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Tech Tips

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    PlanetQuake | Features | Tech Tips | 1-15-2000
   

Tech Tips
— by Love2Play


1/15/2000: Managing Windows


Health Check

31% of 192 megs is NOT a good sign! Reboot!

So how is your system running? There are a few places to check. In Control Panel>System> the Performance tab shows you your resources. Know that 68% on a machine with 64 megs of ram is much different than 68% on a machine with 256 megs of ram. At 50% there would be cause for concern on the machine with 64 megs of ram. The other item to look at is the line shown here: Your system is configured for optimal performance. If it does not say that, it might say something about running in MS-DOS compatibility mode. This is a problem. A BIG problem. It usually means that Windows did not identify your IDE controllers on your motherboard and is not reading your hard drive as efficiently as it should. It is struggling in other words. This will make your system unstable and run at about 50% less efficiency. The cure? Go to Device Manager>Hard disk controllers and choose to remove the primary and secondary IDE controllers. When you reboot, Windows will reinstall the drivers for them. Also, make sure at your motherboard manufacturers website that there are not drivers that you should have downloaded or a CD-ROM that came with your motherboard that has the drivers for your IDE controllers. Many motherboards now come with drivers for Ultra DMA drives that run better than the default windows drivers. These can make your hard drive access more efficient. Check the website for your motherboard.


The Registry

The main purpose of the registry is to record the installation and placement of your hardware and software. It tells windows where everything is located. It tells windows what you have in that box. Without the registry windows would not be able to find anything. That is why it is so crucial and you have heard all those warnings about messing with it. However, it becomes quite messy also. Windows is not good at removing old entries from the registry. It tends to leave things in there that are no longer necessary. This is where your hardware runs into a problem when a program tries to use it and the program keeps finding an old driver. The trick is to find the old driver. Again, that is covered in Upgrading for Survival.

Windows registry analysis

There are some programs out there that can help you keep it clean. One being from Microsoft called RegClean. It removes old unwanted entries. There are other programs that keep track of your installs and make sure that everything comes back out. However you need to use them from the very start of a clean system for them to work completely.

In any case, keeping your registry clean reduces the possibility that Windows will suffer any confusion in running your system.

 

 

Quake and the Registry

If you understand how Quake installs, you may be better able to understand what the trouble is, if any. The best things about Quake is that it does not attach itself to the registry the way other programs do. Other programs are written to the registry and if you move that program it won't run because the registry has recorded its install location and attached driver files to it in order for it to run. Quake does not do that. You can move Quake anywhere you like and it will still run. It runs independently of the registry. The only thing Quake needs is the drivers to your soundcard and video card. And it looks for those on its own; it does not rely on the registry to tell it. This is why, though, it is so important to have the most current drivers and to have only one set of them. How many times have you heard "get the latest drivers"? Well, now you know why. Quake is looking for them. If it finds some old driver to your last card, it won't work. And nothing on your computer is psychic -- if you don't make it nice and simple, the game will find whatever it bumps into that it thinks is the driver. So clean it up! Now you know if Quake is giving you driver errors it is because you do not have the most current drivers or you have some older version still lurking in windows\system. Reinstalling Quake will simply put it right back where it was, Windows has nothing to do with it. Go look for the old drivers and get rid of them.

We'll review one more time how to get rid of old drivers:

From Start Menu>Settings>Control Panel>System>Device Manager choose your Display Adater and choose Remove. Go to Add/remove programs and uninstall any utilities or drivers for it from there also. If you receive a Windows error message that it cannot be done because it is currently in use, you will need to boot in safe mode and do it there.

To make sure there are no ghosts left in Windows, do a search in Explorer in Windows\System for words associated with your card. For example, if your previous card was a Diamond Monster 3D Voodoo 1, then search for the words "Diamond" and "voodoo", and then delete those files. ****IF you have a Diamond soundcard, WATCH what you delete; otherwise, you’re in for a reinstall of your soundcard drivers.

The next step is the registry. Back it up first, just in case:

To back up the registry:
Windows 95: Open Windows Explorer, then in "View Menu", choose "Options" and be sure that the box "Show all file types" is checked
Windows 98: In "View Menu", choose "Folder Options" and click on the "View" tab, and see that "Show all files" is checked under "Hidden Files"
1.Be sure the box "Hide MS-DOS file extensions" is unchecked in both Windows 95/98 and hit "OK"
2.Back in Windows Explorer, go to the Windows folder (probably C:\Windows)
3.Copy system.dat and user.dat to a separate directory (for example: C:\Backup)

To Restore your Windows 95/98 Registry manually:
1.Reboot computer to MS-DOS (hit ALT+F5 or CTRL during start up)
2.At the MS-DOS prompt type: cd windows and hit enter
3.Type: attrib -h -s -r system.dat and hit enterx
4.Type: attrib -h -s -r user.dat and hit enter
5.Type: cd\ and hit enter
6.Type: copy c:\backup\system.dat c:\windows and hit enter
7.Type: copy c:\backup\user.dat c:\windows and hit enter
8.Then restart Windows by typing "win" (without quotes) at the DOS prompt or hit CTRL+ALT+DELETE to reboot

                                 

 




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