Tips for Windows 95 from Tipworld
I got the tips to begin this page over a period of a couple of months, I personally got some benefit out of this and  I hope you will also.
Back to the Windows 95 Help page
Back to the Utility Page 



                         ALL IN THE FAMILY WINDOW CLOSING

                         Do you often end up with a lot of related windows together on screen -- for example, after
                         double-clicking a folder, then double-clicking one inside of that, and so on? When you're
                         ready to close them all, don't waste time clicking each and every X caption button (the one in
                         the upper-right corner of each window). Just hold down Shift as you click the X of the last
                         window you opened. Doing so closes that window and all of its "parents" in one fell swoop.


                         GIMME DETAILS

                         When you open Explorer and switch to Details view (select Details under the View menu),
                         you'll see columns of information in the right pane. And the nice thing is, the arrangement of
                         those details isn't carved in stone. You can sort by any column or change the width of any or
                         all columns to get the details look you want.

                         To sort information by a particular column, click its gray column heading once. Click it again to
                         sort by that column, but in reverse order.

                         To change a column's width, hold the cursor over the black line to the right of the column's
                         heading, and when it changes to a double-pointed arrow, click and drag left or right.

                         (Note: These same techniques work in a regular window in Details view.)


                         HIDE-AND-SEEK COLUMNS

                         If you're looking at an Explorer window (or regular window) in Details view, you have the
                         option of hiding any of the columns of information. This trick is especially useful if you need
                         more room to display the columns you really do want to see.

                         Hold the cursor over the black line (on the gray column headings) to the right of the column
                         you want to get rid of, and when it changes to a double-pointed arrow, drag it all the way left.
                         The column simply disappears. To display the column again, click just to the right of where
                         you left it (you'll know you're in the right place because a double-pointed arrow with two
                         black lines appears) and drag right.


                         FOCUS ON EXPLORER

                         Do you have a Windows Explorer shortcut on your desktop? (If not, put one there--you'll be
                         amazed how handy it is.) You can tell that shortcut to open Explorer with its focus on the
                         folder of your choice.

                         Right-mouse click the shortcut, select Properties, and click the Shortcut tab. The information
                         after the last comma in the Target line's contents (for example, C:\) tells Explorer on which
                         folder's contents to focus when it opens. Add the name of any folder to the end of that line (for
                         example, it might now read C:\MYDATA\PERSONAL after the last comma). Click OK, and
                         try out your newly focused shortcut.


                         TRAVELLING TOOLBARS

                         Tired of WordPad's toolbars taking up all that space at the top of its screen? Then move 'em.
                         As in Microsoft Word, you can rearrange the toolbars' location or turn them into floating

                         Click on a blank area of the Toolbar or Format bar, and drag to the left or right to change the
                         location of the tools on the current bar. Or drag and drop the top bar just below the bottom
                         one to switch the placement of the two bars.

                         To turn a bar into a floating palette, click (again, on a blank area) and drag it to any new
                         location on the screen. At any time, you can snap the bar back into place at the top of the
                         screen: Just drag it back to the toolbar area, and when the dotted outline changes to a solid
                         line, let go.


                         If you have a Windows 95 installation CD, you can create an Emergency Recovery disk to
                         help you recover important files in the event of a disaster. Once created, this disk includes
                         system and configuration files, plus the Emergency Recovery Utility, the program that restores
                         these files to your system.

                         Navigate your way to the OTHER\ MISC\ERU folder on the CD and double-click
                         ERU.EXE. Then just follow along as Windows 95 walks you through the disk-creation
                         process. (You can save the recovery files on a disk or a drive, such as on a network.) When
                         the setup program finishes copying the files, you'll see a box of instructions for using the disk in
                         the event of a disaster.

                         (Note: Sometimes the files the Emergency Recovery Utility tries to copy are larger than a
                         floppy disk, and the utility won't warn you that not all the files will be copied. To see exactly
                         how much space the files will take up, select the Custom option during setup and check the
                         Current ERU Size. If it's larger than your disk size, you have a couple of choices: If you're
                         comfortable doing so, deselect files until the Current ERU Size can be accommodated by your
                         disk, or if you have access to a network, save the files there instead.)


                         OUT OF THE DARK EXCHANGE AGE

                         Still using the version of Microsoft Exchange that came with Windows 95 way back when?
                         For shame, for shame. There's an update on the Microsoft site--called Windows
                         Messaging--that significantly improves the performance of this turtle-slow, bug-ridden
                         program. Among other things, the update increases the program's startup time and updates
                         Internet mail service. Point your web browser at the above URL to read about and download
                         this "complete update for the Exchange components that shipped with Windows 95."

                         A DESKTOP OF STICKY NOTES

                         Do you have little yellow sticky notes all over your desk and calendar, filled with phone
                         numbers, addresses, or any other information you use all the time? How about turning it into
                         desktop wallpaper? Then the information will always be at your fingertips.

                         Just as you can use any picture as desktop wallpaper, you can place information there, too.
                         Open up Paint, type (or paste) in all the information you'd like to see on your desktop's
                         background, and save it as a graphics (*.BMP) file. Choose Set As Wallpaper (Centered)
                         under the File menu, and that information is stuck on your desktop for good (or until you
                         change it to include new information).

                         Tips-in-a-tip: To paste text into a Paint file, click the text ("A") icon, click and drag to create a
                         text box, then paste the text inside. Also, you'll probably want to use a colored background--a
                         white desktop background can be pretty blinding.)

                         PUT SOME MEAT ON YOUR SCROLLBARS

                         If a window's contents can't fit in that window all at once, Windows 95 provides you with
                         scrollbars on its left and lower edges to scroll through the contents. Think those bars are too
                         small? If you'd like a little more to grab nto, make them bigger.

                         Right-mouse click the desktop and choose Properties to open the Display Properties dialog
                         box. On the Appearance tab, select Scrollbar under Item (or click the scrollbar in the
                         preview) and change its Size to whatever you'd like (the defaults for most of the color schemes
                         are 13 or 16). You'll see the effect of your change right in the preview. When you're happy
                         with the new size, click Apply or OK.

                         PINBALL WIZARDS, TAKE NOTE

                         If you have the Windows 95 Plus! CD, you've surely tried out 3D Pinball. Wish you knew a
                         little more about mastering the Space Cadet table? The Help file offers some assistance, but
                         for more extensive information, there are two hidden sources.

                         Navigate your way to the Program Files\Plus!\Pinball folder and open PINBALL.DOC for the
                         "Space Cadet table Rules and Game Strategy." Then, check out TABLE.BMP in the same
                         folder for the name of every nook and cranny on the table (you may need it to follow along
                         with the instructions). Who knew? (We did.)

                        ADD UP YOUR PROPERTIES

                         Want to know how much space a selection of folders and/or files takes up on your hard drive?
                         (Knowing this would come in handy if, for example, you've selected items to copy to a floppy

                         In an Explorer or My Computer window, hold down Ctrl as you select each item you'd like to
                         tally. Then right-mouse click on any selected item and choose Properties. The resulting dialog
                         box will display the total size of all selected items, including a count of each item type (files or


                         ADD UP YOUR PROPERTIES

                         Want to know how much space a selection of folders and/or files takes up on your hard drive?
                         (Knowing this would come in handy if, for example, you've selected items to copy to a floppy

                         In an Explorer or My Computer window, hold down Ctrl as you select each item you'd like to
                         tally. Then right-mouse click on any selected item and choose Properties. The resulting dialog
                         box will display the total size of all selected items, including a count of each item type (files or


                         EXPRESS DELIVERY

                         When you right-mouse click a file and choose Send To, you see a menu of possible
                         destinations. Did you know you can add items to this list? Just add a folder or application's
                         shortcut to the C:\Windows\SendTo folder.

                         Suppose you want to add the Start menu to the Send To list (doing so makes it easy to send
                         any item directly to the Start menu). In an Explorer window, navigate your way to
                         C:\Windows\SendTo, so that the right pane displays its contents. Right-mouse click on the
                         Start Menu folder (which just happens to be in plain view), drag it into the right pane, and
                         when you let go, choose Create Shortcut(s) Here. Close Explorer.

                         Now for the big test. Right-mouse click any file or folder, choose Send To, and select Start
                         Menu from the list. Click the Start button, and there's that item.

                        GET SOME CHARACTER

                         Need to add a fancy character to your document? No matter what application you're working
                         in, the Windows 95 Character Map is at your service.

                         Click the Start button, choose Programs, then Accessories, and then Character Map to
                         display this great little applet. Select a font in the drop-down list, double-click the character
                         you'd like to use (to place it in the "Characters to copy" box), and click Copy. The character
                         is now on the Windows 95 Clipboard. Switch back to your document and paste that
                         character wherever you'd like it.

                         CHARACTER COMBOS

                         In our last tip, we showed you how to add fancy characters to your documents: Open the
                         Character Map, double-click the character you want to use, click Copy, then switch to your
                         document and paste it in. If you're a keyboard-phile and a mouse-phobe, you can add a
                         character using your numeric keypad--that is, as long as you know the secret combination: the
                         Alt key plus a four-digit number. Where do you find the right number? Why, in the Character
                         Map, of course. For oft-used characters, it's worth the research.

                         Open the Character Map, select the character you have in mind, and you'll see its "Keystroke"
                         in the lower-right corner of the dialog box. Close the Character Map and remember that
                         number. To add the character to a document, turn on Num Lock, then hold down Alt and
                         type the number using the numeric keypad. Look, ma! No dialog boxes!


                         WALLPAPER REDECORATING

                         Windows 95 comes with a whole slew of ready-made wallpapers from which to choose. But
                         is there one you would like, if only it were a different color? Using Paint, you can recolor any

                         Choose Start|Programs|Accessories|Paint, select Open under the File menu, and navigate your
                         way to the C:\Windows folder. Select the wallpaper you'd like to recolor (an easy one is
                         Rivets.BMP), then save it under a different name (you don't want to mess up the original).

                         Ready to start painting? First you need to be able to see what you're doing, so select Zoom
                         under the View menu, and select Large Size. From there, pick a tool, pick a color, and start
                         coloring. (The easiest tools to use are the pencil, for individual dots, or the paint can, for larger
                         areas.) Sure, it's tedious, but if it's your favorite wallpaper, it's worth it!

                         When you're finished coloring, be sure to select Save under the File menu. From now on,
                         you'll be able to select it by name in the Display Properties dialog box.

                         (Note: Some wallpapers have very few colors in their palette, meaning you don't have many
                         options for recoloring. In our next tip, we'll show you how to expand that palette.)

                         TAKE THAT PALETTE OVER THE RAINBOW

                         In our last tip, we showed you how to recolor the wallpaper bitmaps that come with Windows
                         95: Open the file in Paint, save it under a new name, and start recoloring. You'll notice,
                         however, that when you open some of the wallpaper bitmaps, a very limited color palette
                         appears. If you want more color options, save the file as a 256-Color Bitmap.

                         In Paint, open a bitmap with a limited palette, such as Bubbles.BMP. Choose Save As under
                         the File menu, select 256-Color Bitmap in the Save as type drop-down list, give the file a new
                         name, and click Save. Now select Save As under the File menu one more time, and click
                         Save. (Don't ask us why--you need to do this to get the colors to show up in the palette.)
                         You'll now have a much larger palette from which to choose. Hapy recoloring!


                         THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WINDOW

                         If you want an application to start upon launching Windows 95, then you just add its shortcut
                         to the StartUp menu. Simple enough. So what happens if you're really picky and want the
                         application to start, but shrink to the Taskbar the minute it opens? No problem. Just tell
                         Windows 95 to start the program minimized. Assuming you already have a shortcut in the
                         StartUp folder, all you need to do is change its Properties.

                         Right-mouse click the shortcut, choose Properties, and click the Shortcut tab. On the Run line,
                         click the drop-down arrow to display your three possible options--Normal window,
                         Minimized, or Maximized. Select Minimized, click OK, and from now on, that application will
                         shrink out of site when it opens at start up.


                         YOU CAN QUOTE THAT

                         In a past tip, we told you that if a command you type at the DOS prompt includes a filename
                         with a space in it, DOS simply won't recognize the file. The solution? Place the path of the file
                         in quotes.

                         Well, did you know the same thing applies to the Run command line? It may seem like part of
                         the I-recognize-and-understand-every-aspect-of-long-filenames Windows 95, but it isn't.
                         Here, too, you'll need to use quotes around a command line that includes a filename with
                         spaces in it.


                         WHEN HISTORY REPEATS

                         In past tips, we've shown you how to add Control Panel, Dial-Up Networking (DUN), and
                         Printers folders to your Start menu (see the end of this tip for a quick review). If you use
                         Internet Explorer, try adding an Internet History folder to your Start menu. Selecting an item
                         inside the folder launches Internet Explorer and takes you directly to that site. (Note: You'll
                         probably want to empty your History folder on a regular basis, to keep this list under control.)

                         To create an Internet History folder, create a new folder in your Start menu named exactly
                         (and we mean exactly--your best bet is to copy and paste it from this tip):

                         Internet History.{FF393560-C2A7-11CF-BFF4-444553540000}

                         In case you didn't see the previous tips, here are the names of other folders you can create:

                         Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}


                         QUEUE-ING OFF

                         Are you hooked up to a network printer? You can check out how many jobs are ahead of
                         yours right from your desktop. Just look inside the printer queue.

                         Click Start|Settings|Printers and double-click the icon that represents your network printer.
                         The resulting dialog box shows a list of all the print jobs that still need to make their way
                         through the printer. If you see lots of jobs pending, you may just want to wait a little while
                         before making that long trek down the hall.

                         SEE WHAT'S FREE

                         If you want to see how much space is left on your hard drive, there are a few places you can

                         One, you can open a My Computer window and select your hard drive icon. The status bar
                         will display its Free Space and Capacity.

                         Two, you can open an Explorer window and select any item on your hard drive. Again, the
                         status bar displays your Disk free space. (To display the status bar in either window, select
                         Status Bar under the View menu.)

                         If you relate better to graphics, however, you'll love this third option --a pie graph that displays
                         free vs. used space. To display this graph, in a My Computer or Explorer window,
                         right-mouse click your hard drive icon and select Properties.


                         NEW LOOKS FOR ICONS

                         You can change the font and size of your desktop and window icons. These settings are part
                         of your Windows 95 current appearance scheme and are accessible through the Display
                         Properties dialog box.

                         Right-mouse click the desktop, select Properties, and click the Appearance tab. In the
                         drop-down list next to Item, select Icon. Now make all the changes you want to their
                         appearance. To the right of the Item box, the Size option changes the actual icon size. Below
                         the Item list, you'll find options for changing the font of the icon names, as well as its size. Play
                         around with different options, clicking Apply after each to see if you like what you see. When
                         you're done, click OK.

                         GETCHER FREE PLUS! TAB HERE!

                         If you have Microsoft Plus!, you have a page of Display Properties options that non-users
                         don't. This tab, called Plus!, includes options for using larger icons, showing window contents
                         while dragging, and smoothing the edges of screen fonts, among other things.

                         Even if you don't have Plus!, you can get your hands on these goodies.Microsoft is giving them
                         away for free. Point your web browser at the above URL and download w95gray.EXE. You
                         may think you're only getting the font smoothing feature, but the rest of the Plus! tab comes
                         with it!


                         BE PREPARED

                         Upon installing Windows 95, you're given the opportunity to create a Startup Disk--a boot
                         disk that, should you have trouble starting Windows 95, gets you to MS-DOS, where you can
                         check key files and run utilities in an attempt to figure out what's up. If you're impatient like the
                         rest of us, you probably opted not to make the disk at the moment and figured you'd get to it
                         later. Well, later is here (you never know when something's going to go wrong), so let's make
                         that disk.

                         Open the Control Panel and double-click Add/Remove Programs. Select the Startup Disk tab
                         and click the Create Disk button. When prompted to do so, insert a blank formatted disk into
                         your floppy drive, then wait as Windows 95 copies all the necessary information to the disk.
                         Better safe than sorry, you know.


                         FAKE THE AUTOPLAY

                         Do you have a CD-ROM drive without AutoPlay capability? (Meaning, when you pop an
                         audio CD into the drive, it doesn't play automatically.) You can't add this feature, but you can
                         get one step closer to it. Whereas you normally have to open the CD Player and press Play,
                         you can set the CD Player to automatically play your audio CD when you open this program.

                         Open Explorer and navigate your way to the shortcut you use to start the CD Player.
                         Right-mouse click it and select Properties. Place your cursor at the end of the text on the
                         Target line, type a space, and then type: "/PLAY" (without the quotes). Click OK. To test out
                         your handiwork, insert an audio CD, start the CD Player using the shortcut whose target line
                         you just changed, and listen up!


                         CHECK YOUR RESOURCES

                         If you're itching to get into the meat and potatoes of Windows 95--we're talking the nerdiest
                         of nerdy stuff, mostly for administrators--then you need the Windows 95 Resource Kit. If you
                         have the Windows 95 installation CD, you already have this technical resource. If not, you can
                         download the Resource Kit from Microsoft's Web site, or purchase it in your local bookstore.

                         Pop the installation CD into your CD-ROM drive and navigate your way to
                         D:\ADMIN\RESKIT\HELPFILE. To view the Help files right off the CD, double-click
                         WIN95RK.HLP. To access the Resource Kit from your hard drive, copy the
                         WIN95RK.HLP and WIN95RK.CNT files to your C:\WINDOWS\HELP folder, then
                         create a shortcut to WIN95RK.HLP. Either way, the Resource Kit's contents appear in a
                         Help Topics window, complete with Contents, Index and Find tabs.

                         (If you don't have the Windows 95 installation CD, you can download the Complete
                         Windows 95 Resource Kit Help File from
                Or you can purchase the Resource
                         Kit in stores or by calling (800) MS-PRESS.)


                         NO-CLOUD STARTUPS

                         Tired of seeing that cloud StartUp logo every time you boot Windows 95? You can get rid of
                         it by editing your MSDOS.SYS file.

                         The first thing you need to do is remove this file's hidden and read-only attributes: Open up
                         Explorer and locate MSDOS.SYS, right-mouse click it and select Properties, deselect
                         Read-only and hidden, and click OK. Next, open MSDOS.SYS in Notepad and add the line


                         to the [Options] section (or change the line LOGO=1 to LOGO=0). Select Save under the File
                         menu and close Notepad.

                         Return the hidden and read-only attributes to MSDOS.SYS (using the same technique you did
                         to remove them). Try restarting your system, and those clouds are gone with the wind(ows).

This page is designed and written by John Jenkins. If there are any questions or other issues about the content, email me, and I will deal with it in a timely manner. If specific help is requested an email address with an or domain is required. As with all programs on the internet, you, the downloader, assumes all risk of file damage or viruses that these or any programs may contain that are received over the internet. Neither CSS, ECS, nor the author will be responsible for any damage done by any program received over the internet. Please note this includes programs that are virus free but may cause problems with other programs on your computer and programs that simply won't run right on a particular machine.