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Customizing WIN95 Setup

Posted on 1997-05-21
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Last Modified: 2013-12-16
How can the WIN95 Setup be customized to create a C:\Programs directory instead of C:\Program_Files, likewise, C:\Programs\Common instead of C:\Program_Files\Common_Files?
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Question by:scott_davis
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by:smeebud
ID: 1747948
Try this,
go to: http://polaris.cincomj.co.jp/~pw/jkeyb.htm
click (Painless Windows95 re-installation) and download
 Microsoft Batch 2.0.
You can edit your choices for set up once you have created a msbatch.inf
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by:scott_davis
ID: 1747949
Thank you smeebud.  Do not take this personally, but your answer indicates you will recommend a solution you're not fully versed in - at least that's what it appears to be.  I knew of MS Batch, and although I never used it, I saw references to it in the Resource Kit Setup section where I studied the documented Batch Setup variables.  MS Batch is just a friendly GUI that creates an INF file that I could have coded by hand - IF there was support for changing the "Program Files" directory.  Unfortunately, there is no documented variable that I can find (an certainly no option in MS Batch) that will let you redefine the "Program Files" directory.  I was hoping that I missed something that someone else might have found, or that someone knew of an undocumented switch, variable, or option.  Perhaps you do?  If not, I await a response from another "expert".  Thanks.
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by:yoram
ID: 1747950
You can patch "system.iff" file in your "windows" directory.
I think you should keep the length of your filenames same as original (to be on the safe side).
Yoram.
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by:yoram
ID: 1747951
Sorry ! Forget it !!! My mistake ...
Yoram.
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by:yoram
ID: 1747952
It is \windows\system\winoa386.mod to be patched.
It was a typo ...
Yoram.
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Author Comment

by:scott_davis
ID: 1747953
Strike 2.  I ran Hex Workshop on winoa386.mod and found 1 reference to "program files" which was contained in an error message unrelated to a pathname.  Therefore, this answer is incorrect.  Anyway, I am not interested in re-installing windows, so patching a file in the windows sub directory structure is kind of a moot point since it doesn't exist at install time, now does it?  Cmon guys, you can do better than this.
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by:stratari
ID: 1747954
I know that you want a setup fix but that's what i'm doing:
Get Tweak UI (PowerToys http://www.tucows.com/shell95.htm)
Under the 'General' tab you can assign ALL the system's drawers to custom made.

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by:stratari
ID: 1747955
I'm giving you the above answer 'cause after searching through the W95 RK and all my reference books, i didn't find any setup script entry for that.
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by:scott_davis
ID: 1747956
Why do I feel like a duck flying around in the sky being shot at by really bad marksmen?  Again, this answer isn't even close.  I HAVE Power Toys.  The General Tab of Tweak UI does allow you to change SOME system folders, but certainly NOT Program Files OR Common Files.  If it did, I'd use it!  But you can see why it doesn't.  The Program Files folder is too dangerous to change AFTER setup - too many registry entries to play with.  The Win 95 Shell team would've been nuts to include anything like that, they'd only be aking for BIG user support problems.  Nice try.  Thanks for the effort.  I certainly don't want anyone searching the bowels of the Resource Kit at all hours of the night to find this answer.  Perhaps I ought to increase the difficulty points but alas, I have no more :(  Anyone else care to give this one a shot?
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by:stratari
ID: 1747957
No problem.
But, have you any clue that this can be done?

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by:smeebud
ID: 1747958
Well, I posted your question just as you asked it and I've got one responce so far. As I retrieve them I'll send them to you, right or wrong.
Here's one, I don't think the gut understood that you want to do this on setup:
If you change the progra~1 to something else you will most likely
get a folder named !$!$!$!$!$!$ ...not a good thing :-)

Setup tracks the dos names as progra~1 therefore IMO it can not install to it if a different name although I have not tried it myself.

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Author Comment

by:scott_davis
ID: 1747959
While certainly far from "clueless" about Win 95, I am totally "clueless" as to whether or not it's possible to alter the Win 95 setup in the way I've proposed.  I've got to think though that hard coding the "Program Files" directory during install is not something a smart software company like Microsoft would allow.  It simply MUST be customizable somehow.  For instance, look in the Registry under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion.  You'll see 2 keys: CommonFilesDir and ProgramFilesDir.  Normally they point to C:\Program Files\Common Files and C:\Program Files.  Their key values are alterable, and in fact, I've changed them to C:\Programs and C:\Programs\Common on some machines I've dealt with; the catch is that I had to use Registry Search and Replace to fix everywhere else in the Registry that the original paths were found - not a NICE task!  But the point is that sometime during SETUP some program sets these values.  There must be a flag, option or INF variable that can change them, there's gotta be or I'll lose all faith in Mr. Gates.
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by:smeebud
ID: 1747960
Hang in there scott, I like your style. I'm still writting.
Also, I've done things with the reg thst were totally undocumented and they worked. So, hang and don't take It Can't be done for an answer.
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by:smeebud
ID: 1747961
If you talk nice to this guy "Raymond Chen", he has the answer in his head. He's the author of tweakui and a MS programmer. He has answered a few of my questions.
raymondc@microsoft.com
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by:scott_davis
ID: 1747962
Hey, you know this is cool.  Newsgroups can be so rough, especially if no one likes your post.  But you guys are okay.  I'm sorry if I was a little abrasive smeebud; I guess it comes from fending for myself on usenet :)  Either you meet people who totally don't know what they're talking about (usually the case) or they're too busy to answer.  You've really given this question a lot of time, thought, and effort, and I want you to know I appreciate it.  I read your bio, and we have similar interests, perhaps we can trade ideas outside of the exchange sometime.  It's always great to have a contact like Mr. Chen; you're lucky you know him!  I have to admit I feel a little intimidated asking such a busy man whom I don't know personally such a question, but I will send him a BRIEF note.  Will check back later...
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by:stratari
ID: 1747963
Another try, yet not at setup level.
The program is called MOVER 95 and can be found at
HTTP://OURWORLD.COMPUSERVE.COM/HOMEPAGES/SIEUROPE
The documantation states that can 'anything' including Program_Files to a user selected drawer.

Feel free to reject me :-)
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by:smeebud
ID: 1747964
Bulletin: This just in.
I've posted you message an several newsgroups. here's the latest answer:
----------------------------------------------------------
Hello,
Is this possible without negative effects?
Can the WIN95 Setup be customized (perhaps via msbatch.inf)
to create a
C:\Programs directory instead of C:\Program_Files,
likewise, C:\Programs\Common instead of
C:\Program_Files\Common_Files?
---------------------------------------------------------

Yes it is possible to do that. I do the exact same thing. What I
do is do a clean install of Windows 95, copy everything in the
Program_Files directory to the Programs directory, then search
the registry for every reference to "progra" and change those
entries appropriately. You need to apply some common sense to
determine which ones to change but that is easy. After that, most
programs should install to the correct place. Unfortunately, some
program are bullheaded and try to install to C:\Program_Files
even if that is so...

Oh, and once the registry is changed, reboot and delete the old
C:\Program_Files directory. Windows 95 should not complain about
the deletion if you did it right.

Well, that's not totally ay setup, but close.

bwil@erinet.com
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by:smeebud
ID: 1747965
Bulletin: This just in.
I've posted you message an several newsgroups. here's the latest answer:
----------------------------------------------------------
Hello,
Is this possible without negative effects?
Can the WIN95 Setup be customized (perhaps via msbatch.inf)
to create a
C:\Programs directory instead of C:\Program_Files,
likewise, C:\Programs\Common instead of
C:\Program_Files\Common_Files?
---------------------------------------------------------

Yes it is possible to do that. I do the exact same thing. What I
do is do a clean install of Windows 95, copy everything in the
Program_Files directory to the Programs directory, then search
the registry for every reference to "progra" and change those
entries appropriately. You need to apply some common sense to
determine which ones to change but that is easy. After that, most
programs should install to the correct place. Unfortunately, some
program are bullheaded and try to install to C:\Program_Files
even if that is so...

Oh, and once the registry is changed, reboot and delete the old
C:\Program_Files directory. Windows 95 should not complain about
the deletion if you did it right.

Well, that's not totally ay setup, but close.

bwil@erinet.com
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Author Comment

by:scott_davis
ID: 1747966
Thanks stratari, MOVER is an excellent program, but does not fit the bill for this question.  As for the responses from smeebud, the same holds: all these fixes take place AFTER SETUP.  I have already managed to modify more than one computer in the manner suggested (using Registry Search and Replace) and find it tedious as well as frightening, although it seems to work quite well.  No, we can't lay this one to rest until SOMEONE COMES UP WITH A SETUP LEVEL SOLUTION <- I'm not yelling here, just emphasizing the point :)  Oh yes, smeebud, I left an Email for Mr Chen (very nicely), but have received no response yet.
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Accepted Solution

by:
Smedley earned 100 total points
ID: 1747967
There was comment about this subject in:
 
Windows95Annoyances
 
a long time ago at:
 
http://www.creativelement.com/win95ann/index.html
 
Alternatively look at the full Index on Windows95Annoyances at:
 
http://www.creativelement.com/win95ann/_index.html
 
Hope this helps.
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Expert Comment

by:Smedley
ID: 1747968
Further comment on this I have seen comment somewhere that "fiddling" with some of these setting and with changing the action of the nameing of Shortcuts as "Shortcut to" can be detrimental but I don't remember where I saw that information.
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Expert Comment

by:smeebud
ID: 1747969
scott,
If the above doesn't satisfy you, I've gotten the responces from the newsgroups. I believe i have the answer. However, it's not done on setup.
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Expert Comment

by:stratari
ID: 1747970
Dear Scott,

You must be convinced by now that it can't be done in setup.
I've read somewhere (on another topic) that making Program Files the default location (by MS) is like putting road bumbs before a stop sign.
Just a tip before saying goodbye to the lovely qid=8630003349.
If you deside to make changes by hand do this:
Export your registry as a text file, load it into Wordpad or whatever and do a Find and Replace. Then import it back to RegEdit.
It should not take more than 5 mins
Regards
Stratari.
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by:stratari
ID: 1747971
Nice to have you back smeebud :-)
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by:smeebud
ID: 1747972
Well, here is what I've recieved from newsgroups, #4 looks good:
Thou still not on setup. I have not tested this, so as usuall
Mr. Felps, this tape will self-destruct in 10 seconds.
-------------2----------
Don't take my word on this, but I believe you can.  Then you would also
have reconfigure windows95 to make sure that it runs correctly.  (you may
better be off reinstalling win95 from scratch)

------------3-----------
I'm not sure that you need to do that.  There is nothing stopping you from
install ing your secondary programs (non win95) into a programs folder and
all your Win95 programs into your Program Files folder.  There are some
older programs that will not work in the Programs File Folder, so just
create a new one called Programs instead.

ak

----------4--------------
Yes. You have to edit the Registry.

Go to the key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion

You will find quite a few binary and ASCII values inside of that key. The
ones that concern you are:

ProgramFilesDir                  (Your Program Files directory, I changed mine to the
D: drive)
and
CommonFilesDir                  (Your Common Files directory)

You can change these to any directory you want. Good luck and be careful
editing the Registry.

----------5 (mine)--------

It is possible, as I remember answering posts from those seeking help
after they did it.( to their regret)
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Author Comment

by:scott_davis
ID: 1747973
Well, I'm going to put this topic to bed.  Indeed it seems this customization is not something Microsoft anticipated and certainly not something everyday users need or want.  I enjoyed the little forum this post has spawned, as I hope others have, but it is time now to move on.

The Windows 95 Annoyances Page is HUGE!!!  I will attempt to mount a search through those archives (I am familliar with them but hoped it wouldn't come down to having to wade through them).

As for effort I grade everyone an A+ at this point, you been great ...
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