Stop Those Windows Boot-Up Error Messages

SAN FRANCISCO (07/26/2000) - Every time I turn on my computer, I get an error message saying that a particular file is missing. Once I get past that, Windows loads and runs fine. How do I stop this message from appearing?

Peter Creutz, Saline, Michigan

Start by getting the details. Boot your computer, and have paper and pencil handy. When the error message comes up, write the name of the missing file.

Then press a key and let Windows finish loading.

The first place you should look is the StartUp folder. Select Start* Find*Files or Folders. Find the Named field and enter *.lnk. Then, in the box labeled 'Containing text', enter the name of the missing file (if you're using Windows 95, this field is on the Advanced tab). Next, find the 'Look in' field and enter c:\windows\start menu\ programs\startup. Press to start your search. If your search finds a file, delete it.

If no file turns up, check the system.ini and win.ini files: Select Start*Run, type sysedit, and press to bring up the System Configuration Editor.

From the cascading windows, select the system.ini window, then Search*Find; enter the name of the file, and then press . If you find it, "comment out" the line containing the file by entering a colon (:) at the beginning of the line. (The term "comment out" refers to the programming practice of inserting special characters before lines of text in code to keep such noncode comments visible while at the same time preventing them from being processed.)If you don't find the file in system.ini, go to the win.ini window and search for the file there, commenting it out, as described above, if you find it. If your error message is plain-text DOS, you might also try looking in the config.sys and autoexec.bat windows.

If none of these places bear fruit, it's time to try tinkering with the Registry. But first, back it up. See "Protect Yourself Against Catastrophic Installs" for details (

After you have completed your Registry backup, select Start*Run, type regedit, and press to launch the Registry Editor. Press to bring up the Find dialog box. Then enter the name of the file and press . If you find the name, delete the reference by pressing , then select Yes. Once it's deleted, press to search for it again. When all references to the file have been removed from the Registry, you're not likely to see the error message again.

One Outlook 2000,With In-Boxes For Two

My wife and I both use Outlook 2000 to access different e-mail accounts on the PC we share. How can we have her mail and mine go into separate in-boxes?

Shannon L. Joseph, Indianapolis

The trick is to create a folder that one of you will use as an in-box, then set up a rule to send that person's new mail to that folder. Here's how it's done:

To create the folder, open Outlook 2000 and select File*Folder*New Folder. In the resulting dialog box's Name field, enter an appropriate name, such as Shannon's In-Box. Then press .

Outlook will ask if you want this in the Outlook Bar; click No. A Folder List will appear to the right of the Outlook Bar. Drag the new folder--which will be on that list under the Inbox--to the Outlook Bar and place it directly under the In-Box icon. If you don't want the Folder List visible, select View*Folder List to hide it again.

Now you have to tell Outlook to send your messages to the folder named Shannon's In-Box. Select Tools*Rules Wizard, and click the New button. In the top text window of the new page, select Check messages when they arrive. Click Next. In the next page's top text window, select when received through the specified account. A warning will pop up; click Yes, and don't worry about it.

In the bottom text window, click the word specified. In the resulting dialog box, choose your account and click OK. Then click Next.

Now select move it to a specified folder and click the word specified again.

Select Shannon's In-Box and click OK. Finish the wizard. From now on, your messages will be rerouted to your in-box, while your wife's will go to the original one.

Cut "Shortcut To..."

I don't like the way the names of new shortcuts always begin with 'Shortcut to...' How can I stop Windows from adding these two extra words to every new shortcut I create?

Ray Blackburn, Nuevo, California

if you have installed Tweak UI (formerly part of Microsoft's unsupported

PowerToys), there's an easy way to do this. Select Start*Settings*Control Panel. Double-click Tweak UI, then click the Explorer tab. In the Settings section, uncheck Prefix "Shortcut to" on new shortcuts.

If you don't have Tweak UI, there's a method that sounds like it shouldn't work but does. Open two folders side by side on your desktop: one full of files, the other empty. Right-drag a file to the new folder. At the pop-up menu, select Create Shortcut(s) Here. Now select the new shortcut and press . Then delete the words Shortcut to and press .

Repeat the process, dragging another file to the once-empty folder to create the shortcut, then manually removing the unwanted words. Eventually, usually by the eighth repetition, Windows will create the shortcut without adding the extra verbiage. This is the only case I know where Windows actually seems to learn from experience.

Install Windows 98 Updates When You LikeThe Windows update web page automatically downloads and then installs the upgrades you choose. There are times when this isn't convenient, such as when you have more than one computer or want to save the updates for the next time you reinstall Windows. Is there a way to download the Windows 98 Update files but install them later?

Alex Hrapunov, Goldvein, Virginia

Microsoft designed its Windows 98 Update page, which you can access by selecting Start*Windows Update, for novice users. Unfortunately, this makes it more difficult for the rest of us.

Luckily, Microsoft has provided other Web pages from which you can download the updates. These pages aren't as slick and user-friendly as the default Windows Update page--for instance, they can't filter out the updates you already have--but they let you download the files without having to install them immediately.

For a wizardlike search tool that will help you find the updates you need, go to Among the site's features is the ability to create search profiles for updates based on operating system, component, type, and manufacturer.

The site also allows search filtering by date, title, operating system, manufacturer, and type, as well as by language. You can also search by a specific term and set the maximum number of results to be displayed.

If all you need is a list of downloadable upgrades, go to There, you'll find upgrades categorized as 'critical', 'recommended', 'multimedia', and 'previews'. What you won't find is the option to install the update later.

A Better Way To Empty Windows' Temp FolderI was stung with criticism for my advice on deleting the contents of C:\Windows\Temp every time you boot (see "Empty the Temp Folder Automatically," Readers pointed out, correctly, that I used two DOS commands where the single command line deltree /y c:\windows\temp\ (don't forget that final backslash) would also do the job.

Certain installation programs leave files in the Temp folder, reboot your computer, then use those files to finish the installation. If you empty Temp via autoexec.bat as I stated, the installation won't work.

The solution is to put this deltree command in the StartUp menu, since programs in this menu run only after any such installation routines. Right-click the taskbar and select Properties. Click the Start Menu Programs tab, then the Add button. For the Command line, enterdeltree /y c:\windows\temp\. Click Next. For the rest of the wizard, pick the defaults.

Once you're done with the wizard, select Start*Programs*StartUp, right-click deltree, and select Properties. (If you have Windows 95, right-click Start and select Explore. Navigate to the Programs\StartUp folder, right-click deltree and select Properties there.) Click the Program tab, check Close on exit, and click OK.

Send your questions to We pay $50 for published items.

Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes the syndicated humor column Gigglebytes.

Put Windows to Sleep Fast

Reader Luke Stodola can put Windows 98 into standby mode with just two keystrokes, and now you can, too. Open the Start menu with the key or -, then press N, and everything powers down. Or at least it should.

Some programs and documents disable this function when added to the Start menu.

Even so, you can still go into standby quickly: Press - (or ), then U (or UU-) to open the Shut Down dialog box, and finally T-. Good night, Windows!

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

More about f2Microsoft

Show Comments