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Windows 98 Tips and Tricks

More Windows 98 Tips

Icons, Icons Everywhere

   You have hundreds, possibly thousands of DLL, or "dynamic link library," files on your computer. Many of them contain cool icons you can use with any shortcut on your computer. Here's how to find them. First, let's tweak the Registry to make DLLs that contain icons identify themselves. Launch the Registry Editor(Start/Run.../regedit) and drill down to the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\dllfile\DefaultIcon item. Double-click on the word "Default" in the right pane. In the Value data box, you'll see a long string of characters. Select and delete the whole string, and in its place add a percent sign followed by the number 1 just like this: "%1" (without the quote marks). Click OK, close the Registry and reboot. Now, use Find to search your computer for all DLL files (*.DLL). Select "Large Icons" from Find's View menu. You'll see that the DLLs listed in the window that have icons display one of them as the icon for the DLL file. Write down the files that contain icons and make a note of the folder they're in. To assign these icons to shortcuts, right-click on the shortcut, select Properties and, on the Shortcut tab, click on the Change Icon button. Type the path and filename in the Change Icon "File name" box. All icons in the DLL will be displayed in the Current icon window. Choose the one you want, click OK, then OK again.

One-click Shut-Down

   Create a new shortcut. Type in the path as: X:\windows\rundll.exe user.exe,exitwindows. X is your local hard drive replace it with the correct letter. Place this on the desktop(than you can drag it on to the quick launch bar). Now, whenever you want to exit, click on this shortcut and you are off. No menus and no 'black curtain' screen with it. Also to make life even easier you can add a shortcut key(s) by right-clicking on the shortcut and going to properties and type the key(s) in the Shortcut Key box.

One-click Restart

   Create a shortcut on the desktop with the path: X:\windows\rundll.exe user.exe,exitwindowsexec.  X is your local hard drive replace it with the correct letter. Also to make life even easier you can add a shortcut key(s) by right-clicking on the shortcut and going to properties and type the key(s) in the Shortcut Key box.

Add Sounds to Application Events
   Windows comes with a bunch of sound events where a wav file will play when an action is done. If you want to add sound events to program actions, you have to crank up  the  registry  editor (Start/Run.../regedit)   and  go  to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\AppEvents\Schemes\Apps There are two folders, .Default and Explorer. Right-click on Apps and Choose New/Key. The name of the key must be the name of the .EXE file you want sounds for(Example: Iexplore for Internet Explorer). For better reading change the key Default from "none" to the name of the application. Right-click on the key you created and choose New/Key named Open . Create another new key name called Close Go to Control Panel/ Sounds. There is a new item and two subitems, Open Program and Close Program, for the program you just added to the registry. Add sound files to them. The next time you start/close the EXE file the sound will play.

   Remember Clipbook from Win95? Windows 98's ClipTray applet takes this functionality one step further. You insert a ClipTray entry using a pop-up menu that sits in the tray of your Taskbar. ClipTray is part of the Windows 98 Resource Kit Sampler, located on your installation CD. If you've installed the entire sampler (by running setup.exe in the CD's tools\reskit folder), you can start ClipTray as follows: Select Start, Programs, Windows 98 Resource Kit, Tools Management Console; click Close to exit the Tip of the Day; navigate your way to Tool Categories\Desktop Tools; then double-click ClipTray in the right pane. If you prefer to install only ClipTray, copy the three ClipTray files from the installation CD's tools\reskit\desktop folder to your location of choice. To run ClipTray, double-click ClipTray.exe. Using ClipTray is a piece of cake. Let's assume you have a paragraph of text on the currently active Word document that you want to be able to paste into multiple documents. Assuming ClipTray is already running (its icon will appear in the tray of your Taskbar), select this text and press Ctrl-C (or select Word's Edit, Copy command). Click the ClipTray icon, select Add, type a name for the entry--such as "letter closing"--click the Paste button, then click Close. Whenever you want to insert that exact paragraph, click the ClipTray icon and in the pop-up menu, select that entry by name. The paragraph is now on the Windows Clipboard. Place the cursor where you want the text, press Ctrl-V (or select Edit, Paste), and it's in there!
   If you have a whole slew of ClipTray entries, the list that appears when you right-mouse-click the ClipTray icon (in the tray of your Taskbar) will be quite long. And unless you have a very good memory, you may forget exactly what's what, even if you've used what you think are descriptive names. To eliminate any confusion, turn on Preview Mode: Right-mouse-click the ClipTray icon, select Options, then select Preview Mode. Now, right-mouse-clicking the ClipTray icon and selecting an entry presents a preview of that entry. If it's the right one, click OK and go ahead with the paste. If not, click OK and preview another entry until you find it. (from Stefan98.com)

Registry Backups

  • By default, Windows 98 keeps five most recent backups of your Registry. You can increase this number to a number of your choice. Look for the SCANREG.INI file, open it and change the value of "MaxBackupCopies=" from 5 to the number of your choice.
  • You can even add files of your choice to the backup. To specify the files open SCANREG.INI and add the line "Files=" followed by the folder code and filename, separated by a comma. ( 30 for the root directory, 20 for the Windows directory, 11 for the System directory).

Enable Thumbnail View

  • By default, thumbnail view is disabled in Windows 98, To enable it for a certain folder, right-click on that folder and select Properties, click on the "Enable Thumbnail View" box. Now, select View/Thumbnails within the folder to view files as thumbnails.

Close without Restart

  • If you need to close all your programs and start them again quickly, the easiest and fastest way is to select Start/Log Off. This will close and relauch Windows without rebooting your PC.

Customize your desktop

  • Customize the Channel bar on the Active Desktop by dragging your own links onto it or by deleting unwanted items.
  • You can view any folder contents from the Active Desktop. For example, to view your root directory on your desktop, right-click on the desktop and select Active Desktop/Customize my Desktop. Click on New and select No when it prompts you to visit the Active Gallery. Under location, type c:\ and press Enter. Now your root drive appears on your desktop.
  • You can add toolbars for any folder to your taskbar or desktop. Right-Click on the Taskbar and select Toolbars/New Toolbar. Choose the folder you want and press OK. To move the toolbar to any part of your screen drag its title to the place you like.

Valuable Tools

  • Microsoft System Information: Gathers and displays detailed system configuration information. To start Microsoft System Information go to Start /Programs /Accessories/System Tools/System Information.
  • System File Checker: Watches over critical system files; if any are moved, overwritten or deleted, lets you restore them from the CD. To start this tool open Microsoft System Information and select System File Checker from the Tools menu.
  • Registry Checker: Finds and resolves Registry problems, and regularly backs up the Registry, keeping five backups. Registry Checker runs automatically when Windows starts, but you can run it manually by selecting it from the Tools menu in Microsoft System Information.
  • System Configuration Utility: A new version of the old SYSEDIT which lets you troubleshoot system problems, create and restore configuration file backups. The tool can be started from Microsoft System Information.
  • Version Conflict Manager: Detects whether file version conflicts exist among installed drivers and programs; can reinstall the Win98 version of a driver. Start from Microsoft System Information's Tools menu.

WinKey keyboard shortcuts

  • Open an Explorer windows : Winkey + E
  • Open the Run dialog : Winkey + R
  • Open the System Properties : Winkey + Pause
  • Find Files or Folders : Winkey + F
  • Find Computer : Winkey + Ctrl + F
  • Minimize all open windows : Winkey + M
  • Undo minimize all open windows : Winkey + Shift + M
  • Show/Hide Desktop : Winkey + D
  • Cycle through taskbar program buttons : Winkey + Tab
  • Open Windows Help : Winkey + F1

Cool Icons

For some real Kickass icons go to Display Properties/Effects/Change Icon and in the address bar type (your local hard drive may be different but is represented by a C)  C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\COOL.DLL, C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\SHELL32.DLL, C:\Windows\explorer.exe, C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\Iexplore.exe, or C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\PIFMGR.DLL. 

How do I find out what's been downloaded on my computer from Windows Update?

The update manager and the Windows Update Web site keep a log of each update and automatically detect which ones you haven’t yet installed. If you want to see (or uninstall) your installed options:

  1. From the Windows Update home page, click Product Updates.
  2. Click Show All. You’ll see Already Installed to the right of installed options and, for those options that have it, an Uninstall button.
  3. Click Download History to see the log of downloads for your computer.
Q: How do I turn on Thumbnail View?

A: In Windows Explorer, the default View menu gives you four options: Large Icons, Small Icons, List, or Details. There is a fifth view called Thumbnails, which shows miniature images of graphics files (such as Microsoft PowerPoint« presentations, Web documents, and other file types) in an Explorer window. To enable thumbnails for a folder:

  1. Right-click the folder and click Properties.
  2. Select Enable thumbnail view.
  3. When you open the folder in Windows Explorer, from the View menu, click Thumbnail View.

Q: Can I set my windows so they all have the same view?

A: Yes. In any open folder window:

  1. Set View options the way you want them to be for all folders (for example, Details and Arrange Icons By Date).
  2. From the View menu, click Folder Options.
  3. Click the View tab.
  4. Click Like Current Folder, click Yes to confirm, and click OK.
Save power with Windows 98 Power Schemes.

Many newer computers support power schemes, which allow you to turn off your monitor and hard disk, and put your computer on standby. For laptops, power schemes allow you to select different settings for when you’re plugged in and when you’re running on batteries. To set power schemes:

  1. From the Start menu, point to Settings and click Control Panel.
  2. Open Power Management.
  3. Click the Power Schemes tab.
  4. Select a power scheme and make adjustments to the preset options.
  5. Click Apply and then OK.
Free up to 1 MB of disk space by removing Online Services.

To give you freedom of choice, Windows 98 installs a desktop shortcut and files for you to set up several popular national online services. But once you’ve chosen and installed the one (or more) that you want, free up disk space by removing the rest (every little bit of extra disk space helps). To remove online services, first drag the Online Services desktop shortcut to the Recycle Bin and then:

  1. From the Control Panel, open Add/Remove Programs.
  2. Click the Windows Setup tab.
  3. Select Online Services and click Details.
  4. Clear the services you don’t want and click OK.
  5. Click Apply and then OK.
Use TweakUI for advanced desktop customization.

TweakUI (short for "tweak user interface") is a utility that allows you to change desktop settings beyond the basic. It gives you control over animation, desktop icons that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to modify (such as the Recycle Bin and Network Neighborhood), the mouse, Explorer windows, and other desktop features. It is available on the Windows 98 CD, but not automatically installed. To install TweakUI:

  1. Open the Windows 98 CD in My Computer and locate the Tools/Reskit/Powertoy folder.
  2. Right-click tweakui.inf and click Install.

Once installed, to use the program, open TweakUI from the Control Panel.

Keep important system files in working order.

If Windows 98 isn’t operating the way you think it should, there’s a handy utility called System File Checker that sifts through vital system files and informs you of the ones not installed correctly or corrupted. System File Checker restores files with a backup for what it replaces. Best of all, you can customize System File Checker to monitor your important files. To start System File Checker:

  1. Click Start, point to Programs, Accessories, and System Tools, and click System Information.
  2. From the Tools menu, click System File Checker.
  3. Select Scan for altered files and click Start.
Get a magnified view of all you do.

If you have trouble seeing small icons, text, and windows on your screen, new Windows Accessibility Wizard can be of great benefit. You can set your menus, windows, and icons to default to a larger size. Also, the Microsoft Magnifier can show you a magnified view of the area where your cursor is scrolling at the top of the screen. Click Start, point to Programs, Accessories, and Accessibility, and click Accessibility Wizard. Then follow the instructions in the wizard.

NOTE: If you don’t see Accessibility Wizard, it’s not installed. To install the wizard, insert your Windows 98 CD and follow these steps:

  1. From the Control Panel, open Add/Remove Programs.
  2. Click the Windows Setup tab.
  3. Select Accessibility and click Details.
  4. Select Accessibility Tools, and click Apply and OK.
  5. Restart your computer to make the change take effect.
Q: How do I run the maintenance wizard?

A: When you first install Windows 98, you should get a prompt to set up the maintenance wizard for the first time, setting the schedule for when you want your PC to automatically perform ScanDisk, Disk Defragmenter, and Disk Cleanup. If not, or if you want to run it another time:

  1. Click Start, point to Programs, Accessories, and System Tools, and click Maintenance Wizard.
  2. Select Perform Maintenance Now and click OK.
Monitor the use of your computer on the network.

Windows 98 comes with a system tool called Net Watcher. You can keep track of who is using files on your computer and which files they have open and for how long. You can view sharing permissions for your computer’s drives and folders, monitor usage on a different computer, or disconnect users from your computer. To use Net Watcher, click Start, point to Settings, Programs, Accessories, and System Tools, and click Net Watcher.

NOTE: If Net Watcher is not installed, open Add/Remove Programs from the Control Panel, click the Windows Setup tab, and select System Tools to install.

Q: Dial-Up Networking is not remembering my password. What do I do?

A: Most likely, the Microsoft Network Client is not installed. To install it, have your Windows 98 CD handy and:

  1. From the Control Panel, open Network.
  2. On the Configuration tab, click Add and then Client.
  3. Click Add again.
  4. Select Microsoft in the vendor list on the left and Client for Microsoft Networks on the right, and click OK to install.
  5. After installation, choose Client for Microsoft Networks as your Primary Network Logon and click OK.

Q: Why is there a Log Off command on the Start menu?

A: If your computer is part of a network, logging off and back on for different users helps keep network security tight. If your computer is a stand-alone home PC, you can get rid of the Log Off option:

  1. Install TweakUI (see tip above).
  2. From the Control Panel, open TweakUI.
  3. Click the IE4 tab.
  4. Clear Allow logoff, click OK, and restart to make the change take effect.

Maximize your browser window by putting all toolbars on one line.

The Menu bar, Links bar, and Address bar added to your toolbar in Microsoft Internet Explorer can take up too much screen real estate. For more space, close any bar (right-click any free space in the bar and clear the one you want to remove). If you want to use a bar but not have it take up so much space, move it to the toolbar line:

  1. Point to the vertical line on the left side of the bar you want to move.
  2. When the cursor changes to a double-headed arrow, click and drag the toolbar up to the top line.

When you want to use one of the bars, double-click the same vertical line and that bar will expand. Double-click it again to collapse it.

Q: Is there a keyboard shortcut to maximize the browser window?

A: Yes, there’s a single keystroke — the F11 function key.

Explore more from the desktop with Explorer Bar window panes.

When you use Web View for your Explorer windows (for example, Windows Explorer, My Computer, and My Documents) in Windows 98, you can add Microsoft Internet Explorer capabilities. For example, you can use your favorite search engine, view your Internet History, or search your Favorites. From the View menu in an open window, point to Explorer Bars, and click to select Search, Favorites, History, or Channels. To return the window to its former state, click View, point to Explorer Bars, and click All Folders or None.

Give open windows more pizzazz with folder backgrounds.

In Windows 98, you can give nearly any folder a different background using the Customize This Folder wizard. When you open the window, your icons will be set against a picture or graphic background of your choice. To add a special folder background, such as a corporate logo or personal picture:

  1. Open the folder you want to customize.
  2. From the View menu, click Customize this Folder.
  3. Select Choose a background picture and click Next.
  4. Select one of the backgrounds available in the list, or click Browse to find one of your own pictures, and click Next.
  5. Click Finish.

NOTE: Keep in mind that if the background is too fancy or dark, you may have trouble viewing your icons!

Keep your system up to date—effortlessly!

Windows Update in Windows 98 allows you to keep your computer up to date with the latest service releases, drivers, system files, and more. Click Start, point to Settings, and click Windows Update. When you reach Microsoft’s Update Web site, click Product Updates to get started.

NOTE: You need to register your copy of Windows 98 before you can take advantage of Windows Update.

Q: How do I turn off desktop animation effects?

A: To turn off selected desktop effects for a lean and clean desktop:

  1. Right-click your desktop, select Active Desktop™ and click Customize My Desktop.
  2. Click the Effects tab.
  3. Clear the Animate windows, menus, and lists and Show window contents while dragging options.
Q: What’s the fastest way to my Favorites?

A: Favorites have been added to the Start menu in Windows 98. Simply click Start, point to Favorites, and click the Favorite you want. Windows 98 will open your browser if the chosen Favorite is a Web site, or the required application if it’s a file on your hard disk.

More Windows 98 Tips

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Some of the tips posted here were originally posted on Active Windows.


Copyrightę 1998 of The Code Name: Windows 98 Team