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Win Tips
Windows NT

Rebuild Icons

To rebuild all your Desktop icons in a few seconds, find the ShellIconCache file in your main Windows NT directory, then delete it. Log off and log back on again, and your icons should be rebuilt from scratch. The ShellIconCache file holds copies of all the Desktop object's icons for speedy redraws and can occasionally get corrupted.

Avoid Lockups

One way to work around a Windows NT Explorer crash is to have each Explorer window run as a separate process. To do this, run the Registry Editor and look in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER subtree for the subkey Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer. Create a new DWORD value called DesktopProcess and set its data field to 1. Quit the Editor, log off and log back on again. Now you can still get access to the taskbar and Desktop whenever a particular window freezes up.

Share Across The Web

If you have Microsoft Internet Information Server 2.0 or greater installed, the Properties sheet for all folders will contain a WWW tab that lets you share a specific folder across the Web. Keep in mind that unless you have directory browsing enabled in IIS, folders that don't have HTML files or a properly named index file will report they have nothing in them.

Swap Your Swap File Settings

The best place for a swap file is at the front of a hard drive, on an NTFS partition. If you're only using Windows NT on a given machine, create a small partition at the front of the hard drive to hold the boot and swap files. Many partition-editing programs, such as PartitionMagic, will let you create and rearrange partitions to suit your needs. However, you may need to edit your NT BOOT.INI file to reflect where your system files are after making such partition changes. The partition(x) portion of every line in the BOOT.INI file indicates which partition of the indicated hard disk contains the needed files; if you change your NT partition from the first partition on the hard disk to the second, you'd change partition(1) to partition(2)

Enable Proxy Agent

NT 3.5x had a check box under TCP/IP settings that let you enable the WINS Proxy Agent so a non-WINS enabled client could use WINS for NetBios name resolution. That check box isn't available in NT 4.0, but you can enable the Proxy Agent by editing the Registry. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/System/CurrentControlSet/Services/Netbt/Parameters and change the value for EnableProxy to 0x1.

What's On the Menu?

If you have Windows NT and Win95 installed on your computer, the Windows 95 selection on the boot menu might read Microsoft Windows instead of Windows 95. If this disturbs or confuses you, change it. Find the Boot.ini file on your root directory and remove its read-only attributes by typing attrib c:\boot.ini-r-s at the command prompt. Then go into a text editor, open Boot.ini and change the "Microsoft Windows" line to "Microsoft Windows 95" or whatever you want to call it. Just make sure to put the new menu entry in quotes. Then save the file, go to the Command Prompt and type attrib c:\boot.ini +r +s.

How Much Virtual Memory Is Enough?

Check to see if your page files are the right size. Go into Control Panel/System and click on the Performance tab. Select Change under Virtual Memory to open the Virtual Memory dialog box. Make a note of how much initial memory is assigned in your system. Click on OK and OK again. When you're finished working for the day, go into NT Explorer and click on Pagefile.SYS to see its size. If the file size is usually larger than the initial memory over the course of a few days, you should change the initial size to increase system efficiency.

A Few Pointers

Custom mouse pointers can give NT 4.0 a friendlier look. Double-click on the Mouse icon in Control Panel and select the Pointers tab. Pick from the list of available Schemes. If the list is empty, run Add/Remove Programs from Control Panel, select the Windows NT Setup tab, double-click Accessories and make sure the Mouse Pointers item is checked. The NT Resource Kit also includes tools for custom designing mouse pointers, including animated ones.

Got a hot tip? Send it to melgan@cmp.com or Mike Elgan, Windows Magazine, One Jericho Plaza, Jericho, NY 11753.


Windows Magazine, September 1997, page 108.

[ Go to September 1997 Table of Contents ]