10 additional ways to make life with Windows
December 19, 2006 5:18am CST
1. If you have a "wheel mouse,'' skip the rolling scrolling stuff and turn the wheel into a useful button. I have mine set up to perform a left double click when I do a single click on the wheel button. I'm not young any more, and double-clicking isn't as easy as it used to be. So clicking that middle button for a left double click is a big plus me. (Your mouse software should let you change the behavior of the wheel. If it doesn't, get a Microsoft Intellimouse. It has the right software options in addition to being a great mouse.) 2. Give the keyboard a boost. Open the Control Panel (under "Settings'' in the Start Menu) and double click on the Keyboard icon. Slide the "Repeat Delay'' and "Repeat Rate'' controls all the way to the right. This will make the keyboard much faster, and it even speeds up scrolling with the mouse. 3. Click your right mouse button on a file whenever you're not sure what to do with it. You'll see a list of choices. This can save you a lot of fiddling. 4. Switch your folders to "Details'' view so you can quickly sort the listing. Choose "Details" from the "View" menu at the top of any Windows folder. (Folders are windows that show you what's in your computer. Double clicking on "My Computer'' opens a folder, for example.) Sort the list in a "Details'' view by clicking on the heading for that part of the list. Clicking "Modified'' sorts the contents by the modification date (latest or oldest first), for example. And clicking again on the same heading reverses the sort. 5. Save your wrist, Part 1. You can do a lot of things easier from the keyboard than by dragging your mouse. Here are three: To put something in the Recycle Bin, select it and press the Delete key; to close a program, press Alt-F4; and to select everything (in a program such as a word processor or in a folder window), press Ctrl-A. 6. Save your wrist, Part 2. Pesky messages that come up on your screen usually can be closed with a single whack of the Esc key. Don't bother clicking your mouse. 7. Reboot early and often. Windows runs out of its disappointingly small "system" memory pool (called resource memory) all too readily, leading to lockups and crashes. Adding memory chips doesn't help. Rebooting is the only way to get that memory back. 8. Enjoy a real-estate boom. Get more windows to fit on your screen. If you have a 17-inch (or larger) PC monitor, drop the two drecky screen resolutions and switch to 1024 by 768. (The two yucky ones are 640 by 480 and 800 by 600.) Right click on the desktop and click "Properties, '' then "Settings.'' Slide the control over to 1024 by 768. If you have a really big monitor, see if you can choose an even higher setting for resolution. One of my 21-inch monitors is set for 1200 by 1024 and the other is set for 1600 by 1200. I wouldn't switch back to a lower resolution if you paid me. 9. Toss your cookies. We could argue forever over which rock'n' roll band is the greatest of all time and which kind of coffee is the best, but nobody could argue about the best way to control Web cookies in Windows. The winner by far is Cookie Pal. Don't leave your home page without it. Get it from http://www.kburra. com/. 10. Down with the load. Make life easier when you download files by making a folder where you can find them. Double click on "My Computer" and then double click on the C: drive. Right click inside the C: drive window and create a new folder with the name "Downloads." The next time you are about to download a file, RIGHT CLICK on the link and tell Windows to put the file in the "Downloads" folder. All subsequent downloads will go there automatically.