If you want to keep files-or even folders full of
files-hidden from prying eyes, just right-click
on each file and select Hidden in the Attributes
box at the bottom of the Properties dialog. To
see the files you've hidden, double-click on My
Computer, select Options from the View
menu, click on the View tab and select Show
May 30, 2001
We frequently receive requests asking how to
install the old Windows 95 fax capability on a Windows
98 system. Actually, Microsoft Fax is on the Windows
98 installation CD.
Pop the CD into your CD-ROM drive, click Browse
This CD, and navigate your way to the Tools/OldWin95/Message/Us
folder. To install Microsoft Fax, run awfax.exe.
(Note: According to Microsoft, this utility
"requires a Full MAPI Client in order to
function, such as: Microsoft Exchange, Windows
Messaging, Microsoft Exchange Server Client or Outlook
[the full version, not Express].")
A Better Backup
May 29, 2001
Win98 comes with an improved Backup utility. If you
want to use it for automatic backups launched by the
Win98 Task Scheduler, you'll need to make a change.
Open the Backup utility (Start/Programs/Accessories/System
Tools/Backup) and click on the Open button.
Click on the Options button at the bottom of
the window and open the Report tab. Select the
"Perform an unattended backup"
May 25, 2001
You'll increase your chances of getting out of
virtually any computer problem if you follow this rule
of thumb: Never install a program unless you own it,
and have the executable setup file and installation CD
or installation floppy disk handy. The same rule goes
for programs you download from the Internet: Always
save the installer files. Create a folder called
C:\Setup, C:\Downloads or C:\Installers and store the
setup files in subfolders named for each program and
version number. Even better, store them on a second
hard drive or partition. You should also copy the
Favorite shortcut to the program's Web site to the
program's folder. If there's a program serial number
or license file, store that too. If you ever have to
reinstall your applications, you'll be prepared.
Ounce of Prevention
May 24, 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 cache
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.
the ScanDisk Files?
May 23, 2001
If your PC doesn't shut down properly, Windows will
run ScanDisk the next time you boot. If it finds lost
fragments, it will delete them for you. Before doing
that, however, it asks if you want to save them as
files. Unfortunately, it doesn't say where it puts
them or what the new files are called. Here's how to
find them. Open Tools/Find/Files or Folders and search
the root directory for file*.CHK. Typically, the files
are named FILE0000.CHK, FILE0001.CHK, FILE0002.CHK and
so on. If you're looking to free up disk space, you
can delete any old files you find. If you suspect one
of these files contains critical data, open it in a
text editor. If you see anything that looks important,
copy and paste into a new document for safekeeping.
May 22, 2001
Win98 comes with a new version of Tweak UI. To
install it, insert the Win98 CD; from the opening
screen, choose Browse This CD. Navigate to the \TOOLS\RESKIT\POWERTOY
folder. (Some computer vendors do not provide TweakUI
on their CDs; if this is the case you can download it
Right-click on the TWEAKUI.INF file and choose
Install from the pop-up menu. Setup is done when a
Help screen opens. Click on the X in the corner to
finish the installation and then launch Tweak UI from
the Control Panel.
Double-click on the Tweak UI icon in Control Panel
and select the Tweak UI Explorer tab. Check
Light Arrow in the Shortcut Overlay
section. Deselect the animated "Click here to
begin (if room)" and "Tip of the Day"
items in the Startup area. And get rid of the
prefix Shortcut To on New Shortcuts
items in Settings. Click on the Mouse
tab and slide the Menu speed slider all the way
to the left to make menus appear instantaneously. Then
click the Tips button for more Tweak UI tips in
Windows Help format. You can make windows snap rather
than zoom when you minimize, maximize or restore them.
Select the General tab and deselect the Window
Animation box under Effects.
Quick Launch Toolbar Into Palette
May 21, 2001
Do you have so many shortcuts on your Quick Launch
toolbar that they aren't all visible at once? For
one-click access to all of them, turn this toolbar
into a floating palette.
Click the vertical bar on the left edge of the
Quick Launch toolbar, drag the entire toolbar to a new
location on your desktop, and release the mouse
button. And don't worry -- you aren't stuck with that
huge resulting window. Resize it as you would any
window -- hold your mouse pointer over any corner, and
when the pointer changes to a double-pointed arrow,
click and drag in either direction. Move the palette
to any location on screen, and you've got one-click
access to all shortcuts inside.
(Tip-in-a-tip: If you want to make sure your Quick
Launch palette doesn't get buried by other windows,
right-click its title bar and select Always On Top.)
Just decide you like the toolbar better? In a few
quick steps, you can put it right back where it
started. Click the palette's title bar and drag it
downward until it expands to the full width of the
screen (across the top of the Taskbar). Release the
mouse button, and the toolbar jumps down to its
original form -- but on the right side of the Taskbar.
To move the toolbar next to the Start button, hold
your mouse pointer over the bar's left edge, and when
the pointer changes to a double-pointed arrow, click
and drag the bar to the left. When your mouse pointer
is just to the right of the Start button, the Quick
Launch toolbar will jump into place there.
(To get everything back in perfect order, you'll
need to resize the other toolbars on the Taskbar. As a
quick review, hold your mouse pointer over a toolbar's
left edge, then click and drag in either direction.)
Default Audio CD Player
May 18, 2001
Want to change the utility that plays your audio
CDs? You won't need to go anywhere near the Registry
to make this change. Audio CD is one of the file types
in the list of registered types. Just change its
association to match the program you want to use.
Inside any Explorer window, select View, Folder
Options. Click the File Types tab, select Audio
CD in the list of Registered File Types,
and then click the Edit button. Select the
Play action and click the Edit button.
Under Application Used To Perform Action, type
the path of the program you'd like to use to play
audio CDs, followed by a space and /play. For example,
if you wanted to use FlexiCD, you would type
Click OK, then click Close twice. The next time you
pop in an audio CD, your program of choice goes to
May 17, 2001
Win98's new WinAlign feature speeds up application
launches by placing key files on the fast part of the
disk during a defrag; it also rewrites programs so
they use memory more efficiently. What you may not
know is that only applications that have been
specifically designed to work with WinAlign, such as
Microsoft's Office programs, are supported by the
You can find out exactly which files are boosted by
WinAlign by checking your WINALI.INI file (in C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM).
You can try adding programs, DLLs and other files to
this list to tell Win98 to "WinAlign" them,
but they may or may not work. If you're going to add
unsupported applications, first make sure you have a
full system backup.
Windows Explorer's Focus
May 16, 2001
When you select Start, Programs, Windows Explorer,
Explorer always opens to your C:\ drive's contents. Is
there another folder you'd rather start in? You can
tell this, or any Windows Explorer shortcut, to open
to your folder of choice.
Right-click Start, select Open, and double-click
Programs to reveal the Windows Explorer shortcut.
Right-click the shortcut, select Properties,
and in the resulting dialog box, click the Shortcut
In the Target line, after the last comma,
you'll see your root directory, C:\. Add the
name of any folder to the end of that line (for
example, it might now read C:\MYFILES or C:\MYFILES\LETTERS
after the last comma), then click OK. Now take it for
a test spin -- select Start, Programs, Windows
Explorer Has Toolbars, Also
May 15, 2001
The next time you're going about your business in
an Explorer window -- single or double-paned -- take
notice of the often-overlooked Toolbar. (If you don't
see it, select View, Toolbars, Standard Buttons.)
It has buttons for a lot of the commands you might
otherwise use your right-mouse button for. Funny
thing, too, because a button only takes one click.
See the button with the blue curved arrow? That's
Undo. The "X" button mimics Delete. Clicking
the hand holding the paper is the same as choosing
Properties. On the right, you'll find your View
options -- Large Icons, Small Icons, List, or
Details. Hold the cursor over any button on the
Toolbar, and you'll see a box telling you what it
& Drop Start Menu Item On Desktop
May 14, 2001
Do you find your desktop handier 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 operation.
With all 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 releasing the mouse button, drag it out to the
desktop. Release the mouse button, and there's your
Install Accessibility Options
May 11, 2001
Ever hear of Accessibility options? In case you
aren't familiar with them, they're a group of settings
that make Windows 98 easier to use. Although these
settings were designed for people with disabilities,
such as sight or hearing impairments, they can be
useful to everyone. There's even a wizard to help you
decide which Accessibility options are right for you.
In today's tip, we'll show you how to install this
wizard and the newest Accessibility option, Microsoft
Magnifier. Then, over the next three tips, we'll
show you how to use the wizard and this new tool.
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 it
Folder Viewing Options
May 10, 2001
Do you have a 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.
Startup Menu At Startup
May 9, 2001
In our last tip, we showed you how to access the
Windows 98 startup menu during the boot process. If
you find yourself pressing Ctrl more often than not,
make the startup menu appear automatically every time
you start our system.
Select Start, Run, type
and press Enter to open the System
Configuration Editor. On the General tab,
click the Advanced button, select Enable
Startup Menu, then click OK twice. Click Yes
to restart your system.
Windows 98 Startup Menu
May 8, 2001
Back in Windows 95, you saw a "Starting
Windows 95" message during the boot process,
at which point you could press F8 to display the
startup menu. Well, watch your Windows 98 system's
boot as closely as you want -- you won't see any such
So how do you get to the startup menu? After
turning on your Windows 98 system, press and hold
the Ctrl key (or F8). Eventually, the startup menu
In our next tip, we'll show you how to start up
with the Startup Menu every time.
Columns To Fit Widest Entry
May 7, 2001
When you view a folder's contents in Details view
(select View, Details), some columns of information
are probably cut off. (Each cut-off entry is followed
by ellipses.) One way to view the hidden information
is to resize each column. Or, try this trick: Hold
down the Ctrl key as you press the plus sign
(+) on your numeric keypad. Instantly, Windows
sizes every column to fit the widest entry. (Note: In
many cases, you'll need to enlarge the window to see
every column of information.)
(Tip-in-a-tip: Pressing Ctrl-+ also shrinks
oversized columns to fit the widest entry.)
May 4, 2001
In a previous tip, we showed you how to enable user
profiles so that multiple users can use different
settings -- wallpaper, desktop shortcuts, color
schemes, and so on -- on the same system.
When you don't want to use user profiles anymore,
you can simply disable them. Open the Control Panel
and double-click Passwords. Select the User
Profiles tab, select All Users Of This Computer
Use The Same Preferences And Desktop Settings,
then click OK. Click Yes to restart your
system, and user profiles are officially disabled.
May 3, 2001
In our last tip, we showed you how to enable user
profiles so that multiple users can use different
settings -- wallpaper, desktop shortcuts, color
schemes, and so on -- on the same system.
Once you've enabled user profiles, it's easy to
switch from one user to the next without shutting down
the system. Select Start, Log Off [user name],
click Yes to confirm, and up pops the Welcome
To Windows dialog box. (Type a new user name and
password, then click OK.)
To User Profiles
May 2, 2001
Are there a number of people who use your system?
Can't seem to agree on a desktop color? What you need
are user profiles.
In case you aren't familiar with them, user
profiles enable different users of the same system to
use different settings -- wallpaper, desktop
shortcuts, color schemes, and so on. With user
profiles enabled, everyone who uses the system logs on
using his or her user name and password, and sees only
his or her personal settings.
To set up user profiles, select Start, Settings,
Control Panel, then double-click Users. Now
just follow along to complete the Enable Multi-user
Settings wizard. You'll need to select a user name,
a password, and the items you want to
customize. Click Finish, wait for Windows 98 to
set up the new profile, then click Yes to restart
Windows (or No to restart later). To set up the next
user, from the Control Panel double-click Users,
click the New User button, and so on.
From now on, whenever you start Windows 98, you'll
get a Welcome To Windows dialog box. Type your
user name and password, then click OK. Now go ahead
and start customizing. Your changes won't affect
anyone else's settings.
note: check out our article on setting up
Windows for the entire
May 1, 2001
In our last tip, we showed you how to fully expand
a folder in the left pane of a two-paned Explorer
window. Want to collapse it again? If you simply press
the minus sign (-) at the top of the expanded
branch, the folders inside will appear to collapse;
but the next time you expand that folder, its contents
appear fully expanded. So what's the trick? After
clicking the minus sign (-) at the top of the
branch, press F5.