Log in ....Tribune

Dot.ComLatest in ITFree DownloadsOn hardware

Monday, July 16, 2001

Error warning? Elementary, Dr Watson
Vipul Verma

THERE is nothing more annoying in computers than an error in Windows that forces you to close down your application. At times you may lose your critical data due to these errors and above all, it surely causes a lot of inconvenience. A computer is an intelligent machine and even the slightest problem in it is reflected in the form of error. These errors could be mild to massive and can translate the same in terms of its effect.

Normally, we do not realise the gravity of these errors and often ignore them, till the time they erupt in the form of a big problem. Then we gear ourselves up to troubleshoot. Contrary to this, if an error is dealt with at the beginning itself, it will not affect your work. Computers give sufficient warnings and indications before crashing telling us that something is wrong and needs attention.

The most explicit warning for the errors in Windows is being given by Dr.Watson, though even on these warnings, the user ignores and restarts the application, which he is forced to close down due to error. The warnings given by Dr Watson can figure out what ails your computer. It not only diagnoses problems, but also intercepts errors from your software and prescribes a course of action. It is a good idea to keep Dr Watson on alert when you work on computer, as you would be saved from bigger troubles.


However, Dr Watson does not load by default and thus you will have to load it manually when you start your computer. The way to load Dr Watson is simple. Go to your Windows System folder and open Dr Watson (drwatson.exe) program. This will load Dr Watson. You can even put this file in Windows startup directory, to load it automatically every time Windows starts up.

As far as errors are concerned, the most common errors reported by users are related to scandisk and disk defrag. Though these errors are small yet they can create big trouble as they mean that something is beginning to go wrong in your system. Normally, these errors could be in the following form. If your system gives memory error while running defrag, then this error needs attention as it could be caused by bad cache RAM on the motherboard. As a solution to this problem, you will normally have to replace the motherboard or at least the cache module if your board uses one. So, you can see that this small error could even represent fatal motherboard problems.

The other type of scandisk problem is common and a lot of persons experience it often. Under this problem, scandisk is interrupted that causes it to restart. This error is normally caused by MS Office Fast Find feature, which is if writing to the disk can cause scandisk to restart.

Thus, if you are facing this problem, then you can disable the Fast find option and troubleshoot this problem. To disable Fast Find option, Click on Start>Settings>Task Bar and Start Menu. This will open the Task Bar and Start Menu option Window on your computer screen. Now click on the Advanced tab and then open Programs/Startup. Right click on the Fast Find and select delete from the drop down menu. This will disable the Fast find option and will also solve your problem. However, if you regularly use Fast find option, then you may not like to delete it. In this case, the best possible option is to run scan disk from the DOS prompt. However, for running scandisk from the DOS prompt you will have to restart your computer and hit F8, immediately before the Windows starts loading and choose the option of DOS prompt. This will open the DOS prompt and after changing your directory at the root, you can give the SCANDISK command to run it. If you wish to scandisk any specific drive only then you can give the command Scandisk C: or the drive letter you wish to scan.

In some of the cases, Scandisk may also restart without finishing if your screen saver is not disabled. As Scandisk will restart whenever the screensaver kicks in. However, in some cases, Scandisk may go back from a particular point, that is from 43 per cent or so then this is normal and could happen sometimes. Though it is not necessary that whenever you run Scandisk, it will loop back from the same point yet sometimes it happens due to the non-moveable block on your hard disk, which scandisk runs into.

Scandisk thus makes a loop and goes back to rearrange programs to fit the non-moveable block into the area available. But all said and done, the idea of running Scandisk from the good old DOS mode is still good and effective. Normally, we underestimate the power of DOS and do not utilise it to our interest. Those who are aware of DOS commands still swear by its convenience. People normally feel that DOS is passé and has no relevance in today’s world of computing. However this may not be true. Using DOS commands you can add a lot of power to your working. Some of the powerful yet lesser known DOS commands are:

1) ATTRIB: The command is short for ATTRIB -a -h -r - s *.* It removes all attributes of a file.

2) DIR ...: This command lists all directories that do not have extensions. However in Windows 9X, this command will list the contents of the directories previous to the directory currently in.

3) FDISK /MBR: This command recreates the Master Boot Record.

4) FDISK /Q: This command prevents fdisk from booting the system automatically after exiting fdisk.

5) FDISK /STATUS: This command shows you the current status of your hard drives.

6) FORMAT /AUTOTEST: This command formats the hard drive without any prompting.

7) FORMAT /BACKUP: This command resembles the one mentioned earlier i.e. FORMAT /AUTOTEST, however it will ask you for a volume label.

8) FORMAT /Z:n: This command used with FDISK supporting FAT32, used to specify the cluster size in bytes where n is multiplied by 512.

9) MEM /A or /ALL: This command adds a line into the MEM command tells the available space in HMA.

10) SET DIRCMD=0: This command will hide all directories. However these directories will still be accessible. Now when you wish to get these directories back, you will have to put TRUENAME before a file and this will display the whole directory where it exists.

11) VER /R: This command tells you the Revision and if DOS is in HMA.Thus DOS has its own relevance and can prove quite effective in certain cases like Formatting etc.