Suggestions for Improving Windows
Tools and programs you should know about

Load the Old MS-DOS Utilities not usually loaded with Windows 95
These utilities are included on the Windows 95 CD ROM or they can be downloaded from Microsoft. Included are QBasic, DOS help, the DOS print spooler, and undelete. It is important to run the setup program because it modifies the setver parameters (see instsupp.bat). If setver is not configured, 5 commands, including print and tree, will not work. The readme.txt file which explains what to do is missing from W95olddos.exe as of 8-20-98.

Load the Windows 95 Kernel Toys (56K)(This link changes frequently and is probably broken)
These include
Ability to disable the Windows key when running DOS games
You're about to shoot it, your fingers are flying ... you're back in Windows. What moron placed that key there. Well, this software virtually removes it.
CPU Process Monitor
Shows which application is hogging your CPU. However, it is a little disappointing because you have to select properties for each process to see how much memory it uses. Also, about 60% more memory is used than this explains.
DOS configuration wizard - simplifies setting up "DOS only" games.
Modifies the registry so that customized Autoexec.bat and config.sys files can be written by selecting DOS mode cd rom and mouse drivers via point and click.

Load the Windows 95 Power Toys (205K)(This link changes frequently and is probably broken) which includes
CAB Viewer allows browsing of the compressed CAB files.

Load the Microsoft Windows 95 Resource Kit (2.2M/2.9M)
This help file contains technical details not otherwise available with the default load. Much of the information is incomplete, but some of it is first rate. For instance, the discussion of fonts is pretty good, and the explaination of the INF file format is good. Some of the top level sections are - Multimedia, Disk and File Systems, Devices, Introduction to System Configuration, and the like.

Though the Microsoft Windows 95 Resource Kit Help File (2.2M/2.9M) contains exactly the same hlp file, don't waste time with it. Because the cnt file is missing, the Contents page selection displays the copyright notice (the 1st page of the file).

Use Control Panel / Accessibility Options / Keyboard to configure a beep when you accidentally hit the CapsLock key. Beware that under the General tab is a control that automatically turns off CapsLock after x minutes.

Ziff-Davis PC Mag provides a number of utilities
COA32 (297K) simplifies the process of moving an application (or directory) from one location (drive and/or directory) to another. The article "Relocate Without Reinstalling" explains how it works (no longer on-line). Full Delphi source code is included.

COA2 is now (08-26-03) available - it fixes some problems COA32 had with the newer operating systems. Unfortunately, it now costs money :(

When you install an application, InCtrl 3 (239K) keeps track of every modification to your system - including what files were updated (replaced) and what happened inside the registry. The article "Control Installations Under Windows 95" explains how it works. Full Delphi source code is included.
InCtrl 4 (823K) became available Jan 00 (?). It either monitors system operations or takes snapshots.
InCtrl 5 (765K) became available Dec 00.
As of 02-14-03, none of these were available. As of 08-26-03, these are available, but no longer free.

Additional utilities from Ziff-Davis sites
The Tray Clock Extender, TClockEx (352K - FreeWare), displays a configurable clock, with today's date, in the system tray. Among other things, you control the display format (24/12, include seconds, day of week ...), there is a pop-up calendar, and there is a bar graph showing CPU usage.

InfoSpy (1.2M - ShareWare $20) shows what is running under Windows 95, including VXDs and DLLs.

InspectExe (171 Kb - FreeWare) adds a PropertySheetHandler to exe, dll, and ocx files which allows you to see additional information in the properties dialog. Unfortunately, most of the good stuff is disabled in the free version. Only the String Table details are shown. (It also has a very irritating animated icon.)

Resource Hacker (752 Kb - FreeWare) is a utility to view, modify, add, delete, and extract resources in 32-bit Windows executables.

Systems Internals provides utilities (and some source code :) that allow you to monitor what is happening. In many cases, both Windows 95 and Windows NT versions are provided.
Regmon v4.32 is a registry spy tool.

FileMon reports all file accesses.

Find out who is stealing data or spying on you. TDImon monitors TCP and UDP activity.

ntfsdos (read-only) and NTFS for Windows 98 (read-only is free, read/write is $49 [7-11-00]) mount ntfs (Windows NT) file systems as FAT file systems.

GhostScript (3.35 M) allows you to view and print the contents of ps and eps (postscript) files.

ZoneAlarm is a free firewall which will block and/or report both incomming and outgoing TCP/IP traffic. This is useful for detecting SpyWare, data theft, and certain types of dangerous software. (However, HTTP based SpyWare is not detected.)

ShieldsUp will test your internet connection and firewall. If you can be hacked, it will tell you ... otherwise it tells you what was tested. (Great free test.)

Open Office 6 (aka StarOffice, written by Sun Microsystems Inc.) is a free cross-platform office suite (went open source 10-13-00). (This is not a recomendation, just an option. I'm currently evaluating this.)

TaskInfo 200 (578 K shareware) is a great utility to determine how much memory each task is using.
This is what the MS CPU Process Monitor should have been. Unfortunately, there is still no way to determine how much memory the system dll's are using. I mean, loading 120 MB just to start windows 98 is really too much.

How to automatically clean tempory files.
This is a discussion of various issues with left over temp files and a list of programs to automatically clean out your temporary directories.

WS_FTP LE is a free download for personal use. (This is no longer advertised, but is still available if you know about it.)

Microsoft provides System File Checker as a part of Windows.
(C:\WIN98\SYSTEM\SFC.EXE on my system.)
This program automatically checks system files for corruption (whatever that means) and then gives you the option to replace bad files with a copy from the original cab file. It also logs which files were changed and gives you the version information. (Not in Win95)

The Create Window Website contains a number of hints and tools
RegClean - (Not tested by me)

The contains a number of hints and tools
TechTips - A list of various programs which make troubleshooting possible

How to run Windows ME well, v.3
Contains specific instructions on how to modify your Windows ME system in order to make it faster and more user friendly. Most of the suggestions are already included elsewhere on my site, but this page has organized them into a step by step list of things to do. Notice that MOST of the suggestions apply to all versions of MS Windows.

Internet Bandwidth Meter
Determine how fast your internet connection is.

Author: Robert Clemenzi -
URL: http:// / user / clemenzi / technical / Win_95_Suggestions.htm