Pondering the fate of Win 3.1 (YAU-PC)

by Alan Zisman (c) 1999. First published in Vancouver Computes, April 1999

Dave Francis wondered:

I just received a new computer at work with Windows 95 OS.  Every time I booted up my old computer with Windows 3.1 OS the numbers lock would stay engaged, however, when I leave numbers lock on and reboot on my new computer I have to activate numbers lock every time I go into Windows 95.  Is there any way I can go into settings so that numbers lock is on all the time?

Alan Zisman wrote back:

Try adding a line reading:


to Config.sys.

Alternatively, check the system CMOS BIOS setup... often there's a NumLock On/Off command there.

Jim Thorleifson asked:

 I have a Dell 200 MHz classic Pentium and am wondering about upgrading the processor. I have heard about an AMD K6-2- 3D chip that will drop right in but have been unable to find any reviews. Is this a good option and are there any other alternatives?

Alan Zisman answered:

The K6-2 is probably the best alternative for you-- if your system bus and BIOS will allow it (many or most P-200s will)... for reviews, check Tom's Hardware Page (www.tomshardware.com).

The K6-2 is currently the best-selling CPU in the US... outselling the Pentium-II in retail-sold computers.

J. Moore wondered:

I have a network of windows95 systems, no real server.I need to eliminate the logon at startup.

Alan Zisman responded:

Open Control Panel... double-click on the Network item.

Change the Primary Network Logon setting from Client for Microsoft Networks to Windows Logon.


When you're asked for a logon, type a name (any name will do), and leave the password blank.

You'll be asked to confirm the password-- leave it blank and just press Enter (or click OK).

After that, you won't be asked to log on anymore.

Berry Van Hombeeck queried :

Is there a driver (or other option) to use the PC's internal speaker as Wave-device ? There was one for Win3.x, but for Windows95 ?

Alan Zisman replied:

There is no Win95 speaker driver... but the Win 3.1 one works as well (or poorly) as ever.

Kevin Anderson pondered:

What is the write.exe in the Windows 95 directory? It's only 5K, so it's too big to be a shortcut and too small to actually be Write (which, being about 250K, is even larger than WordPad).  Opening it only seems to open WordPad?

Alan Zisman pontificated:

That's correct (I almost wrote 'that's write, er right')... it's just a pointer to WordPad. It's only there to re-direct any Win 3.x software that's coded to look for Write.

You can replace it with a copy of Write.exe ?borrowed? from a Windows 3.1 system?Write has a number of functions, such as headers/footers and page breaks, that Microsoft left out of the newer WordPad.

ALLAN FUNG questioned :

Even with NT only on the drive, I still get a bootloader menu with two items: 1)WinNT and 2) winNT (vga).  Both choices seem to bring up the same results.  Do you know the reason for the two items coming up?

I understand the thing about FAT32 not being compatible with NT, but I keep wondering why the install hung when I had win98 on the drive.  I'm going to try to get win98 back on the drive - in its own partition.

Alan Zisman answered:

1) The NT(VGA) option is sort of the NT-equivalent to W9x's Safe Mode... a way to boot up even if your video driver is incorrect.

2) If your C: partition was a FAT32 W98 partition, it would cause the installation problem you describe. In order to have W9x and NT on the same machine, you need a FAT16 C: partition-- even if either or both of the OS's are installed onto a different partition.

Both require a tiny bit of boot files on the C: partition... and FAT16 is the only common file system.

Jim Jeffcoat wrote:

What exactly will happen with Windows 3.1, 3.11, etc. (or for that matter DOS 6.2x) after 12/31/1999 ?
Will it be functional at all?  Will some things work, others not?
Alan Zisman responded:

Microsoft has released two different File Manager Y2K patches-- one for Windows for Workgroups 3.1x, and the other for plain Windows 3.1x. These correct problems in that program sorting files by date. (Check www.microsoft.com/y2k) Other than that, the Windows 3.1 family should continue to work as advertised.

That?s assuming your system bios that can handle the date change (or has been patched using something like Symantec's free test & patch).

HOWEVER... that doesn't guarantee that individual applications or individual datafiles will work correctly. For example, Microsoft claims that MS Access 1.0 and 2.0 is NOT Y2K compliant, and cannot be patched to be made compliant. As a result, they also list versions of Office that
contain that Access version as non-compliant.

Being non-compliant does not mean that the program or datafile will stop working, but that if your data specifically requires date-related sorts or calculations, it will not return accurate results. Many Access 2.0
databases, for example, are not date-dependent, and would continue to work as advertised.

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