The magazine of the Melbourne PC User Group

Working with Windows
George Skarbek
gskarbek@melbpc.org.au
  • When copying or moving files by dragging them in Windows Explorer, if you change your mind, just press the Esc key to abort the current operation.
  • To bypass the Auto start of a program when you insert a new CD-ROM just hold down the Shift key until the CD-ROM light goes out.
  • If you have two or more hard disks you can run Scandisk on all drives with one step. Press Shift while clicking the first and last drives. This will scan them all in the one hit.
  • To see what version of Win 95 you have, press the Win key and the Break key, if you have the right keyboard.
  • If Win 95 reports less memory than you actually have this is due to what you load in AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS, such as a RAM drive or SMARTDRV, usually left over from Windows 3.1. Win 95 will only report the amount of memory that is left after processing the above files.
  • To create a shortcut quickly just press Ctrl+Shift and drag a file to the desktop or a folder.
  • You do not need to have extra shortcuts cluttering your screen for the Explorer and for Find Files, if you have the new Win 95 keyboard. Pressing Win+E will bring up the Explorer, Win+F will bring up Find Files.
  • Often it is desirable to do a screen dump of a small open window, but not of the entire desktop behind it. Just press Alt+PrintScreen to copy the active window into the buffer. This can save a lot of time in cutting and pasting to extract the information from the full screen dump.
  • Do you ever press CapsLock instead of the Shift key and continue typing? If you are using Win 95 there is help. You can modify Windows to make a sound when the CapsLock key is pressed. Do this by clicking on Start, Settings, Control Panel, Accessibility Options and click on the ToggleKeys check box. Now when you press Caps Lock, it will make a sound and when you press it again, to turn it off, it will make a different sound.
  • To set the clock on a Win 95 computer, right-click on the time in the bottom right hand corner of the task bar and select Adjust.
  • If you are zipping programs with long file names then you should not use the old DOS version as the file names will be truncated to DOS standards. The data itself will be intact, but if it contains a reference to another file, that file may not be found. It is best to use the Win 95 version. Also the 32-bit version is faster and can cope with more files.
  • To re-start Win 95 faster after making some changes that only come into effect when Windows is started, hold the shift key down when you click on "Restart the computer" in the Shutdown box. This will just restart Windows and not reboot the computer.
  • If you normally start many programs at the same time as Windows and you want Windows to start faster for a specific task then hold the Shift key down during startup. This will bypass all the programs in the Start group.
  • In Windows 3.1 file manager, if you have lots of files in a subdirectory, you may easily select all the files without having to scroll to the bottom. Just click on one file and then press the / key to select the entire directory.
  • If Windows 3.1 takes a long time to load, check how many fonts you have by clicking on the Fonts icon in Control Panel. If you have some that you don't use, click on Remove (but don't tick the option that removes them from the hard disk, just in case you want one later) and Windows will load much faster and may be more stable.
  • To update most of Windows screens quickly press F5. This is useful if you have File Manager or Windows Explorer open and another program has modified the files of folders.
  • If you work for long periods of time without closing Windows 3.1 and experience intermittent instability it could be due to insufficient resources. Click on Help, About in Program Manager and view System Resources. If the value drops below 20 percent, a system crash is imminent. You must save all your work, exit Windows and re-start Windows.
  • In a large Word document press Ctrl+G to go directly to a specified page, heading, section or other selected item.
  • If by now you are tired of seeing the Windows 3.1 logo then start Windows by typing

    WIN :

    rather than WIN, or if Windows starts automatically then add the colon to the WIN line in AUTOEXEC.BAT.
  • If you have many programs open, then instead of pressing Alt+Tab and cycling through the list, press Ctrl+Esc and click on the required program.
  • Quickly saving the Program Manager settings in Windows 3.1 is done by selecting File and holding the Shift key when you click on "Exit Windows". Windows will not exit, but the settings will be saved.
  • To start a program automatically when Windows starts, just drag the program icon, holding the Control key down, into the Startup icon.
  • In Win 95 you can save several desktop settings for use by different members of the family, so that everyone can have his or her favourite settings, including sounds and cursors.
  • Pressing Alt+Tab lets you swap between your open application programs. If you have many and you overshoot, then Shift+Alt+ Tab will take you back.
  • In Win 95 and 3.1 you should not load the Mouse driver in AUTOEXEC.BAT, except in special cases. Windows provides its mouse driver and loading the DOS version just wastes memory.
  • As memory is becoming cheaper, in most cases you can obtain better performance by adding more physical memory (i.e. RAM).
  • When using Windows Explorer you can type the first letter of a file and Explorer will jump to the first file starting with that letter. For example, if in the Windows folder you press the W key the cursor will jump to WAVES.BMP (if that is your first w file.) If you type win, very quickly, it will jump to WIN.COM.
  • If the Internet response suddenly stops, look at the modem lights. If the Carrier Detect light is off, there is no point in waiting. The line has been hung up.
Reprinted from the May 1998 issue of PC Update, the magazine of Melbourne PC User Group, Australia

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