Ask Dr. Bob Your NT Questions - 01 Jun 1996

Q: I administer a five-workstation network using Windows NT 3.5 on the server and Windows 95 on the stations. Several users (I'm among them) have trouble saving Excel 5.0 files after modifying them. The files reside on the server. Everyone in our domain shares the drive in question, and all users have full access privileges. We have this problem only with Excel 5.0 files. I just received the following error message:

"Microsoft Excel was unable to save this file because you do not have rename or delete privileges on the file server where you tried to save it. A temporary file was created on the server. You can re-open this temporary file, and save it to another drive."

Any suggestions?

The Registry parameter Cached OpenLimit may be responsible for your problem. This parameter controls how NT is optimized to save files. Try disabling the optimization in the Registry editor. Remember, always have a backup of the Registry before you edit it.

WARNING: Using the Registry editor incorrectly can cause serious, systemwide problems. You may have to reinstall NT to correct them. Use this tool at your own risk.

1. Start the Registry editor (regedt32.exe).

2. Find the key: \HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters

3. Add the following entry:
Value Name: CachedOpenLimit
Data Type: REG_DWORD
Data: 0

4. Exit the Registry.

5. Shut down the system and restart NT.

Q: Even though my system has 48MB of memory, NT tells me I have only 6.5MB of available memory. What happened to the rest? I also don't understand the significance of the virtual memory settings.

Memory use and the pagefile size can be difficult to understand until you realize how the NT memory manager works. NT's cache is dynamic and designed to optimize performance. NT assigns memory to two pools--nonpaged and paged. The nonpaged pool contains occupied code, or data that must stay in memory. The nonpaged pool can have a maximum size of 80% of available memory. Paged memory is memory that you can reuse. Most virtual memory resides in the paged pool, so the paged pool continuously changes.

For NT to reuse a page, it must remain unaltered or unreferenced for a time. Then, the memory manager discards the page's existing information and reuses the page. If no pages are available, the memory manager writes the new page back to the hard drive, and disk threshing ensues. If more pages are available, the system will be more efficient, and the program will operate smoother than if you run out of pages.

Because accessing RAM is faster than accessing a hard drive, NT benefits tremendously by making more memory available to the memory manager. The fact that your memory does not appear as available memory means that the memory manager is optimizing the paged and nonpaged memory pools.

The virtual memory settings let you limit the maximum-sized swap file drive that can be in the available memory pool. A general rule is to set your virtual memory size equal to the amount of available memory plus 12MB. This setting gives your system sufficient memory to store all the necessary instructions and data.

Q: What exactly is the SCSI port on a 16-bit SoundBlaster sound card?

The SoundBlaster 16-bit SCSI-2 sound card has an onboard Adaptec AIC 6360 chip that appears in the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL). If the card is present when you install NT, NT will detect it as an Adaptec 151x/152x/AIC 6260/6360 SCSI adapter. If you add the card after installing NT, you need to manually install the driver.

  1. From Program Manager, start the Windows NT Setup program.
  2. From the Options menu, choose Add/Remove SCSI Adapters.
  3. In the SCSI Adapter Setup window, choose Add.
  4. After you read the Setup Message, choose OK.
  5. In the Adapter dialog, select Adaptec 151x/152x/AIC 6260/6360.
  6. In the SCSI Adapter Setup dialog, choose Close.
  7. Quit the Windows NT Setup program.

Q: I recently installed a new video card. How can I determine the system's refresh rate?

Follow these steps. You can see some of them in screen 1.

  1. Start the Registry editor.
  2. Find the key: \HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services
  3. Find the video type (e.g., ATI, S3) you're using.
  4. Highlight and double-click on the folder for the appropriate card type to expand it.
  5. Look for the subkey: DefaultSettings. VRefresh. The value is stored as a REG_DWORD in hexidecimal form.
  6. Highlight and double-click on the value.
  7. Choose decimal to see the refresh rate.

Q: I purchased a new motherboard. My old one used an NCR controller. For the new system, I purchased an Adaptec 2940 and a new hard drive.

I installed NT, and it worked perfectly. To get back all my settings, I restored my previous working version of NT and its Registry with NTBackup. I got a message that the new files would not take effect until I rebooted. The system has not worked properly since. What did I do wrong?

This is an excellent question about a process that's easy to misunderstand. I am surmising that you backed up your Registry before you installed the new controller. You then added the controller and restored the Registry. Then, you replaced the system component that contained the original driver. For this approach to work, you need to restore all the Registry except the system portion. NTBackup is deficient in this regard. Some new backup programs let you restore the Registry by components.

Try the following approach:

  1. Install the NCR controller on the new system, and then install NT.
  2. Restore from tape, and reboot
  3. Add the Adaptec 2940 controller in Setup.
  4. Shut down the system, and move the cables from the NCR to the Adaptec 2940 controller.
  5. Be certain that termination is set properly, and restart the system.

The new system should function properly.

Q: I added a 1522 controller to my system to connect a CD-ROM drive. When I boot into NT, the system attempts to boot from the 1522 and hangs. What dictates the boot sequence in NT?

Because your system is trying to boot from the wrong controller, you must swap the Tag values for the two controllers in the Registry. Do the following, which you can see in screen 2.

  1. Run the Registry editor.
  2. Find the key: \HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services
  3. Select the SCSI controller and highlight the Tag value; click on Decimal.
  4. Swap this Tag value with the Tag value for the second controller.

If you swap the Tag values for the two controllers, NT should boot off the original controller.

Q: I've been getting two bothersome messages. One concerns an overflow in the ring buffer of my serial mouse. The other shows the same message, but for my keyboard. How do I control the size of these buffers? The message implies that I can set these values in the Registry.

You set both values in the Registry in similar places. To change the size of the mouse buffer, do the following:

  1. Use the Registry editor to go to the key: \HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Sermouse\Parameters
  2. Increase the value for MouseData QueueSize. This is a Reg_DWORD with a value of 100 bytes (binary of 0x1).
  3. Select Decimal.

The keyboard value is under the key: \HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Kbdclass\

Parameters. Increase the value of KeyboardDataQueueSize as shown for the mouse.

Q: I need to route between networks; one runs TCP/IP and the other runs Internet Packet eXchange (IPX)/Sequenced Packet eXchange (SPX). I can't figure out how to do it in NT. Do I need to use a Registry value?

To negotiate (route) between the networks, you'll need Microsoft's Multiple Protocol Router. It comes on the CD with Service Packs 2 and 3. You can also get this software from Microsoft's ftp site at This software will route TCP/IP and IPX/SPX protocols, but not NetBEUI.

Q: I want to run Win95 and NT on the same system. Do I need to follow any special steps to have both OSs on one hard drive? My brother tried the dual installation, and the dual boot was lost.

NT and Win95 can reside on the same computer. If you're currently booting between NT 3.5X and MS-DOS 6.2X, I recommend the following steps before you install Win95:

  1. If you do not have an emergency repair disk for your NT installation, create one. Use the RDISK utility (rdisk.exe) in the %SystemRoot%\SYSTEM32 directory.
  2. Shut down NT and restart your computer. Select MS-DOS from the boot loader menu.
  3. Install Win95 to any directory except the Windows NT %SystemRoot% directory.

After you successfully install Win95 and restart the computer, the Windows NT Flex Boot Loader (ntldr) screen appears, so you can choose between MS-DOS and NT.

If you choose MS-DOS, Win95 starts. You can change the MS-DOS entry of the Boot Loader menu to Win95 by modifying the Windows NT boot.ini file. (For more information about multibooting, see "Boot-Time Blues," on page 71). If the Windows NT Flex Boot Loader does not appear after you run this procedure, follow these steps:

  1. Insert the Windows NT Setup Boot Disk and restart your computer.
  2. Insert Setup Disk 2 when prompted.
  3. When the Setup options appear, press R for Repair. Four options appear; all four are selected by default.
  4. Clear the selection of all options except Inspect Boot Sector by pressing Enter to select or clear the options. Be sure that Inspect Boot Sector is the only option that has an X in front of it.
  5. Select Continue, and press Enter.
  6. If you want Setup to detect mass storage devices in your computer again, press Enter; otherwise, press S.
  7. Insert Setup Disk 3 when prompted.
  8. If you have the Emergency Repair Disk, press Enter, insert the disk, and press Enter again. If you do not have the Emergency Repair Disk, press Esc to let Setup locate Windows NT 3.5 or 3.51 and the repair information.
  9. Remove the disk and press Enter to restart your computer. The Windows NT Flex Boot Loader appears, and you can dual boot again.

Q: In the event viewer in the System Log, I have the following error message: "User configuration data for parameter COM1 overriding firmware configuration data." What does this error message mean? Where can I get information on the various error messages?

This message means that you somehow changed the parameters for the port. I usually ignore such messages. To eliminate the message, delete the COM port in Control Panel, and reboot. NT will install the proper parameters for you. You can usually get information about these error messages from the Windows NT Resource Kit, Microsoft knowledge base, or from other users.

Q: Because NT doesn't use DOS-style interrupts in printing, we're having problems. Can I enable the use of such interrupts?

You can enable DOS Interrupt ReQuests (IRQs).

  1. Run the Registry editor.
  2. Search for the key: \HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows
  3. Change the "no" in the following entry to "yes": DosPrint REG_SZ:no
  4. Close the Registry editor.
  5. Open the Print Manager and clear the check mark in the Print Direct to Ports box.
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