125 tips for Windows 98

The articles set out below are articles created and/or produced by Future Publishing Limited. Microsoft is not responsible for the content, accuracy or opinions expressed in these articles.

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In this article you'll find well over a hundred tips for Windows 98. We lost two week's sleep with this little lot...

Desktop


Are your desktop settings unchanged since the day your PC arrived? Take control – you can make Windows work in a way that suits you, once you know the secrets...

Customisations

1. Undo errors
Should you accidentally drag and drop a bunch of files on your desktop, don’t waste time moving them all manually, just right-click on the desktop and choose the Undo option.

2. Desktop icons
If your desktop only contains a few items, then right-click on the taskbar and select Toolbars, Desktop. You’ll now be able to access everything on your desktop from the taskbar.

3. Surprising toolbars
Drag the My Computer or Network Neighbourhood icons to the edge of the screen, release the mouse button, and they’ll be transformed into toolbars. Right-click on the new toolbar and select Close to remove it.

4. Floating launchpad
The Quick Launch toolbar doesn’t have to stay on your taskbar. Move the mouse cursor over its left edge, drag and drop it on to your desktop, and it’ll float free.


5. Tweak everything
Microsoft provides a great little utility called TweakUI to help customise your system settings.

First, download the latest version of TweakUI from www.microsoft.com/ntworkstation/downloads/
powertoys/networking/nttweakui.asp. Save it to disk when prompted, then run the file to unzip it.

Now locate tweakui.inf, right-click on it and select Install. Open the Control Panel, and you’ll find a TweakUI applet – double-click on it to launch the program.

The world’s your oyster – remove unwanted entries from the Add/Remove Programs list, clear Windows history lists, hide Control Panel icons, adjust IE settings and so on. Explore, but be careful – don’t alter anything without noting the original setting!

6. Keep it in view
To make sure the floating Quick Launch toolbar stays in view, right-click on it and select Always on top.

7. Return to normal
Dropping the Quick Launch toolbar on your taskbar restores it to its default docked position.

8. Customise your icons
You don’t like a particular shortcut icon? To choose another, right-click on the icon, select Properties, then click on Shortcut, Change Icon.

Menus

9. Sort easily
If you have IE5 installed you can quickly sort menu lists that have stopped filing themselves alphabetically – like your Favourites or Start Menu. Just right-click on one of the items on the list and select Sort by name.

10. Explore anywhere
For an Explorer-type view of your Start menu items, right-click on the Start button and select Explore. To add your own options to this menu, run regedit and go to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\Shell. Look at the entry for Find to see how it’s done.

11. A better Explorer
Windows Explorer a bit limiting for you? Check out the PowerDesk Utilities, an Explorer-replacement utility from Ontrack.

12. Add to menus
To add a folder, application or shortcut to your Start, Programs menu, drag it to the Start button, and let it hover there for a few seconds. The menu will expand; drop the item anywhere you like (or let it hover over another folder, such as Programs, to expand it in turn).

Taskbar and system tray

13. Expand the taskbar...
When you’re running a lot of applications, the buttons on your taskbar can get too small to read. Give them more space by resizing the taskbar – move the mouse cursor over the top of the taskbar, and drag it upwards.

14. Or don’t – it’s your call
Maybe you need more screen space, not less. Right-click on the taskbar, select Properties, and choose the Auto hide option – the taskbar will only become visible when you move the mouse cursor to the bottom of the screen.

15. Keep up to date
What’s the date? Leave the mouse hovering over the clock in your system tray for a moment, and a tooltip will appear to keep you informed.

16. Keep up to date – again
If, on the other hand, you’d prefer a full calendar, double-click on the system tray clock, and Windows will display the Date and Time Properties dialog.

17. Hide the volume icon
Annoyed by that volume icon in your system tray? Open the Sounds applet in Control Panel, and clear the Show Volume Control option to remove it.

Folders and shortcuts

18. Exploring folders
Hold down the [Shift] key when you open a folder to open it in Explorer.

19. Reduce clutter
Navigate through a few folders, and your desktop quickly fills with folder windows. To reduce the clutter, open My Computer and select View, Folder Options. Choose Custom, then click on Settings, and pick the option to display new folders in the same window. Finally, click OK followed by Close.

20. Open folders in a new window
If you do want to open a folder in a new window, just hold down [Ctrl] as you double-click on it.

21. Clear the clutter
If you do have lots of windows open, you can minimise them all immediately by clicking on the Show Desktop button on your Quick Launch toolbar. Alternatively, right-click on the Taskbar and select Minimize all windows.

22. Close quickly
To quickly quit out of any minimised applications without having to restore them, right-click on their taskbar icon and select Close.

23. Customise My Computer windows
Don’t simply accept Windows defaults. Right-click on the toolbar when viewing a folder, for example, and you can customise any button that appears on the toolbar menu.

24. Use shortcut keys
Right-click on a shortcut, select Properties, and switch to the Shortcut tab. See that ‘Shortcut key’ box? Click in it, and press a key, like [K]. Click OK, and whenever you press [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [K] in future, Windows will launch the shortcut for you.

Right-click trickery

25. Eject CDs
To eject a CD, right-click on the CD drive icon in My Computer, and choose the Eject option. You can do the same from the Quick Launch toolbar too.

26. Network access
Right-click on Network Neighbourhood, and you can immediately map or disconnect a network drive, or select Properties and view the Control Panel Network applet.

27. Straight to System
Right-click on My Computer and select Properties to quickly access the Control Panel System applet. Alternatively, hold down the [Windows] + [Pause/Break] keys to achieve the same effect.

28. Internet options
Right-click on the Internet Explorer icon and select Properties to display the Internet Options Control Panel applet. This is the same option as that displayed when you select Tools, Internet Options in IE itself.

29. Fast Properties
The fastest way to access the Properties dialog for any file or folder is to hold down [Alt] while you double-click on it.

PCs are like cars – they need regular maintenance if you’re to avoid problems. Here’s a selection of tips to help you keep yours in tip-top condition.

ScanDisk

31. Multiple drives
If you have two hard drives you'll need to choose which drive ScanDisk should check when the program first runs. Keep [Ctrl] held down as you click on each drive, and ScanDisk will check them all in turn.

32. Instant ScanDisk
Do you ever change ScanDisk’s default settings? Save time with a custom shortcut. Right-click on the desktop and choose New, Shortcut. Enter ScanDSKW in the Command line: box and click Next, followed by Finish. Now right-click on it and select Properties. Switch to the Shortcut tab, and add /n to the Target parameter (it’ll look like C:\WINDOWS\SCANDSKW.EXE /n). Run ScanDisk from this shortcut, and you’ll never be prompted for parameters again.

Defrag

33. Defrag regularly
The standard advice is to ‘run Defrag on a regular basis’ but don't overdo it - there's no need to waste your time running the defrag tool every day. Once a month is more than adequate unless you're a particularly heavy user.

34. Don’t miss your date
Can’t remember when you last ran Defrag? Windows can – right-click on the drive in My Computer, select Properties and switch to the Tools tab in order to find out.


35. Registry fix
Click Start, Run and type regedit into the Run box, and then click OK. Now navigate to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\
Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Applets.

Right-click on Applets and select New, Key. Call the key Defrag. Double-click on Defrag and create another new key, called Settings. Do the same with Settings. Call your new key DisableScreenSaver.

Right-click on the Default icon in the right-hand pane and select Modify. Enter YES in the Value data: box and click OK. Close Regedit and restart your PC.

36. Close applications
When you run Defrag, you may find it restarts as other background applications write to the disk. To avoid this, press [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Del] to open the Close Programs dialog and end all tasks except Explorer and Systray.

Save hard-drive space

37. Clean your disk
It's advisable to free up some disk space occasionally, but before you start manually deleting things, run Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Cleanup and see what Windows can do on its own.

38. Find large files
If your hard drive space is still limited, run Start, Find, Files or Folders, and use it to search for files that are at least 5,000Kb in size. You’ll soon see what’s taking up the most room (but don’t simply delete files unless you’re sure they’re not needed).

39. Find multiple files
To simultaneously search for multiple file types in Start, Find, Files or Folders, type each extension in the Find box, separated by semicolons; for example: *.txt; *.htm; *.html.

40. Search wide
To specify multiple drives, click in the Look in box and delete the text there, then type the drives to search, separated by semicolons. For example: c:; d:; e:.

41. Combine searches
Narrow down your text searches by using the Named: box for filenames, and the Containing text: box to search for known words within that document.

Diagnostics

42. Keep track
Make a habit of running System Information (Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools) on a regular basis, selecting File, Save As to store your PCs details.

43. Ask the doctor
To diagnose problems with your PC, try running Dr Watson (enter drwatson in the Start, Run box). Double-click on the icon it adds to your system tray, and check the Diagnosis box.

44. Get the answers
Dr Watson can also give you information about your PC, too. Just click on View, Advanced to see it.

45. Internet Explorer files
System Information can help you track down problems with your IE installation. Open the Internet Explorer tree and click on File Versions.

46. Check your Registry
The System Information utility has many other useful options on its Tools menu. Select Tools, Registry Checker, for example, to scan your Registry for errors.

47. View hardware details
If you’re after detailed hardware information, click on Start, Run and type hwinfo /ui to get masses of information about your hardware setup.

48. Monitor your network
If you’re running a network, you can run Windows Net Watcher (you may have to install it from your Windows CD) to easily be able to see who is browsing your system.

49. Test DirectX
The DirectX Diagnostic Tool is the place to go if you’re suffering from audio or graphic problems. You’ll find several helpful reports and tests you can perform on your DirectX installation. Run it from the Start, Run menu (type in dxdiag).

50. Back up Internet connections
You may have several ISPs installed, so bck up your Dial-Up Networking connections by dragging them from your Dial-Up Networking folder, and dropping them in a back-up folder.

51. View DUN details
The best part about Dial-Up Networking back-up files is that they are just plain text. Open one in Notepad and you’ll see all the relevant settings for that ISP, making it easy to compare connections.

52. Clean up properly
After uninstalling a program, re-boot your PC, then check the folder where that application was stored. If it’s not being used by other applications, or contains files you might need, delete it, reclaim the space and prevent unwanted folders cluttering up your file system.

53. To update...
If you have a modem and ISP account, why not take advantage of Windows Update? Click on Start, Update and you’ll be whisked online to view the latest Windows patches and updates.

54. ...Or not to update
It’s worth installing Windows Security updates as a matter of course, but think carefully before choosing any others. Installing an update can cause problems in a system that was working perfectly.

Setup and system tweaks

Need to re-install Windows? Or just looking to tweak your setup with the Control Panel?


55. Watch your system
For a handy real-time display of what's going on with your PC, run System Monitor.

Run System Monitor (type sysmon into the Start, Run box) and it displays a bunch of default items that you don’t want. Select Edit, Remove Item, and dispose of them all.

Select Edit > Add Item, and choose the Category you're interested in. We're looking for Internet connection speeds, so select Dial-Up Adapter, then choose values like Bytes received and Bytes transmitted.

Now, connect to the Internet, and System Monitor produces a real-time graph of your data-transfer rates. Are your connection speeds slow? Do they tail off over time? System Monitor will help you find out.

56. Install alone
When you’re installing a new version of Windows, temporarily close down all your other applications, including anti-virus software, and low-level system utilities like CrashGuard or GoBack. If you need to open the Close Programs dialog to do this, leave only Explorer and Systray running.

57. Make room
Make sure that you have enough disk space before starting the upgrade.

58. Customised setup
The Windows installation program setup.exe accepts several command-line options to do useful things like automate its operation. Select Start, Run, and run d:\setup.exe /? (where d: is the letter of your CD drive) to see what you can do. Press OK to quit back to the desktop.

59. Take control
When installing Windows (or any other program), choose Custom installation options whenever possible. Although installation programs warn that these are for advanced users, everyone benefits from having more control. If you don’t understand something, just click on Back and take the Express or Typical install option instead.

60. Install accessories
Does your copy of Windows seem to be missing a few programs? You may be able to install them via the Windows Setup tab of the Add/Remove Programs applet – alternatively, why not uninstall programs you don’t need, thereby saving on disk space?

61. Detect BST
To ensure Windows automatically adjusts its clock when the clocks go forward or back an hour, open the Date/Time applet, and check Automatically adjust clock.

62. Play the Theme
If you’re tired of how Windows looks on your system, change it. Desktop Themes are built into Windows 98.

63. Scrap some fonts
Open the Fonts applet in Control Panel and remove the ones you don’t need – it’s surprising how much speed you can gain.

64. Internet settings
The Internet Options applet is important, even if you don’t use Internet Explorer. Click on the Connections tab and you can change the settings for any Internet connection, choose a default, plus enable or disable Internet programs to dial out automatically, via the Always dial my default connection option.

65. Make Basic Adjustments
Don’t adapt to your PC's default behaviour – make it work the way you want. Open the Keyboard applet to change the keyboard repeat rate, for example. If you have a special mouse you may find the Mouse Control Panel has been transformed into something more useful – check you have the appropriate drivers installed to take advantage of this.

66. Launch applets
You can make a shortcut that will run any Control Panel applet, so long as you know the file name that powers it (it'll have the extension 'cpl', and probably be in your Windows\System folder). Here are a few examples:

Applet : Command line
Accessibility Control.exe Access.cpl
Add/Remove Programs Control.exe Appwiz.cpl
Date/Time Control.exe Timedate.cpl
Desktop Themes Control.exe Themes.cpl
Display Control.exe Desk.cpl
Fonts Control.exe Main.cpl Fonts
Game Controllers Control.exe Joy.cpl
Infrared Control.exe Infrared.cpl
Internet Control.exe Inetcpl.cpl
Keyboard Control.exe Main.cpl Keyboard
Modems Control.exe Modem.cpl
Mouse Control.exe Main.cpl Mouse
Multimedia Control.exe Mmsys.cpl
Network Control.exe Netcpl.cpl
Passwords Control.exe Password.cpl
Power Management Control.exe Powercfg.cpl
Printers Control.exe Main.cpl Printers
Regional Settings Control.exe Intl.cpl
System Control.exe Sysdm.cpl


67. Reduce CAB hassles Here's how to transfer and access all those CAB files from your hard drive...

First, put your Windows CD in the drive, and select the Browse option when prompted. Locate the Win98 folder and copy it to your hard drive, then launch the Registry Editor – select Start, Run, type in regedit and press [Return].

Llocate the following folder – HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\
Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion, Setup. Look for a key marked SourcePath, which should be pointing at your CD drive. Right-click on this and select Modify, then type in your new path (such as C:\WIN98\) and click OK.

Quit out of Regedit and restart Windows. Check your Registry fix has worked by adding a new component from the Windows Setup tab under Add/Remove Programs. When you click OK, Windows should automatically find it on your hard drive for you – without prompting for the Windows CD.

68. Modem tests
Modem seems to be dead? Open the Modems applet, click on Diagnostics, select its port and click on More info. If you eventually see a window containing various settings, all is well. An immediate error message means that Windows can’t reach your modem at all – make sure it’s connected and switched on (if an external model).

69. Check your connection
If you can begin a connection to your ISP, but it fails, open the Network applet. Select Dial-Up Adapter and click on the Properties button, followed by Advanced. Set Record a log file to Yes. Try connecting as normal, and view exactly what’s happening in the \Windows\Ppplog.txt file.

70. Change the format
To change the default date or time format in some applications, open the Regional Settings applet and modify them to whatever you need.

71. Silence is golden
Turn off those Navigation noises in Explorer by opening the Sounds applet, and removing any sounds attached to Start Navigation or Complete Navigation.

72. Registration number
When you install Windows, the set-up program gives you a registration number to quote if you ever contact Microsoft. If you’ve never noted it down, do so now. You can easily find it by opening the System applet, clicking on General, and looking under Registered.

73. Disable autoplay
Did you know there are two ways to stop Windows from automatically launching a CD when you put it in your drive? You may already know about the Auto insert notification fix in Device Manager; this is fine for most things, but if you want all kinds of autoplay switched off – and that includes when you double-click on a CD’s icon in My Computer – you need a Registry fix.

Run Regedit and navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ Policies\Explorer. Double-click on the value marked NoDriveTypeAutoRun, press [Delete] four times and set it to B5 00 00 00. Quit out of Regedit and restart your PC to apply the effect.

74. Restore auto-run
To undo the Registry change in tip 73 at a later date, repeat the steps above, but change the value back to 95 00 00 00.

75. Check your resources
If you leave your PC on all the time you should make a habit of checking your free Windows resources (Control Panel, System, and click on the Performance tab). If it’s under 50 per cent with all applications closed, re-booting your PC should improve speed and prevent annoying crashes.

76. Faster disks
To improve disk speed, go to Control Panel, System, Performance, File System. On the Hard disk tab, set Read-ahead optimisation to Full, and under Floppy disk, clear the Search for new floppy disk drives... box.

77. Risky caching?
Try switching to the Removable disk tab and checking Enable write-behind caching. Remove the disk before Windows completes writing and files could be corrupted, but if you’re careful you could be rewarded by significant performance increases.

78. Optimise CDs
Switch to the CD-ROM tab and you’ll find Windows only enables you to optimise your CD drive up to 4x speed. Or does it? Run REGEDIT, and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\ control\FileSystem\CDFS. Note the CacheSize and PreFetch, then change them to read d6,04,00,00 and 80,03,00,00 respectively. Don’t go back to the CD-ROM tab, however, as the default values will be automatically restored.

79. Boot disks
Let’s get one thing straight: you need a boot disk. Now! Use the Startup disk tab under Add/Remove Programs to create one.

Optimise your system

Change a setting, learn a new shortcut – there are all kinds of ways to speed up your PC.


80. Hardware summary Device Manager is the place to go if your hardware is giving you grief.

If it detects a hardware problem, Device Manager in the Control Panel highlights the faulty device with an exclamation mark icon. Find and double-click on it for more information.

Check 'Device Status' for a diagnosis of your problem. If it's non-critical hardware and you can't fix it right now (plus it's not a vital component like your graphics card!), select Disable in this hardware profile to stop it causing other problems.

Navigating through the tree of devices can be complex, and it's not always necessary. If you just want a basic summary of system resources, just double-click on the top Computer icon, for example.

Startup

81. Boot faster
Windows loads a whole lot faster if it has less to do, so remove unnecessary programs from your C:\Windows\Startup folder. Applications are also stored elsewhere on your system.

Look in the Registry under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion. The folders you’re looking for are Run and RunOnce. Just make sure you don’t delete anything you’re not 110 per cent sure of.


82. Registry hunting
Other programs store their applications elsewhere in the Registry, so take a look at the various ‘Run’ folders in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion, too.

83. Play safe
If you’re uncertain whether a start-up program can be removed or not, run the System Configuration tool (msconfig.exe). It displays everything loaded when your system boots under the Startup tab, and you can temporarily disable any item you like.

Explorer

84. Copy fast
The fastest way to copy any file to a floppy disk is via the SendTo menu – just right-click on the file and select Send To, 3 1/2 floppy (A).

85. Easy shortcuts
You want to create a desktop shortcut, but it’s buried behind dozens of windows. What do you do? View the desktop, restore Explorer, resize it, drag and drop? For an easier solution, right-click on the selected files, then choose Send To, Desktop (Create Shortcut).

86. Create a new folder or shortcut
If you have TweakUI, the fastest way to create a new folder or shortcut is to right-click in a window or on the desktop and select New – pick your choice from the many available, and edit the list of new documents from TweakUI’s New tab.

87. Quick selections
Hold down [Shift] as you drag the mouse over a selection of files to select that group. Hold down [Ctrl] to select individual files in a group. If you find yourself having to select 99 per cent of files in a folder, why not take advantage of the ‘Invert Selection’ option? Just select the files you don’t need, then select Edit, Invert Selection.

88. Smaller toolbars
You can create more space in an Explorer window by altering the display options. Right-click on the toolbar and untick the box marked Text labels – this shrinks the icons as well as removing the text.

89. Local favourites
Favourites aren’t restricted to the Internet – select Favorites, Add Favorite in Explorer, and you can add a local folder to your list, too.


90. Size columns instantly
The columns displaying file information in Explorer aren’t always wide enough to display the details you need to see. It’s possible to resize them using the mouse, but a faster way is to hold down [Ctrl] + [Alt], then press [+] on the numeric keypad.

More speed tips

91. Download more files
By default, Internet Explorer limits the maximum number of connections per server to two. This can be annoying, as it means you can only download two files at a time. To increase this figure, run regedit and go to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\InternetSettings folder. Create a DWORD value called MaxConnectionsPerServer, and set its value to four or more.

92. Print faster
To speed up your printing (at the cost of not being able to use the PC until printing is complete), open the Printers Control Panel, right-click on your printer icon and select Properties. Look for the Spool Settings button – it should be under Default or Details or something similar. Choose Print directly to the printer, and click on OK.

93. Swap less, speed up
If you have plenty of RAM (128Mb or more), try adding the following line to the [386Enh] section of your \Windows\SYSTEM.INI file (you can do this via the sysedit utility – just type in sysedit to the Start, Run box): ConservativeSwapfileUsage=1. This could reduce the amount of disk swapping Windows does, and so speed up your system..

94. Rundll32 shortcuts
You can speedily access all kinds of Windows features. To do so, right-click on the desktop and create a new shortcut, then enter the appropriate line into the Command line: box.

Task - Command line
Format a floppy rundll32 shell32,SHFormatDrive
Exit Windows rundll32 shell32,SHExitWindowsEx 1
Log off rundll32 shell32,SHExitWindowsEx 0
Reboot rundll32 shell32,SHExitWindowsEx 2
Print test page rundll32 msprint2.dll,RUNDLL_PrintTestPage

95. Use less colours
Using a video mode with lots of colours in Windows takes lots of memory – and is it really necessary? Right-click on your desktop, and select Properties, Settings. If you’re currently using a 24-bit display mode (16 million colours), try reducing it to 16-bit – you’ll probably not notice the difference, but your PC will have much less work to do.

96. View files quickly
Create a shortcut to the file quikview.exe, and you’ll be able to view files quickly by dropping them on to it. You’ll find quikview.exe in the C:\Windows\System\Viewers folder. If it’s not there, you’ll need to install it from your Windows CD.

97. Clear the clipboard
Copy a large image to the clipboard, and it will stay there, taking up RAM. If you’re short of memory, delete it yourself by running the Clipboard Viewer (clipbrd.exe) and selecting Edit, Delete.

98. Investigate applications
The best way to find shortcuts in your applications is to right-click on objects. Whether they’re filenames, Web links, images or selected paragraphs of text, you’ll probably discover handy shortcuts that can be quite convoluted to find any other way.

99. Limit CD use
If there’s a CD in your drive, then the normal checks that take place when you run Explorer (or select File, Open) will take longer – so remove CDs from your drives when you’ve finished with them.

100. Playing a role
You can give your PC a small performance boost by changing its role to Network Server at Control Panel, System – switch to the Performance tab and click on the File System button. This boost works best with machines with 64Mb of RAM or less.

Miscellaneous

If a tip refuses to be categorised, we still cram it in if it's useful.

101. Identify files
Windows’ reliance on extensions to identify a file can cause problems. For example, if a file is saved with the wrong extension, then finding out what it is can be tricky. One quick solution is to try opening it in a text editor, and looking at the first few characters for identifying marks.

Signature = File type
MZ = EXE, DLL or other executable
PK = Zip
{\rtf = Rich Text format document
BM = Windows bitmap (*.bmp)
GIF = GIF image
JFIF = JPEG image

102. Protect your privacy
Want to remove all trace of your movements? Run the latest version of TweakUI and switch to the Paranoia tab. Tick the boxes that interest you, then click on the Clear Selected Items Now button to wipe all trace of your movements.

103. Extra privacy
The Windows Media Player keeps a history of the files you’ve played recently. If you don’t want others to see what you’ve been doing, run Registry Editor and delete the entries in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Player\RecentFileList folder.

104. Run your screensaver on demand
Screensavers are programs like any other, except that they have a .SCR extension. Locate the file representing your favourite, make a shortcut to it, and you can run that screensaver whenever you like.

105. Undo anywhere. Nearly
The [Ctrl] + [Z] combination is well-known as an undo operation. But did you know this works nearly everywhere as far as text goes?

106. Find tips
You have access to more Windows tips than you realise – check TIPS.TXT (and the other TXT files) in your Windows folder, for a selection.

107. Accessibility for all
The Windows Accessibility options are helpful to people who may have difficulty using a normal PC, but they’re useful for other reasons too. The Magnifier, for example, displays a blown-up view of the area around your mouse cursor – ideal for graphics applications that lack an adequate zoom tool. Look for it on the Start, Programs, Accessories, Accessibility menu (install it from your Windows CD if it isn’t there).

108. Calculate cleverly
The Windows Calculator (calc.exe) isn’t as basic as it seems – run the program again, and select View, Scientific to discover functions
covering statistics, trigonometry, and more.


109. Schedule reminders
There's more to the Windows Task Scheduler than running programs. With a little imagination, you can use it as a simple reminder tool.

After creating a text file containing your reminder, select Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Scheduled Tasks. Double-click on Add Scheduled Task and click on the Next followed by the Browse buttons.

The scheduler is expecting you to specify a program, but pay no attention. Navigate to and select your reminder document, then click on Open.

Choose the time you want the reminder to appear. When you've finished, leave the Task Scheduler running, and the document will appear at the specified time.

110. Check network settings
For a report on your PC's TCP/IP settings, including IP address and default gateway, run the program winipcfg.exe from the Windows folder.

111. Recover from disaster
Don’t reach for the off switch the moment your PC stops responding. Press [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Del] together and wait a few minutes. With any luck the Close Program Dialog will appear. Look for any applications that are marked as ‘Not responding’ on the list, and click on End Task to try and shut it down.

112. Wait!
Some people give up (or repeat the step several times) because ‘End Task’ doesn’t work immediately. Be patient! Windows won’t close an application down without giving it time to respond first. Walk away, leave your PC for a couple of minutes, then come back and try again.

113. Password storage
Windows stores your passwords in a password-list file. This is normally given your default user name plus the extension *.PWL, and is stored in the Windows folder. If you’ve forgotten your password, find this file and rename it. Reboot your PC, and enter a new password when prompted.

114. Not-so special effects
To speed up your desktop operations, right-click on the desktop, select Properties, Effects, and clear all the options listed.

115. Run flexibly
The Start, Run command is far more than just a program launcher. Enter \ (or any other path) to display a folder on your system, or enter an http or ftp address and your browser will launch and display it.

116. Alternate desktop view
To display your desktop as a folder, select Start, Run, and enter a single full-stop in the Run box.

117. Really delete those files
Fed up with periodically emptying the Recycle Bin, or holding down [Shift] to bypass it manually? Right-click on it, select Properties and tick the box marked Do not move files to the Recycle Bin...

118. Associate freely
To change file associations in Explorer, hold down the [Shift] key as you right-click on a file. Select Open with, choose the application you want to open the file, and tick the Always use this application to open this type of file box before clicking OK.

119. Compress with caution
Don’t use compression technologies like DriveSpace to create more space on a drive. They may conflict or cause problems with other software, and with big hard disks available for well under £100, just aren’t worth the trouble.

120. Create a new file type
If a friend sends you a particular type of file that isn’t associated with any programs on your computer, create a file association. Open up My Computer and select View, Folder Options, then switch to the File Types tab and click on New Type. Enter a name and the file extension in the appropriate boxes, then click on the New... button under Actions, select Open and browse to the program you want to view the file in.

121. New Wallpaper
Bored with your desktop wallpaper? If you spot an image on the Internet that you’d like to use instead, right-click on it and select Set as wallpaper.

122. Desktop tweaks
If you’re planning on adding extra drives to your system, be aware that they may mess up your existing drive-letter settings (in particular your CD-ROM drive). Anticipate this by using Device Manager to assign particular letters to your DVD and CD drives. Double-click on the drive to open its Properties screen, then switch to the Settings tab. Set the Start drive letter: and End drive letter: values to the same figure – try a letter further on in the alphabet that’s unlikely to ever be used by another drive.

123. Beneath the hood
If you're an expert you may like to know you can customise the way Windows displays folders like Control Panel, Printers and My Computer – simply by editing a text file. You will need an in-depth understanding of HTML, stylesheets, JavaScript, and Windows in general, however. If you qualify, open the *.HTT files in your C:\Windows\Web folder for a really detailed look at how Windows works.

124. What version?
Ever wondered what a particular file is for? If it contains executable code (*.exe, *.dll and so on), right-click on it and select Properties, then switch to the Version tab. Just click on the various options in the Item name: list to learn more.

125. Long file names and DOS
Who said DOS was dead? You can even use long file names in a DOS window, as long as you enclose them in quotes – for example, type cd “\program files” to change to the Program Files directory.

126. Necessary duplication
To make a copy of a file in Explorer in the same folder as the original, right-click on it, select Copy, then right-click again and select Paste.
This material is the copyright material of or licensed to Future Publishing Limited, a Future Network plc group company, UK 2004. All rights reserved.
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Artikel-id: 835834 – senaste granskning 8 juli 2008 – revision: 1

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