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Windows 98 Problem/Solution III


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Q: On occasion I receive a file that is supposed to be a picture, say in JPEG format, but it arrives as a text file attachment with a TXT extension. When I open the attachment in WordPad, it contains gibberish. I'm sure there must be a way to view the file as a picture by using Windows to convert the text file into a JPEG file. Is there, and can you tell me how to view the file as it was meant to be seen? I've attached a copy of one of these files so you can see what is happening.

A: Sometimes you'll receive a file that's had its extension changed from JPG to TXT (or something else). When that happens, you can often correct the problem simply by renaming the file to its original extension. That, however, is not what happened in your case.

What gives, then? Well, the file you received is encoded using MIME. That's Multi-purpose Internet Mail Extensions to you and me. In the early days of the Internet, people dealt with encoded attachments all the time: Graphics files (or programs, or sound files, or whatever) would be converted into text - understood by all computers on the Internet - using a system called UUEncoding, the precursor to MIME, and sent on their way. The person on the receiving end would use an unencoder to convert the text back into a graphic or program or sound file. MIME encoding eventually supplanted UUEncoding because it lets you encode multiple files in one attachment and has a lot more flexibility than UUEncoding.

E-mail servers still encode attachments, but most of the decoding happens transparently and automatically, so you're not aware of the process. However, sometimes there's a hitch in the unencoding, especially when sending files between two different ISPs, and that's when you can end up with a text file containing 'rubbish' instead of the expected JPG. In that case, you need to decode the file manually.

There are lots of DOS-based encoders/unencoders and several Windows programs around that will do this. But if you happen to have a copy of WinZip ( http://www.winzip.com), which I heartily recommend, it can do the job for you very simply. If you don't have WinZip, you can use Aladdin
Systems wonderful, free decompressor, Stuffit Expander, available from

If you have WinZip:

  1. Open WinZip so you have an empty WinZip window in front of you.
  2. Drag the encoded text file into the WinZip window.
     WinZip will unencode the contents, separating it into
     its constituent files. In your case, the .txt file
     contained a text message followed by two JPG files.
  3. Drag the JPGs onto your Desktop, from where you'll be
     able to open them.

Cleaning up temp files..Or, it's time to take out the trash.
Temp files part Dou

Windows and Windows programs regularly create temporary files that store bits of data your programs need. When you close a program, it should clean up any temp files it created. Sadly, not all programs are that thoughtful. And if your computer crashes or a program hangs, any files in your Temp folder may be left behind.

Over time, these temp files can clutter up your hard drive, taking up tens or even hundreds of megabytes of space. Every so often, you should take out the trash.

To inspect the contents of the Temp folder, click the Start button, choose Run, and enter %temp%. This opens an Explorer window showing you every file in the Temp folder. You can safely delete any file older than a few days.

Temp files part Dou

Files in the Temp folder can gobble up precious disk space for no reason. To automate the cleanup process, run the Disk Cleanup Wizard regularly (this handy utility is available in Windows 98, Windows Me, and Windows 2000). Click the Start button and choose Programs, then Accessories, System Tools, and Disk Cleanup. Choose the disk to clean up (usually C:) and let the wizard go to work. Its report will tell you how much space is being consumed by unneeded temporary files; check that box and click OK to perform the cleanup.

You can also choose to clean up some types of files manually. Click to select the Temporary Internet Files box, for instance, and then click OK to completely empty the Web cache.

Explorer Won't Close This Window!
Many less-than-scrupulous Web programmers have programs that literally attempt to take control of your computer. No matter how many times you hit the back button (if it's even available) or how many times you attempt to click the little [X], the Web page simply seems to pop right back up. Sometimes, it even pops up multiple pages and opens many 'Explorer' windows, taking up valuable system resources.

Well, it's time to take back your PC. If all else fails, hold down the Ctrl and the Alt and Del buttons at the same time. Only do this once. A small window will appear with all of the programs that are currently running on your PC. Now, find the program that 'Explorer' won't close and end the task. Be careful, though, and don't close programs randomly, since doing so can cause your computer to crash.

Another option is to hang up. This breaks the link, so now you can safely close those screens, and then dial back in.

Put the windows Send to Utility on steroids

No doubt you've tried a bit of basic Send To-ing: Just right-click a file (or group of files), select Send To from the pop-up menu, and then choose a destination from the list. In this way you can attach a file to an e-mail, copy it to a floppy, or shunt it to My Documents.

If that were all you could do with Send To, it would be pretty handy. But that's just a walk in the park for this versatile little option. The real power of the command surfaces when you start adding your own destinations to the Send To list.

How do you do that? Easy! Open up Windows Explorer, and in the Windows folder you'll find a sub-folder called SendTo (there's no space in the folder name, although there is one in the command's name). Take a look at the SendTo folder's contents. Anything placed in that folder becomes a Send To destination.

Note: If you're using Windows 2000 (or the Windows XP beta) the SendTo folder is located elsewhere, and is different for each user. You'll find it in the \Documents and Settings\[username] folder. If you can't see it, you'll need to enable the Show Hidden Files option by opening any folder, selecting Folder Options from the Tools Menu, clicking the View tab and selecting Show Hidden Files.

Send To and Send To X

The first thing you should do to beef up Send To - if you haven't already done so - is to install Microsoft's freebie Send To X utility. Originally part of the handy Powertoys utilities, Send To X is now available as a separate download from Microsoft's site.

Warning! Warning Will Robinson! Microsoft specifically advises you not to install Send To X on anything other than Windows 95 or Windows NT. While there are some reported cases of Send To X causing problems with Windows 98's built-in Send To Desktop command, most people have no problems using it. I've used it for months (in some cases, years) on Windows 98, 98 Second Edition, Me and even on the Windows XP beta with no adverse effects and plenty of beneficial ones. The choice is yours. If you do install it on Windows 98 and encounter problems, you'll find a fix available at James Eshelman's site.

Once you've downloaded and unzipped the contents of Send To X to a temporary folder, right-click the Send To X.inf file and select Install to install it. You can then safely delete the contents of the temporary folder.

Now try right-clicking a file and choosing Send To. You'll find that list of default destinations has had a population explosion. You can now Send To: Any Folder, Clipboard As Contents, Clipboard As Name, Command Line, and a variety of mail destinations. The gem in these options is Send To, Any Folder. This command lets you copy or move (your choice via a dialog box) a file to any folder with ease.

Send To Clipboard As Name copies the filename to the clipboard. Send To Clipboard As Contents places the entire file onto the clipboard (a neat way to copy and paste text or a graphic). Send To Command Line inserts the line into the Run dialog's Open box.

If you don't need all these options, you can pick and choose from them at will. To do so, open the Control Panel and run the Add/Remove Programs applet; locate SendTo Extensions Powertoy in the list and click Add/Remove. Remove the checkmarks from any options you don't need and click OK twice to exit. (By the way, if you find Add/Remove Programs as handy as I do, why not stick it on your Start Menu? Just drag it from the Control Panel and onto the top of the Start Menu - you'll be prompted to create a shortcut.)

Cool things to do with Send To

Here are some other nifty things you can do with Send To:

* Use it to select between multiple applications for opening a document. For instance, if you usually open HTML files with your browser but sometimes you want to open them in FrontPage or WinWord, add shortcuts to those programs to the SendTo folder. The easiest way to do that is via Windows Explorer: Right-click and drag the appropriate program from its original location into the \Windows\SendTo folder and select Create Shortcut Here from the pop-up menu. You may want to rename the shortcuts in the SendTo folder so they look good and make sense in the pop-up Send To menu.

* Use it for files that don't have any associated program. If you find yourself trying to open files such as read.me or work.log and you have no program associated with those extensions, instead of going through the convoluted Open With dialog, add a shortcut to Notepad to the SendTo folder and use it with all such files. You'll find Notepad in the Windows folder, although many of the other Windows accessories are stored in \Program Files\Accessories in recent versions of Windows.

* Add a shortcut to the SendTo folder to the SendTo folder. No, I'm not trying to mess with your head. This little recursive trick gives you a quick way to add new items to the Send To destination list: All you have to do is right-click a shortcut and choose Send To, SendTo to add a new destination.

* Add shortcuts to your printers to the SendTo folder to enable Send To printing. If you're a printaholic and have lots of printers to choose from, you can even add the entire contents of your Printers folder to the Send To destinations. For this trick, you'll need to use the Printers resource ID (it's no ordinary folder you're adding). Here's how:

  1. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the \Windows\SendTo folder.
  2. Right-click in a vacant spot within the folder and choose New, Folder.
  3. To name the folder, use the following resource ID:


  1. and press Enter. Make sure you get it right - if you do, when you press Enter the folder should display the special Printers folder icon and be called Printers. The easiest way to ensure you get it right is to copy the ID from this newsletter onto the clipboard, then paste it in when you're renaming the folder.)

Below are some useful articles from ZdNet.com


DOS ScanReg, not just another hohum DOS command
Has your Windows 98 or 98 SE system been acting a little flaky lately? Haven't been able to or had the time to try and solve the problem? If you have any flavor of Windows 98 here is a tip that is just not going to work with Windows Me [at least not without some special coaxing]. Okay, okay, Windows Me users, I heard ya. Click here and I'll show you how you to can use this nifty DOS ScanReg.

Open your system to DOS, not a DOS box or reboot to MsDOS. This is only going to work with a true DOS boot. Here is the quick fix that may solve your problem, try it for yourself:

  1. Reboot your system

  2. Hold down on the control key during the initial boot up

  3. This will open the DOS menu control

  4. Select the Command prompt Only option

  5. Once the C:\ prompt has been set, type scanreg /fix and hit your enter or return key, depending on your keyboard layout. This only works for the DOS version of scanreg. If this is attempted in a Windows environment, the command will revert to the Windows scanreg. The Windows scanreg is adequate, but more functionality is realized through the DOS version because the GUI hasn't been loaded yet. Windows drivers and driver sets are not loaded into the virtual memory keys.

  6. Scanreg will examine your User.dat and system.dat files for errors, poor pointers, lost or corrupted key entries, and ID strings that may be pointing to a file or system file no longer used or deleted.

  7. The user.dat file will scan quickly

  8. The system.dat file is going to take a little more time due to the huge amount of entries in this file. Relax, sit back, there is no user input required.

  9. Once completed, scanreg will inform you that your registry has been repaired

  10. Now hit the okay button or your enter button on your keyboard.

  11. Once back to the DOS C:\ prompt, type win and Windows will now load normally

For you Win Me folks who have told me you are feeling a little left out, here is how to coax DOS out of Win Me.

  1. Place your Win Me Startup disk in the A:\> drive
    • What? You do not have a startup disk? No problem, here is how to create one.
      1. Place a blank pre-formatted 3.5 inch disk in your drive
      2. Select Start | Settings | Control Panel | Add/Remove Programs
      3. Switch to the Startup Disk Tab
      4. Press the Create disk button and follow al onscreen prompts
      5. Your done
  2. Reboot your system
  3. The startup disk will be accessed.
  4. Chose the Load Windows Without CD-ROM support
  5. Once you have arrived at the A:\> prompt type C:
  6. Hit the enter key
  7. You are delivered to the C:\> prompt
  8. Follow steps 5 - 11 above

Supplemental tips: Your system registry is generally saved every day when you first boot into Windows. If you want to get back an earlier version of your system follow the steps above but instead of type SCANREG /FIX type SCANREG /RESTORE. Then choose a date before you started having problems. Try it for yourself.

For all of the best tips, tweaks, and tips for Windows 98 useres be sure to check out, Bohunky0's Windows tips page. Index 1 and Index 2

A faster -- or slower -- Start Menu

Whenever you highlight an option on the Start Menu, you'll notice a short pause before the sub-menu pops open. If you're a diehard Type A personality who can't bear to wait even a few milliseconds, you can cut this delay time with a simple registry hack.

If you're not familiar with editing the registry, the usual warning applies: Don't try this technique unless you feel comfortable with it

Having said that, here's how you can adjust the menu response speed:

  1. Click Start, Run, type regedit, and click OK to run the Registry Editor.
  2. For safety's sake, create a backup of your registry by selecting Export Registry File from the Registry Menu and saving the file somewhere convenient.
  3. Double-click HKEY_CURRENT_USER, then double-click Control Panel, then click Desktop to open that key.
  4. Look for a value named MenuShowDelay in the list on the right. If you don't see it, create it by right-clicking in a vacant spot in the right-hand pane, selecting New, then String Value, typing the name MenuShowDelay, and pressing Enter.
  5. Double-click the MenuShowDelay value to edit it. In the Value Data box, type a value between 50 and 65,534.
    The default value for the setting is 400 (milliseconds), so a value of 50 milliseconds will provide an almost instantaneous response, while a value of 65,534 delays the menu popup so long as to almost disable it. The latter is handy if you prefer to activate sub-menus by clicking, instead of having them pop-up immediately.
    However, you'll probably find a delay of 5,000-10,000 offers more than enough time to let you activate a sub-menu yourself.
  6. Close the Registry Editor and reboot to enable the new setting.

This should be the simplest thing in the world. After all, in DOS, you can get a directory listing simply by using the command:

DIR >lpt1

(or lpt2, lpt3, etc, depending on which printer you were using).

There's no Windows equivalent, and even with over five years to revise Windows Explorer, Microsoft hasn't done anything about this frustrating omission.

Of course, you can still use the DOS command from within Windows as, despite rumours to the contrary, DOS is still alive and kicking even in Windows Me. So, to get a printed listing of a folder's contents, do this:

1. Click Start, Programs, MS-DOS Prompt (in Windows Me click Start, Programs, Accessories, MS-DOS Prompt) to open a DOS window.

2. At the DOS prompt, use the CD (change directory) command to change to the folder you wish to print, remembering to use the truncated DOS directory name in place of the Windows long folder name. For example, to change to the \My Documents\Correspondence folder, use:



cd '\My Documents\Correspondence'

(you can use either the short 8 character folder name or the long folder name.   If using the long version you have to use inverted commas if the name has a space)

and press Enter.

3. Type:

DIR >lpt1

and press Enter to print the contents of the folder. Substitute lpt2, lpt3 and so on if you're using a different printer. This command uses the DOS directory list command (DIR) and then redirects the output from the screen to the printer using the > symbol. Note that you can use upper or lowercase -- DOS doesn't care which.

The resulting directory listing displays the truncated DOS 8.3 filename on the left, then file details such as size, creation date and time, followed by the Windows long filename on the right.

4. Type Exit (and press Enter) to close the DOS window and return to Windows.

Here are some useful variants:

To create a text file in the current directory containing the file listing:

DIR >dirlist.txt

You can then edit dirlist.txt and print this file from within Windows.

To include the contents of sub-folders in the listing:

DIR /S >lpt1

To produce a bare listing showing the Windows long filenames only:

DIR /B >lpt1

To list a particular type of files only, use wildcards:

DIR *.doc >lpt1


DIR budget*.* >lpt1

You can also use combinations of these commands. For example:

DIR /S /B *.xls

prints a list of all Excel spreadsheet files in the folder and its sub-folders, displaying the Windows long filenames only.

All this is pretty clunky. Changing directories using the truncated DOS names and the CD command is a painstaking task, particularly so if you're not familiar with using DOS commands such as CD and DIR. So, isn't there an easier way to accomplish the same task?

Directory Printing Tools

Well, you could use a registry hack to add a Print Folder command to the right-click context menu, but that's still pretty ungainly, too. An easier way is to get yourself a copy of a free utility called rjhExtensions. This excellent little program adds eight handy commands to the pop-up menu whenever you right-click a file or folder in Windows. Two of the commands are Print Directory List and Save Directory List, which do the same job as the DOS DIR >lpt1 and DIR >dirlist.txt commands respectively.

The nice thing about using rjhExtensions to do the job is that you don't have to use the CD command to move from folder to folder; instead, just use Windows Explorer or open a folder window, then run Print Directory List from that folder.

As well as helping out with folder printing, rjhExtensions can encrypt and decrypt files; shred files to erase them completely; duplicate a file; copy a file's path to the clipboard; open a DOS window in the currently selected folder; and rename batches of files (another glaring omission from Windows Explorer).

One final option for the person who wants complete control over directory printing: try Glenn Alcott's Directory Printer. This shareware program lets you adjust everything from the file details listed to the font used for printing. You can download a trial copy from Glenn's site. Registration costs $20.

Both rjhExtensions and Directory Printer work on Windows 95, 98, NT and 2000, and while neither claims to run on Windows Me, they both worked perfectly when tested.

How to tell which updates you have installed via Windows Update.

:There are two ways to do this. Either:

1. Run Windows Update and when Windows Update asks whether it should check your computer now (you may need to click the Product Updates link first), click Yes.

2. When the Select Software page is displayed, click the Installation History to view a list of all the updates you've installed and when you did so.

(Tip - click on the image to see the full size version)


1. Click Start, Search, For Files And Folders and look for the files wulog.txt and wuhist3.log.

2. Open each file (if you don't have a file association for the .log file just use Notepad to view it) and check the contents.

The contents of these two files aren't as neatly formatted as the Web-based information, but you don't need an Internet connection to do it.

Create A Shutdown Icon

Want to click an icon to shutdown your Windows at night?  You can. Create a shutdown Desktop Icon by following these steps:

1)  Right click your Desktop to bring up a context window.Select New, then Create Shortcut.

2)  In the Command Line space, type the following path: C:\WINDOWS\RUNDLL.EXE user.exe,exitwindows (space only between EXE and user).

3)  Click on Next, then rename the Icon Shutdown.  Click on Finish and your new Icon is on your Desktop.

4)  Now double click on your new Icon and the computer will go directly to shutdown


Does your hard drive still use the FAT16 file system? That means you aren't taking full advantage of your hard disk space, and you should consider converting the drive to FAT32. This new and improved system stores data in smaller clusters, resulting in less wasted space. If you aren't sure whether to convert, run the FAT32 Conversion Utility, which is available on the Windows 98 installation CD. It'll tell you exactly how much space you'll regain upon conversion. With the installation CD in your CD-ROM drive, click Browse This CD and then navigate your way to the tools\reskit\config folder. Double-click the Fat32win.exe file, and when the utility opens, select a drive and click Scan. (If you see a dialog box telling you the drive is already a FAT32 drive, you're all set.)

Above tip is from PCWorld
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