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April 2001

Windows Assistance

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Use Asterisk To Fully Expand Folder April 30, 2001
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 subfolders inside.
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 applications. 

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 menu.

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 open windows.

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).

Quick View Techniques 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 Editing.)

Okay, one more tip. You can change your Quick View to a full page view by selecting View, Page View.

For our final tip in this series, we'll show you how to use Quick View for any file type.

Intro 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 that file.

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.

Auto-Hide 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.)

F11 Toggles Full-Screen 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.
Remove Folder Customization 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 scheme).

Right-Mouse Explorer Commands 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?
Access 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.
Windows 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.

Change 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!

Change 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 icon backdrop!

Create 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.

Pick 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.)

Load 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.

Meet Dr. Watson 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 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 -- 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 the problem.

Right-Click 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 window.)
Reverting 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 default.

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, typing

regedit

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.

Open 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.
Permanently Disable Autoplay 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 Insert Notification. Click OK, then click Close and restart Windows 98. The next time you insert a CD in that drive -- nothing.

Temporarily Disable Autoplay 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 select Play.
march 2001 tips