By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 1998, The Syracuse Newspapers
There are only two kinds of Windows 95 users—those who have not yet reinstalled Windows and those who have. Last week I explained the first steps in that inevitable task, and this week I'll get into the main procedure. (You can read last week's column on my Web site or the newspaper's mirror, at http://www.dreamscape.com/afasoldt/ or http://www.syracuse.com/pluggedin/.)
I know of two reasons for reinstalling Windows. The first is obvious—to get Windows back to working order after something trashes your Windows setup and your computer misbehaves. But the second is probably just as important. You may want to reinstall Windows to bring back the speed your PC used to have.
Modern PCs, with powerful Pentium-class processors, run amazingly fast when Windows is first installed. But they slow down, bit by bit, every time Windows has to sort through dozens of megabytes of additional programs and their supporting files. The worst offenders are conflicting DLLs (dynamic link libraries), which start accumulating as soon as you install new programs.
Some computers come with so-called "rescue disks" that make reinstalling Windows a breeze. These are CD-ROMs that return your boot drive (the C: disk) to the condition it was when you first opened the box. If you have a CD rescue disk, it will automate most of the tasks, but be sure to follow the instructions that come with the disk. (The instructions may only show up when you put the disk in the drive and reboot. You can always quit at that point in case you've forgotten to follow steps 1, 2 and 3 from last week's article.)
A rescue CD works by eliminating everything from your C: drive and then installing Windows from scratch. When I say "everything," I don't mean "all the stuff in the Windows folder" or "every file that was originally on your PC." I mean EVERY DANGED THING ON YOUR HARD DRIVE.
That's why you need to follow the first three steps (which call for backing up your original stuff, among other things) before you proceed. You MUST do this.
Drastic step, using a rescue CD, right? But it's necessary. And just as drastic (although not as easy) is the method I'm recommending if you don't have a rescue CD. In that method, you also get rid of everything on your C: drive.
Here's how to do it that way:
Follow the first three steps from last week. You MUST do this. Then follow the next steps.
Step 4: Make sure you have a floppy disk that you can use to boot up your computer. (Windows will create one for you. Open the Add/Remove Programs applet in the Control Panel and choose "Startup Disk.") And then—this is extremely important—make sure that startup disk will let you access your CD-ROM drive.
(If you're reinstalling Windows from floppy disks, you can skip this vital step. The rest of you need to pay attention to the next two sentences.)
Your Rescue Disk must have an autoexec.bat and a config.sys (two files) that contain the instructions for activating your CD-ROM. If they don't, you cannot reinstall Windows from the Windows installation CD. The instructions in these files vary, and there is no way I can safely list them here. (Sample autoexec.bat and config.sys files set up for my computer are included below. Feel free to borrow from them, but remember that they work on my system and may not work on yours.)
Step 5: Test your Startup Disk. Put the Windows installation disk in your CD-ROM drive and boot up from the floppy. Type the drive letter of the CD (such as "D"), put a colon after it, type a space, type "SETUP" and press the Enter key. If the Windows setup program does not start, go back to Step 4. Quit the setup program; you're not ready for it yet.
Next week: Clearing all the files off your drive and making the right choices when the Windows setup program runs.
@ECHO OFF goto begin autoexec.bat afasoldt 1-04-98 any rem (::) lines can be restored for w95 reinstalls and so on. double colon works as rem -- works better, in fact, since rems are parsed but double colons are not. :begin deltree /y c:\windows\temp>nul md c:\windows\temp>nul if exist c:\*.tmp del e:\*.tmp>nul if exist d:\*.tmp del e:\*.tmp>nul if exist e:\*.tmp del e:\*.tmp>nul :: ********** CD-ROM LOADER ********** :: Take out double colons and spaces in front of "LH" :: to make this load under a DOS bootup. :: LH C:\MSCDEX.EXE /D:OEMCD001 /L:S :: NOTE: The "S" tells DOS to give the first :: CD-ROM drive it finds the letter "S." :: The "OEMCD001" part MUST match the name :: used in the config.sys file. :: ********** END LOADER *********** :: DOSKEY LOADING HERE c:>nul cd \windows\command LH doskey /bufsize:1024 LH doskey /keysize:30 SET MSINPUT=C:\MOUSE SET 1DIRCMD=/1 /wa /oe /d lfnfor on :: turns on support for LFN in for, do etc. command parsing. :end
; config.sys afasoldt 12-21-97 ; SWITCHES=/E:288 /F ; DEVICE=C:\HIMEM.SYS DEVICE=C:\HIMEM.SYS /NUMHANDLES=128 /TESTMEM:OFF ; DEVICE=C:\EMM386.EXE DEVICE=C:\EMM386.EXE I=B000-B7FF A=64 H=128 D=256 NOEMS AUTO ALTBOOT ; DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\EMM386.EXE ; DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\EMM386.EXE RAM HIGHSCAN I=B000-B7FF NOVCPI /V ; DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\EMM386.EXE RAM HIGHSCAN I=B000-B7FF ; DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\EMM386.EXE NOEMS ; STACKS=0,0 ; rem this out if it causes problems. Zero stacks speeds up CPU. BUFFERSHIGH=10,0 FILESHIGH=30 DOS=HIGH,UMB,AUTO LASTDRIVEHIGH=Z ; ANSI LOADERS ; DEVICEHIGH=C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\ANSI.SYS /X ; unclear what /x does. ; DEVICEHIGH=C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\VANSI.SYS ; DEVICEHIGH=C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\ANSI.SYS ; DEVICEHIGH=C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\ANSIPLUS.SYS ; big footprint, prob. won't fit in upper ram ; DEVICEHIGH=C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\NANSI.SYS ; FCBSHIGH=4,0 ; ********** CD-ROM LOADER ********** ; remove semi-colon and spaces in front of DEVICEHIGH ; to force loading in DOS mode. ; DEVICEHIGH /L:1,22960=NEC_IDE.SYS /D:OEMCD001 ; ************ END LOADER *********** DEVICEHIGH=C:\IFSHLP.SYS ; DEVICEHIGH=C:\APPS\SB\DRV\CTSB16.SYS /UNIT=0 /BLASTER=A:220 I:5 D:1 H:5 ; DEVICEHIGH=C:\APPS\SB\DRV\CTMMSYS.SYS ; SHELL=C:\COMMAND.COM /e:1024 /p /u:250 SHELL=C:\COMMAND.COM /e:2048 /p ; u:250 increases command-line buffer from 127 chars to 250 chars (max?) ; end