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News - Article > E-tips > Hardware E-Tips
Microsoft Windows tips
Friday, 5/16/2008

Below is a listing of various tips that can be used with most Microsoft Windows. Some of the below tips may list a date next to them for the month and year that they were featured in our monthly tip section.

Windows command prompt

The Microsoft Windows command prompt is an invaluable tool that can be used in conjunction with Windows. Below are some helpful shortcuts and tips that can be used to improve your abilities while in the command prompt. Users not familiar with how to enter the command prompt can find additional information about this in document CHDOS.

  1. Press the up arrow key to scroll through all previously typed commands at the prompt. This is helpful for when you need to type long commands in more than once. Note. If
  2. Pres the tab key to auto-complete the names of directories or files. For example, at C:\ type: "cd wi", press tab and the command prompt should complete WINDOWS as the name of the directory.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the  and each of their top MS-DOS commands  available switches.

Windows Selective Startup

Improve overall system performance and boot time and get rid of programs you don´t want running in the background by choosing to do a Selective Startup in msconfig.

  1. Click Start, Run and type: msconfig and press enter.
  2. In the System Configuration Utility click the Startup tab.
  3. Uncheck programs you do not wish to load each time your computer starts. Once done click ok and restart the computer. After the computer boots back into Windows you will receive a prompt about Windows being in a selective startup. Check the box to not receive the prompt and click ok.

Saving Windows XP and later searches

Save your frequent Windows XP and later version searches for future use by following the below steps.

  1. Open the search and enter the search queries you wish to save. For example, you could save a search to find any remix mp3 files by entering: *remix*.mp3 in the all or part of name box.
  2. Once the values have been entered test the search and allow you to save the search.
  3. In the Search Results window click File and then Save Search.
  4. Finally, browse to the location you wish for this file to be saved and name the file with a .fnd extension.

After completing these steps you´ll be able to quickly perform a search by simply double-clicking the file.

Display hibernate option in XPs Turn off computer box

When shutting down or turning off the computer you´ll get three options: Standby, Turn Off, and Restart. For users who wish to hibernate their computer you can easily display this option by holding down the Shift key on the keyboard.

Quickly move files or other objects to the Desktop

Quickly drag one or more files to the Windows Desktop with other open windows by dragging and holding the files over an empty portion of the Windows Taskbar. If done properly all open windows should minimize and allow you to place the files or other objects on the Desktop.

Quickly get to the Windows Desktop

Quickly get to the Microsoft Windows Desktop by pressing the Windows keey and D at the same time on the keyboard.

Run a web page

Get to a web page quickly in Windows when no browser window is open by typing the web address in the run line. For example, click Start, Run and in the Run Open box type: and press enter to quickly get to the Computer Hope web page.

Quickly find icon and/or file

Quickly find an icon in a group of icons or a specific item in an alphabetic list of items by highlighting one of the icons or list items and pressing the beginning letter of the item you´re looking for. Below are some examples of how this could be used.

Windows desktop icons - If you have a lot of icons on your desktop or in another folder highlight one of the icons and press the first letter. For example if you were looking for an icon named "test" highlight any icon and then press the "t" key. Note: you can also press the "t" key multiple times to individually highlight each icon that starts with "t".

Internet drop down list - Instead of scrolling through a list of options in an Internet drop down list press the first letter of the option you´re looking for. For example, if you were looking through a list of states and you wanted "Utah" press U to automatically scroll down to it.

Windows XP mouse Snap To

Enable the Microsoft Window XP mouse Snap To feature to automatically focus on dialog box buttons. Enabling this feature will automatically move your mouse cursor to the default button on any dialog box that appears on Windows. This is a great way to save a little time and not have to move you mouse cursor to the "Ok" button each time a dialog box appears. To enable this feature follow the below steps.

  1. Click Start, Settings, Control Panel.

  2. Double-click the Mouse icon

  3. In the Mouse Properties window click the Pointer Options tab and check the "Automatically move pointer to the default button in a dialog box" option.

Windows 2000 & XP Task Manager

Quickly access the Microsoft Windos Task Manager to view running applications, process information and performance information by pressing Ctrl +Shift + Esc keys all at the same time.

Delete files without getting a prompt

Delete files faster by removing the "Are you sure you want to delete" Microsoft Windows confirmation box by right-clicking the Recycle Bin icon on the desktop, click Properties and uncheck "Display delete confirmation dialog".

Windows explorer multiple renames

Quickly and easily rename multiple files in Microsoft Windows XP Explorer by following the below steps.

1. Open Explorer.
2. In Explorer select all the files you wish to rename. Additional information about how to select multiple files can also be found on document CH000771
3. Once the files have been selected press F2 and type the new name for the files. For example, typing "test" will rename the files to test, test(1), test(2), test(3) etc. If you have file extensions
shown make sure to also type the name of the file extension you´re renaming.

Keep a log with Microsoft Notepad

Keep a log easily using Microsoft Notepad by opening a new text file in Microsoft Notepad or an existing text file in Notepad and adding ".LOG" (without the quotes) at the beginning of the file. Now each time the file is opened in Notepad a time and date stamp will be automatically added.

MS-DOS autocomplete in Microsoft Windows 2000 and above

  1. Open the Microsoft Windows registry editor by clicking Start / Run / type Regedit and click ok.
  2. In the Microsoft Windows registry editor open the below folders.

    Command Processor

  3. In the command processor open the below two registry keys and change their value to 9.


  4. Once the above steps have been completed close out of the registry editor and open the command window by typing cmd in the Start / Run window. To use the auto complete feature press the tab key any type you wish to complete a directory. For example, if the directory you are currently in contains the "Program files" directory you could type "cd pr" and press tab, to have the auto completion option  automatically type "cd "program files"".

Prevent automatic restart in Windows XP

Make your computer not automatically restart or reboot each time an error occurs by following the Windows XP step in  document CH000557.

Microsoft Windows search using Google

Get a much more efficient search on text files, Microsoft Outlook & Outlook Express files, AOL Instant Messenger chat logs, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Internet cache by using the Google Desktop Search.

Enable the Windows single-click option

Users who have a hard time double-clicking or may be used to single-clicking an item to open it may wish the eliminate the double-click option in Windows. Open My Computer, Click Tools, Click Folder Options, in the General tab select the single-click to open an item option.

Quickly open system properties window

Quickly open the system properties window by holding down the ALT key and double-clicking My Computer.

Quickly see all file associations

Quickly and easily view computer file associations by using the MS-DOS assoc command.

Improve the overall appearance of fonts

Improve the overall appearance and look of your computer fonts in all programs by enabling Windows smooth fonts. Additional information about how to do this can be found on document CH000557.

Windows XP Users (5/1/2004):

Get better font resolution and clarity by enabling Window´s XP ClearType. See our ClearType dictionary definition for additional information. 

Access and control other computers

Easily and freely control multiple computers running any number of operating systems from one computer using VNC.

The latest version of VNC can be downloaded directly from their website here.

Alphabetize icons in your start menu

Quickly and easily alphabetize the icons in programs on your start menu by right-clicking within programs on the start menu and clicking on "Sort by Name".

Selectively print sections of a document

Save on your printer ink by selectively printing in Windows programs such as Microsoft Word, Internet Explorer, WordPad, Outlook, etc. To do this highlight portions of text you wish to print and click print. In the printer dialog window under Page Range choose the option Selection. It is important to realize that not all programs or printer drivers support this feature.

Quickly get to the root directory of a drive

Quickly display your root directory or network home directory in Windows XP by clicking Start / Run and in the open field type two periods ( ..) and press enter or click ok.

In Microsoft Windows 2000 this will open your "Document and Settings" directory.

Easy undo

Quickly undo mistakes in the majority of most PC Windows program by pressing CTRL + Z.

Quickly open system properties

Quickly open the System Properties by pressing the Windows key and the Pause key at the same time. This is a great thing to remember if you find yourself needing to get into the Device Manager frequently. 

Create an accessible bar

Create an accessible bar by following the below steps:

  1. From the Windows Desktop create a folder.
  2. Highlight the folder and drag it to one of the edges of your screen.
  3. Once the folder is at the edge of the desktop let the mouse button go.

This should create a bar, with the contents of the folder used. Once created set the bar to auto hide and be always on top by right-clicking the bar.

Open programs in the background of explorer

Open and run programs in the background of Explorer by holding the Shift key in Windows Explorer double-click an icon. Once the program has been executed it will be open in the background of the explorer window.

Quickly change the association of a file

Quickly change the association of a file by holding down the Shift key, right-clicking a file and choosing open with.

Quickly maximize a window

Quickly maximize a window by double-clicking on the top title bar of the window.

Close multiple programs in one click

To close all open application in one click hold down the Ctrl key and individually click each of the open programs on the task bar once all buttons are selected click on one of the selected buttons with the right mouse button and click close.

Manage start menu icons from the start menu

Windows 98 and above users are now able to manage their start menu icons by right-clicking the start menu and/or the icons.

Quickly access Windows Help

Quickly access the Windows Help by pressing the F1 key from the Windows desktop.

Add shortcuts to the desktop

Easily create shortcuts on your desktop by clicking the program you wish to create a short of and right-clicking and dragging that icon to the desktop. When letting go of the mouse button you should have an option to create a shortcut here.

Quickly add shortcuts to the start menu

Users can quickly add icons to their start menu by dragging icons to the start button.

Create a send to shortcut

Send to is a feature that enables users to send programs to an alternate location or a location where you store all your files. An example of the send to feature is right-clicking a file and clicking send to and then the floppy disk drive. Users can create their own send to destinations by following the below steps.

Microsoft Windows 95 / 98 / ME users

Create a shortcut in the windows\sendto directory

Other Windows users

Create a shortcut in the documents and settings\\sendto directory.

Note: is the name of the user logging into the computer. In addition it is possible that the sendto directory is hidden.  

Copy / Move / Delete multiple files

When selecting files you can highlight the first file then hold down your shift key and highlight the last file and this will highlight all files in between. To select individual files you can highlight a file hold down your Ctrl key and highlight other files you wish to select.

Make files not go to the recycle bin

When pressing or choosing delete to remove a program you can hold your shift key and it will not send it to the recycle bin.

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