Microsoft

Windows 9x printing and Control Panel tips

Windows 95/98 may no longer be on the cutting edge of OS development, but a significant number of enterprise workstations still run these Microsoft systems. Here are two tips that can help you provide better support to your Windows 9x users.


For those of you frantically seeking information on Windows 95/98 operating systems, look no further than our Windows 95/98 TechMails. Here are two TechMail tips to save your Windows 95/98 users precious time. One will show you how to use the Default Printer utility, and the other will speed up the Control Panel shortcut.

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Make printing easier for your users
How many of your problem calls from your users involve you saying, "Click on Start, then Settings, then Printers. Now pick the printer you want to be the default, right-click it, select..." or something similar? Too many? If this is the case, you can make everyone's life easier with the Default Printer (Defptr.exe) utility from the Windows 98 Resource Kit.

Once the utility is started (it's a single executable file, so you can just double-click it), all you need to do to change your computer's default printer is select another printer from the given list. The Default Printer utility then sits back in the System Tray next to the clock at the bottom right of the screen. It's that easy.

If you want your users to have access to the Default Printer utility from startup, copy the program to each computer, put a shortcut to it in the startup folder, and modify the shortcut's properties so that the Run field is set to Minimized.

Speed up your slow-loading Control Panel shortcut
High-end Windows 9x users—those who are constantly adding and tuning new hardware and software—often need to constantly access the Control Panel to update or alter Windows' settings. Users who employ a desktop shortcut to open the Control Panel can find that the program takes an unusually lengthy time to load. This is likely because the shortcut points directly to the Control.exe program file.

For backwards-compatibility reasons, Control.exe is designed for use in conjunction with a shell component such as File Manager or Program Manager. When the shortcut accesses the Control.exe file from outside of one of these Managers, the Control Panel opens portions of these shell components. The result is a 60- to 90-second load time. Here's a quick workaround.

First, delete the shortcut that points directly to Control.exe. Then, open My Computer and drag the Control Panel icon onto the desktop. (Windows won't actually let you move the Control Panel icon onto the desktop, but the system will ask you if you'd like to create a desktop shortcut instead.) When prompted, click Yes. The new Control Panel shortcut will ignore the shell component stipulation and will load much faster.

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