Silly IT pros, tricks aren’t just for kids any more. On March 23rd John Sheesley shows us some Windows 98 programming features. If you couldn’t join us then, enjoy the transcript and we hope to see you on our next live Guild Meeting. You can find a schedule of Guild Meetings in your weekly TechProGuild Notes TechMail, or on the Guild Meeting calendar.

Silly IT pros, tricks aren’t just for kids any more. On March 23rd John Sheesley shows us some Windows 98 programming features. If you couldn’t join us then, enjoy the transcript and we hope to see you on our next live Guild Meeting. You can find a schedule of Guild Meetings in your weekly TechProGuild Notes TechMail, or on the Guild Meeting calendar.

Note: TechProGuild edits Guild Meeting transcripts for clarity.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Welcome to tonight’s Guild Meeting. We’re having technical difficulties, and will be starting the meeting shortly. Okay. Windows 98 and networking. If I were Jack Wallen, I’d tell everyone to switch to Linux on the desktop and we could all go home early.

WELL: About networking, is it possible that using NT client can access Netware resources?

JOHN SHEESLEY: But, we do live in the real world, and as network administrators we have to deal with Windows 9x.

MODERATOR: How true, JS.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Fortunately, Windows 9x plays pretty well as a network client. Microsoft did a fairly good job of putting network support in Win9x.

JA: I would like to know whether or not I’ll be able to continue with my win9x peer-to-peer network with the new win2000 desktop.

MIKKILUSA: At times it seems, as far as networking is concerned, more as 98 goes it does more weird things than 95. Makes me wonder if there were even fixes in 98 for networking.

JOHN SHEESLEY: As a matter of fact, Win9x did such a good job as a peer-peer client/server that it destroyed competition like Artisoft’s LANtastic.

EMOORE: I agree JS. Even though our PCs are on a Novell network, I still get a lot of mileage out of the peer-to-peer with Win98.

I must agree
JOHN SHEESLEY: JA, Windows 2000 Pro plays nicely in a peer-peer Win9x network. Mik, I’m not sure MS really did much to improve or change the networking in 98 vs. 95 beyond, including support for NDS and adding ICS.

MIKKILUSA: ICS is cool true is in use as we speak now.

JOHN SHEESLEY: MS really did a number on Novell when they shipped Win9x. The native Win9x client doesn’t play nice on NDS and is crippled as far as performance. Fortunately, Novell quickly released Client32 to fix the problems.

WELL: About networking, just installed sound card system, cause the win9x PC cannot login because of the NIC not function, but there is no conflict.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Novell will shortly be introducing a new client that will work on all Win versions. It’s a much smarter and smaller client. No more mucking about with different versions on NT/2000 and 9x.


JOHN SHEESLEY: Well, chances are there *is* a conflict. Probably on IRQs. This is common with Plug and Pray cards.

TLSNC: This would be a good thing.

WELL: You mean client32 is still not good enough?

MIKKILUSA: And, well, just because 98 says ‘no conflicts’ means nothing. It lies.

JOHN SHEESLEY: The client is currently in beta. I would expect to hear more about it during BrainShare next week.

Currently in beta
JOHN SHEESLEY: Mik is right. You can’t always trust Win9x to report conflicts properly.

MIKKILUSA: No. Well, it seems to work right. You need Novell client and Novell services.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Most sound cards like to start off using IRQ 5 or 10. Both of those IRQs are also popular for NICs including Esp IRQ10.

EMOORE: We’re running Intranet 3.1. Any conflicts with Win2K known?

JOHN SHEESLEY: Intranet 3.1?

MIKKILUSA: Use your diagnostic program on your NIC to see what Irg it is on and see if it matches in 98.

WELL: How do you check to see if there is conflict? Reset the IRQ for NIC, but does this depend on whether the NIC can change its setting from the original setting?

EMOORE: I believe that’s the version of our client.

WELL: Too bad. There is no diagnotics program for that NIC. Is there any way to solve this problem?

MIKKILUSA: Diagnostic program you can change IRQ.

TLSNC: Well, if both are PCI PNP you may have to do some configuration in the BIOS.

JOHN SHEESLEY: If there’s no diagnostic program for the NIC, no. Not really. You can try changing the settings on the sound card however. Emoore: The current Win2k client from Novell is 4.7. It’s the only one certified for Win2k.

MIKKILUSA: Default is 3 05 5 well unless is a 3com could be 11 you are going to have to just hit and miss on that one.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Win2k Pro comes with 4.6 on the CD. That’s just enough to get you connected, but you should immediately upgrade to 4.7.

That’s enough
MIKKILUSA: Yet J on an upgrade it coverts it to 4.5.

EMOORE: Looks like we’ll need to upgrade if we change OSs.

JOHN SHEESLEY: As for 3.1 that’s a version for Win9x. The current version is 3.2. What’s the? Stormy? Emoore, yes you should.

MODERATOR: Sorry—thought the network went down again.

STORM: When I try to install a network printer (BJC 240) on the one machine. It shuts off the NIC card 😉 but if I try the same procedure on an NT Network. It has no problem; I can install all the printers I want.

STORM: And a friend has the exact opposite problem, he can see printers on a Win98-Win98 setup but his craps UT on the Win98/2K setup.

JOHN SHEESLEY: OK so you’re trying to connect a win98 client to a network printer on an NT network and it locks up? Or trying to host the printer on the Win98 client?

STORM: I have my own very private DOS it looks like *g*.

JA: We’re a company of about 20. Is there any reason to move to a client/server rather than stick with peer-to-peer? Our largest drives are Linux running Samba on the peer-to-peer. I’ve been hearing more about thin clients and am not sure which way to go. Any suggestions?

HUEVOS: Sorry that I am late. What is the subject?

What are you talking about?
MODERATOR: Hey, huevos—Win98 networking is the topic.

MIKKILUSA: 98 networking can it even be done?

JOHN SHEESLEY: On a small network with only 20 users, you’re probably better off peer-peer rather than putting a server up. Peer-Peer is usually fine until you get around 30 users.

STORM: Well my one machine running Win98 (first release)(let’s call it DELL) has the printer hooked up locally. The Other one (We’ll call it Toshiba) is running Win98SE and it’s trying to find the network printer. I can transfer files, and share drives, but I can watch the NIC shutdown when I try to use the printer wizard (it’s a PCMCIA NIC, but I tried with 3 different NICs, same Prob).

STORM: It never locks up, just says, nope, can’t find it.

JOHN SHEESLEY: If you don’t see going past 30, stick to peer-peer.

STORM: But when I use the Network at work (NT4 network) I can install every one of your printers.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Storm: Doesn’t matter which PC slot you put the PC card in? And are any other computers having similar problems connecting to this printer?

JA: Thanks.

STORM: Wow, sorry for the novel! : )

HUEVOS: I read somewhere that W98SE shutdown problems have to do w/ Office 97 & a Novell client. Anyone else read/experience that?

EMOORE: My IT dept. told me that more than 10 was maxing out a peer-to-peer. How does this relate to the number 30 I just “heard”?

JOHN SHEESLEY: Huevos: Win98 shutdown problems happen for a myriad of different reasons. It could just be an asteroid passing too close and the thing won’t shut down properly.

STORM: Nope, can put it into either slot, and the network consists right now of Dell and Toshiba, and a crossover cable. Not feeling rich enough to buy (and maintain) another computer at home 🙂

JOHN SHEESLEY: Hmmm, does the drive sharing work properly using that cable?

HUEVOS: It sure seems that way. MS blames about every possible cause.

EMOORE: I get those shutdown problems occasionally. I like the asteroid theory.

MODERATOR: Me too—there are many asteroids passing near the earth—thousands a day.

STORM: Huevos—We run a WinNT network (with Win95 machines) and we have trouble with shutdowns too (no IPX/SPX installed either). Yep, I can do everything you usually can on a network, except use the “network” printer, cos it doesn’t see the network in the Wizard.

TLSNC: I have always heard above 25 start looking at a server but many ITs run with as many as 50 peer-to-peer.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Emoore: I’ve heard and used the 30 figure ever since LANtastic shipped way back when. Much beyond that and you get into a mgmt nightmare. There’s no architectural reason to limit peer-peer. It all depends how much you can manage yourself. When it gets beyond 30 users, you want to start centralizing things.

EMOORE: Mod—hey, we could change the discussion topic 🙂

JOHN SHEESLEY: Storm: What protocols are you running on this little network? If only an asteroid would hit Redmond sometimes.

What about protocol?
HUEVOS: Storm—are you able to configure the correct network port when setting up the printer with the wizard? We have had to use a local port and then change the port to a network one.

STORM: Client for MS Networks (I know it’s not a protocol ;)), TCP/Ip, NetBeui, and then the DLink adapter thing is in there.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Now, I just asked Stormy about protocols. Since we’ve been talking about peer-peer setups, you’ll probably find that in a small environment, NetBeui is usually the easiest to implement. It almost always works. If you want to share an Internet connection, you’ll need to install TCP/IP. Unless you use a product such as iShare which doesn’t require it.

STORM: Nope, as far as it’s concerned, as soon as I start the wizard, the network connection is terminated, if I’m transferring a file? Kiss it goodbye. 🙁

JOHN SHEESLEY: In a Win98SE environment, you can share using ICS. IF you’re stuck in an older Win9x environs, you can use something like Wingate.

EMOORE: Storm—can your 2 computers see each other in network neighborhood?

RDCROSSEN: I understand the Netbeui is a noisy protocol though?

JOHN SHEESLEY: I’ve also had good luck using a freeware product known as Proxy+RD: Yes… its VERY noisy.

MODERATOR: And slow?

JOHN SHEESLEY: However, in a small network, it won’t make much of a difference. When you cross that magical 25-30 number, it will be chatty enough to really start causing contention.

I just can’t manage
STORM: I haven’t even managed the net connection yet, but I haven’t tried, I wouldn’t touch Wingate we use it at work, it’s ALWAYS crashing, and a friend of mine, if you mention the word Wingate, you’re in for an hour or more of swearing.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Unless you’re on a Giga-bit Ethernet or something. Stormy: Yup. I’ve seen problems with Wingate too. The last version I ran seemed reasonably stable, but I’ve switched to Proxy+, it works nicely and it’s free. However it doesn’t have the firewall support that Wingate does.

STORM: Oh yeah! The network works beautifully, except for this problem, it just toasts it if I try to install a printer (requires a reboot to re-establish the network connection too).

JOHN SHEESLEY: But, if you have a firewall such as NIS2000 or Blackice, you’re probably OK.

STORM: (Followed the instructions right out of a book that I have).

MIKKILUSA: ICS works fine at home but on a 12 computer network I support gives me an unable to use ICS error see admin. Well I saw myself in the mirror and have no idea why it does not work do you?

HUEVOS: Where can I find Proxy+?

STORM: Yeah, but there are other proggies that can provide a firewall, and there’s something to be said for stability.

RDCROSSEN: I use an old 486 25 and Linux ip-masq 🙂

KCMERCER: Zonealarm 2.0 is worth keeping an eye on too (Personal firewall).

STORM: Yeah, I have a few friends that swear by zonealarm. It really has a lot of potential.

EMOORE: What does Zonealarm cost?

An arm and a leg

STORM: Free for personal use.

KCMERCER: I’m still using blackice since I’m running NAT.

HUEVOS: Thanks jsheesley. Free is a good price!

JOHN SHEESLEY: If you’re using DSL or Cable to connect to the Internet, you really should have some form of firewall on your computer.

RDCROSSEN: I have a friend that really likes blackice.

MIKKILUSA: Any ideas on my ICS?

JOHN SHEESLEY: Zonealarm, BlackIce and Norton Internet Securty 2000 are all great programs. Mik: Sorry… Are all 12 trying to access it?

MIKKILUSA: Speaking of Internet security 2000 dbard if you are here I think you know the question?

KCMERCER: I like to use shields up at to test the firewalls I’m using and to keep up with firewall info.

MIKKILUSA: No when I install the client I get the error.

JOHN SHEESLEY: You stole my thunder KCMercer. I was about to suggest people try that site.

HUEVOS: What is


JOHN SHEESLEY: ShieldsUp. It tests some of the more common IP ports. No problem kcmercer. :o)

I’m your biggest fan
KCMERCER: I’m a big fan of

STORM: Yeah, it’s pretty good, I used it on our network at work, and sent out NetAdmin into a frenzy when I showed him the screen.

JOHN SHEESLEY: You can quickly determine what ports you have open on your system.

MODERATOR: It’s near the end of our time, but if our speaker is willing, we can stay another 15 minutes, since router problems in San Francisco caused a late start. Are you all up for ending at 10:15?

KCMERCER: Is everyone leaving to go to

JOHN SHEESLEY: Storm: I tried it at work too. I’m not going to tell you the results. 🙂


STORM: JS – LOL! It’s a little humbling sometimes eh?

EMOORE: Of course it’s only 7:00 here (hehehe).

JOHN SHEESLEY: OK the FUTURE of Win9x networking? Windows ME. Millennium Edition Unfortunately Microsoft has *pulled* support for most networking in Windows ME. ME supports basic peer=peer, but you can forget about native Novell and Vines support among others.

MIKKILUSA: Because 2000 costs more.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Why? One word: Windows2000.

TLSNC: What?! Just for the home gamer then?

STORM: They really like to ruin ALL our fun.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Microsoft is trying to drive everyone to Win2k. OFFICIALLY, Windows ME is only for ‘home’ computers.

What’s Bill been up to?
MIKKILUSA: And Bill gate wants to make trillion before 50.

JOHN SHEESLEY: In business, MS wants everyone on Win2k Pro on the desktop

WELL: Windows networking client for Netware, compare client32, which one is the best, why? Therefore in ME, the ‘last’ version of Win9x, they’re pulling most support for networks.

KCMERCER: Sounds like opportunity knocking for third party developers.

WELL: Continue 24 hours also can.

STORM: I will -not- conform! I will not! ;^)

JOHN SHEESLEY: However, you can indeed add Novell’s client to access a Netware server.

HUEVOS: Are there any betas for ME?

JOHN SHEESLEY: ME is currently in Beta 2.

MODERATOR: I beta it won’t work.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Its due for a summer shipment.

MIKKILUSA: You will storm bill knows where you live. And whistler is next.

HUEVOS: Has anyone seen/used the beta of ME?

ZORKON: I have 2000 and until they get the driver situations taken care of I refuse to run it.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Huev: We have Beta2 running on a test machine now.

KCMERCER: Was it ME that the source code was leaked onto the net?

JOHN SHEESLEY: It was the Whistler code I believe.

MODERATOR: MS is claiming early success—high numbers switching to 2000.

JOHN SHEESLEY: That’s supposed to be a common home/work version of Win2k. Mike: You’re right. More than a million in a month.

HUEVOS: Does ME seem zippy and a good OS?

JOHN SHEESLEY: However, when you include OEMs shipping Win2k, you can quickly get there. That’s how so many people got Win9x.

JA: What is Whistler? Haven’t heard of it before.

MODERATOR: Very true, John. Good marketing, though.

JOHN SHEESLEY: If you remember the early days of Win95, when there was a choice of OSes, nobody bought Win9x. JA: Whistler is the next version of Win2k.

STORM: Yeah, I’ve got 2 copies of Win98 sleezin around her. I didn’t even want the first copy!

MODERATOR: If only OS/2 had lived!

JOHN SHEESLEY: Actually it’s supposed to be a merging of Win2k and ME code.

MIKKILUSA: Whistler is what 2000 was supposed to be NT and 98 combine the home-work OS.


MODERATOR: And at a measly 750 MB to install, Win2K won’t hardly take up space.


JOHN SHEESLEY: OS/2 is still alive Mike. IBM is releasing a new client version this fall. Nothing to get excited about though.

EMOORE: So is there any reason not to go all MS if it’s so widely used and it “works”?


JOHN SHEESLEY: What do you mean Emoore?

What exactly do you mean?
MODERATOR: If you get a moment—what were the driver problem zorkon.

STORM: And it sucks to be dominated by Bill?

MODERATOR: Protest the long list of bodies left by the wayside?

JOHN SHEESLEY: Emoore: As with biology, diversity is a good thing. It breeds competition. Just think how bad Win9x would be today if it weren’t for the MacIntosh and OS/2.

EMOORE: JS—I hear a lot of patriotism for programs other than MS. But if the programs work and they are easy to use (?) are we losing anything by sticking with MS?

MODERATOR: Dare I say I’ve been experimenting with Linux lately, and it may (don’t throw tomatoes) not be ready.

JOHN SHEESLEY: By blindly sticking with a vendor, you don’t give the vendor a reason to ship quality products.

EMOORE: I understand 🙂

ZORKON: For one most of the hardware I use is Logitech when I try to load the drivers that are supposed to be for 2000 2000 jams up and says it does not support the third party drivers and locks I have tried to load it several times.

STORM: *grins!* I’m not saying I wouldn’t want to live like him, just not by scr*win ppl.

STORM: Emoore—I liken Billy boy to the devil. Only thing you lose is your soul! ;P

JOHN SHEESLEY: Nor do they have a reason to innovate.

MODERATOR: John Sheesley for president! Tanks, zordon.

EMOORE: Well said JS.

KCMERCER: If not for some competition MS would become even buggier.

RDCROSSEN: I agree that Linux is not ready for a wide use yet.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Zorkon: Are the drivers certified for Win2k? Just because they work on Windows NT, they won’t necessarily work for 2k. They must be certified or on the compatibility list.

But, of course
MODERATOR: Of course, it’s further along than Win 3.0 was.

STORM: What I can’t understand is how they managed to ship a product with 65000 bugs, and still people were scooping it up off the shelf? I’ll wait a little thanks!

JOHN SHEESLEY: They managed to ship it because they have no real competition. Linux is not yet fully ready for the desktop. Mac is really still a niche. OS/2 is almost completely irrelevant.

MODERATOR: Is there anything you guys want to wrap up about Win 98 networking before we end our meeting.

TLSNC: Zircon, go the logitech site this is addressed there. There is a new driver and a special way to install it.

KCMERCER: It’s all in the marketing!

MIKKILUSA: Any ideas on my ICS?

JOHN SHEESLEY: When OS/2 was a viable competitor on the Intel platform, MS worked very hard to put lots of new features in Win95 from Windows 3.1 and tried to make it more solid. That it wasn’t was a fundamental architecture problem. Mik: You never told me if nobody works or just a selected few.

ZORKON: If I worked for Bill I might be that supportful of MS but as is I like the Logitech and I don’t believe it is right.

MODERATOR: True, John. I’ve loaded Corel, Mandrake and Red Hat – and had problems with freezes, drive partition corruption, sound configuration. And the desktop is processor intensive. It’s very compelling, anyway.

KCMERCER: Lack of marketing by IBM wounded OS/2!

It was bad marketing
STORM: That’s true and terribly sad. That’s why I’m so interested in trying out the “alternative” platforms, I’m looking for something I can use full-time, so far Linux is great for me, and I don’t crash it.

JOHN SHEESLEY: Zork: MS can’t be held responsible for bad drivers by hardware makers.

MODERATOR: 2 minute warning –

ZORKON: OK thank you I will give it a try I haven’t been there for a couple weeks but after loosing about two days over this problem it wasn’t felt to be worth it but I will check it out.

STORM: But once you have Linux stable, I mean the install can be a nightmare (esp, if your hardware isn’t natively supported) it’s pretty smooth!

EMOORE: I was just wondering (if I remember the problem correctly) if Storm had tried loading the printer driver in Safe Mode?

JOHN SHEESLEY: Kmercer: What really killed OS/2 was contractual obligations that MS imposed on PC makers. They were forced to pay for a Win9x license no matter what OS they installed. So why install anything else if you already have to pay for it?

MODERATOR: Well, I’m going to keep trying, Storm. I think it has great potential.

JOHN SHEESLEY: But you’re right, IBM couldn’t market it to save their souls.

STORM: Oh Cmon!!! I blame Microsoft for everything! I still think they were behind it when my car disappeared! 😉

MODERATOR: So MS is why I sing flat! KCMERCER: I didn’t know that.

STORM: Yep exactly!

EMOORE: No Storm…that was probably an asteroid!


You’re going to pay
MIKKILUSA: You are supposed to pay for their OS.

ZORKON: MS did carry drivers for this hardware in NT and worked fine so why drop the support now?

JOHN SHEESLEY: Zork, because the OS was already 2 years late?

STORM: No, the car was crashed, so I made the obvious link to Redmond. 😉
Our Guild Meetings feature top-flight professionals leading discussions on interesting and valuable IT issues. You can find a schedule of Guild Meetings in your weekly TechProGuild Notes TechMail, or on the Guild Meeting calendar.