Win98 changes the way you boot to a DOS prompt.
Hold down the Ctrl key while your PC is
booting. This takes you directly to the Boot Menu,
including Safe Mode and "Boot to
command prompt only."
February 27, 2001
You can speed up your boot process by telling
Windows not to search for your floppy drive. (You'll
still be able to use the drive, but Win98 will search
for it only when you click on its icon in My
Computer.) Go to My Computer
File/Properties/Performance. Click on File
System and the Floppy Disk tab. Deselect
"Search for new floppy disk drives each time
your computer starts."
To Open System Configuration
February 26, 2001
A Reader writes, "I once read that there is a
Win 98 utility accessible via the Run command that
shows you what programs are running, and gives you the
ability to enable or disable them. I tried it once and
it worked great. Do you know the command to punch into
the Run dialog box?"
We suspect that you're referring to the System
Configuration Utility. To open it, select Start,
and click OK. From there, you can select the
Startup tab and disable or enable any programs
that start when Windows 98 starts.
February 23, 2001
Maintain your hard drive by performing these steps
at least monthly, in this order:
1.) Delete all files and folders with dates older
than one week from C:\WINDOWS\TEMP.
2.) Purge your browser's History and Internet
3.) Run ScanDisk. Select the Standard radio
button and enable Automatically Fix Errors.
Click on Advanced and, under Log File,
pick Replace Log; for Cross-Linked Files,
select Delete; click Free under Lost
File Fragments; under Check Files For,
check "Invalid dates and times;" and
disable "Check host drive first,"
unless you've compressed your hard drive.
4.) Empty the Recycle Bin.
Through Desktop Icons Fast
February 22, 2001
It's hard to find an icon on a Desktop that's
cluttered with dozens of them. Here's a quick way to
locate the one you're looking for-all you need to know
is the name under the icon. Click anywhere on the
Windows desktop and press the first letter of the
icon's label. Windows will highlight the first icon it
comes to beginning with the letter -- if that's not
the one you're looking for, keep pressing the letter
and watch the highlight as it cycles through the
Get To The Device Manager Fast
February 21, 2001
If Windows insists you start in Safe Mode, or if
you're having some kind of hardware conflict, you want
to make for the Device Manager fast. The
trouble is, it's hidden away under Control Panel's
System option, or in a right-click menu under My
Computer [see below]. To load it quickly, hold
down the Window key on a 104-key keyboard and
press the Pause/Break key. This brings up the System
Properties box; click on the Device Manager
tab, and you're there.
editor's note: You can also use the right-mouse-button
on the My Computer icon and select Properties.
Click on the Device Manager tab. What's so slow
Is The DUN Folder On the Start Menu Empty?
February 20, 2001
A reader writes, "I remember a Windows 95
tip for creating a cascading DUN folder in my Start
menu. I tried it in Windows 98, but the only
thing that shows in the Start menu is '(Empty).' Is
there something else I have to do?"
First, let's review the technique. To create a
cascading DUN (dial-up networking) folder, right-click
the Start button, select Open, and in the resulting
Start Menu window, select File, New, Folder. Type
(to name the folder), then press Enter. (Tip:
There's no space between the period and the opening
The result? An empty folder. The trick is, you need
to add items manually by dragging them over
from the original folder and dropping
them inside the new one on the Start menu. A
little bit of extra work, but the end result is worth
Connect To Box During DUN Connection
February 19, 2001
In our last tip, we showed you how to turn on Dial-Up
Networking's Redial option, so that if a
connection cannot be made the first time, DUN will
keep trying for you.
While you're there, check out the settings at the
top of this dialog box. Tired of seeing the Connect
To dialog box every time you establish a
connection manually (by double-clicking the connection
inside the Dial-Up Networking dialog box)? Assuming
you always want to connect using the username and
password from the last successful connection, deselect
Prompt For InformationBefore Dialing
and click OK. The next time you establish a
connection manually, that Connect To dialog box
will stay out of sight.
DUN's Redial Option On
February 16, 2001
Ever try to establish a DUN (dial-up networking)
connection, only to wind up with a message telling you
the line is busy? Frustrating, to say the least, but
what's even more frustrating is that you have to keep
trying the connection manually. By default, DUN's
Redial option is turned off.
If you want DUN to keep dialing the number for you,
in the event that a connection cannot be made, open My
Computer, double-click Dial-Up Networking,
and select Connections, Settings. On the
General tab of the resulting dialog box, select
Redial and set the corresponding options
(number of retries, and so on). Click OK, and
say good-bye to all that unnecessary redialing.
DUN Connect Automatically
February 15, 2001
A number of readers have had problems with Dial-Up
Networking (DUN) suddenly not
establishing a connection automatically whenever their
browser starts; when that happens, you have to
establish the connection manually. (A big pain in the
hard drive, we agree -- it happened to us.)
Apparently, this trouble can start after certain
third-party products are installed.
One solution involves some Registry-editing. (Note:
As always, back up your Registry files -- System.dat
and User.dat, hidden files on the root of your hard
When you use Win9x's Send To feature (right-click
on the item, then select Send To from the
Context menu) to place something on a floppy disk or
on a drive other than your C: drive, the file is
copied. To move it, hold down the Shift key
while clicking on the Send To item.
Where Is That Browse Setting?
February 13, 2001
In the days of Windows 95, you could choose to
browse the contents of folders -- for example, a
folder inside a folder inside a folder -- in one
window or many. And you could change this setting
right on the Browse tab of the View, Options dialog
box of any Explorer window. While it may seem that
this setting has been removed from the newer OS, it
hasn't. You just have to look a little harder to find
From inside any folder or Explorer window, pull
down the View menu and select Folder Options.
Select the last setting under Windows Desktop
Update, 'Custom, Based On The Settings You
Choose,' then click the Settings button.
Under Browse folders as follows, select either of the
two options, depending on your preference, then click
(Tip: Once you've changed this setting, you
can do exactly the opposite -- for example, open
folders in separate windows, even if you've asked to
open them in the same window -- on a per-case basis.
Just hold down Ctrl as you double-click a
Path Is . . .
February 12, 2001
Here's a trick for finding out the path of a file:
Launch the Run command dialog (Start/Run),
clear the Open box by hitting the Backspace
key, and then drag and drop the file of your
choice into the Open box. Windows will
type the full path of the file into the box.
Things In Small Packages
February 9, 2001
Are those icons that are cluttering your desktop
getting you down? Bring them down to size and give
yourself more room. Right-click on the Desktop
and select Properties. Click on the Appearance
tab, then the Item drop-down menu. Select Icon,
then pick a size of 16 (the default is 32). Click on OK.
(This works best if you make the words under the icons
as short as possible)
February 8, 2001
Sometimes simple tricks are the most useful. If you
want to search for a file and you know roughly where
it is, just right-click on the folder it's in and
select Find from the Context menu (or F3 from the
keyboard, or Windows Key+F from the keyboard.) Find
will search the folder and all the subfolders within,
based on the search criteria you specify.
A Little Closer 2
February 7, 2001
In the previous tips, we showed you how to install
the Accessibility options new to Windows 98 -- the
Accessibility Wizard and Microsoft Magnifier. Now we
take a closer look at the Magnifier's options.
For starters, you aren't limited to the size or
location of the Magnifier. Hold your mouse pointer
over the edge of the magnified area, and when it
changes to a double-pointed arrow, click and drag up
or down to adjust its size. To move this bar to
another area of the screen, click and drag it to any
location on screen (as a floating window) or to any of
the screen's four edges. Similar to the Taskbar, the
bar will snap into place along any edge.
All of the remaining Magnifier options can be
changed from inside the Magnifier dialog box. Restore
this window, if it isn't already, then take your pick
of options. For example, you might select Invert
Colors to provide some contrast between your
screen and the magnified view. Or, if you don't want
the Magnifier's focus to follow the mouse, deselect Follow
Mouse Cursor. The Magnifier will still follow your
keyboard commands and the cursor. When you're finished
selecting options, click OK to minimize the Magnifier
dialog box. (Remember, don't click Exit unless you
want to turn it off altogether.)
A Little Closer 1
February 6, 2001
In a previous tip, we showed you how to install the
Accessibility options new to Windows 98 -- the
Accessibility Wizard and Microsoft Magnifier. Now we
zoom in on Microsoft Magnifier, a tool you can use to
enlarge any area of the screen -- just like a real
To launch Microsoft Magnifier, select Start,
Programs, Accessories, Accessibility, Magnifier. A
bar appears at the top of the screen displaying
everything under your mouse pointer in a magnified (2
times) view. To change the contents of this window,
simply move your mouse around the screen. Assuming you
don't want to change any options (we'll discuss these
further in our next tip), click OK to send the
Magnifier dialog box to the Taskbar.
When you're finished using the Magnifier,
maximize its Options window, then click Exit.
(Alternatively, right-click its Taskbar item and
(Tip: If you use Microsoft Magnifier
frequently, place a shortcut to it somewhere that's
easily accessible, such as the desktop or the Quick
February 5, 2001
In our last tip, we showed you how to install the
Accessibility options new to Windows 98. Now, we show
you what the Accessibility Wizard can do for
you -- in a nutshell it determines which Accessibility
options are right for you.
Select Start, Programs, Accessories,
Accessibility, Accessibility Wizard. In the
resulting dialog box, click on the smallest text
you find comfortable to read. Click Next
twice (assuming you don't want to change any of the
options along the way -- if you do, go ahead and
change them), then in the Set Wizard Options
box, select each of the four statements that
applies to you. Click Next, and the wizard
will now ask you some questions, depending on which of
the statements you selected. For example, if you
indicated that you have a hard time using the keyboard
or the mouse, you'll be asked if you want to press
each key of keyboard combinations one at a time.
Continue pressing Next until all questions are
answered, and at the end of the wizard, click Finish.
The wizard will now apply the appropriate settings as
February 2, 2001
Did you know there's a wizard that will help you
decide which Accessibility options are right for you?
Probably not, because it isn't part of the default
installation. In case you aren't familiar with
Accessibility options, they're a group of settings
that make Windows 98 easier to use. While these
settings were designed for people with disabilities,
such as sight or hearing impairments, they can be
useful to everyone.
In today's tip, we'll show you how to install this
wizard. Then, over the next three tips, we'll show you
how to use the wizard and the newest Accessibility
option, Microsoft Magnifier.
Open the Control Panel -- select Start,
Settings, Control Panel -- and double-click Add/Remove
Programs. Click the Windows Setup tab and
wait as Windows 98 checks your system for installed
components. (Depending on your system, this may take a
few minutes.) Under Components, select Accessibility,
then click the Details button. Select Accessibility
Tools, click OK twice, and insert your
installation disk when asked. Click OK again,
and wait until Windows 98 finishes copying the files
Itching to see what that wizard has to say? More in
our next tip....
Your Screen Saver on Hold
February 1, 2001
Here's the fastest way to temporarily disable your
screen saver (if you're defragmenting a drive or doing
something similar). Click on theStart
button and bring up the Start menu. When the menu is
up, your screen saver won't launch.