Add the Address toolbar to the Taskbar. If
you know the path and name of the folder you
want to go to, typing it in the Address toolbar
can get you there faster than pointing and
clicking. To make the toolbar available,
right-click on the taskbar; choose Toolbars and
then Address. Windows will add the toolbar just
to the left of the system tray in the taskbar. You
can then open files and folders by typing in their
paths. Windows folders, such as My Documents
and My Computer, can be opened simply by
typing their names.
You can also launch a program from the Address
toolbar or open Internet Explorer and go to a
Web site by entering its URL. Type winword
and Microsoft Word will launch.
If a program doesn't launch from the Address
bar, you can fix this by placing a shortcut on your
desktop. Then you can open the program by
typing the shortcut name (not the program's
filename). If you have a shortcut named Lotus
Notes, for example, enter the name as lotus
notes, not as notes or notes.exe.
Search Better and Faster with Indexing. Windows
XP can index your files when your
computer is idle, enabling the search process to
work more quickly and flexibly. In addition to the
text in files, the index also includes file properties,
which means that you can search for things like
author names or titles. If you don't use the search
feature very often, you might want to turn the
Indexing Service off, because the indexed files
take up space on your hard drive. But the more
you depend on the search feature, the better off
you'll be with the Indexing Service active.
To check the current settings in Windows XP,
choose Start | Search, and then select Change
preferences from the choices on the left. Look
for the option With Indexing Service, which
means the feature is currently off, or Without
Indexing Service, which means the feature is
currently on. (We realize it sounds backwards.) To
change the current setting, choose the option
and click on Yes.
You can access this dialog in Windows 2000 by
Start | Search | Files/Folders | Search Options | Indexing Service.
Organize Your Start Menu. You
can find things a lot faster if you're not
overwhelmed by too many icons. So take the
time to do some housecleaning. In particular,
delete the icons you don't need. While it's
common to clean up and arrange your desktop,
many people never think to organize and remove
unnecessary icons from their Start menus.
Take all the read-me files, for instance. Open
your Start menu, go to All Programs, and look in
the AOL Instant Messenger folder. Do you really
need a shortcut to the license agreement? If not,
right-click on it and select Delete. You can do
the same with all the folders and files you don't
need to access through this menu.
While you're at it, you might want to rearrange
the items on the Start menu: You can drag and
drop icons and folders to where you want them
and even move them into submenus. Or you can
right-click on a menu and select Sort by Name to
alphabetize its contents. Windows XP lets you
pin icons to the first level of the Start menu
(located in the top-left portion), either by
right-clicking or simply by dragging them there.
The Desktop Cleanup Wizard, Having
too many icons on the desktop is not only
distracting but also can take a toll on system
performance. The Desktop Cleanup wizard is a
convenient feature that moves unused icons to a
folder so that you don't have to do it manually.
By default, the system prompts you to run the
Desktop Cleanup wizard every 60 days. If you
can't wait, just right-click on the desktop and
choose Properties. Under the Desktop tab is a
Customize Desktop button.
Windows StickyKeys feature lets you type
Shift, Ctrl, Alt, and Windows keys as individual
keystrokes. You can, for example, press Ctrl
and then another key consecutively, rather than
having to hold the Ctrl key down while typing the
To make this feature available, go to the Control
Panel and choose Accessibility Options, then the
Keyboard tab, and add a check to the Use
StickyKeys check box. You'll also want to
explore the available settings. In particular, note
that by default, the feature turns off if you press
two keys at once. You may want to check the
Use Shortcut option, which lets you turn the
feature back on by pressing Shift five times.
accessibility feature that you may want
to explore is MouseKeys, which lets you control
the mouse pointer with the numeric keypad. This
gives you much finer control over the mouse
pointer. To turn this feature on, go to the
Accessibility Options applet, choose the Mouse
tab, and check the Use MouseKeys check box.
Here again, you'll want to explore the available
Use the Keyboard. We
often tout the advantages of knowing your
keyboard shortcuts. The fact is, you can do
things faster with a keyboard than with a mouse. Here
are some particularly useful keystrokes.
Ctrl-Esc: Display the Start menu (if you have a
keyboard with no Windows logo key).
Alt-Esc and Alt-Shift-Esc: Cycle forward and
backward through all open program windows.
Hold Alt or Alt-Shift down and keep hitting Esc.
Alt-Tab: Cycle through the icons of open
program windows to select an application. Hold
the Alt key down and hit Tab to move from one
program to the next. Release both keys to go to
Ctrl-F6 and Ctrl-Shift-F6: Cycle forward or
backward though all the open document
windows in a single program, like Microsoft
Shift-Del: Delete files rather than just sending
them to the Recycle Bin.
Shift plus any of the arrow keys: Select
multiple contiguous items in a list or file folder.
Ctrl-A: Select all.
Rename Multiple Files. Windows
Explorer in Windows XP lets you
rename multiple files with one command, but
alas, only in a limited way. First highlight the files
you want to rename. For noncontiguous files,
hold down the Ctrl key as you click on the
filenames. Then press F2 and enter the new
name. The files will all be given the same name,
with consecutive numbers appended to
You can also undo the renaming, one file at a
time, with Ctrl-Z. Note that you cannot rename
the extensions on multiple files at once, only
change each file's name to the left of the
Use Shortcut Keys to Launch
Your Applications, Using
this mostly overlooked feature of
Windows, you can launch folders and
applications with keyboard shortcuts. Create an
icon shortcut to any application or folder you
want. Right-click on the shortcut and choose
Properties. Note the Shortcut keys text box.
Click on it and hold down the Ctrl key, the Alt
key, or both, and strike another key (for
example, Ctrl-Alt-J). Click OK. To use the
shortcut, just press the key combination.
Copyright (c) 2002 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.