I got the tips to begin these pages over a period of months, I personally got some benefit out of this and I hope you will also.
STOP STARTING ALREADY!
Can't figure out how to get a program to stop loading every time you start Windows 95? (Software developers have a whole lotta nerve to assume this is a convenience. They should ask first.) There are three places where you can try to stop this annoyance:
The Startup folder. This is the most obvious location for a program
reference. Right-mouse click on Start, select Open, double-click on Programs,
then double-click on Startup. If you see a shortcut to the annoying program
inside, delete it.
Your WIN.INI file. Select Start, Run, type
and click on OK. Inside the System Configuration Editor, make the WIN.INI window active and look for a "run=" or "load=" line under the [windows] section. Programs referred to on these lines load at startup.
If you feel comfortable doing so, remove the reference to the annoying program, and save your change. (If not, have your local computer guru help you. WIN.INI is a very important file and should not be messed with unless you know what you're doing.)
The Registry. Select Start, Run, type
and click on OK to open the Registry Editor. Navigate your way to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RUN. In the right pane, you'll find programs that load when Windows 95 starts. Right-mouse click on the one giving you grief, select Delete, and close the Registry Editor. (As always, before editing the Registry, back it up. One way is to zip your System.dat and User.dat files and store them on a floppy disk.)
Whichever method you used, restart Windows 95 and (in most cases) breathe
a deep sigh of satisfaction!
WHO YOU GONNA CALL?
Do you rely on your PC for everything, to the point where the only address book you have is the one in your e-mail program? Shame, shame. If your system crashes, not only will you be really upset, but you won't be able to call anyone to tell them about it! Back up your address book regularly.
In an Explorer or My Computer window, find your address book and take note of its location. (For example, if you use Outlook Express, this file is C:\Program Files\Outlook Express\Wab.exe. With a disk in your floppy drive, right-mouse click on the file, select Send To, and then choose 3 1/2 Floppy (A). (Or if you prefer, copy the file to your disk in some other way.) If you ever need to restore this file, just copy it from the disk back to its original location (in this case, the Windows folder).
RUN, FILE, RUN
If you're accustomed to typing MS-DOS commands to start applications, you'll love the Run command line. Select Start, Run, type the application you want to open, such as
and click on OK.
If Windows 95 doesn't recognize the name of the application, you'll
need to type its full path. The nice thing is you only have to type this
path once. After that, just click on the up arrow next to the command line
and select it in the list.
DID SOMEONE SAY MACRO?
Looking to automate repetitive tasks? In previous versions of Windows, you could record macros using the old 16-bit Windows Macro Recorder. Now you'll need a third-party utility.
If you installed Windows 95 over a previous version of Windows, you may still have Recorder.exe on your system, but it won't do you much good. (Hey, there's something you can delete.) Try to use it, and you'll wind up with error messages galore. And Microsoft doesn't have a made-for-Windows 95 version of Recorder, either. Its Knowledge Base says the solution is to purchase Microsoft Test for Windows, but upon investigation, we found that Microsoft no longer offers this product. Apparently, the functionality was rolled into Visual Plus (heavy-duty development software), now available from an outside software company for around $600. (Ha! Not exactly worth it to record macros.)
There are some good third-party macro/automation utilities out there. A few to try are:
NorthStar Solutions' Macro Mania for recording keystrokes (shareware, $29.95). http://www.pcworld.com/cgi-bin/database/file_body.pl?ID=2273
Macro Magic (shareware, $29.95); or for more advanced task automation,
AutoMate (shareware, $39.95), both by Unisyn. http://www.unisyn.com
LOW ON MEMORY? TELL ME ABOUT IT
Want to know what percentage of your system resources is available? In any Windows 95 window, select Help, About Windows 95. Or, in any Windows 95 application (such as Notepad, Calculator, or WordPad), pull down the Help menu and select About [that program's name]. The resulting dialog box tells you the physical memory available to Windows and your free system resources.
(Try this trick in Word 97, and you'll find a System Info button. Click on it for an entire dialog box of stats about your system. Yikes--that's way too much information.)
If you're in a dialog box with multiple tabs and want to move from one to the next, your only option is the mouse, right? Wrong. If you don't feel like making the effort to grab the mouse, try the keyboard.
Press Ctrl-Tab to move one tab to the right. While holding down Ctrl, continue to press Tab until the tab you want is highlighted, then let go. Ctrl-Shift-Tab rotates you through tabs in the reverse direction.
A WINDOW OF NO-PASSWORD OPPORTUNITY
If you've set up a password for a Plus! screen saver, you probably find it annoying that every time you turn your back, you have to enter your own password to get back to work. You can avoid this annoyance without lengthening the time after which the screen saver will kick in.
Right-mouse click on the desktop, select Properties, and click on the Screen Saver tab. Select any Plus! screen saver and click on the Settings button. At the bottom of the General tab set the Wait XX (seconds or minutes) Before Requiring a Password option. Click on OK, and from now on you have a window of opportunity to get back to work without a hassle.
DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT USERS--PART 1 OF 2
If more than one person uses a Windows 95 system, then there's more than one idea flying around as to how the desktop should be arranged--or which color scheme looks best . . . and so on, and so on. When it comes to visual and organizational settings, we all havve our own ideas of perfection.
With Windows 95's user profiles, each user can customize a working environment and call up these settings at log-on. It's like giving each user his or her very own computer (well, almost).
Before setting up user profiles, make all the settings on the PC fairly neutral. For example, you may want to go back to a blank desktop (no wallpaper or pattern), the default color scheme, and so on. The settings you start with are the ones you'll see when a person does not log on under a user profile. (Once user profiles are set up, you can press Esc to ignore the log-in dialog box.)
In our next tip, setting up and using user profiles . . .
DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT USERS
In our last tip, we explained the purpose of user profiles: to allow each user of a PC to have unique settings. We also suggested that, before setting them up, you return to as many of the Windows 95 defaults as possible, such as the default color scheme. Now, let's look at setting up and using user profiles.
Open the Control Panel, double-click on Passwords, and click on the User Profiles tab. Select the Users Can Customize Their Preferences option, then select the options you want under User Profile settings. Click on OK, and you'll see a message telling you to restart Windows 95. Click on OK to restart. (Note: IE 4 users have a Users item in the Control Panel for setting up user profiles. Double-click on it and follow the wizard's instructions; or use the method described in this tip.)
Once user profiles have been set up on a system, starting Windows 95 will bring up a Welcome to Windows 95 dialog box. If you're logging in for the first time, enter a user name and password, click on OK, confirm the password, and click on OK again. (If it's a networked PC, typically Windows 95 identifies you by your network name and password instead, and you won't see the Welcome dialog box.)
Once you're in, think of that PC as your very own and start customizing. Whenever you log on to Windows 95 with that user name and password, those same settings will appear.
When you're finished using the computer, you can log off without closing
Windows 95. Select Start, Shut Down, select the Close All Programs and
Log on as a Different User option, wait a few seconds, and the Welcome
to Windows 95 dialog box appears for someone else to log in. (IE 4 users:
You have a Log Off option on the Start menu.)
Back in November, we ran some tips about Doskey (a utility that makes it easy to insert a previously typed command at an MS-DOS prompt). Based on all the feedback, it seems many of you use this utility frequently. Here are some Doskey shortcuts:
To view Doskey's history, press F7.
To insert a previously typed command, after pressing F7, press F9 (you'll be prompted for a line number). Type a line number, then press Enter twice.
To clear Doskey's buffer, press Alt-F7 when Doskey is active.
at the command prompt for more Doskey shortcuts.
THAT DARN PASSWORD THING AGAIN!
If you install Internet Explorer 4.0, quite a few features of the Windows 95 user interface change. Many of you have already taken the upgrade plunge, so starting this month, we'll publish an occasional tip for IE 4 users. Those of you who haven't upgraded may find the information useful, as well, in helping with an upgrade decision. So without further ado, here's the very first Windows 95 tip for IE 4 users.
A reader, J. Teagle, asks:
"My system always remembered my password for connecting to the Internet until I installed IE 4. Can I get the system to remember it, like it did before?"
Funny, the same thing happened to us! We solved the problem--and expect that you can as well--by repeating the steps to install the Windows 95 Password List Update (even if you've alreaady done it once). Here's a quick review:
Download mspwlupd.exe from
(Microsoft's Web site gives the file's name as mspwlupd2.exe, but the file you download has no 2 in its name.) Delete all the *.PWL files from your Windows folder. Double-click on mspwlupd.exe to install the necessary files. Log on to the Internet as you normally would, entering your password and selecting the Remember Password option.
Windows should remember your password from now on.
THAT DARN WINDOWS KEY
Do you have a Microsoft Natural Keyboard 1.0? When you're in a DOS session and press the Windows key by accident, does your system then act as if the Windows key is still pressed? (For example, when you press E, does Windows Explorer start?) Microsoft claims that a conflict between the System Agent and the keyboard is to blame and suggests that disabling the System Agent will solve the problem. To disable the System Agent, double-click on the System Agent's icon in your Taskbar. Pull down the Advanced menu, select Stop Using System Agent, and click on Yes to confirm.
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