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September 28, 1998

Microsoft Resource Kit and other goodies on Windows 98 CD-ROM

With the release of Windows 98 in June, Microsoft published a 1,700-page troubleshooting manual called the Windows 98 Resource Kit, which includes a set of utilities on CD-ROM. Most of these utilities are useful under both Windows 98 and Windows NT.

Unfortunately, buying the book -- for $69.95 -- is a budget-buster for many people. The good news is that you don't have to buy the book to get the information or the utilities. Virtually all of this stuff is included for free on the Win98 CD-ROM.

In this column, I will tell you how to install the machine-readable version of the book and a few of the 25 utilities that you might not find by yourself on the Win98 CD.

  • Resource Kit. All of the information from the Resource Kit is contained on the CD in the folder D:\Tools\Reskit (where D: is your CD-ROM drive). The Resource Kit itself is in a file called Rk98book.chm in the \Help subfolder.

    You don't need to install this file to use it. You can simply run Rk98book.chm from the CD-ROM if you want to look up some information. This saves more than 3MB of hard disk space right there. As with any Help file, you still enjoy the capability to search the Resource Kit by word or phrase, something that isn't possible with the printed book.

    If you would prefer to have the Resource Kit on your hard disk for performance reasons, you can simply drag Rk98book.chm from the CD to your C:\Windows\Help folder. Then drag the file onto the Start button, if you like, to create a shortcut.

    If you have lots of disk space, you may want to run the Setup.exe program in the Reskit folder to install the book and its utilities. This setup routine consumes 12MB of space, so I don't recommend it if you just need the online book or one or two utilities. Be sure to read the Reskit\Readme.doc file before installing the book or its utilities.

  • Winset. One of the utilities that will be most useful to NT administrators, as well as Win98 users, is called Winset.exe. This utility sets an environmental variable (such as 1 or 0) that can be detected by, for example, a Visual Basic program or batch file.

    Unlike the old DOS Set command, which works in only one process at a time, Winset operates on the entire Windows global environment. All processes that are started after Winset has run can see the changes it has made in the environment.

    Because the NT log-on processor does not support setting environmental variables in Win98, Winset is a useful tool to set environmental values in NT log-on scripts.

    To install Winset without installing the whole enchilada, simply drag Winset.exe from the Scrpting subfolder to your C:\Windows folder.

  • Windiff. This is a graphical program that can compare two files or folders and report the differences, if any. Previously, we had to use the old DOS FC command.

    To install, simply drag Windiff.exe, Windiff.hlp, and Gutils.dll from the File subfolder to C:\Windows. Other useful tools also located in this subfolder are Textview.exe, which is a fast viewer for text files, and Where.exe, a command-line file finder.

  • TweakUI. A new Win98 version of TweakUI is found in the Powertoy subfolder. TweakUI is a Control Panel applet that is great for tweaking Registry settings. Be sure to peruse the Powertoy\Readme.txt file, then right-click TweakUI.inf and click Install.

I'd like to thank reader G. Wong, who will receive a copy of Windows 98 Secrets.

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

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