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Archive for the ‘Desktop Enhancement’ Category

Desktop Lock

Friday, February 17th, 2006

What’s an easy way to lock my desktop?

If you want to lock your desktop (that is, take it back to its original start up mode, where you must enter your password or click to enter), there’s an easy way to create an icon just for that.

Do the following to avoid using any other key combinations in the future:

Begin by right-clicking an empty… Continue reading

Create New Themes or Modify Existing Themes

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

Redecorating with Personalized Style

In a previous tip, we talked about how to choose your desktop theme from those available on your system. Those are pretty basic. You can also modify them or create your own!

Note: These directions are for XP users. Other versions of Windows will look slightly different and have the settings in slightly different places. Look in the Control Panel as a starting point.… Continue reading

Change Windows Themes or Views

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005

Redecorating Windows

Themes are complete redecoration packages for your desktop. A typical theme will contain a coordinating screen saver, icons, fonts, colors, window borders, cursors, and sometimes even sounds. XP offers the Windows Classic and Windows XP themes automatically. You can find others online or install them from CDs.

Right-click your desktop and choose Properties.

The Display Properties window will appear. Click the Themes tab and choose one from… Continue reading

Delete Screensavers (or uninstall them)

Monday, October 24th, 2005

My screen saver collection is taking up too much space in my computer. How can I delete them?

They do accumulate, don’t they? There are two separate methods to removing screen savers, depending on how they’re stored in your system.

If you have installed screen saver collections from a disk or the web, you’ll recover more space if you uninstall the screen saver programs rather than… Continue reading

Viewing the Windows and Office Clipboards

Tuesday, October 18th, 2005

Viewing the Windows and Office Clipboards

Last week we talked about the Windows clipboard and how to prevent information on it from being stolen. The Windows clipboard and the MS Office programs clipboards differ in a few important ways. The Windows Clipboard holds the most recent thing you’ve Copied or Cut. The Office Clipboard holds up to 24 items.

To view what’s on your Windows clipboard, you can… Continue reading

New Program Shortcuts

Tuesday, October 18th, 2005

I’m installing a program, but it didn’t put a shortcut on my desktop. Where did the program go?

Most programs’ default location is in a folder in the Program Files. Shortcuts don’t change the real location of a file or program. They only make it easier to access the file or program from the desktop.

To find your newly-installed program, go to the Start menu and… Continue reading

Change icon and text size

Tuesday, October 18th, 2005

All of my desktop icons are way too big. Can I shrink them somehow?

Yes. You can change the size of the icons and the size of the text beneath them, and not just by choosing Large Icon or Small Icon. Just right-click the desktop, click Properties, and go to the Appearance tab. Click Effects.

The Advanced Appearance window will open. Scroll down to “icon”… Continue reading

Schedule Maintenance Tasks (ex. Disk Cleanup)

Wednesday, September 21st, 2005

I was amazed at how much space I freed up using Disk Cleanup! I’m terrible at remembering to do this sort of thing. Is there a way to make this happen automatically?

You can schedule maintenance tasks like Disk Cleanup. First, see our tip for settings on Disk Cleanup that will avoid “throwing out” stuff you might need. Go to the Start Menu, All Programs, Accessories

Wallpaper That Won’t Go Away

Friday, September 2nd, 2005

No matter how I try to change my wallpaper it just stays the same. What can I do?

Normally, if you pick a different wallpaper the old one will go away…

But… I get email all the time from folks who can’t get the wallpaper to change. Why does this happen?

It’s an… Continue reading

Download: Logon Loader

Thursday, August 25th, 2005

I like bringing you programs that can spruce up your Windows XP, making it more personal. One area that could really use some shaping up is that boring Blue logon screen. I couldn’t just leave this out.

Let’s’ put it this way: if you have incorporated all the Windows alterations that I have showcased in the past couple of weeks, trying to totally change every aspect of your Windows environment… Continue reading

Vanishing Taskbar Buttons

Saturday, August 20th, 2005

I keep several windows open at the same time and a little button appears for each one in my taskbar. Why do some disappear as I add more?

They didn’t really go anywhere. When the task bar fills up it scrolls up to make room for more buttons.

You’ll notice that arrows will appear next to the open window area of the taskbar. Click up and… Continue reading

ScreenSwift 5.0

Thursday, June 2nd, 2005

What ScreenSwift does is allow you to create flash desktop wallpapers that actually behave just exactly like a flash file. This isn’t some stagnant image. You can either store the entire flash movie as a wallpaper and when you want to see the movie action select the “Play” button and get some popcorn.

There is nothing to the set up. All you need are some .swf files—which… Continue reading

Make Your Own Wallpaper

Saturday, May 14th, 2005

Would you like to have one of your pictures as a desktop background? It’s easier than you think!

1. Figure out your screen resolution. Before you begin, you’ll need to figure out what size the final image needs to be. Fortunately, this is really easy. Just right-click a blank area on your desktop and select Properties from the resulting menu. Then, click the Settings tab on the resulting… Continue reading

Recover a Lost Window

Saturday, May 7th, 2005

I’m sure this has happened to you: a window strays outside of the visible desktop area and you can’t seem to grab it with your pointer.

All is not lost.

Click the button for it down in the toolbar to bring it into focus. Hit Alt+Spacebar and it will bring up a System menu (Restore, Move, Size, etc.) Usually this shows up in the upper left hand corner… Continue reading

Change Icons for a File Type

Saturday, April 16th, 2005

Are you tired of the icon associated with your Word docs? Maybe you want all JPEGs to have a unique icon. Well, it can be done. Yes, you can give custom icons to all files of a certain type.

First, if you don’t have any custom icons yet, check out Leo’s IconArchive for over 10,000 free ones to choose from…

Save them to a folder, maybe… Continue reading

Missing Show Desktop Icon in Windows XP

Saturday, April 16th, 2005

In Windows XP, my “Show Desktop” icon down in the taskbar disappeared. How do I get it back?

I get questions on this all the time. it even happened to someone here at WorldStart HQ. “Show Desktop” is not a normal program and you can’t just make a shortcut or reactivate it in a normal way.

What you’ll need to do is… Continue reading

What’s on Your Desktop?

Tuesday, March 29th, 2005

When I got my new computer it didn’t have a “My Computer” icon on the desktop. Maybe the manufacturer didn’t want the average person messing around in there, but how else could I access the CD drives and such? Well, fortunately it was an easy fix.

Not only did I find “My Computer” there, but there were other things that could be turned on and off. Let’s take a look… Continue reading

The Invisible Character

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2005

Do you have something that requires a name but you don’t want anything in it? You could just throw nonsense in there, but a blank space would be best. Well, guess what? There is an invisible character! This special character is the equivalent of a space.

Hold down ALT then type 0160 (Alt+0160) on the number keypad at the right side of your keyboard.… Continue reading

Program List

Wednesday, March 9th, 2005

In Windows XP, when I go to my programs it takes up my whole screen. Is there a way to make them into a list or something?

This has always been a pretty annoying feature in XP, but I discovered a remedy.

Right-click the Start Button and choose Properties.

Bigger Desktop Icons

Wednesday, March 9th, 2005

Is there a way to make my Desktop icons bigger?

You can use this tip to make them bigger or smaller. I’ll also show you how to change the label font and its size.

Windows XP:

Right-click the desktop and choose “Properties” Select the “Appearance” tab then click the “Advanced” button.

Under “Item”, pick “Icon” from the drop down list. Under “Size” use the arrow… Continue reading

Clear Shortcut Labels

Thursday, February 24th, 2005

My desktop shortcuts have a solid color behind the names and it blocks my wallpaper. Isn’t there a way to make it clear?

The solid box behind a shortcut label can be very annoying, especially if you have dozens of icons on your desktop.

It doesn’t take much to change this if you have Windows XP.

Right-click “My Computer” and choose Properties (or hold down… Continue reading

Add Items to the Start Menu

Tuesday, January 18th, 2005

How do I add items to my Start Menu?

As you know, the Start Menu is the control center of your PC accessed by clicking the “Start” button down in the lower left-hand corner or by typing the Window key. Adding items to it isn’t that difficult.

Since there are two sides to the Start Menu, let’s start with the left…

If the item you want… Continue reading

Matching Processes to Programs

Tuesday, January 18th, 2005

When you do Ctrl+Alt+Delete in Windows XP you should get the Windows Task Manager. There you’ll see a list of running applications (programs). There is also a tab for “Processes” with a bunch of cryptic names like “SynTPEnh.exe” and such.

That said, let me tell you about a neat little trick to find out what processes match up with running applications…

Hit Ctrl+Alt+Del to bring up Task Manager. Choose an… Continue reading

Turn Auto Desktop Cleanup Off

Tuesday, January 18th, 2005

OK, call me crazy, but I like my messy desktop. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t seem to understand this and every now and then makes me run the Desktop Cleanup on my Windows XP machine. Sure, I click the little “X” on the reminder balloon to make it go away, but nooooooo—within seconds it’s back. No amount of screaming seems to help, so I’m forced to go though their stupid

Bit Quallity Problems

Tuesday, December 14th, 2004

For some reason my desktop looks like it’s in safe mode or something. How do I fix it?

Sounds like a bit quality issue. You might notice after you’ve been in Safe Mode or played a game on your PC that the desktop looks strange–the icons are bigger, the colors are off, etc.

If you have an icon for your… Continue reading

Personalized Windows Color Scheme

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

Personalized Windows Color Scheme

Windows 9.x (XP instructions are below)

Windows has a look and feel that’s all its own thanks to the default color scheme’s use of gray. But if gray isn’t your color, don’t stick with it. Change your color scheme to something that fits your personality.

To customize your display scheme, follow these directions:

1. Single-click the Start button, mouse-over Settings… Continue reading

Desktop Toolbars

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

Have you ever had several windows open and needed to get to a shortcut on the desktop? I know I have. You have to minimize all three windows just to start the other program. But there is an easy way to fix this problem. Create a toolbar with your shortcuts in it!

Here’s how. First, right click on the windows toolbar on the bottom of your screen… Continue reading

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