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March 9, 1998

Putting a little zip in your Windows disk drive bag of tricks

Well, it's time once again to follow up on topics from previous columns with comments and secrets e-mailed in by readers. Keep those cards and letters coming.

Windows on a Zip disk

I wrote last June that someone had invented a $15 software utility that makes 100MB Zip drives bootable. (See "A cool utility lets you boot from an IDE or parallel port Iomega Zip drive," June 9, 1997.) This allows you to make a bootable Windows disk, which is impossible in the limited storage space of a 1.4MB A: drive.

The developer of the program, called ZppA (pronounced "zippuh"), was Bluesky Innovations, in San Jose, Calif. The company has since developed an ISA add-in board that without software turns parallel port Zip drives into bootable drives under Windows 95 and Windows NT. This hardware add-in costs $35.

Bluesky includes on its site ( detailed instructions for generating a bootable Windows installation on a Zip disk. The procedure favors Windows 95B (also known as OEM Service Release 2, or OSR2), which supports "floppies" larger than 32MB. Some of the steps are drawn from the OSR2 FAQ at, a valuable resource.

An easier way to boot Windows in case of a hard disk emergency may be coming from Iomega. The company that makes Zip drives has teamed with Symantec to produce Norton Zip Rescue. This utility creates both a boot floppy and a running copy of Windows on a Zip disk. In the event your system will not start, booting your PC from these disks enables you to run a copy of Windows and launch a diagnostic and repair wizard.

Iomega says a Win95 version of Norton Zip Rescue (now part of Norton Utilities 3.0) will be available for download from this month, with a Windows NT version coming in the second quarter. Iomega is also working with PC manufacturers to include bootable Zip drives as drive A: in new systems. (The usual 1.44MB diskette drive becomes drive B:.)

Another great Web tool

In December, I reported on Rank This, a Web site that lets you determine your own site's ranking in Internet search engines. (See "Getting around in Web land with the help of readers' tips," Dec. 8, 1997.)

Reader Chester Bullock writes that Position Agent ( is another great tool. Position Agent simultaneously shows you the rankings of your particular site from 12 search engines. You simply type in your URL and any search terms you think people will use to find you.

When I submitted the term osr2 and the URL, I found that the OSR2 FAQ site mentioned above was prominently referred to in only three of the 12 indexes. This can be crucial feedback for developers who wonder why people are not finding their sites.

Preventing Explorer CD-ROM crashes

Charles Stagg of Huntsville, Ala., reports that the AutoRun feature of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 4.0 CD-ROM crashes if EM_EXEC.EXE from Logitech's mouse driver is in memory. Windows 95 users may get relief by downloading Version 7.51 of the driver from

Brian Livingston is the co-author of several best-selling Windows books, including the most recent Windows 95 Secrets (IDG Books). Send comments to Unfortunately, he cannot answer individual questions.

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