Readers runs a Windows pentathlon-- YAU PC

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

Xin Yu Qiu wondered:

1. In Windows 95, I made a startup disk as the installation process recommended. However, I notice that there was no CD-ROM driver in the disk. And as long as I know, the CD-ROM driver is located in the hard drive. In other words, if I completely reformat my hard drive, my Windows 95 startup
can not recognize the CD-ROM when the computer is restarted. So how can I use the Windows 95 CD to re-install Windows 95? I guess Windows 98 would bein the same case.

2. I heard that Windows 98 is "CD-ROM bootable". Would you like to tell me what the statement meant? Is it mean I can reformat my hard drive, put the Windows 98 CD in, restart my computer, and the CD-ROM can be identified so that I can re-install Windows 98?

3. I know the new hard drive is UltraDMA. However, I don't know what UltraDMA33 and UltraDMA66 are? Would you like to explain what the two terms meant? I guess the 33 and 66 have to do with the speed (I am not sure). However, I have checked that ASUS P2B-F motherboard's (the motherboard I want in my new PC) Onboard PCI IDE only support UltraDMA33. Does this mean that even if I buy a UltraDMA66 it only can work as UltraDMA33? Is it possible to buy a separate hard drive controller that supports UltraDMA66 and then buy a UltraDMA66 hard drive?

4. I heard only Windows 98 2nd Edition supports >8.4GB hard drive without partitioning. Is this true? How could I check if it is 2nd edition when I got the CD from the retailer and after it is installed on the hard drive?

5. What does FAT32 mean? I heard it got to do with hard disk partition? How can I check if my hard disk is FAT32 in Windows 95/98?

Alan answered:

1. The W98 boot disk is a step up-- it includes generic CD-ROM drivers that work in most cases. With W95, you can either track down and manually install the DOS drivers that SHOULD HAVE come w. your CD-ROM drive, or copy the WIN95 folder from the CD onto the hard drive prior to installing.

2. Most newer computers can be set, in the BIOS, to check the CD-ROM for a boot-able CD.

Never do anything drastic like formatting the hard drive without testing first that you can, in fact, access the CD drive as desired.

3. 100% correct-- 33 and 66 are maximum hard drive access speeds-- it MegaBits per second. Without UltraDRMA66 support, you'll only be able to access the drive at the slower rate-- unless you buy an add-on controller.

4. Not true-- I have a 10 gig partition with the original W98 running right here. W98 Second Edition (SE) has gone to manufacturing, but is not officially available yet-- when it is (pretty soon), you'll be able to check it the same way you can check any Win9x version-- right click on My Computer, and choose Properties from the popup menu

5. FAT32 is a modification of the file system, to allow support of drive partitions larger than 2 gigs (the FAT16 limit). If you have a partition larger than 2 gigs, you're using FAT32-- which you can confirm by right-clicking on the C-drive icon, and choosing Properties.

Greg Reid asked

I've got a couple Win95 machines hooked up on a local network.  When either computer boots, it
hits this login screen asking for a user name.  I'm a little tired of this interruption as it loads the OS and
directory.  Is there a line I can add to a batch file to avoid it?  I don't use passwords, for file sharing, etc.

Alan replied:

On each machine: go to the Network Control Panel, and change the Primary Network Logon to 'Windows Logon'.

Restart... you'll be asked for a name and password-- enter a new name (one you haven't used for logons before), and leave the password blank.

You'll be asked to confirm the blank password-- do so by just pressing Enter.

You won't be asked to logon again.

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