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Windows 95 Tips and Tricks


MS-DOS Command PromptCut, Copy, Paste, Drag and Drop
File OperationsFolders and Windows Explorer
Hardware ProfilesMobile Computing
Multimedia and SoundNetwork
Run Dialog BoxStart Menu
TaskbarWindow Management
Miscellaneous Tips and Tricks


MS-DOS Command Prompt

Visual Display of Directory from Command Prompt

If you are at a command prompt and want a visual display of a directory (folder), type "start .", or "start .." and an open folder of that directory appears on the desktop.

Drag and Drop Filenames to Command Prompt

You can drag file and folder icons from the desktop or a folder to an MS-DOS command prompt. The filename is then in the keyboard buffer of the running MS-DOS-based application.

Copy/Paste Information From/To Command Prompt

Activate the toolbar in the MS-DOS-based program window to gain point-and-click access to copy, cut, and paste operations from a Windows-based program to an MS-DOS-based program. For example, copy a folder output on the screen, and then paste it into mail.

Starting Windows-Based Programs from a Command Prompt

You can start Windows-based programs from a command prompt by typing the name of the program you want to run, and then specifying any parameters as needed. For example, to start Notepad, type "notepad" at the command prompt, and then press Enter. You can also start Windows-based programs in batch files. You can also use the Start command to start a program or open a document, ie c:\start test.txt

Command.pif

If you set the properties for an MS-DOS prompt the wrong way, and you can't open an MS-DOS window, go into the PIF directory and edit Command.pif, or find Command.com and edit the properties there.

DOSKEY

If you want to use DOSKEY in an MS-DOS window without loading it in Autoexec.bat or creating a startup batch script, you can go to the Program properties and enter doskey as the startup batch file. If you decide later that you want to have a real startup batch file, simply move DOSKEY into this batch file.

Directory Shortcuts

Related directories have the following shortcuts:

. = current directory
.. = parent directory
... = parent directory once removed directory (new in Windows 95)
.... = parent directory twice removed (new in Windows 95)

For example, if you are in the C:\Windows\System\Viewers directory, and you enter cd... at the command prompt, the directory changes to C:\

Command Line Parameters

Add a "?" to the command line of MS-DOS programs, and you will be prompted to add parameters when you start the program. This is especially useful with MS-DOS program shortcuts.

Easy Disk Copy From the Desktop

Create a shortcut on the desktop with diskcopy a: a: at the command prompt to copy a disk (substitute b: to use b: drive).

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Cut, Copy, Paste, Drag and Drop

Drag and Drop

To move an object, use the left mouse button to drag the object from one folder to another on the same drive. Use Shift+Left-drag to force a move.

To copy an object, use the left mouse button to drag the object from one folder to another on a different drive. Use CTRL+Left+drag to force a copy.

To create a shortcut to an executable, use the left mouse button to drag an executable file to a new folder.

Use the right mouse button to drag an object from one folder to another, and then select 'Create Shortcut(s) Here' to create a shortcut to that object. The icon annotations indicate what will happen: a plus sign for copy, an arrow for a shortcut, and no symbol for a move. Press ESC while you are dragging the object to cancel the action.

To create document shortcuts: Right drag a selection from an OLE document (for example, Word 95) onto the Desktop or folder, and then select "Create Document Shortcut Here." This document shortcut will open the original document at the place in the document that the shortcut originated.

To create document scraps: Use the left mouse button to drag a selection from an OLE document (for example, Word 95) onto the desktop or folder to create a scrap (a scrap is an OLE object that contains the selection). Drop the scrap onto another document or back onto the original document to insert or render it (whichever is most appropriate).

Right Drag and Drop

Right drag and drop works like left drag and drop except that a menu is displayed when you drop the object. The menu for folders displays these commands: Move Here, Copy Here, Create Shortcut(s) Here. The menu for OLE objects includes: Create Scrap Here, Move Scrap Here, Create Document Shortcut Here).

Drag to the Taskbar

You can drag objects from one open document to another open document (one covering the other) by dragging the object to the target's taskbar, waiting until the target window is displayed, and then dragging the object onto the target window.

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File Operations

Creating a New File

Create a new file by using the right mouse button to click the desktop or folder, point to New, and then click the type of file you want to create from the list.

Create a New Folder While Saving a File

When using the Save As command to save a file, you can also create a new folder in which to store the file. Use the right mouse button to click the dialog box list, point to New, and then click Folder. Double- click the new folder to open it, and then continue the save process.

Deleting Files Without Moving them to Recycle Bin

Select the file or files to be deleted. Use the right mouse button to click the selection, and then hold down the Shift key and click Delete (or hold down the Shift key when pressing the Delete key if using the keyboard).

Copying and Moving Files

Use the right mouse button to click the files you want to copy or move, and then click Copy or Cut. Open the destination location, and then click the right mouse button and select Paste.

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Folders and Windows Explorer

Selecting Multiple Files

Selecting multiple files in large icon view works differently from list view. To extend a selection, click the first icon, and then hold down the Shift key while you click the last icon to be selected. To change an icon from selected to unselected, hold down the CTRL key while you select the icon.

Special Folders

You can put the contents of Control Panel or other special folders on your Start menu (or in any folder). Create a folder by clicking New on the File menu, and then clicking Folder. Then, paste in the appropriate name as shown below:

  • Control Panel - Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}
  • Dial Up Network - Dial Up Net.{992CFFA0-F557-101A-88EC-00DD010CCC48}
  • Printers - Printers.{2227A280-3AEA-1069-A2DE-08002B30309D}

Windows Explorer Switches

Windows Explorer switches are useful in creating rooted folders:

Explorer [/e][,/root,<object>][[,/select],<sub object>]

/e - Use Explorer view (scope and results pane view). The default is Open view (results in pane view only).

/root<object> - Specify the object in the "normal" name space that is used as the root (top level) of this Explorer/Folder (i.e., local path or UNC name). The default is the Desktop).

/Select - The parent folder opens and the specified object is selected. <sub object> Specify the folder unless /select is used. The default is the root.

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Hardware Profiles

Hardware Profiles are used to set up multiple hardware configurations. This is especially useful for laptops that have docking stations or workstations with removable storage media.

The following example demonstrates how to set up hardware profiles for a laptop with a docking station that has this configuration:

  • Docked - Display Driver = S3, Network = w/Microsoft Network, RNA = no RNA
  • Undocked - Display Driver = VGA, Network = None, RNA = with RNA

Open Systems Properties:

  • Use the right mouse button to click the My Computer icon.
  • Click Properties, and then click the Hardware Profiles tab.
  • Verify that two hardware profile options labeled Docked and Undocked exist. If these options are not available, highlight Original Configuration, and then click Rename. Type DOCKED and then click OK. Highlight the word DOCKED and then click Copy. In the Copy Profile Dialog Box type UNDOCKED.

To Set Up the Video Driver for Docked and Undocked Configurations

First, verify that VGA is installed. If it is not installed, double-click the Display icon in Control Panel. Click the Settings tab, and then click Change Display Type. In the Adapter Type area, click Change, and then install the VGA driver.

  • In Control Panel, double-click the System icon, and then click the Device Manager tab.
  • Double-click Display Adapter, and then double-click VGA.
  • In the Device Usage area, make sure Undocked is checked and Docked is unchecked. Click OK.
  • In the Device Manager tab, double-click Display Adapter, and then double-click the S3 adapter.
  • In the Device Usage area, make sure the Docked option is checked and the Undocked option is unchecked.
  • Click OK to exit Device Manager.

To Set Up for No Network in an Undocked State

  • In Control Panel, double-click the System icon, and then click the Device Manager tab.
  • Double-click Network Adapter, and then double-click the network card.
  • In the Device Usage area of the General tab, remove the check mark from the Undocked option. Click OK, and then return to Device Manager.

To set up for no RNA while docked

  • In Control Panel, double-click the System icon, and then click the Device Manager tab.
  • Double-click the Dial-up Networking adapter. Remove the check mark for the Docked option.

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Mobile Computing

Automatic Synchronizing of Files on Laptop

If you have files that you want to keep synchronized between your portable, your office desktop, and your home computer, you should create Briefcases on both your desktop computers, and then keep the files on your portable. Drag the documents from your portable to the Briefcase on each desktop computer. Then, each time you connect your portable to a docking station, the Briefcase on the desktop computer synchronizes the files.

Creating a Second Undocked Configuration

To create a second, undocked configuration for your portable (for example, one configuration has a printer and the other does not), follow these steps:

  • Make sure your computer is in the configuration you want, and then use the right mouse button to click the My Computer icon.
  • Click Properties, and then click the Configuration tab.
  • Select the undocked configuration, and then choose Copy.
  • Select the new configuration and give it a unique name.
  • Go to Device Manager and click Refresh. This will re-enumerate all the hardware devices on your system and build the new configuration.

Viewing Remaining Battery Life of Laptop

For computers with APM functionality, click the Battery icon on the taskbar to view a detailed battery meter.

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Multimedia and Sound

To remove Auto Run when an audio CD is inserted, hold down the Shift key when you insert the CD-ROM, or make the following changes:

  • Open a folder (for example, My Computer).
  • On the View menu, click Options, and then click File Types.
  • Click AudioCD, and then click Edit.
  • In the Action list, click Play.
  • Click Set Default to turn off Auto Run.

Note: If the Play command is bold, the CD will play when it is inserted, if Play is not bold, it will not.

Opening the Media Player From an AVI

When an AVI file is playing, you can open Media Player by double-clicking the title bar of the AVI. Double-click the Media Player title bar to exit.

Master Volume Icon

You can put a master volume control on the taskbar by following these steps:

  • In Control Panel, double-click the Multimedia icon.
  • Click the Audio tab, and then click Show Volume Control on the taskbar.
  • Click the volume (speaker) icon on the taskbar to open the master volume control. Double-click the volume (speaker) icon to open Volume Control.

Cache Size for CD-ROMs

You can set the cache size for CD-ROMs via the System icon in Control Panel.

  • Double click the System icon in Control Panel, and then click the Performance tab.
  • Click File System to view the CD-ROM optimization control.

Assigning Sounds to Events

To assign sounds to events, double-click the Sounds icon in Control Panel.

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Network

Hints

Instead of connecting a drive letter to a network share, put shortcuts to those shares on your desktop or Start menu (for example, add a shortcut to \\documents\user\dave instead of redirecting this share to drive Z). This way, network shares are only connected when needed.

If you work in a group, you may want to keep a folder on a public server for shortcuts to useful network locations. Interested individuals can keep a shortcut to this folder on their desktop for quick access.

Easy Access to Network Information

Add shortcuts to network locations in Network Neighborhood. They'll stay there when you're logged off the network and will cascade to Dial-Up Networking features as long as they are installed.

Easy Connection to a Network Server/Share

Click the Start button, click Run, and then enter the UNC path. For example, entering \\server will open a window showing shared resources for the computer named server. Entering \\server\share\direct opens the folder named direct on the \\server\share share point.

Easy Access to Network Properties

Use the right mouse button to click Network Neighborhood to view network properties.

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Run Dialog Box

Via the Keyboard

Press CTRL+ESC+R to open the Run dialog box. On a Microsoft Natural Keyboard, press Win+R to open the Run dialog box.

Opening a Folder Anywhere From the Run Dialog Box

To open a folder, enter its local path or UNC path. For example, entering C:\Windows\System will open the System folder. Entering \\server\share\direct will open a folder pointing to the direct folder on the \\server\share share point.

Running a Program

You can run a program from within any folder by opening that folder and then clicking Run from the Start Menu.

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Start Menu

Keyboard Shortcuts

Press CTRL+ESC to display the Start menu. On a Microsoft Natural Keyboard, press a Win key to display the Start menu.

Adding items to the Start Menu

Drag an object (a folder, shortcut, program, or document) onto the Start menu to add it to the top of the Start menu. If the object is a folder, the folder contents is displayed when you point to that menu item.

Modifying Start Menu Items

Use the right mouse button to click the Start menu, and then select Open or Explore to view and modify its contents.

Quick Access to Start Menu Items

You can quickly open programs at the top of the Start menu by numbering the icons (rename them with a number before the name). Then, press CTRL+ESC followed by the number to start those programs.

Emptying the Documents menu

  • Click the Start menu, point to Settings, and then click Taskbar.
  • Click the Start Menu Programs tab, and then click Clear.

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Taskbar

Taskbar Background

To open the taskbar's context menu when the taskbar is full, move the mouse pointer to the edge of the taskbar, and then use the right mouse button to click the taskbar. You can also do this to drag the taskbar.

Hiding the Taskbar

  • Use the right mouse button to click the Start button, and then click Properties.
  • Click the Taskbar Options tab, and then click Auto Hide. When the mouse moves near the taskbar area, the taskbar appears.

Moving the Taskbar

You can drag the taskbar to any side of the desktop area.

Languages and Keyboard Layouts

To change keyboard layouts while you work, make these changes:

  • In Control Panel, double click the Keyboard icon.
  • Click the Language tab, and then add another language as needed.
  • Make sure the Enable Indicator on Taskbar is checked. When you complete this setup, a Language layout icon appears on the taskbar. You can click the icon to select another language.

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Window Management

Switching Between a Window and a Full MS-DOS Screen

Press ALT+Enter.

Closing Consecutive Windows

If you are using multiple window browse, and you want to close all open windows, hold down the Shift key, and then click the close (X) button in the upper right corner of the title bar.

Cascading, Tiling, and Minimizing All

Use the right mouse button to click the taskbar, and then click an option.

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Miscellaneous Tips and Tricks

Configuration Summary

To print a copy of your system configuration summary, double-click the Systems icon in Control Panel, and then click the Device Manager tab. Click Computer, and then click Print.

Quick View

If Quick View is installed, and if Quick View supports a particular file format, you can quickly view the contents of that file by using the right mouse button to click it, and then select Quick View.

You can also create a link to Notepad.exe in your SendTo folder. Then, use the right mouse button to click the file you want to view. Click Sent To, and then click Notepad.

Disk Tools

Use the right mouse button to click a drive in My Computer, and then click Properties. Click the Tools tab to use ScanDisk, Backup, and Defragmenter.

Converting Windows 3.1 Program Groups

You can convert Windows 3.1 program groups in two ways:

  • Double-click a .grp file to automatically convert it to a Windows 95 folder.
  • Run the GRPCONV command with the /m parameter to display a dialog box in which you can select groups to convert.

Open With

To open an associated file with a different program, hold down Shift, and then use the right mouse button to click the file. Click Open With on the menu to open the file with a different program.

Hotkey

In Windows 95, hotkeys assigned to shortcuts in the Start Menu or its subfolders can be used to start programs any time.

Screen Resolution

To quickly change screen resolution for different applications, use the right mouse button to click the desktop, and then click the Settings tab. In the Desktop Area, move the slider bar to the desired resolution.

Context Help

On the upper right side of each dialog box is a question mark button (?). Click it and then click a control or item in the dialog box. A short description of the item appears.

Find Tool

To find a file, mail message, computer, or file on The Microsoft Network, use the Find command on the Start menu. In addition, you can save a search in the Find dialog box by clicking Save Search on the File menu.

Bitmap Viewer

MS Paint can serve as a bitmap viewer. Drag a bitmap icon onto an MS Paint window to view it.

Restart the Taskbar

If you need to restart the taskbar (for example, when you've changed a registry entry that you want to use), you can use CTRL+ALT+DEL to remove Windows Explorer. When the Shutdown dialog box appears, click No. At the next prompt, click End Task. The taskbar is removed, and then restarts.

Making an Emergency Startup Disk

To create a complete emergency startup disk, double-click the Add/Remove Programs icon in Control Panel, and then click the Startup Disk tab.

Undoing a File Move or File Rename

If you forget where you just moved a file, or if you accidentally rename a file, click Undo from the Edit menu (or press ALT+Backspace).

Display Properties

Use the right mouse button to click the desktop, and then click Properties to change the desktop background, screen saver, appearance, or video settings. To change your primary display font, change the icon font on the Appearance tab.

Tips for Using the Taskbar Clock

Hold the mouse pointer over taskbar clock to see the date.

Double click the taskbar clock to set the system time, date, and time zone.

To remove the clock from the taskbar:

  • Use the right mouse button to click the taskbar, and then click Properties.
  • Click the Taskbar Options tab, and uncheck Show Clock (or press C).

Easy Access to Computer Properties

To view your computer (system) properties, use the right mouse button to click My Computer and then click Properties. If you have a Microsoft Natural Keyboard, press Win+Break.

Using the Cursor Keys Instead of a Mouse

You can move the cursor without using the mouse by turning on MouseKeys. Double-click the Accessibility Options icon in Control Panel, click themouse tab, and then click Use MouseKeys.

Easy Way to Access Control Panel

  • Use the right mouse button to click the Start menu, and then click Explore.
  • Make a new directory in the Start Menu folder named Control Panels (or whatever you want).
  • Open the original Control Panels folder, select all the icons, and then use the right mouse button to drag them into your new folder. This creates shortcuts to all the Control Panel icons.
  • Close everything, and then click the Start menu. When you point to your new folder, you should see all the Control Panel icons.

Sending Objects by Using Send To

You can drag any shortcut to the SendTo folder. This shortcut could be to a printer, fax, network drive, or Windows application. To find the SendTo folder, click the Start button, and then click Run. Type Sendto in the Run dialog box. Use the right mouse button to drag the item's icon into the Send To window. The shortcut will appear on the Send To menu. Use the right mouse button to click a document or folder icon, select Send To, and then select a destination item.

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