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August 25, 1997

View Internet and intranet windows simultaneously

Many companies are implementing their own intranets. A common situation is for a Windows 95 user to want to view two browser windows -- one displaying a page from a Web site on the Internet, which can be seen by anyone in the world, and the other a page from the company's intranet, which is primarily intended for viewing by employees within the company. Needing two windows open simultaneously would be especially important for someone who wanted to compare information from one site to another.

In this situation, your PC might be connected to your intranet through an Ethernet network interface card on a multisegment LAN. Your PC might also dial up an Internet service provider through your modem using Win95's Dial-Up Networking.

Unfortunately for you, Windows 95 ordinarily doesn't allow these two connections to occur simultaneously if your intranet server resides on a LAN segment other than your local segment. In other words, if a network router sits between you and the intranet server, the two connections won't work.

One of my readers, Joseph Abramson at Bay Connection, in Newton, Mass., found a way around this limitation. Win95 provides a utility called Route.exe that can temporarily (until you restart Windows) provide a static route that connects you to a server on another LAN segment.

To implement this feature, you use a command with the following syntax:

route add X MASK Y Z

In this command line, you must replace X with the network address of the segment where the intranet server is located. You replace Y with the subnet mask parameter You replace Z with the router address on the local segment. For more information on this command, type ROUTE/? at a DOS prompt. Inserting variables for a particular network, the command might look like the following (all on one line):

route add MASK

Windows NT supports a parameter, -p, that makes this routing permanent, but Win95 does not. One way to work around this is to create a Windows batch file that contains the appropriate command. You can run this command whenever you want to make your Net connections, or insert a shortcut into your C:\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp folder to run it every time you start Windows.

To create such a file, open an Explorer window on your Windows folder. Right-click any vacant space in the right pane, then click New, Text Document. Name the document something such as SetRoute.bat. Right-click the .bat file you just created, then click Edit. Type in a command line appropriate for your network, then exit and save the file.

In the Explorer window, right-click the .bat file, then click Properties. Click the Program tab, and make sure the Close on Exit box is turned on. To run the command invisibly, change Run to Minimized, but then you must also click the Misc tab and set Background: Always suspend to off.

Click OK, then right-drag the resulting SetRoute.pif file (the .pif extension will be invisible in Explorer) to your StartUp folder and click Create Shortcut Here. That's it!

Brian Livingston is the co-author of Windows 95 Secrets and four other Windows books (IDG Books). Send tips to or fax: (206) 282-1248.

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Copyright © 1997 by InfoWorld Publishing Company


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