In a previous tip, we showed you how to transform a
seemingly simple Calculator into a scientific tool: Select
Start, Programs, Accessories, Calculator; then
select View, Scientific. Not sure what
each of these new buttons does? All you have to do is
ask. Right-click any button and click What's This? to
display a description of that button (and a keyboard
System Info On Paper
June 28, 2001
Right-click on the My Computer icon and
select Properties from the context menu. Click
on the Device Manager tab, then the Print
button. Select the "All Devices and System
Summary" radio button, then click on OK.
This will give you more information about your hardware,
IRQs, ports, memory usage, devices and drivers
than you ever wanted to know. Keep this printout handy
for future reference.
Speaker From Taskbar
June 27, 2001
See that little yellow speaker in the tray of your
Taskbar? If you use it frequently (click it once for
volume control), great. If not, there's no point
wasting valuable Taskbar space.
To hide this control, right-click the speaker
icon and select Adjust Audio Properties. On
the Audio tab of the Audio Properties
dialog box, deselect Show Volume Control On The
Taskbar and then click OK.
Want your speaker back? Open the Control Panel,
double-click Multimedia, select the option you
just deselected (on the Audio tab), then click OK.
Missing Send To Command
June 26, 2001
Reader writes, "When I use Find to locate
files, and then right-click a selection of files in
the Find window, the Send To command is missing. How
do I return this command to the menu?"
You can't. According to Microsoft, this problem
exists if you attempt to access the Send To
command with multiple files selected (in a Find
window). The only workaround is to right-click one
file at a time and select Send To.
June 25, 2001
Don't want the Task Scheduler running in the
background all the time (and taking up valuable
Taskbar space)? Simple -- turn it off.
Select Start, Programs, Accessories, System
Tools, Scheduled Tasks to open the Task
Scheduler. Now select Advanced, Stop Using Task
Scheduler. The program's icon will disappear from
the tray of your Taskbar, and the scheduler will no
longer start when you start Windows 98.
(To turn Scheduled Tasks back on, follow the steps
above, but select Advanced, Start Using Task
List Of Keyboard Shortcuts
June 22, 2001
We often receive requests for a listing of all
keyboard commands for Windows 98. Microsoft has
compiled a fairly extensive list inside its Knowledge
Base. Check it out at
Want to see file attributes right next to each
file, as you could back in the days of Windows 3.x?
You can, as long as you have the window in which
you're viewing the files set to Detail view.
Open any Explorer window and select View, Folder
Options. Click the View tab, and in the
list under Advanced Settings, select Show
File Attributes In Detail View. Click OK.
The next time you open a folder in Detail
view, you'll see a brand new Attributes column
on the far right. (You may need to widen the window to
see it.) What's more, if you're viewing the folder as
a Web page (select View, As Web Page), you'll see the
attributes for any selected file on the left side of
Show File Warning Message
June 20, 2001
If you're viewing the contents of your hard drive
as a Web page, and you double-click the Windows folder
(or the Windows\System folder), you'll see this
warning message: "To view the contents of this
folder, click Show Files." (Thanks, but if I
didn't want to view the files inside, I wouldn't have
opened the folder.) Want an easy way to bypass this
warning? Don't view your folders as Web pages.
In any folder, deselect View, As Web Page.
Then, to apply the setting globally, select View,
Folder Options. Click the View tab and then
click the Like Current Folder button. Click Yes
to confirm, then click OK. Not good enough? In
our next tip, we'll show you how to remove these
warnings while still viewing your folders as Web
Your Start Menu
June 19, 2001
Want to alphabetize a folder inside your Start
menu? Assuming you have Internet Explorer 5.0 or
beyond installed, it's a snap. Click Start and
navigate your way to the Start menu branch you
want alphabetized. Right-click any item at this level,
select Sort By Name, and all non-folder shortcuts at
that level will be sorted alphabetically.
You can also drag an item to where ever you want it
in a folder. Select an item, hold down the mouse
button and drag the item to it's new position.
Lastly you can Cut & Paste an item from
anywhere in the Start Menu.
Full Path In Title Bar
June 18, 2001
Open any folder window, and you'll see its name in
the title bar. Need to see a bit more information
there? You can opt to display every folder's complete
path right in that bar.
In any Explorer window, select View, Folder
Options. Click the View tab, select Display
Full Path In Title Bar, and click OK. Now
take a look at the title bar of any open folder window
(or glance down at its spot on the Taskbar).
& Expand Status Bar
June 15, 2001
Do you want to show the disk free space information
at the bottom of the window -- for example, 180KB
(Disk free space: 9.22GB) in Windows Explorer?"
Pull down the View menu and make sure you
see a check mark next to Status Bar. If
not, select this option to display the status bar at
the bottom of your Explorer window. If you still
can't see the disk free space information, your Explorer
window is too narrow. Hold your mouse pointer over the
window's left or right edge, and when the pointer
changes to a double-pointed arrow, click and drag to
make the window wider. As you do, the free space
information will appear in the center of the status
& Paste Instead Of Drag & Drop
June 14, 2001
Planning to move some selected icons to a new
location, say to a new folder or to the desktop? Don't
assume you have to click and drag them all the way
there. Instead, try a cut-and-paste operation.
Assuming you've already selected the icons,
right-click the selection and select Cut. Poof -- the
icons become shaded. Right-click their destination
(desktop, folder, wherever), select Paste, and they're
right where you want them.
Drive To FAT32
June 13, 2001
In our last tip, we suggested that if your hard
drive still uses the FAT16 file system, you might want
to convert to FAT32. This new and improved system
stores data in smaller clusters, resulting in less
wasted space. Assuming the numbers convince you to
convert, here's how to perform the operation.
First, find a time when you won't be using your
system for a while -- say, three hours. Close any open
programs, then select Start, Programs, Accessories,
System Tools, Drive Converter (FAT32). Click the Details
button, read all the pertinent do's and don'ts (for
example, don't try to convert a compressed drive),
then click Next. Select the drive you're
about to convert, click Next, and wait as the
wizard makes sure you don't have any incompatible
programs installed. Click Next again, and
you'll be asked if you want to back up your files
before proceeding. If so, click Create Backup
and so on (Microsoft Backup will help with the
operation); otherwise, click Next. One last Next,
and the converter is off and running.
June 12, 2001
Does your hard drive still use the FAT16 file
system? That means you aren't taking full advantage of
your hard disk space, and you should consider
converting the drive to FAT32. This new and improved
system stores data in smaller clusters, resulting in
less wasted space.
If you aren't sure whether to convert, run the
FAT32 Conversion Utility, which is available on the
Windows 98 installation CD. It'll tell you exactly how
much space you'll regain upon conversion.
With the installation CD in your CD-ROM
drive, click Browse This CD and then navigate
your way to the tools\reskit\config folder.
Double-click the Fat32win.exe file, and when
the utility opens, select a drive and click Scan.
(If you see a dialog box telling you the drive is
already a FAT32 drive, you're all set.)
In our next tip, we'll show you how to complete the
Off Window Animation
June 11, 2001
Ever notice that when you minimize or restore a
window, you actually see the window-shrinking (or
reverse) process? If you're looking to increase
performance, remove this "window animation."
Your windows will grow and shrink faster than ever.
(Note: This technique involves editing the
Registry. As always, we recommend backing up your
Registry files -- System.dat and User.dat,
hidden files on the root of your hard drive -- before
Open the Registry Editor--select Start, Run, type
and click OK--and navigate your way to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control
Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics. In the left pane,
right-click the WindowMetrics key and select New,
String Value. Type
(to name the new value) and press Enter. In
the right pane, right-click MinAnimate and
select Modify. In the resulting Edit String
dialog box, type
on the Data Value line. Click OK,
close the Registry Editor, and restart Windows
Tip-in-a-tip: If you want your window animation
back, delete the MinAnimate string (right-click
it, select Delete, then click Yes to
confirm), or change its data value to 1
(right-click it, select Modify, type 1 on the Value
Data line, then click OK).
Show Extension For A File Type
June 8, 2001
In our last tip, we showed you how to change the
icon associated with a file type. Worried that the
icon you chose will keep you from recognizing that
type in the future? No problem. Windows 98 includes a
foolproof way to recognize a file type, regardless of
its icon. It's called Always Show Extension.
In any Explorer window, select View, Folder
Options, then click the File Types tab.
Select a file type under Registered File Types,
click Edit, then select Always Show
Extension. Click OK twice, and from now on,
every file of that type will display an extension
(even if you've selected the Hide File Extensions
For Known File Types option on the View tab
of the Folder Options dialog box).
Icon Associated With File Type
June 7, 2001
Tired of the boring "text-on-a-page" icon
next to your *.txt files? Then change it. In most
cases, you can assign a new icon to a file type.
From any Explorer window, select View,
Folder Options, and click the File Types
tab. Select a type in the Registered File Types
list -- in this case, Text Document -- click Edit,
and in the Edit File Type dialog box, click Change
Icon. (If this command is grayed out, you can't
change the icon for this type.) Pick a new icon (or
click Browse and find one you like, then click Open),
then click OK. Click Close twice.
In our next tip, we'll show you how to always
recognize a file type, even if the icon doesn't help
June 6, 2001
Tired of that same boring arrow you see on screen
all the time? Or the hourglass? Then change your mouse
pointers. You can choose from things like piano keys,
a banana, and even a dinosaur.
Open the Control Panel and double-click Mouse.
Select the Pointers tab, highlight the pointer
you want to change, and click the Browse
button. Select a pointer, click Open, and back
at the Pointers list, click Apply.
Repeat these steps for each pointer you'd like to
change. To return to a traditional pointer, select any
pointer and click the Use Default button.
(Note: You'll need to install the pointers
from the installation CD, if you haven't already. Open
the Control Panel, double-click Add/Remove
Programs, and click the Windows Setup tab.
In the Components list, double-click Accessories.
Select Mouse Pointers, click OK twice,
and insert the installation CD when asked.)
To Locate All Executable Files
June 5, 2001
Doing a little Start menu or Desktop
reorganization? How about using Find to locate all the
executable files on your system? Then you can sort
through them and select the ones you want to work with
(and even drag them from the Find window to a new
Select Start, Find, Files Or Folders. On the
Name & Location tab of the Find
on the Named line. Make sure the drive you
want Find to search is selected on the Look In
line. Click the Find Now button, and Find
locates every executable file.
Best Performance, Defragment
June 4, 2001
Want to make sure your applications start as quickly
as possible? Defragment your hard drive on a regular
basis -- say, once a month. The Disk Defragmenter
utility that comes with Windows 98/Me will rearrange
your program files for optimum performance.
Select Start, Programs, Accessories, System
Tools, Disk Defragmenter, and select the drive you
want to defragment. Now click the Settings button and
be sure Rearrange Program Files So My Programs
Start Faster is selected. Click OK twice to start
the operation. (Click the Show Details button
to watch what's happening.)
(Note: You can also run the Disk Defragmenter
automatically, as part of the Maintenance Wizard. In
our next tip, we'll discuss this wizard in more
a Different Folder
June 1, 2001
The Windows Explorer normally opens to your C:
drive, but you can make it launch with the contents of
any folder you want. Go to your Windows Explorer
shortcut, right-click and select Properties. Open the
Shortcut tab. Edit the entry in the Target field to
read explorer.exe /n , /e , (drive:\path\folder)
, where (drive:\path\folder) is whichever
folder you want to first see when Explorer launches.