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Monday, June 18, 2001

Upgrade me, Windows NT can warn you
Vipul Verma

THE tips and tricks related to computers have always been a hot topic among the computer users. It not only makes the task of day-to-day computer use easier, but it also provides a lot of insight into the computer.

Normally we do not utilise the computer to its full potential and most of the persons opt for upgrading their computers, on a regular basis without even knowing whether there is any need for upgradation or not. To add to the woes, your hardware vendor will always suggest you to upgrade your computer.

Ready for upgrading?

If you use Windows NT, then you need not consult anyone on this critical issue of upgradation as your computer would be able to inform you, whether there is a need to upgrade the processor or not. The method of determining the need of upgradation is quite simple. In your Windows NT, just click on the Start menu and then click on Programs. Now you will see a program menu called Administrative tools. Just click on it and then in the subsequent drop-down window click on Performance Monitor. Now once the add to chart window is opened, press Ctrl + I together to add a counter. In the "Object" dialogue box, set the object to System and "Counter" to "Processor Queue Length" and then click Add. Now use your system as you would normally do and monitor the counter set for "Processor Queue Length". The litmus test is, if the counter is greater than 20 for long periods of time, then this is a possible indication that your system is experiencing delays in performing the queue of operations and is waiting long to process the next set of operations. This reflects a situation, which warrants the upgradation of your processor. The results of this test may not be taken as a benchmark universally as those people, who use their computer for critical purposes may want to upgrade the system for faster performance, thus they could treat the counter value of even 10 as time to upgrade. The value of 20 is basically for all non-critical and general use of computer, which an average computer uses his computer for. This tip is however valid of all the Windows NT users.


Bail out of crash

Windows NT is basically a power operating system, whose features got further enhanced by the launching of Windows 2000. However, there have always been issues related to stability with Windows NT operating system. But contrary to general perception, Windows NT has many features, which add to its stability. One very common problem in case of Windows NT is of system crashing due to change of device driver. Thus if you change the device driver by mistake or deliberately then, this could lead to the crash. The sensitivity of Windows NT is rather high and thus installation of programs, which are not meant for NT, could also crash it. Now in all these situations, you may not be able to restart your Windows NT system. However, if you are stuck up in this kind of a situation, then the bailing out is rather very simple. All you need to do is use the "Last Known Good Control Set" menu, which appears during Windows NT boot up process and appear normally on the blue screen. Using this option you can revert back to the stage immediately before this problem occurred. Actually, Last Known Good Control Set is a set of back up copy of all the system configuration entries of the last time when your computer booted up successfully. However, in the Last Known Good Control Set, you can only go back to the settings, which you had at the last successful boot.

Avoid disconnection

Now letís talk something about the Internet, which is the most common application on computer these days. Normally people complain about too frequent disconnection from the ISP and which is something very annoying for the Internet users. Though there could be several reasons for such disconnection but one common reason for frequent disconnections is the enabled call-waiting feature on the PSTN phone. Normally, in majority of cities, the telephone service provider company provides free phone plus facilities, which includes call waiting also. However, for Net surfing this service should be disabled or stable connectivity to the Internet. Otherwise, whenever someone will call you on your telephone, your Internet connection will drop and would thus cause disconnection. Though in the properties of dial-up networking, there is an option to deactivate the call-waiting feature. But the best way to deal with this situation is to deactivate this feature through your telephone before you dial your ISP. However, if you are not sure about this feature on your telephone, then you can confirm it from your phone company.

Know your IP

Just like you have your telephone number for your land phones, similarly on the Internet, there are IP numbers. IP numbers or the Internet protocol number is a unique address, which is the virtual address on the Internet. This number is important and often is a dynamic number and thus never remains the same and changes each time you connect to your ISP. You can use this number to place a call on the Internet or can even use it for file and data transfer over the Internet. There are some software, using which you can know your IP address easily. However, even without having any software, this task can be accomplished very easily by a simple DOS command. Thus, if you wish to know IP address along with your Ethernet adapter configuration just type ipconfig/all at the DOS prompt. This will give you detailed information about your IP configuration. Typing the above command at the Run menu can alternatively do this.

DOS commands

The new users do not know the power of DOS commands and the old computer users have now started forgetting it. But all said and done, DOS commands are quite powerful and those who use them can tell you about the utility of the same.

There are many simple DOS commands say for example Dir command, using which you can get the detailed information in the format you want. Thus if you wish to explore the contents of C: drive and the D: drive, you can simply do it by giving one single command Dir C: D:. However, if you wish to view them more thoroughly then you can modify it further to Dir C: D:/p. This will list the contents of both these drives page wise in the same order. Now if you wish to get a list of files in the current and sub directories with their full path name, then you can do so by simply giving the command Dir /S /B. For viewing the short i.e. 8.3 DOS file name and the long name of files in the current directory, you can give a simple DOS command Dir /X. If you want to display all files in the current directory including hidden and system files, then you can do so by giving the command Dir /A. Similarly the DOS command Dir /OS, will sort your files by size in ascending order i.e. the smallest file first.