You Asked Us PC February 1999

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

Maxine Mandell wondered:

When I go to "Find" and type in my request, I get the location of the file. Frequently, the location is the Windows directory and is listed as C:\Windows\.... How do I determine the exact path?  As you know, Windows has many directories.

Alan?s answer:

In the Find results dialogue box (and in many other similar Explorer dialogue boxes), you can enlarge the field with the folder name-- by going to the tabs where the field names are listed, and placing your mouse on the line in between two field names (in this case, the In Folder and Size fields)... you'll see your cursor change to a double-headed arrow.

When this happens, drag to the right, to enlarge the In Folder field until you can read the whole name.

Scott Roberts pondered:

I have a Cyrix 686 P166+ with 32mb ram 2.1gb h-dd,  256 cache. What are the optimum swapfile settings???

Alan pontificated:

Unlike Win 3.x, with W9x, the optimal swapfile settings are to let Windows manage it.

Ken Warnock commented:

I must not be looking in the proper place, but after transitioning to Windows '98 I find that I can't seem to locate where the FAX transmitting capability which used to be associated with Microsoft Exchange.  Has it been eliminated from Win '98.  The only real use I had for the whole Exchange routine was the ability to drop a document on the FAX printer icon and have it sent as a FAX.

Alan corresponded:

Win98 sort of 'hid' the Microsoft Fax program... it no longer shows up on the list of options to install.

Instead, there are two roads to take:

1) a free 'lite' version of Symantec WinFax is available w. Outlook 98

2) the 'classic' MS Fax is included on the W98 CD, but hidden in the folder \tools\oldwin95\message\us.
Click on wms.exe to install Windows messaging (Exchange). Then click on awfax.exe to install the fax software.

Raymond Rosch asked:

Is there a way to get Windows '95 OSR2 to automatically do a scandisk of the system crashes (i.e. so I don't have to press the key to keep the next boot up going)?

Alan answered:
For users of  Win95B/Win95C/Win98, if you happen to exit abnormally, Scandisk automatically alerts you when
you reboot that it will scan your drive and fix any errors. To make this scan take place automatically, with no prompt, add the line AUTOSCAN=2 to the [Options] section of the text file C:\Ms dos.sys. To prevent any such automatic scans, use the line AUTOSCAN=0.

Since MSDOS.SYS is a hidden, system boot file, you?ll need to set the Explorer/My Computer View options to ?View All Files?. Then, when you can see MSDOS.SYS, right-click on it, choosing Properties from the popup menu. This will show a dialogue box with the file attributes showing. Remove the checkmark next to [x] Read Only, or you won?t be able to save your changes.

Open MSDOS.SYS in Notepad, and add the desired Autoscan line to the file?s [Options] section. Save, and exit. Restore the Read Only attribute.

William Hurn queried:

What in a PC and/or Windows needs a y2k fix?  I thought that whole problem had to do with programmers of yore leaving off the first two digits of the year, as in yyyy being programmed as 89 in lieu of 1989.  I further understood that this was done in old slow systems to save drive storage and processor time and that the problem mainly involved Cobol, and some other old mainframe hardware-software.  I thought even very old versions of Lotus were OK.

Alan answered:

There are several levels of the Y2K issue that affect PCs.

1) Data files in spreadsheets, databases, accounting programs can be problematic if they use two-digit year forms. For instance, I'm still keeping my business accounts in an old version of MS Money... I haven't
bothered upgrading because my needs are simple, and it works for me... but it lists today as 12/28/98.

After next year-end, I predict the sort by date function will sort the '00 dates prior to the '99 dates-- an incorrect, and potentially problematic result.

2) The problems fixed in Microsoft?s Windows95 Y2K patch are of those sorts... and Winfile (the old Windows File Manager) both used two-digit year listings to sort by date.

3) BIOS clock, real-time clock, and operating system clocks that incorrectly adjust to the 1999-2000 turn over. These could cause problems for virus scanners that won't work if their data files are too old, and for
some date-sensitive programs... think of the demo programs that are set to run for 30 days or so-- what will happen if they find the system reporting a date 99 years prior to when they were installed?

-- In most cases, more of an irritation than life or business threatening, but a hassle none the less.

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