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Microsoft Windows '95 Tips 

Have you ever worked on a file on more than one computerfor example, your 
work PC and a laptop--and wished that you could keep both copies current? 
With the Windows 95 Briefcase by your side, you'll never waste time 
trying to figure out which copy is the most recent again. It keeps both 
copies current and up to date.

Right-mouse click on the desktop, select New, and then select Briefcase. 
(If there's no Briefcase item in the menu, you'll need to go back and 
install this component using the installation disk. In the Control Panel, 
click on Add/Remove Programs, and
on the Windows Setup tab, double-click on Accessories. Select Briefcase, 
click on OK, and so on.)

Copy any files you'll be editing away from your computer into the new 
Briefcase, and stay tuned. In our next two tips, we'll explain how to use 
the Briefcase on a laptop or another desktop 

Do you have sections of text or particular graphics that you plan to use 
in more than one place? As long as they were created in a Windows 
95-savvy application (such as Microsoft Word 97 and beyond), you can turn 
them into document scraps--pieces of documents that can be used again and 
again.  You can store these scraps anywhere you want (how about in a 
folder called Scraps?).

Creating a scrap is similar to creating a shortcut. Highlight the text or 
graphics you want to keep around, then drag it into your Scraps folder, 
or onto the desktop, or anywhere else you'd like to store it. Let go, and 
a shortcut with the word "Scrap" in it should appear. (If not, that 
application may not be as savvy as you think.) To use a scrap, just drag 
and drop it onto a document.                       

Want to print directly from your desktop? Then place a printer shortcut 
there. Double-click on My Computer, double-click on the Printers folder, 
and then right-mouse click and drag your printer icon onto the desktop. 
Let go, select Create Shortcut(s)
Here, and voila.

When you want to print a file, just drag its icon onto the printer 
shortcut and let go. You don't even have to open the application in which 
the file was created (Windows 95 does that for you).

If you really liked Program Manager and don't want to give it up quite 
yet, open My Computer, double-click the Win NT drive (probably C:) and 
navigate to the Winnt folder. Double-click Winnt, then double-click 
System32. Locate Progman.EXE and right-click it, then drag its icon to 
the desktop. Release the mouse button and choose Create Shortcut(s) Here.

You can now double-click the shortcut to open Program Manager. You'll 
have to set it up since it isn't aware of anything that's currently on 
the desktop.

Are you addicted to the Hover game included on the Windows 95 
installation CD? Then add it to your hard drive, so you won't have to 
fumble with that disk. Surely, you have an extra 1.87MB of space to spare.

The Add/Remove Programs option doesn't provide you with a check box for 
installing Hover, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. To install this 
game on your system, with the CD in your CD-ROM drive, open Windows 
Explorer. Navigate your way to X:\FUNSTUFF, where X is your CD-ROM drive, 
and you'll see a Hover folder. Copy this folder to your hard drive.

To start the game, double-click on HOVER.EXE. For even easier access, 
place a shortcut to this file on your desktop, or in your personal Games 
folder. You do have a Games folder, no?

If you have a hard time following your mouse pointer across the screen, 
ask Windows 95 to trail it. The pointer trails option displays a number 
of pointers along the pointer's path, making it easier to track visually.

Open the Control Panel and double-click on Mouse. Next, click on the 
Motion tab and select Show Pointer Trails. Finally, move the lever toward 
Long or Short, depending on the length of the trail you want, and click 
on OK. Try moving that pointer around
and your mouse now has a tail!

Tired of other people messing with your computer? The System Policy 
Editor, located on the Windows 95 installation CD, allows you to set up 
restrictions, such as locking people out of the Display Properties dialog 
box or your Registry. While designed for network administrators, the 
Policy Editor works on non-networked systems as well.

To access the System Policy Editor, navigate your way to 
ADMIN\APPTOOLS\POLEDIT (on the Windows 95 installation CD) and 
double-click POLEDIT.EXE. Select Open Registry under the File menu, then 
double-click the Local User icon.

You'll need to access this tool off the installation CD every time you 
want to set or deselect restrictions  --  that is, unless you install the 
System Policy Editor on your hard drive. (Note: You'll only want to do 
this if the people you're protecting yourself
against won't know how to undo your restrictions!) To install the System 
Policy Editor, with the Windows 95 installation CD in your CD-ROM drive, 
Open the Control Panel and double-click Add/Remove Programs. On the 
Windows Setup tab, click the
Have Disk button, then click Browse and navigate your way to 
X:\ADMIN\APPTOOLS\POLEDIT, where X is your CD-ROM drive. Click OK twice, 
then in the Have Disk dialog box, select Group policies and System Policy 
Editor. Click Install, and finally click OK.

To run the System Policy Editor, select Start, Programs, Accessories, 
System Tools, and System Policy Editor. If you see the Open Template 
dialog box the first time you open the
Policy Editor, navigate your way to the ADMIN.ADM file  -- ours was in 
C:\WINDOWS\INF -- and double-click it.

In our last tip, we introduced the System Policy Editor, which allows you 
to set up restrictions on your computer. To access this tool, navigate 
your way to ADMIN\APPTOOLS\POLEDIT (on the Windows 95 installation CD) 
and double-click
POLEDIT.EXE. Select Open Registry under the File menu, then double-click 
the Local User icon. Now let's watch it in action.

Suppose you want to keep people from messing with the settings in your 
Display Properties dialog box. Inside the Policy Editor, double-click the 
Control Panel book, then the Display book; and select "Restrict Display 
Control Panel." In the list that
appears at the bottom of the dialog box, select Disable Display Control 
Panel. (You could also select any of the individual options there.) Click 
OK, select Save under the File menu, and the restriction is set. From now 
on, anyone who attempts to
open the Display Properties dialog box will see an error message. (If 
you've restricted access to individual tabs, they simply won't appear in 
the Display Properties dialog box).

(To undo this restriction, deselect it and save your change.)

In our last tip, we introduced the System Policy Editor, which allows you 
to set up restrictions on your computer. To access this tool, navigate 
your way to ADMIN\APPTOOLS\POLEDIT (on the Windows 95 installation CD) 
and double-click
POLEDIT.EXE. Select Open Registry under the File menu, then double-click 
the Local User icon.

To restrict the programs to which people have access from the start menu, 
use the Policy Editor to replace the Programs folder. First, create a new 
folder that includes the items you'd like in the Programs folder. Inside 
the Policy Editor, double-click Shell and then Custom Folders. Select 
Custom Programs Folder, and at the bottom of the dialog box, type the 
path of the folder you just created. Finally, select "Hide Start Menu

Click OK, and as always, save your changes by selecting Save under the 
Policy Editor's File menu. Restart Windows 95, select Programs under 
Start, and you'll find only those items you placed in the new Programs 

(To undo this setting, deselect it and save your change.)

In a previous tip, we introduced the System Policy Editor, which allows 
you to set up restrictions on your computer. To access this tool, 
navigate your way to ADMIN\APPTOOLS\POLEDIT (on the Windows 95 
installation CD) and double-click
POLEDIT.EXE. Select Open Registry under the File menu, then double-click 
the Local User icon.

If you don't want anyone messing with your Registry, disable the Registry 
editing tools. Inside the Policy Editor, double-click the System book, 
then Restrictions. Select Disable Registry editing tools, click OK, then 
select Save under File.

(To undo this restriction, deselect it and save your change.)

In a previous tip, we introduced the System Policy Editor, which allows 
you to set up restrictions on your computer. To access this tool, 
navigate your way to ADMIN\APPTOOLS\POLEDIT (on the Windows 95 
installation CD) and double-click
POLEDIT.EXE. Select Open Registry under the File menu, then double-click 
the Local User icon.

Let's say you're going on vacation and want the temp using your computer 
to have access to only specific applications. Inside the Policy Editor, 
double-click the System book, then
double-click Restrictions and select Only Run Allowed Windows 
Applications. Click on Show, then select Add and type the executable file 
name (not the entire path) of the
application you'd like to allow. An example is POLEDIT.EXE.  Click on OK, 
and repeat these steps until all allowed applications are on the list. 
Click on OK again, then select Save under the Policy Editor's File menu 
to save your changes.  

In our last tip, we introduced ClipBook, a program for storing cut or 
copied items, available on the Windows 95 installation CD (double-click 
D:\Other\Clipbook\Clipbrd.EXE to start the program). If you find this 
program useful, you won't want to access it off the installation CD every 
time you want it. It's
much easier to install it on your hard drive.

With the installation CD in your CD-ROM drive, click Add/Remove Software 
(or open the Control Panel and double- click Add/Remove Programs). Click 
Have Disk, then click
Browse and navigate your way to D:\Other\Clipbook. The Clipbook.INF file 
will appear in the box under File name. Click OK twice, select ClipBook 
Viewer under Components, and click Install. Click OK when the 
installation is complete, and from now on, you'll be able to launch 
ClipBook by clicking Start, Programs, Accessories, ClipBook Viewer.

The Windows 95 installation CD holds a handy little program--ClipBook -- 
that allows you to store cut or copied items, such as text or graphics. 
From there, you can easily paste these items into other documents.

On the installation CD, navigate your way to Other\Clipbook.  
Double-click Clipbrd.EXE to open the ClipBook Viewer, made up of two 
windows--Clipboard, which displays the last item you cut or copied, and 
Local ClipBook, which acts as a storage
area for previously cut or copied items.

Once you've cut or copied an item to the Clipboard, it's easy to add it 
to the Local Clipbook. In the ClipBook Viewer, select the Local ClipBook 
window and click the Paste icon. Enter a name for the new item and click 
OK. To paste a ClipBook page into a
new location, select it in the Local ClipBook window and click the Copy 
icon. Then simply Paste the item wherever you'd like it.

In our last tip, we showed you how to boot directly to DOS: In the 
MSDOS.SYS file, change the line BootGUI=1 to BootGUI=0. Would you like to 
exit to MS-DOS? Simply
selecting "Restart the computer in MSDOS mode" at shut-down won't get you 
out of Windows 95 completely.

In order for this technique to work, you need to have configured your 
system to boot to DOS, as explained in the previous tip. In this case, 
you'll start Windows 95 by typing "WIN" at the DOS prompt (or perhaps 
you've added the line "WIN" to your AUTOEXEC.BAT file). Once this 
condition has been met, you can exit to DOS during the shut down process. 
As soon as you see the "It is now safe to turn off your system" screen, 
type MODE CO80 and press Enter.

You can boot directly to MS-DOS every time you start your computer. All 
it takes is a simple change to the MSDOS.SYS file. (You'll need to remove 
MSDOS.SYS's Hidden and Read-only attributes first. In an Explorer window, 
find MSDOS.SYS [right on your hard drive]; right-mouse click it and 
select Properties; deselect Hidden and Read-only; and click OK. (And of 
course, use the reverse technique to reapply these attributes
when you're done.)

Open MSDOS.SYS in Notepad. Find the line that reads BootGUI=1, and change 
it to BootGUI=0. Select Save under the File menu, reboot your computer, 
and it's DOS-ville all the way. To start Windows 95, just type WIN.

If you're a keyboard person and a mousephobe, you'll be happy to know 
there's a keyboard equivalent to pressing the right mouse button: with an 
item selected, press Shif+F10. Once the context menu is expanded, just 
use your up or down cursor
keys to highlight the command you want, then press Enter.

And here's another keyboard tip: In an open window, pressing F10 shifts 
the cursors focus to the first menu (typically, File).  Press the down 
cursor key to expand the highlighted menu, or press the left or right 
cursor keys to select another menu.

In our next tip, we'll show you how to minimize a single open window or 
all open windows using the mouse.

In our last tip, we showed you that Shift+F10 is the equivalent of 
pressing the right mouse button, and that F10 moves the cursor's focus to 
a window's first menu (File). We've got another keyboard shortcut for 
you. Tired of clicking that straight-line caption button every time you 
want to minimize a window? Press Alt+Spacebard+N instead.

To minimize all open windows, press Ctrl_Esc (to open the Start menu) 
then Esc (to close it), and finally, press Alt+M. It seems like a lot of 
steps, but after a couple of times, you'll get the hang of it.

Want to restart Explorer? You could do it by restarting Windows 95 
(select Start, Shut Down, select "Restart the computer," and then hold 
down Shift while clicking Yes) but there's an even faster way.

Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to open the End Task dialog box. Select Explorer, 
click End Task, and when you're asked if you want to shut down, click No. 
After a short wait, you'll be presented with an Explorer dialog box. 
Click End Task, and Explorer is
officially restarted.

In our last tip, we pointed out that ZIP files and video files (such as 
*.AVI files) take up loads of hard disk space, so they're a good place to 
start when trying to recover space. We
should mention another culprit--bitmaps (*.BMP). If you do a lot of 
Paint-ing--for example, you draw your own wallpaper--you need to be 
especially careful. It's easy to save four or five different versions of 
the same picture, then forget about them.
Search your system for extraneous bitmaps and delete them, or at least 
save them in a more efficient format, such as *.GIF or 

We receive a lot of requests for tips on freeing up hard disk space. One 
suggestion is to search your system for *.zip and *.avi files (and other 
types of video files you might have), and delete the ones you dont need. 
ZIP files are typically left over from Internet downloads. Once an 
application is installed, you probably dont need the ZIP file it was 
packaged in (unless its something you know youll need to reinstall).

Video files (*.avi) also take up quite a bit of space. For example, you 
can regain 7 MB of precious space by deleting the *.avi files from your 
c:\Windows\Help folder.

When you installed Windows 95, you entered your name and organization. 
You can change this registered user information using the Registry 
Editor. (As always, back up the Registry before making this change.)

Click Start, select Run, type "regedit" and click OK to open the Registry 
Editor. Navigate your way to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\ 
CurrentVersion. In the right pane, you'll notice RegisteredOrganization 
and RegisteredOwner string values (among others). To change one of these 
values, right-mouse click it, select Modify, and type new information on 
the Value data line. Click OK and close the Registry Editor.

If you frequently open the Device Manager, place a shortcut to it right 
on your Start menu for one-click access. It beats having to open the 
Control Panel, double-click System and select the Device Manager tab 
every time.

Right-mouse click the Start button and select Open to open the Start Menu 
folder. Right-mouse click inside the window, select New, then select 

Next to Command Line, type exactly: 

C:\WINDOWS\CONTROL.EXE Sysdm.cpl, System,1

where c:\Windows is your Windows 95 directory. Click the Next button, 
name the shortcut Device Manager, and click Finish. The next time you 
want to open the Device Manager, click Start and select your new 

If you're working in a Windows 95-savvy application, such as Microsoft 
Word 7.0, you can manage your files right from its Save As or Open dialog 
box. Try it to see what we mean. Open up either one of these dialog boxes 
and right-mouse click a file.
You'll see all the commands you would see if you right-mouse clicked the 
file on the desktop or in an Explorer window. For example, you can delete 
or rename files, all without ever leaving your application!

When you click Start, select Find, then choose Files and Folders from the 
popup menu, Find opens with its focus on your hard drive. If you want to 
narrow your search, you then
have to click Browse, navigate your way to the folder you have in mind, 
click OK, and so on.

Why not start your search from the right location the first time around? 
In an Explorer or My Computer window, right-mouse click the folder you 
want to search and select Find. The Find dialog box opens with its focus 
on that folder.

You can change the icons that Windows 95 uses to represent the Recycle 
Bin when it's full or empty. All it takes is a quick trip to the 
Registry. (As always, we recommend backing up the
Registry first)

Open the Registry Editor (select Start, Run, type "regedit," and click 
OK) and navigate your way to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\ 
{645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}\ DefaultIcon. Right-mouse click 
"empty" in the right pane; select
Modify; and on the Value data line, type the path and number of the icon 
you want to use for an empty Recycle Bin using the following format: 
"path, ##." For example, if you were using the seventeenth icon in the 
c:\Windows\System\Pifmgr.dll file (the
red crayon and paper), you would type:

c:\Windows\System\Pifmgr.dll, 16                  

(Why 16? Because the numbering in an icon file always starts with 0.) 
Click OK and repeat these steps for the "Full" string value, assuming you 
want to change that icon as well. Close the Registry Editor.

To see your icon changes in effect, send any item to the Recycle Bin (to 
display the Full icon). Then empty the Recycle Bin (to display the Empty 

As you use Windows 95 and the applications on your system, temporary 
files (*.TMP) are created for various purposes. During the Windows 95 
shut down, most of these files are deleted, but inevitably some get left 
behind. These stragglers
take up disk space and aren't necessary to the proper functioning of your 
system. Delete them to recover valuable disk space.

First locate all the .TMP files on your system: Click Start, select Find, 
then choose Files or Folders in the popup list; type "*.TMP" on the Named 
line; select the drive you want to search; and click Find Now. When Find 
comes back with a list of all the
.TMP files, sort them by date (View|Arrange Icons|by Date) and delete all 
but those dated today.

In an open Explorer or My Computer window, you can jump to your file or 
folder of choice by typing its first few letters. The trick is not to 
type too slowly. If you do, you'll end up at the first file or folder 
that starts with the first letter you type, then the
first file or folder that starts with the second letter you type, and so 
on. But if you type fast, Windows 95 reads the whole combination of 
letters together.

Are there applications in the Install/Uninstall list (in the Add/Remove 
Programs Properties dialog box) that you've
already deleted from your system? Or that, when you select them and click 
the Add/Remove button, give you a message that the uninstallation can't 
proceed? Sure, you could leave them there and forget about them, but if 
you like to keep things
neat and tidy, you'll be happy to know you can remove unwanted items from 
this list.

The easiest way to remove items is using Tweak UI, one of the Microsoft 
PowerToys. (Point your web browser to and follow the 
Download Instructions.) Assuming they're installed, in the Control Panel, 
double-click Tweak UI. On the Add/Remove tab, select an item you want to 
remove and click Remove.

If you don't have Tweak UI, you can remove items from the 
Install/Uninstall list by editing the Windows 95 Registry. (As always, 
back it up first.) Open the Registry Editor--select Start, Run, type 
"regedit" and click OK--and navigate your way to

HKEY_LOCAL MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall

Under the Uninstall key, right-mouse click the item you want to get rid 
of, and select Delete. Click Yes to confirm, then repeat these steps to 
delete other items.

When you're finished, close the Registry Editor. The next time you open 
the Add/Remove Programs Properties dialog box, you'll find that those 
unwanted items are gone.

See those three buttons at the top right of every Windows 95 window that 
allow you to minimize, restore (up or down), or close a window? If you 
find them a little too small to grab onto, you can change their size.

Right-mouse click the desktop and select Properties to open the Display 
Properties dialog box. Click the Appearance tab, and in the Item list, 
select Caption Buttons (or click any
caption button in the preview). Adjust its Size, and watch the preview to 
see the resulting buttons. When you like what you see, click Apply or OK. 
(Note: Changes affect the Taskbar, too.)

Does your system display an arrow that points to your Start button, with 
a "Click on Start to begin" message, every time you start Windows 95? 
With a little Registry editing, you can turn off this annoying reminder. 
(Remember, back up the
Registry before you follow this technique.)

First, open the Registry Editor by selecting Run in the Start Menu, then 
type "regedit," and click OK. Navigate your way to 
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer. Right-mouse click a blank area in the right pane, select New, then select Binary Value in the popup menu. Name the new item NoStartBanner.

Right-mouse click NoStartBanner and select Modify to open the Edit Binary 
Value dialog box. The cursor will appear after the four zeros under Value 
data. Type "01 00 00 00." (No spaces, quotes or period--Windows puts in 
the spaces for you automatically.)Click OK. Close the Registry Editor, 
restart Windows 95, and that annoying arrow and message are gone!

You can turn the icons that represent bitmap files into the bitmaps 
themselves. Then, even if you can't tell a bitmap's identity by its name, 
you can certainly tell it by its icon. (This tip involves editing the 
Windows 95 Registry. As always, we
recommend making a backup before proceeding.)

Open the Registry Editor (click Start, select Run, type "regedit," and 
click OK) and navigate your way to 
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Paint.Picture\DefaultIcon. In the right
pane, right-mouse click Default (under Name) and select Modify. Replace 
all of the text on the Value data line with "%1" (with no quotes). Click 
OK and close the Registry Editor.

There's no need to restart Windows 95. Open a folder that includes bitmap 
file icons, and you'll see that each icon looks like the bitmap file it 
represents. (Note: The quality of the icons will vary depending on your 
color palette setting, but at least
you'll have an idea of what's what.)  

When you double-click a folder, it opens in a regular window view. But if 
you prefer, you can make every folder open in an Explorer view.

In an Explorer or My Computer window, select Options under View and click 
the File Types tab. Select Folder in the list of Registered file types, 
then click the Edit button. Select Explore in the Actions list, click the 
Set Default button, and click Close.
Click Close one more time and go try out your change--double-click any 
folder and its contents appear in an Explorer view.
(Note: To open a folder in a regular window view, right-mouse
click it and select Open.)

If you never, ever retrieve items from the Recycle Bin, you may want to 
disable it altogether. Once you do, you'll never have to worry about 
emptying it again. (Of course, the trade-off is that
you don't have a safety net in the event that you delete something 

Right-mouse click the Recycle Bin, select Properties and select "Do not 
move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately upon delete."  
Click OK.

When you right-mouse click the desktop or a window and select New, 
Windows 95 presents you with a menu of file types for which you can 
create a new item. Is there an item there that refers to an application 
you don't even have on your system anymore? Then remove it from the list.

In a My Computer or Explorer window, select Options under the View menu 
and click the File Types tab. Scroll through the list of Registered file 
types, select the one that refers to the item you want to remove from the 
New list, and click Remove.
Click Yes to confirm, click Close, and go check out your revised New list.

If you've just completed a Find that you know you'll need again, keep it 
around for future use. It's a lot quicker than having to type in all 
those conditions again.

Once you've completed your search, pull down the File menu and choose 
Save Search. Doing so places an icon that represents that find on the 
desktop. (Of course, you can move it wherever you want, such as into a 
folder you've set up just for finds.)

To conduct the same search in the future, double-click the shortcut. Find 
will open with all the conditions set--all you have to do is click Find Now.

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 "LOGO=0" 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

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 
(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.)

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!

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.

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!

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.

If you want to see how much space is left on your hard drive, there are a 
few places you can look. One, you can open a My Computer window and 
select yourhard 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.

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 

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.

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 exactlyyour 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}

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.

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.

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!

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 wallpaper. 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.)

Do you often get a busy signal when you try to connect to your Internet 
service provider? As long as the connection was initiated by you (as 
opposed to an automatic dialing response from an application, such as 
your Web browser), Dial-Up Networking will
redial the number if it can't connect the first time. This feature saves 
you from having to attempt the connection again manually.

Open up My Computer and double-click Dial-Up Networking. Select Settings 
in the Connections menu, and select Redial. Fill in the Between tries 
wait option to set the timing between each redial, then select a number 
next to Before giving up retry. Click OK to make the settings stick.

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!

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 

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.

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 

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.

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 disk.)

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 

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 disk.)

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 

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.)

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.

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.)

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."

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 access to a 
network, save the files there instead.)

Know how to change the name of your Recycle Bin? Right-mouse click it, 
choose Re--oops, no Rename command. But that doesn't mean it can't be 
done. You'll just need to venture into the Registry. (As always, back up 
the Registry before
making any changes to it.)

First, open the Registry Editor: Choose Run on the Start menu, type 
"regedit" and click OK. Select Find under Edit, type "Recycle Bin" on the 
Find What line, and click Find
Next. When the finder stops, right-mouse click the highlighted item in 
the right pane and choose Modify. In the Edit String dialog box, 
highlight only the words "Recycle Bin"
on the Value data line (even if they're within a long line of words), and 
replace them with the name you want to use.
Click OK, hit F3 (or choose Find Next under Edit), and repeat these steps 
as the finder continues to locate instances of "Recycle Bin."

Eventually (somewhere around eight to 10 changes later), you'll see a 
dialog box telling you it's finished searching the Registry. Close the 
Registry Editor, then hit F5 to refresh the desktop. And there's your new 

When you choose Help in the Windows 95 Start menu, you see a dialog box 
with three tabs--Contents, Index, and Find. Most likely, you click the 
Index tab, enter the topic you're searching for, and hope that it's in 
the list. But often, it isn't. Windows 95 Help offers another feature 
that lets you search by keyword, called Find. Just enter a
word, and as long as the word appears in a Help topic, Windows "Finds" it 
for you.

If you've never used Find before, you'll need to set it up. Click the 
Find tab and select one of the three setup options (we chose minimized 
database, as recommended). Click Next, and wait a few minutes as Windows 
95 sets up your new index. When it finishes, try
Find-ing what you're looking for by following the three steps Find gives you.

If you need to copy a file or folder, or lots of them, from your hard 
drive to a floppy, the Send To command offers the quickest route.
Right-mouse click the file(s) or folder(s) you need to copy, select Send 
To and then select your floppy drive in the popup menu (making sure 
there's a disk in the drive, of course!).

The next time you want to change your system's volume, don't waste time 
opening the Control Panel, double-clicking Multimedia, and adjusting the 
volume on the Audio tab. The control you need is right inside that little 
yellow speaker on the Taskbar. Click it once to access volume control, or 
for a full-featured control panel, right-
mouse click the speaker and choose Volume Controls.

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.

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.)

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.

When you choose Start|Programs|MS-DOS Prompt, DOS opens in a Windows 95 
window, complete with borders and a toolbar across the top. (Note: If you 
don't see the toolbar, click the MS-DOS icon in the upper-left corner of 
the screen and select Toolbar.) If you prefer to work in the 
old-fashioned DOS view -- nothing on screen but text and
darkness -- press Alt+Enter on your keyboard. You're still running DOS 
under Windows 95; it just doesn't look that way. If and when you want to 
return to the window view, press the same keyboard combo.

Want something more than a sound to play every time you start Windows 95? 
Then start off with your favorite jingle (*.MID file).

First, make sure that no sound is set to play upon starting Windows 95. 
Open the Control Panel, double-click Sounds, select the Start Windows 
event, and select None in the list of sounds under Name.

Then add a shortcut to the jingle you have in mind to the StartUp folder.

Right-mouse click the shortcut, choose Properties, and click the Shortcut 
tab. On the Target line, the path should read:
"c:\windows\mplayer.exe /play /close c:\windows\jingle.mid" (where C is 
your Windows drive and jingle is the name of the midi file you want to 
play). Click OK, rename the shortcut, if you wish, and restart Windows 95 
to test it out.

There are a number of ways to reboot your computer: Press Ctrl+Alt+Del 
twice, press the Restart button on your system (you know where it is), or 
choose Start|Shut Down, select Restart the computer, and click OK. But 
did you know you can restart Windows 95 without rebooting your entire 
system? (This trick comes in handy after making Registry changes for 
which you need to restart Windows 95.) Choose Start|Shut Down, select 
Restart the computer, then--and here's the trick--hold down Shift as you 
click OK.

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.

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 palettes.

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.

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