Usage Questions & Answers for Windows 3.1
This article was previously published under Q93363
- Q. How does holding down the SHIFT key affect Microsoft Windows
startup and exit?
A. When you start Windows, if you hold down the SHIFT key after
typing WIN and pressing ENTER,
the applications in the startup group do not load.
If you hold down the SHIFT key while you double-click the
Control-menu box in Program Manager (as if you were trying to
exit Windows), the Program Manager layout is saved without
actually exiting Windows.
- Q. When I exit Windows on my IBM(R) PS/2(R) computer, or another
computer that uses a mouse connected to an IBM PS/2-style mouse
port, there seems to be a long delay before the MS-DOS prompt
appears. How can I correct this problem?
A. This delay occurs most frequently on PS/2 models 56 and 57;
however, it may also occur on models 70, 80, 90, and 95. To
correct this problem, use the following two steps:
This line prevents Windows from attempting to reinitialize the
PS/2-style mouse port prior to exiting to MS-DOS. While this
does correct the initial problem, it may cause problems with
some older MS-DOS-based applications that use the mouse.
- Open the SYSTEM.INI file with a standard ASCII text editor,
such as Microsoft Windows Notepad.
- Locate the [386Enh] section and add the following line:
- Q. When I try to start Windows, I receive the error message "Error
Loading PROGMAN.EXE." What is causing this error and how can I
A. The following three conditions can cause this error message:
- The first cause is an incorrect or missing SHELL= line in
the [boot] section of the SYSTEM.INI file.
To correct this problem, edit SYSTEM.INI with a standard
ASCII text editor. Locate the SHELL= line in the [boot]
section and make sure it reads "SHELL=PROGMAN.EXE". Make
sure you have only one PROGMAN.EXE file, that it is dated
3/10/92 or later, and that it is in the WINDOWS directory.
If the correct PROGMAN.EXE is missing from the WINDOWS
directory, use the EXPAND utility, which is installed in the
WINDOWS directory on your hard disk during Setup, to expand
the correct version of PROGMAN.EXE to the WINDOWS directory.
To do this, type the following:
EXPAND A:\PROGMAN.EX_ C:\WINDOWS\PROGMAN.EXE
You should also make sure there is a line in the [boot]
section that reads "SYSTEM.DRV=SYSTEM.DRV." If you have
Adobe Type Manager(R) installed, the line should read
- The second cause of the "Error Loading PROGMAN.EXE" error is
an incorrect version of the SHELL.DLL file.
To correct this problem, make sure you have only one file
called SHELL.DLL, that it is dated 3/10/92 or later, and
that it is located in the WINDOWS\SYSTEM directory.
If SHELL.DLL is missing or damaged, use the EXPAND utility
to expand the correct version of SHELL.DLL to the
WINDOWS\SYSTEM directory by typing the following:
EXPAND A:SHELL.DL_ C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\SHELL.DLL
- The third cause of the "Error Loading PROGMAN.EXE" error is
the presence of the VSafe virus-protection program in the
To correct this problem, remove the VSAFE.SYS file from the
CONFIG.SYS file and VSAFE.EXE from the LOAD= command in the
For more information on the VSafe virus-protection software,
please contact Central Point Software.
- Q. My Novell(R) NetWare(R) NWPOPUP.EXE messaging utility doesn't
seem to be working correctly. I do not receive any messages
until I exit Windows. What is causing this problem?
A. If you are running Windows in 386 enhanced mode and you have a
version of the Novell NetWare NWPOPUP.EXE file dated earlier
than 3/10/92 in your WINDOWS directory, the utility is loaded,
but it cannot initialize properly under Windows 3.1. This
problem also occurs if NWPOPUP.EXE is located in a directory
before the WINDOWS directory entry in the PATH= statement in
the AUTOEXEC.BAT file. In either case, you may need to add the
following line to the [386Enh] section of your SYSTEM.INI file:
This command increases the amount of time (specified in
milliseconds) before the critical section is timed out.
- Q. I am the system administrator for a Novell NetWare network.
Most of my workstations run without any problems, but two of
them cannot run in 386 enhanced mode; they run in standard mode
only. However, if I do not log these workstations on to the
network, they do run in 386 enhanced mode. What is causing this
problem and how can I correct it?
A. This problem can be caused by incorrect network software
drivers, an IRQ conflict, a RAM address conflict, or a base
address conflict. To troubleshoot this problem, use the
following four techniques:
- Read the NETWORKS.WRI file to determine the steps necessary to upgrade your current versions of IPX and NETX. If
necessary, contact your network card manufacturer for new
- Most machines do not support having two devices using the
same IRQ simultaneously. Therefore, if you are using your
network card on IRQ3 or IRQ4, you must either disable COM2
or COM1 (because COM1 uses IRQ4 and COM2 uses IRQ3) or
reconfigure the network card for an available IRQ. On most
machines, IRQ5 and IRQ2 are available (that is, no other
hardware devices are attempting to use them).
- Many network cards use a RAM address in the upper memory
area between 640 and 1024 kilobytes (K). If your card is
using this range, exclude use of this range with EMM386.EXE
or by adding an EMMEXCLUDE statement in the [386Enh] section
of the SYSTEM.INI file. Some cards do not function correctly
at the D000 address and need to be reconfigured for D800.
- Many hardware devices have base memory addresses that may
conflict with an existing device, such as a COM port. Try
reconfiguring the network card for an address of 300
hexadecimal (h) or greater.
- Q. My network card does not register in the memory area between
640K and 1024K; therefore, I know I must manually exclude this
range in the upper memory area (UMA). I placed an EMMEXCLUDE
statement in the SYSTEM.INI file, but this doesn't seem to have
any effect. How can I correct this problem?
A. If you are using an upper memory block (UMB) provider, you must
exclude it using its own exclude command because the provider
has priority in the UMB area and overrides the EMMEXCLUDE
switch. For example, if you are using EMM386.EXE and need to
exclude the 32K of memory from D800 to DFFF, use the following
DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\EMM386.EXE RAM X=D800-DFFF
If you are not using a UMA manager or UMB provider, the
EMMEXCLUDE statement in the [386Enh] section of the SYSTEM.INI
file should work correctly.
- Q. I run numerous batch (.BAT) files on my computer. When I run
some of these files from Windows, I receive the error message
"Out of Environment Space." The same .BAT files run correctly
outside Windows. What is causing this error?
A. Windows 3.1 contains a switch called CommandEnvSize= that
allows you to control the size of the MS-DOS environment for
MS-DOS-based applications run from within Windows. Your .BAT
file probably has overrun the available environment space. To
increase the size of the MS-DOS environment, use the following
- Edit the SYSTEM.INI file with a standard ASCII text editor,
such as Microsoft Windows Notepad.
- Locate the [NonWindowsApp] section and add the line
CommandEnvSize=. Assign a
value between 160 and 32,768 following the equal sign. For
more information on this switch, please refer to the
- Q. Why is the Advanced button in the Ports dialog box unavailable
when I choose the Ports icon in Control Panel?
A. If the Windows 3.1 COMM.DRV file is installed incorrectly, the
Advanced button in the Ports dialog box is unavailable. If you
upgrade from Windows 3.0 to 3.1 and you were previously using a
third-party communications driver with Windows 3.0, the Windows
3.1 Setup program does not update the communications driver. To
ensure your COMM.DRV file is installed correctly, do the
- Make sure you have the following setting in the [boot]
section of your SYSTEM.INI file:
If this does not correct the problem, check the COMM.DRV
size and date in the SYSTEM directory. The file should be
dated 3/10/92 and have a file size of 9280 bytes. If the
date or size is incorrect, proceed with the next step.
- Using the EXPAND utility, reinstall COMM.DRV from the
Windows Setup disks to the WINDOWS\SYSTEM directory by
typing the following:
EXPAND A:\COMM.DR_ C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\COMM.DRV
Note: COMM.DRV is found on Disk 1 for 3.5-inch disks and Disk
2 for 5.25-inch disks.
- Q. Can I set up a permanent or temporary swap file on a stacked
A. Windows 3.1 does not support the use of a permanent or
temporary swap file on a stacked drive (that is, a drive on
which you are running the Stacker[TM] utility).
- Q. I seem to be having some type of hardware or software conflict
in my machine. What tools are available to help me determine
information such as the BIOS version of the machine and what
COM ports and IRQs are being used?
A. Windows 3.1 ships with the Microsoft Diagnostics (MSD) program.
This tool is normally installed in your WINDOWS directory
during Windows Setup. You can use MSD from within Windows;
however, the most effective way to use it is to quit Windows
and run MSD.EXE at the command prompt by typing the following:
Article ID: 93363 - Last Review: February 20, 2002 - Revision: 1.0
- Microsoft Windows 3.1 Standard Edition
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.