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Windows Tips & Tricks
Learn some neat little tips and tricks.
 Chapter 4 - Windows Tips & Tricks
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  OK folks it's time for you all to become more efficient with your computing time. I have decided to put together some "Tips and Tricks" I think will help you make better use of your time. Since 98.22% of the computers visiting our site are running some flavor of Windows, I am just going to stick with tips for Windows. Sorry Mac and Linux users!

Lets get started shall we?

Alt + TAB

As many of you know Windows® gets its name from being able to have more than one window open at any given time. For example, if you were looking at our message board and chatting at the same time in two different windows a simple way to toggle between the two is by holding down ALT and then pressing TAB so you are now pressing both keys. You'll notice a new pop-up box in the center of your screen which list all the windows you have open. While continuing to depress ALT release and depress TAB to switch between windows. When you find the one you want release all keys and you'll be there!


Do you have too many programs that automatically launch when you start up your computer? Or do you see a ton of programs down in the far bottom right of your screen by your clock that you do not want to be running. All these unwanted programs running can really slow your computer's performance as well as how long it takes you to start up your computer. To terminate these nasty programs from starting automatically, you need to run msconfig. This is a utility built-in to Windows used for many things.

    To run the program:

  • 1. Click Start.
  • 2. Click Run.
  • 3. In the "Run" box type msconfig then click ok.
  • 4. In the box that appears click on the "Start up" tab to the far right.
  • 5. Uncheck any programs you do not want to be launched a startup*.
  • 6. After you hit "OK" it will ask you if you would like to restart, this is up to you.
  • 7. The next time you restart those unwanted programs should not launch.

* Warning - Be careful which programs you uncheck. Just uncheck the ones you know you do not need. For example: Real Player, AIM, etc...

For those of you using Windows NT or 2000, you are out of luck! There are programs out there that will let you do this on a NT system, just do a search for msconfig for Windows NT.


Do you get tired of typing into your Internet Explorer web browser? Why do you need to always type the www and the .com part? Well with this neat little trick you will no longer have to! Just type in the main part of the address, ArmerFamily, and then hit CTRL + ENTER. Look what happens! It fills in all the rest itself! Just imagine all the time this can save you! If you try this and nothing happens, you need to have "Auto Complete" turned on in Internet Explorer.

File Associations

Have you ever clicked on a file hoping for it to open in one program but another program takes over and tries to open the file? One place this happens often is with .mp3 files. Let's say you like to use Windows Media Player to play your mp3s, but every time you click on one of your beloved mp3s Winamp launches and plays them instead. What a pain! There is a trick to this.
  • 1. Find a file of the type you want to change the association with.
  • 2. Highlight the file by clicking on it just once.
  • 3. Hold down SHIFT and Right-Click the highlighted file.
  • 4. A new choice will appear "Open with". Go there and then "Choose program".
  • 5. In the box that appears, highlight the program you wish.
  • 6. Check the box "Always use the selected program to open this type of file".
  • 7. Click "OK".

Disk Defragment

 Have you ever noticed your computer decrease in performance over a period of time? This could be in part due to a fragmented hard drive. We all know how much easier to find something your looking for when things are arranged in some logical way. This is what Disk Defragmenter does for your poor computer. When programs write data to your hard drive they really aren't too good about keeping the data in an organized way. The program Disk Defragment comes along and finds all the data that belongs together and groups it all nice and neatly. This will improve performance because your hard drive won't be jumping all over the disk surface to get the data needed. If you have never done this it can be very time consuming. The first time I did it on my Windows 98 system it took over 6 hrs. Now on my Windows XP machine it only takes 20 or 30 min. The time depends on how large and fragmented your hard drive is. The more you run this program the less time it will take as your drive will be less broken up.

NOTE : If you try to run Disk Defragmenter and you notice it resetting after so long, try running the program in what is called safe mode. To learn how to boot in safe mode refer to your computer manufactures website. Usually you have to keep pressing F5, or one of the F keys depending on the manufacturer of your machine, during boot up for safe mode to be an option. The reason this is the best way and the way I did it in Windows 98/ME is that safe mode only launches the minimal amount of background applications. These applications are what cause Disk Defragment to fail in normal mode. Think about it if your computer is trying to rearrange the contents of your hard drive and some program comes along and writes new data to the drive that causes a mess and the program restarts. Kind of like when you trying to count to a high number and someone tries to mess you up by shouting out random numbers to throw you off.

Clean Up Your Desktop!

Clean up after yourself! Do you have a cluttered out of control desktop? Create some folders! If you have alot of downloads just sitting on your desktop create a folder called uumm maybe "downloads"? Move all your downloads to that folder! If you have a ton of shortcuts to programs my suggestion is to use the quick launch bar. It is much easier to use as you do not have to be viewing your desktop to launch a program. You can launch it from the quick launch bar in the taskbar on the bottom of the screen.

 end of Chapter 4
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chapter - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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