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95 Is Alive

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MS-DOS Program Interface File ( PIF ) Icon
DOS tricks and Utilities

Spread throughout 95 Is Alive are some references to DOS tricks and utilities.
I decided to place them all in one section to make them easier to find and review.
Also included will be instructions on how to launch DOS utilities using a .pif shortcut instead of having to click Start, Run and typing in the utility you want to run.

If you have one to add, e-mail the link at the bottom.

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DOS level cleanup
This tip is for users that are comfortable with DOS commands.  Using windows to empty the Temporary Internet, Cookies, and History folders doesn't really get rid of everything, as the information still remains in "index.dat" files in each folder.  Use DOS level delete/deltree command to permanently remove the old information.  Windows and Internet Explorer will create new empty folders when next used.  Although the image shows it being done in Windows DOS, it can and should be done by booting to a DOS Command prompt.  A printable version of the required commands is available when you click Text.   Be very careful with this one!!
Or, download and install a small executable file named that I made, and run it from your autoexec.bat file and it will do it automatically every time you start your computer.  Instructions are in the readme.txt file included in the download.


Launch NetStat from a shortcut
There is a DOS level utility named NetStat that lives in the Windows folder which can be used to show all of the "Internet connections" your computer is currently using.   It can be launched by opening a MS-DOS window and typing NetStat.  I like to launch mine using a program manager interface or .pif shortcut which I can click from the Start Menu.  Find the file named MS-DOS Prompt and copy it to your desktop.  Then right click on it, click properties and edit the Command line to read: C:\WINDOWS\netstat.exe -an  Make sure you uncheck "Close on exit"


Use TCP/IP ARP to show the connections that don't show using NetStat
This DOS level utility will show the "background" IP addresses your computer is linked to, that don't show using NetStat.  Try this one and you'll be surprised.   A good way to catch "Spyware" and hidden programs.  Make another copy of the shortcut using the procedure mentioned above, and edit the Command line to read: C:\WINDOWS\arp.exe -a
Make sure you uncheck "Close on exit"



Disk Operating System or DOS stuff
When you've been exploring your computer you may have noticed the windows\command folder and that it contains a lot of files that end in .com or .exe.  Most of these are DOS routines that are sometimes used by windows or that can be used at the DOS or Command Prompt level.  You can find out what they do by opening a DOS window, typing the name and following it with the /? switch.  For a complete run down on DOS commands, click Visit and go to



Recover from a failed program installation
Installed a new program and  the computer hangs up and fails to restart.   Restart it in a DOS, also called command prompt mode and use the DOS level delete or deltree command to hopefully delete the corrupt files and restart windows.  The image shows Windows DOS but the commands will work in the basic DOS mode.  Clicking Text will open a printable page of instructions.  Be very careful with this one.


Keep your important info in file you can read and edit with DOS
Open Notepad and make a record of important things you might need to repair your computer, such as the product key, registry import/export commands etc.  If your machine crashes you can open and read the file using the Edit command in DOS.  You can also edit your config.sys, autoexec.bat, and WIN.ini and SYSTEM.ini files in DOS using the Edit command.


Command line switches for DOS level setup
I confirmed the adage "you learn something everyday" when I ran across this while surfing.  The setup command has several useful "switches" which can be used when installing Windows in/from DOS.  Another set of unadvertised Microsoft secrets. Open  will open a page with text you can copy and paste to a Notepad file to save on your computer.


DOS level Registry Backup
With Windows running, click Start, Programs and double click on the MS-DOS Prompt line.   In the panel that opens, after windows type: cd:\ and hit enter to go to the root drive.  Type: regedit /e compact.reg and hit enter. ( this serves a dual purpose ) windows will "export" your registry.  When it's done type CD:\Windows and hit enter and then type: exit and hit enter. You have just backed up your registry.   Regedit /e is the "export" command.


DOS level Registry Restore
Write this down.  If your computer won't boot to windows even in safe mode, and you have the compact.reg file on the C drive do the following.  Boot to the selection screen by tapping the F8 key when you first see "starting windows...," and select: command prompt only.  Type cd:\ and hit enter, type: regedit /c compact.reg and hit enter. It will take a while but when it's done restart the machine. ( The dual purpose is that the imported registry will have "compressed" and removed all of the "blank spaces" )  Regedit /c is the "copy" or import command.

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This page was last updated on January 21, 2020