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A Startup Disk can come to your rescue


© St. Petersburg Times, published September 28, 1998

Q. When you install Windows 95, or, when purchasing a new computer that has Windows 95, one of the first things that you are reminded to do is make a Startup Disk. However, I have not been able to find any specific instructions on when or how to use this Startup Disk.

A. Incredibly unintuitive, the place to create the Startup Disk is Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs, click the Startup Disk tab, and then click Create Disk. Make sure you have your original Windows 95 CD available. The Startup Disk is useful in case you experience problems and cannot boot fully into Windows. It contains some of the more useful disk utilities (Format, ScanDisk, etc.) that may allow you to correct problems. The Windows 98 version will even put real mode versions of the CD-ROM drivers in the floppy boot files so you can access your CD drive if needed.

Q. How do you change or break the association of a file with an application in Windows NT? I inadvertently opened a file that had an extension of '.c' using WordPad, and now WordPad is used when opening any file with that extension.

Q. I wanted to view the contents of my "user.dat" file in Windows 95, and tried to open it in WordPerfect. When I open Explorer, my user.dat and system.dat files are shown as "WordPerfect Document (6.1) File" in the file type section. How can I disassociate the WP file type from my .dat files?

A. If you accidentally associate a particular file extension with the wrong application, do not try to fix it from within the Windows Explorer File types dialog box. There is no way to remove a single extension from a registered file type without deleting the entire entry and starting over. Instead, use the Windows 95 version of the Windows 3.x File Manager, which you can launch from the Run dialog box by typing winfile and pressing Enter. Once File Manager opens, pull down the File menu and select the Associate command. When the Associate dialog box appears, type the extension that you want to get rid of in the Files with Extension text box. When you do, you will see the errant file association appear in the Associate With text box. To remove the file association, scroll to the top of the list of file types, select None, and then click OK. This also will work for Windows NT.

The easiest way to re-associate a file type is to select the file in Windows Explorer, then right-click and select "Open with." Select the "'Always use this program to open this type of file" option and then pick the desired program from the list, or use the Other button to browse to its location.

Q. My C drive has 12 megabytes available out of 812. I added three more drives D, E, F. How can I move some programs from the C drive to these other drives? Will it affect performance? Why do software companies tell you that their software can only be installed on the C drive?

A. Some programs require that their setup program be run when the software is installed. In these cases you will need to uninstall the programs (assuming that an uninstall program is provided) and then physically delete the software (unless it is done by the uninstall), then finally reinstall specifying the new drive and location. Some programs may be simply moved to a new location without problem. However, most software of any complexity records drive and directory locations in the registry, and moving these programs without the uninstall/reinstall will not work. Programs that are limited to being on the C drive are not professional and indicate the authors chose not to make provisions for variable locations.

Q. I had a virus in my Windows 95. Since getting rid of it, two boxes appear on my screen which I have to click OK before I can start any programs. The first box reads, 'Cannot find file pkg6174.exe (or one of its components). Make sure the path and file name are correct and that all required libraries are available.' The second box reads, 'Could not load or run pkg6174.exe in the win.ini file. Make sure the file exists on your computer or remove the reference to it in the win.ini file.'

A. Edit the \Windows\Win.ini file and remove the reference to pkg6174.exe on the line that starts with "RUN=" (it should be the second line of the file). Save the file. A quick way to get to this file is to click the Start button, select Run, then type win.ini and click OK.

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