Welcome to Blaisdell's Little Corner of the Web
Freeware | Freeware From A-Z | Security | Virus Information | Site Updated on 09/09/03
Welcome to the Tips Zone Page 3
GETTING A LOOK AT YOUR TCP/IP CONFIGURATION
Curious to know what your current IP Address is when you're connected to the Internet? There's a little-known program hidden in Windows 98 that lets you check your current IP configuration any time you're online. To run it, go to Start, Run and enter
Click OK and the IP Configuration application runs. Use this to get a look at some arcane information about your TCP/IP setup--info that's sometimes useful if you're trying to debug your setup.
CHANGING THE ICON SPACING
When you arrange your desktop icons, the distances between them are determined by settings in Desktop Properties. If you feel that Windows places your icons too close together when you choose Line Up Icons, you can change the setting. Right-click on the Desktop and choose Properties. Click the Appearance tab. Under Item, choose Icon Spacing (Horizontal) or Icon Spacing (Vertical), and then increase or decrease the number under Size. When you're finished, click OK.
REMOVING THE MY DOCUMENTS FOLDER FROM THE DESKTOP
The My Documents folder differs from other folders in Windows, and not only in terms of looks. Most programs running on Windows use the My Documents folder as a default save option, and it's set up a bit differently than your average desktop folder. So if you want to remove the My Documents folder from your desktop, do it the careful way: Right-click on it and select Remove From Desktop. While the folder itself will still exist on your computer, the desktop shortcut will be gone. If you ever want to return it to the desktop, right-click on the desktop and choose New, My Documents Folder On Desktop.
REMOVING LOG OFF USER FROM THE START MENU
If you're not connected to a network, you probably don't need the Log Off User command on your Start menu. If you have computer novices using your computer, this command could be even more troublesome. A friend using my computer figured that the Log Off User command was the correct way to log off the Internet. As long as you're comfortable editing the Registry, it's easy to remove the Log Off User command from the Start menu. (Note: As always, we recommend first backing up your Registry files--User.dat and System.dat, hidden files on the root of your hard drive.)
First, open your Registry Editor by going to Start, Run and typing
Then navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer.
Right-click in the white area of the right window and select New, DWORD Value.
Name this value NoLogOff and press Enter.
Then double-click this entry and enter 1 under Value.
Exit RegEdit and restart Windows. Log Off User will be gone.
DRAG AND DROP WITH THE RIGHT MOUSE BUTTON
You've probably noticed that dragging and dropping objects in Windows 98 does different things at different times. If you drag a program, Windows assumes you want to create a shortcut. If you drag a file, Windows assumes you want to move it. And if you drag an object from one drive to another, Windows assumes you want to copy it. If you want to specify the kind of drag-and-drop operation you want to perform from the outset, try dragging and dropping while holding down the right mouse button. You're then given the choices of Move Here, Copy Here, or Create Shortcut Here. Just select one of the three, or choose Cancel to abort the operation.
A MORE UNIFORM WINDOWS EXPLORER
PROBLEM: Whenever you browse files and folders in Windows Explorer, the Name/Size/Type/Modified columns are at oddball widths.
SOLUTION: To auto-fit all the columns in Windows Explorer without manually resizing them one by one, tab into (or select any item in) the files/folders pane. Then press Ctrl++ (that is, press and hold the Ctrl key while you press the plus key on the keypad twice). The columns will auto-fit themselves based on the widest data in each column.
Windows Quick Search
I f you regularly use the same set of options when searching for files in Windows, make things a little easier on yourself by saving your search options and then plunking the saved search either on your Desktop or, for the quickest access, into your Quick Launch bar.
Here's how you do it in Windows Me (it's almost identical in earlier versions, except that you're working with the Find command instead of the Search command):
Reverse and action you made by mistake in Windows Explorer
If you unintentionally copy, move, delete, or rename a file, you can undo the action. Look at the Edit menu. Displayed immediately to the right of the Undo command is the last action you performed. Choose it to undo the action.
CREATING A MAILTO SHORTCUT
Ever wanted to be able to send an email to somebody just by double-clicking on your desktop? What, never? Come on! Okay, well, some people out there will have fun with this idea, and this tip is for them. As long as you have some version of Outlook as your email program, it's a snap. Just right-click on the desktop and choose New, Shortcut. In the Command line, type
and then give your Shortcut an appropriate name, something like Send Email. Whenever you double-click this icon, Outlook will automatically cue up a blank email for you, waiting to be addressed.
Below is a variation on this theame
Just select Start, Run and then type
in the Open box. It produces the same result as that of our earlier tip--a blank email ready to go.
WINDOWS 98 SE SHUTDOWN PROBLEMS
Many Windows 98 users report problems with their computers hanging during the Shut Down routine. As problems go, this one isn't so major. It's usually safe to turn off your computer after 30 seconds or so, as long as the Windows Is Shutting Down screen is visible. Still, it is annoying. If you're having this problem and you're running Windows 98 Second Edition, you could be experiencing trouble with a bug in the program. Microsoft has a fix available online, and this is always the first place to look. Find information about downloading and running the bug fix at: http://www.microsoft.com/windows98/downloads/contents/WURecommended/S_WUFeatured/Win98SE/Default.asp
Running ScanDisk from the Task Scheduler
I set my "Task Scheduler" run "disk scan" at a certain time, and
then about 45 minutes
later I have "disk defrag" scheduled to run. The thing is this,,, when "disk scan"
is finished a window pops up showing the results and I have to click 'OK' to remove
it. As long as that thing is waiting for me to 'OK' it, the other program wont
This has to do with the way ScanDisk was set up at the time of its conception in Task Schedualer. To remedy this do the following:
Try running scandisk from the task scheduler to be sure it will shut down the way you want it to.
A KEYBOARD SHORTCUT FOR MINIMIZING WINDOWS
Want to minimize an open window without reaching for the mouse? A keyboard shortcut should do the trick. Just press Alt-Spacebar, then N, in just about any program, and the currently selected open window closes.
Disable Call Waiting
If you use your regular home telephone line to access the Internet and you also have call waiting, you'll definitely want to disable the feature whenever you sign on. If you fail to take this step, your Internet session will be interrupted anytime someone calls when you're online. To disable call waiting, go to Start, Settings, Control Panel and double-click Telephony. Check the box To Disable Call Waiting and then enter your telephone company's code for disabling call waiting in the box (some of the more common choices are included in the drop-down menu). When you've finished, click OK. The next time you dial in to the Internet, your modem will include the extra digits to disable call waiting.
Sick of the Warning in the Windows Directory? Then change it. Here is how
If you're sick of seeing that warning page every time you try to access your Windows folder, you have two options. The first is to view your desktop in the classic Windows style by going to View, Folder Options in any window, selecting Classic Style, and clicking OK. This is a bit limiting, of course, because many things about the old-school Windows view may not suit your needs.
A better option involves changing the name of a specific file in your Windows directory. You'll need to see all your files, so first go to View, Folder Options in any folder, click the View tab, and choose Show All Files. Then go to the Windows folder and look for a file named Folder. This file contains HTML information that redirects your request to that warning page whenever you access the Windows folder. Change the name of it (I chose Folder1) and press Enter. The Windows warning should not appear the next time you try to access the Windows folder.
ENABLING QUICK VIEW FOR SPECIFIC FILE TYPES
With many types of files, you're given an option called Quick View when you right-click the item. Quick View allows you to get a quick look at something without having to open the potentially cumbersome application associated with it. If you wish to be given the Quick View option for a specific kind of file, you need to designate it as such in the File Types box. In any folder, go to View, Folder Options and click the File Types tab. Select the kind of file you want to use Quick View for, and click Edit. Check the Enable Quick View For box, and then click OK twice.
Who says you can't teach an old update a new trick?
For the most part, Windows Update is a great thing. There's something reassuring about
knowing that your computer is checking in periodically to see if it can improve itself.
One thing that used to bother people about Windows Update was that you couldn't download
the update files individually; you were forced to download and install them using the
Windows Update interface. This was fixed a while back, and now you can view and download
Windows Update files whenever you choose. This way, if you have both laptop and desktop
computers, you don't need to download the files twice. Instead, you can retrieve the files
and then transfer them between your computers. To download Windows Update files without
installing them, go to
Configure Your Modem For Better Performance
To boost the performance of your overall telecommunications sessions, you can configure your modem to dial faster. To do so, you will need to add a special command to the modem's initialization string. This command is the ATS11=50 command and sets the length of each touch-tone pulse to 50 milliseconds -- the fastest most phone systems can handle.
To do so, open Control Panel, double-click on the Modems icon, select your modem, click on the Properties button. Then, select the Connection tab, click on the Advanced button, and type S11=50 in the Extra Settings text box.
Two things to keep in mind: First, you don't have to type the AT part of the command as it already exists in the modem's initialization string. Second, if you already have commands in the Extra Settings text box, simply separate the new command from the existing commands with a space.
TURNING OFF THE CLOSE CONNECTION CONFIRMATION
Your computer may be configured so that Windows asks you if you want to close your Internet connection whenever you close your Web browser or your email program. If you find this reminder a nuisance, you can disable it easily enough. Go to Start, Settings, Control Panel and select Internet Options. Under the Connections tab, click once on your Internet connection and then click Settings. Click the Advanced button and then uncheck the Disconnect When Connection May No Longer Be Needed box. When you're finished, click OK.
USING THE OPEN WITH COMMAND
If you ever want to open a file with an application other than the one assigned to it, just hold down the Shift key while right-clicking on the file and select Open With from the contextual menu. When you choose this option, you'll see a list from which you can select a specific application to open the file, so you're not tied to the application normally associated with it.
ADJUSTING THE PRINTER TIMEOUT
If you send a job to your printer while it is still warming up, Windows lets you know that there's a problem and then says that it will try printing again after a specific period of time. This period is called the Timeout, and you can adjust it if Windows pesters you about this more frequently than you'd like. Go to Start, Settings, Printers, right-click your regular printer, and choose Properties. Click the Details tab, and you'll see two Timeout numbers at the bottom of the box. The one labeled Not Selected sets the period of time that Windows will wait before it stops trying to send the print job and notifies you. Transmission Retry is the amount of time (following notification) that Windows will wait before trying to print again. Change the settings as you'd like, then click OK.
RUNNING SYSTEM FILE CHECKER
If you suspect that something is wrong with your copy of Windows 98, one of your first steps should be to run the System File Checker. This program examines your system files and notifies you if it finds something that may be corrupted. The checker is available at Start, Programs, Accessories, System, System Information. From there, choose Tools, System File Checker. To run the program, select Scan For Altered Files and click OK. If something is amiss, you're given the option of restoring the file from your Windows 98 disk, ignoring it, or updating its verification information. Keep in mind that if you choose to update the verification information, you are in effect telling the System File Checker that the file is OK, and it won't be flagged again on any future system checks.
EDITING FAVORITES FROM WINDOWS EXPLORER
The Organize Favorites window in Internet Explorer is a bit cumbersome to work with; when you delete a shortcut, for example, Windows 98 takes an annoying pause before performing the action. If you want to do any serious tinkering with your Favorites folder, you're much better off doing so in a Windows Explorer window. Just open Windows Explorer (by going to Start, Programs, Windows Explorer) and then navigate to C:\Windows\Favorites.
DECREASING DISK FRAGMENTATION
If your hard disk seems to fragment rather quickly, a good portion of the fragmentation could be because of the location of your temporary Internet files. When you spend a lot of time surfing the Web, your hard disk is constantly writing and deleting files to its cache anywhere it can find room. These temporary files often bump up against existing files, so when those files change, portions may have to be written in another place on the hard disk. If you're fed up with fragmentation, and you have more than one hard disk or partition on your computer, try placing your temporary Internet files on their own partition or drive, where they won't interfere with other files.
To change the location for your temporary Internet files using Internet Explorer, go to Tools, Internet Options, and click Settings. Click the Move Folder button and select one of your extra drive partitions.
SPEEDING UP YOUR STARTUP
Whenever you boot your computer, Windows 98 automatically scans your hardware to see if a new floppy disk drive has been added since the last time it ran. If you know for sure that you're not going to be adding a new floppy drive any time soon, you can disable this action and save yourself a second or two of boot time.
To disable the search for a new floppy drive, right-click on My Computer and choose Properties. Click the Performance tab and then click File System. Click the Floppy Disk tab and uncheck the box that says Search For New Floppy Disk Drives Each Time Your Computer Starts. Click OK twice to exit.
CONTROLLING THE CURSOR WITH YOUR KEYBOARD
Have you ever wished that you could control your screen's cursor with the keyboard? Depending on what kind of work you're doing, having the pinpoint control that comes from moving the cursor with the keyboard could be an advantage. As long as you have Microsoft's Accessibility Options installed, you can make it so. Go to Start, Settings, Control Panel and open Accessibility Options. Click the Mouse tab and check the Use MouseKeys box. To control the cursor, you'll use the arrows on your number keypad. Go to Settings and decide whether you want MouseKeys to be activated when Num Lock is on or off. You'll also want to play with the speed settings to get the desired cursor movement. When you finish, click OK twice.
See the article, The
Mouseless Maneuver-Using the Mouse Keys in Windows 98
For more information on this usefull Windows 98 Assesability feature
CONFIGURING YOUR COMPUTER'S SPEAKER ARRANGEMENT
Today's computers can render surround sound with all sorts of games and DVD movies. If you have the proper speaker setup, you can experience these multimedia works in all their glory, hearing sounds both in front and behind. You will, however, need to set Windows 98 so that it works with your Surround Sound speakers. Go to Start, Settings, Control Panel and open the Multimedia icon. Click the Audio tab and then click Advanced Properties in the Playback section. From the drop-down menu, select the Speaker Setup that corresponds to your system, and then click OK.
Roll back to a prior version of your Windows 98 Registry.
Add a complete system backup to ScanReg and make it for more than the Default 5 day occurrences
Registry Checker, a free tool built into Windows 98, scans the Registry every time your PC starts up. If it detects a problem, it automatically replaces the Registry with a backup copy (it makes a new backup daily). Registry Checker keeps five complete backup copies of your Registry for a five-day incremental history.
Restoring the Registry manually is a four-step process:
(1) Select Start, Shut Down, Restart in MS-DOS mode, and OK.
(2) Type scanreg /restore from the command prompt.
(3) Select the latest good version of the Registry from the list of the last five backups (named Rbnnn.cab where nnn starts at 000) and date/time stamps. The screen also shows Started or Not Started for each backup, meaning that the particular copy of the Registry has (or hasn't) successfully started your system.
(4) Choose Restore.
If the restore is successful, Registry Checker tells you. If there is a problem, an
error message appears. If the latter occurs, try restoring the next oldest CAB. You can
manually run Registry Checker from the System Information applet's Tools menu, but this
interface can make a backup copy only; it can't restore.
Another hot tip concerning Registry Checker
If you would like Registry Checker to save more than the default 5 entries do this:
We now have a full and complete backup of the system files our system needs to operate for a period of 10 days. We can now safely and easily return our system to a state of earlier perfection if something goes drastically wrong.
Boost Windows ScanReg utility for more backups and other features
The Scanreg.ini file controls many of the Registry Checker's functions and settings (see C:\Windows). The file can be edited in Notepad. You can, for example, increase the number of backups the checker maintains by changing the MaxBackupCopies setting. MaxBackupCopies=10 increases the number of copies maintained, giving you a 10-day history of your Registry files. Other values that you can add or edit are explained in comments inside Scanreg.ini. Be careful when editing this INI file, though, since the Registry Checker is a very important part of your disaster-recovery arsenal.
USING THE DVORAK KEYBOARD
Way back when you took your first typing class, you probably heard about something called the Dvorak keyboard. The Dvorak key arrangement was designed for maximum typing speed, while our standard QWERTY arrangement was designed so that the typewriter arms on the original nineteenth-century typewriters wouldn't collide with each other. People who used the unorthodox Dvorak arrangement typically hold world records for typing speed. So, what does all this have to do with Windows 98? Well, you can turn your computer keyboard into a Dvorak keyboard if you like. The actual painted letters on your keyboard won't change, but the way Windows recognizes them will. And if you're so inclined, you, too, can bring your typing speed up to superhuman level. It's a fun thing to try, anyway.
To try out the Dvorak keyboard, go to Start, Settings, Control Panel and double-click the Keyboard icon. Click the Languages tab, select the language you normally use, and click Properties. Under Keyboard Layout, select United States Dvorak, then click OK. It'll take you a while to learn which keys are which (you may want to consult a book or educational software), but once you do, you'll be typing with greater speed.
USING THUMBNAIL VIEW
If you're sifting through a folder that contains different kinds of documents, it can be hard to remember exactly what you're looking for just by the name. "If I could just see the first page of the document," you sigh to yourself, "I'd be able to find the exact document I'm looking for." But you don't want to open every document in turn, hoping to chance into finding the correct one. What are you to do? Fortunately, Windows 98 has a View option that turns the first page of a document into the document's icon. It's called Thumbnail.
To enable Thumbnail View for a specific folder, right-click on it and select Properties. Select the General tab and click the check box that says Enable Thumbnail View. Click OK and then double-click the folder. Now, in the View menu, you are given the Thumbnails option. Select it, and the first page of each document becomes that document's icon. Remember, rendering thumbnails is hard work for your computer, so use this view only when you really need it.
INSTALLING A PRINTER TWICE FOR SPECIAL PRINT SETTINGS
If you routinely print two kinds of documents, each requiring its own printer settings, you've probably found it cumbersome to have to re-enter all the printer properties every time you change documents. You might find it easier to actually install the same printer twice, but with different names and settings. This way, you can simply select the "printer" (actually the group of print settings) that you like the next time you execute your print job.
To install the printer with new print settings, go to Start, Settings, Printers and click the Add Printer icon. Install the printer as you would normally, inserting the driver disk if you have it. When you come to the screen where you name your printer, name it something that differentiates it from your default printer and lets you know what the printer settings are. When you finish, right-click on your new printer and select Properties. Enter the print settings for your new printer icon and click OK. Now, when you want to print using the new print settings, you can just select the name from your program's Print dialog box.
MAPPING A DRIVE
If you use a shared network drive only occasionally, you probably access it by double-clicking Network Neighborhood. If the drive is one you use more frequently, however, you can get to it quicker by mapping the drive so that it appears as a drive letter on your computer. To map a network drive, first find the drive in Network Neighborhood and then right-click and choose Map Network Drive. Choose a drive letter from the drop-down menu and click OK. You can now access the network drive by selecting it on your computer the same way you would your hard drive--that is, by simply double-clicking on My Computer and finding it.