Search the FAQ Archives

3 - A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M
N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z - Internet FAQ Archives

Win95 FAQ Part 3 of 14: Usage
Section - 3.4. How do I...

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6 - Part7 - Part8 - Part9 - Part10 - Part11 - Part12 - Part13 - Part14 - Single Page )
[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index | Business Photos and Profiles ]

Top Document: Win95 FAQ Part 3 of 14: Usage
Previous Document: 3.3. What is this "Explorer" thing?
Next Document: 3.5. Some MS-DOS utilities are missing. Where can I get them?
See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
     * 3.4.1. ...find my old Win 3.x programs? 
   Win95 Setup copied all your group files (.GRP) from Program Manager
   into a directory called (what else), "Start Menu". It copied the icon
   groups into little directories which you can view by pressing the
   Start button, and selecting "Programs".
   One notable exception to this, is Setup eliminated the "Main" program
   group entirely. It'll remove icons that no longer apply (like File
   If a program installer just copied a .GRP file to the hard disk,
   rather than add the icons through the Windows APIs like it's supposed
   to, you can add that group to the Start Menu by finding the .GRP file
   itself, and opening it (double-clicking it). If programs also try to
   change progman.ini, which contains the group listings, Win95 will move
   them to the Start Menu the next time you restart.

     * 3.4.2. ...make a program open a file I click on? 
   Explorer lets you browse your hard drive and click on documents, as
   well as programs. This works exactly like clicking on documents in
   File Manager; simply double-click on the document to launch its
   associated app.
   If you click on a file with an extension it doesn't recognize,
   Explorer offers up a list of programs and lets you choose which one
   you want. You can also give a descriptive name to the file type (such
   as "Doom data file" for .WAD files). You may further edit the file
   type with the View/Options... menu in any Explorer window and
   selecting the "File Types" tab.

     * 3.4.3. ...change what program opens what kind of file? 
   To edit file types, select the View menu and Options… in any Explorer
   window. Hit the "File types" tab and you can edit, add, or delete
   known file types. Some file types are hidden from this display (such
   as "System File") to keep you from hurting them. I'll tell you how to
   find them later.
   You can do much more than Open a document. Some document types have
   more options than Open if you right-click on them. For example, .BAT
   files have an "Edit" command which brings up Notepad. To add this
   functionality to your own documents, go back to the "File types" tab
   and find the file type you want to add this to, and hit Edit. You can
   then Add an action, such as "Edit", which launches a separate program
   and opens that file. This worked great for me; I have an "Edit" option
   added to all my HTML documents which launches MS-Word, an extra "Edit
   as Text" option to use Notepad instead, so I can remove the extra crap
   that Internet Assistant put in, and "Open" launches Mosaic to view the
   You can also use the File Types tab to disable CD Audio auto-play (by
   turning off "play" as its default action), hide or show extensions for
   particular file types, enable or disable QuickView (provided you
   installed QuickView in Add/Remove Programs / Windows Setup), and
   remove file types completely.

     * How can I add or remove filename extensions from a file
   This is not immediately simple, but you can accomplish this two ways:
    1. Run winfile.exe (File Manager) and use its Associate... menu to
       add extensions to an already existing file type. The file types in
       File Manager corespond with the file types you see in Explorer. I
       recommend this method.
    2. Edit the Registry using regedit. You'll find all the filename
       extensions in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT along with the matching file
       types. Simply add a new key with the extension as its name (such
       as ".HTM") and change that key's (default) value so it contains
       the same name as the other extension's default value (such as
       "NetscapeHypertext"). You may also add a second String value named
       "Content Type" to specify a MIME type for this filename extension.
   In both cases, when you exit the respective program, press F5 to cause
   Explorer to refresh its display. All files with the new extension will
   change icons and properties to match the file type you assigned it.
   This also works in NT 4.0, but you will need to restart your computer
   to effect the change.

     * 3.4.4. Windows 3.x programs? (including Windows games) 
   If there's an icon in the Start Menu, you can run it from there. When
   you install apps in Win95 that create icons the "proper" way, Explorer
   will build up entries in the Start Menu. You can also find the
   executable itself by browsing the hard drive, then opening it.
   Self-installing archives, such as Win95 Service Pack 1, are one kind
   of Windows program you'll need to run by browsing and opening.
   If you don't see your old program group on the Start Menu, or if a
   program just copied a group file (.GRP) to the hard disk, just find
   the .GRP file it installed and Open it. This runs a converter that
   builds Shortcuts for the Start menu.
   Windows programs will even run from a DOS session under Win95. Type
   the name of the executable like you would for any DOS program. You can
   open documents from the DOS session with the start command (just like
   the Start Menu "Run" command). START MyDocument.doc will run Microsoft
   Word, and load MyDocument.doc into memory.
   A handful of Win 3.1 and Win 3.0 programs won't recognize that you
   have a newer version of Windows, and report an error like, "This
   program requires Windows 3.1 or better". Well, you have a "Setver"
   kind of workaround for such programs in Win95; the [Compatibility]
   section of win.ini. For example, to install Outpost 1.0 on Win95, you
   can edit win.ini so "INSTALL=00020000" instead of 00040000; that
   number is a Windows version reporting number. This will make
   INSTALL.EXE think it's running in Win 3.1. Later on, if the main
   program acts the same way, you can add entries to win.ini with that
   version ID that matches Win 3.1. A handful of entries exist already,
   for known programs.
   NOTE: Win95 will restore any changes you make to programs called
   INSTALL or SETUP in the [compatibility] section of win.ini. When you
   make your changes, do them from sysedit, and not from any other file
   editor, then run your installer. Win95 instantly changes the entry
   back to 00040000 after the program finishes installing.
   There's a cute utility for real dumb Win 3.1 programs; mkcompat.exe,
   in your Win95 directory. Run this program to turn on compatibility
   switches to make dumb programs work. This is a last resort, and I'd
   rather you insist the program's publisher fix it.

     * ...install and run Windows 3.1 on a system now running
   If you installed Win95 in a separate directory (You smart person you),
   you can do a very cute trick: Hit Start/Shut Down... and "Restart
   computer in MS-DOS Mode". This will take you straight to a DOS prompt.
   From here, change to your Win 3.1 directory and just type win.
   This little trick works because Win95 DOS (DOS 7.0) already loaded the
   necessary himem.sys XMS driver, which is all Win 3.1 really needs to
   load. Performance will be poor, because there's no disk caching active
   at this time, and no fancy network stuff will probably work either,
   because you aren't using Win 3.1's version of IFSHLP. To get these
   working, check out the tricks used to run MS-DOS games and prepare
   special PIF files for, what MS calls, "Single mode MS-DOS". Be
   sure to include the Win 3.1 versions of ifshlp.sys, mscdex, and net
   start, and Win95 versions of other base drivers such as emm386. Also
   include lock c: to let 32-bit disk and file access work.
     * How do I install Win 3.1 fresh in a Win95 system? 
   First, Shut Down, and Re-start the computer in MS-DOS mode. If you
   have a config.sys or autoexec.bat file (Which you don't need really),
   copy these to a safe place.
   Next, insert your Win 3.1 setup disk 1 and run setup.exe from it. This
   performs a normal Win 3.1 or WFWG 3.11 install. When prompted for your
   Windows directory location, be EXTRA CAREFUL to use a different
   directory name than your Win95 installation!!!!!!
   Next, let Win 3.1 Setup proceed as normally. When it finishes, copy
   any changed config.sys and autoexec.bat it made up and save them with
   different file names, and restore the previous versions of these
   Next, return to Win95 by typing exit. Look for in the Win 3.1
   directory you installed it in, and right-click on it. Select
   "Properties". Then use the same techniques I mentioned above for
   setting up a special PIF file for Single Mode DOS. This way, you can
   specify a proper Win 3.1 startup sequence and avoid polluting your
   Win95 configuration. You can also use Win 3.1 versions of ifshlp, net,
   and mscdex as required. Now, when you launch this version of
   from Win95, it will re-start your computer using that special
   configuration. When you exit Win 3.1, Win95 re-starts.
     * 3.4.5. MS-DOS apps? 
   You can either run a DOS session by hitting Start/Programs/MS-DOS
   Prompt and run the DOS program from there, or open it from Explorer.
   If it's a DOS program, Win95 will start a DOS session and load the
   program into it.
   NOTE: If you launch a DOS program from Explorer, it will create a PIF
   file for it (Also called a "Shortcut to MS-DOS Program"). If it can't
   write to the directory where the program resides, it will write the
   PIF file to %windir%\pif\.
   If you want to avoid making four hundred PIF files, run the MS-DOS
   Prompt first, then run the program within that session. It will use
   the program properties built into the default PIF (dosprmpt.pif)
   instead of making one.

     * 3.4.6. MS-DOS utilities? (Xtree (TM), Norton Utilities
       (TM), etc) 
   Like any other MS-DOS program, but avoid utilities that do direct disk
   writes, like DOS versions of SpeedDisk, Norton Disk Doctor, DiskEdit,
   etc as these won't work in DOS sessions, because Win95 won't let you
   perform direct disk writes in a DOS session.
   If you have to run utilities that access the disk directly (like
   sector editors), you must exit to DOS (Restart computer in MS-DOS
   mode) and lock the hard drive you will edit (lock c:). This will allow
   the direct disk access to work.
   Utilities to avoid include DOS versions of ScanDisk, Defrag, and all
   their cousins. Win95 comes with Windows version of these utilities
   that work with long filenames etc, and Peter Norton has Win95 versions
   of his utilities, too.
   4.00.950B users should be extra careful not to use any utilities
   designed for previous DOS versions. Period. I don't know enough about
   FAT32 file systems to know what works and what doesn't, so I can't
   make any suggestions here.

     * 3.4.7. MS-DOS games? 
   I go into a whole whack of detail on this subject, but to make life
   real simple, run your games in DOS sessions under Win95, like you
   would any DOS application. A handful of useful Properties settings to
   turn on include, "Protected" (Memory tab), "Prevent DOS programs from
   detecting Windows" (Program tab/Advanced), "Full Screen" (Display),
   and "Always Suspend" (Misc).
   DOS games can work with protected mode CD-ROM, sound, and network
   drivers easily. All the real mode hooks are there. Basically, you
   don't need to load any DOS drivers for anything to make a game run.
   This includes CD-ROM games as these are looking for mscdex hooks to
   play CD Audio, and these exist in DOS sessions. One user reported that
   some DOS based Audio CD players won't work, but this is because
   they're trying to directly access a real mode CD-ROM driver rather
   than mscdex. The solution was to use a generic CD Audio player that
   used mscdex instead
   For more details, jump to the Running MS-DOS Games section.

     * 3.4.8. ...format and copy disks? 
   Right-click on the floppy drive in "My Computer" and select "Format".
   To copy disks, right-click on the drive and select "Copy..."
   Don't forget that right mouse button.
   NOTE: Win95's smart enough to stop you from copying the new DMF disks
   (1.8 MB or whatever) and keep you from copying the commercial software
   that comes on it. So don't ask me how to pirate these disks.

     * 3.4.9. for files? 
   Explorer has a nifty file find tool built in. Right-click on where you
   want to start searching and select "Find…". You could also hit Start
   You can search your entire computer (including floppy drives and net
   drives), or a single drive for a file. Type in the filename (or part
   of the filename) and hit Find. Wildcards (*, ?) are permitted but not
   required. Don't forget you're dealing with long filenames now, so keep
   spaces and other non-standard characters in mind. Use filenames in
   quotes (such as "Long file name for my document.doc") if they have
   You can search text within files, search for files with certain dates,
   certain sizes, even search for computers on a network. To do this, hit
   the Advanced tab and enter the text you're searching for. You can
   combine the properties of all three tabs to narrow your search and
   reduce searching time.

     * 3.4.10. ...add my own items to the Start Menu? 
   The Start Menu's filled with shortcut files. The easiest way to add an
   item is to drag an icon on top of the Start button. This creates a
   shortcut in the root of the Start Menu.
   If you're a bit more selective on where you want to put the shortcut,
   right-click on any open Taskbar space and hit Properties. Select
   "Start Menu Programs" and you can add or remove items. The Shortcut
   Wizard helps you find the item you want to make a shortcut to. For the
   ultimate control over the Start Menu, right-click on the Start button
   and hit Open or Explore, and the drag shortcuts and folders around at

     * The Desktop, Start Menu, and shortcuts 
   The Desktop and Start Menu are directories on your hard drive, filled
   with .LNK files, or Shortcuts. They may also have regular files in
   them, but Start Menu items have to be .LNK or .PIF files.
   If you right-click on the Start button, you can Open the Start Menu
   like any other disk directory and move stuff around.
   NOTE on .LNK, .PIF, and .URL files: Win95 hides these extensions
   always, regardless of your "Hide all extensions" settings. If you want
   to change such an extension you'll need to do so from a DOS prompt.

     * 3.4.11. ...change my display resolution? 
   Right-click on any empty Desktop space and select "Properties". You
   can change the wallpaper, screen saver, appearance of windows, and
   display mode. If you change display resolution without changing the
   colour depth, Win95 will re-size the desktop and ask you if it's OK to
   use it. If you change the display's colour depth (like 8-bit to 16-bit
   for example) Win95 will restart.
   Many advanced display drivers (such as ATI's DirectX Drivers) will add
   extra tabs to this properties sheet. Take advantage of them. Still
   others (like Diamond's S3 drivers) will let you change display depth
   (number of colours) without rebooting. Unlike Win 3.1 drivers however,
   these utilities use hooks in Win95 set aside by Microsoft for this
   purpose. Get a proper Win95 display driver to take advantage without
   damaging your system.

     * 3.4.12. ...change my display driver? 
   In Display Properties, select the settings tab. Hit the "Change
   Display Type" button. This will let you change the video driver and
   monitor driver.

     * 3.4.13. ...disable the "Full window drag" feature of MS Plus? 
   Microsoft Plus' "Display Enhancements" are a bit of a processor hog.
   You can turn off the Full Window Drag by hitting the "Plus" tab in
   Display Properties, and just turning it off.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:


Top Document: Win95 FAQ Part 3 of 14: Usage
Previous Document: 3.3. What is this "Explorer" thing?
Next Document: 3.5. Some MS-DOS utilities are missing. Where can I get them?

Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6 - Part7 - Part8 - Part9 - Part10 - Part11 - Part12 - Part13 - Part14 - Single Page

[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index ]

Send corrections/additions to the FAQ Maintainer:

Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM