Sport & Auto
- About Future
- Digital Future
- Cookies Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Investor Relations
- Contact Future
The following tips don’t discriminate—they will improve your computing experience equally, whether you’re rocking Microsoft’s new or old OS.
We’re willing to bet you never use half the items in the Control Panel, but did you know you can make a Control Panel that reflects your particular habits? Here’s how: Right-click the Start menu and select Explore. Create a new folder and give it a descriptive name, such as Custom Control Panel. Drag and drop only the tools you’ll actually use from the original Control Panel into your new one, renaming as you see fit. Change the icon so it stands out in the Start menu.
Every new program in XP and Vista gets highlighted in the Start menu as if to say, “Hey, remember when you installed me?” That’s great for those afflicted with extremely short attention spans, but not much use for the rest of us. To rid your Start menu of these unsightly reminders, right-click the Start button and select Properties, select the Start Menu tab, and click Customize. In Vista, scroll down and uncheck “Highlight newly installed programs.” You’ll find the same option in XP under the Advanced tab.
Moving files with the Send To command can save oodles of time, but it doesn’t do you any good if the destination you’re looking for doesn’t appear in the menu. To add your own destinations, select Run from the Start menu (type Run in the search box on Vista) and type shell:sendto. Create a shortcut of the folder or program you want to appear and move it to the Send To folder you just opened.
Ever grab a file on your desktop only to realize the destination folder’s sitting behind an open window? To get around this, drag the file to an empty space in the taskbar and all open windows will minimize, allowing you to move the file wherever you want. Using this method, you can hover files over minimized windows to restore them.
We can already keep tabs on our CPU and RAM through the Task Manager, but there’s a better way. CPUMon (free, http://tinyurl.com/363k6f) displays the same information but ups the ante with an adjustable, unobtrusive transparent graph, CPU-speed monitoring, statistics that include the average CPU and memory usage, and a handful of other options.
Download Ditto (http://sourceforge.net/projects/ditto-cp/) and take Windows’s clipboard to new heights. Ditto retains up to 500 copied entries, including images, and stores the information on your hard drive, so you won’t be thwarted by a power outage or system reboot. Stay productive by exporting saved entries and transferring them to another computer, paste HTML as plain text, perform keyword searches, and apply hotkey shortcuts to the first 10 items.
Put your Restart and Shut Down buttons in plain sight—because you can
Forget about mucking around in the Start menu and instead create desktop shortcuts for shutting down and restarting your system. Right-click your desktop and select New > Shortcut. In the pop-up window, type shutdown –s –t 00 to create a shutdown shortcut and shutdown –r –t 00 to create one for restarting. Give your new shortcuts custom icons (see Windows XP tips) and then drag them to the Quick Launch bar for even easier access.