Log in ....Tribune

Monday, July 29, 2002

Unravel secrets of Windows
A. Khanna

BORED with the way you use Windows or is it the other way round! Most of the users simply follow the known path and do not try to ‘discover’ what Windows actually has in store for them. Here are a few instructions that besides giving you a fresh perspective on Windows will leave you begging for more.

Creating Hot Keys

As an alternative to activate an application using the Start Menu, you can create hot keys. To create a hot key, right-click an application shortcut and choose Properties, Next, click the short-cut tab and then type a letter in the Shortcut key box (for example W for Word). Automatically, Windows ’98 will use the Ctrl + Alt + W keys as the hot keys.

Know about packager

Object Packager is a hidden application in the Windows ’98 folder that has no icon in the programs menu. You can activate this application by typing "packager" (without quotation mark) in the Run dialog box. You can use Object Packager to create a package (a group of objects that can be included into a document). There are two small panes inside the Object packager. Appearance-pane is used to show the icon that you want to use and Contents-pane used to show the information such as text, sound, picture, animation, etc. You can find more details about Object packager on the Help menu.

Smart way to print

From My Computer or Windows Explorer, select the documents you want to print. Drag and drop the document icon into the Printer icon on the Windows Explorer left-pane.

Quick file transfer

A quicker way to move or copy files to a folder of your choice (say My Files) is to create an entry for it in the ‘Send To’ option that appears whenever you right-click on a file or folder. To do this — create a shortcut to the folder in this case My Files and move it to the ‘Send To’ sub-folder in C:\ Windows. So the next time you want to transfer some file to the My Files folder, simply right-click on it and choose My Files from the Send To context Menu.

Website speed

Is the Website that you are trying to access taking time to load? Probably the problem is on the server used by that site. To make sure that is the problem, use Windows 98’s Ping facility. Ping is a small program, which sends a 32-bit signal to the Website server. To activate Ping

  • Click on the Start-Run menus, type command, and then click OK

  • Type Ping "site name" in the MS-DOS prompt window, for example Ping www.yahoo.com

  • In a moment, the result will appear on the screen. A result less than 300ms is normal speed while a result more than 400ms is slow speed

If "Request timed out" message appears on the screen that means the Website server is not responding in one second. Perhaps it happens because the server is too slow or designed on purpose not to respond to the Ping test.

One shortcut, three applications

It is possible to create a shortcut that opens three applications in the same time. For this,

  • Open Notepad, type start followed by a space and the command line of an application (for example, c:\ windows\ calc.exe), and then press Enter.

  • Add more lines following this pattern for each programs you want to start with one icon.

  • When you are finished, choose File, Save and type a file name (in quotation marks) with the .bat extension. Double-click the batch file or its shortcut to launch the programs.

Note: If your path includes long file or folder names, you must either enclose the path with quotation marks (for example, "c:\ programfiles\ accessories\ notepad.exe") or use shortened versions of the long names (for example, c:\ progra~1\ access~1\ notepad.exe).

Menu cleaner

A hidden utility SMTIDY.EXE (stored in C:\ Windows folder) enables you to unclutter the Start Menu. It locates any non-working Start Menu shortcuts, as well as any folders that may only contain a single object. In the case of broken shortcuts it will simply remove them. As for folders containing only one item, it will offer to move them up one level to cut down on the number of folders. Simply uncheck any items you don’t want to change and click ok.

Note: Only available if the Plus! 98’s Maintenance Wizard is installed in your computer. If it isn’t installed, then you can install it from Add/Remove Programs-ŕ Windows Setup in the Control Panel.

Find files

If you want to find files of various extensions at the same time, just press the Spacebar once to separate the extensions, for examples *.doc *.xls *.txt. The same method can be used to find files in several drives at a time. For example, if you want to find files in drive C:, D:, and E: then type C: D: E: in the Look In box. You may also use commas.

Move to top

You would be having a special folder for saving the most important documents, say C:\ My Files. If you want it to appear at the top of the folder list, you can rename it by inserting a _ character, so the new name will be C:\ _My Files.

New day, new sound

Try this tip if you are bored with the same welcome sound every day and want to use a different sound every time you start Windows ’98.

Create a new folder, for example C:\ Windows\ Sound. Put .wav files in this folder, change their names to sound01.wav, sound02.wav, sound03.wav, etc. Open Control Panel, double-click on the Sounds icon, select Start Windows option from the Events list, and then click the Browse button. Choose a .wav file that you want to play, for exampleC:\ Windows\ Media\ Welcome.wav.

Click OK. Now open Notepad and key in the following commands into it. Make sure that you type them correctly.

cd c:\ windows\ sound

ren sound01.wav soundxx.wav

ren sound02.wav sound01.wav

ren sound03.wav sound02.wav

ren sound04.wav sound03.wav

ren soundxx.wav sound04.wav

copy sound01.wav c:\ windows\ media\ welcome.wav

Now save the file as change.bat in the C:\ Windows\ Sound folder.

Next open Autoexec.bat file using Notepad and add the following command:

runC:\ windows\ sound\ change.bat. From now on, you will hear a different Windows ’98 welcome sound every time you start your computer.

Connection Log

You can create a file log that is useful to record all connections to the Internet. This log is useful to check if any problem happened when you connected to your ISP:

  • Open Control Panel and double-click on the Network icon.

  • Select the Dial-Up Adapter from the list, and then click the Properties button

  • Click the Advanced tab and check the ‘Record a log file option’ from the Property list. Select Yes from the Value drop down list.

  • Click OK and OK, to close the dialog boxes

  • Next time you disconnect from your ISP, a file named Ppplog.txt will be created in the C:\ Windows folder. You can open and read this file by using Notepad.