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Windows Me Annoyances

Book Description

In an ideal world, an operating system is a collection of software that handles a computer's "dirty work" invisibly, quickly, and most of all, painlessly. For many of us, however, Microsoft Windows exists outside this ideal world. We are annoyed by "personalized Menus" that keep changing, icons we don't use cluttering up our workspace, periodic crashes, unintelligible error messages, and inadequate documentation to help us figure it all out. Windows Me Annoyances has the insider information you need for overcoming Windows' many annoyances and limitations. Whether you're looking to finally solve a nagging problem, dramatically improve system performance, or customize the interface to better suit your work habits, the Windows Me Annoyances solution-oriented format makes finding information and implementing solutions easy and pain free. Thanks to the thorough and relevant documentation on the registry, Windows Scripting Host, and Windows' built-in networking capabilities, customizing and improving Windows Me is easier than ever. Based on the author's extremely popular Annoyances.org web sites, Windows Me Annoyances delivers an authoritative collection of techniques and tools for customizing Windows Me, including:

  • Several approaches and hidden tools for working with the Windows registry, the database of system- and application-specific configuration information

  • How to bypass Windows roadblocks such as the Home Networking and System Restore wizards, allowing you to take control of the processes quickly and painlessly

  • A tutorial and reference on automation with the Windows Scripting Host as a means of eliminating many Windows Me annoyances

  • Using third-party software and utilities to handle some of the more complex workarounds and customizations

  • Dealing with software that overwrites your file associations and other settings without warning

  • Windows Me Annoyances is the intermediate and advanced Windows user's best resource for turning Windows into the user-friendly, customizable interface it was meant to be, but doesn't always manage to be on its own.

    Table of Contents

    1. Windows Me Annoyances
      1. Preface
        1. What Is an Annoyance?
          1. The Interface
          2. How This Book Came to Be
        2. Organization of This Book
        3. Getting the Most out of This Book
        4. Software Depository
        5. Conventions Used in This Book
        6. Request for Comments
        7. Acknowledgments
      2. 1. Making the Most of Windows Me
        1. What’s Wrong with Windows
        2. The Windows Family Tree
        3. Transition to Windows Me
      3. 2. Basic Explorer Coping Skills
        1. Coping with Explorer
          1. Exploring Basic Explorer Settings
            1. Tips for various Folder Options settings
            2. Helpful navigation keystrokes
          2. Move or Copy Files at Will
          3. Copy or Move to a Specified Path
            1. Solution 1: Drag patiently
            2. Solution 2: Use copy and paste
            3. Solution 3: Use a third-party add-on
          4. Make a Duplicate of a File or Folder
          5. Choose How to Delete Files
          6. Force Explorer to Remember Folder Settings
          7. Choose Your Short Filenames
          8. Fix the Search Tool
        2. Tweaking the Interface
          1. Force Explorer to Start with the Folder You Want
            1. Launch Explorer from a shortcut
            2. Exploring in context
          2. Taming Mindless Animation
            1. Solution 1: All for one, and one for all
            2. Solution 2: Individual animation
          3. Stop Menus from Following the Mouse
            1. Solution 1
            2. Solution 2
          4. Get Rid of Shortcut Residue
            1. Solution 1: Remove the “Shortcut to” prefix only
            2. Solution 2: Complete control
          5. Customize the Tray
            1. Remove common items from the tray
            2. Add your own programs to the tray
          6. Customize Drive and Folder Icons
            1. Solution 1: Customize drive icons
            2. Solution 2: Customize folder icons
          7. Make the Control Panel More Accessible
            1. Solution 1: Easy shortcuts to Control Panel icons
            2. Solution 2: Flexible shortcuts to Control Panel applets
            3. Solution 3: Remove unwanted Control Panel icons
            4. Solution 4: Add a cascading Control Panel menu to the Start Menu
            5. Solution 5: Make a custom Control Panel menu
          8. Customize the Startup Screen
          9. Curb CD and DVD Autorun
            1. Disable Autorun
            2. Disable CD and DVD polling
            3. Choose the Autorun audio CD player
        3. Regaining Control of the Desktop
          1. Refresh the Desktop Without Restarting Windows
            1. Solution 1
            2. Solution 2
            3. Solution 3
          2. Save Your Desktop Layout
          3. Fixing the Start Menu
            1. Sorting Start Menu items
            2. Choose scrolling menus or multiple columns
            3. The curse of personalized menus
            4. Remove unwanted Start Menu components
            5. Alternatives to the Start Menu
      4. 3. The Registry
        1. Getting to Know the Registry Editor
          1. The Meat of the Registry: Values
        2. Behind the Scenes: Hives and DAT Files
        3. Backing Up the Registry
          1. Using the Windows Registry Checker
          2. Extra Registry Checker Duties
          3. Automate Off-Disk Backups
        4. Restoring a Corrupted Registry
        5. Using Registry Patches
          1. Create a Registry Patch
          2. Edit a Registry Patch
          3. Apply a Registry Patch
        6. Finding the Right Registry Key
        7. Automating the Deletion of Registry Items
        8. Search the Registry Effectively
        9. Compacting the Registry
        10. Using INI Files
          1. System.ini and Win.ini
        11. Understanding File Types
          1. Creating File Types
        12. Registry Tools
      5. 4. Tinkering Techniques
        1. Cleaning Up the Desktop
          1. Clear the Desktop of Unwanted Icons
            1. My Network Places
            2. Soultion 1: Recycle Bin
            3. Solution 2: Recycle Bin
            4. My Computer
            5. Really stubborn icons
          2. Hide All Icons on the Desktop
          3. Customize My Computer
            1. Rename My Computer
            2. Change the My Computer icon
            3. Redirect the Desktop icon
            4. Add entries to the My Computer window
            5. Remove unwanted entries from the My Computer window
          4. Customize the Recycle Bin Icon
            1. Add the Rename option to the Recycle Bin’s context menu
            2. Manually rename the Recycle Bin
            3. Change the Recycle Bin icon
          5. Change the Icons of System Objects
            1. Solution 1: Basic system objects
            2. Solution 2: Default folder and drive icons
            3. Solution 3: All other system objects
        2. Files and Folders
          1. Clean Up and Customize System Folders
            1. Solution 1: Relocate some system folders
            2. Solution 2: Drag a system folder
            3. Solution 3: Relocate all system folders
            4. Special Case—The Temp folder
          2. Customize Context Menus
            1. Use file types to add, remove, or edit context menus
            2. Link a filename extension to an existing file type
            3. Choose a file-type association on the fly
            4. Customize context menus for drives, folders, and desktop icons
          3. Protect Your File Types
          4. Clear Unwanted Entries from Explorer’s New Menu
            1. Solution 1
            2. Solution 2
            3. Solution 3 (advanced users only)
          5. Clear Unwanted Entries from the Search Menu
          6. Mirror a Folder with Folder Shortcuts
            1. Create a Folder Shortcut
            2. Dismantle a Folder Shortcut
          7. Print Out a Directory Listing
          8. Turn File Icons into Thumbnail Previews
            1. Solution 1: Icon previews for bitmap files
            2. Solution 2: Use built-in icon previews for all graphic files
          9. Customize the Places Bar
            1. Solution 1: Use TweakUI
            2. Solution 2: Use the Registry (affects Microsoft Office 2000 only)
        3. Making Windows Your Own
          1. Tweaking the Start Menu Button
            1. Change the word “Start” (requires a hex editor)
            2. Change the icon (requires an icon editor)
          2. Change Installation Defaults
            1. Registered user
            2. CD key
            3. Installation path
          3. Add New Folder Options
      6. 5. Maximizing Performance
        1. Removing Software Bottlenecks
          1. Speed Up System Startup
          2. Have Windows Power Down Your Computer Automatically
          3. Optimize Virtual Memory (or, Stop Windows from Wildly Accessing Your Hard Disk)
            1. Part 1: Virtual memory
            2. Part 2: Defragmenting the swap file
            3. Part 3: Physical memory
          4. Get the Most Out of Your Games, Speed-Wise
          5. What to Throw Away
            1. Windows Me files that can be deleted
            2. Files found elsewhere on your system
            3. Specific Windows components you can remove
            4. Files NOT to delete
            5. If in doubt
            6. Special consideration: Hidden files
            7. Special consideration: System file protection and system restore
        2. Fine-Tuning and Upgrading Hardware Components
          1. Monitors
            1. What to look for in a new monitor
          2. Video Cards (Display Adapters)
            1. What to look for in a new video card
          3. Motherboards
            1. What to look for in a new motherboard
          4. Processors
            1. What to look for in a new processor
          5. Memory
            1. What to look for in new memory
          6. Hard Disks
            1. What to look for in a new hard disk
          7. Hard-Disk Controllers
            1. What to look for in a new hard-disk controller
          8. SCSI Controllers
            1. What to look for in a new SCSI controller
          9. CD and DVD Drives
            1. What to look for in a new CD or DVD drive
          10. Tape Drives, Removable Cartridge Drives, and CD Recorders
            1. What to look for in a new tape drive, removable cartridge drive, or CD recorder
          11. Modems
            1. What to look for in a new modem
          12. Network Cards
            1. What to look for in a new network card
          13. Sound Cards
            1. What to look for in a new sound card
          14. Printers
            1. What to look for in a new printer
          15. Mice and Other Pointing Devices
            1. What to look for in a new pointing device
          16. Keyboards
            1. What to look for in a new keyboard
          17. The Box and Power Supply
        3. Transfer Windows onto Another Hard Disk
          1. Use a Backup Device
          2. Using a Disk-Cloning Utility
          3. Transferring Data Manually
      7. 6. Troubleshooting
        1. General Troubleshooting Techniques
          1. Disabling System File Protection
          2. Taming Antivirus Software
          3. What to Do When Windows Won’t Start
          4. Understanding System Resources
        2. Dealing with Drivers and Other Tales of Hardware Troubleshooting
          1. Looking for a Driver
          2. Updating and Verifying Drivers
          3. Handling Misbehaving Drivers
          4. Resolving Hardware Conflicts
            1. When installing new hardware . . .
          5. Firmware: Software for Your Hardware
          6. The Trials and Tribulations of Plug and Play
          7. Stop Plug and Play from Detecting Devices
          8. Fixing Device-Specific Problems
            1. Video cards (also known as display adapters)
            2. Monitors
            3. Hard disks and floppy-diskette drives
            4. Hard-disk controllers
            5. SCSI controllers
            6. CD-ROM drives
            7. Tape drives
            8. Removable, optical, and recordable CD-ROM drives
            9. Modems
            10. Printers
            11. Scanners and cameras
            12. Sound cards
            13. Network cards
            14. Memory
            15. USB ports
            16. Motherboards and CPUs
            17. Power supplies
          9. Using Multiple Hardware Configurations
          10. Connect Peripherals Without Restarting Windows
            1. General-purpose solution
            2. Adding and removing SCSI devices
          11. Designate Drive Letters
          12. Stop Windows from Randomly Searching the Floppy Drive
          13. Force NumLock to Behave
          14. Turn Off the PC Speaker
            1. Solution 1
            2. Solution 2
            3. Solution 3
        3. Error Messages
          1. Typical Windows Startup Errors
          2. The Places Windows Looks for Startup Programs
          3. Page Fault, Illegal Operation, and Fatal Exception
          4. Crash-a-Holic
          5. Version Control
          6. The Path Less Traveled
        4. Preventive Maintenance and Data Recovery
          1. Back Up Your Entire System
          2. Installing Microsoft Backup
          3. Tips for a Better Backup
          4. Better Floppy Formats
          5. Make a Startup Disk
          6. Protecting Your Hardware
          7. Data Recovery
          8. Restoring Windows After a Crash
      8. 7. Networking and Internetworking
        1. Setting Up a Workgroup
          1. Part 1: Installing the Hardware and Drivers
          2. Part 2: Setting Up the Protocols
          3. Part 3: Other Network Properties
          4. Part 4: The Art of Cabling
          5. Part 5: Using Shared Resources
          6. Part 6: Mapping Drives
          7. Troubleshooting a Workgroup
        2. Connecting to the Internet
          1. A Word About the Different Types of Internet Connections
            1. Setting up the drivers and protocols
            2. Using Dial-Up Networking
          2. Troubleshooting an Internet Connection
          3. Test Your Throughput
        3. Dealing with Dialing
          1. Exporting Dial-Up Networking Connections
          2. Using Autodial with Dial-Up Networking
          3. Dial-Up Scripting
            1. Part 1: Log in manually
            2. Part 2: Write the script
            3. Part 3: Hook up the script to a connection
        4. Mixing and Matching Networks and Other Tricks of the Trade
          1. Sharing an Internet Connection on a Workgroup
            1. Solution 1: Use Internet Connection Sharing
            2. Solution 2: Use an Internet router
            3. Solution 3: Use multiple IP addresses
          2. Virtual Private Networking
            1. Part 1a: Set up the tunnel server (Windows NT 4.0 Server/Advanced Server only)
            2. Part 1b: Set up the tunnel server (Windows 2000 Server/Advanced Server only)
            3. Part 2: Set up the VPN client (Windows Me)
          3. Accessing an FTP Site in Explorer
            1. Solution 1
            2. Solution 2
          4. Controlling Another Computer Remotely( Just Like in the Movies)
        5. Security and Multiple Users
          1. Get Rid of the Logon Screen
          2. Share System Folders Between Users
          3. How to Implement Security in Windows
            1. Prevent new users from logging in
            2. Save settings for multiple users
            3. Limit access to unprivileged users
      9. 8. Taking Control of Web Integration
        1. The Lowdown on Web Integration Components
        2. Make Good Use of the Web View
          1. Customize the Web View of a Single Folder
          2. Editing Web View Template Files
          3. A Word About Web View Variables
          4. Selectively Turn Off the Web View
          5. Make a Custom Toolbar with the Web View
        3. Using the Active Desktop
        4. Choosing Your Browser Defaults
      10. 9. Scripting and Automation
        1. Building a Script with VBScript
          1. Using Variables to Store and Manipulate Information
          2. Giving Your Scripts an Interface with the InputBox and MsgBox Commands
          3. Creating Interactive Scripts with Conditional Statements
          4. Using Loops, Using Loops, Using Loops
          5. Making Building Blocks with Subroutines and Functions
          6. Extending Scripts with Object References
        2. Running Applications from Scripts
        3. Accessing the Registry from Scripts
        4. Manipulating Files from Scripts
        5. Creating Windows and Internet Shortcuts in Scripts
        6. Networking with Scripts
        7. Manipulating Internet Explorer from Scripts
        8. Using Command-Line Parameters in Scripts
        9. Writing CGI Scripts for a Web Server
        10. Making a Startup Script
        11. Deciphering Script Errors
        12. Finding a Better Editor
        13. Further Study
        14. Automating Scripts with Scheduled Tasks
        15. Wacky Script Ideas
          1. Quick Floppy Backup Tool
          2. Internet Fishtank
          3. Smart Phone Dialing
          4. Quick SendTo Shortcut Creator
          5. Rename Files with Search and Replace
          6. Sort the Start Menu with Ease
          7. Mirror a Folder with Folder Shortcuts
      11. A. Setting Locator
        1. Alphabetical Listing of All Windows Me Settings
      12. B. DOS Resurrected
        1. MS-DOS Crash Course
          1. Command-Prompt Tricks
            1. Using long filenames in DOS
            2. Run a shortcut from the command prompt
            3. Choose the default command-prompt folder
          2. Batch Files—The Other Way to Do It
            1. Variables and the environment
            2. Flow control
            3. Command-line parameters
            4. Conditional statements
            5. Loops
            6. Simulating subroutines
          3. Turn the Address Bar into a Command Prompt
      13. C. Class IDs of System Objects
      14. Index
      15. Colophon