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July 2000 

Windows Assistance

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A Quicker Quick View July 31, 2000

Quick View is an underused, under-appreciated feature of Windows; it lets you quickly and safely see the contents of documents without opening their associated applications. To make it even quicker, create a shortcut to it, C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\VIEWERS\QUIKVIEW.EXE, and then drag and drop a file onto the icon to view it.

Cool Close Trick July 28, 2000

You can close a bunch of open programs, folders and documents all at once in Win98 and IE 4.0: Press and hold the Ctrl key, click on the taskbar icon of each program you want to close, then right-click on any one of them and select Close from the Context menu.

Opening A Folder In Explorer View July 27, 2000

In our last tip, we showed you how to switch any open folder window from one pane to two: Right-click the icon in the window's upper-left corner and select Explore. Now let's back up a step. Are you staring at a folder icon you'd like to open in a two-paned view? Right-click the icon and select Explore. It's a lot faster than opening a generic Windows Explorer window, and then navigating your way to that folder.

Switching Folder View From One Pane to Two July 26, 2000

Have you ever opened a folder window and then wished you had opened it inside Windows Explorer? You can make the switch from one pane to two without closing the window. Simply right-click the icon in the window's upper-left corner and select Explore. Windows Explorer, at your service.

Return Filched File Types July 25, 2000

Ever encounter an application that designates itself as the default program for a file extension previously owned by another program? The quickest way to get out of this jam under Win9x is to find an example of an incorrectly associated file. Click on the file once to select it, then hold down the Shift key while you right-click on it. Choose Open With. Select the correct program, check the "Always use this program to open this type of file" box and click on OK. Or, if you don't find the program, click on the Other button and navigate to the correct program on your drive.

Copying Windows Folder July 24, 2000

If you try to copy your entire C:\WINDOWS folder, either to another directory or another drive, Windows copies most of the files and folders before it hits WIN386.SWP. Then it terminates the copy, because it prevents itself from reading and copying that virtual memory system file. Here's a workaround: Create your destination folder, then open your WINDOWS folder and choose Edit/Select All. Scroll to the end of the folder and locate WIN386.SWP. Hold down the Ctrl key and click once on the file to deselect it. Now just drag and drop all the other files and folders to your destination folder.

Single-Key Shortcuts July 21, 2000

If you don't use the number keys on the numeric keypad, you can use them as single-click keyboard shortcuts for launching your 10 favorite apps. Start by pressing the Num Lock key if it isn't already on. Next, right-click on an existing program shortcut and choose Properties. Open the Shortcut tab. Click once inside the Shortcut Key field, press the number key that you want to associate with the program, then click on OK. Repeat the steps for each app. 

For Internet Explorer, you'll have to make a shortcut to the Desktop icon first, then follow the same steps using the new shortcut. 

If your Num Lock key isn't turned on by default, check your system's BIOS setup for a Num Lock default setting.

Easy Go . . . July 20, 2000

Setup sometimes "finds" things that aren't really there, such as a non-existent serial mouse and a standard PS/2 port mouse. If the Device Manager shows this or any other such ghost, highlight it and click on the Remove button.

Easy Come . . . July 19, 2000

Sometimes the setup procedure doesn't find everything in your system. If an installed hardware device is missing, select Control Panel/Add New Hardware and let the Hardware wizard search for whatever it is. To speed up the search, click on the No button and narrow the search to a specific device type. If it's a missing modem, Control Panel's Modem applet may find it faster.

Bypass The Password July 18, 2000

You can disable Windows' log-on password. Open the Passwords in Control Panel and click on the Change Windows Password button. Type your old password in the Old Password field. Then tab to the New Password and Confirm Password fields in turn, and press only Enter in each one.

Find Missing Windows July 17, 2000

Has a folder or program window mysteriously moved off your screen? It can happen for several reasons-the most common is that you've recently changed your video resolution. Right-click on the taskbar, select either the Cascade Windows or Tile Windows (Horizontally or Vertically) option, and the window will magically appear (you may need to resize your windows).

Stopping Startup Programs July 14, 2000

Is there a program that starts whenever Windows starts--one that drives you crazy because you don't need it, but can't figure out how to turn it off (such as AOL Instant Messenger)? The Windows 98 System Configuration Utility allows you to turn off any auto-start program with the click of a check box. Select Start, Run. Then type

and click OK. In the resulting System Configuration Utility dialog box, click the Startup tab to display a list of all programs that start whenever Windows 98 starts. Deselect the one that's been bugging you (making certain you know which one it is), then click OK. The next time you start Windows, that program is nowhere to be found.

Explore A Different Folder July 13, 2000

The Windows Explorer normally opens to your C: drive, but you can make it launch with the contents of any folder you want. Go to your Windows Explorer shortcut, right-click and select Properties. Open the Shortcut tab. Edit the entry in the Target field to read explorer.exe /n , /e , <drive:\path\folder> , where <drive:\path\folder> is whichever folder you want to first see when Explorer launches.

Let this Be A Warning July 12, 2000

If you frequently hit the Caps Lock key by accident, open Control Panel's Accessibility Options applet and put a check in the Use ToggleKeys box on the Keyboard tab. Then select the General tab and clear the check box next to "Turn off accessibility features." From now on your computer will beep if you press the Caps Lock, Num Lock or Scroll Lock keys.

Keeping Your Hard Drive In Shape July 11, 2000

Corrupted sectors and physical errors on your hard drive will affect performance. You can clean your disk using Windows 9x's built-in ScanDisk utility. Its default location is under Start/Programs/Accessories/System Tools/ScanDisk. For fastest results, use the Advanced options. 

Removing Icons From Desktop July 10, 2000

Want to remove all icons from your desktop in order to display that photo you just scanned and turned into desktop wallpaper? Assuming you're viewing the desktop as a Web page -- by right-clicking the desktop, selecting Active Desktop, then choosing View As Web Page -- you can wipe the desktop clean with one quick setting change.

Right-click the desktop and select Properties to open the Display Properties dialog box. Click the Effects tab, select Hide Icons When Desktop Is Viewed As A Web Page, then click OK. Back on your desktop, there's not an icon in sight.

(Note: Before selecting this option, you'll probably want to place shortcuts to the desktop items you use in a convenient location, such as the Quick Launch toolbar or the Start menu. Also, to get your icons back, simply deselect the Hide Icons... option.)

Dump Fonts Cautiously July 7, 2000

Before you start deleting all those font files that make
your system boot slowly, make sure that Windows doesn't need them. For example, you should not delete the following fonts: Arial, Courier, Marlett, Modern, MS Sans Serif, MS Serif (or any font with a name beginning with "MS"), Small Fonts, Symbol and Times New Roman. Also, don't delete any fonts that start with 8514 or VGA.

You may also have some hidden fonts that some application installed and needs, so you don't want to delete them either. To identify hidden fonts, open a DOS window and type CD \Windows\Fonts to switch to the fonts directory. Type DIR /AH and press Enter to see a list of hidden font files.

Control Panel Control July 6, 2000

Control Panel is one of the more frequently used folders in Windows, but it's not always easy to access. You can, however, make the Control Panel applets available directly from the Start menu. First, right-click on the Start button and choose Open. Then, right-click on the background area in the Start menu folder and choose New/Folder. Rename the folder with this string:

Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}

(Windows 95 users can copy and paste this filename from the TIPS.TXT file found in the Windows folder.) Press Enter. This will place Control Panel directly on the Start menu, with the applets appearing on a cascading menu that opens when you move the cursor over Control Panel. For frequently used Control Panel applets, make shortcuts to the applets and add them to the Start menu or the desktop.

Keep Hard Drives In Shape July 5, 2000

Corrupted sectors and physical errors on your hard drive will affect performance. You can clean your disk using Windows 9x's built-in ScanDisk utility. Its default location is under Start/Programs/Accessories/System Tools/ScanDisk. For fastest results, use the Advanced options.

Check Your Graphics Card July 3, 2000

To find out what type of graphics card you have, right-click on My Computer, select Properties, click on the Device Manager tab and double-click on Display Adapters. The card and vendor will be listed. To check the driver, double-click on the card name and choose the Driver tab. In Win98, open the Components section of the System Information utility
(Start/Programs/Accessories/System Tools/System Information).