I had to put these
in AUTOEXEC.DOS and CONFIG.DOS, but this doesn't seem to work...

1) Many programs create backups to the DOS startup files... *.PAK is  probably an example of this... they are not created by W95

2) The *.DOS files are a backup of your pre-W95 startup files. They are used only when booting to your former DOS version, if this option is enabled.

3) When booting to DOS from the F8 boot menu, your standard DOS boot files (Config.sys, Autoexec.bat) are used. If you want, you can create a multi-config Config.sys/Autoexec.bat allowing different options for a W95 or DOS startup to be selected.

4) When restarting in MSDOS Mode (from the Start Menu's Shutdown item), EITHER the DOSSTART.BAT file is ADDED to your current Autoexec.bat, OR the more powerful options in 'C:\Windows\Exit to DOS.PIF' are used.

James Womack pondered:

I just upgraded from 80MB RAM to 128 MB. I don't see any real difference in speed or performance. What should I see in Windows 95 with this much muscle?

Alan Zisman responded:

For general-purpose computing, I'd be surprised if you noticed much difference... If, on the other hand, you were loading very large databases, graphics, or video files, it might make a difference.

Unless you'd been noticing excessive amounts of hard-drive access, indicating a use of virtual memory, adding ram above say, 64megs may not make much difference.

Harold Hudd queried:

I have made several emergency disks for various utilities and, of course, the standard Win95 startup disk. I had no problem setting up the CD ROM drivers in the Autoexec and Config files but despite putting a "set path" statement in the Autoexec file (which I have verified is active with "set") I can't move from A drive to C drive. What am I doing wrong?

Alan Zisman shot back:

There are a couple of reasons why you could ?lose? your C: drive using a boot floppy:

-- if your hard drive was using FAT32, the file system that only became available with
Win95B (or later), while your boot floppies had been made with earlier, non-FAT32-aware versions of Win95. If you've upgraded your Win95 version, and converted your hard drive to
FAT32, then older boot floppies will no longer allow access to C:

? if you?ve got an older system that doesn?t directly support large hard disks (many 486s, for example), you may have used software like Disk Manager to provide access to the drive. (If so, it should say so at the beginning of boot-up). In that case, a standard boot floppy won?t include the drivers to recognize the disk. Disk Manager (or other similar drive utilities) includes an option to make Disk Manager-aware boot floppies. If needed, you should have received a Disk Manager floppy with your hard drive or system?if not, contact your vendor.

Charles Finkenbiner asked:

I use W95B and have my fax in the startup folder, no problem there.  The problem happens when I try to use a DOS based program that requires the modem.  DOS can not grab the modem.  W95 applications have no trouble with the fax active all the time, only DOS.

Is there anyway to get W95 to share the modem with DOS?

Alan Zisman responded:

W95 programs can all share the modem, because they all share the W95 ATAPI (Telephony Application Programming Interface) drivers (which is controlling the port when any one of them is loaded). The only way that you can get a non-ATAPI program (not only DOS programs, but Win 3.x ones as well) to get access to the port is to shut off your fax program.

That's just the way it is... either switch to a W95/ATAPI program or turn off the fax program when you want to use a non-ATAPI program.

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Alan Zisman is a Vancouver educator, writer, and computer specialist. He can be reached at E-mail Alan