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- Subject: Computer Utility recommendation
- From: "wish" <wish(--nospam--at)cwia.com>
- Date: Sat, 13 Dec 1997 18:05:05 -0800
I will try to keep this short since it is not structurally related. I spent the last two weeks recovering from a crash of my Windows 95 which distroyed the registry and each of the backups. I've learned a few lessons which I would like to recommend to our members. Remember, it's better to be prepared for disaster than out in the cold like someone I'm very attached to (me). 1. Tape Backups are relatively inexpensive. I just purchased a Sony (Iomega Ditto) 2 gig drive for under $150.00. There are better deals with the new Ditto tape drives at $199.00 that will read and write up to 10 Gigs compressed on one tape and are compatible (for reading only) all previous Iomega tape formats. Backup your complete Window's directory at a bare minimum - the tape drive will also backup your registry. Do this after each software installation just in case. The best way is to always save the previous copy before installing new software. If you don't want to go through the trouble of backing up before each software installation (just in case one of the software packages corrupts a DLL file used by another program - it has happened), try this tip: 2. Nortons Utilities is my favorite, however Helix Nuts and Bolts is also highly rated. Norton's allows you to track every change made to the registry. If an error or conflict arises, you can track backwards to the software change that may have caused the problem. The new Norton's 3.0 and "Nuts and Bolts" has a registry cleaner and compactor. Use these very carefully. Always make a copy of the registry before you change it (I'm notorious for working in my registry). Both programs search for unconnected links - like shortcuts that no longer are linked to files. Be careful here, you may destroy a link that may not be apparently needed but is, none the less. These are refered to as Orphaned programs or links. In some cases a program may need to seek a program or file on your CD-ROM. When told that an orphaned link exists to your CD-rom, don't delete it. Ignore it - it is most likely of need. 3. Norton's, as well as most competitive programs, allow you to make a Rescue disk. Do it!!!!!!! In most cases you will be asked if you want your registry backed up. The problem is that the system registry is too large for your floppy. Rather than copy your rescue info to a floppy, save it first on your hard drive or, better yet, a Zip drive (another very important investment). You can then separate the system.dat file to the zip drive and the other files to a 1.44mb floppy. Do this often, at least once before installing new software or once a week whichever is sooner. 4. There are a couple of other ways to protect your system registry from corruption that won't cost you a cent (well almost nothing). Windows 95 CD-rom comes with a few utilities that allow you to make backup copies (up to eight progressive copies). Unfortunately Microsoft doesn't tell you about these programs or where they are located. The registry backup and restore utility is located in the Other\Misc\Cfgback directory of your Windows 95 CD-rom. The programs are called CFGBACK.EXE and CFGBACK.HLP These programs will make a backup of your current windows configuration for emergency retrieval later. These are essential in preventing days or weeks of rebuilding large harddrives. 5. Finally, as best as I could do to protect myself, my lack of understanding of how to recover before disaster hit kept me from using these utilities to their fullest. I highly recommend the following book - even if you are only a novice. I would assume that with the level of technical information we work with daily, we should all be able to understand how our computer works with files. "The Windows 95 Registry - A Survival Guide for Users" by John Woram (editor of Windows Magazine) and published by MIS Press is a softcover book under $25.00 (I picked it up from Barns and Nobel or Crown). It is the only in-depth book that covers every aspect of working with the Windows Registry. It teaches the user to have respect for the registry but not to fear it. It covers the registry in stages so that the reader leaves with a better understanding of where to find information that programs need. It also gives some very nice tips on how to add programs to your SEND TO button and how to customize Windows Icons. There is a ton of stuff in this book and I can't recommend it enough. A couple of free softwares that I recommend: COA32.zip - On the SEAOC web site. This program allows you to move a program from one one drive or folder to another. This is not as easy as it sounds since the location of most 32 bit programs is written in the registry. COA32 (which stands for Change of Address) searches the registry for the programs address and writes in the new location that you are moving it to. Save DLLShow.zip is available from shareware download location such as www.shareware.com . This is a great utility that tracks each program loaded into memory and provides you a list of all DLL and DRV files that are dependent upon these programs. The next time you get that dreaded General Protection Fault error at some DLL file, you can track back in DLLShow to find out all programs that use the DLL or DRV file to see where the culprit lies. Granted, it may not help much for Kernel32.dll or GDI.dll errors since most of your programs use these libraries, it will narrow down the field with other crashes. More to come, but these are some very good starting points to protect yourself. Dennis Wish PE
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- From: Arvel L. Williams, P.E.
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