Network: HelpLine: The cost of conversion

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I HAVE been trying to optimise the speed of my Internet connections by installing Windows 98, which I thought would make the most of the MTU values. I converted to the FAT32 protocol. The software should have interrogated and warned me that this action would disable a number of drivers, and is irreversible. Now my modem driver disks are rejected, so I'm compelled to use the standard 33.6 Microsoft driver. My back-up disks are all in Windows 98 format. Apart from starting from a scrubbed disk and reinstalling Windows 95, is there some magic software that will take me back to where I was? Or is there some other way out?

Unfortunately, conversion to the FAT32 File System is indeed irreversible unless you took a back-up of your Windows 95 system before you installed Windows 98. Microsoft's latest OS does, I believe, offer you one or two brief warnings on the perils of implementing the new file system, but these could be far more visible.

The only way out of your predicament is to reformat your hard disk drive using the MS-Dos disks and reinstall the previous operating system from the upgrade CD. Be aware that there are various different versions of the Windows 95 upgrade disk, not all of which will install from MS-Dos.

Once you're back up and running, the first thing you should do is take a back-up of the clean Windows 95 system in case of any future disasters. If you're tempted by Windows 98 again, think about installing the new OS without converting to the FAT32 file system, as this does not offer that much of a performance boost, and Windows 98 can still be uninstalled if it is not used.

Alternatively, think about a dual boot utility that allows you to partition your hard disk. One such utility is UpgradeAID 98 from Synchronis, which allows you to to install Windows 98 while keeping your Windows 95 configuration intact.

I HAVE recently upgraded my version of Internet Explorer to the latest version, and have also upgraded Windows 95 to Windows 98. Since doing this I get some extremely irritating "sound effects" with Windows Explorer and IE4, and cannot find a way to stop them. There is a "click" when I click on a folder in the left-hand pane of Windows Explorer, and a "clunk" when the contents of the folder are displayed in the right-hand pane. A similar thing happens with IE4. How do I get rid of them, please?

This is a feature of Windows which allows sounds to be associated with events, and is quite simple to change. Go to the Control Panel (you'll find this under "Settings" on the Start Button) and open the Sounds icon. Here is a list of events and their associated sound. Move down the list until you find "Windows Explorer", with a list of events just below it. Click on each event and change the associated sound to "None", and you'll find that the noises will go away.

WHILE USING Defrag and, on one occasion, Norton's Disk Doctor (NDD), I have found interminable delays caused by what the programs alleged was the drive resetting itself. NDD explained this as due to the interference of another program. I thought I had exited all before using either. This has occurred with both Windows 95 and 98 when using Defrag. Why does the drive reset itself, and what can be done to prevent it?

Some disk defragmentation tools will restart from scratch if they detect another program is accessing the disk during the process. The most common culprit for this is Find Fast, a component of Office 97. You can remove this temporarily by pressing the Ctrl, Alt and Del keys (be very careful to press them together only once) to get the "Close Program" dialog. Select Find Fast and press the End Task button. It will be removed from memory until you restart your PC.

Send questions to Helpline, Network, The Independent, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL or e-mail them to network@ with Helpline in the subject field.

Daniel Robinson is technical editor of `PC Direct' magazine.