PC Hardware

Windows Configuration

Proper configuration of Windows is critical for optimal performance. There are three methods for managing or changing Windows configuration: Control Panel, Windows Setup, and .INI files.

Control Panel

The primary method for changing the Windows configuration (and the one familiar to most users) is to use the Control Panel. This is a Windows application (found in the Main Program Group) that provides a visual way to make changes.

By selecting icons and using the associated dialog boxes, a user can customize the working environment. The following items can be changed from the Control Panel:

  • Screen colors

  • Other desktop options (such as screen savers and wallpaper)

  • Fonts

  • Printer

  • Keyboard

  • Mouse

  • International settings

  • COM port settings

  • Network settings

  • Date and time

  • Sounds (used by system)

  • Drivers for hardware

  • Multitasking and virtual memory settings

Windows Setup

Windows setup will operate from within Windows if it is already loaded-click the Setup icon in the Main Group. Or it will start from MS-DOS-type SETUP when in the Windows directory. Using setup should be done only by experienced computer users. The results of improper setup can be disastrous-Windows won't run. If this happens, you can use the MS-DOS version of setup. From an MS-DOS prompt, change to the Windows directory and type the command SETUP.

Windows Initialization Files

The third method for modifying Windows configuration is to edit the Windows .INI files. As with the setup method, this should be used only by experienced operators. The Windows .INI files, which are found in the Windows directory of the bootable drive, initialize (configure) everything from device drivers to applications. Windows itself creates at least three .INI files, and any application can create initialization files of its own. Knowing how and what to edit in these files is critical to repairing and optimizing the performance of a computer.

You can use any text editor to edit .INI files. (MS-DOS provides a program for editing text files called EDIT. This program can be run from the MS-DOS prompt.) All .INI files are broken up into logical areas called groups. Each group starts with a line of text, in square brackets, called a group header. Underneath each group are its settings. They are organized as item=settings.

For example, see the following PROGMAN.INI file:

[Settings]
Order= 4 21 13 25 3 8 17 29 27 7 15 6 14 16 10
18 32 23 22 20 11 12 9 19 24 26 28 5 2 30 1
SaveSettings=1
AutoArrange=0
Window=28 22 628 433 1

[Groups]
Group1=C:\WINDOWS\MAIN.GRP
Group2=C:\WINDOWS\ACCESSOR.GRP
Group5=C:\WINDOWS\STARTUP.GRP
Group8=C:\WINDOWS\PROSHARE.GRP
Group13=C:\WINDOWS\LOTUSAPP.GRP
Group14=C:\WINDOWS\DIGITAL.GRP
Group15=C:\WINDOWS\MODERNAG.GRP
Group7=C:\WINDOWS\SOUNDIMP.GRP
Group10=C:\WINDOWS\PHONEBOO.GRP
Group18=C:\WINDOWS\DESIGNCA.GRP
Group20=C:\WINDOWS\ALDUS.GRP
Group12=C:\WINDOWS\APPLICAT.GRP
Group17=C:\WINDOWS\UTILITIE.GRP
Group4=C:\WINDOWS\MICROSOF.GRP
Group6=C:\WINDOWS\LOGITECH.GRP
Group21=C:\WINDOWS\IOMEGA.GRP
Group22=C:\WINDOWS\PARSONST.GRP
Group23=C:\WINDOWS\PHOTOENH.GRP
Group25=C:\WINDOWS\WINZIP.GRP
Group27=C:\WINDOWS\QUICKBOO.GRP
Group29=C:\WINDOWS\ADOBEACR.GRP
Group16=C:\WINDOWS\FAXWORKS.GRP
Group32=C:\WINDOWS\IMS2.GRP
Group3=C:\WINDOWS\NETSCAP0.GRP
Group11=C:\WINDOWS\FIRSTCLA.GRP
Group9=C:\WINDOWS\FAX.GRP
Group19=C:\WINDOWS\PROGRAMS.GRP
Group24=C:\WINDOWS\DESKTOP.GRP
Group26=C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEMTO.GRP
Group28=C:\WINDOWS\DOCUMENT.GRP
Group30=C:\WINDOWS\MULTIMED.GRP

Windows uses two .INI files for configuration: SYSTEM.INI and WIN.INI. The SYSTEM.INI is the Windows version of the MS-DOS CONFIG.SYS file. It initializes all the resources. The WIN.INI file is like the AUTOEXEC.BAT used by MS-DOS. It defines the "personalization" of Windows such as screen savers, colors, fonts, associations, and how resources will interact with applications. The WIN.INI file is also the dumping ground for settings that do not seem to have a home anywhere else. The information stored in these two files holds the secret to operating, optimizing, and troubleshooting Windows. Even though Windows has SYSTEM.INI and WIN.INI, it still uses the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files of MS-DOS for the basic setup of devices and the computer. Windows also needs to use the MS-DOS files to configure the machine so that it (Windows) can run.

Windows 3.x and Windows 95 offer a utility called SYSEDIT.EXE in the Windows\System directory that lets you edit the context on the WIN.INI, SYSTEM.INI, CONFIG.SYS, and AUTOEXEC.BAT files quickly within Windows, using a notepad-like editor.

NOTE
Starting with Windows 95, most of the tasks performed by SYSTEM.INI and WIN.INI are now performed by the Registry.
by BrainBellupdated
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