CAUTION: DO TRY THIS AT HOME!
Customize Your Desktop and “Look” of Windows: Don’t think you are stuck with that baby poop teal green desktop! You can move your taskbar (at the bottom of the screen) to a side or the top just by putting the arrow over a blank spot and dragging it somewhere else. To change the desktop color: Start/Settings/control Panel/Display/Appearance. In the middle bar, find desktop. Select your color in the little color spot to the right.
Tired of trying to aim and click on tiny little X’s in the corner? No problem! Follow the instructions as above. Click on one of the bars in the window. Down below, change the font to 12 and the “Active Bar” to 30 or maybe 33.
For a maximum desktop, you need to get rid of the taskbar. Go to Start/Settings/Taskbar. Unclick everything on the “Taskbar Options” except the clock. Leave that clicked on with a check mark. Now that you’ve gotten rid of the taskbar - uh oh - you can’t access it easily. No problem! You need a keyboard with “Windows” keys. When you hit that key, your taskbar will appear!
Put the things you use a lot onto the desktop by dragging or copying the Shortcut to Windows/Desktop. Can’t find the Desktop folder? That’s because it is hidden (duh!) In Windows Explorer, click on View/Options. Click Show All.
Put a few essential tools on the Start menu, especially if you are hiding the taskbar. This way, when you are in a full screen you can click on the Windows key and you can select things like your word processor, Netscape, and Notepad without going back to your desktop. Oh, and put your Desktop folder on it too, to access all of the other things. All you need to do is go to Windows/Start Menu. Delete, copy and paste shortcuts as you wish.
Get to “System Properties” Directly: Using a Windows keyboard, press the Windows key simultaneously with the Pause/Break key. Poof!
DELETE a File, Not Send to Recycle Bin: Highlight the file. Right click your mouse. Slide down to Delete, but before clicking on it, press your Shift key. It’s, like, gone, forever! Use carefully!
Watching Your Resources: Go to Start/Programs/Accessories/System Tools. Select "Resource Meter." Ignore the warning. From now on the Resource Meter will be in your System Tray, letting you keep tabs on your Windows resources.
Honk if you Love Caps!: Ever accidently turn on your Caps Lock, or wonder if you did it when you think you did? Bill does alright here! In Control Panel/Accessibility Options, look for and click on Toggle keys. Now a little beep sounds when you successfully - or accidentally - engage Caps Lock. A slightly different beep indicates turning the lock off.
Keep Those Notes!: Make a folder under “My Documents” or wherever you would like, labeled “Notes”. (Or whatever you would like to call the folder.) This is where you will keep those little files known as, well, notes. Isn’t this logical? Click Start/Programs/Accessories/Notepad. Type anything, even one letter into the window. Click File. Choose Save As. In the field, type in “Notes to Keep” or any other creative - but memorable - name you wish to call the file. Now, using the right mouse button, select "Send To", the "Desktop". You will now have a shortcut on your desktop for easy access.
The Best Windows is not made by Microsoft! Yes, Virginia, there is goodness and light shining upon the evil Windows empire, exposing greed, stupidity, and sinister intent in the glare. You must travel via the Internet to far off Australia and kneel before the Master, Shane Brooks. Master Shane will sanctify and justify your sinful Windows 98 operating system to behave (more or less) as it was before the fall from Grace, when Greed supplanted Quality. Remove that original sin, Internet Explorer 4 from Windows 98! Even you can do what The Evil Empire testified to the Justice Department as being impossible! Heal your 98, child, and dance again to 95's faster, simpler kernel.
If, indeed, the best things in life are free, this is a perfect example. Visit http://www.litepc.com soon, read the Gospel of Shane, download his free blessing, and know what it is to be whole, child! And for a mere $25 offering, you can re-install Windows 98 as (Hallelujah! Hallelujah!) Win98lite Micro. Only 70-80 MB, it is ideal for cramped hard drives. If you want to see what your computer will perform like with a processor running three times as fast, try Micro! So many non-essentials never get loaded into memory that your system will think it’s on a triple steroid latte’. Update: Shane has new products, including for XP, new pricing, new freeware from what I'm saying. Go to the site.
Seriously, I cannot say enough good things about Shane Brooks and his Windows chop busting software. Hey! This guy isn’t even a computer programmer! He’s a biologist. But Bill and his lawerly lackies said it couldn’t be done. Liar, liar, Microsoft’s on fire.
Real Help is Only a Click Away: The very best Windows Internet help source is http://www.geocities.com/budallen98_98/ Put it in your Netscape or Internet Explorer bookmarks. Don’t ever lose it! Bud Allen IS my bud! Update: Windows 98 only
“I know that files is here someplace....”: Can’t find that file that, for instance, starts the Windows Paint program? Go into Exploring Windows. Tap Control+F. Select the highest level of the hard drive that you think the file may be under, i.e., Windows only? The whole drive? Type in (without quotes) “*word*.*”, where “Word” is the word in the filename you are looking for. For instance, in our “Paint” example: “*paint*.*”. The Find function will now look for any file with “Paint” in its name in any position left of the dot! Update: "Wilbur" is the coolest hard drive indexer you ever saw. It won't search for file names, but it will index the content of every file with text in your computer! Can't remember what file had the suject of "hippopotamus" in it? Wilbur has it instantly!
Internet Exploiter Detritus: Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) versions 4 and 5 leave garbage strewn throughout your hard drive after installation. This is known as “Sloppy Programming”. If any other company did it, their products would be rejected in the marketplace. For instance, IE makes new directories with one item in it you will never use and it drops files all over the barnyard. You get rid of this manure by using the Windows Explorer Ctrl+F function as explained above. Type in “*IE4*.*” with the selected place to look being your whole hard drive. If using version 5, change the command accordingly. WOW! Look at all those files! Do NOT delete any “exe” files unless you will not use IE! Click “Edit”, “Select All”, find any “exe” files and unselect them by holding “Control” and left clicking them, right click “Delete”. You will also have to make an intensive investigation of your hard drive to find other chicken bones for IE that do NOT use “IE” with them. Happy hunting! If you are REALLY advanced, you must do the same searching in your Registry to locate and delete the entries, but that’s a another topic.
“Where is that password?” Make a Notepad file for jotting all those odds and ends pieces of information that always seem to get lost. I call mine “Notes To Keep” (duh!). I keep a shortcut on my desktop for rapid access. You can Copy whatever you want from another document and Paste it right into Notepad. You can even Date/Time stamp it if you want. Don’t forget to tell yourself what it is you are Pasting (a password without a matching program is not worth much!)!
Quick Windows Explorer: Hold down the Shift key, double click on “My Computer”. You are at Windows Explorer! Far better is to just put an icon for Explorer on the desktop. Another Micromush logical oversight.
Bring me your faxes! Even with a good modem and software that enables you to receive faxes, you have to leave your computer on all of the time. And then you also have the human/computer argument about who answers the phone. The solution is E-Fax and it is free! (You must have an email account somewhere.) Go to www.efax.com and download the free software. Install it. You will be given a phone number - it’s in Massachusetts - that anyone can fax to. Then next time you access your email there will be one from Efax that contains whatever someone sent you. It works great!
Out, Damned Scandisk! Madam Macbeth had to contend with blood, you have to contend with Windows 98 (not 95) automatically running Scandisk upon reboot if you shut it off “improperly”. You can avoid this time waster and do it yourself occasionally when YOU decide, not Bill. The secret is in a file called msdos.sys in your root directory. You can also get rid of that nauseating Windows logo on startup with a real screen of information. This is true for 95 or 95. There are other msdos.sys tricks, but those are the most useful.
Here’s how to do it. First, just to be safe, copy msdos.sys onto a floppy. That’s a backup incase you mess up, although you’ll have to make the fix in DOS. While you are in Windows Explorer, left click onto msdos.sys, making it dark. Right click on it. At the bottom of the list is Properties. Left click on that. The box that appears shows attributes of msdos.sys. Unclick all of the checks. Click on OK. This allows you to modify the file! Now find your MS-DOS icon and open MS-DOS. Generally, it is to be found under Start/Programs and near the end of the list. Type in “Edit c:\msdos.sys” (without quotes). Wow, will you lookee here! Near the top is information that tells Windows where to find itself and other things! What you are interested in is under “Options”. See that line, “Autoscan”? Change to 1 to a 0 (Zero, not the letter). Do the same for “Logo”.
Here is what my msdos.sys looks like under Options:
Pretty cool, huh? If you change “BootGUI” to zero, the boot process will stop at the C prompt.
I command you to show me every directory one page at a time. In order! If you are tired of having to add the /o and /p switches to the DOS “dir” command in order to make it usable, open your “autoexec.bat” file. Add a line at the end: SET DIRCMD=dir /o /p. Now every time your computer boots it will load this information and whenever you type in “dir” those dastardly /o and /p switches are set automatically. Why didn’t Bill do this as default?
Simply, My Favorite Site: (Not a tip on Windows!) Everyday a new photo and explanation about our incredible universe is found at http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html. Put this baby on your Personal Toolbar! Cruise around the site and you can access hundreds of cool space photos in the archives. Blast off to the rings of Saturn or just look at the night lights of the good old USA from an orbiting satellite. Humbling.