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Should I upgrade my laptop to Windows 98?

By JOHN TORRO

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 7, 1998


Q. I purchased a Toshiba laptop, with a late version of Windows 95 (single click application launching), and 32 megabytes of RAM. I have received a free upgrade for Windows 98, but my inclination, after reading your advice, is not to install it. Do you concur?

A. You need to be especially careful with laptops. You may want to call Toshiba tech support and check if any BIOS upgrades or special drivers are necessary. While 32 MB is adequate, you will definitely benefit from an additional 32 MB if you decide to upgrade to Windows 98.

Q. I have icons on my desktop that I would like to delete.

A. You can just drag the icons to the Recycle Bin to delete them (or right-mouse click and choose Delete, or even click it once to select it and press the Del key). You will just be deleting the shortcut. It will not affect the respective program or any of its files.

Q. I wish that you would help me in deleting URLs from the address bar. Also, I have a problem with the picture on my monitor freezing.

A. To delete the URLs in the address history list: From the IE menu bar, click View, then Internet Options, then click the Clear History button. To permanently keep them from accumulating, set the "Days to keep pages in History" setting (next to the button) to zero.

Your second problem is most likely related to your video driver. Check with the maker of the video card for post Windows 98 updates. Meanwhile, try this: Right-click My Computer and select Properties. Select the Performance tab and then click the Graphics button. Set the slide-bar to "None" and reboot.

Q. On Nov. 2, you had a reference to error messages with a "vxd" suffix. Please tell me how to edit or delete messages in this area.

A. Drivers with a .vxd extension are usually found in the registry. Use Registry Editor to find (and delete) the entries that match the "vxd" names in the messages you are receiving. The registry location is:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlset\Services\VxD

Be careful: A mistake here and you may need to reload Windows. Make sure that you make a backup copy of the registry files (System.dat and User.dat) before you edit the registry.

Q. Regarding your Nov. 9 answer on ScanReg: Microsoft has a very useful download called RegClean.exe. I have used it for several months whenever I get a crash. It will usually find and fix the problem.

Q. Your response about there not being a ScanReg in Windows 95 was inaccurate. RegClean comes as one of the power toys, available from Microsoft. RegClean and TweakUI are the only two of the package worth installing.

A. RegClean is a utility that Microsoft provides that analyzes Windows Registry keys that are stored in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT in the Windows Registry. It finds keys that contain erroneous values, and after recording those entries in an Undo.reg file, it removes them from the Windows Registry. RegClean will not fix a corrupt registry. ScanReg, however, will replace the entire registry with a known working backup version if needed. RegClean also has been known to have potentially bad side effects in certain situations. Microsoft has temporarily removed RegClean from its Web site to address some feature requests and problems in the existing version.

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