IDG logo

Advertise with InfoWorld

InfoQuote Careers Opinions Forums Consulting Research tools Test Center News Subscribe Search Home

Email Story




Book reviews






Monday, Sep. 13, 1999 12:01 am PT     


Window Manager |Brian Livingston


Exploring the latest secrets and tips for using Windows 98


THIS MONTH, IDG BOOKS Worldwide released More Windows 98 Secrets, the eighth book I've authored or co-authored on Microsoft Windows. This all-new 800-pager includes everything my co-author, Davis Straub, and I have learned about Windows 98 since Windows 98 Secrets was published last year -- and that's a lot. For more, go to


I plan to give away the top 10 secrets in this and upcoming columns. Here goes:


Undocumented Setup switches. Anyone can find out the documented Setup switches for Windows 98 and Windows 95 by going to and searching for article ID Q186111. However, there are two undocumented switches that you won't find there: Setup /NTLDR and Setup /nm.


Setup /NTLDR eliminates Windows' identification of previously installed versions of the OS. This can help you if you're stuck with a PC maker's crippled OEM/VAR Windows CD-ROM that will set up only on a new PC with no version of Windows installed. The switch ignores this limitation, enabling you to re-install Windows if necessary.


Setup /nm installs Windows, regardless of the "adequacy" of the processor. In other words, you can use this to install Windows on PCs that Microsoft has deemed "too old" (a 386 or a 486SX, for example).


Another documented but little-known switch is Setup /p f (the space between "p" and "f" is necessary). This builds a new Windows Registry. Running Setup with this switch deletes existing settings that may have been in the root branch of your Registry. For this reason, Setup /p f is useful only if your Registry is hopelessly corrupted and you cannot fix it with a backup. But in that event, this switch can be very, very useful indeed.


Our thanks to Anthony Kinyon for digging up this information.


Disappearing taskbar icons. If your taskbar's icons vanish or keep changing, the reason is probably that Windows' icon cache memory is exhausted. To fix this, enlarge the fixed size of your icon cache:


Step 1. Click Start, Run, then run RegEdit.


Step 2. Select the key HKEY_LOCAL _MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer. With explorer highlighted in the left pane, right-click a vacant spot in the right pane. Then click New, String Value.


Step 3. Name the new string value Max CachedIcons.


Step 4. Right-click the name, click Modify, then type 2048 and click OK.


Tom Porterfield was the first to report this method of expanding the icon cache.


Add NetMeeting directory servers. You can log on to a new NetMeeting server by editing a list that's hidden in the Registry.


NetMeeting has a dialog box (click Call, Change My Information, Calling) that lets you add a server, but not edit or delete one. If you administer Windows machines in your company, you'll probably want to add your intranet's directory server (if any) and delete the other servers listed in NetMeeting.


To edit the list, run RegEdit as shown in Step 1 of the previous topic. Then navigate to the following branch of the Registry: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software \Microsoft\Conferencing\UI \Directory. With Directory highlighted, you will be able to add, edit, or delete servers from the right pane of RegEdit.


Thanks to Tom Lake for locating this.


I'm out of room. Watch this space for more top 10 secrets.



Missed a column? Click here for more



Brian Livingston 's latest book is Windows 98 Secrets (IDG Books). Send tips to He regrets that he cannot answer individual questions.




HP's Fiorina talks up company to financial analysts

AT&T to build $350 million global IP network for GM

Department of Commerce backs high-tech R&D program

Microsoft settlement talks to get started Tuesday

Matsushita develops thinnest lithium battery

Go to home page


Click Here to subscribe our free e-mail newsletter.


Subscribe to InfoWorld print









Copyright © 1999 InfoWorld Media Group, Inc. is a member of complies with the ASME guidelines with IDG extensions for new media.