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Win95 Fido Echo FAQ

The information in this page was originally prepared for the Fido Windows 95 echo area, by Alan Zisman with input, advice, and assistance from a variety of readers of that message area. It is reposted weekly as a series of messages distributed across BBSs worldwide carrying Fido echomail. Comments, criticism, and requests for revision can be sent to Alan via Internet e-mail. While BBS Fido echos are slower than Internet usenet groups, the advice carried is frequently more reliable, and the 'signal-to-noise ratio' is often much higher. [Go to Win95 Security FAQ] [Go to Win95 Networking FAQ] [Go to About Alan]

(Note: last updated 6 April, 1997)

Setup, Installation and Startup

1) Can I run Win 95 on a __________ with ___ megs of ram?

 -- Microsoft says Win 95 will run on a 386DX with at least 4 megs of ram... some people have reported running it on 386SX machines as well. While some people have used it on 4 meg machines, the general concensus is that 8 megs is a more satisfying minimum amount, with 16 megs or more for optimal performance.

 You'll need 35 megs or more free hard drive space.

2) Do I have to format my hard drive before installing Win 95?

-- No.

3) Can I easily uninstall Win 95 if I find I don't like it?

-- If you choose to Save System Settings, early in the Setup process, you'll be able to uninstall Win95 by choosing Control Panel/Add-Remove Programs, and clicking on Windows 95.

Note that this option takes about 6 megs of drive space for the saved information.

Otherwise you're best off to back up your drive before running Setup, and keeping a bootable system disk with your old DOS and the SYS command. That will allow you to restore your old system if desired. 

4) Installation fails on disk 2 of the floppy set:

-- Hard drives that were infected with viruses such as Monkey produce this problem, infecting floppy disks 1 & 2 and aborting the installation.

Phone Microsoft, who will send out new disks... and make sure to open the write protect window before installing!

5) Does the Dial-up-registration process send private information from my hard drive to Microsoft?

-- Dial-Up-Registration does look on your hard drive and makes a list of specific, well-known applications that are present there... it does not, however, check for anything else-- pirated software, private data, etc., and does not send anything without your express permission. If the process makes you uneasy, register by more traditional methods.

6) How do I copy the Win 95 floppy disks?

 -- The floppy disks are formatted to 1.7 megs, and can't be copied with normal diskcopy routines (including DOS or Win 95). There are several shareware utilities such as DCF (version 5 or later) or Win Image, that can be used to make copies of these disks.

7) How can I boot to a DOS prompt instead of WIN 95?

 -- Edit the new text system file, Msdos.sys (first resetting the hidden and read-only attributes). Change the line:

 BootGui=1 to read BootGui=0

-- Note: this can be easily set with Microsoft's free TweakUI add-in.

  for more information about TweakUI see Question 23 for more information on Msdos.sys see Question 11

8) How can I have the option to boot to my old DOS and Windows?

 -- If you install Win95 to a new directory, you can multibook to either Win95 or your old DOS/Windows. To do that, you need to edit the new text system file, Msdos.sys (first resetting the hidden and read-only attributes). Add the line:

BootMulti=1 to the [options] section.

 Note-- do not delete the C:\*.DOS files-- these are your old DOS versions, needed for the multiboot option.

-- Note: this can be easily set with Microsoft's free TweakUI add-in. for more information about TweakUI see Question 23 for more information on MSDOS.SYS see Question 11

9) Can I get rid of the Cloud Screen on bootup?

 -- If you press the ESC key at bootup, the cloud screen will not appear, and you can see the DOS boot messages. To get rid of the clouds permanently, you can edit the Msdos.sys file (see above), adding the line:

Logo=0 to the [options] section.

-- Note: this can be easily set with Microsoft's free TweakUI add-in. for more information about TweakUI see Question 23 for more information on MSDOS.SYS see Question 119a)How can I make my own replacement for the startup and shutdown screens?

 Create a 320x400x256 BMP file and call it Logo.sys, move it to the boot disk's root directory. As Win95 boots, Logo.sys will be displayed insteadof the regular splash screen. If Logo.sys is missing in the directory, Win95 loads a copy of the original splash screen that's embedded in Io.sys.

 There are graphics utilities available that can change bitmaps to the 320x400 BMP size and 256 colors.

 The shutdown screens can be changed in a similar manner...

 -- The "Wait while Windows shuts down your screen" picture:

Same as the Cloud screen, but name it Logow.sys in the \Windows directory.

 -- The "It's safe to shut off your computer" picture:

Same as Cloud Screen, named Logos.sys in \Windows directory. (Thanks to Frederick Lee)

10) How can I stop being asked for a log on password each time Win 95 starts up?

 -- Go to Control Panel/Network, and check the options for Primary Log On. Select Windows Log On. If you're asked to log on the next time you start Win 95, press Enter. 

11) How else can I customize the Msdos.sys startup file?

 As you may have noticed above, many options for startup are controlled by customizing Msdos.sys...

More options for this file are listed below--

 Key= Type Default Effect


BootDelay= value 2 sets initial start-up delay

BootGui= Boolean 1 starts the graphical interface

BootKeys= Boolean 1 enables the function keys at startup

BootMenu= Boolean 0 forces display of startup menu

BootMenuDefault= value 1 default selection for startup menu

BootMenuDelay= value 30 default startup menu delay

BootMulti= Boolean 0 enables dual boot option

BootSafe= Boolean 0 Starts Win95 in safe mode

BootWarn= Boolean 0 displays warning message in safe mode

BootWin= Boolean 1 sets default operating system

DblSpace= Boolean 1 loads DBLSPACE.BIN

DisableLog= Boolean Unknown Not Documented

DoubleBuffer= Boolean 0 loads double buff for SCSI drives

DrvSpace= Boolean 1 loads DRVSPACE.BIN

LoadTop= Boolean 1 loads COMMAND.COM at top of memory

Logo= Boolean 1 Enables the animated logo

Network= Boolean Unknown safe mode with network support

SystemReg= Boolean? Unknown Not Documented (Load registry?)

-- Note: Several of these options can be easily set with Microsoft's free TweakUI add-in.

for more information about TweakUI see Question 23 (credit to Larry Anderson (1:3633/23) By the way... on a system with a compressed hard drive, there will be copies of MSDOS.SYS on the compressed C: partition and on the uncompressed partition (drive G: or higher letter)... only changes to the copy on the uncompressed partition make a difference! (credit to Al Clark for this tip) New for W95B users:

If you happen to exit Win95B 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.)-- from Brian Livingstone's InfoWorld column (01-06-97)

Running DOS programs

12) Why do I have less free DOS memory after installing Win 95? (Alternatively-- Do I still need a DOS memory manager with Win 95)?

 -- Win95 doesn't, by default, load a DOS memory manager such as EMM386 or QEMM, and doesn't create upper memory blocks or load, DOS drivers, or DOS TSRs into upper memory. As a result, even though it makes many or most DOS drivers and TSRs unneeded, users can still end up with less free DOS (conventional) memory.

 --Just as with older DOS versions, you can load a DOS memory manager. To use DOS's Emm386.exe, for example, add the line:

Device= C:\Windows\Emm386.exe

 to your Config.sys file, with the RAM or NOEMS parameter depending whether you want it to create EMS memory or not.

 Then, add the line

DOS=HIGH,UMB to Config.sys, and change all the Device= lines (except Himem.sys and Emm386.exe) to Devicehigh=

Similarly, add LH (or Loadhigh) to the beginning of any lines in Autoexec.bat that load DOS TSR programs. Reboot and check the amount of free DOS ram, using the DOS Mem command. (Mem /C /P for a more detailed report). 

13) How do I set parameters for a DOS program?

 -- Find the file that starts the DOS program, in Explorer or My Computer. Right click on its icon, and choose Properties from the pop-up menu, then the Program page. This allows you to set many properties of memory use. You can point to a startup.bat file that will be run automatically when the program starts up, providing many custom features, but not providing a customized config.sys. 

If you need custom config and autoexec settings (similar to using a custom boot disk), click on the Advanced button, and choose to run the program in MSDOS Mode. This allows you to create custom config and autoexec settings for that program. 

 Doing this for the file "Exit to DOS.PIF" will allow you to modify the settings for the Start Menu's Shutdown/Restart in MSDOS Mode option. 

14) I need to use a backup program or disk utility designed for an older version of DOS or Windows. How can I do so safely?

-- In order to avoid damage to your Win 95 Long File Names (LFNs), you need to run the Lfnbk.exe utility. It can be found on the CD-ROM disk, in the \Win95\Admin\Apptools\Lfnbk folder.

 Before running your backup program (etc) run LFNBK /B to backup your LFNs. Afterwards, run LFNBK /R to restore the LFNs.

 LFNBK is dangerous however... running it not only backs up the long file names, but it destroys them at the same time! (Thanks, Microsoft!) A much better option is the non-destructive, shareware DOSLFNBK program-- well worth tracking down.

15) My CD-ROM drive lights up briefly every few seconds.

 -- You have it set for AutoPlay, and it is checking to see if a disk has been inserted in the drive. Go to Control Panel/System/Device Manager and click on the CD-ROM... select Properties, and uncheck [x] Auto Insert Notification.

16) Do I still need my old Config and Autoexec files?

 -- Your DOS startup files may be unneccessary. They are useful in several situations, however:

a) If you want to edit some of the defaults, such as Path,Buffers, etc.

b) If you have hardware that doesn't have Win95 drivers yet, and you need to load DOS device drivers or TSRs.

c) If you want to set up a multiple boot-configuration... the DOS 6.2 commands for this still work.

Telecom and Internet problems

17) I can't get 32-bit internet programs such as Netscape to work with my old Trumpet Winsock.

 -- You need a 32-bit Winsock to run 32-bit internet software. You can install the Microsoft TCP/IP networking protocol from Control Panel/Network, and install Dial-Up-Networking from Control Panel/Add Programs. It supports PPP connections. For SLIP, you'll need to add the SLIP driver from the CD-ROM's \Win95\Apptools\Slip folder.

You'll then need to configure this for your Internet Service Provider's settings-- your old Trumpet script will no longer work. (Note: there is a new, 32-bit Trumpet Winsock available if you want to upgrade from the 16-bit version, rather than using Win95's Dial Up Networking).

18) How can I get the Inbox/Msn/Network Neighborhood/My Briefcase (etc) icon off my desktop?

 -- While there are complicated ways to edit the Registry to accomplish any of these, much simpler is to download the file TweakUi or PowerToys (which includes TweakUI among other features) from Microsoft or other online sources. It installs as a Control Panel icon-- its desktop tab includes options to easily remove the icons of your choice.

(PowerToys are a collection of user interface add-ons written by Microsoft programmers, but not supported as part of the standard package. They are available for free, and some --especially TweakUI, are quite useful). 

19) What is the Internet address of xxxxxxxx?

 -- For many if not most commercial organizations, a Web address of is worth a try--

(i.e.,, etc.)

 If that doesn't work, try logging onto a general-purpose search engine (, etc.) Limit your search to web addresses, and type in the company name as the search item. (Thanks to Mike Zeleski)

20) How can I get Dial-up-Networking to save my password?

 -- You need to add a Networking client in order for D-U-N to remember your password. (No, I don't know why...)

 Open Control Panel, choose Network, click on the ADD button, then choose Network Client--Microsoft Network Client (which has nothing to do with the Microsoft on-line service) works well. You'll be asked for your installation floppies or CD disc.

Alternatively (thanks Carl Morris!), if you set Win95 for multiple users, it will remember your password for your Internet account. To do this, go to Control Panel/Passwords/User Profiles, and select the [x] Users can customize... option. Of course, then, you'll be asked for a password when you start Win95!

 Finally, the March 1996 Service Pack #1 upgrade causes problems with saving passwords. If you have installed this upgrade, and find that your password is no longer saved, get the fix for this... a file called Mspwlupd.exe from Microsoft. Then, delete C:\Windows\*.PWL (your now-corrupt password file), and install Mspwlupd. 

21) Can someone tell me how to get HyperTerminal to display better ANSI graphics when I call a BBS ? I get the right text and colors, but then instead of nice bars and lines there's nothing but strange characters.

-- HyperTerminal (and other Windows telecomm programs) will do that, if the font that they are using does not include the PC-DOS line drawing characters... most Windows fonts don't.

 Pick from one of the ones that do, and the problem will disappear... you can use HyperTerminal's View/Font option for this-- but unfortunately, you'll have to do it separately for each different HT icon you use.

 some fonts that support BBS-ANSI line drawing characters include:

Terminal (included w. Win 3.x and Win95)

MS Line Draw (included w. many Microsoft applications)

Minitel Ariel fonts (look for Arialaas.ttf and Arialalt.ttf in the Win95 CD's \Other\Minitel folder)

(A note from co-moderator Bill Drake:

If you have ever reinstalled W95 over top of your existing installation, and you have added extra fonts (such as the MS Linedraw font or the Hyperfonts available from Hilgreave), these fonts will not be available for use by either W95 or Hyperterminal until you refresh the font list so that W95 "knows" about the extra fonts in your font folder.

To do this, simply open Control_Panel/Fonts and click on any font on the list. This will force W95 to reread all the fonts in your fonts folder and update the Registry with the completed fontlist.

Once this is done, your missing fonts will magically reappear and be available for use in Hyperterminal and all your other W95apps.)

Finally, Hilgraeve (the company that actually wrote HyperTerminal) has a free update to HyperTerminal, along with a couple of replacement fonts at their web site:

Updates and Add-ons

22) What's this Microsoft Plus! Pack-- do I need it to run Win95?

 Microsoft released the Plus! Pack at the same time as the main Win95 package, as a collection of add-on features. While you might find some of the features useful or entertaining, they are not necessary to get full use of Win95, and are not recommended for users of 386 machines.

Included in the Plus! Pack are:

-- System Agent, allowing users to schedule regular use of Defrag, Scandisk, or other utilities

-- Dial-Up-Server, to let other machines connect to yours

-- DriveSpace 3, allowing larger compressed partitions, and more features than the DriveSpace that is included with Win95 (but with the penalty of a 100+kb driver in MSDOS Mode, which makes it unusable for many who rely on that mode to play games, etc).

-- Internet mail add-on for Exchange, a nice Internet Connection Wizard, and Internet Explorer ver 1.0 web browser (note that these, along with more recent versions of Internet Explorer are freely available via on-line sources)

-- A collection of Desktop Themes: wallpaper, screen-savers, sounds, and icons on themese ranging from Leonardo da Vinci to Sports

-- A 3-D Pinball Game

-- etc.

 -- It's entirely a matter of personal opinion whether it's worth about $49 (US).

23) What upgrades/bug-fixes to Win 95 are available?

 -- In my opinion, the core W95 package is quite stable, and can be used by most users without any bug fixes. There are, however, a number of fixes available, which can be freely obtained from Microsoft, most easily from Fixes up to March 1996 have been combined into a single 1.4 meg download, known as Service Pack 1. (There is also a CD-ROM or 14-floppy version, which includes the same bug fixes, along with the driver library as of that date).

 Ironically, Service Pack 1 breaks W95's password-saving ability-- so there is a password fix, needed by Service Pack users. As well, there are several other post-Service Pack upgrades, also available from

 -- Not a bug fix, but perhaps more useful to most users, is the free Power Toys package, also at This is upgraded from time to time, so make sure you have the latest version. The 07-01-96 version (or later) restores (and upgrades) the incredibly useful Send to/Any Folder Explorer option, as well as the TweakUI Control Panel applet, previously referred to as the easiest way to make many popular user interface changes.

 There is also a separate, less useful Kernal Power Toys Pack, which does, however, include a feature to help in customizing DOS Mode sessions.

PowerToys are available from:

 -- A Service Release 2 was released in late 1996. It includes FAT32, which supports drives greater than 2 gigs, and work around the cluster-slack problems of the current FAT; it has only been made available to OEM (system manufacturers), and not to the general public. Installing FAT32 would require backing up and restoring data, and will break current disk utilities.

24) What about Win96, Win 97, etc.?

 A so-called Win96, code-named Nashville escaped to the Internet during the Winter 95/96, and got a lot of magazine coverage. Microsoft denied any plans to release it as Windows 96. The Nashville name has continued to be used, referring to an Explorer/shell update that adds Internet-ability... sort of combining Win95's current Explorer and Internet Explorer into a single interface. This has also been referred to in the media as Internet Explorer 4.0, reportedly aimed for late 1996/early 1997 release, for both W95 and NT, but now reportedly postponed.

A 1997-aimed full upgrade is currently reported to be in very limited, early beta-testing, code-named Memphis. Microsoft has reported delays--the eventual release probably won't be in time to be called Windows 97... who knows?

(Beware of rumours... people who actually know what they're talking about tend to be restricted by Non-disclosure Agreements... people who are talking typically base their opinions on limited or incorrect information).

Despite the above warning, Win95 Echo reader, Stefan Assman is posting ongoing information about the Memphis beta test at his website: Http:// (there's also a different W95 FAQ there).

25) What about NT 4.0 ?

Released in September 1996 is Windows NT 4.0. It adds the Win95 interface and a new device driver model.

 NT offers better security and stability than W95, along with the option of pre-emptive multitasking for Win-16 applications, and a file system that supports large hard drives with minimal wasted space.

On the other hand, it requires quite a bit more ram and other system resources for good performance, and cannot use DOS drivers. Even version 4.0 does not include full plug and play, and notebook users will lose power management and the ability to add or remove PC Cards without rebooting.

For information about NT 4.0 from Microsoft, go to

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