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Capitalizing on the strong feature rich Windows Explorer
A Woody's Windows Watch Exclusive

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And now Capitalizing on the strong feature rich Windows Explorer

spend a lot of time setting up customer PCs to be more "user friendly" than the way they emerge, straight from the box. I hope my hands on experience may save you time too!

Windows Explorer - get it right.

Whatever you have on your PC, I can never stress enough to those I try to help (whether in person, by phone or e-mail) that *the* most valuable utility on your hard drive is Windows Explorer - provided it is set up properly. The default installation, out of the box, is NOT, in my view, a proper setup, but I'll come to that. The first thing to learn about Windows Explorer is that the online help is extensive. Before new users rush out to buy "How to.." or "Dummies.." etc. books, tell you new user friends to spend time with what they already have. I point new users to the Help | Contents | Exploring your Computer | Files and Folders | Managing Files area, as the nerve centre of Windows Explorer. It's a pity that area is buried so deep in the online help. 

On any new PC I set up I have a routine I follow to make Windows Explorer as user friendly as I can. 

Windows Explorer - settings for optimum use.

Windows Explorer is probably the most useful application to be found on your system.
On my system it it always open and minimised to the Task bar for immediate use.   
Unfortunately the Microsoft defaults are far from useful.  
To set up Windows Explorer in a useful way:

  1. Go to the Menu item "View", then "Folder Options" (for Windows 98).
  2. In "Folder Options", under the General Tab, choose "Classic Style"  and apply.
  3. In "Folder Options", under the View Tab, check "Display the full path in title bar".
  4. In "Folder Options", under the View Tab, check  "Show all files".
  5. In "Folder Options", under the View Tab, un-check "Hide file extensions for known file types".
  6. In "Folder Options", under the View Tab, un-check "Show window contents while dragging".
  7. Leave other settings as they are, and OK out of the dialogue box.
  8. Go to the Menu item "View" and un-check the "as Web Page" item
  9. Go to the Menu item "View" and check the "Details" item.
  10. Finally in the Windows Explorer "View | Folder Options | View" Menu, click "Like Current folder"
  11. Close then re-open Windows Explorer.

Don't be afraid to use the right mouse button in Windows Explorer. Context sensitive menus appear depending on where you are - these menus make using Explorer a "no brainer". Take time to read the Menu item "Help |Help Topics", particularly "Exploring Your Computer".

Control Panel settings

"System" Icon - Go to the Performance\File System..\Hard Disk tab. 
Set the "Typical Role..." to Network Server where the PC has 64 Mb or more of RAM. 
Un-check the "Search for new floppy disk.. " box. Speeds the boot process.

"Keyboard" Icon - Go to the Language tab\Add.. button. 
Choose the specific language for your country i.e. English (Australian). Assists Word "language".

"Regional Settings" icon - The Time tab allows choice of time display setting i.e. in Windows Explorer.

"Regional Settings" icon - The Date tab, Short date style affects the Windows Explorer date display.  I prefer to set the short date to dd/MM/yyyy to give an even column display in Explorer, but those of you in America will probably choose another order for date and month.

"Sounds" Icon - The Schemes choices include "No Sounds", clearing all previous entries. 

At least keep the "Exit Windows" item clear as a sound here could affect Windows shutdown.

The .wav file choices are found in the \Windows\Media folder. 

I usually set the "Start Windows" event as a quick check that sound & speakers are working.

"Modems" icon - The Diagnostics\More Info... button checks that PC and modem are connected.

Update Hyperterminal by downloading and installing the current version.

"Fonts" icon - The most up to date versions of Microsoft's standard fonts are here.

Install Microsoft Tweak UI


Microsoft's Tweak UI (user interface) Control Panel utility is not formally supported by Microsoft.  Nevertheless its installation provides some valuable Windows configuration support.

In particular the following tabs are useful for the purposes mentioned.
  "Boot" - enable Scandisk to autorun without prompting.
  "Logon" - enable the User name and password to be completed automatically.
  "New" - uncheck every item unlikely to be used from the Explorer right button "New" menu.
  "Explorer" - uncheck the Prefix "Shortcut to" setting.
The other setting controls should be examined\used for further personalised settings.

A step-by-step guide has been provided by Winmag.com



There are more details then Woody can fit here so he has set up a page on his own site with the steps to follow. See Woody's Get it Right area.

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