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MS Windows 32-Bit File Access Meta-FAQ

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Mike McCormick

Aug 29, 2004, 12:29:01 AM8/29/04
Archive-name: windows/32bit-file-faq/metafaq
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 1997/2/5
Version: 3.1

Microsoft Windows 32-Bit File Access Meta-FAQ

32-Bit File Access Meta-FAQ
Copyright (c) 1997 by Michael McCormick, all rights reserved.

Posted monthly to news.answers, comp.answers, and other newsgroups.
Distribute freely.

Also available by anonymous FTP from the news.answers archive:


1. What is the Windows 32-Bit File Access FAQ?

A: The 32-Bit File Access Frequently Asked Questions (32BFA FAQ) answers
common questions about Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 32-Bit File Access
capability. Windows NT and Win95 users may benefit from some parts also.

2. What are the 32BFA FAQ contents?

A: PART ONE: Background

. What is 32-bit file access?
. Why would you want to use 32-bit file access?
. Is it different than 32-bit disk access?
. Isn't 32-bit file access a Windows NT / 95 feature?
. Is it provided in all versions of Windows for Workgroups?
. What PCs can run 32-bit file access?
. Does it work with CD-ROM?
. How is it related to the Windows cache (Vcache)?
. Can you run it without any cache?
. Does it work with a RAM drive?

PART TWO: Configuration

. How do you turn on 32-bit file access?
. How can you get the latest version of RMM.D32?
. Is it true you can't use 32-bit file access on your swapfile drive?
. How do you deinstall (permanently disable) 32-bit file access?
. How can you just turn off 32-bit file access temporarily?
. How do other WIN command switches affect 32-bit file access?
. How do you tell whether 32-bit file access is working on your PC?
. What about the WFW3.11RK "32-Bit File Access Status" program?
. So how do you check 32-bit file access in Windows 95?

PART THREE: Optimization

. Should you run SMARTDRV if you have 32-bit file access?
. Should you use write caching or "store-through" caching?
. If you use write caching, how do you manually "flush" the cache?
. How can you optimize your cache efficiency?
. How does Windows cache affect system resources?
. What about tune-up utilities like Wintune?

PART FOUR: Troubleshooting

. PC seems slower with 32-bit file access than it did with 16-bit.
. There is a 5-second pause before every Windows program starts.
. PC hangs when you exit Windows.
. You know your PC supports 32-bit file access, but it does not take effect.
. What if it only takes effect on certain drives or partitions?
. What if it only takes effect when 32-bit disk access is on?
. What if it only takes effect when 32-bit disk access is off?
. When you exit Windows after configuring 32-bit file access, Windows automatically restarts.
. Sometime after configuring 32-bit file access, you start getting"File is damaged" errors.
. PC hangs during WIN startup, while Windows logo is on screen.
. You get an error message during WIN startup: "Microsoft 32-bit disk driver (WDCTRL) cannot be loaded".
. You get an error message when you run a Windows .EXE: "Segment Load Failure".
. Why do file copies occasionally fail?
. Why is the cache size displayed different from what you configured?
. Why did your network drives disappear?
. Why does ScanDisk report errors on your compressed drives now?
. What if your CD-ROM becomes inaccessible or slows down?

PART FIVE: Incompatibilities

. You can't restore a deleted file with MWUNDELETE or MS-DOS UNDELETE.
. You cannot search for a deleted file with MWUNDELETE.
. Is it safe to run 32-bit file access with disk compression?
. You get "compressed disk ... not currently set up for 32-bit file access."
. You get errors from Powerpoint when you access ClipArt Gallery.
. Is there any hard drive you can enable 32-bit file access with, but with which it is incompatible?
. You have to manually reinitialize Microsoft Scenes each time you start Windows.
. Can you run other disk cache utilities at the same time Windows is caching?
. What about Hurricane?
. DOS command "IF EXIST *\NUL" does not work from within Windows if 32-bit file access is on.
. Does 32-bit file access work on secondary (slave) hard drives?
. Does the DOS SUBST command (drive letter substitution) remain in effect in WFWG with 32-bit file access?
. Is 32-bit file access incompatible with some networks?
. No 32-bit file access due to a "real-mode network redirector".
. Do some TSR programs interfere with 32-bit file access?
. How about UnInstaller?
. Why does running NDOS as my shell disable 32-bit file access?
. Why does QEMM disable 32-bit file access?
. Why did WFWG 32-bit file access stop working when I got Windows 95?

3. What is the latest version of the 32BFA FAQ?

A: The 32BFA FAQ was put into suspended animation at Revision 3.0. The author is
aware of minor corrections needed, and will eventually put out a 3.1 version.

4. What formats is the FAQ available in?

A: The 32BFA FAQ is available in a variety of formats:

TEXT-1: Plain ASCII text in one single file. [56KB]

TEXT-5: Plain ASCII text in 5 separate files, 1 per part. [6-18KB each]

HELP: Windows Help file. [42KB]

HTML: Hypertext Markup Language. [87KB]

In addition, most of these formats are available compressed (PZKIP, normal
compression) and/or ASCII-encoded (UUENCODE):

TEXT-1/UUZIP: UUencoded .ZIP containing text file. [29KB]
HELP/ZIP: .ZIP containing Help file. [35KB]
HELP/UUZIP: UUencoded .ZIP containing Help file. [48KB]
HTML/ZIP: .ZIP containing HTML file for off-Web viewing. [23KB]

5. Where can you get the FAQ?

A: The 32BFA FAQ is available from various sources. The formats available
for each source appear in square brackets, and are from the list above.

*** USENET: The FAQ is posted occasionally to these newsgroups: [TEXT-5] [TEXT-5] [TEXT-5] [TEXT-5] [TEXT-5] [TEXT-5] [TEXT-5]

And occasionally to other newsgroups, including:

alt.binaries.misc [HELP/UUZIP] [HELP/UUZIP]

*** FTP: The FAQ is available by anonymous FTP in these archives:

<> [TEXT-1]
<> [TEXT-1]

*** WWW: The FAQ is available on World Wide Web at this URL:

<> [HTML]

*** E-MAIL: The FAQ is available from the author (Mike McCormick):


In the mail message please specify which format(s) you want. Note the
TEXT-5 format is sent as five separate mail messages.

You also have the option of subscribing to the FAQ by e-mail. You
will get the FAQ once a month, a "sneak preview" about 24 hours before I
post it to USENET. Again, please specify which format(s) you want.

The FAQ is available by requesting NET32BFA.TXT on HDCONF, or
by sending Fidonet or Internet e-mail to
The message subject must be "Please Send NET32BFA.TXT" and the message
body should only contain your Internet address or your BBS name and
Fidonet node number.

6. Acknowledgments

The author wishes to thank Mike Robinson for creating the Windows
Help file, Kathryn Bush for creating the HTML file, Jerry Wise
for maintaining the WWW site, Kevin Martinez for providing a FTP site,
and Mike Zeleski for Fidonet distribution. And also the volunteers at
MIT for archiving it and posting it to *.answers.

Thanks also to the hundreds of people who have helped me with this FAQ.
Keep those cards and letters coming!

Mike McCormick

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