How to clean up Windows 98 start up

Time for a little cleaning! Here are a few quick answers to short questions I’ve received about Windows 98 lately.

Question: When I start my computer, the “Dial Up Connection” dialog box appears automatically on my desktop screen. I close it once, it reappears. … I close it again and again it appears. Only on the third closing does it remain closed. How can I prevent this box from appearing each time I start up my computer? – W.L.H.

Answer: Remove the Dial-Up Connection icon from your Startup folders, which you’ll find at C:/Windows/Desktop … or C:/Windows/All Users/Start Menu/Programs/Startup … or C:/Windows/Start Menu/Programs/Startup.

Question: I tried running MSCONFIG.EXE as you mentioned in your Clean up your system tray article, but the command wasn’t found. I tried searching my C: drive and looked under C:/Windows/System, and I even looked on my WIN 95 CD, but no luck. – D.S.

Answer: My mistake. The applet is only available when you install Windows 98.

Question: I have a 120 Mhz Compaq laptop, and after converting to the Fat 32 file format under Windows 98, my machine has been working more slowly than it used to. The hard disk is 75 per cent full, so that shouldn’t be the problem. I have tried to run the maintenance wizard to speed it up, but it doesn’t work. Do you know of any freeware that I can download to make my machine run faster? – H.M.

Answer: Here are some quick tips:

  • I’d add more RAM, if I were you.
    Read our How to Add RAM FAQ.
  • If you don’t want to spend the money on more RAM, free up more hard drive space. Windows uses the hard disk when it runs out of RAM, so if you have a small hard drive and only 25 per cent of the space is available, freeing up space will allow the virtual memory swap disk on the hard drive to run more efficiently.
  • Run Scandisk and Disk Defragmenter, which you’ll find in your System Tools folder under Accessories.
    Running these will tidy up your hard drive so it can run more efficiently.
  • Unfortunately, as far as the FAT32 format goes, there’s no going back. Once you converted your hard drive to FAT32, you can’t return to using the FAT16 format, unless you repartition and reformat the FAT32 drive. If you converted the drive on which Windows 98 is installed, you must reinstall Windows 98 after repartitioning the drive. There’s no way around that.

Question: I buy The Edmonton Journal because of your tips. I just feel sorry to have missed so much before I discovered them. Have you saved your answers to readers somewhere, or did you maybe publish a book with all or most of those questions and your answers? Or, if not, may I feel free to ask you to e-mail me (if you keep it collected somewhere)? – S.T.

Answer: No book of tips yet, S.T., although I’m thinking about it. Meanwhile, you can see all of my past columns back to the beginning (1995, I think) as well as lots more links to tips, help sites, and recommended books at
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