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June 10, 1996

Delve into Win95 kernel with team's KernelToys toolset

I've written several times -- most recently on May 20 -- about PowerToys, a set of Windows 95 utilities written by some of the shell development team at Microsoft Corp. and distributed free on the Internet. To get a copy and start tweaking the Win95 user interface in ways that are difficult when Windows comes out of the box, set your Web browser to

Not to be outdone, the kernel development team -- responsible for the Win95 internals on top of which all other programs run -- released a few days ago its own KernelToys. This set of tools has a technical bent, which makes it useful to a lot of people who use and maintain the new Microsoft operating system.

With only four specific applets, KernelToys goes for depth rather than breadth and gets you some functionality. It's easy to speculate that such depth could only come from people who worked deep within the heart of Win95.:

  • Keyboard Remap gives you the ability to swap your CapsLock and Ctrl keys through a Control Panel applet. You can also turn your Right Alt and Right Ctrl keys into Menu and Windows keys, just like the keys on the Microsoft Natural Keyboard.

  • Conventional Memory Tracker lets you find out which programs and drivers are using up the lower 640KB of your memory. That's right, Win95 applications do use conventional memory, and when it's exhausted, trouble can result. This tool is quite technical, but that makes it all the more useful if you're willing to study the accompanying text file and learn how to interpret the output.

  • MS-DOS Wizard Tool gives you a new level of control over drivers and commands in your system. You load separate Config.sys and Autoexec.bat files for the various 16-bit programs that need them.

  • The Win95 Time Zone Editor is a tool for those with an interest in daylight-saving time and other time-related policies. You can edit the start and end dates of daylight-saving time, create new time zones, and so on.

    You get Krnltoys.exe (54KB) by setting your Web browser to As with PowerToys, you should create a temporary folder on your hard disk, download the file into this folder, and then double-click the file to expand it. Each subprogram has its setup or install routine, so you'll have to read the accompanying text files to learn the best way to install them. It's a little more work than the average setup routine, but it's worth it.

    Spamdexing the Web

    Surfing the Net has become a real treasure hunt with the latest search engines automatically indexing literally millions of Web pages. But I've heard lately about Web authors "spamming" or "spamdexing" the Web, a subject David Strom, an InfoWorld contributing editor, has written about. Spamdexing means placing numerous repetitive words at the top of one's home page in an attempt to gain it a place in the top 10 sites that a search engine will display for any given search.

    Two Web sites have evaluated the best search engines and have published the results of testing each utility for relevance. Nicholas Tomaiuolo's site ( shows that the engines AltaVista, InfoSeek, and Lycos produced the most relevant matches during 200 searches. Danny Sullivan's Maximized Online Web site ( goes even further with an analysis of every major engine's searching habits. Good stuff.

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

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    Copyright © 1996 by InfoWorld Publishing Company


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