Microsoft

Windows 95/98 tips for phantom apps and hardware profiles

If you think you are an expert in Windows 95/98 support, here are a couple of tips that might come as a surprise. Tip 1 is a primer on the right and wrong way to remove applications, and Tip 2 explains when to employ a second hardware profile.


Despite how “old” Windows 95/98 are in the world of IT, there are still many surprising features that have gone largely unnoticed by IT pros. These two tips, for example, help these aging operating systems run more efficiently. Read on to find out how to uninstall phantom apps and create separate hardware profiles.

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Removing phantom apps from Add/Remove Programs
A staggering number of Windows 9x users are unaware of the Add/Remove Programs applet under Control Panel. As a result, these users simply delete program folders rather than formally uninstalling an unwanted program. This practice is generally harmless but has the bothersome side effect of leaving entries within the Add/Remove Programs list that correspond to now-deleted applications.

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Should a new user, one who is familiar with the Add/Remove Programs applet, inherit this computer, or a support tech be required to properly install new software on the machine, these phantom entries can prove quite inconvenient. If you try to uninstall these programs using the Add/Remove Programs applet, Windows will return the error message:
An error occurred while trying to remove <Program Name>. Uninstallation has been canceled.

You can remove these entries from the Add/Remove Programs list by either manually editing the registry or using Tweak UI Power Toy, which can be downloaded from Microsoft's Web site.

To manually remove the program entry, open regedit.exe and navigate to:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\
CurrentVersion\Uninstall

Now find the entry in this key that relates to the application(s) to be removed. (You may need to look at the DisplayName value.) Once located, delete the appropriate key entry.

To use Tweak UI, download and install the program. Now open Start | Settings | Control Panel | Tweak UI and select the Add/Remove tab. Locate the program entry you wish to delete and click Remove. When you're done, click OK and close Control Panel.

Warning
Using the Windows Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems requiring the reinstallation of your operating system and possible loss of data. TechRepublic does not and will not support problems that arise from editing your registry. Use the Registry Editor and our directions at your own risk.

When is a second hardware profile useful?
Separate hardware profiles are used when your computer is capable of having different hardware configurations—for example, a laptop that operates both independently or docked in a desktop "station." However, some network software may also appear to add "hardware" elements, which can cause problems with normal network behavior when this hardware is not in use.

Third-party VPN clients may add an adaptor object to the list of installed network hardware in Control Panel. If these third-party objects cause conflicts with network adaptors installed in the computer, the computer can be rendered incapable of communicating by either adaptor. You can work around this dilemma by creating a separate hardware profile and installing the VPN software in the second profile. The VPN adaptor object will only appear in the profile where you install it.

First, rename the original profile to "network" by starting the System applet in Control Panel. Click on the Hardware tab and click on Original Configuration. Click Rename and, in the To box, type NETWORK. OK your change. Now, with "Network" highlighted, click on Copy. In the To box, type VPN and OK your changes. Click OK again to close the System applet.

Now reboot the computer and select the VPN profile from the configuration menu when Windows starts. When Windows starts, install the VPN software and check that it works. Following the reboot, check the Network profile to see that the adaptor object is not listed. If the VPN adaptor appears, reopen the System applet under Control Panel and select the Device Manager tab. Locate the VPN adaptor object on the list of devices and double-click it. On the General tab, click the Network check box to clear the adaptor object from the Device Usage area and then click OK. The VPN object will no longer operate under the Network profile.

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