PC World.Top.Windows.Tips

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PC World.Top.Windows.Tips

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call it the clark kent syndrome: Hidden beneath Windows’ mild-mannered exterior lurks an operating system that’s more powerful than a locomotive. Unleashing Windows’ superpowers lets you work smarter, whether you use XP or one of its predecessors. Windows’ many configuration options allow you to over- come the limitations of its one-size-fits-all interface and transform the operating system to fit your work style. These tips will help you get the look you want and the power you need to manage files, pump up performance, and customize Windows to your liking. ...

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  2. C OV E R S T O RY WINDOWS SECRETS smart tips that unleash Windows’ hidden powers—whether you’ve upgraded to XP or not. By Scott Dunn call it the clark kent syndrome: Hidden beneath INSIDE Windows’ mild-mannered exterior lurks an operating 70 File Management Muscle system that’s more powerful than a locomotive. 71 Ten Quick Changes—No Phone Unleashing Windows’ superpowers lets you work Booth Required smarter, whether you use XP or one of its predecessors. 72 Powerful Features Without Windows’ many configuration options allow you to over- the Upgrade come the limitations of its one-size-fits-all interface and 73 Speeding-Bullet Performance transform the operating system to fit your work style. 74 Fixes for XP’s These tips will help you get the look you want and the Super-Annoyances power you need to manage files, pump up performance, 78 The Mighty Morphin’ OS and customize Windows to your liking. 80 Up, Upload, and Away I L L U S T R A T I O N S B Y A L E X G R O S S APRIL 2002 W W W. P C W O R L D.C O M 69
  3. C OV E R S T O RY FILE MANAGEMENT MUSCLE tice that the Large Icons view has become simply ‘Icons’ in XP’s Explorer.) the quality of the file with each rotation. If you don’t see the Filmstrip option in under ‘Folder pictures’ select Choose Pic- ture. Select the picture you want to show OU DON’T NEED X-RAY VISION to see what’s inside a Tiles seem to be part of the Microsoft the View menu, choose View•Customize in the thumbnail (see the following bonus effort to simplify XP to the level of the This Folder, click the Customize tab, select tip), and click Open. If the preview image Windows file without opening it. And XP adds even more most unsophisticated computerphobe, Photo Album in the drop-down list at the is to your liking, click OK. If not, click tools and techniques for identifying files and determining but they’re not without redeeming quali- top, and click OK. Choose Picture again to find another pic- ties. For example, to the right of each tile XP A New Thumbnails View The Thumb- ture, or select Restore Default to remove their contents. You still have to spend time arranging your files, but is a brief summary of file information nails view in XP has a new twist. If a fold- the picture from the folder thumbnail. knowing all of Windows’ tricks will make the chore less, well, chorelike. specific to that file type. Some of this er contains images saved in a common Bonus tip: You needn’t scroll through a information isn’t visible by default in Web format, such as .gif, .png, or .jpg, XP list of file names to find the image file you ME 2K XP Give Me the Details If you pre- play or hide (see FIGURE 1). Not all cate- Details view (see “Give Me the Details,” will create an icon for the folder that dis- want to show in the thumbnail. Instead, fer Details view in your Explorer or folder gories appear in this context menu, but if above). Tiles view works best if your fold- plays up to four of the images it contains, set the Browse dialog box (which appears windows (choose View•Details), you may you don’t see one that you want, select ers contain only a few items or if you want providing a glimpse of its contents. To when you select Choose Picture) to show not be getting all you want. These days, More… at the bottom of the menu to open to give files distinctive icons to make them show a single image, right-click the folder thumbnails. Click the View icon to the far FIGURE 3: ROTATING A PHOTO permanently many file formats store lots of data be- the Choose Details dialog box. easy to recognize. It’s especially good for icon, choose Properties, and click the Cus- right of the ‘Look in’ drop-down menu, saves the picture file in the rotated form. yond the default Name, Size, Type, and Bonus tip: To customize the information folders that you store icon (.ico) and cur- tomize tab. Or open the folder, right-click and choose Thumbnails. If your view is Date Modified information available in that Explorer displays for a Word or Excel sor (.cur) files in (see FIGURE 2). an empty area of the window, and choose too crowded, drag any edge of the dialog ALL The Sort You See When you choose Versions earlier versions of Windows. For example, document, right-click the file in Explorer Customize This Folder. (Alternatively, you box to make it bigger. Unfortunately, View•Details in Explorer, you can sort the MP3 music files can include an album and choose Properties (or –double- can choose Customize This Folder on the Windows forgets these settings the next information you see by clicking a column title, artist’s name, track duration, and click the file icon). Click the Summary tab View menu.) Click the Customize tab, and time you open the dialog box. heading (Name, Type, Size, or the much more. Word, Excel, and other Mi- and add to or modify the information list- X P D E FA U LT S E T T I N G S crosoft Office files contain such informa- ed there. You can use the Custom tab to tion as the title, author, and subject. introduce even more information, but not Much of this information can be viewed in Explorer and in folder windows with- all of the categories available for filling will be visible in Explorer’s Details view. 10 QUICK CHANGES—NO PHONE BOOTH REQUIRED out your having to open the files or their ALL Unkludge Your Columns Once you’ve Versions ONLY THE WIZARDS of Redmond would create two versions of the same operating system, and then hide the best features of both by default Properties dialog boxes. To arrange to get added categories to your folders’ Details and make nuking the ones you don’t want difficult. Here’s how to turn on the good and turn off the bad. —Michael Cahlin all the details, select View•Choose Details view, you may have to scroll back and Default (in Windows XP) or View•Choose Columns forth to see all the headings. Follow these FIGURE 2: TILES VIEW IS the best choice for FEATURE Where or what it is/what it does setting Activate/deactivate (in Windows Me and 2000). Check the steps to get a grip on your columns: folders used to store icons and cursors. Pro/Home items appropriate for the files you keep in •Drag the column heads left or right to Quick Launch Next to the Start button/launches On/off Right-click the taskbar, select Properties, choose the Taskbar tab, and check or uncheck Show Quick Launch. Click OK. the current folder, and click OK. For cus- rearrange their order. XP Get Your Thumbnails in a Row For fold- Toolbar applications with a single click. tomizing on the fly, right-click any of the •Drag a column head’s right boundary left ers that contain only a small number of My Recent On the Start menu/lists the 15 Right-click the taskbar, select Properties, choose the Start Menu tab, click Customize, select the Advanced tab, and On/off Documents documents opened most recently. under Recent documents, check or uncheck List my most recently open documents. Click OK twice. column headings above the file list and or right to change the column size. graphics files, Windows XP offers Film- then choose a category you want to dis- •Double-click a column head’s right strip view, which, despite its name, has In the system tray next to the clock/ Click Start•Control Panel. In Category View, choose Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices and click Sounds and Audio Volume Icon adjusts your PC’s volume. Off/off Devices. In Classic View, double-click Sounds and Audio Devices. Select the Volume tab, and in the Device volume area, boundary to resize the column to the nothing to do with video. Choose View• check Place volume icon on the taskbar. length of the longest item in the column. Filmstrip to display a preview of the select- •With the document pane selected, hold ed file at the top of the right Explorer Clock In the system tray/shows the current time. On/on Right-click the taskbar, select Properties, choose the Taskbar tab, and check or uncheck Show the clock. down as you press pane, along with thumbnails of the other Launch Windows Explorer, click Tools, and select Folder Options. Choose the View tab, and under ‘Advanced settings’ Show File Name In Explorer and folder windows/shows file- (the plus sign on the numeric keypad) to files in the folder in a strip running along Extensions type extensions (.exe, .gif, and the like). Off/off uncheck Hide Extensions for Known File Types. Click Apply to All Folders at the top of the dialog box, choose Yes, and then click OK. resize all columns at once. the bottom of the right pane. To enable these tips to work, you may Below the previewed image are slide- Search for In Explorer and folder windows/includes Off/off Launch Windows Explorer, click Tools, and select Folder Options. Choose the View tab and under ‘Advanced settings’, Hidden Files hidden files in search results. check Show hidden files and folders. Click Apply to All Folders at the top of the dialog box, choose Yes, and click OK. have to remove categories. In Windows show forward and backward buttons, and 9x you hide categories by dragging the two buttons that rotate the image left and Windows XP The new interface/adds brighter colors and Right-click the desktop and choose Properties. Click the Appearance tab, and in the ‘Windows and buttons’ drop-down On/on Style bigger buttons. list, select Windows Classic style. Click OK. column head’s right border to the left right. Be forewarned: The rotation but- until the column disappears. Drag right tons actually open and save the file per- ClearType ‘More’ option in Desktop Properties/ Off/off Right-click the desktop and choose Properties. Click the Appearance tab, select the Effects button, and check Use the manages font-smoothing for LCD monitors. following method to smooth edges of screen fonts. Click the drop-down arrow and select ClearType. Click OK twice. or press - to restore it. manently in its rotated state (see FIGURE XP A Tile of a View If you are a fan of the 3). This is less important if you’re using Pop-up message/provides access to The first five times you connect to the Web, XP pesters you to sign up for a Passport account; then it gives up. If you Passport Microsoft service. On/on just can’t wait for it to disable itself, click the Passport message; when the .Net Messenger window appears, click the Large Icons view offered in previous ver- an uncompressed format such as .bmp Cancel button. sions of Windows Explorer, you’ll love (bitmap) or a loss-less compression for- Download and install XP’s PowerToys (available at find.pcworld.com/20442). Once it is installed, click Start•All Word-Balloon Pop-up messages/obscure screen with On/on Programs•Powertoys for Windows XP•TweakUI for Windows XP. Highlight Taskbar in the left pane, and in the Settings FIGURE 1: GET MORE FROM Details view by Tiles, the gigantic icons in Windows XP. mat such as .gif. But rotating .jpg or other Tips tool tips for apps supporting XP themes. area, uncheck Enable balloon tips. Click OK. (Note: You can’t get rid of the Activation balloon until XP is activated.) right-clicking and choosing your categories. To see the icons, choose View•Tiles. (No- files with “lossy” compression will reduce 70 W W W. P C W O R L D.C O M APRIL 2002 APRIL 2002 W W W. P C W O R L D.C O M 71
  4. C OV E R S T O RY like) to list files by that criterion. Click the column heading again to reverse the to figure it out for yourself. In Windows XP, the possible sort criteria listed on the XP, the most useful of which may be the ‘Show in Groups’ option on the ‘Arrange file management. Don’t like it? Simply choose the command again to turn it off. SPEEDING-BULLET PERFORMANCE order. Windows Me and 2000 add a tiny ‘Arrange Icons by’ menu change accord- Icons by’ submenu. Choose View•Arrange ME XP Compress in a Jiffy The ability to CCOMMODATING A MULTITUDE OF OPEN (and resource- arrow to the column that currently sets ing to your settings in the Choose Details Icons by, or right-click inside a folder and compress bitmap images and other large hungry) applications at the same time is the PC equivalent the sort order: An up arrow indicates dialog box, so be sure to read the tip “Give select Arrange Icons by•Show in Groups. files before e-mailing or archiving them is ascending order; a down arrow, descend- Me the Details,” page 70. Windows will arrange the icons in logical a welcome new feature of Windows Me of leaping tall buildings in a single bound. You can give any ing order. Windows XP goes this one bet- ALL Sort It Yourself To arrange a folder’s groupings based on your chosen sort and XP. To compress, or zip, a file or fold- Versions version of Windows an infusion of pep by tweaking its default settings. ter by highlighting the column head or items manually, choose any view except order. For example, if the files are sorted er, right-click in a folder or on the desktop the entire column that controls the sort, List or Details, and then drag and drop by name, the groups will be the letters of and choose New•Compressed (zipped) Fold- Use these tips to make your system a kryptonite-free zone. making it even easier to spot the prevail- items (or groups of items that you select the alphabet. If you sort by date, you’ll get er. Drag files to this folder to compress ing arrangement at a glance. by -clicking them) to get the arrange- groups with names such as ‘Yesterday’, them in the .zip file. If most of the files ALL Tone Down the Effects Your system’s Versions and its submenus, and menus in every ALL The Folder Sort To sort your file and Versions ment you prefer. To keep your files in ‘Last week’, ‘Last month’, and ‘Earlier this are in a single folder, just select the files performance may be bogged down by application. By default, Windows doesn’t folder icons in Explorer views other than nice, neat rows and columns, click the year’. Sorting by size will yield groups or subfolders, right-click the selection, excessive visual effects. To get a perkier show these menus at their maximum Details, right-click inside the folder and View menu or right-click inside the folder named ‘Tiny’, ‘Medium’, ‘Large’, and the and choose Send To•Compressed (zipped) Windows 98, 2000, or Me, right-click the speed. One way to change this is by edit- choose Arrange Icons by—or choose View• and choose Arrange Icons by•Auto Arrange like. It’s no substitute for having a good Folder. Windows will create a new com- desktop, choose Properties, and click the ing the Windows Registry; but it’s much Arrange Icons by—and then select a sort (provided that it isn’t already checked). file-storage system, but distributing large pressed folder named after the first file Effects tab. Begin unchecking items in the easier to install Tweak UI, the free Micro- criterion. Unfortunately, the only way to XP Get With the Group There are many numbers of folders and files into these you selected and will include all the select- Visual Effects box at the bottom of the dia- soft Control Panel icon that allows you to tell how the items are currently sorted is new ways to view a folder’s contents in (somewhat) meaningful bins simplifies ed files and/or subfolders. To add files to log box until you find the right balance of customize many arcane aspects of Win- or remove them from the compressed speed and attractiveness for you. WIN 9X TRICKS folder, drag and drop them as you would If Windows XP becomes sluggish, turn any folder. Naturally, you can rename the off some of the visual fireworks that may POWERFUL FEATURES WITHOUT THE UPGRADE compressed folder by highlighting it, clicking it again (slowly, so as not to open be taxing your screen updates via the Per- formance Options dialog box. Open Con- WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT WINDOWS XP? tion, and it features automatic image resiz- frequently used applications and put them it), and entering the new name, or by right- trol Panel, and if you’re using the default The stability and reliability it brings to Win- ing, a floating image toolbar, and a media on the left side of the Start menu for easy clicking and choosing Rename. Category view, click the Performance and dows 9x and Me machines that crash regu- bar for playing music and video files from access (see “Rework Your Frequent Apps In Windows Me, you may need to in- Maintenance link. Under ‘Pick a task’, larly. If you want the best that XP has to within the browser. IE 6 has the colorful List,” page 78). Though previous Windows stall the compression option from your choose Adjust visual effects. If you’re using offer, there’s no alternative to buying the new XP icons, too, so you’ll be browsing in versions lack this feature, you can achieve Windows Me CD. Pop the CD into the the Classic view of Control Panel, double- OS and, if necessary, upgrading your hard- the latest fashion. More important, it’s free. the same effect—and more—with ANsoft’s drive, and open Control Panel. Double- click the System icon. (Alternatively, you ware. But that doesn’t Multimedia Unlike $20 RunIt shareware utility. RunIt’s pop-up click Add/Remove Programs, click the Win- can right-click My Computer in Explorer mean your old 9x PC Internet Explorer 6, the menus display up to 50 of your most fre- dows Setup tab, select System Tools, and and choose Properties.) Click the Advanced can’t learn any new new Windows Media quently or recently used applications on click Details. Check Compressed Folders, tab, and select the first Settings button tricks. These tips will Player 8 works only each menu. Or have your system display a click OK as many times as needed, and (under Performance). FIGURE 5: TURN OFF THE fireworks for give you some of the FIGURE 4: GET MENUS OF recently with Windows XP—but Favorites menu that shows the programs follow the on-screen prompts. The Visual Effects tab lists check boxes snappier on-screen performance. upgrade effect, with- used, frequently used, or favorite don’t despair. The earli- or documents of your choice. RunIt does ME XP Decompress in a Flash You can for turning individual effects on for more out the upgrade price. apps (and more) with RunIt. er Windows Media Play- not alter the Start menu, but you can decompress files by dragging them out of razzle-dazzle or off for better perfor- dows. Depending on the version of Win- Cosmetics The pre- er 7.x, available at find. launch its menus—and a more sophisticated the compressed folder and dropping mance (see FIGURE 5). The preset options dows you’re using, you may be able to mier desktop theme utility is Desktop pcworld.com/21221, has many of version version of the Windows Run dialog box— them where you like. But if you’re decom- at the top of the dialog box simplify mat- download Tweak UI by itself or as part of Architect, a fabulous piece of freeware that 8’s best features. It lets you apply different from an icon in the taskbar tray (the area pressing all the files in a compressed fold- ters: If Let Windows choose what’s best for a larger set of free utilities called Micro- transforms your desktop icons, pointers, skins, manage your digital audio and video near the clock), via a keyboard shortcut, or er in Windows XP, simply right-click and my computer isn’t already selected, choose soft PowerToys. Go to find.pcworld.com/ colors, and wallpaper with ease, although files, rip CDs to your hard disk (though not with a tiny floating toolbar (see FIGURE 4). drag the folder to the desired location and it and click OK twice. Try this setting for a 20441 to download Tweak UI 1.33 for it can’t change title bars or the taskbar. in MP3 format), listen to Internet radio sta- Visit find.pcworld.com/20581 to download then choose Extract Here. while, and if you’re not satisfied, return to Windows 9x, Me, and NT/2000, and visit Download it at find.pcworld.com/21161. If tions, transfer audio files to portable de- a trial version of the program. To put the decompressed files into a the dialog box and click Adjust for best per- find.pcworld.com/20442 for your free you’d like to try for a quasi-XP look, locate vices, and burn audio CDs. And yes, it’s free. Photo Opportunities Windows XP’s high- new folder, either right-drag the files as formance, which unchecks all the visual copy of PowerToys for Windows XP. a free XP theme from a theme site such as If you don’t like Windows Media Player, try ly touted photo-editing tools still rely on the explained above (XP only), or right-drag options. If you miss some of the excite- Downloading and installing Tweak UI www.themedoctor.com. a third-party media player, such as Real- venerable Paint program. If you’d prefer the compressed folder to the new folder ment, open this dialog box again and ex- on older versions of Windows is tricky. Browsing You can get Internet Explorer One or MusicMatch (you can download something full-featured, try a third-party and choose Extract to launch the Extract periment by turning individual effects on First decompress (unzip) the download 6, which comes with Windows XP, as a free these players at find.pcworld.com/12283). program such as Ulead’s Photo Explorer 6 Wizard (in Me) or the Extraction Wizard one by one until you find a good balance file, and then locate a file called tweakui. download from Microsoft (www.microsoft. Frequently Used Apps Besides having freeware for managing and editing photos (in XP). Using the wizard is faster than between sizzle and steak. inf. (If your system is set to hide file com/windows/ie). This browser gives you obvious visual differences, the new XP (available at find.pcworld.com/22541), right-dragging. Just press once (in ALL Lightning Menus Sometimes Windows Versions extensions, choose Tools•Folder Options in some control over your private informa- Start menu can track up to 30 of your most which has several tools that XP doesn’t. Me) or twice (in XP), wait for decompres- seems like an endless series of menu op- Explorer, and under the View tab uncheck sion to finish, and press again. tions: right-click menus, the Start menu Hide extensions for known file types.) 72 W W W. P C W O R L D.C O M APRIL 2002 APRIL 2002 W W W. P C W O R L D.C O M 73
  5. C OV E R S T O RY Right-click the tweakui.inf file and choose task, but you should log off from the addi- Install. If you’re installing Windows XP tional accounts as soon as the task is com- PowerToys, the installation process is plete. Fast user switching is not an option much more conventional. for Windows XP computers that are con- Launch Tweak UI by double-clicking its nected to a network domain. icon in Control Panel. Click the Mouse ALL Lose Some Color The more colors your Versions tab. Under ‘Menu speed’, drag the slider system displays, the more memory and all the way to the Fast end (see FIGURE 6). processing power it expends to manage FIGURE 6: SLUGGISH MENUS? TWEAK UI Click OK and, with any luck, your menus those colors. If you use an older comput- will help you speed them up in no time. will be a wee bit more sprightly. er system and you’ve already tried dis- XP Slow Down User Switches Unlike previ- abling some visual effects (as described in screen instructions that appear (these vary ous Windows versions, Windows XP lets “Tone Down the Effects,” page 73), you depending on the graphics system). you switch from one user account to may get the performance boost you’re ALL Memory Gain Many people find that Versions another without logging off or shutting looking for by setting your graphics sys- the best way to boost Windows’ perfor- down any programs. This feature is con- tem to 16-bit ‘high color’ rather than 32- mance is by adding RAM. This is espe- venient, but it increases the memory bit ‘true color’ (in Windows XP these set- cially true of machines running in the demands on your system. For better per- tings are labeled ‘Medium’ and ‘Highest’, 300- to 500-MHz range. Make sure that formance, choose Start•Log Off to log off respectively). Right-click the desktop, your PC has at least 128MB of RAM— completely before switching to another select Properties, and click the Settings tab. and preferably 256MB or more. As of this profile. You can still allow multiple ac- If your system is currently set to display writing, a 128MB memory upgrade costs counts to run simultaneously when you 32-bit color, choose the option for 16-bit about $40, but memory is a commodity, or another user needs to perform a quick color and click OK; then follow any on- and prices can change rapidly. XP TWEAKS FIXES FOR XP’S SUPER-ANNOYANCES WHAT’S A SUPERHERO without flaws? Ungroup Your Buttons XP groups simi- would open again the next time you logged These tips help undo some of XP’s worst. lar applications under a single button in the on. Not so in Windows XP. If you miss this Annihilate Annoying Animations To taskbar, forcing you to choose the item from feature, choose Tools•Folder Options in any dump XP’s Search ’toon, open any folder, a pop-up menu. If you would prefer separate window, click the View tab, scroll to the end press to start a search, and at the bot- buttons for each open appli- of the Advanced settings tom of the Search Companion pane on the cation, right-click the task- list, check Restore previ- left, click Change Preferences. At the top bar, choose Properties, un- ous folder windows at of the pane, click Without an animated check Group similar taskbar logon, and click OK. screen character (see FIGURE 7). Either buttons, and click OK. Pulverize Personalized continue with a search or close the window. Bypass the Password Menus In Windows XP’s Wipe out Windows Messenger A nag- Prompt You might not need Classic Start menu (see ging balloon from the tray area of the to enter a password each “A Classic Look,” page taskbar urges you to launch Windows Mes- time you deactivate your 78), the ’personalized‘ senger and sign up for Microsoft’s .Net screen saver. The fix is easy: menus rearrange menu Passport program. To pop it once and for all, Right-click the desktop and FIGURE 7: SEND ROVER items and hide many en- choose Start•Run, type regedit, and click choose Properties. Click the PACKING to unclutter the tries until you click the OK. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ Screen Saver tab, uncheck view in XP’s search tool. double-arrow symbol to Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVer- the box labeled On resume, display the entire listing. sion\Run. With the Run folder (called a ’key‘ password protect or On resume, display To get rid of this irksome convention, sim- in Registry-ese) selected on the left, choose Welcome screen (depending on your log-on ply right-click the Start button and choose the MSMSGS icon on the right and press configuration), and click OK. Properties. Click the Customize button, . Click Yes to confirm, and exit the Remember Open Folders In previous and scroll to the bottom of the Advanced Registry Editor. The icon will disappear from versions of Windows, folders and Explorer Start menu options. Uncheck Use Person- the tray the next time you log on. windows you had open when you logged off alized Menus, and click OK twice. 74 W W W. P C W O R L D.C O M APRIL 2002
  6. C OV E R S T O RY THE MIGHTY MORPHIN’ OS to this list, drag the icon for the document or folder to the Start menu button. O IF WINDOWS REALLY IS MORE POWERFUL than a Bonus tip: You can put Internet Explor- er, MSN Explorer, Hotmail, or Outlook locomotive, why does it look more like Jimmy Olsen than Express on the pinned items list by right- like the Man of Steel? From title bar to taskbar, the default clicking the Start button, choosing Prop- erties, clicking the Customize button, and Windows interface conceals more useful quick-change options than an making the appropriate selections in the old-fashioned telephone booth. And XP’s new Luna look takes this secre- ‘Show on Start menu’ panel. The Internet and e-mail options available here vary tiveness to new levels. At least the dumbing down is undoable. These from system to system, however. steps give Windows more looks than there are streetlights in Metropolis. XP Rework Your Frequent Apps List To alter the list of applications XP shows on the ALL Begin With the Start Menu You can cus- Versions the Advanced tab. In the scrolling list Start menu, right-click the Start button, tomize the Start menu to add and remove labeled ‘Start menu items’, you can hide choose Properties, and click Customize. programs, folders, documents, and other or reveal Search, My Music, and other Under Programs in the resulting dialog items. In Windows Me, 2000, or XP with items, or you can make Control Panel, My box, type a number between 0 and 30 (or the Classic Start menu, right-click the Computer, Network select a number with taskbar and choose Properties. In XP, click Connections, My the arrow keys). This the Start Menu tab and then click Cus- Documents, and re- might increase the tomize. In Windows 2000 and Me, click lated items appear as Start menu’s height. the Advanced tab. In all versions, look for icons, as a cascading To start over, simply the scrolling list of check boxes at the bot- menu, or not at all click Clear List. tom of the dialog box. The Administrative (see FIGURE 8). Just XP A Classic Look As Tools menu can appear on the Start•Pro- make your choices the list of frequently grams menu (XP and Windows 2000). and click OK twice. used applications on You can hide the Run command (XP and XP Start Menu Stick- Windows XP’s Start Me) or make the Favorites menu go away. ’ems The applications menu changes, you Check boxes that begin with the word that appear on the may lose the ability ‘Expand’ let you create cascading menus left side of Windows to jump to an item out of such otherwise-static Start menu XP’s new Start menu by pressing the first items as Control Panel, Network & Dial- (above All Programs) FIGURE 9: ICONS STAY STUCK on the letter in its name. To Up Connections, My Documents, and My are those you launch Start menu with the Pin feature. revert to the Classic Printers (depending on your version of most often. You may Start menu, right- Windows). When you’re done, click OK also have an icon for Internet access, an- click the Start button, choose Properties, as many times as needed. other for e-mail, and others above the list select Classic Start menu, and click OK. To alter Windows XP’s newfangled of frequently used applications. Microsoft XP Gimme Back My Icons The Windows XP Start menu, right-click the Start button calls that grouping the ‘pinned items list’. desktop has but a single icon: Recycle and choose Properties. Click Customize Icons for these applications don’t disap- Bin. (If you installed XP over your old ver- under the Start Menu tab and select pear when you stop using the programs sion of Windows, your old icons remain or when you use them less frequently. To on the desktop.) If you miss the default make an application or document appear desktop icons of Windows past, you can on the pinned items list, open Explorer to have them back in a trice. Right-click the the folder where the application is locat- desktop and choose Properties, click the ed and right-click the application’s .exe Desktop tab, and click the Customize Desk- file (it’s most likely in a directory for that top button. Under Desktop Icons, check application within Program Files). Or the box for each icon that you want on right-click any shortcut to the application your desktop (My Documents, My Com- in Explorer, on the desktop, or on the puter, My Network Places, and/or Inter- Start menu or one of its submenus; and net Explorer); then click OK twice. FIGURE 8: MENU? ICON? NOTHING? You choose choose Pin to Start menu (see FIGURE 9). XP Tidy Up Your Desktop Windows XP also by configuring the right side of the Start menu. To pin a shortcut to a document or folder helps you keep your desktop spiffy. 78 W W W. P C W O R L D.C O M APRIL 2002
  7. C OV E R S T O RY The Desktop Cleanup Wizard locates and offers to clean off desktop shortcuts you UP, UPLOAD, AND AWAY haven’t used lately. HOUGH IT MAY SOMETIMES SEEM that not even the Flash Right-click the desktop and choose could safely speed up your Internet link or network connec- Properties. Click first the Desktop tab and then the Customize Desktop button. Under tion, Windows might actually come to your rescue. If some Desktop Cleanup, select Clean Desktop evil genius has taken over your computer’s link to the outside world, see Now. In the Desktop Cleanup Wizard, click Next. The Wizard dialog box lists the if these Windows tweaks reopen your lines of communication. desktop shortcuts that you haven’t used in the last 60 days. Uncheck the ones you XP One Explorer Is Plenty If you’re happy Windows XP’s firewall monitors only want to keep on the desktop, and click with Internet Explorer or another brows- incoming traffic, not outgoing traffic, so Next. Click Finish to acknowledge the er, and satisfied with your current e-mail it won’t help you discover a Trojan horse, final list of shortcuts to be swept away. and Internet service provider, you can spyware, or any other uninvited program save more than 13MB of hard drive space transmitting information about you or by deleting MSN Explorer. Windows your PC. That’s why it still makes sense Help says MSN Explorer is ‘software that to get a third-party firewall such as Zone- makes it easy to get more from the Web.’ Labs’ free ZoneAlarm (which you can Maybe, but it’s just a browser more tight- download at find.pcworld.com/21241). ly integrated with Windows Media Player XP Firewall Conflicts Software firewalls and Microsoft’s own MSN Web services. sometimes block Windows XP from shar- To drop this duplicate browser like a ing files and printers across a local net- hot potato, open Control Panel, launch work. If each PC on the network connects FIGURE 10: BANISH MEDIA Player’s Anchor Add or Remove Programs, and on the left to the Internet through a network hub Window by clicking a quick menu command. side of the dialog box, click Add/Remove that itself is connected to a DSL or cable Windows Components. Scroll through the modem, Microsoft recommends that you Windows puts them in a desktop folder list of Windows components and uncheck either provide each system with Internet called (appropriately) Unused Desktop MSN Explorer. Read the warning and access via a residential gateway installed Shortcuts. If you ever want to retrieve a click Yes if you don’t rely on MSN for your between your modem and the network shortcut, just drag it out of this folder. If Internet connection. Click Next and fol- hub, or that you connect your modem you’re the forgetful type, check Run Desk- low the remaining on-screen prompts. directly to the computer running Win- top Cleanup Wizard every 60 days to have XP Get Behind a Firewall Whenever your dows XP and use XP’s Internet Connec- the software prompt you. Unfortunately, computer is connected to the Internet or a tion Sharing to give other computers on the wizard works only on shortcuts—not local network, it’s vulnerable to unautho- the network Internet access. To enable on folders, applications, or documents. rized intrusions and other attacks. Your Internet Connection Sharing, open the ALL Drop Anchor on Media Player When you Versions first line of defense is a personal firewall, Network Setup Wizard as described in “A apply a skin to Windows Media Player 7 software or hardware that blocks access Wizard to the Rescue,” below. or later (choose View•Taskbar•Skin Choos- from outside and may even thwart hostile ME XP A Wizard to the Rescue Setting up a er), a small Anchor Window appears in applications known as Trojan horses. home or small-office network may re- the lower right corner that reverts to full Windows XP’s firewall has to be turned quire that you dig through multiple dia- mode when you double-click its center on manually. Right-click My Network log boxes and decipher arcane network button. But you can switch modes simply Places in Explorer or on the desktop, and protocols. Why bother? Windows’ Net- by pressing -1 (full mode) or -2 choose Properties. In the Network Con- work Setup Wizard can do most of the (compact or skin mode). To drop Anchor, nection window, highlight your connec- work for you. Perhaps the quickest way to choose Tools•Options, click the Player tab, tion in the right pane and click Change set- launch the wizard is to choose Start•Run, uncheck When in compact mode, always tings of this connection in the left pane type netconn (in Windows Me) or netsetup display anchor window (version 7) or Dis- under Network Tasks. (Or right-click your (in XP), and press . Then simply play anchor window when in skin mode (ver- connection and choose Properties.) In the follow the instructions on your screen. sion 8), and click OK. Alternatively, with Properties dialog box, click the Advanced Media Player 8, click inside the Anchor tab, check Protect my computer and network Scott Dunn is a contributing editor for PC Window and choose Hide Anchor Window by limiting or preventing access to this com- World. He lives in Seattle. Michael Cahlin is a from the pop-up menu (see FIGURE 10). puter from the Internet, and click OK. Los Angeles–based freelance writer. 80 W W W. P C W O R L D.C O M APRIL 2002
  8. Expert advice on hardware, software, and the Web INSIDE 144 WINDOWS TIPS 152 STEP-BY-STEP 156 ANSWER LINE Remove items you don’t use from your Files get harder to find as hard-drive The best way to back up your data to a Start menu; customize your Docu- capacities increase. Partition your CD-Recordable/Rewritable disc; get ments menu; set file dialog box sizes. drive to hasten your file searches. unwanted icons out of your system tray; hide Windows Me’s logo. HERE’S HOW 148 INTERNET TIPS 154 HARDWARE TIPS One in-box for many e-mail accounts; Help your PC keep its cool no matter domain registration alternatives; at the weather. Will ‘AGP 3’ spell faster home (page) with IE’s Favorites. graphics? Not necessarily. E D I T E D B Y M I C H A E L S . L A S K Y A N D D E N N I S O ’ R E I L LY istry settings is risky, however, so be sure rid of the Documents menu, to back up your system.dat and user.dat double-click Remove Documents DOCUMENTS MENU, TAKE 2 Registry files before beginning. After cre- menu from Start Menu, select the october 2001 Win- ating your backup, choose Start•Run, type Enabled, and click OK. ALL dows Tips described ways to Versions access recently used docu- regedit, and press to open the Reg- If you disable too many menu istry Editor. Navigate through the tree on items, you may regret it. For ments beyond the measly 15 on the Start• the left until you come to HKEY_CUR- FIGURE 1: ADD A FEW SETTINGS to the Windows Reg- example, removing the Shut Documents menu (see find.pcworld. RENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Win- istry to make some built-in Start menu items disappear. Down command from the Start com/16000). But you can make your own dows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer. menu also disables the Shut menu of recent shortcuts and add to it as Select the Explorer icon in the left pane, the Documents submenu from Windows Down button when you press - you wish, and retain the shortcuts for as then add the settings in the right pane Me’s Start menu, follow the Registry edit -. And when you remove long as you like. All you need is a free- that turn off the Windows menu items. steps described above for Windows 9x. the Search submenu, you also For example, to make the Documents Removing other built-in Start menu disable the keyboard shortcuts menu disappear from the Start menu, items from Windows 2000 requires the and context-menu options that let right-click the right pane and choose Group Policy administrative utility. To you search from within Explorer New•DWORD Value. Type NoRecentDocs- launch the utility, click Start•Run, type and folder windows. So don’t dis- Menu to name the new binary value, and gputil.msc, and press . Navigate in able these items unless you’re press . Double-click the new entry, the left pane to User Configuration•Admin- happy using other software that type 1 in the Value data box, and click OK. istrative Templates•Start Menu & Taskbar. can replace these functions. To remove the Log Off command, add To delete Help from the Start menu, dou- Windows XP makes it easy to FIGURE 3: HIDE THE HELP MENU and Documents menu WINDOWS TIPS a DWORD Value icon called NoLogOff, and to delete the Favorites menu, create a ble-click Remove Help menu from Start Menu in the right pane (see FIGURE 3). remove many built-in Start menu items—good news, since this in Windows 2000 by using the Group Policy utility. DWORD Value icon named NoFavorites- Select Enabled and click OK. You’ll still be operating system also adds a lot of junk to ware program and a few command lines SCOTT DUNN Menu. Double-click each icon you create, able to reach the same help information the Start menu. Right-click the Start but- typed in Notepad and saved as a batch file. type 1, and click OK (see FIGURE 1). After from any folder window by using its Help ton, choose Properties, click Customize, Preliminary steps: Before making your removing the menu items, close the Reg- menu or by pressing . Likewise, to get and select the Advanced tab. Under ‘Start batch file, create a menu that will show Take Charge of Your istry Editor and, if necessary, log off and log back on to see the changes. To restore a deleted menu item, open the Registry menu items’, you can select Don’t display this item for Control Panel, My Comput- er, My Documents, My Music, My Pic- your recent shortcuts. Right-click the Start button, choose Open, right-click an empty area of the folder, and select New•Folder. Runaway Start Menu Editor and delete the icon you created or double-click it and change its value to 0. tures, Network Connections, and System Administrative Tools (see FIGURE 4). This folder will be your new Documents menu, so give it a name, such as More if you regularly scroll by following the steps in the next tip, To remove the Favorites and Logoff Uncheck Favorites menu, Help and Sup- Docs, and press . ALL Versions through dozens of items on “Documents Menu, Take 2.” commands in Windows 2000 and Me, port, My Network Places, Printers and Faxes, Tsahi Chitin’s TDel freeware replace- your Start menu every time Before you begin trimming the Start right-click the taskbar, choose Properties, Run command, and Search to eliminate ment for DOS’s Delete command lets you you open a program, maybe you should menu, put your other shortcut menus click the Advanced tab, and in the list of these menu items. To remove the My delete old shortcuts based on their cre- think about putting the menu on a diet. into logical groups and delete unneces- settings at the bottom of the dialog box, Recent Documents menu, uncheck List ation date. Go to find.pcworld.com/15968 ILLUSTRATION: PHILIP ANDERSON Two prime candidates for deletion from sary menu items. Go to find.pcworld. uncheck either the Display Favorites box or my most recently opened documents in the to download TDel, then unzip the file and the Start menu are your Favorites and com/15920 for Steve Bass’s suggestions Display Logoff box, or both. If you never ‘Recent documents’ section at the bottom follow the installation instructions. The Documents menus. Chances are you only on organizing a messy Windows desktop. use the Start•Run command or prefer to of the Customize Start Menu dialog box. program’s automatic installation option access your Favorites menu from your Windows 9x doesn’t offer an easy way access it only from your keyboard (-), Windows Me lets you uncheck cuts you’ve created to these items in other let that bother you. Just copy tdel.exe to won’t need the Documents menu if you you can delete some of them by editing Display Run as well (see FIGURE 2). When FIGURE 2: REMOVE FAVORITES, Logoff, and folders or menus will still work, as will the any convenient location and double-click create a custom recent-documents menu the Windows Registry. Messing with Reg- you’re done, click OK. Note: To remove Run from your Start menu in Windows Me. keyboard shortcuts for opening them. it to finish the installation. 144 W W W. P C W O R L D.C O M FEBRUARY 2002 FEBRUARY 2002 W W W. P C W O R L D.C O M 145
  9. HERE’S HOW WINDOWS TIPS with the one to your new More Docs fold- W I N D OWS TO O L B OX er. The /days: switch deletes files older than a specified number of days; change Get the Big Picture ‘3’ to the number of days you prefer. With XFilesDialog Experiment to find the number of days RECENT VERSIONS of Windows let you that works best for you. Don’t forget to resize your Open, Save, Save As, and add the two periods after the number to other file dialog boxes, and change the delete all files older than whatever length list’s view to large icons, small icons, you specify. The /d- switch keeps the pro- details, and so on. But none of your gram from deleting the More Docs folder changes will persist, so you’re forced to if it becomes empty. Finally, if you’re click here or drag there every time you using Windows 2000, replace del with tdel open a dialog box just to get the view you (and the path to the utility, if needed). want. The XFilesDialog utility solves this Final steps: In Notepad, choose File•Save problem, making the file dialog boxes in As, navigate to a folder where you store all applications (except Microsoft Office, FIGURE 4: CLEAR OUT XP’S Start menu batch files (the Windows folder will do), which never conforms to Windows stan- with the Customize Start Menu dialog box. type a name such as “FixMenu.bat” (in dards anyway) look the way you want, Windows 9x, Me, and XP) or “FixMenu. complete with your preferred sort order Automatic shortcuts: To create the batch cmd” (in Windows 2000). Be sure to in- and even a pop-up menu of recently used file that will automatically add shortcuts clude the quotation marks so that to this menu, open Notepad or another Notepad doesn’t add its .txt extension text editor, and on the first line, type the to the file name. Click Save and use command that will copy files from Win- Explorer to find the FixMenu file you dows’ Recent menu to your new folder— just created. Choose it and click Edit for example, xcopy “c:\windows\recent\*.*” •Copy, then navigate to your Start “c:\windows\Start Menu\More Docs” /d /y. Menu\Programs\StartUp folder and Replace the first path in quotation marks choose Edit•Paste Shortcut. With the (“c:\windows\recent\”) with the path to new shortcut selected, choose File• your Recent folder, and change the sec- Properties. Click the Program tab (in ond path in quotation marks (“c:\win- Windows 9x and Me) or the Shortcut dows\Start Menu\More Docs”) to point to tab (in Windows 2000 and XP) and the folder for your new menu. The /d choose Minimized from the Run switch copies your newest shortcuts from drop-down list. In Windows 9x and Me, documents. All for only $15 (I’m in love)! the Recent menu to your custom More make sure Close on exit is checked as well. Download a trial version at find.pcworld. Docs menu, while the /y switch sup- If you have problems, come back later com/15980, or from its creator at www. presses prompts to overwrite files. The and change these settings to keep the xdesksoftware.com/xfilesdialog.html. shortcut updates your custom menu DOS window open while you trouble- when you launch it to show all shortcuts shoot. That will let you read any error gpedit.msc, and press to open in your Recent folder, not just the last 15. messages. Click OK. Group Policy. In the left pane, select User Unlike Windows’ Documents menu, Now Windows will update your menu Configuration•Administrative Templates• automatically adding shortcuts to this and delete old items automatically when- Windows Components•Windows Explorer. menu is easy. Add a line to the text file ever it starts. To update the menu within Double-click Maximum number of recent similar to the one above that copies spe- the current Windows session, choose Fix documents in the right pane and select cific shortcuts to your More Docs menu. Menu from the Start menu, or use either Enabled under the Setting tab. Increase Shortcut removal: Add another line to this Task Scheduler or the Scheduled Tasks the maximum number of recent docu- file to keep your menu size manageable. folder to run the batch file more often. If ments to a number above 15. The menu (TDel must be installed for this tip.) you prefer your new menu to the old Doc- will show only the 10 most recent files of Type del c:\windows\startm~1\moredo~1\ uments menu, hide the old one by fol- any file type—for example, 10 .doc (Word) *.* /days:3.. /d- and press . Note lowing the steps in “Take Charge of Your files—an improvement, nevertheless. that TDel does not support long file Runaway Start Menu” above. names, so your paths must use the abbre- Windows XP Professional Edition’s Find more tips at www.pcworld.com/heres_ viated form (first 6 letters of a file name, Group Policy utility makes it easy to in- how. Windows Tips pays $50 for published minus spaces, followed by ~1, in most crease the size of the My Recent Docu- tips and questions. Scott Dunn is a con- cases). Replace the path in this example ments menu. Choose Start•Run, type tributing editor for PC World. 146 W W W. P C W O R L D.C O M FEBRUARY 2002
  10. Expert advice on hardware, software, and the Web INSIDE 190 WINDOWS TIPS 200 STEP-BY-STEP 202 HARDWARE TIPS The right (click) way to get around in Get your system in tip-top shape with Monitor your PC’s memory to ensure Windows; smarter sorting in Details a fast—and free—Windows tune-up. Our peak performance; decipher DVD view; and safer Registry editing. once-over includes a disk scan, a virus region codes; remove PC Cards safely. scan, a backup, and a file clean-up. We HERE’S HOW 194 INTERNET TIPS even describe a simple way for you to 206 ANSWER LINE Set your PC’s clock via the Internet; automate the process. Retrieve data from bad CD-R and CD- firewall testing from the inside out; RW discs; use a network printer to and a stand-alone Shockwave player. print a list of files in a folder. E D I T E D B Y D E N N I S O ’ R E I L LY you want to work on and choose Proper- International. To Windows’ file-sorting convenient key to an IBM ties. In the General tab, click Disk Cleanup options, PowerDesk adds the ability to ThinkPad. For more on key to launch that tool for the disk you right- sort files by their description or by their shortcuts, see “The Windows Key: A Fast clicked (in Windows 98, 2000, and Me), or three-letter extension. You can download Worker” (find.pcworld.com/13901). Re- select the Tools tab to open one of Win- PowerDesk at find.pcworld.com/13900 or mapping your keyboard requires that you dows’ other system utilities. from Ontrack itself (www.ontrack.com/ be willing to brave that esoteric com- Click twice for Computer Management: Win- powerdesk). For more information on pendium of Windows hardware and soft- dows 2000 and XP provide fast access to PowerDesk 4, see “Darn Good Software, ware settings, the Windows Registry. And the Computer Management utility. To get Doggone Cheap,” page 149. ThinkPad users must also be willing to there, right-click My Computer and choose For even more file-sorting options, edit give up the use of an existing key that will Manage (see FIGURE 1). the descriptions of the file types you use function as their new key. Reset your clock: Don’t open the Control most often. For example, if you work with First, a word of warning: Making care- Panel to set the date, time, or time zone. Web graphics, you can change the de- less changes to the Registry can cause Instead, right-click the clock in the task- FIGURE 1: RIGHT-CLICK MY COMPUTER for fast scriptions for .bmp, .gif, and .jpg files serious problems, up to and including the bar and choose Adjust Date/Time. Better access to network, system, and other settings. from ‘Bitmap Image’, ‘GIF Image’, and inability to start Windows. If you decide yet, double-click the clock. ‘JPEG Image’ to Images-BMP, Images-GIF, to sacrifice one of your or Adjust your display the easy way: Control Map or disconnect network drives: To map a and Images-JPEG to group all your image keys to get a key and if you Panel isn’t the fastest route to your dis- network drive to your computer—or to files together when you sort by type. typically use -- to see play properties, either. Just right-click disconnect a drive that’s already there— To change your file-type descriptions, your desktop and choose Properties. Right- right-click either Network Neighborhood choose View•Options, View•Folder Options, WINDOWS TIPS click the taskbar and choose Minimize All Windows to expose the desktop, and right- (My Network Places in Windows Me) or My Computer and choose Map Network or Tools•Folder Options (depending on your version of Windows) in any folder. click the taskbar and select Undo Mini- Drive or Disconnect Network Drive. Click the File Types tab and scroll through SCOTT DUNN FIGURE 2: CHANGE YOUR keyboard’s scan mize All to restore your windows. the list of file types to find the one whose THE SENSIBLE SORT codes to give notebook keys new functions. Get to System Properties without Control description you want to edit. Select it and Panel: To access System Properties, right- if you prefer the Details click Edit or Advanced, depending on your the Windows log-on screen (as in Win- Right-Click for Faster click My Computer and choose Properties. If the My Computer window is already ALL Versions view in your folder windows, you probably know that this version of Windows. In the Edit File Type dialog box, enter your new description, dows 2000), a mistake in executing this tip could make it difficult for you to guess open, right-click the system menu icon in view lets you sort the items in a folder by click OK, and close the remaining dialog what keys to press to return to Windows. Windows Navigation the upper-left corner of the window (near the File menu) to see the same menu, clicking one of the column heads (Name, Type, Size, or Modified). Unfortunately, boxes. Repeat these steps for all file types whose descriptions you want to alter. Consequently, apply this tip with care, and be sure to back up your Registry why click through three cation windows, don’t fuss with each indi- minus the Rename option. clicking the Type head only sorts the files before you begin. To back up in Windows ALL Versions menus, two windows, and a couple of dialog boxes just to vidually. Hold down as you click the taskbar buttons of the windows you want A faster trip to Network Neighborhood: The quickest way to reach your network set- by the description given to the file by Microsoft or by the application that creat- REMAP YOUR KEYBOARD I’M A BIG FAN of IBM ThinkPads, NT, choose Start•Run, type rdisk, and press . Click Create Repair Disk and get to a file, folder, or application? Left- to arrange or close. Then right-click one tings is to right-click the Network Neigh- ed it, such as ‘GIF Image’ or ‘DAT File’. but my one complaint about them follow the on-screen prompts; for more brainers can remember shortcut keys; but of the depressed buttons and choose the borhood icon on the desktop (My Network Some of the descriptions take up way too is their lack of a key. Is information, click Help. For assistance on everyone else, think right! Your right action you want from the menu. Places in Windows Me) and choose Prop- much space with advertising (for exam- there a way to map the key onto backing up your Registry in Windows mouse button’s shortcuts take you where Speed up disk maintenance: You can launch erties. As with My Computer, if the Net- ple, every Office file type begins with 2000 and XP, choose Start•Help, click the ILLUSTRATION: JAMES YANG another key on the ThinkPad’s keyboard? you’re going fast. So limber up those fin- Backup (if it’s installed), ScanDisk, Disk work Neighborhood window is already Microsoft). And the file types may not be Kulvir S. Bhogal, Fort Worth, Texas Index tab, and look for the topic ‘Registry, gers and get ready to right-click. Cleanup, or Disk Defragmenter by choos- open, right-click the system menu icon in grouped in a logical manner. in windows 2000 and NT 4, you can Backing Up to Repair Directory’ (in Win- Manage multiple windows simultaneously: If ing Start•Programs•Accessories•System the upper-left corner of the window (near One solution is to manage files using change the function of various keys to suit dows 2000) or ‘Back up System State data’ you want to close, tile, minimize, maxi- Tools, but if Windows Explorer is open, the File menu) to see the same menu, PowerDesk 4, a free Windows Explorer your needs. One of the many possible (in Windows XP). In Windows XP, you mize, or otherwise arrange several appli- it’s faster simply to right-click the drive again without the Rename option. replacement available from Ontrack Data uses of this hidden feature is to add the can set a System Restore point; see 190 W W W. P C W O R L D.C O M DECEMBER 2001 DECEMBER 2001 W W W. P C W O R L D.C O M 191
  11. HERE’S HOW WINDOWS TIPS the Windows XP Help system for details. ,,. To swap two keys, the last four codes to the Registry is to create a Reg- pairs follow the pattern ‘Key A, Key B, Key Mixed-Up Drive Letters? istry script file in Notepad and merge this B, Key A’—meaning, “Key A becomes Change Them to Your Liking file into the Registry. For example, to use Key B, and Key B becomes Key A.” IF YOU INSTALL a new disk drive or your left key as your To make more changes, enter, at the repartition an old one, you may be less key, log in to Windows as the administra- end of the number string on the same than thrilled with the letters your system tor, start Notepad, and on the first line of Scancode Map line, an additional four assigns to your drives. In Windows NT, a new file, type REGEDIT4 (in Windows NT pairs of numbers using the , pattern and sepa- fix the letters with the Disk Administra- (in Windows 2000 and XP). Press rating the pairs with commas. See FIGURE tor utility (NT) or the Disk Management twice, and type [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ 3 for a list of common keyboard “scan portion of the Computer Management SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard codes” that you can substitute in this line. utility (2000, XP). If you’re running Win- Layout]; press . Type “00000409”= Once you’ve set up the Notepad file to dows 95 or 98, you can change letters ”KBDUS.DLL” (including the two sets of remap the desired keys, save the file double quotes) on the next line, and then with a name such as “keyfix.reg”, press . Now type “Scancode Map”= including the quotation marks so hex:00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,02,00,00,00, Notepad won’t add its default .txt 5B,E0,38,00,38,00,5B,E0 and press . extension. Exit Notepad, find the When you’re done, the result should re- .reg file you just saved, right-click its semble the lines shown in FIGURE 2. icon, and choose Merge (or double- The last four pairs of hexadecimal num- click the icon). Click Yes to confirm bers contain the codes for two individual and OK to acknowledge the change. keys: the left key (5B,E0) and Then restart your computer. the left key (38,00). The general If you want to start over, or if you decide quickly and simply by using the Letter form is “Scancode Map”=hex:00,00,00, you don’t like the new key arrangement, Assigner freeware utility. You’re not like- 00,00,00,00,00,02,00,00,00,, you can return to your default keyboard ly to need it often, but when you do, you’ll map. To do so, choose Start•Run, type be glad it’s around. Download Letter regedit, and press . In the tree pane Assigner from find.pcworld.com/13902 KEYBOARD SCAN CODES on the left, navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_ or from www.v72735.f2s.com/LetAssig KEY Code MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControl- (the site of its creator, Vadim Burtyansky). Left 38,00 Set\Control\Keyboard Layout path. With Right 38,E0 the Keyboard Layout folder icon high- dow, choose View•Options, View•Folder Op- Left 1D,00 lighted in the left pane, select 00000409 tions, or Tools•Folder Options (depending Right 1D,E0 and Scancode Map in the right pane and on your version of Windows). Click the Left 2A,00 press . Click Yes to confirm the File Types tab. Select Registration Entries Right 46,00 deletion; then exit the Registry Editor and from the list of file types, and click Edit or 3A,00 restart your computer. Advanced, depending on your version of Left 5B,E0 Windows. In the Edit File Type dialog box, Right 5C,E0 SAFER REGISTRY HANDLING select Edit in the Actions list and click Set 3B,00 by default, you add a .reg Default. Click OK or Close and close the 3C,00 3D,00 ALL Versions file’s information to the Reg- istry when you double-click remaining dialog boxes. The next time you double-click a .reg 3E,00 the file. Windows 98 and later versions file, it will open in Notepad instead of 3F,00 prompt you before doing so, but Win- being added to the Registry. (If the file is 40,00 dows 95 and NT 4 add the information too big for Notepad, Windows will ask if 41,00 with no prompting. That can be danger- you want to use WordPad instead.) When 42,00 ous—especially for trigger-happy double- you’re ready to incorporate the file into 43,00 clickers. If you handle .reg files frequent- the Registry, simply right-click the .reg 44,00 ly, it’s safer and more convenient to make file and choose Merge. 57,00 double-clicking a .reg file open the file in 58,00 Notepad (or perform some other opera- Windows Tips pays $50 for published tips FIGURE 3: TO REMAP A KEYBOARD, add one of tion) rather than add it to your Registry. and questions. Scott Dunn is a contributing these scan codes to its Registry key. In any Windows Explorer or folder win- editor for PC World. 192 W W W. P C W O R L D.C O M DECEMBER 2001
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