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The Microsoft® Windows 9x/NT (Win32) FAQ ver 1.02e93.OSR2.3899.

Prelude and Disclaimer.

    This document contains only the most common questions asked to us by our valued customers.  Most of them come to us over our tech support lines and from user e-mail.  Windows is is a registered trademark of Microsoft® corp.  Every alphanumeric character in this FAQ( Frequently Asked Questions) is owned by Microsoft.  You are not permitted to copy, print, or reproduce this file in any way.  In general, though, Windows will not allow your printer to function properly, so that is a wasted statement.  But as aforementioned, every alphanumeric character used in this file is registered Microsoft property, so we must drag the text on in order to ensure that our rights are protected.  If you copy any one of the characters used in this file for any reason, Microsoft is entitled to a modest royalty.  It is for this reason that we say the following...

1 - I can't seem to boot up into Windows.  What is wrong?

    This is inordinately common.  If Windows fails to boot up, try rebooting by any means possible.  We recommend first trying a "warm boot"  and resorting only finally to a "cold boot."  A warm boot is performed by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del and/or going into the Shut Down menu and choosing "Shutdown and Restart."  A cold boot is performed either by hitting the "reset" button or powering down and powering up of your computer.  Make sure your hands are cold when doing this or the reboot may fail.  If Windows still fails to boot, try entering the Control Panel and search for any problems.
    If this does not work, then you must hit F8 during the boot sequence and choose "The mother of all misnomers."  In some builds of Win32 systems, it is called "Safe Mode."
    If it STILL fails to boot, then you are left with no other alternative than to buy a new computer because you broke your current one.

2 - Windows keeps freezing up.  What do I do?

    If your keyboard and/or your mouse does not respond, hit Ctrl+Alt+Del or click the start button and choose "Shut Down."

NOTE from the author : This particular one is NOT a joke -- Microsoft actually DID have this answer listed with the lockups question.  No kidding.  OK, so they word it more subtly than I, but read it enough times and it's about as subtle as a bulldozer.  To add to that, it is very common for the tech support agents to give the same answer.

3 - Why are some of my virus scanners detecting "WIN.COM" as infected by a virus?

    It is not really possible for WIN.COM to be infected by any virus.  The reason your virus scanner is detecting it is because WIN.COM contains code that could potentially cause damage to your system, thus giving it some virus-like characteristics.  WIN.COM is NOT a virus nor is it infected by a virus.  So if your hard drive crashes or files start getting corrupted at random, you can rest assured that it is Windows and NOT a virus causing the damage.

4 - I have a 386 with 4 MB RAM, but Win95 isn't running.  MS says that's enough, so what's wrong?

    Many journalists will tell you that our claim regarding 386 w/ 4 MB RAM was pure bulls--t.  This is not true.  Win95 requires a 32-bit processor and the Intel 386 is a 32-bit processor.  WIN.COM plus all the .INI files and all the .SYS files amount to less than 4 MB, so you won't need more than 4 MB of RAM.  If it does not run, then your mistake was probably the one of trying to run a program.

5 - Why aren't my old Win 3.1 programs running under Win32?

    This has to do with the structure of coding in the two operating systems (inasmuch as Win 3.1 was an OS).  Windows 3.1 code was poorly written, bloated 16-bit code.  Thus, Win 3.1 programs are 16-bit code.  Win32 systems are all poorly written, bloated 32-bit code that has been designed to perform like 8-bit code.  This can be proven in the benchmarks.  You can clearly see that your Win32 system's speed is on par with your 8-bit Nintendo or Sega Master System.  The purpose of this type of development is added speed.  32-bits and 8-bits average out to 20 bits.  Thus, it is like having a 20-bit system.  This allows your 16-bit Windows 3.1 programs to run 25% faster.  However, some Win 3.1 programs were not written to handle that immense level of speed, and they will often fail as a result.

6 - Is there anyway that I can develop my own Win32 applications?

    Absolutely.  If you have the inordinate amount of money required, you can purchase a copy of any of the following utilities to write your own programs...     Or, for twice the cost of the 3 products put together, you can get Microsoft® Visual Studio Apartment Time-Share which appears to integrate all three of them into one product while still keeping each interpreter separate.  If you want to actually compile programs, well, tough.  These programs are interpreters.  This allows us to force people to buy them if they want to use ANY third-party software.  We at MS advise against using 3rd-party software because it wasn't written by Microsoft.

7 - What is this Plug-n-Play thing?  Does it really work?

    Plug-n-Play is the term given to the ability of a component to be recognized and burned into the memory of a machine.  A Plug-n-Play device is immediately recognized to exist by your Win32 OS.  Then, despite the fact that the device is recognized by the Operating System, it becomes necessary to install drivers.  Note, though, that the name only refers to PLUG-n-Play.  Thus, we advise against unplugging anything.  Plug-n-Play works just fine on UNIX platforms, so why not in Windows?

8 - Why can't I reach the Tech Support hotline?

    The first commandment of the software industry is "Help the users to help themselves."  At Microsoft®, we've perfected the fulfilling of this commandment.  Our Tech Support agents, while active, made sure that they proved absolutely useless if not detrimental.  This forces you, the user, to help yourself in the face of computer adversity.  Recently, we have extended the hand of aid even further.  As of mid-1999, we will opt to serve our customers better by discontinuing Tech Support.

9 - Why is there still the 640k conventional and xxxxk Extended?  I thought Win32 was not dependent on DOS...

    We at MS feel that no code could possibly be useless.  Only people are.  And so, we have a credo that no code ever be dropped out.  It may or may not be used, but it must remain.  Win32 systems are not dependent on DOS in the same sense that Windows 3.1 was, but is dependent on DOS in the sense that the core code is still MS-DOS.  One may expect an incompatibilty between the 16-bit code of DOS and the 32-bit code of Windows.  Multiple Sclerosis... uh... Microsoft solves this issue by inundating the Windows shell with inordinately poor performance.  This allows the two shells to work synchronously, giving smooth operation.  Sometimes, though, your machine may experience the unfortunate disaster of bursts of good performance.  In such cases, said synchronization falls to pot and your machine is bound to crash.

More notes from the Author : The "no dropping out code" rule is VERY much true.  In fact, the sum of code from ALL versions of MS-DOS 5.0(at least) and beyond are sitting dormantly in your Windows.  Secondly, the "Multiple Sclerosis" thing is just a pun on "MS."

10 - Are there any Y2K dangers in Windows?  And how do I fix them?

    First off, the Y2K problem does pose a threat to Windows.  You can solve those problems that are exclusively associated the Year 2000 by acquiring the following software.

        - Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 or later
        - Microsoft Office -- make sure the vexatious Office Assisstant is kept ON.
        - Microsoft's Money ... the " 's " is a typo... REALLY!!  I'm NOT LYING!!!

    There is no substitute.  You MUST buy all these programs if you want to get away from the Y2K bug.  Granted, your machine will still frequently crash and be destroyed many times over throughout the Year 2000.  However, these failings are not due to the Y2K bug.  Those are problems that would happen anyway in any given year.  We at MS refer to this as the Every Year Bug or the Y*.* Bug.

Another lil' note : The IE4 thing is real.  To solve Y2K problems in WinNT, you need to download Internet Explorer 4.01 Service Pack 1... As well as a few other things that don't quite come to mind.  Talk about dirty pool!!!

11 - Is there anything that can be done about Windows' shortcomings?

    Yes and No.  You can do nothing.  We at Microsoft can, but will not for fear that it might constitute competence in our programming staff.  Once we become competent, we can no longer compete with other developers.  So we defy that by preventing other competitors from competing with us.
    You can try with all your might to fix the problems yourself, but you will fail.  Even if you collect all 7 Dragonballs, the wish to have a properly working computer running Windows is beyond the Eternal Dragon's power.  It does not matter if they're the Earth, Namek, or Black-Star Dragonballs.  Bill Gates is a more powerful being than any of the Dragons.

More notes : I just HAD to say that Dragonball thing... I think it fits even if it IS delving into something outside of software. ^_^

12 - Why do I so frequently get the message "This program has performed an illegal operation..."?

    There are a great many programs that are written to be self-sufficient and not dependent on Windows-provided functions.  Often, they use functions and routines that are well-written and efficient rather than making calls to their inefficient proprietary Microsoft-made equivalents.  These routines have been designated as "illegal operations."  While they are not illegal in the sense that a law is being broken, they are illegal in the sense that there ought to be a law against it.  Since these programs have their own functions to do things that would otherwise be supplied in Win32 SDK's, they send a message that Windows is  not very important.  But you know that Windows IS important.  Your machine won't funtion without it. subliminal message : Buy Windows.  Buy Windows.  Pay double or triple the MSRP if you must, but buy Windows.  They might even function properly, which is even MORE dangerous to our self-vindicating cause.  Thus, Windows makes sure to halt these well-written software packages.  If you wish to do away with them, you must switch over to Microsoft-produced counterparts.  If there is no Microsoft-produced counterpart, then you shouldn't have been using that program in the first place.

13 - I have a friend who says there are better OS'es than Win32...  Is he/she crazy?

    No, your friend's not crazy.  He/she is simply one of those oldschool purists who still believes that software should be tight, efficient, well-maintained, well-supported, and robust.  That era is long dead -- Windows was neither well-written, well-maintained, well-supported, nor robust even in the 80's.  (oops... y2k bugfix... 1980's)  Thus, Windows was far ahead of its time.  In a day when efficiency was paramount, Microsoft had the vision to look ahead to the days when proper programming would be in the dumpster.  And we're adjusting to the changing times by making sure that our software becomes less efficient, less stable, and less reliable over the years.
    There is a small minority of people who stick to that ordinance of well-written code, but they are just people who refuse to accept that times change.  Windows is just too sophisticated an OS for those who refuse to keep up.  Such people probably ARE better off with properly coded OS'es like Unix or OS/400 and such.

14 - I had problems with data loss from crashes in Win 3.1.  Are they fixed in Win32?

    Absolutely.  We've all had cases where we're working on a document and the machine freezes.  All of a sudden, hours of work is down the toilet and you'll just have to start over again.  We at Microsoft feel your pain.  In Win32 systems, the crashes come so often and so quickly that data loss is minimized.  No longer will you lose hours and hours of work.  At the very worst, you'll lose minutes!

15 - I heard somewhere that the abbreviation MS is just a fix of a typo -- OS.  Is this true?

    We've heard this one, too.  OS is supposed to stand for Operating System.  But most people will tell you that Windows should be marked as an MS : a Malfunctioning System.  But in reality, this statement is little more than a phrase developed by people who are familiar with Windows and have used it for years.  And while it may be based on some truth, truth has nothing to do with everyday life.  Microsoft DOES.

16 - When I installed my Win32 system, all my old OS/2 apps vanished.  What happened?

    Microsoft was originally working with IBM during the OS/2 Warp project, but left mid-way taking all the code with us when we went to develop Win95.  We are pretty familiar with the way OS/2 and its apps are written.  First off, OS/2 apps have certain signatures that make them very noticeable.  Secondly, OS/2 apps are not written exactly the same as Win32 apps.  That's not good because it causes incompatibility issues.  While we could have solved the incompatibility issues ourselves, it was really IBM's responsibility to make that happen because Windows 95 was released months later than OS/2 Warp.  It is important for the industry to follow the path laid out by Microsoft.  Any other way would be bad for your computer and bad for the global economy.

17 - Why can't Microsoft make a stable, reliable, efficient, and powerful OS?

    It requires a lot of work and manpower on our part, which would also mean having to pay our programmers more money.  Our money is far more important than your money.  However, that's the least of it.
    Such an operating system would be damaging to your computer.  If you had a machine that was using its resources to the fullest, never froze, and ran like that for good long time, that computer is being destroyed by the moment.  When the machine freezes and has to be rebooted, it allows your computer to have a rest period.  When you have code in an OS that deliberately wastes time rather than efficiently managing threads and resources, the computer frequently gets to "take a breather," so to speak.  Any computer that runs for many years is also bad, because you will be working it to the bone.  It's best to replace your computer when it's still running really well.  Plus, you get a tax deduction if it's for a business.  It's very important not to pay much at all in income taxes, because more of your money should go to Microsoft than to the IRS.

18 - If I'm not pleased with Windows, can I get my money back?

    ......................... Next question, please.

19 - Windows looks as if it was created for the computer illiterate.  Is there a Microsoft OS out there for people who actually know what they're doing?

    No.  But you needn't fret.  Windows will never have a feel of being condescending in the long run.  Windows is so loaded with bugs that cause grand-scale problems that mysteriously appear and disappear without notice and will randomly cause inexplicable damage that came from no identifiable source and will be so utterly confusing that you will ultimately feel like the computer illiterates for whom Windows was made.
    Numerous bugfixes exist, but they are available only to Microsoft executives and not to the public.  This allows Microsoft to make you feel like an even bigger idiot when you see everybody else with working versions of Windows and you're still struggling to get little things working properly.  Microsoft also swings deals with a few local repair technicians by giving them patches that allow them to temporarily run bug-free versions of Windows so they can fix your computer with ease.  This adds insult to injury by showing that local yokels are able to do things that you cannot even within Windows.  In the end you are no more computer literate than those you dub 'illiterate.'

20 - You wouldn't answer before, so I'll ask again...  Can I get my money back if I don't like Windows?

    No one can ever get his or her money back if you think about it.  You put specific bills with specific serial numbers and dates on the coins and such in your bank accounts.  When people claim do give you your money back, they're just giving the same AMOUNT of money.  It's not the same money you paid with.  And it's not the same money that went into the bank!  You're not really getting your money back.

21 - That doesn't answer my question.

    What you said just now isn't a question either, so there's no point in talking to you anymore...