In my last column, I mentioned editing system files. A reader from Post Falls brought up a good point. Rather than individually editing each file in Notepad, you can use a cool little tool called SysEdit. Here's what he said:
1. Choose Start|Run, type Sysedit and press the Enter key.
2. Select the window containing the file that you wish to edit.
I had forgotten about Sysedit, which I think is one of those programs that is leftover from Windows 3.1 days. It's a nifty utility and I used to use it endlessly when I was dealing with temperamental computers back then. Fortunately, I haven't had to do much with my system files in a long time.
Another point I brought up in passing last time is that before you do anything to the registry, be sure you have a backup first. Making a mistake while editing the registry can kill Windows. Obviously, this situation is very bad and is best avoided. So, before you mess around in RegEdit, you need to copy two files to a floppy disk: user.dat and system.dat. They are located in the Windows folder.
Along the same lines, you may want to make a startup disk. If you have a startup disk you can make your computer boot from the floppy even if Windows won't boot normally. Then you can go in and fix whatever is broken. To make the startup disk, you need a blank, formatted floppy disk. Choose Start|Settings|Control Panel and double click Add/Remove Programs. Click the Startup Disk tab, and click the Create Disk button.
Of course, everybody hopes that they'll never need this disk, but you never know when Murphy's Law will strike. Floppy disks are cheap. Lost data isn't.