By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 1998, The Syracuse Newspapers
When you have a problem with your Windows PC and you need help fast, here are two places to go.
The first is the Windows 95 Resource Kit. The second is the Microsoft Knowledge Base. The Resource Kit is ideal if you can't get onto the World Wide Web, and the second is the best way of getting up-to-date help and information if you have access to the Web. Both are free.
We'll cover installing the Resource Kit on your hard drive this week, and I'll take a look at the Knowledge Base next week.
You may have seen an expensive book in stores called the Resource Kit, but don't even think of buying it, because you have it already—if your PC came with a Windows 95 installation CD. The Windows Help version of the Resource Kit is on the CD. All you need to do is copy it to a folder on your hard drive. (If you installed Windows from floppies or if you don't have a Windows 95 CD, borrow one from someone else. Copying the Resource Kit from someone else's CD is perfectly legal.)
I'll give you a very basic, step-by-step explanation of how to install the Resource Kit on your hard drive. If you know this kind of thing already, stick with me anyway; you might learn a different way of doing basic operations.
Put the Windows 95 CD in your CD-ROM drive. If Windows opens the setup program, exit from it and double-click My Computer (the icon on the Desktop). You'll see the CD-ROM drive icon. Right click that icon and choose Explore. Look for the Admin folder and open it. Open the Reskit folder and then the Helpfile folder. You'll see "Win95rk" with a question-mark icon. You'll also see a file with what seems to be the same name with a generic icon. Click once on one, hold down the Ctrl key, then click once on the other. Drag them out to your Desktop.
Go back to the Explorer window (the folder window that's open already) and double click once on the C: drive icon. You'll see a lot of folder icons. With the C: icon highlighted, click on the File menu and choose New, then choose Folder. A folder will appear in the right-hand window ready to be named. Type "Winhelp" (without the quotes) and press Enter. (If you mess up and the folder can't seem to be renamed, click once on the New Folder icon, press F2, then type the name.)
Go back to the Desktop. Select the two Win95rk icons (you can hold your mouse button down and draw a box around them to select both) and drag them to the Winhelp folder you just created. Then double-click that folder if it isn't already open. Click once on the icon that has the question mark and drag it all the way over to the Start button. Let it go. Windows will create a shortcut to that file in the Start Menu.
(Optional: Right click on the Start button and choose Open. Click once on the Shortcut to Win95rk icon, press F2 and type "Windows Resource Kit" without the quotes. Power users might not see Shortcut to as part of the name. Tweak UI, the most valuable add-on to Windows 95, lets power users turn off Shortcut to permanently. Go to http://www.dreamscape.com/afasoldt/files.html to download the Power Toys, which include Tweak UI.)
Now you're ready to run the Resource Kit Help file. Click the icon in the Start Menu. You'll see an amazingly dumb list of credits. Click Index and then Find. Choose "Maximize search capabilities." Windows will create a huge index. (You ordinarily won't have to create that index again.)
The Resource Kit is ready to use. Search around in it. Try going from page to page using the forward and back buttons. Create bookmarks and print out sections you'll need for reference.