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Welcome to Bo's Me Tips page

  1. Make Windows Me bubble tips more useful

  2. Choosing which details in Explorer

Make Windows Me bubble tips more useful

Windows Me displays little help bubbles for icons on the Start Menu. Some of them are nice and descriptive, some of them show nothing more than the path. Here is how to I change what each bubble says, and create a nice friendly Start Menu

Microsoft variously calls the feature 'hover text'  or tooltips: a description that displays whenever you let your cursor linger on a Start Menu or Desktop shortcut. Tooltips also pop up when you rest your mouse on an actual program or document file, not just on shortcuts. As you've noted, some tooltips are more descriptive than others. My thinking is that beginners will benefit from the chatty descriptive text, more advanced users will find the curter pop-up pathnames and URLs handy at times, while some users will hate tooltips no matter what they display.

The good news is, you can quite easily alter the contents of most tooltips in Windows Me and, with a little hacking of the Registry, you can eliminate them entirely if you find they get in the way.

When you first create a shortcut to a program, the tooltip text consists of the program's filename followed by the full pathname, which Windows grabs from the value contained in the Target attribute. For example:


Location C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office

  If you rename the shortcut, the hover text truncates to displaying the pathname only.

When you create shortcuts to documents, by default Windows displays nothing more than the pathname. When you create Internet shortcuts, the hover text shows the page title and the URL.

For programs and documents (not shortcuts), the tooltips are quite different. They display the file association (or, for those programs without an association, the file extension) and the file size. Some files show additional details. For example, compressed zip files display the total number of folders and files contained within the zip.

You can change the tooltip text for program and document shortcuts, but you can't change it for Internet URLs, nor for (most) programs and documents themselves.

To change tooltip text to something more useful on program and document shortcuts:

  1. Right-click the shortcut.
  2. Select Properties from the pop-up menu.
  3. Make sure you're on the Shortcut tab, and type something descriptive in the Comments box. The Comments field can store 259 characters, so you can be fairly expansive.
  4. Click OK.

While you can't change tooltip text for most non-shortcut files, you can add comments to Microsoft Word 2000 documents. Here's how:

  1. Right-click a Word document and select Properties from the pop-up menu.
  2. Click the Summary tab.
  3. If you're in Advanced View, double-click the Comments field and type your text. If you're in Simple View, simply type the text in the Comments box.
  4. Click OK.

Alternatively, of course, you can make these changes within Word by selecting Properties from the File Menu and adjusting the comments field. Note that anything you type won't appear as tooltip text until after you've rebooted.

If you hate tooltips and want to eliminate them, you can do so by editing the Registry. Here's how:

  1. Click Start, Run, type regedit in the Open box and click OK.
  2. Before you go messing with Registry settings, make a back up so you can recover if things go wrong. Do this by choosing Export Registry File from the Registry Menu, giving your exported file a memorable name, and clicking Save.
  3. Double-click HKEY_CURRENT_USER, then double-click Software, Microsoft, Windows, Current Version, Explorer. Click Advanced.
  4. Locate ShowInfoTip in the list on the right and double-click it.
  5. Change the value from 1 to 0.
  6. Close the Registry Editor and reboot.

Choosing which details in Explorer

A new feature in Windows Me is the ability to change which columns are displayed in the Details View. Open a folder and select the Details View, then select Choose Columns from the View Menu. Scroll down the list of over 25 attributes and select the columns you want displayed (not all info will be available for all types of files). 

Use the Move Up and Move Down buttons to alter the default column order.

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