YAU-PC: Lock your windows

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

Walter Co wondered:

I have seen some Win95 systems whose shut-down option is disabled? meaning nobody can shut it down from the start button. Can you please share some information on how to secure win95? What I meant by secure is that nobody is allowed to delete, modify, cut, paste, etc. not unless he logs-in a valid login name.

Is there such a tool/utility that does that? If so, where can I download or where can I read about it?

Alan Zisman answers:

W95 is inherently insecure... there are 3rd party programs such as Symantec's $100 For Your Eyes Only which improve on it.

A tool ships on the W95 CD-- POLEDIT, for editing user policies. It is very powerful and potentially dangerous, and not well documented. The most information on it is scattered around the W95 Resource Kit (also on the W95 CD).

(One of the many options available via Poledit is to disable the Shutdown switch).

Jim Whitesell queried:

 I've been told that I should re-install Win95 because my machine has developed several annoying problems.  The most serious is a slow boot up process - it takes fifteen minutes!  I've got no
 idea what I've done to mess it up, but it ain't fun.

 My question is this - if I re-install Window 95 over my current system, will I have to re-install all my software as well?  If so, I think I'll keep on going with what I have.  I have so many programs I've downloaded from the internet and deleted the installation packages that I don't think I could come close to re-installing them again.

Alan Zisman replies:

If you reinstall W95 over your existing setup, you should not need to reinstall your applications.

However, it may also not solve your problem, because it doesn't rewrite all the changes made by you or your applications. (Have you checked other possible explanations-- CMOS BIOS for example?)

Try it this way, but be prepared that if the slow boot problem doesn't disappear, you may need to go the next step-- to format the hard drive, reinstall W95, and reinstall your data and all the applications you really use. Installing a lot of mystery applications from the Internet is a good way to mess up your configuration, as many overwrite system files with older versions, and add junk to the System Registry that in some cases remains even after uninstalling the program. A 15 minute bootup is extreme, however!

Smokey Wren pondered:

 Where does the PATH come from under Win98?  (when I bring up DOS prompt and enter PATH?).

 Right now I'm running WordStar within OLX (both old DOS programs) under WIN98.  When I run a DOS command PATH from within WordStar, here's what I get:


 My autoexec.bat includes


 The case of the letters in the above PATHs are actual, so I conclude the PATH from autoexec.bat gets tacked onto the WIN98 PATH at the end of the building of the PATH statement.  But where do those other 2 or 3 occurances of C:\WINDOWS come from?

Alan Zisman pontificates:

When W98 boots, it loads a number of config.sys and autoexec.bat defaults that are stored within IO.SYS... this is the source of the extra path information you're seeing.

Try an experiment:

Edit Autoexec.bat, deleting the directories currently listed, and including one other existing directory-- perhaps your WordStar directory.

Reboot... see what's reported as your path. It should list C:\Windows, C:\Windows\Command, and the directory you added via Autoexec.bat.

(It works for me... my Autoexec.bat line reads:

SET PATH=C:\Util while the path contents reported at a DOS prompt


-- By the way, you can check the PATH statement at a DOS prompt by typing
PATH, and check all environment settings, by typing SET.

Dick Melcher requested:

In Win  95,  somehow I deleted a font or whatever is needed for the  arrows in scroll bars and check mark boxes throughout.  All I have is a strange colored icon where the buttons  should be.   Anyone know how to get the proper buttons back?

Alan suggested:

The font is called MARTLETT.TTF, and it's used for all those little symbols. It's possible that you were trying to clean out little-used fonts, and deleted that, wondering when you'd ever use a bunch of arrows (etc).

It is on your W9x CD, within one of the CAB files... there is a command line utility, EXTRACT.EXE in your C:\Windows\Command folder, that can be used to search all the compressed CAB files, and extract the file you're looking for:


(The /A switch is needed so it will automatically proceed down the chain of CAB-files until it finds what it's looking for).

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