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Sticking to Windows 95: Some Neat Tips and Tricks
By smbea (mabelle@msc.net.ph)

Last issue, you read about the ten tips to help you get started on your brand new Windows 98. But while a lot of people are doing the Windows 95-Windows 98 crossover, there's still a handful of us sticking it out with Windows 95. And there are some who still feel like a newbie when it comes to using their more-than-a-year old Windows 95 computer. Newbie or not, here's a must-read Win95 guide for you.

Tip #1. If you already know the path or where you're going, then you don't have to click through Windows Explorer to get there; instead, you can use Explorer's handy Go To command. From the Explorer menu, choose Tools + Go To. Next, type the location you want to go to; be sure to type the full path, such as "c:\Windows\Media\My Films" (without the quotation marks) Then click OK. Explorer takes you directly to that folder.

Tip #2. Want to compose an e-mail message to someone, without waiting for all of Microsoft Exchange or Outlook to load? On your desktop, you can create an icon that you can click to open a lone message form. To do this, right-click any blank area of the desktop then choose New + Shortcut. In the Create Shortcut text box, type "mailto:" (without the quotation marks) in the Command line. Click Next. Next, type a name for the shortcut, such as "Write a quick mail message." Finally, click on the Finish button. From now on, when you want to compose a message, just double-click the shortcut icon. A blank, ready-to-use e-mail form appears. When you finish the message and click Send, it goes to the Exchange/Outlook Outbox. (To deliver the mail, you HAVE to start Exchange or Outlook; from there, click Check for New Mail in the Tools menu and the mail will be sent automatically).

Tip #3. Suppose you regularly send e-mail to a certain person. You can also create a desktop icon that lets you open an e-mail form with that person's e-mail address already entered. Here's how: First, right-click any blank area of the desktop then Choose New + Shortcut. In the Create Shortcut text box, type "mailto:" (without the quotation marks) in the Command line, followed immediately by that person's e-mail address: mailto:smiley@isp.com. Click Next. Then type a name for the shortcut, such as "Quick e-mail to Smiley." Click Finish. When you double-click this icon, you get a ready-to-use, already addressed e-mail form. Repeat the process to create an icon for EVERY person you frequently e-mail.

Tip #4. Need to know the path of a particular file or shortcut? You COULD find the file in Explorer and then click your way back through the tree diagram, but the following method is faster: Click Start then choose Run. From the desktop or from any folder or Explorer window, drag the file or shortcut's icon to the Open text box in the Run dialog box. The file's complete path--and name, including extension -- appears in the Open box. Note that this trick works even with non-program files.

Tip #5. If you don't really much like the clock showing on your Windows 95 taskbar, then by all means delete it. Right-click the taskbar and choose Properties from the shortcut menu then click the Options tab. Deselect Show Clock. Click OK. Not only does removing the clock take some of the pressure off, but it frees up more space for buttons on your taskbar (not exactly acres of space, but every little bit helps).

Tip #6. You like to scroll through your Explorer or folder windows with your arrow keys, not your mouse. Only trouble is, if you selected a file, scrolling with the keyboard automatically deselects the file. Looks like you're stuck using the mouse, right? Wrong, numeric keypad breath. Next time you have a file selected and want to scroll with the keyboard, hold down the Ctrl key then press the up-arrow or down-arrow key to scroll. Windows keeps your file selected as you scroll.

Tip #7. Imagine that you'd just as soon have every folder open in an Explorer window automatically, right from the start. Believe it or not, this dream can become your reality. To do this, open ANY folder then choose View + Options. Next, click the File Types tab. Under Registered File Types, select Folder; then click Edit. Under Actions, highlight Explore; then click Set Default. The Explore entry should become bold. Click Close. From now on, ANY folder you open opens in an Explorer window. Should you tire of this, repeat the procedure, but instead of highlighting Explore under Actions, highlight Open.

Tip #8. Because old habits die hard--or maybe because you're a closet masochist--you often find yourself in DOS, waxing nostalgic as you navigate directories with a series of command line entries. Whatever turns you on. But we hope you find it a comfort to know that, during such a session, if you suddenly feel the urge to view a folder (er, directory) in graphical Windows style, you can. Here's how: At the command prompt, type "start ." (without the quotation marks; be sure to put a space between "start" and the period). Press Enter. Windows opens a folder window of the current directory.

Tip #9. You've still got a double-speed CD-ROM drive--which wouldn't be so bad if you didn't have to wait so darn long to install programs from the drive. Or endure choppy multimedia performance. Or have to listen to your friends say, "Why don't you loosen up and get a new CD-ROM drive, for the love of Mike?" You can make the thing go faster without spending a cent: First, right-click the My Computer icon and choose Properties from the shortcut menu. Click the Performance tab. Then click the File System button. Click the CD-ROM tab. Set Optimize Access Pattern For to Quad Speed or Higher. Click Apply and Close; click OK. Click Yes to restart your computer. Your CD will run faster.

Tip #10. Windows 95's neat folder system sure makes drillin' down to the folder you need easy: Just click one folder window, then click another within that, and then another within that until you find what you're looking for. Only problem is that when you're finished, you've got a lot of open windows on the screen. Guess you just have to go back and click them all shut, right? Wrong. Just hold down the Shift key as you click the X button in the top-right corner of the most recently opened folder window. Windows closes that folder window and all preceding folder windows, too.

Tip #11. Do you get disconnected a little too regularly while dialing into your Internet service provider or sending faxes? Here's a little trick that may stop this from happening so frequently: Click Start and choose Settings + Control Panel. Double-click the Modems icon. Click Properties. Click the Connection tab. Click Advanced. In the Extra Settings text box, type "S10=50" (without the quotation marks). Click OK; then click OK again. Click Close. This new setting forces your modem to remain online for as long as five seconds without being connected to a carrier, which often gives the modem enough time to reestablish the connection. See if it helps you.

Tip #12. You say you're one of the millions who didn't create a Windows Startup disk during the Windows 95 installation procedure? Not to worry--you didn't miss your chance. You can create the Startup disk whenever you please as follows (unless your system crashes irrevocably first, in which case you'll wish you had a Startup disk): Click the Start button. Choose Settings + Control Panel. Double-click the Add/Remove Programs icon. Click the Startup Disk tab. Put a floppy disk in your floppy drive. Click Create Disk and follow the instructions.

Tip #13. In the old days--the Windows 3.x days--when a program stopped working, your entire system stopped working, and you had to reboot. Windows 95 takes a less drastic approach to program crashes: In most cases, it lets you shut down the malfunctioning program but continue working in Windows without rebooting and without losing unsaved data in any other programs you may have open. When a program stops working, press Ctrl + Alt + Delete. In the Close Program dialog box, select the malfunctioning program--it should have the words "Not Responding" after it. Click End Task. After about 10 or 15 seconds, a second box appears, asking whether you still want to end the task. Click End Task again. Windows shuts down the malfunctioning program but leaves your other programs running.

 


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