Fix Stuff that Drives you Nuts!
Tricks learned over the years.

Dial-Up / Browsers--
-= This goes to the TOP of the list! =-
Have you ever had your Dial-Up work just fine, but ANY of your TCP/IP devices (i.e. Browsers, ICQ, WebTimeSync) report that WINSOCK is NOTworking??  Well, I found the fix WITHOUT having to reinstall Windows!!!!  See the following link to fix WINSOCK: 241344 Gezzz, this was a bear...I work on this for '2' days.  The BIGGY was deleting the WINSOCK & WINSOCK2 Registry keys!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ever wonder why it take you sooooo long to get connected to an ISP provider?  It just seems to hang for minutes, and then FINALLY minimizes!!  EZ-FIX!  Just open your DUN (Dial Up Network) Click on the 'Server Type' Tab, and uncheck 'Log on to Network'  Now it will minimize in just seconds!!!  Oh, while your at it, uncheck NetBEUI, this just uses up CPU time!

Do you donwload files from SIMTEL and when a window opens up for a download, it is Blank and says "There was a error displaying this link."? I hate when that happens!  Just close the windows and (if in Netscape), just right-click on the page anywhere and choose RELOAD. This will fix the problem until it happens again.   NO need to shutdown the browser and re-start it!

Error Message: "Explorer caused an invalid page fault in module SHDOC401.DLL"  The good news is that you DON'T have to re-install Internet Explorer!  For IE 5.5 or older, enter: rundll32 setupwbv.dll,IE5Maintenance "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\Setup\SETUP.EXE" /g "C:\WINDOWS\IE Uninstall Log.Txt"    For Internet Explorer 6.x, enter: rundll32 setupwbv.dll,IE6Maintenance "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\Setup\SETUP.EXE" /g "C:\WINDOWS\IE Uninstall Log.Txt"

Web sites / SpyBot or Ad-aware--

Want to stop those Darn sites that steal personal info about you?  Go to: SpyBot Their program, (SpyBot),  will remove all kinds of stuff that you DIDN'T know your Computer had!!  NOTE: Ad-aware may even be Harmful to your PC! errr!  Here is a link that explains why: SpywareInfo This was true with version 5.83.  Since then, verion 6 has come out, so if you still want to use it, go to: Ad-aware  Happy Spying!

Want to stop those Darn sites that steal personal info about you #2?  Look for a file in: C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM and Delete the file AMCIS.DLL  You may wish to create a dummy file with the same name, and give it the "Read Only" Attribute  You may have to re-start in DOS mode to Delete this file!

Bonzi Buddy-- one of the WORST Spyware programs out their!!  When you remove it, the program is NOT gone from the Reigistry!  Click on: START - RUN  then enter:   regsvr32 /u iehelpermiddleman.dll

If you install SpyBot; then start the program and you find that there are NO options in the left-hand window pane, then right-click on the on the desktop icon, and delete, at the end of the line: "/easymode".

Another Virus problem maker is KAK.HTM -- Watch for this one if you are a Outlook user.  While online, this one can show up on your PC in the Windows directory.  DELETE IT!!  If you execute this in a Browser, it will write to the Registr, modify it, and create an entry called: kak.reg   I told you NOT to use Outlook... ;)   If your nosey, look at the code in an editor.  It's quite simple like the "I LOV U" Virus.

If NONE of your .EXE files won't run, and you get the error "FILES32.VXD not found"...go to a PC that is of the same type OS, and run REGEDIT and drill down to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes\Exefile\Shell\Open\Command.  Export this to a Floppy and then import to the PC that has the Virus.  Just double-click on the file, since REGEDIT *WONT* run!  Restart PC, and your programs will start running.

Ever had the little Speaker disappear from your Taskbar in the Lower-Right hand corner?  To make it re-appear, go to START - CONTROL PANEL - MULTIMEDIA.  At the Bottom-Left of the screen you will see a checkbox that says "Show volume control on taskbar".  Even if it is checked, uncheck it, then re-check it.  Now the little speaker will re-appear, and you have full control once again.

While on the subject of the little Speaker in the Taskbar.  Remember when you would here a Ding when adjusting the volume?  Well go to my "Handy Tools" link, then choose "Downloads" and you will see a .REG patch that will bring this back from the "unknown"!

If you have trouble with I/O Ports, and you know what ports are being used, but can't get to a free port.  Restart WIN95 or WIN98/SE in SafeMode, and open up your Device Manager.  Under the I/O section, you may see multiple copies of the same Port(s).  These are called Phantom Ports (or devices)  Delete them ALL!  Then restart Windows and let Windows  re-install the Ports at startup.


Ever had WIN95 not startup and just stopped at a blank color screen?  Most likely WIN.COM is corrupt!  Why not make a copy before this happens as a backup.  Call it WIN.NEW.  This way, you can always start the PC with a DOS diskette and then copy WIN.NEW to WIN.COM.  Most likely WINDOWS will now startup, and will have saved you the task of  having to re-install Windows!

If you have had a problem of getting windows to start, even though MSDOS.SYS has BootGUI=1; then look in CONFIG.SYS and see if it has a statement that says DOS=SINGLE.  Delete or block it, and Windows will come up normal.  Otherwise it will start up in a DOS shell.

Have you run into the problem of Windows telling you that you entered the WRONG password, when you know, or think you know that it iscorrect?  Well, just click on CANCEL, and let Windows finish starting up.  Then Drop to DOS, at the C:\WINDOWS directory and Delete the .PWL file with your name, (or all of them); EXIT back to Windows, and re-start Windows.  It will then let you add your name and password back in.

A DOS Program problem that you are going to run into MORE in the future is; DOS APPS. are NOT going to run under WIN98/SE, and up coming "Windows Me"!  You have been informed/warned !!  So DON'T upgrade Windows until  a DOS Application your STUCK with has been thoroughly tested first!  Finance and Payroll programs are notorious of this !   eerrrrrr 

Have you ever disconnected a PC, worked on it, and then connected everything backup, and when you hit the power, the Fan(s) spun, and the Power Indicator lit, but NO boot, NO Nothing??  See if you plugged-in, (intercahnged) the Keyboard & Mouse in the WRONG Jacks !

If Windows locks up and you can't seem to do anything but bring up the Task Manager; see if RUNDLL.DLL or RUNDLL32.DLL is listed.  See if you can KILL this file...this may 'kick start' Windows back into operation again.

If your Taskbar becomes screwed-up, then touch the Vertical Bar just to the right of Start.  It should turn into a left-right arrow.  Now, right-click and choose Refresh.

Got messed up Icons on your Desktop, or they periodically change to something else?  In C:\WINDOWS  locate the file "ShellIconCache" and delete it.  Restart Windows, the file will re-create itself and all will look OK again!

Ever run SCANDISK or DeFrag, and they keep reporting "this program has restarted to many times"?  You most likely have installed Microsofts Office 97.  To fix the problem, go to the STARTUP directory and *remove* "Find Fast"!  Also, any other programs running in the bottom-right corner of the Task Bar that aren't required to keep your system running. Virus programs will cause this also. Also, disable your Screen Saver.

"Warning: Windows did not finish loading on the previous attempt..."  If you feel everything is OK with Windows, then Drop-to-DOS and go to the "C:\WINDOWS" directory and *DELETE* "WNBOOTNG.STS" file.  Windows should startup normally at this point!   NOTE: Most of the time you can just point to "NORMAL" Boot and the file will be deleted automatically.

Hate waiting for Windows to shutdown, and the Hardware also on a re-start?  Just before you hit the "Restart", hold down the Shift key; then click the Restart button.  This way, ONLY Windows will restart, and will NOT shutdown the hardware and then restart that as well.  Cool!

Lost "Control Panel" returned!  Go into REGEDIT and drill down to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer.  DELETE the entry "NoControlPanel" and restart your PC...your Contrl Panel will now reappear!!

Has your Taskbar gone to the dogs?  Go into the Registry with REGEDIT.EXE from the RUN command and drill down to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer.  Now Delete "StuckRects" and Restart Windows. 

Why waste your time putting the "Windows CD" in the CDROM Drive all the time?  Copy the (i.e. \WIN98, or whatever version you have) to a Directory on your local Hard Drive.  Then modify the following location in the Registry:  HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup.  In the Right window pane, you will see an entry labeled "sourcepath"  Modify this entry for the location where you have put your copy of ALL of the .CAB files on your Hard Drive.  Restart your PC, and never have to put the Windows CD in again!  COOL!

**Here's a major one that belongs to "Stuff that drives you nuts!" Ever have "PCI Serial Controller" NOT install in WIN98/SE, and you can't find it on a Disk, CDROM or Web site?  Here is how I figured it out!  Go to "Control Panel" and choose "Add New Hardware", choose "Next" twice, then choose "No, I want to select hardware from a list." and click on "Next".  Here is the clincher! Choose "? Other Devices", then pick "(Standard Port Types),  then "Communications Port", then "Next".  When the port is created, you will be able to pick that Port for the PCI Modem.

Ever get "Exception 03h in Module... ?  Some programs install a module called: CMAPIENG.VXD.  This will Corrupt USER32.DLL, GDI32.DLL and WINMMM.DLL.   Replace these from your Windows CD-ROM, and re-start Windows.

Does it take too long for new hardware to install; or PC seems to HANG?  Go C:\WINDOWS\INF directory and delete any file that is "0", (that's Zero) in length.  This may even take a long time!  A faster way to find these files is to use your "File Find" and search for OEM*.INF.  Remember, ONLY delete files that are "0" in lenght.

Do you have a PC that, when you turn the power ON, it does NOTHING; only LED's light up?  Pull the Reset plug from the Motherboard, and see if it works now.  Sometimes the Reset Button gets stuck, or shorts out!


Error Message: "The parallel port may be used by another application."  If you get this message, Delete the file IOSUB in C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM.  You may have to re-install Windows, but this will fix the problem.

If you have an HP Lasterjet 3100, and it doesn't seem to want to install on a PC, there are two files to search for that will cause this problem.  Search for a file TURBOVCD.VXD in SYSTEM.INI in the [386Enh] section and Block it!  You may also want search for DRVWPPQT.VXD (usually found at: C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\IOSUBSYS) and rename it to something else.

While on the subject of Printers.  I have been told by HP that ALL of their new (and some current) Laserjet Printers are NO LONGER going to run from the DOS prompt! :(   A good example of the is the HP Laserjet 1100 and HP Officejet T45.  Deskjets still work just fine...for now!      01/04/00

WinME and printer's DON'T always get along when you setup the CMOS for an "ECP" Parallel Port, if you experience lock-up's after printing, go into the CMOS and change it to "EPP".


WinXP, even with SP1 does not do well with NETBEUI.  The work-around is to use a couple of files that comes with Win2K.  Download them here,
 NETBEUI  and put the NETNBF.INF in C:\WINDOWS\INF; and the NBF.SYS in C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32.  Next Right-Click on the NETNBF.INF and choose: "Install".  now you will see NETBEUI in your Network Neighborhood.  The beauty of XP is that you DON'T have to restart your PC!

If you run a WIN 3.x station on a Novell server, and it has RPRINTER running on it and you get timeout errors when printing.  Add the following to the AUTOEXEC.BAT file.  MODE LPTx:,,P   (replace x with the Printer Port you are printing too)  This will cause Infinite Retrys on the Port.

Another cause for WIN95 not to start is that you have the Novell Client installed, and one of  its modules has gone bad.  A very good indication of this is that Windows will be loading just fine, and when it is about to load the Client, it locks up.  At this point, re-start in "Safe Mode", and  run  UNC32.EXE program that comes with the Client CD-ROM.  Once run, restart Windows, and if it loads, just re-install the Client.  NOTE: as a pre- caution, write down the IP address that is in "Network Neighborhood" under Properties of TCP/IP; bacause they may be lost after running UNC32.EXE.  This seems to be a problem with WIN95 mainly.

Before Version 7.0x of WS_FTP, the WS_FTP.INI  was located wherever you had the program installed. I put it in C:\FTP.  Now it is tucked away at: C:\Windows\Application Data\Ipswitch\WS_FTP\Sites for v7.0x.  For version 7.5x or newer, it is now located at: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Ipswitch\Ws_ftp\Sites.  For other info, visit their site at: this link.  Also, the file is now called: original.ini  Go figure!

Hard Drives--

If you move IDE drives from one machine to another, you have probably run into the problem of the drive NOT booting, when moved to a newer PC.  This is a timing issue.  You may be able to get around this in several ways.  1. If CMOS suppports scan for a drive, you are must likely back in business.  2. If the drive has a "CS" jumper, this may work, as long as it's the Master.

Have you used "DriveCopy 2.02" from Powerquest, to move data from one hard drive to another?  Well, with the availability of Large Drives, you may have come across the problem when booting the diskette you made, it says your "out of memory"  The fix: Add HIMEM.SYS to CONFIG.SYS.  That will take care of this problem.

Another product from Powerquest is "Patition Magic 5.0x"  If you have tried to create a FAT32 on a drive with very little space left, using Windows utility "Fat Converter" and it reports that it can't convert the FAT!  Well, Partition Magic will do the job with great finess!  The no hasle way.

Ever had a Hard Drive that was "stuck", (would not spin-up)?  Try this; put the drive in the Freezer section of your Fridge for about 20 min.  If it starts up, move your data quickly onto some other media!  Time to buy another drive!!

CDROM Drives--

What does it mean when MSCDEX.EXE trys to load and gives the message "Incorrect DOS Version"  Starting with DOS 6.0+, the internal "version tag" was changed!  So if you have; let's say DOS 5.0 and MSCDEX.EXE DOS 6.0 version, you have a mess-match.  Just get the correct version.


pcANYWHERE32 v9.2  has a nasty habit of getting confused when there is more then one PATH statement in AUTOEXEC.BAT.  It will add a SET PATH=   to the end of the AUTOEXEC.BAT file, and the next time you start up Windows, it will tell you that WIN.COM is corrupt or missing.  Either block or remove the SET PATH= statement, and Windows will start up normally.

Back-up UPS'--

APC UPS' are a very good backup power supply; but as of 1999, OSHA is requring them to ship the units with the battery disconnected! So, when you set one up and you DIDN'T READ THE YELLOW TAG YOU JUST RIPPED OFF!  Your user is in for a suprise the next time power drops off!  Plug in the Battery!


If  you plan on upgrading Security Patch's on an NT machine and you are running IntelliPoint v2.0  REMOVE it first...otherwise, your Server will boot, but will have NO Mouse or Keyboard!!  How dumb can Microshaft be!?!
Trying to run a DOS program in NT, (WHY!?); anyway, you may need to make changes in AUTOEXEC.NT & CONFIG.NT.  If this does not work, then issue the command: "forcedos <yourapp>"; without the quotes.  "Forcedos" is an actual program supplied with NT, bot NOT talked about.
NT has a nasty habit, (especially when run as a Print Server), of using up memory resources.  A tell-tale sign of this is when the bottom-right Taskbar is showing, what looks like a dark-gray airplane pointing down at around 5 O'Clock!  If you touch it, it will say "looking for new hardware resouces".  The problem is that you need to change the memory used by your Printer(s).  Right-Click on your first Printer and choose "Properties"; next choose "Device Settings" Tab.  Adjust DOWN the amount of memory that the Printer is using.  Do this for each Printer on the Server.


If your computer starts with an error that it can't find MRTRATE.VXD.  You probably uninstalled Quicken, but it wasn't a clean uninstall.
For details, go to:  305649  or go into the Registry and search for it, then delete.

. More to come...

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Copyright © 2000-2008  Ted J. Mieske
All Rights Reserved.