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500 Tips
Windows NT
Windows NT 3.51

Over-the-Net Installations

NT includes a DOS-based character-mode installation program (WINNT.EXE) that permits over-the-network installation from a central shared CD or hard disk. First, share the CD-ROM on the network. Then install on the target machine any DOS-compatible network access software (such as Windows for Workgroups, LANtastic or NetWare) that will let it access the shared installation files. Carry out the appropriate configuration steps to gain access to the network, and you'll be able to run the DOS WINNT.EXE program directly from the DOS command line (but not the Enhanced-mode Windows DOS prompt).

So Happy Together

Linking NT systems to NetWare servers requires the NetWare Requester for Windows NT (NWNT.EXE).You will also need to use an ODI network card driver (the NDIS drivers used by the built-in NT networking don't work with the NetWare redirector). Administrators can make their lives easier by assigning the same user account name and password to both NetWare and the built-in Windows NT networking systems.

Tune-Up Time

You can improve NT Server 3.51's performance by adjusting the way the network Server object uses memory. Start Control Panel/Network, select the Server object and click on Configure. You'll have four optimization choices. The first, Minimize Memory Used, is a good choice for workstations and servers on very small networks. The second setting, Balance, is good for severs on medium-sized networks (up to 64 sessions). Maximize Throughput for File Sharing is best for NT Server systems that provide resource sharing for large networks (more than 64 sessions). The final choice, Maximize Throughput for Network Applications, is the best choice for NT Servers that provide application services (such as SQL Server) for large networks. You'll have to reboot the computer after changing this setting.

Countdown to Boot-Up

You can adjust how long the system waits before it boots into the default system. To do so, open Control Panel, then System. Next, change the time using the "Show list for [time] seconds" spin box. Click on OK to save your changes.

Choose Your Boots

If you install Windows NT 3.51 on a system that's already running Windows 95, you'll find that it automatically boots to Windows NT. If you'd prefer to boot into Win95, open Control Panel and double-click on the System icon. You'll see the boot list near the top of the resulting dialog. Click on the down arrow to expand the list and make your choice. Click on OK to record your change.

Auto Log-On

To enable an automatic log-on, open RegEdit. Look in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and follow the path SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS NT\CURRENT VERSION\WINLOGON. Modify the entries as shown:

AutoAdminLogon: REG_SZ: 1DefaultPassword: REG_SZ: yourpasswordDefaultUserName: REG_SZ:

If some of these entries don't exist, create them. Simply choose the Add Value command from the Edit menu and fill out the dialog boxes to match the entries shown above. Once you're done editing the Registry, close RegEdit and restart your system. Note that this will create a giant security loophole. Don't do this on machines you want to keep secure.

A Prettier DOS

If your DOS windows aren't easy on your eyes, change them (the windows, not your eyes!). To change DOS font, font size, screen size and screen colors, go to Control Panel and open Console. In the dialog box that opens, click on the various tabs to make the desired changes.

Open Sesame

To change your password at any time, press Ctrl+Alt+Delete. When the dialog box opens, click the Change Password button. Type your current password into the Old Password box and your new password into the New Password box and the Confirm New Password box. Click on OK.

Master Multitasking

You can move between applications in Windows NT in several different ways, including:

  • Double-click on the Desktop to open the Task List.
  • Hold down Alt and press Tab to cycle through the running apps.
  • Double-click on the application's icon.
  • Click in the application's window.
  • Choose the Switch To command from a running app's Control button.
  • Press Ctrl+Esc to open the Task List.

Content Copier

When running an MS-DOS program in a window in Text mode, you can copy text from the application to the Clipboard. Click on the window's Control box or press Alt+Spacebar. In the next menu, choose Edit, then Mark. Use the cursor to highlight the data you want to copy, press Alt+Spacebar again and choose Copy. Windows NT will transfer the selected text to the Clipboard.

Sneak a Peek at Clipboard

To see what's on Clipboard without performing a paste operation, run ClipBook Viewer from the Main program group. To see Clipboard, choose the Clipboard command from the Window menu.

No Notification

If you're an experienced NT user, you can turn off most of the confirmation warning boxes in File Manager. First, open File Manager and select Options/Confirmation. In the Confirmation dialog box, you'll see a row of check boxes and text that describes what each check box does. Deselect any check box whose function you don't need. When you're done, click on OK.

Filename Characteristics

In Windows NT, you can use filenames up to 255 characters long on the NTFS or FAT file system. The filenames can use any characters except the following:
? " / \ < > * |
You can use spaces, but NT will remove them. NT will also change commas, semicolons, equal signs and brackets to underscores so that standard MS-DOS eight-character names can use these.

Get Shorty

If you're worried about compatibility between MS-DOS's short filename support and NT's long filename support, Microsoft has you covered. Windows NT can produce a short version of long filenames for use in MS-DOS. Specifically, NT removes or changes characters as described in the previous tip, truncates the name to six characters and adds a tilde (~) and a number.

One-Key Copy

You can copy the entire Windows NT screen to Clipboard using the Print Screen key. To copy only the active windows to Clipboard, press Alt+Print Screen.

Separate Memory

To run Win16 apps in separate memory space using Windows NT 3.51, select the application's icon in Program Manager. Select File/Properties, and in the dialog box, choose "Run in separate memory space."

Running Start

If you want to start an app from the command prompt, you can tell it what directory you want it to run in by entering

start filename /d

where "filename" is the name of the app you want to run, and "d" is where you want to run it.

Keyboard Downgrade

If you have to run a program that doesn't work with enhanced keyboards, turn off the keyboard's enhanced functions by adding the following line to your CONFIG.NT file:

switches = k

Show and Tell

To learn more about a particular computer's insides, open the Administrative Tools group and double-click on the Windows NT Diagnostics icon. When the dialog box opens, click on the appropriate buttons to learn about drives, memory, interrupts and other information.

Faulty Memory

NTDETECT.COM will see somewhat less memory than the Power-On Self Test reports, because some of the memory gets used by the Hardware Abstraction Layer initialization. The difference in memory detection will vary from one platform to another. For example, you may not see the same difference between NTDETECT's report and Intel, Mips, Alpha or the PowerPC.

Cut the FAT

When you switch to Windows NT, don't use the NT File System unless you absolutely need the FAT file system. The most compelling reason for using FAT is when you must have MS-DOS and Windows NT on the same computer.

Done In by a Dongle

If you have old MS-DOS software that uses a dongle as an anti-piracy device, it won't run on Windows NT. That's because dongles require direct access to a computer's hardware, which NT doesn't permit. If you have an MS-DOS program that suffers from the dongle problem under NT, call the software vendor. The vendor will need to write a new MS-DOS device driver and a virtual device driver so its apps will run in Windows NT. Many suppliers have already written such drivers. Try scoping out their Web sites as many vendors put files up on the Internet for downloading.

Cache Catch

Conventional wisdom says your NT system will speed up when you add RAM. In rare cases, however, you might find that going from 8MB to 16MB of RAM actually slows things down. If this happens, check your hardware docs to see if your computer installs hardware caches. Some of these caches aren't designed to support your RAM upgrade, so you might have to disable the cache. If you're unsure of how to disable the cache or about the effect of disabling it, contact your hardware vendor for more information.

On Hold for Help

If you run Office 95 in Windows NT 3.51, you'll probably find yourself waiting for as long as 15 minutes for help files to open. If that's the case, it's time for the latest NT 3.51 and Office 95 service packs.

Peaceful Coexistence

This tip is for users with NT, OS/2 and MS-DOS on their systems. If you boot into MS-DOS from a floppy disk or from the Boot Loader, you can use MS-DOS to view and modify your NTFS partition. After you edit the partition, you may find that it has been corrupted. If this happens, it's because you installed OS/2 using the IBM Boot Manager on the first partition. Then, when you installed Windows NT, you told Setup to reformat the existing NTFS partition or to convert the partition to NTFS. The partition, however, remained marked FAT. To fix the problem, go into OS/2 and run FDISKPM to rid yourself of the NTFS partition. Then reinstall Windows NT and tell Setup to convert the partition to NTFS.

Ticked at Time Error

If the displayed time on your NT system is off by an hour when you "spring ahead" or "fall back," the problem is easily explained. Windows NT updates its date and time every hour by reading the motherboard's CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor). In between the readings, NT increments its clock about once every 10 milliseconds to adjust for daylight saving time. Since NT can't detect when the system BIOS/CMOS adjusts the clock for daylight saving, it may proceed to change the clock by 1 hour. But the BIOS does the same thing, meaning that you end up a full hour ahead in the spring and an hour behind in the fall. By the way, if you use both Windows NT and Windows 95 on the same computer, you might end up 2 hours off, because both systems will make the change right along with the BIOS.

Message Delayed

Visual Basic 3.0 programs that run in separate memory spaces under NT slow down the operating system significantly when you open a message box. To compensate, use a custom form rather than a message box or upgrade to VB 4.0.

NT Name Change

To rename your hard disk, go to the Administrative Tools group and open Disk Administrator. In the Disk Administrator window, click on the graphic that represents the drive you want to change, then choose Tools/Drive Letter. In the Assign Letter dialog box, pick a new letter and click on OK. Follow the on-screen instructions. You can assign a new letter to a CD-ROM drive, too. To do this, choose the CD-ROM Drive Letters command from the Tools menu and proceed as described above.

Eternal Pause

If you use Print Manager to pause a print job and then you remove that print job, the printer will remain paused until you tell it to Resume--even for new print jobs.

Confused Icons

If you upgrade Windows for Workgroups 3.11 program groups to Windows NT, the program item icons are often replaced by question marks. This happens when you use 256 or more colors in Windows for Workgroups and don't use the same resolution in Windows NT. For a smooth transition, set the Windows for Workgroups resolution to 16-color VGA before migrating the program groups. Or you can highlight the individual program groups and press Alt+Enter to open the Program Item Properties dialog box. Click on OK and go.

Unknown Attributes

You can lose file attributes when using the HCOPY.EXE utility, which is included with the LAN Manager to Windows NT Advanced Server Upgrade and the Windows NT Server 3.5 Upgrade for LAN Manager. To fix the problem, use the MS-DOS ATTRIB.EXE utility or File Manager to set the attributes.

Escape the Shadow

There's no advantage to ROM BIOS shadowing when using Windows NT. In fact, it could be a disadvantage, since you're using up some RAM that Windows NT could otherwise use. Most computers will let you turn off the shadowing. Check your system's manual to see how to disable ROM BIOS shadowing.

FONTastic Titles

To change the title font used by the Program Manager, use RegEdit (open REGEDT32.EXE) and go to: HKEY_USERS\DEFAULT\CONTROL PANEL\DESKTOP HKEY_CURRENT_USER\CONTROL PANEL\DESKTOP. Now change the values of IconTitleSize and IconTitleFaceName to the size and name of your new selection. The default values are :IconTitleSize : REG_SZ : 9 IconTitleFaceName : REG_SZ : MS Sans Serif. After you make the desired changes, close RegEdit and restart your computer.

New Directories

Creating subdirectories is easy. For example, go to the root directory of drive D: and Select File/Create Directory. In the dialog box, type

where "Directory" is the name of the directory placed in the root of the drive and "Subdirectory" is the subdirectory in "Directory." Click on OK to close the dialog box. Your structure is:
If you're working in the FAT system, adding a space before the backslash will cause an error. In NTFS and HPFS, spaces are allowed. This method of subdirectory creation works only in File Manager, not at the command prompt.

Disappearing Partition

To delete an NTFS partition on your hard disk, use the MS-DOS program Fdisk. Note, however, that Fdisk will identify the partition as HPFS (the OS/2 system), because the system identifier byte is 0x07 for both file systems.

Environmental Impact

To change the Environment Size in Windows NT, add

shell=%systemroot%\system32\command.com /p /e:size
to the CONFIG.SYS file, where "size" is the maximum size in bytes that you want COMMAND.COM to allocate for each program. The maximum size is 32KB, and the default is 256 bytes.

Double Trouble

Don't run DiskCopy from the MS-DOS prompt on an NT system. Since Windows NT is a multitasking operating system, running DiskCopy from the MS-DOS prompt causes the system to attempt to lock the target drive.

Different Time Zones

When you copy a file from an NTFS drive to a FAT drive, you might notice a change in the time stamp. There's nothing wrong. The change occurs because NTFS records time to the nearest 100 nanoseconds, while the FAT system rounds time to the nearest 2 seconds.

Bootstrap Startup

You can make a boot floppy disk from the CD-ROM if you have three blank formatted floppy disks on hand. First, open the CD-ROM and locate \i386\WINNT32/O. Select File/Run and enter

in the text-entry box. Click on OK (or press Enter), and you'll be prompted for floppy disks.

System Checkup

For detailed information about your system, use Windows NT Diagnostics. You'll find its icon in the Administrative Tools group. Double-click on the icon to start the utility. You can use it to check hardware type, memory, drives, information about the operating system and other particulars.

Three Types of Time

To adjust the way time is displayed, go to the Accessories group and click once on the Clock icon. From the Settings menu, you can choose an analog or digital display or one that displays time in GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).

Desktop Ticker

To place a small clock on your NT Desktop, open the Accessories group and click once on the Clock icon. Select File/Properties; in the dialog box, select the Run Minimized checkbox. Click on OK to record your changes. When you start the clock, it will appear in miniature at the bottom of the screen. If you'd like the clock to start automatically, put the icon in the Startup group.


If you leave your computer from time to time and want to protect your data from prying eyes, lock it up. In Windows NT, press Ctrl+Alt+Delete and choose Lock Workstation in the dialog box. Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete again and enter your password to unlock your computer.

Quitting Time

When it's finally time to go home, Windows NT gives you more than one way to log off. In Program Manager, you can select File/Log off. You can also go to the Control box in Program Manager and double-click, or press Alt+F4.

Prompt Attention

Put the NT command prompt where you want it. If you'd like it to take you to the NTFS drive by default, click once on the MS-DOS Prompt icon, select File/Properties and type in whatever drive and directory you want to use.

Mean 16s

When you're running multiple Win16 apps, they all use the same memory space, and this can cause one Win16 app to crash another. To circumvent this problem, run each Win16 app in its own memory space. When you create a program item for a Win16 app, select the Run in Separate Memory Space checkbox. If you use the Run command from the File menu, you'll get the option in a dialog box. Note that the option is only available for Windows 3.1 apps, and that the Run in Separate Memory Space option consumes a lot of memory. One option is to run only troubled or unstable Win16 apps in protected memory.

Tool Time

There are several toolbar buttons that you might want to add to File Manager. Open File Manager and select Options/Customize Toolbar. In the dialog box, pick the commands you'd like to add to the toolbar.

A Refreshing Change

If your monitor appears to blink rapidly while you work, your refresh rate is probably set too low. Go to Control Panel and double-click on Display. In the dialog box, you can adjust the Refresh Frequency. The higher the frequency, the less the blink. But check your monitor's documentation first--if you set the refresh rate too high, you may damage your monitor.

Peak Performance

If you can't open a Performance Monitor settings file--such as include alert (pma), chart (pmc), log (pml), workspace (pmw) or report (pmr)--it's probably because the file's read-only attribute is set. Remove the attribute to open the file.

Manage File Manager

To make File Manager open in a given drive in a given directory, first run File Manager. Next, select Options/Save Settings on Exit and go to the drive and directory in which you want it to open. Quit File Manager and then open it again. This time, deselect the Save Settings on Exit command.

Communications Breakdown

In Procomm Plus under NT, you can press Alt+N to send screen data to the printer, but if you do this after installing Service Pack 3 on your 3.51 system, you'll get garbled output. To fix this, replace WINSRV.DLL with the identically named file in Windows NT Service Pack 2 and restart Windows NT.

Nervous in the Service

After you install NT Service Packs, you may need to reinstall custom Windows NT components and drivers that you received from original equipment manufacturers.

RISC-y VB 3.0

Visual Basic 3.0 programs can crash when running on Windows NT-based RISC systems (Alpha, Mips and PowerPC). This is because early versions of the Visual Basic 3.0 runtime were compiled with 386-specific code, but the Intel x86 emulator in RISC versions of NT 3.51 emulates a 286. To compensate, upgrade to VB 4.0.

Get the Message

All Windows NT 3.51 distribution CDs include a runtime Microsoft Access database with full documentation on NT system messages. To set up the database, mount the CD and select Run from Program Manager's File menu. When the Run dialog box appears, click on Browse and select SETUP.EXE from the CD.

Prudent Editor

If you edit any system file with the undocumented Windows SysEdit applet (SYSEDIT.EXE), it saves a backup copy of that file with an extension of SYD. If you use some other editor, make sure it also saves a backup copy. If in doubt, make a backup before editing.

Migrate from Mips

Microsoft is phasing out support for Mips RISC hardware, so if that's your current Windows NT 3.51 platform, you should consider migrating to Intel, Digital Alpha or PowerPC.

Audit Events

To activate auditing, select Policies/Audit in User Manager or User Manager for Domains, and choose the Audit These Events option. If the Do Not Audit option is highlighted, all Windows NT Server auditing is deactivated.

Be Tolerant

To determine the level of fault tolerance in place, open Disk Administrator in the Administrative Tools group. You'll see a graphical map of the server's disk storage; the map will include mirror sets and stripe sets, which are identified by contrasting colors.

Imitate NetWare

If you're in the process of replacing NetWare 3.x servers with NT 3.51 servers, it's possible to make the server switch without updating any client code. Just use Microsoft's NT 3.51 File and Print Services for NetWare, which lets existing NetWare clients connect to NT servers.

NT Limitations

Note that NT 3.51 can't be run on all systems, such as those that use the DoubleSpace compression algorithm from DOS 6, as well as other compression products, such as Stacker or SuperStor.

Last but Not Least

When you're using multiple operating systems on a single system, NT should always be the last one installed. The reason: Some operating systems' boot loaders, such as OS/2 multiboot, will interfere with the operation of the Windows NT boot system.

Restore Order

To sort the order of events in the log file, select View/Newest First to see the most recent events at the top of the list, or View/Oldest First to list the oldest events at the top.

Tape Eraser

To erase a tape that contains data you no longer need, insert the tape into the tape drive unit, then select Operations/Erase Tape or click on the Erase Tape button on the toolbar. Select Quick Erase (which erases the tape header but not the backup files) or Secure Erase (which erases everything on the tape) and click on Continue to begin the tape erasure.

NT Forever

To establish a software connection between a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) and NT, select the Control Panel icon from the main program group. Click on the UPS icon, then check the Uninterruptible Power Supply Installed On box. Choose the port from the pull-down list, then click on OK.

When You Don't Care to Share

To stop sharing a directory, first make sure no one else is currently using the directory. Next, select the directory to stop sharing. Select Disk/Stop Sharing, or click on the Stop Sharing button in the toolbar if it is present. File Manager displays the Stop Sharing dialog box. Click on OK.

Network Disconnection

To disconnect from a network drive, select Disk/Disconnect Network Drive from within File Manager. Then select the drives from which you want to disconnect and click on OK.

Chat Session

To start a chat session with another network user, click on the Chat icon in the Accessories window and click on the Dial button on the toolbar or select Conversation/Dial. In the Select Computer box, enter the computer name of the person you want to talk with. If the person answers, Chat displays a message in the status bar, and you can begin typing in the top or leftmost window.

Legacy Hardware

NT 3.51 is the last version of NT that supports 386-based computers. If you're thinking about upgrading to NT 4.0, you'll need--at minimum--a PC with a 486-based processor.

Migration Misery

NT 3.51 (as well as NT 4.0) and Windows 95 have incompatible registries, which means migrating from NT to Win95 or vice versa will require reinstalling most, if not all, of your applications.

Inapt Apps

Microsoft's "Designed for Windows 95" logo is supposed to identify applications that run on both Win95 and NT 3.51. However, since NT 3.51 lacks some features found in Win95 (such as support for the Telephony API), certain Designed for Windows 95 applications don't work fully on NT 3.51.

NT for PowerPC

If you who want to run Windows NT on PowerPC hardware, you'll have to use at least version 3.51 of NT. Earlier releases (NT 3.1 and NT 3.5) lacked PowerPC support.

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