Windows 3.1 Tips
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Windows 3.x -- Windows 95 may create the excitement, but earlier Windows 3.x versions still reside on many a desktop. These tips will help you get the most out of your old, reliable Windows installation.Visit tips pages 1, or page 2
Silence Is Golden
You can add to Sound Recorder's default maximum recording time. Click on Record, but don't record anything--just silence--for the entire minute, then save the file as BLANK.WAV. Subsequently, every time you want a longer recording time, open BLANK.WAV, select Edit/Insert File and insert BLANK.WAV once for every extra minute you want to add to the maximum recording time.
To create a quick "network," all you need is two PCs with modems and phone lines. To connect the PCs, open Terminal on both systems and select Settings/Terminal Preferences. In the CR -> CR/LF box, select both Inbound and Outbound. Select Settings/Communications and make sure both systems have the same Baud Rate setting. To have one PC call the other, the caller selects Settings/Phone Number, types the other PC's number, then selects Phone/Dial. The recipient types ATSO=1 when "ring" appears on screen. Whatever you type on one PC will appear on both screens. use the Transfers menu to send and receive files.
When you create a header or footer in Microsoft Windows Write, you can use ALT+F6 to go back and forth between the dialog box and the header or footer text.
To capture and print screens, use Windows Write rather than Paintbrush. First, copy the image to Windows' Clipboard by pressing the Print Screen key (to capture the active window only, hold the Alt key when you press Print Screen). Launch Write, and select Edit/ Paste. Since Write is a word processor, you can add a title or other text. Select File/Print to send the image to your printer. (This process works with any word processor that supports OLE.)
Write doesn't have a Select All option, but you can select the whole document anyway. Move the cursor to the left side of the Write document until it turns into a right-pointing arrow. Hold the Ctrl key, and click the left mouse button once To select a single line, place the cursor to the left of the line, then click the left mouse button. To select all the text from the cursor to the end of the document, place the cursor to the left of the document, hold Ctrl+Shift and click the left mouse button. To select text from the cursor to the end of a line, place the cursor on that line, hold Shift and click the left mouse button. And to select text from a specific line to the cursor, place the mouse arrow on that line, hold the Shift key and click the left mouse button.
EQUAL RIGHTS FOR LEFT-IES
Hey, lefties! There are scissors for lefties, guitars for lefties, and no one makes you write right-handed, anymore, do they? So why should you have to use a mouse as if you were right-handed? If you want the primary mouse button (the one you click with most often) to be under the index (or pointer) finger, just switch the mouse buttons.
Now try clicking somewhere with the index finger (of your left hand, of course) to test the left--uh, we mean right--mouse button. How's that for equal rights? (Just remember that you flip-flopped the buttons, so when an instruction says "right-click," you're supposed to press the left button.)
SIZE IS EVERYTHING
Want to know how much space is left on your hard drive, or how much room a particular directory takes up? Do the following:- In the Program Manager's Main group, double-click on File Manager.
Tired of double-clicking on the little box in the upper left corner of an open application window to close it? Then try the keyboard way:
Bye-bye window! Who needs ya, mouse? (You can also use the Alt-F4 trick to exit Windows, by first making the Program Manager--or any open group within the Program Manager--active.)
OUT-OF-SIGHT PROGRAM MANAGER GROUP-IES--PART 1 OF 4
You don't have to be a neat-nik to appreciate arranging stuff in groups. It's why we have closets, drawers, cabinets, cubbyholes, compartments, and the sundry other niches and nooks. When it comes right down to it, we don't want to have to root around behind the cans of green beans and corn to find the Ho-Hos; we want the Ho-Hos up front, in their own special place. The premise is the same for organizing your icons in Program Manager. If you use certain icons all the time and don't want to have to sift through a bunch of icons you rarely use, create a brand new Program Manager group for the icons you use most:
An open window of the group you just created appears on the desktop. Close this window, and the group takes its rightful place alongside the other groups you have on your Desktop.
OUT-OF-SIGHT PROGRAM MANAGER GROUP-IES--PART 2 OF 4
In our last tip, we showed you how to create a new Program Manager group: Choose File + New, select Program Group and click on OK, and then type a description for the group and click on OK. But what good is an empty group? After all, you can amuse yourself by looking at it for only so long. When the fun fades, fill the group with copies of your favorite icons:
Here's another way to copy an icon: If you can see both the icon you want to copy and the destination group (open or not) on the screen, hold down Ctrl as you click and drag the icon directly over the new group; then let go.
Check inside your new group. You'll find an exact copy of the icon. Repeat these steps for any other icons you want to add to the group. After you add your favorite icons, leave this group open inside Program Manager for easy access to the programs you use most.
OUT-OF-SIGHT PROGRAM MANAGER GROUP-IES--PART 3 OF 4I
n our first tip in this series, we showed you how to create a new Program Manager group: Choose File + New, select Program Group and click on OK, and then type a Description for the group and click on OK. In our last tip, we showed you how to copy icons into the new group: Select an icon, choose File + Copy (or press F8), choose your new group under To Group, and click on OK. Are you with us? Now the question is, what happens if you want to add to your new group an icon that doesn't appear in another Program Manager group. If this is the case, you need to create the icon from scratch:
OUT-OF-SIGHT PROGRAM MANAGER GROUP-IES--PART 4 OF 4
In our last tip, we showed you how to create a Program Manager icon from scratch (as opposed to copying the icon from another group): Choose File + New, select Program Item and click on OK, type a Description, click inside the Command Line box and click on Browse, select the file you want the icon to point to, and then click on OK twice.
When you create this new icon, you're stuck with the look that Windows gives it, right? Wrong. Picking a brand-new look for that icon is only a few clicks away:
REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD
As you add and delete files on your hard disk, the information that
belongs together isn't necessarily stored in one place. Over time, it
gets fragmented, or split into pieces. The result? Slower
performance. Fragmented data takes longer to read because your system
has to jump around to access all the bits and pieces. You can improve
performance and make your system's life much easier by defragmenting
your hard disk regularly, such as once a month (more or less,
depending on how much you use your system). To defragment your hard
disk, follow these steps:
(Note: Defragging can take quite a while, so choose a time when you don't need to use your system.) There, don't you feel better that all that data's been reunited?
WINDOWS IN FORMATION
If you want more than one group window open in Program Manager but can't stand disarray, two window arranging options--Cascade and Tile--await you. Cascade waterfalls all the windows downward, with every title bar visible; Tile places windows side by side. To cascade or tile your windows, do the following:
Those windows step right in line. And if you prefer keyboard commands, you can arrange your windows without ever touching the mouse. Inside Program Manager, press Shift-F5 for Cascade; press Shift-F4 for Tile.
READ THE METER
Wondering how much memory, or what percentage of your system resources, is currently available? You can access this information from inside any open Windows application, such as Program Manager or Write. The results can tell you how much free memory your computer has; and this information is important if you want to know whether you have enough memory on your system to run the latest, greatest, most exciting version of the game you swore you bought for the kids.
Ideally, you don't want available system resources to fall below about 20 percent. Low system resources can cause lockups (ugh). If that percentage of free system resources is frequently close to 20 percent, now may be a good time to ask for (if you're working on the office computer) or shell out for (if you're working on your home computer) some more RAM (memory). You want at least 16MB of RAM.
LOOK AT YOUR FILES THROUGH FILTERED GLASSES
When you don't want the hassle of wading through a zillion files to find the ones you want (how's that for a convoluted clause?), you may want to try a filtered view in File Manager. By specifying which file types are displayed in File Manager, you can save yourself lots of time finding files. To set which files File Manager displays, follow these steps:
Now, no matter which directory you select, File Manager displays only files of the type you specified in the By File Type dialog box. To switch back to your all-files view, follow these same steps, but type *.* on the Name line.
GIVE YOUR CURSOR AN ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT
Have you ever noticed that when you hit an arrow key to move your cursor in one direction or another, the cursor thinks about it for a second before it goes? Hel-LO! Can we shake a leg here? Light a fire under that cursor by adjusting your keyboard delay:
Try taking your cursor for a test spin inside the application where you noticed it dragging its feet (probably your word processor). Now that's more like it--the pitter-patter of faster feet.
THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WINDOW
Did you know that you can minimize an open window without dragging the mouse all the way up to that Minimize button (the one with the down arrow on it) in the upper-right corner? Give your wrist a break and try the keyboard two-step:
On command, the window shrinks right down to the bottom of the screen. Later, alligator!
(To maximize the window again, hold down Alt as you press Tab repeatedly to rotate through your open windows. When you see the window you want, release both keys. The formerly minimized window jumps on-screen in full form.)
Notepad is a small, can't-even-really-call-it-a-word-processor program that comes with Windows. It isn't fancy, but it does have one unique talent: You can use it to make a time-log file, with a time and date stamp after each entry:
You won't see anything right away, but the next time you open this file, a time and date stamp appears below the last entry.
Oh, and by the way, you can't password-protect a Notepad file. Therefore, this probably isn't the best place to spill your guts as you would in a real journal, unless you store the file where no one else can access it, such as on a floppy disk locked in a safe.
I WOULD NOT HAVE CHOSEN THIS WALLPAPER
If you've worked in Windows for any length of time, you're probably familiar with all those wallpaper options that come with Windows--you know, the ones like Arcade, Argyle, Castle, Egypt, and so on. If you like a pattern but hate the color, you can change it. To change the color of a wallpaper option, follow these steps:
To try out your new wallpaper, do the following:
SCOTTIE OR DOBERMAN?
Did you know you can edit any of the background patterns in Windows? For example, you can change that Scottie to a Doberman by making the tail and legs longer. A pattern is nothing more than a grid of boxes of two different colors--black and your desktop color--repeated over and over again on your screen. To change a pattern, you simply toggle the squares of the grid off and an on. Here's how:
Ready to try out your handiwork? Back in the Desktop dialog box, make sure None is selected under Wallpaper, select your edited pattern in the Pattern list (it should be all ready), and click on OK.
CHOOSE YOUR ASSOCIATIONS CAREFULLY
When you double-click on a file in File Manager, the file opens in a particular application. For example, double-clicking on a .TXT file opens that file in Notepad; double-clicking on a .DOC file opens that file in Microsoft Word. These links between the file extensions and a certain application are called "file associations." Although it may seem that these associations are carved in stone, they aren't. You can change the association of any file type. (Note: If you're brand spankin' new to Windows, you may not want to try this one. Make sure you're comfortable messing around with this type of change.)
From now on, double-clicking on a file of that type opens it in the new application. In our example, for instance, double-clicking on a .TXT file opens the file in Write. If you ever want to return to the original association, follow these same steps but choose the old association under Associate With.
HAND ME MY HIGHLIGHTER, PLEASE-- PART 1 OF 2
Want some tips for quick text highlighting in Write (or most any other word processor that runs under Windows)? All that fussy letter-by-letter clicking and dragging is for the birds. Here are four shortcuts that you're sure to love:
HAND ME MY HIGHLIGHTER, PLEASE--PART 2 OF 2
In our last tip, we gave you three ways to highlight text in a word processing document: To highlight a word, double-click on it; to highlight a single line, click once directly to the left of the line, in the left margin; and to highlight an entire paragraph, double-click directly to the left of the paragraph, anywhere in the margin. Moving on to four bigger and better selection techniques . ..
To highlight a whole bunch of text, you can do either of the following:
Of course, we saved the biggest for last--highlighting an entire document. In some word processors, you can choose Edit + Select All. But if your word processor doesn't have that command or if you're especially fond of keyboard combinations do one of the following:
You'll never go back to mouse selections again!
Wouldn't that title look better with that fancy accent over the "e" in tres? We can't do it here, but you can do it in your documents. Your word processor may not offer this option, but Windows has a character set that can give any document international flair. Just open up the Character Map and take a look. (The Character Map is in Program Manager's Accessories group.) To insert one of these characters into your document, do the following:
Voila! Instant character!
YOUR CHARACTERS ARE NUMBERED, BUD
In our last tip, we showed you how to use the Character Map (in the Program Manager's Accessories group) to add special characters to your documents: Select a font, double-click on the character you want to use, click on Copy, close or minimize the Character Map, and then switch back to your document and use its paste command (or icon) to add the character. Well, did you know you can insert characters without opening this dialog box? It's based on an old trick called memorization.
When you opened the Character Map dialog box, did you notice that, with each different character you clicked, a different four-digit number appeared next to "Keystroke: Alt +" in the lower-right corner of the dialog box? OK, neither did we--at least not the first time. Anyway, this number represents the selected character. Memorize these four numbers (or write them down). Then to insert this character into a document, do the following:
Memorize the numbers of the characters you use frequently (or keep a list handy), and you can insert them into your documents in a snap, without ever leaving the application you're in.
OO-EY, GOO-EY, RICH AND CHEWY INSIDE . . .
Remember the Fig Newton song? Good, then you know how to say GUI (pronounced goo-ey). GUI stands for graphical user interface, and it's often used to describe Windows. If you want to use it in a sentence, say, "Windows is a GUI."
A user interface is the way a person interacts with something. So a graphical user interface describes interaction using pictures. That describes Windows pretty well, wouldn't you say? You use graphical (as opposed to text) elements--windows, menus, your mouse pointer, icons, and so on--to communicate with your computer. Now, the next time you hear someone say "GUI," you'll know they aren't talking about cookies fresh from the oven.
PUT THAT WINDOW IN ITS PLACE
Looking to move an active window but don't feel like using that pip-squeak mouse? Then move the window with your keyboard:
Who needs ya, mouse?
In our last tip, we showed you how to move an active window around on-screen without the mouse (Press Alt + spacebar, press M, use your cursor keys to move the window, and then press Enter). Did you know a similar, mouse-free technique for sizing a window is also available?
Using two arrow keys, you can easily make adjustments to both the height and width of the window. After performing steps 1 and 2 in the preceding instructions, do the following:
Program Manager's File menu offers commands for moving and copying files and programs, but who says you have to use them? If you've already used the mouse to select an item's icon, you may as well stick with the mouse to complete the move or copy. Follow these steps:
Who needs menu commands?
MEET THE CLIPBOARD
You've probably done lots of copying, cutting, and pasting in your lifetime, but have you thought about where those items go in between the cut (or copy) and paste? Windows sends the item you cut or copy--text or graphics--to the Clipboard. For an up-close look, do the following:
Is the text or graphic you just copied staring you in the face? You betcha. Try one more test. With the Clipboard Viewer (or ClipBook Viewer) still open, select something else in your document (again, text or graphic), select the Copy command, and watch as the Clipboard boots out the old contents and welcomes the new ones. That's life in the fast lane.
IT AIN'T OVER 'TIL THE CLIPBOARD SINGS
In our last tip, we told you that when you cut or copy text or graphics it goes directly to the Windows Clipboard. We also showed you that when you cut or copy something else to the Clipboard, the new stuff replaced the old (Window's version of "out with the old, in with the new"). But all this doesn't mean that you can't reuse something on the Clipboard. If you don't want to lose the old contents, save them as a *.clp file BEFORE you cut or copy something else. When you save Clipboard content as a *.clp file, you can reuse that snippet again and again. (Note: If you have Windows for Workgroups, and hence, the ClipBook Viewer, you don't need this tip because you can save cut or copied items as pages in your ClipBook. We'll address this topic in a future tip.)
To save Clipboard contents as *.clp file, do the following:
When you want to use that item in the future, just open the Clipboard Viewer (Step 1 in the preceding) and then do the following:
Using this technique is like cutting or copying that item again--without having to do all the traipsing around to find it!
YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS . . .
In our last two tips, we showed you the Clipboard and how you can use Clipboard contents in the future by saving them as *.clp files. Here's a quick review: When you cut or copy text or graphics, Windows stores them on the Clipboard. To view the contents of the Clipboard, double-click on Clipboard Viewer in Program Manager's Main group. To save the Clipboard's contents as a *.clp file, select File + Save As, name the file, and click on OK. (Note: If you have Windows for Workgroups and therefore the ClipBook Viewer, you can save cut or copied items as pages in your ClipBook. We'll address this topic in a future tip.)
When you deal with the contents of the Clipboard and *.clp files, you need to keep a couple of things in mind: memory and disk space. Because Windows thinks making Clipboard's contents available at a moment's notice is important, it keeps the contents in its short term storage area, memory. Point being? If you've copied something large to the Clipboard, it gobbles up a lot of available memory. If you won't be needing that material again, get it out of there: Select something really small, such as a word or even a single letter, and copy it to the Clipboard. Doing so wipes out the Clipboard's original contents and frees up memory.
The other thing to keep in mind is that *.clp files take up space on your hard drive, just like any other files. So if you think you won't need certain *.clp files again (especially space hogs like graphic-intensive *.clp files), delete them. (After all, you've got the original hanging around somewhere anyway, in case you ever need it again, don't you?)
Did you just get all those Program Manager groups and icons into the perfect arrangement? Make them stick so that you won't have to reset them each time you start Windows: Choose Options + Save Settings on Exit. A check mark next to this option indicates that it's selected.
If you want to start over with a new look for Program Manager, deselect the Save Settings on Exit option (choose Options + Save Settings on Exit again to remove the check mark). The next time you start Windows, all the groups and icons return to their original locations.
FOOTLOOSE AND ERROR FREE
If you use the Calculator to come up with a number that you then need to use in another application, how do you get the number from the Calculator to the application? Switch to that other program and type it in? Too risky. (Oops, I meant $910,000, not $190,000.) When you need to be exact and want to work fast, go for the Ctrl + C/Ctrl + V combo.
You're assured of a perfect transfer every time!
Are you the scientific type? Do you think the Calculator is the most elementary computing tool you've ever seen in your life? Watch this:
Can't take all those school-day math reminders staring you in the face? Choose View + Standard, and you're back to basics.
A NEW ERASER HUE
Paintbrush's Eraser tool is more complex than it seems. It doesn't "erase" anything; it simply colors an area with a different color--the background color, to be exact. In other words, the Eraser tool only creates the illusion of erasing. The point is, you can change the color that the eraser uses. For example, you might change the color to green to erase a purple line drawn on a green area. To change the color used by the Eraser tool, follow these steps:
Use the Eraser tool to see the new hue!
JUST SAY NO TO ADS
Tired of staring at that Windows logo screen every time you start
Windows? Why should you have to stare at an advertisement? You
already have the product! The next time you type "WIN" at a C:\
prompt to start Windows, stop. Don't press Enter yet. Add a space,
then a colon, like so:
TICK-TOCK--PART 1 OF 2
Do you frequently use the Clock program (in Program Manager's Accessories group) to keep track of time? Then you're probably getting good and tired of the fact that when you run or switch to another program, that program's window sits right on top of the clock, obstructing it from view. Fortunately, there's a great way to solve this problem: Minimize the Clock. When minimized, the Clock displays the time at the bottom of your screen, out of the way of any programs you have running.
To minimize the Clock on a one-time basis: Click the Minimize button (the down arrow) in the upper-right corner of the Clock window. Or if you prefer, set the Clock to run minimized every time you open it:
Whichever technique you perform, the Clock appears as an icon at the bottom of your screen and still displays the time.
TICK-TOCK--PART 2 Of 2
In our last tip, we suggested that you minimize the Clock program (in Program Manager's Accessories group) to keep it in view at the bottom of your screen. If you still find that the Clock gets buried by windows, try this foolproof way to keep the Clock in sight at all times: Choose the Always on Top option. To do so, follow these steps:
(Tip: You can set the Always on Top option even if the Clock is not minimized. Just click the Clock window's Control button [in the top left corner of the window] and select Always on Top.)
OUT TO LAUNCH
Don't feel like searching out the icon you need to open a particular application? No problem. You can launch any Windows program right from the Run command line:
The program springs to life!
Note: If you're not opening a program that Windows recognizes, you need to type the full path of the program's executable file on the command line. If you don't know the path by heart, click the Browse button, navigate your way to the file you want to open, select it, and then click OK.
MIGHT AS WELL JUMP
If you're tired of scrolling through a long list of files in File Manager to find the one you want, why not just jump directly to it? All you need to know is the first letter of the file's name. To jump to a file, follow these steps:
CALLIGRAPHERS, TAKE NOTE!
Want to do a little calligraphy in Paintbrush? Change the shape of your brush. You can choose from four flat-edged options.
Now you're ready to choose a color and go to town with the new brush! (Tip: To adjust the size, or thickness, of your new "pen," select one of the lines in the box below the Tool palette.)
Tired of navigating your way to a particular directory in the Open dialog box of your favorite application? Then change that application's default directory, or "working directory." You can make this change from inside the Windows Program Manager:
To test your change, open the application whose working directory you changed (that is, double-click the application icon); then choose File + Open. The Open dialog box should point to the working directory you specified.
(Note: If you navigate your way to a directory [other than the working directory] in the Open dialog box, that box points to the new directory the next time you choose File + Open [or File + Save As] in the current session. However, the working directory will be reset when you close and reopen the application.)
DOCUMENT CLIP-PINGS--PART 1 OF 3
In a previous tip, we told you that if you have Windows for Workgroups, you have ClipBook Viewer (as opposed to Clipboard Viewer) in Program Manager's Main group. This handy utility lets you store frequently pasted items for future use--for example, if you cut or copy to the Clipboard text that you'd like to paste into a document on many future occasions. Double-click the ClipBook Viewer icon, and you see the Clipboard window, which displays the text or graphics you last cut or copied, and the Local ClipBook window, which is the storage area for multiple cut or copied items. Over the next few tips, we'll answer all your ClipBook questions. This tips starts with the most obvious one: How do you add items to the ClipBook?
To add an item to the ClipBook:
The item appears in the Local ClipBook window. Follow these same steps to add as many pages as you'd like to the list.
DOCUMENT CLIP-PINGS--PART 2 OF 3
If you have Windows for Workgroups, you have ClipBook Viewer (as opposed to Clipboard Viewer) in Program Manager's Main group. By double-clicking the ClipBook Viewer icon, you access the Clipboard window, which displays the text or graphics you last cut or copied, and the Local ClipBook window, which is the storage area for multiple cut or copied items.
In our last tip, we showed you how to add an item to the Local ClipBook: Cut or copy any text or graphics to the clipboard, open the ClipBook Viewer, select the Local ClipBook window, click the Paste icon, name the page, and click OK. The following explains how to use items stored in the ClipBook.
To paste a ClipBook page into a document:
Next we'll show you three more ClipBook tips.
DOCUMENT CLIP-PINGS--PART 3 OF 3
As mentioned in earlier tips, Windows for Workgroups includes ClipBook Viewer (as opposed to Clipboard Viewer) in the Program Manager's Main group. By opening ClipBook Viewer (double-clicking its icon), you access the Clipboard window, which displays the text or graphics you last cut or copied, and the Local ClipBook window, which is the storage area for multiple cut or copied items.
In our last two tips, we showed you how to add items to the Local ClipBook (cut or copy any text or graphics to the clipboard, open the ClipBook Viewer, select the Local ClipBook window, click the Paste icon, name the page, and click OK). We also showed you how to paste the items into a document (select the material in the Local ClipBook window, click the Copy icon, switch to the document where you want to insert the material, and then select that application's Paste command). Following are three more ClipBook tips you may find useful: