If you're suffering from repetitive stress injuries, you first need to consult a doctor. After following his or her recommendations, you might also consider changing your pointing device from a mouse to a trackball or pen device. Different muscles of the hand, wrist, and arm are used with trackball and pen pointers than with a typical mouse--which might ease the strain on your muscles, joints, and tendons.
Software products usually list both minimum and recommended requirements for successful operation on your PC hardware. The minimum requirements only designate that the software won't crash on that type of configuration. Normally, however, the software will run much slower than intended by the developers at this level. The recommended requirements tell you the type of system the product was designed to run on, and, if at all possible, your PC should be at the same level. Keep this in mind before you purchase software. CHOOSE THE THREE-WIRE ELECTRICAL OUTLET When plugging your computer (or power strip) into an electrical outlet, always choose the three-wire outlet that accepts a three-pronged power cable, instead of a two-wire outlet, if possible. The three-wire outlets provide the recommended grounding for your computer equipment that the two-wire outlets do not. If your PC isn't grounded, it might suffer from electrical interference, which can negatively affect its proper operation. You can find adapter plugs that use a metal strip to connect the plug to the metal screw holding the outlet cover on the wall, but these metal strips sometimes come undone over time and are nowhere near as good as a proper three-wire outlet. PHONE LINE POWER SURGE PROTECTION Big sales in surge protection power strips and devices prove that many people know that a power spike coming through the electrical outlets can damage your computer system. Sometimes, however, people forget about the current that runs through your phone line. If you're connecting to the Internet through a modem, you likely have a phone line that directly connects to your PC. Unfortunately, a phone line power surge can cause the same type of damage as a surge through your electrical outlets. That's why it's a good idea to invest in a surge-protection device for your phone line as well. You'll find such devices in your local electronics store. GET UP AND VERY CALMLY STEP AWAY Square eyes are what you get from sitting too long in front of your computer's monitor. Symptoms include the inability to focus more than two feet from your face and a general fuzziness around all objects even remotely near your periphery. Although a common folk remedy is to get up and go watch TV, this more often than not compounds the symptoms. It is not recommended that persons suffering from square eyes operate heavy machinery or play racquetball. JUST FOR REFERENCE Another newsgroup search engine is, which you can find at There's an added bonus with this resource: You can set it to check Usenet postings automatically, using specific criteria you provide, then send you the search results by e-mail. This is a good way to monitor groups you don't access regularly, but where discussions of interest to you might occur. MEET THE CLIPBOARD You've probably done lots of copying, cutting, and pasting in your lifetime, but have you thought about where those items go in between the cut (or copy) and paste? Windows sends the item you cut or copy--text or graphics--to the Clipboard. For an up-close look, do the following: 1. Open up a file in one of your applications and select some text or a graphic. 2. Press Ctrl + C or, if you prefer, choose that application's Copy command. 3. In Program Manager's Main group, double-click on Clipboard Viewer. (Note: If you have Windows for Workgroups, double-click on ClipBook Viewer, and in the resulting window, select Window + Clipboard). Is the text or graphic you just copied staring you in the face? You betcha. Try one more test. With the Clipboard Viewer (or ClipBook Viewer) still open, select something else in your document (again, text or graphic), select the Copy command, and watch as the Clipboardboots out the old contents and welcomes the new ones. That's life in the fast lane. IT AIN'T OVER 'TIL THE CLIPBOARD SINGS In our last tip, we told you that when you cut or copy text or graphics it goes directly to the Windows Clipboard. We also showed you that when you cut or copy something else to the Clipboard, the new stuff replaced the old (Window's version of "out with the old, in with the new"). But all this doesn't mean that you can't reuse something on the Clipboard. If you don't want to lose the old contents, save them as a *.clp file BEFORE you cut or copy something else. When you save Clipboard content as a *.clp file, you can reuse that snippet again and again. (Note: If you have Windows for Workgroups, and hence, the ClipBook Viewer, you don't need this tip because you can save cut or copied items as pages in your ClipBook. We'll address this topic in a future tip.) To save Clipboard contents as *.clp file, do the following: 1. Open the Clipboard Viewer by double-clicking its icon in the Program Manager's Main group. 2. Choose File + Save As. 3. In the File Name text box of dialog box that appears, type a name for the Clipboard contents. 4. Click on OK and the *.clp file's been saved. When you want to use that item in the future, just open the Clipboard Viewer (Step 1 in the preceding) and then do the following: 1. Choose File + Open. 2. Select the *.clp file you want to open. 3. Click on Yes to confirm that you want to clear the Clipboard's contents. 4. Paste to your heart's content. Using this technique is like cutting or copying that item again--without having to do all the traipsing around to find it! NOW PLAYING AT A MONITOR NEAR YOU--DOS ON THE BIG SCREEN! Well, by now you probably know how to open a DOS session right from Windows 95: Just click the Start Button and then choose Programs + MS DOS Prompt. And if you've done it enough, you probably also know how to enlarge the DOS window to cover your entire screen: Just click the Full Screen button on the DOS window toolbar. Doing so switches you to the old-fashioned, whole-screen DOS display of your youth. The only problem is, the toolbar is gone--and with it, whatever button you need to restore the DOS window! Looks like to get back to a smaller DOS window, you have to exit DOS and then reload it, right? Wrong. Try this instead: Press Alt + Enter. Windows 95 restores the MS-DOS window to the size it was before you full-screened it. Not a bad little tip to know. DISK SPACE FOR THE NUMERICALLY CHALLENGED--OR THE NUMERICALLY CRAZED Open Windows Explorer (click the Start button and choose Programs + Windows Explorer), and you're instantly told (in parentheses, at the bottom of the Explorer window) how much free space remains on your hard disk. But what percentage of your total disk space remains? And what's with this "rounding" to the nearest megabyte--how many individual bytes remain? Don't worry: You can get the additional information you need to answer these deeper questions, without leaving Explorer: 1. Under All Folders, right-click your hard drive symbol. 2. Choose Properties from the shortcut menu. There, in the General tab, you'll find a to-the-byte accounting of your used and free disk space--along with a handy pie chart that gives you an at-a-glance idea of the space you have left. WHAT THE #@^@!! KIND OF FILE IS THAT--PART 1 OF 2 By default, Windows Explorer lists files by name, without file extension; the only clue you have about a file's program of origin is the little program icon next to it. This icon works fine if you're the kind of get-a-lifer who takes the time to memorize program icons or who uses Windows 95's long file names to include a reference to the parent application in every file--as in "Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet used to track daily nutmeg price fluctuations at Bob's Market, July through December 1995." For the rest of us, a little more information may be in order. You can set Explorer to display file types (and other information) with every file, as follows: In the Explorer window menu, choose View + Details. (Alternatively, on the Explorer toolbar, click the Details button). Explorer now displays the type of each file in the Type Column. (If you can't see the Type column, double-click the Explorer windows title bar to maximize the window.) WHAT THE #@^@!! KIND OF FILE IS THAT--PART 2 OF 2 Last time, we showed you how to display the Type column in your Windows Explorer window so that you can tell what application was used to create each file. But if you'd rather not include all the other detail that comes with that view (and if you know your file extensions from the old days of DOS and Windows 3.x), you can get the file-type information you need by displaying file extensions--those .xxx suffixes that used to appear at the end of file names--instead: 1. From the Explorer window menu, choose View + Options. 2. Turn off the option Hide MS-DOS File Extensions for File Types that are Registered. 3. Click OK. Now every file name appears with one of those familiar extensions. As long as you know that anything.doc is a Word file, anything.xls is an Excel file, and so on, you're all set. CLOSE THE WINDOW, PLEASE A reader, C. Resnick, asks: "How do I close a Windows 95 application on my laptop (in other words, without the mouse)?" First, make sure the focus is on the application or window you want to close. (Tip: use Alt-Tab to switch to that application.) Then, press Alt-F4 to close the window. Continue pressing this keyboard combination to close each open window or application; and when there are no open windows left, press it again (if you wish) to shut down Windows altogether. THE WORST JOB IN THE WORLD, NOW MADE EASIER Throughout the history of personal computing, one task actually got harder with each new generation of computer: COPYING A FLOPPY. Think about it: Back in the days when computers had two floppy drives and no hard disk, copying a floppy was a snap. Then came the one-hard-disk/one-floppy configuration, making copying from one floppy to another a DOS-based nightmare. Then came Windows 3.x, which turned the task from nightmare to virtual impossibility--unless you exited to DOS, whereupon it became a nightmare again. Well, thank heavens for Windows 95: The first operating system to make copying a floppy simple: 1. Place the floppy you want to copy in your floppy drive. 2. Click Start and choose Programs + Windows Explorer. 3. Under All Folders, right-click your floppy drive and choose Copy Disk. 4. Click Start. 5. When prompted, insert your "destination disk"--the disk you want to copy TO--and click OK. 6. Wait for the copy to finish. MAY WE NAG YOU FOR A MOMENT? If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: YOU SHOULD GET IN THE HABIT OF SAVING YOUR WORK. So why don't you save regularly? Maybe it's because you need more specific instructions. So here they are. Press Ctrl + S to save at the following times: - Before you answer the phone - Before you leave your desk - After you finish typing a paragraph or passage that finally reads the way you want it to - Before you print - Before you insert an object from another program--such as an Excel worksheet range--into the document - After you format lots of text - Before you create a table of contents - After you set up or format headers or footers - Before uninvited visitors to your office start bothering you with their problems - Whenever you realize you haven't pressed Ctrl + S recently. There. Is that specific enough for you? PC/TV TECHNOLOGY Have you heard of Intercast? It's a technology whereby television broadcasters send additional data to your PC (like Web page info) through the "extra space" in the TV broadcast signal, either through the air or over cable. Intercast has been up and working for over a year, but it hasn't yet built a large user base. Check into the latest news and how to get your PC hooked up by browsing its site: CUT OR COPY FOR KEEPS--PART 1 OF 1 Windows 95's Copy/Cut and Paste capabilities may be modern miracles, but they have one drawback: Whenever you cut or copy something, it's only available for pasting until you cut and copy something else--unless you know about the Clipbook Viewer, a place for storing more permanently what you copy or paste. Here's how Clipbook Viewer works: 1. In any Windows application, select something you want to cut or copy and choose Edit + Cut or Edit + Copy. 2. Click the Start button. 3. Choose Programs + Accessories + Clipbook Viewer. (If Clipbook Viewer isn't an option on your Accessories menu, you need to install it from your Windows CD; you can find it in the Accessories options in the Add/Remove Programs Properties dialog box on the CD's start-up screen.) 4. In the Clipbook Viewer window, open the Clipboard window (the material you just copied or cut should be here). 5. Choose File + Save As. In the File Name box, type a name for your cut/copied material and click OK. Now your cut or copied material is available for future use, no matter what you cut or copy from now on. Next time, we'll tell you how to paste something from the Clipbook Viewer into another file. CUT OR COPY FOR KEEPS--PART 2 OF 2 Last time, we showed you how to save cut or copied information as a Clipbook file so that you can paste the information even after you've cut or copied something else. Today we show you how to paste material from the Clipbook: 1. Click the Start button. 2. Choose Programs + Accessories + Clipbook Viewer. 3. From the Clipbook menu, choose File + Open. 4. Select the Clipbook file you want to open and click OK. 5. If you have something else on the Clipboard--the last thing you copied or cut--Windows 95 asks if you want to erase it; click Yes. (The Clipbook replaces whatever is currently on the Clipboard with your Clipbook file so that you can paste your Clipbook file into any application). 6. Return to wherever you want to paste the information and choose Edit + Paste (or press Ctrl + V). HEY--PICTURE THIS It may be hard to believe now, but someday, you're going to do something on your computer that's so utterly unique, so completely brilliant, that you'll want to capture the moment forever. (Don't get all swellheaded about this--we said "someday," not "today.") And how can you make sure your achievement lives on? By taking a picture, of course. - To take a picture of the entire Windows 95 screen at ANY time, press PrintScreen. - To take a picture of the active window only, press Alt + PrintScreen. Windows 95 copies a picture of the screen or the active window to your Clipboard. From there, you can paste the picture into your word processor, spreadsheet, or virtually any other Windows 95 application, using that application's Edit + Paste command. And proof of your genius is recorded for posterity. HOW FAST CAN YOU FAX? Not too long ago, an impressive answer to the above question might have been "I can get a fax off in three minutes"--because sending a fax would have required the person to print out the document to be faxed, fill a cover sheet, run to the central office fax machine, yank someone else's in-progress transmission out of the machine, and send his or her own in just three minutes. Now, of course, with Windows 95, if sending a fax takes you even 30 seconds, you should hang your head in shame--especially if you know this shortcut: 1. In ANY Windows 95 folder or Explorer window, find the file you want to fax and right-click on it. 2. From the shortcut menu, choose Send To + Fax Recipient. 3. The Compose New Fax dialog box appears. Follow the instructions provided to choose your options and send your fax. IF YOU BLINK, YOU OUGHT TO MISS IT In your different Windows 95 programs, you've probably noticed that the cursor--or insertion point marker--blinks as you type. The cursor blinks so that you can spot it quickly on-screen and, we suppose, so that you don't confuse it with the letter "I," a vertical line, or something other than what it is. The problem is, sometimes you wish that cursor blinked just a little faster so that you can recognize it a little more quickly; or maybe you want it to blink a little slower so that it doesn't mimic the exact rhythm of your heart pounding in your ears as you rush to complete that report that's due on your boss' desk in 15 minutes. You can do either, and here's how: 1. Click the Start button. 2. Choose Settings + Control Panel. 3. In the Control Panel window, double-click the Keyboard icon. 4. Click the Speed tab. Under Cursor Blink Rate, slide the bar to the right to make the cursor blink faster, or slide it to the left to make the cursor blink slower. 5. Click OK. IF YOU GOT SOUND, FLAUNT IT Well, well, well--aren't you something? You've gone and bought yourself the hottest multimedia computer your could afford, complete with speakers that are probably better than the ones attached to your home stereo. But if you're like most users, those speakers are, more often than not, sitting silent on your desk, flexing their sonic brawn only to play a little jingle when you start up Windows 95 or when you exit. The fact is, you can bring the magic of sound to almost every significant Windows computing experience by adding a Windows 95 sound scheme, as follows: 1. Click the Start button. 2. Choose Settings + Control Panel. 3. In the Control Panel window, double-click the Sounds icon. 4. Under Schemes, pick one of the sound schemes listed. 5. Note that in the Events list box, many of the Windows events listed now have little speaker icons next to them. To get an idea of what any event sounds like in the new scheme, select it and then press the Play button under Preview. 6. Click OK. Windows now plays a sound when you open and close windows, encounter error messages, and so on. And you get your money's worth out of those big-deal speakers you bought. IT ALL ADDS UP Here's a nifty little thought experiment you can do right at home: How often do you choose a command--from within any Windows 95 program--that opens a dialog box in which you immediately click the OK button, without doing anything else? For example, how often do you choose File + Print and then instantly click OK? Or choose Insert + Page Break and just click OK? You probably do it a lot. Now ask yourself this next question: How much wear and tear on your mouse could you save if, when you opened one of these dialog boxes, the pointer was already pointing right at the OK button? Well, let's say you have to move the pointer two inches to get to the OK button every time you print. Then let's say you print an average of six times per day. That's one foot per day, times 200 working days per year--you'd save 200 feet of mouse movement per year just while printing. (That's equivalent to NOT pushing your mouse from one end of the corridor to the other!) Well, guess what: You CAN experience this savings: 1. Click Start. 2. Choose Settings + Control Panel. 3. Double-click the Mouse icon. 4. If you have a standard mouse, click the General tab; if you have an Intellipoint mouse, click the Step Savers tab. 5. Select Snap To and then click OK. From now on, whenever you open a dialog box in ANY Windows 95 program, the mouse pointer automatically moves to point at the dialog box's default button--the button with the darker border (usually OK or Save or Print) when you first open the dialog box. You'll work faster--and have one happy mouse. MAKE A NEW CONNECTION "Hi! My name's Mel. I'm into networking. Here's my card. We don't sell products; we sell solutions ..." Making new connections can be intimidating, even irritating. But making a new connection to an Internet provider is pretty darn easy in Windows 95. Say that your Internet provider has opened a new dial-up location in your local dialing area, and you want to try it out. Here's all you have to do: 1. On your desktop, double-click the My Computer icon. 2. Double-click the Dial-Up Networking icon. 3. Double-click the Make a New Connection icon. 4. In the dialog box that appears, type a new name for your connection (or accept the imaginative name Windows gives you) and make sure that the right modem is listed in the Select a Modem box; then click Next. 5. In the Area Code and Phone Number fields, enter the area code and phone number of your new connection and then click Next. 6. Click Finish. Windows creates your new connection, which is now available for use with your Internet e-mail and Web browser. And you didn't even have to shake a hand. TAKE A VACATION FROM YOUR POINTER It's true: A little change of scenery can often work wonders. And that doesn't mean you have to take a vacation to some far-off land, either. During a particularly difficult day, you could step away from your desk and take a little walk through town. Or if you can't leave your desk, you could requisition some new pictures for your office wall. Or if you don't have an office, you could rearrange your desk. Or if you're really hard up and don't have enough things on your desk to rearrange, you could change the look of your mouse pointer, as follows: 1. Click Start. 2. Choose Settings + Control Panel. 3. Double-click the Mouse icon. 4. Click the Pointers tab. In the Scheme drop-down list, select a scheme. You can see the new pointer in the box below. 5. When you find a scheme you like, click OK. There now--doesn't that change your whole outlook? (If your answer is a resounding "yes," by all means get some help.) THINK OF IT AS A REALLY BIG "CONTRAST" BUTTON Having a hard time seeing your screen--a really hard time? Before you start messing with the buttons on your monitor (who wants to even venture into THAT technological Pandora's box?), you might try some of Windows 95's built-in High Contrast screen display settings. (WARNING: Before you try these, for the love of Mike get some sunglasses! It's like looking into an eclipse ... okay, maybe not.) 1. Right-click on any empty area of your Windows 95 desktop. 2. From the shortcut menu, choose Properties. 3. Click the Appearance tab. 4. In the Scheme drop-down box, find and select one of the High Contrast schemes. You could have as many as six--three black (meaning white on black) and three white (meaning black on white). 5. When you find the scheme you like, click OK. Makes everything--maybe even you--a whole lot brighter, doesn't it? WHERE DID YOU WANT TO GO TEN YEARS AGO? Yes, thanks to Windows 95, the most advanced graphical interface in the history of PC computing, the sum total of the latest personal computing technology consolidated on your desktop in an easy-to-use, point-and-click format, you can now--are you seated? you better sit down--you can now ...drum roll, please ... COPY AND PASTE IN DOS! Talk about anticlimax. Nevertheless, if you still use DOS, you can finally, after some 15 years of frustration, copy what you do in a DOS window and paste it either in another DOS window or in another Windows 95 window. Here's how: 1. In your DOS window toolbar, click the Mark button. (It's the one with the little dotted-line rectangle on it.) 2. Drag to enclose the area containing text you want to copy. (In DOS, you can't select text word by word or line by line; you must draw a box around all text that you want to copy.) 3. Click the Copy button. 4. To paste, position the cursor where you want the material to go (you can put it in a DOS window or in any Windows application); then click the Paste button. You can't select and "cut" text in a DOS window; but who knows, maybe this miracle will come around with Windows 98. WHY IS MY DESKTOP TRASHIER THAN YOURS? We've all been embarrassed before. Maybe it was halitosis. Maybe it was "ring around the collar." Maybe it was even so bad as finding those white deodorant smudges on your black clothing. But can anything -- ANYTHING -- match the embarrassment you feel when you discover that while many people's Windows 95 desktops have just one Recycle Bin, yours has two or more? Well, don't run off to hide just yet. Having multiple Recycle Bins is NOT a sign that you're too much of a slob to have just one. All it means is that you have more than one logical hard disk drive--that is, instead of having a single hard drive named "C," you have others named "D" and/or "E" and/or "F" and so on. (Obviously, the people who name hard drives for a living are true creative geniuses.) So don't be ashamed of your well-binned desktop. And remember to check all your bins when you're looking for a deleted file. YOU'RE HAVING A PARTY--AND ALL YOUR FONTS ARE INVITED! What do you know--really know--about all your fonts? Oh, you're chummy with some of them: You spend most of your day with Times New Roman and Arial, maybe had an occasional beer with Antique Olive, and while you've never really met the Bernhards, your kids go to school with them. Isn't it about time you got to know ALL the fonts on your computer? For one thing, it's a lot more neighborly than just ignoring them every time you pop open the font list. More important, the more you KNOW your fonts, the more likely you are to know when using one or another of them could make a big difference. One way to get to know your fonts is to print out sample (or "specimen") sheets for each one. Sound like a chore? Not at all. Follow these steps: 1. On your Desktop, double-click the My Computer icon. 2. In the My Computer window, double-click the Control Panel icon. 3. In the Control Panel window, double-click the Fonts icon. 4. From the Fonts window menu, choose Edit + Select All. 5. Choose File + Print. 6. In the Print dialog box, click OK. WARNING: Printing all your fonts may take a while, especially if you have lots of fonts (and you probably do, even if you don't think you do). But once you have them all on paper--and maybe bind them in a three-ring notebook for future reference--you'll never feel unacquainted with them again. YOUR KEY TO THE START MENU Buy a new computer recently? If so, you may have noticed a new key on the keyboard: a key, between your Ctrl and Alt keys, with the Windows 95 logo on it. If you haven't noticed this key until now, maybe you should take up yoga or some other awareness-promoting regimen. If you have noticed this key, you may have wondered what it does--but have been too scared to try it out. Shame on you either way. This new key could represent a big improvement in the way you work with Windows 95 because it automatically activates the Windows 95 Start menu! Try it yourself: 1. Press the Windows 95 key. The Start menu appears. 2. Use your arrow keys to move up and down the Start menu until you've highlighted the choice you want and then press Enter. Imagine: If you have--and use--this key, you can get to ANY program or recently saved document on your computer, WITHOUT MOVING YOUR HANDS FROM THE KEYBOARD! Told you it was a big deal. IT'S ALMOST AS BEAUTIFUL AS A REAL-LIFE WATERFALL As far as you're concerned, minimizing your Windows 95 windows is a big waste of time. Why minimize a window if you're only going to have to maximize it anyway? (Much to your mother's dismay, you've probably used similar reasoning to defend your habit of hardly ever bathing.) Of course, when you don't minimize, you get essentially the same thing you get when you don't bathe: a BIG MESS (although your desktop doesn't smell quite as bad). How can you neaten things up, without stooping to minimization? Well, you could CASCADE all your windows so that they can be open, but much more neatly arranged. And you can do it with just two clicks: 1. Right-click on any blank area of the Windows 95 taskbar. 2. Choose Cascade from the shortcut menu. Windows 95 arranges all your windows in a tidy cascade arrangement. The windows stay open, but they're much neater looking, and you can see the title bar of each window. There is, by the way, no way to look clean even if you don't bathe. Sorry to break this to you. (On the other hand, if you don't wash your hair for about a month, the oils eventually accumulate and slough off any dirt that happens to land.) PREVIEW FONTS BEFORE YOU INSTALL THEM Lucky you--someone just gave you a big CD full of fonts for your birthday (you have GOT to learn to drop better clues). Once you get over your initial "geez" reaction to the gift--after all, even a case of motor oil says "happy birthday" better than a disc of fonts--you decide "what the hey, I can always use a few extra fonts." Problem is you have more than a few extra here; you have hundreds, thanks to the miracle of compact disc technology. How can you take a peek at these fonts so that you can see what they look like and only install the ones that look good to you? Easy: 1. Place the CD (or any other disc) containing the fonts into the appropriate drive. 2. Click the Start button. 3. Choose Programs + Windows Explorer. 4. Using the Explorer, navigate to the drive containing your fonts. 5. Find a font you want to preview and double-click it. Windows displays a Preview window for the font, which shows you what the font looks like at various sizes (and provides other information about the font as well). Install your favorite and use it to write a thank-you note to whoever gave you this thoughtful gift. ADD A LITTLE STYLE TO YOUR TOOLBAR You're a sharp Excel user--you've figured out how to save oft-used cell and character formats as styles. The only problem is, when you want to apply one of these styles, it takes a whopping three steps: You have to choose Format + Style, select the Style Name, then click OK. Applying the style COULD take just one step--if you add the Style Selector to your Formatting toolbar. Here's how to do that: 1. Right-click ANY toolbar and, from the shortcut menu, choose Customize. 2. Click the Commands tab. 3. Under Categories, choose Format. 4. From the Command list, find the Style box and drag it to the Formatting toolbar (most people like it at the beginning of the toolbar, to the left of the Font box). 5. Click OK. From now on, whenever you want to apply a style to a selected cell or cells, just click the Style Selector on the Formatting toolbar and select the style you want to apply. See? Easier. NAME AVOIDANCE Although you can now use long file names, and almost anything goes, there are still a few names that look like valid file names but won't work. These names are reserved System words. When you attempt to use a reserved system name for one of your files, you'll be informed that you can't do it. Here's a list of the words that you might as well not try to use (unless you just want to see the error message). AUX, CLOCK$, COMn (where n =1, 2, 3, 4), CON, LPTn (where n =1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), NUL, PRN A LITTLE TYPING HELP FOR THE REST OF US Some folks can touch-type; they never even peek at the keyboard, but they always know they're hitting the right keys. Then there's the rest of us. We stare at the keyboard, occasionally peeking at the screen as we hunt and peck our way through hour-long sentences. And when we do look up, what do we see? AN ENTIRE PARAGRAPH FULL OF UPPERCASE LETTERS, LIKE THESE, BECAUSE AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER WE ACCIDENTALLY HIT THE CAPS LOCK KEY. What do people like us need? A warning--something that lets us know when we hit the Caps Lock or Num Lock key so that we can stop typing before we do some real damage. Windows 95 can give you that warning: 1. Click the Start button. 2. Choose Settings + Control Panel. 3. Double-click the Accessibility Options icon. 4. Click the Keyboard tab. 5. Under Toggle Keys, select Use Toggle Keys. 6. Click OK. From now on, whenever you hit Caps Lock, Num Lock, or Scroll Lock, you hear a little beep, which is Windows' way of saying "Hey, leadfingers, nothing you have to type is important enough to appear in solid uppercase." DAY AFTER DAY DAMAGE CONTROL FOR DUMMIES Okay, see if you can follow us. Two tips ago we told you how to add "new document" shortcuts to your desktop. One tip ago, fearful that you had cluttered your desktop with these shortcuts, we told you how to move them off the desktop and onto your start menu. And where does that leave you today? Maybe with a great big Start menu that takes up half your screen. "What," you justifiably ask, "do you have up your sleeve to fix THAT?" This: 1. Right-click any blank area of the Taskbar and click Properties. 2. In the Taskbar Options tab, select Show Small Icons in Start Menu. 3. Click OK. Now click the Start button. Your icons are smaller and so is your menu. We think that just about mops things up. EQUAL TIME FOR EGGHEADS Last time, we tipped you off to the Windows 95 Calculator, positioning it as a handy tool for the mathematically challenged. Well, we unfairly neglected to mention that while simple enough for your basic knuckle-dragging finger-counter, the Windows 95 Calculator is also powerful enough for the most devoted scientist or mathematician. In fact, behind the simple Calculator lies a full-function scientific calculator, not unlike the one all those pencil-necked geeks used to carry in high school. Take a look for yourself: 1. Click the Start button. 2. Choose Programs + Accessories + Calculator. 3. From the Calculator's menu, chose View + Scientific. Before your eyes, your plain-old calculator expands into a multibuttoned, cryptically keyed monster, capable of calculating sines and arctangents in a single bound! (Don't ask us what that means, or how to use this thing. If you're mathematically inclined, just be grateful we pointed it out.) IF YOU'RE REALLY HURTING FOR SPACE You've never liked crowded places--you want space, lots of space. Elbow room, breathing room, room to work, room to make mistakes. A person like you isn't much interested in title bars, scroll bars, menu bars; you want to grab every available pixel for your work. And here's how you can do it: 1. Right-click any blank area of the desktop and choose Properties from the shortcut menu. 2. In the Display Properties dialog box, click the Appearance tab. 3. In the Item list box, pick Title Bar. 4. In the adjacent Size box, which gives the Title Bar's height in pixels, click the down arrow and watch the example screen; when the size looks good to you or when you can't go any lower, stop. 5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for other items, such as Menu and Scrollbar. 6. Click OK. Sure, all the changes add up to a small difference. But space is space. MORE TO GRAB Sometimes, sizing and resizing your Windows application windows can be a drag--or, to make a weak pun, not as much a drag as you might like. Why? Because those window borders are so thin, they're hard to grab. Well, here's good news: You can make your window borders wider, in much the same way that you can make your scrollbars, menus, and title bars smaller (the topic of yesterday's tip): 1. Right-click on any blank area of the desktop and choose Properties from the shortcut menu. 2. In the Display Properties dialog box, click the Appearance tab. 3. In the Item list box, pick Active Window Border. 4. In the adjacent Size box, which gives the border's width in pixels, click the up arrow and watch the example screen; when the size looks good to you (we recommend trying 6 or 8 for starters), stop. 5. Click OK. PICK A SCREEN SAVER, ANY SCREEN SAVER Way, way back in the early days of graphical computing, some bright, enterprising person got the idea to sell "screen savers" to people. First, the person convinced the public that computer screens, left unattended for long periods of time, would "burn-in" grooves on your monitor in much the same way that the very first video games burned lines into peoples' TV sets. Next, the same person convinced the terrified masses that the solution to screen burn-in is a full-screen animation of flying toasters. Thus, the screen saver was born. Is screen burn-in a legitimate concern? Probably not; screen saver manufacturers are the only people we've ever heard mention the problem. Are screen savers a blast anyway? Absolutely. Here's how you can add one of your own in Windows 95: 1. Right-click any blank area of the Windows 95 desktop. 2. Choose Properties from the shortcut menu. 3. Click the Screen Saver tab. 4. In the Screen Saver drop-down list, select a screen saver. 5. Preview the screen saver in the screen picture OR click Preview to view it in full-screen mode (to return to the dialog box, just click the screen). 6. In the Wait box, enter how many minutes your keyboard should go untouched before Windows displays your screen saver. 7. When you're happy with your selection and settings, click OK. SECRET CLOSE It started out as a little casual surfing after lunch. But before you knew it, you were at the Dilbert site--just as your pointy-headed boss turned the corner of your cubical. Luckily, you were fast enough to minimize your browser window. But as your boss makes small talk about new tires, or something equally important, you can't help casting sidelong glances at that minimized button on your task bar, hoping the big cheese doesn't notice it. If only there were a way to close the window WITHOUT first opening it! Well, there is. To close any application on the taskbar and remove the application's button, 1. Right-click the button. 2. Choose Close from the pop-up menu. You'll look perfectly natural doing it. And once the button's gone, you can turn your full attention to the "whitewall vs. blackwall" debate. START FAST If we asked 100 Windows 95 users how they create a new document in any Windows 95 application, we bet 99 of them would answer "I open the application, choose File, then choose New." This answer is all well and good--except that the one other person in the hundred is doing it faster: 1. Right-click on blank area of the Windows 95 desktop and choose New. 2. In the menu that appears, select the kind of new document you want to create. 3. Windows adds an icon shortcut entitled "New [Application name here] document" to your desktop. FROM NOW ON, all you have to do is double-click this shortcut to create a new document of this type; your application opens with a new document all ready; you don't have to give the New command. You can repeat this procedure to add "new document" icons for other applications. START FAST AND CLEAN Last time, we told you how to add a shortcut to your desktop that lets you open a new document with a double-click. Thoughtlessly, we also mentioned that you could add similar shortcuts for any other Windows 95 applications on your computer. If you took us up on this suggestion, you've probably littered your desktop with "new document" shortcuts. "Please," we can hear your collective plea, "tell us there's a way to have these handy shortcuts WITHOUT making such a mess!" There is: 1. Right-click the Windows 95 Start button, and choose Open from the shortcut menu. The Start folder window appears. 2. On the desktop, select (by clicking ONCE) a "new document" shortcut icon. 3. Drag the selected shortcut icon to the Start folder window. 4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for any other shortcut you'd like to get off the desktop. 5. Close the Start folder window (click the "X" button in the top-right corner). Notice that all your new document icons have disappeared from the desktop. Where did they go? Click the Start button, and you can find them on the Start menu, where you can reach them and trigger a new document in one click. TELL PEOPLE TO BUG OFF--ER, OR ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE Last time we showed you how to select and set the time for your own screen saver. This time we show you how to create a screen saver with a customized message all your own--something special your screen can say to anyone lucky enough to pass by while your screen saver is running. 1. Right-click any blank area of the Windows 95 desktop. 2. Choose Properties from the shortcut menu. 3. Click the Screen Saver tab. 4. In the Screen Saver drop-down list, select either 3-D text or Scrolling Marquee. 5. Click Settings. 6. In the Text box, replace the existing text with the text you want to appear in your screen saver--put in something witty, like "Stop Staring" or "Don't you have anything better to do with your time?" (Avoid obscenity, please.) 7. Click OK; then click OK again. The next time your screen saver appears, it will display your message for all to see. GOT SPEAKERS, A MODEM, A MIKE, AND A PHONE LINE CONNECTED TO YOUR COMPUTER? If your answer is yes, then you, yes YOU, can make a phone call without even picking up the phone! Here's how: 1. Click the Start button, and choose Programs + Accessories + Phone Dialer. 2. In the Number to Dial box, type the number you want to dial--or, for a more phonelike experience, click the buttons on the keypad that appears below the Number to Dial box. (Remember to include 1 and the area code for long-distance calls, plus any outside-line prefix you might require.) 3. Click Dial. The phone rings, you hear the person on the other end through your speakers (he or she probably never sounded so good), and you respond through the mike. To hang up, click Hang Up. HERE'S A WAY TO KILL TIME Let's face it: Some days, you have nothing to do; other days, you have plenty to do but absolutely no desire to do it. Hey, we can empathize, but your boss is probably less understanding. So here's our latest installment in our continuing series, "How to look busy when you're as unproductive as those pandas in the Washington, D.C., zoo," in which we explain how to display a summary of the space on a floppy disk: 1. Insert a floppy disk in your floppy disk drive. 2. Click the Start button. 3. Choose Programs + Windows Explorer. 4. In the All Folders list, right-click your 3 1/2 Floppy (A:) icon. 5. Choose Properties from the shortcut menu. Windows displays a summary of the space on the floppy, illustrated--and this is important--with an informative and very officious-looking pie chart. 6. Click OK. 7. Repeat for as many floppy disks as you have handy. 8. If someone walks by and asks you what you are doing, say, "I'm performing my quarterly removable portable storage capacity analysis." Enjoy your day. LEAVE YOUR PC IN SUSPENSE Windows 95 does many things faster than its predecessors, but starting up is not one of them. You can fix yourself a hot breakfast in the vast stretches of time between the moment you press your computer's On button and the moment you can actually start using Windows 95--which leaves you, the ecologically minded person that you are, in something of a conundrum whenever you plan to leave your desk for more than a few moments. On the one hand, you don't want to waste electricity by leaving the computer on while you're gone. On the other hand, you don't want to sit through that interminable start-up process a second time, if you can help it. Well, if you have a newer laptop computer or a really new desktop computer with Advanced Power Management, you don't have to choose between these equally disappointing options. That's because Windows 95 lets you "suspend" the computer in a low-power-consumption mode when you're not using it. To set this feature, do the following: 1. Click the Start button. 2. Choose Suspend. (NOTE: If you don't have Advanced Power Management, this command does not appear on your Start button menu, and you can't use this tip. Not to worry: As Rudolph's reindeer friend Clarise sang, "There's always tomorrow.") Windows blanks your screen, and temporarily shuts down many of the moving parts in your computer--WITHOUT SHUTTING OFF THE COMPUTER ENTIRELY. Here's the best part: Whenever you're ready to start working again, you simply press the Esc key. You return to the exact same screen you were working in when you suspended Windows. NOW THAT YOU'RE A PHONE DIALER EXPERT. . . Last time, we showed those of you lucky enough to own a multimedia PC how to place a call with the Windows Phone Dialer. Today we're assuming that you're so enthralled with the Dialer that you want to use it for all your calls--and want to put your most commonly dialed numbers on speed dial, just like on your regular phone. Luckily, setting speed dial numbers in the Phone Dialer is about a million times easier than doing it on a regular phone: 1. Click the Start button and choose Programs + Accessories + Phone Dialer. 2. Click any Speed Dial button. 3. Type the Name of the person you want to speed-dial; then press Tab and type the person's phone number. 4. Click Save and then OK. From now on, you can dial that person simply by clicking his or her Speed Dial number. What a blast. ONE MORE THING ... Suppose that you followed the instructions in the last tip to create a Speed Dial number for your Windows Phone Dialer and then realized, after you tried to use the Speed Dial number, that YOU ENTERED THE NUMBER INCORRECTLY! How can you fix your mistake? 1. From the Phone Dialer menu, choose Edit + Speed Dial (to get to the Phone Dialer, click the Start button and choose Programs + Accessories + Phone Dialer). 2. Click the speed dial button you need to edit. 3. Change the Name and Number to Dial as necessary. 4. Click Save. Now you can speed-dial the RIGHT number--because speed dial isn't really speed dial if it dials the wrong number and you end up apologizing to a stranger, is it? HOW QUICK IS IT? Now that Apple has launched the new QuickTime 3.0, the Crustacean learns that QuickTime 4.0 is not just well under way, it's very far along. For those not yet in the know, QuickTime 3 is Apple's multimedia system software that allows consumers and media professionals to capture, edit, and play back a wide variety of digital video and audio content. Macintosh and Windows users can download a free version of QuickTime 3 from Also, "The advanced capabilities of QuickTime 3 Pro are available to users for just $29.99," according to Apple. "If you want to easily view or edit high-quality video on your computer, QuickTime 3 Pro is a must-have," said Avie Tevanian, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering. "For consumers, digital video artists, software developers and Webmasters, QuickTime 3 is the ultimate software for creating and publishing digital content--from home videos to blockbuster interactive software titles. Also, with new compression technologies and file play-back capabilities, QuickTime is required software for any serious Internet user." The latest version of QuickTime significantly advances its video and audio capabilities. QuickTime 3 includes new compression technology from Sorenson Vision, QDesign Corporation, and QUALCOMM, plus virtual reality integration and support for more than 150 video effects and transitions approved by the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE). Roland Corporation's Sound Canvas package is also included, providing more than 200 MIDI-compatible sounds and instruments. The $30 Pro version includes everything in the freebie, plus new authoring features for Windows and Macintosh users. As told to Your Multimedia Crustacean, these features include full-screen video playback; digital video and audio editing capabilities with cut and paste; the ability to save digital still images in a wide variety of formats including JPEG, BMP, Photoshop, and PICT; the ability to save audio and video files from the Internet on your PC; and preparation and compression of content for streaming delivery from any Web server. QuickTime 4, which may be available before the end of 1998, is said to include everything in QuickTime 3 Pro, plus a slew of new interactive features. It will work with the usual suspects like video, audio, speech, and text, as well as a newly integrated data type that will support multimedia interactions via its own messaging system, among other features. In short, QuickTime 4 will be a media development system that incorporates different scripting and programming environments, while retaining the current QuickTime delivery system. Originally scheduled for release this summer, QuickTime 4 is being pushed back, due to the delay in releasing QuickTime 3 (which had been expected since August of last year). FIVE FONTS THAT EVERYONE HAS Those files you create with your Windows 95 applications--do you often send them around to other people? If so, you can save the recipients a lot of trouble--and save yourself a lot of headaches--by formatting the text in these documents with the default Windows 95 fonts ONLY. When you do this, you ensure that your documents look exactly the same on any other Windows 95 computer as they do on your Windows 95 computer: And what are the default Windows 95 fonts? Windows makes them easy to remember by including only these six: Arial, Courier New, Symbol, Times New Roman, Wingdings. Though technically there is a sixth called the System font, it is, well, a bit ugly for use in documents. Oh, let's be honest: It's butt-ugly. Stay away from it. FONTS: WHO NEEDS 'EM? Unless you haven't installed a single application on your computer since the day you bought it, you probably have about a gazillion (technical jargon for "one hundred or more") fonts. And among those gazillion fonts, there may be scads ("several") that you don't use now and won't use in the future. What's so bad about having fonts you're never going to use, you ask? Well, for one thing, they clog up your programs' font menus, making it harder to find the fonts you DO want to use. For another, they're wasting precious hard disk space (and we know how THAT sticks in your craw). To get rid of the fonts you don't need, do the following: 1. Click the Start button. 2. Choose Settings + Control Panel. 3. In the Control Panel window, double-click the Fonts folder. 4. Find the font you think you want to remove and--THIS IS IMPORTANT--double-click it and CHECK THE FONT PREVIEW WINDOW TO MAKE SURE THIS IS THE FONT YOU WANT TO REMOVE. WARNING: DO NOT REMOVE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING FONTS: Times New Roman, Arial, Courier New, System, Symbol, Wingdings, Any font whose name begins with "MS", Any font whose name begins with the name of another software manufacturer (for example, "LotusWP Box") 5. When you're sure the font is one you want to delete, close the preview window, and from the Fonts window menu choose File + Delete. 6. Click Yes to confirm that you want to delete the font. That menu-clogging, space-wasting parasite of a font is gone, gone, gone. MORE ON PAINTING Last time, we dazzled you with our "tear-away color palette" Paint tip. How, you must have wondered after reading it, can they top THAT? Well, after 24 hours of solid research since that last tip, here's what we came up with for today: To get a quick view of whatever you're drawing in Paint, without the distractions of the Paint menu, scrollbars, or the Paint window itself, do this: Choose View + View Bitmap (OR press Ctrl + F). Paint removes everything but your picture from the screen so that you can see it as the creator (in this case, you--and when was the last time someone called you "the creator" ?) intended, without all the program trimmings. Of course, when in this view, you can't edit the picture in any way. So to get back to Paint and back to work, just click the picture. TEN-HUT TIME Attention, maggots: General George S. Patton here. It has come to my attention that some of you are displaying your time in 12-hour, AM/PM civilian format, instead of in the 24-hour-clock format explicitly specified by military regulation. Now, before you raise your mama's-boy voices in protest, I'd just like to remind you that it's the 24-hour clock that conquered the Kaiser, neutered the Nazis, and otherwise made the world safe for democracy as we know it today. That said, I am sure that the patriotic among you will want to immediately switch Windows to the 24-hour clock, using the following procedure approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff: 1. Click the Start button. 2. Choose Settings + Control Panel. 3. In the Control Panel window, double-click the Regional Settings icon. 4. Click the Time tab. 5. In the Time Style drop-down list, choose a style with uppercase Hs (for example, HH:mm:ss). 6. Click OK. For those of you who make the change, I thank you, the Army thanks you, and your country thanks you. The rest of you are worthless and weak. WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR COLOR PALETTE If you've ever used Windows Paint (Start + Programs + Accessories + Paint), you've probably wondered to yourself, "Why is that color palette on the bottom of the Paint window? If I could float it over my picture, I could be a lot more efficient and avoid further wear and tear on my already overtaxed wrist muscles." For the nonce, we'll brush aside your disturbing tendency to wonder to yourself in such complex sentences as these and skip right to the good news, which is that you CAN tear your color palette from the bottom border of the Paint window and float it over your drawing. Here's how: 1. Click above the color palette; a box appears around the palette. 2. Drag the box over the drawing space. 3. Release the mouse button when the box is where you want it. To return the palette to its original location, simply drag it back. You can tear away the drawing tool palette in the same way. Easter Eggs by Gil Bates Plastic eggs full of jelly beans are kids' stuff. Unlike their candy counterparts, software Easter eggs are devilishly tricky to find--but when you do find them, the entertainment is usually an animated treat that won't blow your diet or decay your teeth. Windows 95: Admit it, you want to know who's responsible for the operating system you've been using all these years. Now you can. Furthermore, you can listen to a dinky little MIDI tune as you do. Here's how: Right-click your desktop and select New, Folder; Name it "And now, the moment you've all been waiting for" (yes, I'm afraid so--and be sure to get all the punctuation right); Right-click the folder and select Rename. Call it "we proudly present for your viewing pleasure"; Rename the folder once more, this time to "The Microsoft Windows 95 Product Team!" (be sure to get the punctuation and capitalization right). Now open the folder and watch the show. Or get a life. Netscape Navigator: Here's further proof that the Internet is a religion. Launch Navigator and follow these steps: Enter about:mozilla in the address bar; Read the quasi-Old Testament verses from the Book of Mozilla; Nod sagely at the BLINK tag reference, even if you don't get it. Internet Explorer 4.0: Is sitting through animated cast lists worth the payoff? Only the patient can tell.One thing's for sure, the IE cast list boasts a lot of names, and the first intermission isn't all that funny (unless your idea of a big yuk is finding out that FTP Folders didn't make it to the program's feature list). Still, if you follow these instructions, you might get a few laughs if you wait long enough ... and wait ... and wait. ... Select Help, About.; When the animations in the About Internet Explorer dialog stop, hold down the Ctrl and Shift keys, then drag the Internet Explorer "e" logo onto the globe; Still holding down the Ctrl and Shift keys, drag the logo from the globe to the right to push the Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 text away; Click on the Unlock button that appears when the IE 4.0 text moves offscreen; The globe will begin to vibrate; Hold down Ctrl and Shift and drag the IE logo onto the globe; You'll zoom in on the globe and a new window will pop up, listing the program's development team--along with exhortations like "Don't stop watching yet" and "Stay tuned for the funny stuff." Excel 5: Number-crunching is for the birds. The real reason for running Excel 95 is to navigate the Doom-style labyrinth called the Hall of Tortured Souls. Here's how: Open Excel 95 with a blank workbook; Scroll down to row 95 and click on the row number to select the whole row; Press Tab to move to column B; Select Help/About; Hold down Ctrl-Alt-Shift and click the Tech Support button; A window labeled "Hall of Tortured Souls" appears--you navigate through the hall with the cursor keys; If you get tired of exploring, you're ready to graduate: Go down the stairs and face the wall, then type the letters excelkfa The wall will vanish, revealing a winding causeway. We don't know what's at the end. Too hard to navigate. Excel 97: Dream of taking flight whenever you're faced by a wall of numbers? Try this Excel 97 "flight sim." Open a new workbook; Press F5 (Goto); Enter X97:L97 and click OK; Press Tab to go to the next cell, then hold down Ctrl-Shift and click the Chart Wizard button; The flight sim begins: Move the mouse to and fro to control up and down motion and left and right to steer. The left and right mouse buttons provide forward and backward thrust. Somewhere in here are some credits--but who cares? When you're done, press Ctrl-Shift-Esc. Word 6: Word processing is dull--especially if you're stuck with a version of Word that doesn't use those distracting animated Office Assistants. Pump up your text-typing experience with a quick egg: Open a blank document, and enter T3! (include the exclamation mark). Select what you've typed. On the toolbar, click the Bold button. In the Format menu, select AutoFormat, and press OK. When you're prompted, click Accept. Finally, select About from the Help menu. Click on the Microsoft Word icon in upper-left corner. Word 97: Tired of typing memos? Give yourself a break with a little pinball. Hey, it beats a cartoon paperclip... Open a blank document and type in the word Blue. Double-click the word to select it, then under the Format menu select Font. In the Font menu, select Bold. Change the word's color to Blue. Press OK to quit the Font dialog, then put a space after the word Blue. Select Help, About, and click on the Word logo in the upper-left corner. In the Pinball game that follows, use the Z and M keys to control the flippers, and when the boss appears, press Esc to get back to Word. CorelDraw Version 5 or higher: Intensive design sessions? Feh! Why not go hot-air ballooning instead? Select Help, About CorelDraw Double-click the Corel logo balloon in the upper-left corner of the About dialog. Make the balloon rise by pressing the left mouse button. Click the right mouse button to see parachuting Elvis impersonators. Wonder what it's all about. CHUCK THE MOUSE ALT-OGETHER In the last two tips, we passed on two new ways to switch tasks using only your keyboard, which leaves just one more Windows 95 item to work with the keyboard: the Windows 95 desktop itself. Is there, you ask, a way to "click" a desktop icon without using the mouse? Would we be sending a tip on this topic if there weren't? 1. Press Ctrl + Esc--or, if you have one, press your Windows key--to display the Start button menu. 2. Press Esc. This collapses the Start button menu but leaves the Start button selected. 3. Press Tab TWICE. This deactivates the Taskbar altogether and selects one of your Desktop icons. 4. Use the Arrow keys to select the Desktop icon of your choice; then press Enter to "click" the icon. CUZ I'M THE TASKMAN Last time, we explained how to use the Windows Taskbar with your keyboard--and noted that it required several keystrokes more than a shortcut. If you're willing to do a little extra work, you can use another Windows Accessory--the Task Manager--to switch among tasks with a lot fewer keystrokes. Here's how: 1. Click the Start button. 2. Choose Find + Files or Folders. 3. Type Taskman, and click Find Now. 4. In the results window, right-click the Taskman file and choose Create Shortcut from the shortcut menu. When the Shortcut dialog box pops up, asking if you want to create the shortcut on the Desktop, click Yes. 5. Close the Find window. 6. On your Desktop, right-click the Shortcut to Taskman icon. 7. Choose Properties from the pop-up menu. 8. In the Properties dialog box, click the Shortcut tab. 9. Click in the Shortcut Key text box and enter a shortcut key, such as Ctrl + Alt + ` (the old Windows 3.x Task manager shortcut key) or Ctrl + Alt + T ("T" being our brilliant mnemonic device for "Taskman"). 10. Click OK. The next time you want to switch windows or applications, press the shortcut key you just specified. The Task Manager appears, which is essentially the Taskbar, in window form. Use the arrow keys to select the task you want and press Enter to open it. OKAY, SO IT MAY NOT WORK In a previous tip, we told you how to set your mouse to "snap to" the default button in a dialog box when you first open a dialog box. Great tip, except for one small problem that several of you out there in reader-land shared with us: NOT EVERYBODY HAS THE SNAP-TO OPTIONS. About all we can do is tell you that, to the best of our knowledge, whether you're a "have" or "have not": You should HAVE the Snap To mouse option if: - You've purchased a new computer with Windows 95 AND a Microsoft Intellipoint mouse. - You upgraded an old Windows 3.1x computer with a old-fashioned (standard) Microsoft Mouse to Windows 95. - You purchased a new computer with Windows 95 and another manufacturer's mouse that supports the Snap To feature, or installed such a mouse on the computer yourself. You probably DON'T have the "Snap To" option if: - You purchased a new computer with Windows 95 and an old-fashioned Microsoft mouse or a mouse made by another manufacturer that does not support Snap To. Of course, all this could vary depending on how Windows 95 and/or your mouse was installed on your computer. About the only way to know is to look. TICKLE THE TASKBAR IVORIES Yes, the Windows 95 taskbar was designed to let you use your mouse to switch among applications quickly and easily. But if you're typing away enthusiastically--if you're feelin' the rhythm in your fingers, baby--the mouse is the last thing you want to pick up. So why not groove into the Taskbar via the keyboard, like so: 1. Press Ctrl + Esc--or, if you have one, press your Windows key--to display the Start button menu. 2. Press Esc. Doing so collapses the Start button menu but leaves the Start button selected. 3. Press Tab to deselect the Start button and activate the Taskbar. 4. Press the right-arrow key until the button corresponding to the application you want to get to is depressed. 5. Press Enter to restore that application window. Sure, it's a lot of keystrokes. But if you're hot, you can dash 'em off in no time. WHY WON'T THESE ICONS MOVE? Let's say one day you take a look at your well-ordered desktop and decide, "YEEE-U-U-CK--lets move some of these suckers around." Then you try to drag an icon to a new location--BUT IT KEEPS SNAPPING BACK TO ITS ORIGINAL LOCATION! Is this some kind of cruel hoax, a "feature" put into Windows 95 by Microsoft so that they could sit around all day in Redmond and chuckle at the very thought of your fruitless attempts to rearrange your desktop? Well, they may be into antitrust, but they're not into customer cruelty. The icons are snapping back into place because you've got your desktop set to AutoArrange--which keeps icons in place. So all you have to do to assume control over your icons is turn OFF AutoArrange: 1. Right-click on any blank area of the desktop. 2. Choose Arrange Icons + AutoArrange (to deselect the option). Now you can drag your icons anywhere you want--except off the screen. ICON SEE CLEARLY NOW Because you're a neat freak, you've organized your desktop icons using Windows 95's AutoArrange feature. The problem is, now your icons are too close together. They look cramped and messy, even though they're arranged in neat rows and columns. Aesthete that you are, you decide that cramped icons will never do. So how can you give them a little more breathing room? By changing the icon spacing, of course. Here's how: 1. Right-click any blank area of the desktop. 2. Choose Properties from the shortcut menu. 3. In the Display Properties dialog box, click the Appearance Tab. 4. In the Item drop-down list, select Icon Spacing (Horizontal), then increase the number in the Size box. 5. In the Item drop-down list, select Icon Spacing (Vertical), then increase the number in the Size box. 6. Click Apply to see the effects of your changes. 7. If you don't like the way things look, repeat the procedure until you're happy with the results. 8. When things look okay, click OK. IT TAKES ALL TYPES You can tell a lot about people by what they do to perk up their lives. Some folks take adventure vacations to exotic locales. Others buy exotic sports cars and zip up and down highways annoying everyone but teenage boys. And you? Something tells us you're the kind who gets a big lift out of formatting the text that accompanies your desktop icons with an exotic new font. (Okay, it may not pull you out of a midlife crisis or anything, but it IS cheaper than a trip or a car.) Here's all you have to do to change the text on your icons: 1. Right-click any blank area of your desktop. 2. Choose Properties from the shortcut menu. 3. In the Display Properties dialog box, click the Appearance tab. 4. In the Item drop-down list, select Icon. 5. In the Font drop-down list, choose any font; in the Size box, enter any size (although you probably want to choose 8 or larger if you want to actually be able to read the text on your icons). 6. Click OK to apply your settings. Note that Windows applies this font change to file names in your Explorer, folder, and Inbox windows, too. Now if that isn't more life-improving bang for the buck, we don't know what is. HELP! I LOST MY TITLE BAR! You don't know how you did it, but somehow you managed to position one of your program windows so that the title bar--or perhaps even more of the window--has scrolled past the top edge of your screen display. As a result, you can't move the window, or click its handy Maximize/Minimize/Restore buttons--or even, if it's far enough off the screen, get to the program menus. Time to panic? If you like. But the more stable among you can do the following: 1. Press Alt + spacebar + M. 2. Press the down arrow repeatedly until your title bar appears. Another disaster averted. Note that you can use this technique to move a window in ANY direction; just press Alt + spacebar + M and then press the appropriate arrow key. MORE FUN WITH ALT + SPACEBAR Last time we showed you how to rescue a runaway window by using Alt + spacebar + M. Today we show you a few other things you can do with the Alt + spacebar combination. - To maximize an active window, press Alt + spacebar + X. - To minimize the active window, press Alt + spacebar + N. - To restore the active window, press Alt + spacebar + R. It's hard to believe one little keystroke combination can do so much. THE OL' SWITCHEROO Windows 95's Taskbar makes switching from one application to another just about as easy as it could be: You just find the button for the application you want on the taskbar and click it. But for some folks, even this technique isn't handy enough because they don't like using the mouse. So we offer this handy way to find the application you want WITHOUT touching the dreaded rodent: Press Alt + Esc repeatedly until the program you want appears. This key combination cycles you through all your open application windows. If you press enough times that you begin cycling through programs you've already cycled through without finding the application you're looking for, that application just isn't open. "MY COMPUTER" SURE SOUNDS PERSONAL It may ... until you realize that everyone else has the same thing on his or her computer, too. Wouldn't you feel a lot more special if your "My Computer" had a more personal name? It's so easy to do and rewarding: 1. On your desktop, click the My Computer icon. 2. Press F2. 3. Type a new name (such as "Eddie's Computer") in the name box. (Or, if you're feeling less kindly toward your PC, you could type something like, "The One-Eyed Electronic Beast that Sucks My Soul Dry." You're finished. And you never have to feel like one of the nameless, faceless masses again. FOLDERS GETTING OUT OF CONTROL? It all starts innocently enough. You open a folder window. Then you click a folder icon. Then you click ANOTHER folder icon. Go on like this much longer, and you literally litter (a little alliteration there) your desktop with folder icons. Such a mess--and so unnecessary. There is a way to open a new folder WITHOUT opening a new window: 1. Hold down the Ctrl key. 2. Double-click the folder you want to open. When you do this, Windows displays the contents of the new folder in the same folder window frame. It doesn't matter how many folders within folders you open; just one window appears on-screen. So let's keep things neat, shall we? I GOT RHY-Y-Y-THM Let's face it: Not all people are blessed with digital dexterity. So while the most of the world thinks that double-clicking an icon is a shortcut, for some it's an uncharted cruise through the seventh ring of Hell. You wait too long between clicks and nothing happens. You click, move slightly, and click again--and something you don't want to happen happens. Shortcut? By the time you get this double-clicking stuff to work, you could have written the programming code that makes it happen. Luckily, there's a way to open a file or program without double-clicking: 1. Right-click the icon. 2. Choose Open from the shortcut menu. Given your skills, we're not saying it's foolproof--it's just more likely to work. THE MIRACLE OF DETAIL VIEW--PART 1 OF 4 You open an Explorer or folder window, and what do you see? A bunch of icons and not a whole lot else. Oh, sure, the icons tell you something: the file name and, if you remember what the icon for each application looks like, the kind of file it is. But think of all you don't know, like how large the file is and when you last changed it. Don't deny yourself this information: Display your files in Detail View, as follows: 1. Right-click in any blank area of the Explorer or folder window. 2. Choose View + Details from the shortcut menu. Windows lists your files by name, type (spelled out, so you can understand it without an art degree), file size, and the date last modified. Think this is cool? It's just the first in a four-part series. We're gonna milk Detail View for all it's worth. THE MIRACLE OF DETAIL VIEW, PART 2 OF 4--THE PERFECT FIT Now that you've gotten over the initial thrill of Detail View, you're probably already starting to gripe about it. "Sure, it provides all this information," you say, "but the columns that list the information are never wide enough to let me see ALL of the information. Some improvement." Goodness, are we adept at finding the cloud behind the silver lining. Well, if the columns are bugging you, here's the way to fix them: 1. In the Explorer or Folder window (already set to Detail View), determine which column(s) you wish to widen, then position the mouse pointer over the right-hand border of that column's heading button. (The pointer shape will change to a line with arrows pointing left and right.) 2. Double-click. The column width will adjust to accommodate the longest entry in the column. Tip within a tip: Repeat this step for all the other columns. This will make some columns (like the Size) smaller, increasing the odds that you'll be able to see every entry in every column in the smallest possible window. THE MIRACLE OF DETAIL VIEW, PART 3 OF 4--THE CLANDESTINE COLUMN So let's see: You know how to activate Detail View, and you know how to adjust the column widths in Detail View to see as much "detail" as possible. Now let's take the opposite approach. Say there's some details YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW--or, to be less melodramatic about it, don't want to see. Well, you don't have to see it; you can hide it, as follows: 1. In the Explorer or Folder window (already set to Detail View), position the mouse pointer over the right-hand border of the heading button above the column whose data you want to hide. (The pointer shape will change to a line with arrows pointing left and right.) 2. Drag the border to the left as far as it will go. The column--and everything in it--disappears. Case: CONFIDENTIAL. THE MIRACLE OF DETAIL VIEW, PART 4 OF 4--JUST THE RIGHT SORT No need to recap everything we've learned about Detail View to date; suffice it to say that by now you're probably convinced that Detail View is the single most important file management innovation in Windows 95. In fact, it would be hard to imagine another way in which this miraculous feature could make your life easier. Well, you don't have much of an imagination--because in addition to everything else that Detail View does to improve your life, it also makes sorting your files as easy as clicking your mouse. To sort in Detail View: 1. Click the column-heading button over the column you want to sort. Windows sorts the files in ascending order (A to Z by file name, largest file size to smallest, A to Z by file type, or most recent modified date to most distant). 2. Click the same button again to sort the column in descending order. So there you have it. We're afraid that's all we're going to have to say about Detail View for a long, long time. A SORT IN ANY OTHER VIEW Last time, we showed you how to sort files in Detail View in a Windows 95 Explorer or folder window. Today we felt we should let you know that you can sort files by the same criteria--name, size, type or date--in other views, even though you can't see all the criteria. Here's how you do it: 1. In any Explorer or folder window, right-click on a blank area. 2. From the shortcut menu, choose View + Arrange Icons. 3. Select the criterion you want to sort by: Name, Size, Type, or Date. Windows 95 sorts the files in ASCENDING order according to the criterion you selected. There is no way to use this technique to sort files in descending order. DELETE FROM YOUR DIALOG BOX! How often has the following happened to you: You go to open a file in one of your applications (usually by choosing File + Open from the application's menu). Then, while trying to find the file in the Open dialog box, you say to yourself, "Heavens to Murgatroid--is this folder cluttered! I had better remember to delete some files next time I'm in Windows Explorer." Well, why put off something you can do right now? You can delete files right within most Windows 95 applications' Open dialog boxes, as follows: 1. In the Open dialog box of any Windows 95 application, select the file you want to delete--or select multiple files by holding down the Ctrl key and selecting the files you want to delete. 2. Right-click the file(s) and choose Delete from the shortcut menu. 3. In the confirmation box that appears, click Yes. Windows 95 deletes the file(s) to your Recycle Bin, just like it would if you deleted it (them) from an Explorer or folder window. And guess what? This works in Save and Save As dialog boxes, too! WHO NEEDS A WARNING BEFORE THEY RECYCLE? By now you're probably acquainted with the lifesaving qualities of the Windows 95 Recycle Bin--it "stores" your deleted files, so you have a way to get them if you suddenly decide you didn't want to delete them. So the question arises: If you're not really deleting it when you "delete" a file, why on earth does Window 95 keep flashing that "Are you sure you want to delete . . ." confirmation box every time you try to delete a file?" Well, though we have no idea why it does that, we can show you how to stop the confirmation box from appearing: 1. On your desktop, right-click the Recycle Bin. 2. Choose Properties from the Shortcut menu. 3. Click the Global tab. 4. Deselect Display Delete Confirmation Dialog. 5. Click OK. From now on, you may delete files in peace. BRING ME STRAIGHT TO MY PROPERTY, PLEASE If you've been using Windows 95 even for a week or two, you know that just about everything in it has "properties"--and that you can get to these properties by right-clicking the object in question and choosing Properties from the shortcut menu. That's fast enough for most folks, we suppose, but there are probably a few of you out there who--after your morning intake of several cups of coffee, a couple of bars of candy, and a can or two of Jolt--need to get to your properties FASTER, FASTER, FASTER! Try this: 1. Hold down your Alt key. 2. Double-click the object in question. Windows 95 takes you right to the Properties dialog box for this object. And with the time you save, you can take a few breaths into a paper bag. DO YOU HAVE A WINDOWS KEY? THEN YOU CAN BE A BETTER EXPLORER! If you have a Microsoft Natural Keyboard (one of those keyboards that looks like Schwarzeneggar bent it in half) or if your computer is fairly new, you probably have a Windows Key: a key, usually between your Ctrl and Alt keys, with a little picture of the Windows logo on it. If you do, you're a lot closer to opening your Windows Explorer than someone with a "conventional" keyboard is. Because all you have to do is: Press Windows Key + E. The Explorer opens. Now put on that coonskin cap and start exploring. RECYCLING CAN BE A DRAG No, we don't mean it the way it sounds--no one is more environmentally aware than the folks here at Dummies Daily. We named this tip like that just to get your attention. And because one of the ways you can "delete" a file to the Recycle Bin is to: 1. Find the file in any Explorer or folder window 2. Drag it from the window to the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop. Note that when you delete a file this way, Windows 95 DOES NOT display a confirmation box asking you if you're sure you want to delete the file. Guess the folks at Microsoft figure that once you decide to drag a file halfway across your screen to the Recycle Bin, you must really want to delete it. TAKE CONTROL FROM YOUR START MENU Are you constantly adding or deleting fonts from your computer? Or adding or deleting new software programs? Or hardware? If the answer is YES, YES, YES! then you're probably more than familiar with your Control Panel window and the several clicks it takes to get to it every time you want to perform one of these tasks. Today we'll show you how to avoid lots of extra steps by placing a shortcut to your favorite Control Panel program on the Windows 95 Start menu. 1. Click the Start button. 2. Choose Settings + Control Panel. 3. In the Control Panel window, find the icon for a program you use often (such as Fonts or Add/Remove Programs) drag it over the Start button, and "drop" it (that is, release the mouse button). Now click the Start button again and look closely at the Start menu; there's your Control Panel program, right where you can start it with TWO CLICKS. Can you control yourself (especially after reading this miserably weak pun)? Stay tuned, because tomorrow we'll show you a way to make starting the program EVEN EASIER. TAKE CONTROL FROM YOUR DESKTOP Last time, we showed you how to add a Control Panel program to your Windows 95 Start menu. Today, we're going to show you a way to get EVEN FASTER fast access to a Control Panel program--by adding it (or more accurately, by adding a shortcut to it) to your Windows 95 desktop. All you have to do is: 1. Double-click your My Computer icon. 2. In the My Computer window, double-click the Control Panel icon. 3. In the Control Panel window, find the icon you want to add to your desktop and drag it to a blank space on the desktop. 4. A confirmation box appears, asking you if you want to create a shortcut for the program. Click Yes. Windows 95 adds an icon--clearly labeled as a shortcut--to your desktop, where you get to it with ONE CLICK! Nothing could be faster than one click, right? Stay tuned . . . TAKE CONTROL FROM YOUR KEYBOARD! Let's recap. Two days ago, we showed you how to add a Control Panel program to your Start menu, so you could reach it in two clicks. Yesterday, we showed you how to add it to your desktop, where you can reach it in one click. How can we possibly beat THAT economy of keystrokes? Well, if you've followed EITHER of the past two tips, we can show you how to start a Control Panel program with a single keystroke combination--and without even picking up your mouse! If you've placed a Control Panel program on your Start Menu: 1. Click the Start button and choose Settings + Taskbar. 2. Click the Start Menu Programs tab and then click the Advanced button. 3. In the window that appears, right-click the Control Panel program icon you've added. 4. Choose Properties from the shortcut menu. 5. Click the Shortcut tab. In the Shortcut Key box, type a letter that reminds you of the name of the Control Panel program--such as "F" for "Fonts." Windows automatically adds a Ctrl + Alt before it--as in Ctrl + Alt + F--and that is the shortcut key. 6. Click OK. If you've placed a Control Panel program on your desktop: 1. Right-click the shortcut. 2. Choose Properties from the shortcut menu. 3. Click the Shortcut tab. 4. In the Shortcut Key box, type a letter that reminds you of the name of the Control Panel program--such as "F" for "Fonts." Windows adds a Ctrl + Alt before it--as in Ctrl + Alt + F--and that is the shortcut key. 5. Click OK. From now on, just press the shortcut key to open the Control Panel program. WE CAN'T MAKE IT ANY EASIER THAN THIS. NOW YOU SEE THE DOS WINDOW, NOW YOU DON'T We don't want to go into the reasons: Let's just say that many of you are still using DOS and are thrilled that Windows 95 lets you open a DOS window on your desktop. But sometimes you want more than a window--you want to fill your screen, from edge to edge, with the black-background-white-grainy-text splendor of DOS the way it was meant to be. No problem. To switch from a DOS window (which you got to by choosing Programs in your Start menu and clicking the MS-DOS prompt) to a full-screen DOS, press Alt + Enter. Even better, this switch is a TOGGLE. So, to switch from full-screen DOS back to DOS window again, press Alt + Enter. Because really, no matter how much you love DOS, how much black can you look at? MISS THE OL' PROGRAM MANAGER? Yesterday, we reflected on your lasting affection for DOS. Not quite as old, but equally deep, is your affection for Windows 3.x. Remember the old Windows Program Manager--that window with little icons for each of your programs? Miss it? Well, you can create a reasonable facsimile of it with just a right-click of your mouse: 1. Right-click the Start button. 2. Choose Open from the shortcut menu. The Start menu folder opens. It contains a handy--and very Windows 3.x-like--icon for each of your Start menu programs; it also contains the Programs icon, which you can double-click to reveal icons for the REST of your programs. 3. When you find the icon for the program you want to open, double-click it and--voila!--the program opens. It really is just like the old days, except you can always return to progress whenever you like. I DON'T KNOW EVERYTHING, BUT I CAN STILL FIND FILES Imagine that you're looking for a file. You don't know the whole filename, just a certain word or group of letters. What are you going to do? Well, in DOS and Windows 3.x, you would have been sunk, unless you were an expert in using wildcards (those asterisks and question marks people seem to type willy-nilly at DOS prompts). But Windows 95's Find feature is a lot more forgiving; it can find all the files with names that CONTAIN the few words or characters you know. Using this feature is simple, really: 1. Click the Start button. 2. Choose Find + Files or Folders. 3. In the Named box, type the word you know. 4. Click Find Now. In a moment, a window appears listing every file and every folder you own that contains the word you typed; comb through them until you find the file you're looking for. FASTER FIND Last time, we showed you just how much more convenient Windows 95's Find feature is than its predecessors in Windows 3.x or DOS. Even so, we gave Find short shrift. By giving you the "mousy" way to activate the Find feature (click Start and then choose Find + Files or Folders), we actually forced you to do more work than you have to do. To activate the Find feature from the Windows desktop--or from within any folder or Explorer window--just press F3. To activate the Find feature from within any application, do the following: 1. Press Ctrl + Esc and then press Esc again (this makes your Taskbar current). 2. Press F3. MAKE YOUR OWN WALLPAPER PATTERN Tired of staring at your Windows 95 desktop pattern? Tired, too, of all the other pattern options Windows 95 offers? Well, why not design a desktop wallpaper pattern YOURSELF? It's so easy, even we can do it: 1. Right-click any blank space on your desktop. 2. Click Properties in the shortcut menu. 3. Click the Background tab in the Display Properties box. 4. Under Pattern, click Edit Pattern. The Pattern Editor appears. 5. In the Pattern box, start clicking around to create whatever pattern you want. The Pattern box is made up of 64 squares; each one toggles between green and black every time you click it. The pattern editor repeats the pattern you make to create a background. You can see what the background will look like in the Sample box at the right. 6. After you've created a pattern you like, type a name for it in the Name box. 7. Click Done and then click Yes to save your pattern. 8. Click OK.
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