Q. Is it possible to remove an icon from my Windows 95 desktop? I have TCP/IP networking installed on my machine solely to access the Internet. But the PC is a standalone machine, not part of a normal network, so the network neighbourhood icon on the desktop is superfluous. Unfortunately, it has so far resisted my attempts to remove it.
A. The short answer is yes. There are, in fact, several ways to do it. The easiest way is to download the Tweak UI control panel applet from the Microsoft Web site - it's part of the Power Toy suite of freebie utilities. As you might guess from its name, this user interface tweaking utility allows you to do many things to the Windows 95 interface. One of these is an option to let you remove "permanent" desktop icons that are otherwise hard to remove, except by directly editing the registry.
Alternatively, check out the system policy editor on the Windows 95 CD-ROM (you'll find it in the admin/apptools/poledit folder). After you've installed it, select file, open registry and double-click on "local user". Navigate down the "tree" that appears to local user shell restrictions.
Under the shell restrictions, check the "hide network neighbourhood" entry. Click OK and save the changes you've just made to the Registry.
Q. I've got several IAP accounts and I like to use different browsers with each. However, I can only specify one dialup networking connection at a time under Windows 95. So this means that regardless of which IAP's browser I fire up, Windows 95 will automatically try to initiate a dialup connection to the default IAP rather than the one specific to the IAP. Is it possible to configure a browser to use a particular dialup networking connection?
A. In the case of both Internet Explorer and Navigator, Windows 95 only allows you to have a single default DUN connection. If you open control panel and click "the Internet" icon and select "properties" and then click on the "connection" tab, the pull-down menu here allows you to specify the default DUN connection to use. But it's just one connection and no matter what browser you fire up, it'll always fire up this connection - multiple connection options aren't entertained.
There are several workarounds. One is just procedural - get into the habit of initiating the DUN connection first and then firing up your chosen browser. This could be simplified by making short-cuts to your various DUN connections and placing them on the desktop, thus making them quicker/easier to get at. A second alternative is to specify a different default connection with each browser, say, IAP "A" for Internet Explorer, IAP "B" for Navigator. Yet another way is to write a batch file that first makes the connection and then launches the browser. The syntax for dialup networking is: rundll32.exe rnaui.dll,RnaDial connection_name.
Q. My IAP still uses SLIP. I can see how to set up a PPP connection under Windows 95 - how do I set up a SLIP connection?
A. The alternative to PPP, SLIP, isn't installed by default when you installl TCP/IP and dialup networking. The software you require is tucked away in the (/Admin/apptools/slip) folder on your Windows 95 CD-ROM. Open control panel and click "add/remove programs". Select the Windows setup tab and click the "have disk" button. Point to the above folder on the CD-ROM and highlight the Rnaplus.inf file. Hit OK until you see a program selection for the Unix Connection For Dialup Networking. Check the box and hit install. Hit OK to return to the control panel. Configuring SLIP is similar to that of PPP. Don't forget to set your server type to SLIP. Note that Windows 95 SLIP implementation is prone to be slow - it actually consists of two protocol stacks, Microsoft's TCP/IP stack and a remote access stack developed by Shiva, which incurs some extra overhead.
Q. I'm used to dealing with 16-bit WinSocks such as Trumpet WinSock, which are highly configurable and I can tweak them to my heart's content. But what about the Windows 95 WinSock settings? How can I set values for things like MTU and RWIN?
A. There's no interface for adjusting these and other PPP or TCP/IP values and you'll have to delve into the Registry to do this I'm afraid. You can use RegEdit for this but always treat the Registry with respect and take the precaution of taking backup copies of both SYSTEM.DAT and USER.DAT, the Registry data files. They are hidden system files located in the /WINDOWS folder.
MTU and RWIN are hidden in two different places in the Registry. MTU can be set for each protocol adaptor binding; RWIN is set globally. For MTU, open the registry to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/System/ CurrentControlSet/Services/Class/NetTrans/.
Figure out which 000n entry is the TCP/IP protocol for your DUN connection by looking at the other values, then edit that entry. Create a new string variable called MaxMTU and enter your value. 1500 is the default; some terminal servers work better with 1002 and many recommend 1006; the lowest you should ever need is 552. In general, use the highest MTU your machine can handle without overruns.
For RWIN, open the registry to: HKEY_LOCAL_ MACHINE/System/CurrentControlSet/Services/VxD/MSTCP/. Create a new string variable called "Default-RcvWindow" with a value four times (MTU + 24).
There are no hard and fast rules for the best settings for these parameters. It all depends on the type of connection you have. SLIP, PPP and CSLIP all require different settings. Also, your Internet provider may require that you use certain values, but check this with them.
Q. Is it true that Windows 95 can't connect to some sites involving more than 30 hops?
A. Actually, the figure is 32, but the question is broadly correct. The number of hops taken to access a site can be ascertained by running a little DOS command line utility that comes with Windows 95, TRACERT.EXE. This gives basic performance information about a site connection, listing the number of nodes passed through, and the response times in milliseconds.
Normally, the default of 32 hops ought to be sufficient, but such is the growth of the Internet it won't be long before hops in excess of 32 become fairly common. If you find that you can't access some sites, it will be necessary to increase the Windows 95 "TTL" values.
Once again, we have to resort to the Registry Editor, RegEdit change this default value. Open RegEdit and drill down till you come to: HKEY_ LOCAL_MACHINE/System/CurrentControlSet/Services/VxD/MSTCP. Create a string variable here called DefaultTTL and give it a value of, say, 128. This extends your maximum "hops" to 128.
Q. Will Trumpet and other Windows 3.1x TCP/IP stacks work under Windows 95?
A. Probably is the short answer - you can run 16-bit TCP/IP stacks under the 32-bit Windows 95, but on balance, it's probably not advisable. However, it is tempting - the popular shareware TCP/IP stack from Peter Tattam, Trumpet will run and most reports say it's actually significantly faster than Windows 95's own 32-bit TCP/IP stack. However, TCP/IP stacks designed for Windows 3.1x, even those based on 32-bit VxDs, will still only support 16-bit TCP/IP clients. So you can't run 32-bit versions of Navigator or Internet Explorer.
Another problem concerns the multiplicity of Winsock files that will litter your hard disk if you use third-party TCP/IP software. Windows 95 only allows one WINSOCK.DLL in your path at a time. However, you can often relocate the other 16-bit to directory local to the dialer program. If you don't do this, the next time Windows 95 restarts it will detect then "reject" the alien 16-bit Winsock, rename it and restore the original 32-bit Microsoft version to it's rightful location. You can only avoid this by copying your preferred Winsock.dll back into c:/Windows and set its read-only attribute, either via the files Properties dialog or by using the DOS ATTRIB +r command.
Q. Is there a difference between the dialer shipped with the Plus! add-on for Windows 95 Pack and normal Windows 95 dialup scripter?
A. Yes there is. The dialup scripter included with the Plus! Pack supports useful features like branching, intelligent retries and variables. The dialup networking scripter included with Windows 95 is a plain vanilla version and only supports simple "linear" scripts. Scripts written for the Plus! version won't run on the plain vanilla version, but Microsoft didn't document the differences. As a result many users thought the two versions were the same and couldn't work out why their scripts wouldn't run.
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