Ask Dr. Bob Your NT Questions - 01 Aug 1996

Q: When I try to install Windows NT 3.51 from three floppies and the CD-ROM, I get the message, "Cannot find MS-DOS partition." This message occurs while I'm installing from the last diskette. I loaded my system successfully, but it crashed, and I had to reload it. I tried to reformat my drive and re-create the partition, with no luck. What's causing this message?

One file, winnt.sif, is usually responsible for this message. When you run winnt.exe or winnt32.exe, the installer creates and places the winnt.sif file on disk two of the boot-disk set.

winnt.sif is a text file containing



winnt.sif instructs NT 3.51 Setup to look for installation files in a temporary directory on the hard drive instead of a CD-ROM. If the winnt.sif file doesn't exist, Setup looks for installation files in the CD-ROM or floppy disk drive. To install from diskette, delete winnt.sif and reinstall NT.

Q: What's Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM) and what does it do?

As mass storage capacities in- crease, managing stored data is harder, especially for backup and fault tolerance. This concern is serious for LANs and WANs.

HSM, which comes from mainframes, assumes you routinely access only 30% of the files on your hard drive. HSM seamlessly and transparently migrates unused files onto slower storage media such as magneto-optical drives and from there to tape. HSM manages storage by deciding where to store data.

HSM has five levels. Level 1 automates file migration and transparent retrieval. Level 2 has multiple predefined thresholds that load balance disk space. It manages at least two layers of storage. Level 3 transparently controls three or more layers of your storage pyramid and automatically adjusts the system to maximize performance. This level supports tape and optical devices. Level 4 does everything that levels 1 through 3 do and lets you establish migration rules. This level also maintains security and network locations. Level 5 manages storage of object-based information (vs. file-based information).

Q: How do I use NT to connect to CompuServe and the Internet?

Basically, for CompuServe, you need to establish a Remote Access Service (RAS) connection, and to access the Internet, use your favorite Web browser. Make sure not to let any applications overwrite the winsock.dll file that NT installs.

For details on connecting to the Internet, see Mark Minasi, "Unlock Your Gateway to the Internet," Windows NT Magazine, June 1996, and "Connecting NT to the Internet," July 1996; and Ed Tittel and Mary Madden, "Easy Access to the Internet," July 1996. For more on RAS, see Steve Scoggins, "Windows NT RAS Scripting," Windows NT Magazine, May 1996.

To configure your connection to CompuServe, start by editing your %systemroot%\system32\ras\switch.inf file, adding these lines to the bottom:



OK=<match> ":"


OK=<match> ":"


OK=<match> ":"



Start RAS, click Add, and fill in the information. The phone number is your local CompuServe number. Turn off Authenticate using current user name and password.

Click Advanced and Modem to make sure all settings are right. Initially, choose 9600 bits per second (bps) or 14400 bps; you can raise this value later. Turn on Hardware Flow Control and Modem Error Control. For now, don't enable modem compression (you can set it later). Click OK.

Select Network, and enable Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP); don't select Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP). In the PPP section, disable all protocols except TCP/IP, and turn on LCP extensions. Click TCP/IP Settings..., and set the value to Server Assigned IP Address. Finally, turn on Use specific name server addresses.

The default Domain Name System (DNS) address is (, and the backup is ( For information about DNS, see Spyros Sakellariadis, "Configuring and Administering DNS," on page 93. Turn on Use VJ header compression and Use default gateway on remote network, and click OK twice to get back to the main settings.

Click Security. Make sure it's set to accept any authentication. Set the Before dialing script to (none). Set the After dialing script to CompuServe--Internet (this setting corresponds to the section you added to switch.inf).

Close RAS, and start the remote server. Open RAS again. Select the CompuServe entry, and click Dial. When the authentication box appears, enter in the Domain field, and leave the others blank. Click OK.

You'll get messages about what's happening: Dialing, Postconnecting through CompuServe..., Verifying user name and password..., and Registering your computer on the network. If you get an error such as Disconnected by the remote machine, let the modem automatically redial. Sometimes, you need a few tries to get a good connection.

When you finish accessing CompuServe and the Internet, go to the Remote Access program and click Hang Up. Disconnect every time to avoid additional connect charges. Click Edit, and turn on Authenticate using current user name and password. The program will remember you are part of the domain and stop prompting for your username and password, which your computer stores in the switch.inf file. (If the authenticate statement doesn't work, turn it off.)

Q: I installed Service Pack 4, and now my CD-ROM drive doesn't work. What happened?

The atapi.sys file in Service Pack 4 is causing the problem. atapi.sys is part of the EIDE specification and addresses storage devices such as CD-ROMs. Copy atapi.sys from your previous service pack (or the NT distribution disk if you haven't installed other packs) over the existing file on your system.

Q: NT seems very cache sensitive. I'm trying to maximize performance on a limited budget, so how do I determine the proper amount of on board cache?

I've seen NT fail to run 32MB of RAM with only 128KB of cache. Current specifications are that 256KB of cache will handle 256*256, or up to 64MB of RAM. For servers and workstations, I recommend at least 512KB of cache.

Q: (This tip comes from Jerold Schulman.) How do you give a nonadministrator the right to schedule jobs?

Run Registry Editor, and go to the key hkey_local_machine\system\currentcontrolset\control\lsa3. From the Edit menu, choose AddValue, and add

ValueName: SubmitControl


Data: 00000001

Base : hex

Reboot your system.

If this sequence doesn't work, start the Registry Editor and go to hkey_local_machine\system\currentcontrolset\services\schedule. From the Security menu, choose Permissions. Set the Access Type for Full Control on the subkey for the accounts that you want to use the AT command. Stop and restart the Schedule service in the Control Panel Services applet.

Q: Will NT 4.0 use High-Performance File System (HPFS)?

Unfortunately, no. However, a workaround makes NT 4.0 use HPFS. Copy the file pinball.sys from the NT 3.51 distribution media, and place it in %systemroot%\system32\drivers.

Run Registry Editor, and go to key hkey_local_machine\system\currentcontrolset\services\pinball. Add

ErrorControl: REG_DWORD: 0x1

Group: REG_SZ: Boot file system

Start: REG_DWORD: 0x1

Type: REG_DWORD: 0x2

Reboot your system.

Q: How do I set environmental size in NT? I've tried adding /E:2048 /p in config.nt, and it doesn't work:

Your approach is correct, but the syntax is not. Try adding Shell=%SystemRoot%\system32\ /E:2048 /p

Q: Can you explain the syntax in boot.ini?

boot.ini is the syntax for RISC machines. Unlike RISC machines that map drive locations in BIOS, Intel-based machines use boot.ini. The basic syntax is controller type--disk--rdisk--partition--path.

NT 3.5 lists all controllers as multi and addresses the drives via Int13. NT uses the SCSI terminology only if you disable the controller BIOS, have dual channel cards, or have multiple controllers.

If you use SCSI, the value you entered is the number of the bus. For example, if you have two 2940s in a system, NT assigns one the value 0 and the other the value 1. To boot from the former, the syntax is scsi(0); the latter is scsi(1). With the SCSI nomenclature, the disk() value is the drive's SCSI ID. Although the rdisk() value is usually 0 or 1 for multi, you don't use this value at all for SCSI. The partition information is the partition on the hard drive where you installed NT. The following is an example of how to install NT on the second partition of a SCSI ID3 drive:

scsi(0)disk(3)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINNT35="Windows NT Server Version 3.51"

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(2)\WINNT35="Windows NT Server Version 3.51"

Q: I installed NT, and now I can't scan documents, write CDs, or work with 35mm slides. What happened?

Your device drivers probably don't work under NT. Until recently, finding device drivers for connecting and using document scanners, CD-ROM writers, and slide scanners under NT was difficult. Several NT device drivers are now appearing, so check with your peripheral manufacturer.

You can scan with NT. HP scanners work well; I've used them since NT 3.1. Thanks to the TWAIN32 standard, other scanners also work well in NT. Epson scanners with their Adaptec cards work in NT.

To write CDs, I use a Sony 920s CD-ROM writer with NT 3.51 and Easy-CD Pro for Windows 95. Sony recommends an Adaptec 1542 card; I use a 2742 that works fine. If you have NT on CD, you can copy the files to a hard drive, add your drivers, and make a new CD.

Regarding the slide scanner, to use the Nikon Super Coolscan LS-1000 with an Adaptec 1510 in NT, install EZ-SCSI 4.0 (4.0d is available on a CD, but 4.0e is available as an upgrade), using the defaults in the setup program. Connect and turn on the LS-1000 because setup automatically scans for host adapters and SCSI devices. After setup, reboot. Install the Nikon Scan software, and start the Nikon Control program. The scanner will work only with a 16MB file (probably the result of the ISA controller). With Photoshop 3.05, you can use the TWAIN32 file and scan at high resolutions. Select the TWAIN32 Source, and select Nikon TWAIN Source before Acquiring in TWAIN32.

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