Maintaining, Optimizing, and Troubleshooting Windows 9x and Windows Me Chapter 7
Overview • In this chapter, you will learn to • Maintain and optimize a healthy Windows 9x/Me system • Install and configure devices on Windows 9x/Me systems • Troubleshoot Windows 9x/Me problems using key tools and procedures
Maintaining and Optimizing Windows 9x/Me • There is little you can do to make a Windows system run faster or better by tweaking the system!
Service Packs/Patches/Windows Update • Patches are EXE files provided by Microsoft for fixing specific problems • A service pack is a group of patches • Microsoft later sold Win95 with Service Pack 1 as OEM service release 1 (OSR 1) • A year later OSR 2 combined newer patches • Win98 had one major update called the Customer Service Pack (Win98 SE includes it)
What do I need? • Windows Update (on the Start menu) will determine what updates you require and will list them, allowing you to decide which ones you want • For Win95, download QFECHECK from Microsoft’s web site
Drive Maintenance • Disk scanning, defragmentation, and disk cleaning are the critical parts of drive maintenance • Start Programs Accessories System Tools
Disk Cleanup • Disk Cleanup will delete files that are no longer needed such as • Application temporary files that failed to delete • Installation temporary files that failed to delete • Internet browser cache files • Files in the Recycle Bin • Internet cookie files • Identical files in separate locations
Drive Maintenance • The Windows Me hard drive Properties Tools tab includes Error-Checking (ScanDisk), and defragmentation
Task Scheduling • The Windows Task Scheduler can be used to automate the processes involved in drive maintenance
Virtual Memory • All versions of Windows use virtual memory • Windows swap files are used to implement virtual memory • WIN386.SWP in Windows 9x/Me • PAGEFILE.SYS in Windows NT/2000/XP
Virtual Memory • Windows sets the initial size of the swap file automatically according to the free space available on the C: drive • The swap file size can be altered and it can also be moved onto another drive according to memory needs
Virtual Memory: Windows 9x/Me • Alt-Click My Computer and choose Properties
Virtual Memory: Windows 2000 • Alt-click My Computer, and choose Properties Advanced tab Performance Options button Change button
Virtual Memory Recommendations • Default settings for swap files are usually far larger than needed • The recommendation is to set the size of the swap file to two to three times the amount of RAM • If you have 256MB of RAM, then set the swap file to 512 MB to 768 MB • Set the minimum and maximum sizes to the same value • If you get the error “Not Enough Memory”, then increase the swap file larger
Disk Cache • Every version of Windows sets aside a small amount of RAM for a disk cache • Vcache, Windows disk-caching program, keeps track of the files requested by the CPU – it then tries to guess what the CPU will be needing and keeps in in RAM – this makes access much faster • Disk caching that comes with Windows installs automatically and is virtually maintenance free • The size of the disk cache is roughly one-fourth the total size of RAM • Windows automatically sets the size of the disk-cache holding pen based on the settings given at setup
Disk Cache Settings • Alt-click My Computer, and choose Properties Performance tab File System button How much RAM to set aside for the disk cache. Setting to Network server may help performance. How many clusters to read ahead when the system goes to the hard drive. Best to set at Full.
Resource Tracking Tools • One of the most common problems in performance relates to too many programs trying to run at the same time • Many programs and processes run in the background • There are tools that help to track resource usage • System Resources • System Monitor • System Resource Meter • Task Manager
System Resources Percentage • Alt-click My Computer, and choose Properties Performance tab Many systems can run down into the low 20’s without a problem.
System Monitor • Start Programs Accessories System Tools System Monitor Not installed by default!
System Resource Meter • Start Programs Accessories System Tools System Resource Meter Substantial system slowdown results from overfilled heaps. Low Resources is your indication. Once installed, the Resource Meter will let you keep an eye on heaps.
Task Manager • Access Task Manager by pressing CTRL-ALT-DEL • Shows all running programs, including hidden ones • Useful for closing unresponsive programs • Do not close Explorer or Systray (Windows needs them!)
Auto-Starting Programs • Some auto-starting programs such as antivirus softwares are essential • Most auto-starting programs consume valuable physical memory and can be done without • Unnecessary programs should be removed • Go to the System Tray – Alt-click on the various icons and decide whether to disable each one
Auto-Starting Programs • Additional auto-starting programs may be turned off using the System Configuration Utility • Start Programs Accessories System Tools System Information, then open the System Configuration Utility under the Tools menu • Check the Startup tab (don’t turn off the System Tray) • Check the Win.ini file for Run= and Load= under the Windows folder • Check autoexec.bat and config.sys
Installing Software • One poorly written software program installed on your computer can trash your system • Some versions of Windows now allow you to return your system to its previous state • A recommended third-party program is Q-Recovery from Hyper-Q
Before You Buy • Know what you need • What do I expect this device to do? • What are the expectations of the device? • Can I or the customer afford it? • How much do we care about this device? • Never trust techs with all the answers! • Physical compatibility with the system • Do I have an open PCI slot, a needed serial port, etc.
Before You Buy • System compatibility • Check the maker’s web site, FAQ’s, email tech support • Check on restocking charges, return shipping costs • Insist on at least a seven-day return policy • Availability of drivers • For your OS & the latest drivers
Installing PnP Devices • Create a startup disk • Backup the Registry • Use proper anti-ESD procedures, and retain the packaging • Read the ‘Read Me’ file • You may need to delete the old device if you are replacing it with another • You may need to hold off connecting the unit to the USB port
Installing PnP Devices • CMOS Issues • Generally, you won’t have to worry about CMOS settings • Activate the serial or parallel port if needed • Use Assign IRQ to USB for USB devices • Driver Install • Windows will look for an INF file • Once the device is physically installed, check the device
Creating a Startup Diskette • Always have a Start Up Disk in case of an emergency • StartSettings Control Panel Add/Remove Programs These directions apply to Windows 98. Support for most CD-ROMs is included.
CD-ROM Support • If you create a Startup disk using Windows 95 or with DOS, you will need to add CD-ROM support as follows: • Add the following line to config.sys: • DEVICEHIGH=a:\SBIDE.SYS /D:MSCD001 /P:170,15 /V • Or DEVICE=a:\oakcdrom.sys /D:CDROM • Add the following line to autoexec.bat: • a:\MSCDEX.EXE /D:MSCD001 /V /M:15 /L:D • Or a:\MSCDEX.EXE /D:CDROM Oakcdrom.sys is the Generic driver found at www.computerhope.com/drivers/cdrom.htm. MSCDEX.EXE may be found in the \Windows\Command folder.
Backing Up the Registry • The Registry is critical to your OS functioning properly • When you install a new device, Windows changes the Registry, so always make a backup right before installation • There are many ways to backup the registry • Using REGEDIT, select Export Registry File on the Registry menu
The Device Manager • Device Manager is a primary tool for dealing with devices and device drivers in Windows • If Windows detects a problem, a red “x” or a yellow exclamation point is displayed • Devices are organized in special groups
Applications • Hardware is useless without an application that uses it. Applications can be broken down into five groups • Built-in apps come with Windows • Enhanced apps add more functionality or features over those provided by Windows • Supplied critical apps must be installed for the hardware to work • Supplied helpful apps are not required but may be useful to you • Supplied optional apps are things like an AOL CD
Plug and Play Problems • Failure to find the correct device driver is a common PnP installation issue • A bad or an incorrect INF file can cause problems. Hardware makers may hide the INF file in a Setup program • Device Manager can be used to locate the installed device to verify installation or to troubleshoot issues • Legacy devices may require additional configuration
PnP Can’t Find a Driver • If Windows cannot find a driver, the Add/Remove Hardware Wizard will pop up this screen • Just point Windows to the right location for the driver based on your operating system • It should be somewhere on the CD or diskette that came with the new device
Plug and Play Problems • Removing and reinstalling the device may be required if Windows is not able to detect the PnP device • Windows may fail to see a PnP device if other devices are using all available resources • Upgrade the system BIOS if necessary • Ensure that the system has installed the required chipsets for new motherboards
Device Manager Errors • If a device has a problem, it shows up with an exclamation point surrounded by a small yellow dot • A small red “x” on a device indicates that the device has been disabled by Windows
Device Manager Errors • A majority of problems can be grouped into one of the following areas • Failure to follow installation procedures • Corruption/incompatibility with drivers or the INF file • Outdated support drivers • Outdated BIOS • Resource conflict • Corrupted registry • Bad device
Verifying the Driver Version • Alt-click My Computer Properties Device Manager tab Select device and choose Properties button Driver tab
Error Codes • Error codes may give you a clue on how to fix the issue • Alt-click My Computer Properties Device Manager tab Select device and choose Properties button General tab • Microsoft’s Knowledge Base lists these in article Q125174
Corruption Errors related to the driver Delete the driver, reboot, and try again Download the latest driver from the manufacturer Check the hard drive Incompatibility Unknown device error Unsupported device error Corruption & Incompatibility The attitude “gotta have the newest” invariably puts you on the “bleeding edge” of technology. Good techs know when to try to fix something and when to call tech support. Newsgroups may help. Try news://alt.certification.a-plus.
Outdated Support Drivers There’s always a chipset, controller, or some other device between the CPU and the device you install Well-supported devices always have detailed name under System devices – compare the left and right screens on the next slide Outdated BIOS If you have all the latest drivers and still get errors in Device Manager, see if your motherboard maker has an updated BIOS Outdated Support Drivers & BIOS
Device Manager Errors Concluded • Resource conflicts • These are clearly reported by Windows • We’ll talk about resolving them in a few slides • Corrupted Registry • This is clearly reported – just reinstall • Bad device • If you can try the device in another PC, do that • If not and you are 75% sure it is a bad device, replace it – your time is worth more!
IRQ Steering • With IRQ steering, PCI devices share one or more IRQs, depending on the chipset, and on the function of the PCI device • Systems must have IRQ9 or IRQ11 available for IRQ steering • See the next few slides for further explanation…