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Ten Windows 98 Tips To Help You Get Started

You've just recently upgraded from your Windows 95 to Windows 98 but somehow, you're at a loss and trying to figure some things still in the newer version. We have compiled ten tips for you to help you get used to your computer's new interface and version.

Tip #1: Do you need to look up someone's phone number or other personal info in your Address Book but you don't want to open up your whole e-mail program? Assuming you use Outlook Express (or another program that uses the Windows Address Book), the Windows Address Book can function on its own. Just select Start, Programs, Internet Explorer, Address Book, and your list of contacts appears onscreen. Look up the information you need, close the window, and you're done.

Tip #2: Do you want your desktop icons a bit smaller, or larger? You can't change this setting in the Display Properties dialog box, but you can do this using a little Registry editing. Just make sure you make a back-up of your Registry files first--the System.dat and User.dat which are hidden files in your hard drive's root directory. After backing up, open the Registry Editor by selecting Start, Run, and then typing regedit. Click OK and navigate your way to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Control Panel \ Desktop \ WindowMetrics. In the right pane, right-click Shell Icon Size and select Modify. In the Edit String dialog box, change the number on the Value data line to match your desired icon size in pixels (the default is 32). Click OK. Close the Registry Editor, click the desktop once to place the focus there, then press F5 to refresh.


Tip #3: Remember back in Windows 95, you saw a Starting Windows 95 message during the boot process, at which point you could press F8 to display the Startup menu? Well, watch your Windows 98 system's boot as closely as you want--you won't see any such message. So how do you get to the Startup menu? After turning on your Windows 98 system, press and hold down the Ctrl key. Eventually, the Startup menu appears.

Tip #4: How do you go about setting up Windows 98 to use different profiles for individual users? To set up user profiles, select Start, Settings, Control Panel, then double-click Users. Now just follow along to complete the Enable Multi-user Settings wizard. You'll need to select a user name, a password, and the items you want to customize. Click Finish, wait for Windows 98 to set up the new profile, then click Yes to restart Windows (or No to restart later). To set up the next user, double-click Users, click the New User button, and so on. If you're setting up more than one profile, restart once, after you finish entering information for the last user. Once user profiles are enabled, it's easy to switch from one user to the next without shutting down the system. Select Start, Log Off [user name], click Yes to confirm, and up pops the Welcome to Windows dialog box. Type a new user name and password, then click OK.)

Tip #5: Often you might hit the X button by accident when you only intend to minimize the window. While you're stuck with having that X button on your window and there is no way you can delete it, there is an alternative way so you won't have to accidentally click on that button every time. The next time you need to minimize a window--either an application or an Explorer window--press Alt-Spacebar, then press N. Doing so sends the active window directly to the Taskbar. OR you can do it this way: To avoid closing a window by mistake, stay away from those caption buttons altogether. To maximize a window, you can double-click the title bar to maximize or restore it. It works just like the middle caption button and gives you a bit more to grab onto.

Tip #6: Want a quick peek at a file? Before you waste precious time opening a document in its native application, go for the Quick View. Right-click a file, select Quick View, and up pops a preview of that file.

Tip #7: Sometimes, you need to fully expand a folder to see all folders and subfolders inside. While inside a two-paned Explorer window, the easiest way to expand a folder is to use the keyboard way. Select any folder and press the asterisk key (*) on your numeric keypad. The result is a fully expanded view of all folders and subfolders inside.

Tip #8: To customize a folder's background and icon labels: Open the folder, select View, Customize This Folder, select Choose a Background Picture, select an image and adjust your Icon Caption Colors, click Next, then click Finish. You can also undo the change you've made. To remove all customization options from a folder, open the folder window, select View, Customize This Folder, and select Remove Customization. Click Next twice, click Finish, and that window is back to plain ol' black on white (or whatever colors are defined by your current color scheme).

Tip #9: How do you install or put your favorite application on your Windows 98 taskbar? You have two options. The first is for you to create a hot key for the application you want to have quick access to so you can open it at the press of a keyboard combo. Let's use WordPad as an example. Right-click the shortcut you use to open WordPad and select Properties. Click the Shortcut tab, then click inside the text box next to Shortcut key. Type the letter you'd like to use in combination with Ctrl-Alt to open the program, for example, W (Windows 98 fills in the Ctrl-Alt part). Click OK, and from now on, pressing Ctrl-Alt-W opens WordPad. The next option is for you to add a WordPad shortcut to your Quick Launch toolbar (the row of icons to the right of your Start button). Click and drag your current WordPad shortcut down to this toolbar between two existing icons (or on either edge of the bar). A black line will appear to let you know you've chosen an acceptable place to create a shortcut.

Tip #10: Are you viewing a folder's contents in Details view (select View, Details)? Most likely, some columns of information are cut off. (Each cut off entry is followed by ellipses.) To view the hidden information, you have a couple of options. One, you could resize each column by hand. But that's definitely the long way. For quick information viewing, hold down the Ctrl key as you press the plus sign (+) on your numeric keypad. Instantly, Windows sizes every column to fit the widest entry. (Note: In many cases, you'll probably need to enlarge the window to see every column of information.) Pressing Ctrl-+ also shrinks oversized columns to fit the widest entry, allowing you to view more information in an open window.


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