Twenty-five tips to help you master Windows 98
Twenty-five tips to help you master Windows 98
Keep Modem Speaker Quite: Tired of hearing all that racket as your modem connects to your ISP? Windows 98 includes a setting
designed to silence your modem. (It doesn't work for all modems; you'll have to try it on yours and see.
Open the Control Panel and double-click Modems. On the General tab, select your modem, click the Properties button, and
move the lever under Speaker Volume all the way left, to Off. Click OK and then Close. From now on, that modem will connect
* Installing Microsoft fax in Win 98: A common query of users is how to install an old Windows 95 fax capability on a
Windows 98 system. Microsoft Fax is on the Windows 98 installation CD. Pop the CD into your CD-ROM drive, click on Browse
This CD, and navigate your way to the Tools/OldWin95/Message/Us folder. To install Microsoft Fax, run awfax.exe. However,
remember According to Microsoft, this utility requires a Full MAPI Client in order to function, such as: Microsoft Exchange,
Windows Messaging, Microsoft Exchange Server Client or Outlook, its full version, not Express.
* Taskbar's auto-hide option: Troubled by the taskbar, no matter where you place whichever side of the screen you place
it, the bar comes in the way. To keep this bar out of sight, Select Start, Settings, Taskbar and Start Menu. Right-click a
blank area of the Taskbar and select Properties. On the Taskbar Options tab, select Auto-hide, then click OK. Click anywhere
on your desktop and watch as the Taskbar moves away from view. If and when you need the Taskbar, hold your mouse pointer over
the side of the screen where it's hiding (you'll be able to see its edge), and the Taskbar rises to the occasion.
* Show file attributes in detail view: Wish to see file attributes right next to each file, as one could in the days of
Windows 3.x? Here’s a way, just ensure that the window in which you're viewing the files is set to Detail view.
Open any Explorer window and select View, Folder Options. Click the View tab, and in the list under Advanced Settings, select
Show File Attributes In Detail View. Click OK. The next time you will open a folder in Detail view, you'll see a brand new
Attributes column on the far right, you may need to widen the window to see it. And, if you're viewing the folder as a Web
page (select View, As Web Page), you'll see the attributes for any selected file on the left side of the window.
* Turn off scheduled tasks: Don't want the Task Scheduler running in the background all the time and eat into your valuable
Select Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Scheduled Tasks to open the Task Scheduler. Now select Advanced, Stop
Using Task Scheduler. The program's icon will disappear from the tray of your Taskbar, and the scheduler will no longer start
when you start Windows 98.
(To turn Scheduled Tasks back on, follow the steps above, but select Advanced, Start Using Task Scheduler.)
* Remove yellow speaker from taskbar: See that little yellow speaker in the tray of your Taskbar? If you use it frequently
(click it once for volume control), great. If not, there's no point wasting valuable Taskbar space.
To hide this control, right-click the speaker icon and select Adjust Audio Properties. On the Audio tab of the Audio Properties
dialog box, deselect Show Volume Control On The Taskbar and then click OK.
Want your speaker back? Open the Control Panel, double-click Multimedia, select the option you just deselected (on the
Audio tab), then click OK.
* Combine settings from web style and classic style desktops: Open an Explorer window; select View, Folder Options; and
select Web Style (for single-click icons) or Classic Style. We also mentioned that there are other settings that go along
with the Web Style or Classic Style desktop. Want to mix and match settings from the two styles? Select the third option under
Windows Desktop Update--Custom, Based On The Settings You Choose--then click the Settings button.
In the resulting Custom Settings dialog box, choose your settings. For example, if you've selected the Web Style desktop,
but don't want all your icon titles underlined, select Underline Titles Only When I Point At Them. Select other settings,
if desired, click OK, then click Close.
* Adjusting icon spacing: Not happy with the spacing between your desktop icons--in other words, do you wish there were
more (or fewer) icons in a row? Then change your icon spacing.
Right-click the desktop and select Properties. In the Display Properties dialog box, click the Appearance tab, then click
the down arrow under Item and select Icon Spacing (Vertical). Click the up or down arrow next to Size to change the current
spacing, then click Apply to see your change on the desktop.
If the icons look too far apart, decrease the Size setting, then click Apply again. Or, if the icons are so close together
that they're overlapping, increase the Size setting.
Follow the same steps if you want to adjust the horizontal icon spacing (also in the Item list). Then, to save these changes
as part of a color scheme, click Save As, name the scheme (or type the name of the current scheme), and click OK. Otherwise,
simply click OK to close the Display Properties dialog box.
DoS command to send directory listing to *.txt file: In our last tip, we mentioned a shareware program that allows you
to print directory listings on your Windows 98 system. Directory Printer ($24) is available for download from Glenn Alcott
But if you don't want to bother with shareware, you can use DOS commands to create a text (TXT) file, then print it from
your application of choice.
Suppose you want to print a directory listing for drive C. First, create a text file, such as C:\My Documents\DirListing.txt,
from this listing. Select Start, Programs, MS-DOS Prompt, and type the following command line:
dir C:\ /S > C:\MYDOCU~1\DirListing.txt
(Note: The /S switch searches all folders and subfolders. Also, since the Windows name of the My Documents directory exceeds
the DOS eight-character limit, we used the directory's DOS name, "MYDOCU~1.")
Now print the listing. Close the MS-DOS Prompt window and use your word processor to open the TXT file you just created.
(Don't use Notepad--it can't handle large files.) Print the file as you would any other document. The nice part is, you have
access to all of that program's commands, such as page breaks.
In our next tip, we'll show you how to send a directory listing right to the printer without creating a TXT file.
* Turning off menu and window animation: Try this: Right-click the desktop or select a minimized Taskbar item (to restore
it). In Windows 98, menus and windows don't just appear, they ROLL onto the screen.
If you're like us, you find these special effects dizzying after a while. To turn them off, right-click the desktop, select
Properties, and click the Effects tab. Deselect Animate Windows, Menus And Lists, then click Apply or OK.
* Changing shortcut icons: Not happy with the icons Windows 98 has chosen for your favorite shortcuts (any icon with a
little arrow in the lower-left corner)? Then change them.
Right-click the shortcut you want to change and select Properties. Click the Shortcut tab, then click the Change Icon
button. In the Change Icon dialog box, select a new icon and click OK. (If you don't see one you like, click the Browse button,
select another icon file--for example, Windows\System\Shell32.dll or Windows\System\Pifmgr.dll--and click Open to display
its contents in the Change Icon dialog box.) Click OK one more time to apply the selection to the shortcut.
* Changing folder icons: In our last tip, we showed you how to change the icons Windows 98 uses to represent your shortcuts.
Many of you have asked how to change the look of folder icons, but unfortunately, it can't be done--not without shareware,
that is. One program you may want to try is AiryFolders, available for download from AirySoft at http://airysoft.hypermart.net/AiryFolders.html
Once you've installed the program, right-click a folder you want to change and select Properties. Select the New Icon
tab, choose Closed or Open, and click the Change Icon button. From here, the technique is identical to the one for changing
a shortcut icon: Select a new icon and click OK twice (or click Browse, select another icon file, click Open, and so on).
* Stop startup programs: Is there a program that starts whenever Windows starts--one that drives you crazy because you
don't need it, but can't figure out how to turn it off? The Windows 98 System Configuration Utility allows you to turn off
any auto-start program with the click of a check box.
Select Start, Run, type
and click OK. In the resulting System Configuration Utility dialog box, click the Startup tab to display a list of all
programs that start whenever Windows 98 starts. Deselect the pesky one (making certain you know which one it is), then click
OK. The next time you start Windows, that program is nowhere in sight.
* Changing desktop icons: Shortcut icons aren't the only icons you can change. You can also change the icons for specific
desktop items--namely, My Computer, My Documents, Network Neighborhood, and the Recycle Bin (full or empty)--from the Display
Properties dialog box.
Right-click the desktop and select Properties. Click the Effects tab, select the icon you'd like to change, and click
the Change Icon button. Select a new icon, click OK, then repeat these steps for each icon you want to change. When you're
done, click OK to apply the changes to your desktop.
Note: If you don't see an icon you like in the Change Icon dialog box--for example, you won't see any choices for My Documents--click
the Browse button, navigate your way to another icon file (such as Windows\System\Shell32.dll or Windows\System\Pifmgr.dll),
select an icon, click Open, then click OK.
* Adding shortcuts to quick launch toolbar : In our last tip, we showed you how to remove an icon from your Quick Launch
toolbar: Right-click the icon and select Delete. You can also do the opposite, adding any file, folder, or application shortcut
to this toolbar.
Locate the item you'd like to add--on the desktop, in the Start menu, wherever. Right-click and drag this item to the
desired location on the Quick Launch toolbar (to the left or right of an existing icon). When you see a black line indicating
where the icon will end up, let it go at its new location and select Create Shortcut(s) Here.
* Turning off your CD-ROM's autorun: If you're tired of CDs starting up automatically every time you insert them into
your PC's CD-ROM drive, there's an easy way to turn off this feature. Go to Start, Settings, Control Panel and open the System
icon. Click the Device Manager tab and click the View Devices By Type radio button. Click the plus sign next to the CD-ROM
drive, right-click your CD-ROM device, choose the Properties button, and then the Settings tab. Uncheck the Auto Insert Notification
box and click OK twice. Your CDs will now load as usual, but your drive won't launch them without your say-so.
* Capturing a screen shot of a single window: While you may know that you can take a screen shot at any time in Windows
98 by pressing the Print Screen key on your keyboard, you may not have known that you can also make a screen shot of a single
window. To make a screen shot of your active window, simply press Alt-Print Screen. This command (as well as the command for
capturing a full screen) copies a picture of the window (or screen) to your Clipboard, and you can then paste the picture
where you like.
* Changing the drive for virtual memory: If you have more than one hard drive on your computer, you probably want Windows
98 to use the faster drive for its virtual memory capabilities. Having a faster drive for virtual memory can speed performance
by decreasing the time needed to access temporarily stored information.
To change this setting, go to Start, Settings, Control Panel, System. Click the Performance tab and then the Virtual Memory
button. Check the Let Me Specify My Own Virtual Memory Settings and choose the new drive from the Hard Disk pull-down menu.
When you finish, click OK.
* Viewing the clipboard: If you ever get so wrapped up in your work that you forget what you last left on your Clipboard,
you can get a quick look at it without doing any pasting. Simply go to Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Clipboard
Viewer. Doing this saves you from lousing up your work by pasting an unwanted chunk of data into an existing file.
* Using phone dialer: As long as your PC is connected to a telephone line via an internal modem, you can use Windows 98
to dial all your telephone numbers for you, meaning you'll never need to remember another telephone number again. The program
you'll need to work this magic is a Microsoft accessory known as Phone Dialer, and you can find it by choosing Start, Programs,
Accessories, Communications, Phone Dialer.
Using Phone Dialer, you can save your eight most frequently called numbers by clicking one of the Speed Dial buttons and
entering a name and telephone number. Better yet, you can use Phone Dialer to keep a log of all outgoing telephone calls made
with the program. To log calls, go to Tools, Show Log to display the Call Log window. Choose Log, Options and check the Incoming
Calls check box. Phone Dialer will keep track of who you called and when.
* Running the modem troubleshooter: If you're having trouble connecting to the Internet with your modem, you might try
running Windows' Modem Troubleshooter utility as a first step. Though it addresses only a handful of the most common problems,
the Troubleshooter just might have the fix you need to get back online. It's worth a try, for the desperate, anyway. To access
the Modem Troubleshooter, go to Start, Settings, Control Panel, and select Modems. Click the Diagnostics tab and then the
Help button. Modem Troubleshooter will launch in an Internet Explorer browser window (though it's accessed from your hard
drive and not the Internet, naturally).
* Dragging files to the start menu: The Start menu is a great place to keep your most frequently accessed programs and
files, and it's the first place a seasoned Windows user goes when looking for something. Seeing how the Start menu is so frequently
accessed, it's fortunate that adding any sort of file to this menu is simple: Just drag the file and drop it on the Start
button to create a Start menu shortcut. Doing this adds the file to the top of the Start menu, way up there somewhere above
your Windows Update icon. But you can move the file wherever you wish. Just click the Start menu, move your mouse to the new
icon, grab it, and drag and drop it anywhere else on the Start menu.
* Opening downloaded files automatically: You can configure Windows 98 to open downloaded files automatically when the
download is complete, saving you the trouble of opening the file yourself. The trick is to set the file type (see the note
below) to open automatically in the Folder Options. Go to Start, Settings, Folder Options, and click the File Types tab. In
the list, find the file type you're looking for, click on it once, and click the Edit button. Check the Confirm Open After
Download box and click OK. The next time you download a file of this type, Windows will automatically open the file when the
Note: Be careful about choosing which files to set up for automatic running. Microsoft Word files, for example, can contain
macro viruses that could be spread when they are opened. It's best to save document and executable files that could have viruses
to disk, and then scan them with your anti-virus software before opening them. But this technique can be a good choice for
other file types, such as image or audio.
* Displaying specific file extensions: File extensions are those three-letter suffixes attached to all files that let
your computer know what kind of file it's dealing with. Most users like to keep their extensions hidden, if only for aesthetic
purposes, not wanting to clutter their desktop and folders with unnecessary text. But you should know that displaying file
extensions is not an either/or proposition; you can choose to display file extensions for only specific kinds of files. If,
for example, you always want to know whenever a given file is a text file (with the extension .txt), you can choose to display
the extension for that type only.
Go to Start, Settings, Folder Options, and click the File Types tab. Select the file type you wish to modify (in our example,
Text Document) and click the Edit tab. Check the Always Show Extension box, and then click OK twice.
* Changing your windows password: If you work in an environment where you share your computer with others, you probably
enter a password when Windows starts up to log into your User Profile. You can change this password at any time by going to
Start, Settings, Control Panel and clicking the Passwords icon. Select the Change Passwords tab and then the Change Windows
Password button. Type your existing password in the Old Password box and then enter a new password in the New Password and
Confirm New Password boxes. Click OK, then close the Password dialog box. You'll be able to use your new password the next
time you log into Windows.