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Introduction to comp.os.*.win95 groups and FAQ

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Archive-name: windows/win95/faq/intro
Posting-frequency: Twice Monthly
Last-modified: 1999/08/31

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
================================================================
=         Introduction to comp.os.ms-windows.*.win95,          =
=         comp.os.ms-windows.win95.misc,                       =
=         and the Windows 95 FAQ                               =
================================================================


Subject: Table of Contents 0. New developments affecting the FAQ or the newsgroups 1. Who are you, and why are you wasting your time? 2. Where can I find the main FAQ? 3. Posting Etiquette: How to behave in a *.win95 group 3.1. How to advertise your Win95 product (Hint: Not spam) 3.2. How to instantly lose your Internet access 4. Tell me about the *.win95 Usenet groups... 4.1. comp.os.ms-windows.win95.misc 4.2. comp.os.ms-windows.apps.compatibility.win95 4.3. comp.os.ms-windows.apps.utilities.win95 4.4. comp.os.ms-windows.networking.win95 4.5. comp.os.ms-windows.setup.win95 4.6. comp.os.ms-windows.win95.moderated 5. Tell me about the microsoft.* groups. 6. Tell me about the main FAQ... 6.1. Administrivia 6.2. Installation, Re-Installation, Un-Installation 6.3. Usage 6.4. Hardware 6.5. Modems and TAPI 6.6. Novell NetWare (tm) Networking 6.7. Networking (Not including NetWare) 6.8. Dial-up Networking and The Internet 6.9. Maintanence and Annoyances 6.10. Windows Messaging, AKA: MS Exchange 6.11. Disk Compression and You 6.12. Running MS-DOS Games 6.13. Microsoft Plus! Add-on, and other MS add-ons 6.14. Miscelaneous 7. Where else can I find good information? 8. Why do you have an Amiga (tm) logo in your .signature? 9. Why do you have anti-commercial junk in your .signature?
Subject: 0. New developments affecting the FAQ or the newsgroups How about actually posting it again? Finally I get off my duff and begin posting this FAQ to these groups again. It's been a while. There's a lot of material that needs updating, and many broken links to fix, yet the site's stayed up for four years and it still gets the hits. So, corrections are most appreciated, and I'm gonna get back into this quite soon. No, I won't be doing a Win98 specific FAQ, BUT I'll start incorporating Win98 things into this one. So send me e-mail if you can help out.
Subject: 1. Who are you, and why are you wasting your time? I'm Gordon Fecyk, graduate of Red River Community College and an IEEE associate member. I spent the last four years working on DOS box hardware, mainly supporting Windows 3.1 and Windows 95. The last year was devoted to building and maintaining the hardware that supports intouch.bc.ca and the other domains it hosts. Since the original FAQ posting in May 1996, a lot more Win95 resources appeared. You need only look in www.yahoo.com, in their computers / operating systems category to see for yourself. Still, this FAQ became the first stepping stone to reasonable amounts of traffic in the *.win95 groups. I'm very glad to repay Usenet for the knowledge I gained from it. I waste my time to learn about software systems, and for the occasional apreciative e-mail telling me how great a guy I am. :) This stuff is quite fascinating actually, and I hope to maintain this FAQ until MS finally drops Intel-only Windows/DOS and pushes us into NT once and for all.
Subject: 2. Where can I find the main FAQ? The original location is: <http://www.orca.bc.ca/win95/> Other locations include: <http://www.join.ad.jp/tech/faq-e/win> <http://www.faqs.org/faqs/> <http://www.kurunet.sci.fi/w95> <http://www.thp.uni-koeln.de/~hn/Win95-FAQ/> (If I'm missing any recent mirrors, please tell me!) Several news.answers archives including: <ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/windows/win95/faq/> <http://www.cis.ohio-state.edu/hypertext/faq/usenet/FAQ-List.html> <http://www.cs.ruu.nl/cgi-bin/faqwais> <http://www.lib.ox.ac.uk/internet/news/faq/by_group.index.html> The newsgroups themselves: <news:news.answers> <news:comp.answers> (and all of the *.win95 groups) And in an absolute worst case, MIT's FAQ e-mail server. Send E-MAIL to mail-server@rtfm.mit.edu with the command: SEND usenet/news.answers/windows/win95/faq/partxx (use part filenames part01 to part14) in the message body. Use the commands HELP and INDEX in the message body for other instructions on using MIT's FAQ server.
Subject: 3. Posting Ettiquite: How to behave in a *.win95 group Usenet and news.answers themselves have FAQs: <ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/usenet/faq/> <ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.announce.newusers/> <news:news.announce.newusers> Look in the Introduction to Usenet Newsgroups in the news.answers group and in the FAQ archive at rtfm.mit.edu. I'm not going to try to explain Usenet in this document, but let me make some important points. FAQs attempt to reduce Usenet traffic by answering the quick questions right away. They also provoke meaningful discussion, better ways of answering the questions, and new intelligent questions, maximizing the "signal to noise ratio" in the groups. FAQs don't do the job by themselves though. You need to read them. The best way to introduce yourself to any newsgroup on Usenet (or mailing list, or other discussion group) is to read its FAQ. Once you read this Intro FAQ, start reading other people's posts. If an answer isn't in the main FAQ, it might already be on one of these groups. It's quite unwise to leap into a thread without reading from the start to the end; you're liable to get some nasty e-mail, or just laughed at. The *.win95 groups are not typically hostile (as compared to, say, news.groups) but a long tirade of why Linux is better than Win95 will probably get you receiving lots of e-mail in short order, none of it good. We're quite an intelligent bunch here, regardless of our Win95 experience. Don't insult our intelligence. If you have Win95 question not in the FAQ, please post it. If you have a correction or other piece of advice not in the FAQ, please post it. If you have an announcement of value to Win95 users, please check first to see if anyone else made the annoucement already, then post it. Use common sense. This kind of discussion adds to the value of Usenet. Please don't post your Win95 question to all of these groups at once, because 1) if you're that desparate for an answer it's probably in the main FAQ, and 2) no one appreciates off-topic posts. No one needs to see a question about networking in the utilities group, or a question about setup (on a stand-alone computer) in the networking group. Think twice and re-read your article. About the alt.*.windows95.* groups... cross-posting to a comp.*.win95 group and an alt.*.windows95.* group is very bad form. You will get a mixed bag of responses, if any, as the alt.* bunch typically want you to move to Linux and will take every attempt to un-solve your problems, and the comp.* bunch might give some intelligent answers but will usually tell you not to cross-post your questions. 3.1. How to advertise your Win95 product Ignore any advice that requires you to jump right in and yell out to all the *.win95 groups about your product. It'll be ignored with prejudice. *.win95 readers are a very intelligent bunch, usually consisting of seasoned PC users and smart newbies, and will not pay attention to advertisments. As such, advertising in these groups is a complete waste of time and bandwidth. What little response you do get will consist of complaints. Post an article asking people, "How do you like _____ product?" or some such article, rather than posting an advertisment. If your product really IS good, you'll get a lot of praise in this thread and a lot of free advertising from grateful users. Subtle difference compared to direct spamming, but infintely more pleasing to readers. And good FAQ material. One other good idea is, if (and ONLY IF) your product solves a particular problem not solved in the FAQ, post a response to the question suggesting to try your product, ** including step-by-step instructions on how to solve the problem! ** The product is useless unless the user knows how to use it! It is likely then your help will get reprinted in the FAQ and therefore be permanently enshrined in the RTFM archives (at least until a better solution comes along). This includes SHAREWARE AUTHORS; if your program is so good, submit it to <http://www.windows95.com/>. 3.2. How to instantly lose your Internet access If you're really wanting to instantly lose your Internet access, just go to your ISP and cancel your account. But there are far more creative ways to do so: Cross-post to all *.win95 groups at once. This insures that you anger the most intelligent people in the groups at once and get a lot of e-mail to flood your mailbox with. ISPs will typically disable the account to prevent their mail server from overflowing. Post a binary file to a *.win95 group. Since binaries are not welcome here, you will receive a similar response as above. Also, your binary will instantly be cancelled by the bincancel robot, with a permanent record in news.admin.net-abuse.sightings and http://www.dejanews.com/ for ISPs to check against. Post a "virus alert", "warez accouncement", or any similar chain letter. Same response as above plus a permanent home in the Win95 FAQ Logo Lamers page. Also, clueless newbies who respond to chain letters or warez cascades will find themselves there. Try http://kumite.com/myths/ for insight into Chicken Little. Post a "Money Making Opportunity" of any kind. Not only are these completely off topic, warranting the same responses as above, a typical "opportunity" falls under United States and Canadian lottery, lettermail, and competition laws as felonies or indictable offences. From the alt.binaries.slack FAQ, snipped for brevity: 2.10) Can I really be thrown in jail for... 2.10a) adding my name to a Make Money Fast pyramid scam and uploading same? Absolutely. This is a U.S. Federal crime under Title 18, United States Code, Section 1302, the Postal Lottery Statute. You are referred to the U.S. Postal Service page on this topic: <http://www.usps.gov/websites/depart/inspect/chainlet.htm> Oh, and for you Canadians, yes, MMF pyramid schemes are illegal North of the Border as well (our hats off to Joel for this info): Check out the following URLs: [French language version] <http://canada.justice.gc.ca/FTP/FR/Lois/Chap/C/C-34> [English language version] <http://canada.justice.gc.ca/FTP/EN/Laws/Chap/C/C-34> This subject is not confined to the purview of SubGenii, news.admin.net-abuse.*, or even the Usenet. If you post MMF Spam, you may end up forever enshrined (like a bug in amber) on Rolf's hilarious yet DEADLY serious Anti-MMF web site: <http://www.clark.net/pub/rolf/mmf/> [GF: Also at <http://ga.to/mmf/>] Rolf has also collected *many* more resources which explain how and why MMF messages are illegal, and how you can end up IN JAIL if you propagate MMF spew.
Subject: 4. Tell me about the *.win95 Usenet groups. The *.win95 groups came out when MS went into Beta 2 testing. I forgot when that was, sorry. At the time there were only *.win95.misc and .setup. The powers that be since created several groups, around late October 1995, to split off the massive 1000 posts per day .misc group. I'm sorry to say that it didn't work. :) But, at least, the discussions grew a lot more meaningful in the new groups. These are the original texts from the RFD about the Win95 Reorganization, which passed its voting and enacted on November First, 1995. Also included are the charters for comp.os.ms-windows.win95.misc, and *.win95.moderated. You may find these at: <ftp://ftp.uu.net/usenet/news.announce.newgroups/comp/> 4.1. comp.os.ms-windows.win95.misc This group shall be for the discussion of miscellaneous subjects concerning MS-Windows 95. This could include announcements, networking issues, software compatability, and programming issues. 4.2. comp.os.ms-windows.apps.compatibility.win95 There are many problems encountered when trying to run programs designed for MS-DOS or previous 16-bit versions of Windows, mostly having to do with PIF/Shortcut settings and conventional memory. This group will address these problems and related subjects. comp.os.ms-windows.apps.compatibility.win95 will cover all issues relating to running DOS or Windows 3.1 programs with Windows 95. Subjects will include PIF or shortcut settings, AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS settings, freeing conventional memory, running programs in DOS mode, handling long file names, and printing from older applications. 4.3. comp.os.ms-windows.apps.utilities.win95 A large number of posts in the existing Windows 95 groups relate to utilities made for Windows 95 and the small programs and utilities (applets) built into Win95. This group would be an area to discuss problems and questions on this sort of program. comp.os.ms-windows.utilities.win95 will cover all aspects of installing, running and configuring utilities designed for Windows 95. "Utilities" will include anti-virus programs, add-ons like the Norton Navigator and the PLUS! Pack, and the applets built into Windows 95, such as Backup, Control Panel, and Explorer. 4.4. comp.os.ms-windows.networking.win95 Many of the questions and problems users have about connecting Windows 95 to existing networks would not "fit well" in the existing .networking.* groups because of new features and issues in Win95. This group would support DUN, connecting Win95 to Novell Netware networks, and other Windows 95-specific problems. comp.os.ms-windows.networking.win95 will cover problems and questions with connecting Windows 95 to the internet and other networks. The software discussed will include Dial-Up Networking, scripting, CSLIP, Netware VLMs, etc. 4.5. comp.os.ms-windows.setup.win95 (rename .win95.setup to .setup.win95) Since Windows 95 is merely the latest version of Windows, it makes sense for the group dealing with setting up Windows 95 to be related to other Windows setup groups. This renaming moves .ms-windows.win95.setup "next to" comp.os.ms-windows.setup. This group shall be for the discussion of all subjects concerning the setup of MS-Windows 95 and applications running under MS-Windows 95. 4.6. comp.os.ms-windows.win95.moderated The Windows 95 operating system has been the subject of Usenet discussion since before its actual introduction. The existing Win95-related newsgroups get a total of well over a thousand messages a day. Much of this traffic is relevant and of high-quality, but there are also significant problems with "noise" such as crossposted flame wars and abuse based on choice of hardware, operating system, or software. comp.os.ms-windows.win95.moderated is intended to be a forum where all Win95-related concerns can be discussed without these distractions. Questions and answers about Win95 products and services, brief announcements of new programs, and constructive accounts of Win95-related personal experiences are all on-topic. comp.os.ms-windows.win95.moderated is intended to be a forum where all Win95-related concerns can be discussed without the distraction of flame wars. Questions and answers about Win95 products and services, brief announcements of new programs, and constructive accounts of Win95-related personal experiences are all on-topic. Please see the original charter at <ftp://ftp.uu.net/usenet/news.announce.newgroups/comp/> and look for the file [comp.os.ms-windows.win95.moderated] to read about the moderation policy.
Subject: 5. Tell me about the microsoft.* groups. Microsoft has their very own NNTP server where they maintain these groups. The only way you can reach them is by changing your news preferences to use the server msnews.microsoft.com, or use this URL in your web browser: news://msnews.microsoft.com/microsoft.* to get a listing. The MS news server does not participate in Usenet, so articles posted to these groups do not spread to other news servers. If articles from these groups, or if the groups themselves appear on your news server, most likely they came from a gateway that echos messages from Microsoft's server, or possibly from MSN(tm). My ISP doesn't carry the microsoft.* groups, and no other ISP I know of in Vancouver carries the microsoft.* groups either.
Subject: 6. Tell me about the main FAQ... It's made of text files, written in HTML using Internet Assistant for MS-Word, has a few pretty graphics, and it comes in three flavors: HTML, news.answers postings, and Windows .HLP format. 6.1. Administrivia Basic legal stuff, disclaimers, credits, and your name in lights if you can contribute. I don't sell ads so don't bother asking me. 6.2. Installation, Re-Installation, Un-Installation How to put Win95 on a box and yank it back off again. Most of the discussion in *.setup.win95 made up this page. 6.3. Usage How to cope with the Start Menu, and like stuff. Faster ways of doing things. How to see hidden files, copy files with long filenames, how to run apps, etc... 6.4. Hardware How to make your hardware work WITHOUT using DOS drivers. I have a very strict opinion that hardware in Win95 does not need DOS TSRs or device drivers in config.sys to work. By using these techniques you will allow Win95 to perform like MS designed it. 6.5. Modems and TAPI TAPI promises to simplify using modems. It does, if used correctly. Don't forget to specify area codes in phone numbers, even if they're local, so it knows how to dial the number. You can even make your calling card work with it and save yourself money for those long distance calls. And the coolest feature: If a program is waiting to answer the phone, another program can jump in and use the modem, without shutting down the answering program! Read about it here. 6.6. Novell NetWare (tm) Networking Ahh... a favorite for discussion. I listen in on the NetWare groups (the comp.os.netware.* groups) for insights into this page. Here I'll tell you how to make your server Win95 ready, the best way to set up the client machines, and most important of all, how to use Win95 on a NetWare network without crashing the server! NOTE: I plan on including Novell's Client32 into this page, but I have a strong opinion against it. I also don't have a lot of time anymore. Maybe some Client32 admins out there can contribute to a FAQ page 6.5 devoted to Client32. 6.7. Networking (Not including NetWare) I cover Internet stuff briefly here, but this section mainly covers client/server stuff, peer to peer stuff, how to use your favorite NOS with Win95, and how to make apps behave on Win95 networks. 6.8. Dial-up Networking and The Internet No one likes Win95's built in dial-up networking. Why? It works great for about 99% of UNIX and NT dial-up servers when used correctly. So what if MS replaces winsock.dll... it's a standard OS component. I cover how to make it work with your ISP, and cover some stupid DUN tricks that can save you money and improve connectivity, even if you aren't on the Internet. 6.9. Maintanence and Annoyances A lot of this comes from the Win95 Annoyances page at <http://www.creativelement.com/win95ann/> but I show you safer ways of fixing them or working around them. I also have stuff here not found in any other FAQ. 6.10. Windows Messaging, AKA: MS Exchange Like DUN and TAPI, how come no one likes Exchange? Take the advice here and make it work better, and you might actually like it. This Windows Messaging front end lets you connect to many different kinds of mail services with the same interface. 6.11. Disk Compression and You Crazy enough to try it? Here's some serious advice on making it work faster and safer. 6.12. Running MS-DOS Games I know, you can't live without DOOM... or Descent... or whatever. Here's how to make it run without resorting to boot disks, multi-boot, or third party memory managers. 6.13. Microsoft Plus! Add-on, and other MS add-ons So what's about these cool toys? Read about them before you break your computer with them. 6.14. Miscelaneous Anything left over. I also maintain other pages on the site. These are the *really* subjective pages, with lots of opinionated garbage and a lot of dirt on some of the more "popular" products. The most popular one (meaning it actually gets visited!) is the Logo Lamers page, where I lay waste to placebo-ware such as Cybermedia's First Aid, and have fun with companies that use the Designed for Win95 logo without earning it.
Subject: 7. Where else can I find good information? You can start by reading the FAQ and checking the places I link to. These places include the MS Knowledge Base, Win95NetBugs, Annoyances, Ben Goetter's Exchange FAQ, and others. Eventually I'll link to a bunch of other useful Win95 sites from my site, but for now these important ones I link to from the Administrivia page. A search on your favorite search engine will turn up a lot of useful stuff too, and a lot of anti-MS stuff in case you're into MS abuse. Try visiting <http://www.microshaft.com/> one day. The books are there in your bookstore too, but aside from _Windows 95 for Dummies_ I can't recommend any of them. The Resource Kit is OK I suppose, but check back with the MS Knowledge Base for corrections. Finally, after you went through the FAQs, go ahead and ask a question on the above groups. Intelligent questions get lots of attention from me and others, and often produce intelligent answers besides "RTFM".
Subject: 8. Why do you have the Amiga web site in your .signature? I use one. Besides, Gateway 2000 bought the rights to use Amiga technology, so it's time to celebrate again (Oh no! Win95 for Amiga? I hope not) I still use an Amiga, I'm still a fanatic, and because of this I keep the checkmark logo in my signature file. And it's too difficult to draw the wavy Designed for Windows 95 logo in ASCII art. :p
Subject: 9. Who do you have anti-commercial junk in your .signature? Anti-commercial? Anti-death-of-the-net I would rather hope. Like may other experienced net.users fed up with unsolicited e-mail and Usenet abusers wasting bandwidth with spam, I'm taking an active approach to keeping my 'net time enjoyable. Besides the very accurate spam.abuse.net site and the very funny (yet deadly serious) MMF Hall of Humiliation, here are other sites that offer ways for you to keep out the spam: <http://members.aol.com/macabrus/faqs.html> (who maintains net-abuse links) <http://www.slipstick.com/exchange/> (Find the antispam plugin for Exchange) <http://www.junkbusters.com/> (Legal defense against spam) And just to keep everything in perspective: <http://www.spam.com/> (Hormel's own site) <http://www.smalltime.com/nowhere/findthespam/> (The original and the best) -- No .sig because it's way out of date...

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