Want to fully expand a folder in the left pane of a
two-paned Explorer window? Select the folder and press
the asterisk key (*) on your numeric keypad.
The result is a fully expanded view of all folders and
Add Quick View
To Send Menu
April 27, 2001
In the first tip in this series, we introduced
Quick View, a command that allows you to preview files
without opening them in their native
The problem with this command, however, is that it
appears only in the context menu of file types for
which a file viewer is available (as determined by
Microsoft). If you want to use Quick View for other
file types, try adding its shortcut to the Send To
Open an Explorer window and navigate your way to
the Windows\System\Viewers folder. Inside,
you'll see Quikview.exe. Create a shortcut to
this file in your Windows\SendTo folder. (Inside a
second Explorer window, open the Windows folder,
right-click and drag Quikview.exe into this
window, release the mouse button, and select Create
Shortcut(s) Here.) With the Quikview.exe
shortcut selected, press F2 (for Rename), name the
file Quick View, and press Enter. Close all
Right-click any file, select Send To, then
choose Quick View in the pop-out menu. Click Yes
to confirm that you want to try the default viewers,
and you'll see a preview of your file (in rough form,
of course, but that's all you wanted anyway).
April 26, 2001
In our last tip, we introduced Quick View, a
command that allows you to preview files without
opening them in their native applications.
If you've just opened a file in a Quick View
window, and it isn't the one you were looking for, try
another. Simply drag and drop another file into
the open Quick View window, and its contents
replace those of the first file.
Just found the file you were looking for? You can
open it in its native application right from the Quick
View window. See the icon just below the File menu?
Click it. (Or, select File, Open File For
Okay, one more tip. You can change your Quick View
to a full page view by selecting View, Page
For our final tip in this series, we'll show you
how to use Quick View for any file type.
To Quick View
April 25, 2001
Can't remember which files are which, based on
their filenames alone? Before you waste precious time
opening them all in their native applications, go for
the Quick View. Right-click a file,
select Quick View, and up pops a preview of
Don't see a Quick View command? One of two things
is happening: Either Quick View doesn't have a file
viewer for that file type (we'll show you a workaround
for this limitation in an upcoming tip), or Quick View
isn't installed on your system. To see if Quick View
is installed, right-click any *.txt file, and you
should see a Quick View command.
To install Quick View, pop your Windows 98
installation CD in your CD-ROM drive and open the Control
Panel (choose Settings, Control Panel from
the Start menu). Double-click Add/Remove
Programs, click the Windows Setup tab, and
in the list under Components, double-click Accessories.
Click the check box next to Quick View and
click OK twice.
Menus in Full-Screen
April 24, 2001
In a recent tip, we showed you how to enlarge any
Explorer window to full-screen view: Assuming the
window is not currently maximized -- in other words,
you can see all of its edges -- hold down the Ctrl
key as you click the middle caption button in
the window's upper-right corner or F11.
Still not enough viewing space for you? Try hiding
the toolbars, too. Right-click a blank area on
the menu bar (at the top of the screen) and
select Auto Hide. The menu and button bars
disappear from view. If and when you need them, move
your mouse pointer up to the top edge of the screen,
and they slide back into place.
(Tip: To undo this option, right-click the menu
bar and deselect Auto Hide.)
April 23, 2001
Ready to jump to the full-screen and back to
normal-screen size in Windows Explorer? Press F11.
Repeated pressing of F11 will toggle between
full-screen and normal-screen.
April 20, 2001
A few tips ago, we showed you how to customize a
folder's background and icon labels. What we forgot to
mention was that you can undo these changes just as
easily as you made them.
To remove all customization options from a folder,
open the folder window, select View, Customize This
Folder, and select Remove Customization.
Click Next twice, click Finish, and that
window is back to plain ol' black on white (or
whatever colors are defined by your current color
April 19, 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 in Windows
98? Right-click a blank area inside an open
window and check out the resulting list. There, you'll
find almost every command from the View menu
(except Folder Options and the three toolbar
commands). Additionally, 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?
My Documents From The Start Manu
April 18, 2001
Did you just select Start, Documents only to
discover that the file you wanted has been bumped from
the list? Don't worry, you can access all of your
files from the Documents list (assuming you store your
documents in My Documents). Inside the Documents list,
select the top dog, My Documents. There you
have it -- instant access to all your data files.
Explorer Back & Forward Buttons
April 17, 2001
As anyone who's ever browsed the Web knows, you can
go back and forth through the pages you've visited
using the Back and Forward buttons at the top of your
browser window. With this in mind, take a look at the
toolbar of any Explorer window (with the Standard
Buttons toolbar displayed). Look at that -- Back
and Forward buttons!
Try them out as you're navigating your way through
windows; they work the same way as other Back and
Forward buttons. Use them to go back the way you came
(and forward again) without all that unnecessary
double-clicking. You can even jump multiple windows
back or forward by clicking the down arrow next to the
appropriate button and choosing a destination in the
list. Again, just like a browser window.
Icon Labels In Folder
April 16, 2001
In our last tip, we showed you how to change the
background of an individual folder window. Icon labels
don't quite match your selection? Then change them.
Open the folder, select View, Customize This
Folder. Select Choose A Background Picture.
Before clicking Next, under Icon Caption
Colors, click the box next to Text and
select a color. For example, you might select white or
yellow to contrast with a dark background. Click OK,
and if desired, click the check box next to Background
and choose a color for the box that surrounds each
icon label. Click Next, click Finish,
and you won't even recognize that folder!
Background Of Folder Window
April 13, 2001
When you display a folder's contents inside an open
window, by default, you see them against a white
background (unless you've chosen a color scheme with a
different window color). Bor-ing. As with the Windows
98 desktop, you can apply any image or wallpaper to
that window background. But wait, there's more: That
background is unique to that folder. If you wanted to,
you could apply a different background to every folder
on your system!
Open any folder window you want to customize and
select View, Customize This Folder. Select Choose
A Background Picture, then click Next.
Select any of the files in the resulting list; or
click Browse, select an image, and click Open.
Click Next, click Finish, and check out that
A Color Scheme
April 12, 2001
In our last tip, we showed you how to change the
color scheme of your Windows 98 desktop. Can't find a
color scheme you like? Not a problem. Windows provides
all the tools you need to make your own.
Open the Display Properties dialog box and
click the Appearance tab. One at a time, select
an element under Item or click it in the preview box,
then adjust its options -- size, color, and so on.
(The options you can adjust will vary depending on the
desktop item you select.) Keep going until the preview
displays the look you're after.
To save the scheme for future use, click Save As,
type a name for the scheme, and click OK.
Otherwise, simply click OK to apply the scheme
to your desktop.
A Color Scheme
April 11, 2001
Tired of that plain-Jane, blue-and-gray look of
your Windows 98 world? Not to mention that sea-green
desktop! For a quick burst of pizzazz, try out some of
Windows 98's ready-made color schemes.
Right-click the desktop and select Properties.
Click the Appearance tab, then click the down
arrow under Scheme and take your pick.
(Selecting any scheme displays its preview at the top
of the dialog box.) Continue selecting schemes until
you find one that you like, then click OK to
apply it to your desktop.
(Note: To switch back to the default color scheme,
select Windows Standard in the Scheme list.)
Dr Watson At Startup
April 10, 2001
In our last tip, we introduced Dr. Watson, a
Windows 98 troubleshooting utility that takes
snapshots of your system to help diagnose any problems
you're having. Wouldn't it be nice if Dr. Watson would
take a snapshot automatically when a system fault
occurred? It will, as long as it's running.
If you want to be sure that Dr. Watson is running
all the time, place a shortcut to Drwatson.exe
(located in your Windows folder) in your Startup
folder. Then, it'll start whenever Windows 98 starts.
April 9, 2001
Experiencing system faults? Don't call a Windows 98
support technician -- yet. First, call Dr. Watson.
This troubleshooting utility takes system snapshots --
a "comprehensive picture of the present software
environment" -- that may be able to solve your
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 --
with any luck, resulting in a diagnosis of the
problem. Name and save the log file.
Now go ahead and call that support technician.
You've got a great resource to help him or her solve
To Minimize Windows
April 6, 2001
In the past, we've mentioned that you can minimize
any open window by pressing Alt-Spacebar-N. But
now let's suppose you're a mouse person (or your hand
is already on the mouse). Right-click the Taskbar
item of the window you want to minimize and select Minimize.
It's a lot less strenuous than reaching up to that
caption button (in the top-right corner of that
To Single-Pane Explorer View
April 5, 2001
In our previous tip, we showed you how to make all
folders open in a double-paned Explorer view by
Want to switch back to the default single-paned
view? If you follow the steps above to make the Open
(rather than Explore) action the default again,
everything will appear to be functioning normally --
EXCEPT double-clicking a folder in the right pane of a
two-paned Explorer window now displays its contents in
a separate window. To undo this behavior, you'll need
to edit the Registry. (Note: As always, back up your
Registry files -- System.dat and User.dat, hidden
files in your Windows folder--before proceeding.)
Open the Registry Editor by selecting Start, Run,
and clicking OK. Navigate your way to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell.
In the right pane, right-click '(Default)' and
select Modify. On the Value Data line,
delete the word "Open" and click OK.
Close the Registry Editor. Double-clicking a folder in
the right pane of an Explorer window will now display
the contents inside that pane.
All Folders In Two-Paned Explorer View
April 4, 2001
Open any Explorer window and select View,
Folder Options. Click the File Types tab,
and under Registered File Types, select Folder
(NOT File Folder). Click the Edit button, and
in the Actions box, you'll notice that
"open" appears in bold. In this same box,
select Explore, then click the Set Default
button. Click Close twice, and the next time
you double-click a folder, it will open in a two-paned
Explorer view. And of course, you can still open a
folder in a single-paned window by right-clicking
it and selecting Open.
April 3, 2001
In the last tip, we showed you how to disable your
CD-ROM drive's AutoPlay feature temporarily. Never
liked AutoPlay anyway? Well then, disable it.
Right-click My Computer and select Properties
to open the System Properties dialog box. On
the Device Manager tab, click the plus sign
next to CD-ROM and select your CD-ROM drive.
Click the Properties button, select the Settings
tab, and deselect Auto InsertNotification.
Click OK, then click Close and restart
Windows 98. The next time you insert a CD in that
drive -- nothing.
April 2, 2001
These days, most systems with a CD-ROM drive offer
AutoPlay, so that when you insert a CD-ROM into the
drive, it plays automatically (or opens in a window,
as in the case of the Windows 98 installation CD).
However, sometimes you may not want AutoPlay to do its
thing -- for example, if you insert an audio CD you
don't want to play until later. To prevent AutoPlay
from kicking in, simply hold down the Shift key
after inserting the CD. (Tip: Hold Shift for as
long as it normally takes for the CD to start
playing.) Later, to play the CD, open any Explorer
window, right-click your CD-ROM drive, and