Listener asks, "When I read one of your tips
that I want to keep around for future use, I do a
quick cut-and-paste into WordPad. How do I install
WordPad on my Taskbar -- as opposed to a desktop
shortcut -- so it's more easily accessible?"
There are two options you may wish to consider. The
first is to create a hot key for WordPad, so you can
open it at the press of a keyboard combo. Right-click
the shortcut you use to open WordPad and select Properties.
Click the Shortcut tab, then click inside the
text box next to Shortcut key. Type the letter
you'd like to use in combination with Ctrl-Alt
to open the program, for example, W (Windows 98 fills
in the Ctrl-Alt part). Click OK, and from now on,
pressing Ctrl-Alt-W opens WordPad.
Your other option is to add a WordPad shortcut to
your Quick Launch toolbar (the row of icons to
the right of your Start button). Click and drag
your current WordPad shortcut down to this toolbar
between two existing icons (or on either edge of the
bar). A black line will appear to let you know
you've chosen an acceptable place to create a
shortcut. Let go, and you now have Taskbar access to
(Tip: Use the above techniques to create
quick access to any of your favorite applications.)
January 30, 2001
Win9X doesn't refresh your view of files and
folders as often as you might like. Here's how to make
Windows refresh constantly (make sure you back up your
system before editing the Registry). Launch the
Registry Editor by selecting Start/Run, typing REGEDIT
in the Run dialog and pressing Enter. Click on the
plus sign next to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, then on
the plus sign next to System, and then on CurrentControlSet.
Select Control, then Update. In the
right pane, right-click on UpdateMode and
select Modify. Select the 01 reading and
change it to 00. Click on OK, exit the Registry
Editor and restart.
note: Don't forget the F5 key.
Folders At Startup
January 29, 2001
You already know you can put programs and documents
in your StartUp folder to launch things at
startup, but you can also put folders in there. Just
follow the normal procedure: Right-click on the Start
button and select Open, double-click on the Programs
folder, then the StartUp folder. Now drag the
folder of your choice into the StartUp window.
January 26, 2001
Earlier in the week we talked about methods to
restart Windows. Here's another.
Sometimes you need to restart Windows to make a
settings change take effect. But there's a faster way.
Select Shut Down from the Start menu,
then press and hold the Shift key when you
click on Restart the Computer, then (still
holding down the Shift key) click OK. When the
screen prompt reads, "Windows is now
restarting," you can let go of the Shift key.
Performing this action bypasses the boot sequence.
'Open With' Everywhere
January 25, 2001
You can quickly add the Open With command to the
right-click Context menu of all or most icons
in Windows 9x. In the Registry Editor, go to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AllFilesystemObjects
and make a new key called shell. (Do this by
right-clicking on the AllFilesystemObjects
folder and choosing New/Key from the pop-up
menu.) In the shell key, make the new key openas.
In the openas key, make a key called command.
Now double-click on the Default icon in the
command key and, in the Value data field, enter
%1 and click on OK. Close the Registry Editor.
You'll now find the Open With menu item on the pop-up
menus of most file and folder objects.
January 24, 2001
I've probably used this tip in the past but it is
one of the more asked questions. So by
popular demand here it is again.
AutoRun plays CDs as soon as you put them in
the drive. If you don't like this feature, you can
turn it off. Right-click on My Computer, select
Properties and select the Device Manager
tab. Find your CD-ROM drive on the list, then
double-click on it. Select the Settings tab and
deselect Auto Insert Notification.
If you have Tweak UI installed you can
selectively disable AutoRun for either a Data CD or Audio CD. Go to the Paranoia
tab and your choices are under Things That
Happen Behind Your Back.
note: For the Tweak UI method to work
you must have Auto Insert Notification enabled
for the CD-ROM.
January 23, 2001
You can create a shortcut icon that will
automatically reboot Windows. In the Command line,
or Target field, type:
Name the new shortcut Restart Windows.
Warning: This shortcut restarts your system
without confirmation, so only double-click on it when
you're sure that's what you want to do.
January 22, 2001
The most efficient way to reboot Windows 9x is the
old standard-choosing Restart from the Shut
Down Windows dialog box. But there are other ways
to reboot if you want to temporarily extend a session
before rebooting. You can press Shift while
clicking on OK on the Shut Down Windows
dialog box for a slightly quicker reboot.
If you're networked, you can use the "Close
all programs and log on as a different user"
entry. Under Win98, that's the Log Off (Your
Computer's Name) option on the Start
Another shutdown method is to press Ctrl+Alt+Del
(once), select the Explorer item in the Close
Programs box and click on End Task. You may
immediately see the Shut Down Windows dialog
box, and if you do, choose Cancel. Wait for a
few more moments; a confirmation dialog box should
come up. Click on End Task. The Windows shell
will quickly close and then relaunch.
Was That Number?
January 19, 2001
Need to look up someone's phone number or other
personal info in your Address Book? Assuming you use
Outlook Express (or another program that uses the
Windows Address Book), there's no need to open up your
whole e-mail program. The Windows Address Book can
function on its own. Just select Start>>Programs>>Internet
Explorer>>Address Book, and your list of
contacts appears onscreen. Now select from the Address
Book Menu Edit>>Find People [Cntrl-F] and
perform your search.
You can also go directly to the Find People
dialog box from Start>>Find>>People
and your Windows Address Book will be the default
object. Just input any part of a name, address, e-Mail,
phone, or other and up pops a list of people.
You can also make life easy and put the Address
Book in the Quick Launch toolbar.
January 18, 2001
Because I use the telephone line to connect to the
Internet I prefer to download articles and then read
them at my leisure. I keep them in a separate folder.
My problem is viewing just the htm files
when I open the folder using Windows Explorer
to find an article. Can't do it. You have to view all
files in the folder. You can sort by file type but you
still have to move down the list to the the htm
files. The solution -- Using the Find utility (Search
in Windows ME.)
Open Windows Explorer to the folder that
holds the files. Now open the Find utility by
pressing the F3 key. Notice that the folder
name is already in the Look In: field. In the Named:
field type the data you are searching for. For my htm
files I input *.htm (You will find files with
the html extension as well.) Now click on the Find
Now you have just the htm files listed (Or
any file whose file extension starts with htm.) It
gets better. In the Find utility menu bar
select File>>Save Search. This will place
a shortcut on your desktop. Now you can click on this
shortcut to get the Find utility and then click
on the Find Now button to get an updated search
of the folder.
You can also save the results of a search. Go to
the Find utility menu Options>>Save
Results. You should now have a check mark next to Save
Results. Perform your search. Now you can save the
search and it's results by going to File>>Save
Your Window Rights
January 17, 2001
Did you know that many of the options available
through menu commands in an Explorer window are also
available in the right-mouse context menu? Right-click
a blank area inside an open window and check out the
resulting list. There, you'll find most every command
from the View menu (except Folder Options and the
three toolbar commands). In addition, you'll see a
couple of favorites from the Edit and File
menus. Hey, why waste all that energy clicking on an
exact menu command when you can right-click anywhere
in a window and accomplish the same thing?
With A Desktop Shortcut
January 16, 2001
Do you find your desktop a handier place for
shortcuts than the Start menu? Then create shortcuts
to your oft-used Start menu items on the desktop.
Whereas in Windows 95, this operation required you to
right-click Start, select Open, and so on..., now you
can copy a shortcut using a simple click-and-drag
With all open windows minimized, click Start
and navigate your way to a favorite shortcut, such as Start,
Programs, Accessories, Paint. Click the item you
want to turn into a shortcut (here, Paint), and
without letting go (or else you'll open that item), drag
it out to the desktop. Let go, and there's your
For One & One For All Folder Viewer
January 15, 2001
Do you have a very favorite way of viewing a
folder's contents -- for example, always as a Web page
and always the Large Icon view? Rather than set these
options every time you open a new window, set them
once and be done with it. Windows 98 will apply your
view options globally (unlike Windows 95, where you
had to reset these options constantly).
Open any Explorer window and select View, Folder
Options. Select the View tab, click the Like
Current Folder button, then click Yes to confirm.
Every window you open from that point forward will
look the way you want it to.
Dr Who 2
January 12, 2001
In our last tip, we introduced Dr. Watson, a
Windows 98 troubleshooting utility that takes system
snapshots to help diagnose problems. A nice feature of
this utility is that it takes a snapshot automatically
when a system fault occurs. But Dr. Watson has to be
running in order to take a snapshot.
To be sure that Dr. Watson is running all the time,
place a shortcut to Windows\Drwatson.exe in
your Startup folder (likely in C:\WINDOWS\Start
Menu\Programs\StartUp). From now on, this utility
will load whenever Windows 98 starts.
Dr Who 1
January 11, 2001
Have you been experiencing system faults? Before
you call a Windows 98 support technician, call Dr.
Watson. Dr. Watson is a troubleshooting utility
that takes system snapshots of the present state of
your system that may be able to help solve a problem.
Select Start, Programs, Accessories, System
Tools, System Information. In the System
Information window, select Tools, Dr. Watson.
Click the Dr. Watson icon that appears in the
tray of your Taskbar, select Dr. Watson, and wait as
this utility generates a system snapshot, resulting in
(you hope) a diagnosis of the problem.
(Tip: To view nine tabs-worth of details captured
by the snapshot, select View, Advanced View.)
Name and save the log file. You now have a great
resource for that support technician you're about to
January 10, 2001
In our last tip, we pointed out that you can go
from an Explorer window to a Web page by typing its
URL in the Address bar. Windows 98 goes the other way,
too. Let's say you're browsing the Internet in an IE
4.x window and you suddenly need to locate a document
on your hard drive. Pull down the Go menu,
select My Computer, and instantly, you're
local. Navigate your way to the folder you need, as
you would inside any other Explorer window.
With Explorer 5.x go to View >> Explorer
Bar >> Folders. Or View >> Go To
>> Docs for the My Documents folder.
(Tip: To jump directly to a folder other than My
Computer, type the folder's path on IE Address
bar, then press Enter.)
It On The Management
January 9, 2001
Have you noticed that when you leave your system
for a while--say, 15 minutes or longer--your screen
goes black? (How could you not notice?) This isn't
some new low-budget screen saver. It's just Power
Management doing its job. By default, the feature
powers off your monitor after 15 minutes of
inactivity. Press any key or move the mouse, and your
monitor comes to life again (after what can seem like
a long delay).
Of course, if you find this feature a hindrance,
you may wish to turn it off altogether or increase the
delay time before the monitor powers off. Open the
Control Panel (select Start, Settings, Control
Panel), and double-click Power Management.
To prevent the monitor from powering off altogether,
click the down arrow next to Turn Off Monitor
and select Never. To increase the delay, select
a new time in this same list. Either way, click OK,
and the new setting will be applied to the current
(Tip: Use the Turn Off Hard Disk list to
adjust the delay before which Windows 98 powers off
your hard drive.)
Address Bar, Will Travel
January 8, 2001
You may already know that you can get to the
Internet by typing a Web address on the Address bar of
any Explorer window. But did you also know that with a
little tweaking, the Taskbar will perform the same
function? Just add the Address toolbar to the Taskbar.
Right-click a blank area on the Taskbar,
select Toolbars, and in the pop-out menu,
select Address. Presto -- there's your Address
bar. You now have Internet access on screen at all
times. No open windows necessary!
(Tip: As with any toolbar, to resize the
Address bar, hold your mouse pointer over the vertical
bar at the toolbar's left edge, and when the
pointer changes to a double-pointed arrow, click
and drag in either direction.)
January 5, 2001
Some hardware devices are not
compatible with the way that 98 just 'yanks the plug'
when it shuts down your system and may cause a system
lock-up, forcing you to do a cold boot. One
work-around for this problem is to disable the fast
Select Start, Run,
and click OK. On the General
tab, click the Advanced button, select Disable
Fast Shutdown, and click OK twice. Restart
your system, and the next time you shut down, your
troubles may be solved. I have found that by disabling
the fast shutdown, you really don't lose much speed at
all -- not even half a second. Hope this helps some of
you out there."
According to Microsoft, another common cause of
these shutdown lock-ups is a damaged Exit Windows
sound file. To determine whether or not this file is
causing the problem, disable it.
Inside the Control Panel, double-click Sounds
to open the Sounds Properties dialog box. In
the list under Events, select Exit Windows.
Click the down arrow under Sound, select None,
then click OK. (Alternatively, you could turn
your sound scheme off altogether by selecting No
Sounds in the list of Schemes.)
Now try shutting down Windows 98. If the problem is
gone, leave the Exit Windows sound disabled, or use
the Sounds dialog box to select a new sound. (A third
option is to try reinstalling the sound that was
causing the problem.)
Not My Default
January 4, 2001
Since upgrading to Windows 98
or ME, all my apps want to open and save files to the My
Documents folder by default. I don't want
everything there. How do I make it stop?
Unfortunately, you'll need to
change the default directory of each application by
hand. (Fortunately, you'll only need to do it once.)
In many cases, an application provides this
capability. For example, in Microsoft Word, you
can change the default directory as follows: Select
Tools, Options, click the File Locations
tab, select a file type, click Modify, navigate
your way to the folder of your choice, and click OK.
If an application doesn't
offer this feature (WordPad is a good example), you'll
need to change the default directory at the Windows
level. Locate the shortcut you use to open the
application (most likely in the desktop or Start
menu), right-mouse-click it and select Properties.
Click the Shortcut tab, type the path of the
desired default directory in the "Start in"
text box, then click OK. From now on, as long as you
use this shortcut to open the application, your
selected default will stick.
(Note: In a given work
session, if you navigate your way to another folder
inside the Open or Save dialog box, that folder will
remain the "default" until you switch to
another or close and re-open the application.)
Document List Just Got Bigger
January 3, 2001
Did you just select Start, Documents . . . only to
discover that the file you wanted to open has been
bumped from the list? Don't worry, you can access all
of your files from the Documents list -- that is,
assuming you store your documents in the My
Documents folder (a pretty big assumption, we
realize). Inside the Documents list, select the very
top command, My Documents. Instant access to
all your data files.
Your Desktop Icons A Makeover
January 2, 2001
You can change the icons for specific desktop icons --
namely, My Computer, My Documents, Network
Neighborhood and the Recycle Bin (full or
empty) -- from the Effects tab of the Display
Properties dialog box. (If you used Microsoft
Plus! for Windows 95, you may remember that this
option was available from the Plus! tab of the same
To open the Display Properties dialog box, open
the Control Panel and double-click Display;
or right-mouse-click the desktop and select Properties.
Click the Effects tab, select the icon you'd
like to change, and click the Change Icon
button. Select a new icon, click OK, then
repeat these steps for each icon that you want to
change. When you're finished, click OK to apply the
changes to your desktop.
Note: If you don't see an icon you like in the Change
Icon dialog box -- for example, you won't see any
choices for My Documents -- click the Browse
button, navigate your way to another icon file (such
as Windows\System\Shell32.dll or Windows\System\Pifmgr.dll),
select an icon, click Open, then click OK.