Let me start with a disclaimer. I
liked personal computers from the start because of the personal
part. After working with mainframe systems--where there was only one
way to do things--I found that PCs were much more flexible. Personal
computers allow people to set up computers, within limits, to match
a way of working that makes sense to them. While you can look at the
term "personal" many different ways, it's the relative flexibility
of PCs that appeals to me.
So when I talk
about what works for me, don't assume it will work for you. I
encourage you to try those tips that appeal to you, but if they
don't match the way you work, then discard them. We all have a
different approach on how we use computers. PCs give us the
flexibility to accommodate those different approaches.
With that out of the way, here are the tips and
tricks that help me most.
1. Defragment your drives with a check in the box for "Rearrange
program files so my programs start faster." Your applications will
start faster using this option. Access this feature in the Windows
98 Defrag program by clicking the settings button and selecting that
2. Use the Alt-Tab key combination to switch
between open applications/windows.
3. Don't keep too many applications open at once.
Open only what you need, as open applications consume resources.
4. To open a file with an association different
from the application you want to open it with, select the file with
a single left-click, then hold the shift key and right-click the
file. Select the "Open with" option and you can select the
application you need.
5. To use long file names in an MS-DOS box or an
old Windows program, simply put quotation marks around the long file
name. For example: cd "program files."
6. To copy a file from one folder to another, (for
example, you want to keep a copy of a specific file in an archive
folder), hold down the Ctrl key while you drag and drop the file to
the new location.
7. To delete a file rather than send it to the
Recycle Bin, hold down the shift key when you delete it.
8. If you get hung up and Ctrl-Alt-Delete does not
respond, press Ctrl-Esc. This may bring up the start menu where you
can shut down/restart the system.
9. Turn off delete confirmation for files moved to
the recycle bin by right clicking the recycle bin/properties and
unchecking the "display delete confirmation" box.
10. Keep your start menu trim. Each time you
install a new application, it will likely create its own subfolder
even though each group will contain only one or two necessary icons.
It is very useful to keep only a few active groups, and move new
icons into one of these. Window 98 lets you delete items from the
start menu by right-clicking on them and selecting delete. If you
turn off "delete confirmation prompting of the recycle bin," you can
delete items more easily as the start menu stays open after each
For instance, you might arrange start menu folders
Applications - Word Processing, spreadsheet,
Communications - Internet programs and utilities
Games - Entertainment programs
Graphics and Sound - Multimedia files/programs
Main and Accessories - Windows applications and similar programs
CD-ROM - CD-ROM-related software.
System Tools - Windows tools and third-party utilities (Norton, and
Of course, these are only suggestions. Remember,
it's a personal computer. Set it up the way that makes sense to you.
Internet Explorer Keyboard
11. Rather than use the mouse, you can use keystrokes. It takes a
while to learn them all, but once learned, the productivity
improvement you get from not having to jump back and forth from the
mouse to the keyboard can be significant.
Alt+D Jumps to the Address Bar.
Alt+Left Arrow Back.
Alt+Right Arrow Forward.
Backspace Back, or up one level when using folders.
Ctrl+D Add the current page to your favorites.
Ctrl+F Brings up the "Find on this page" dialogue box.
Ctrl+N Open a new window.
Ctrl+O Bring up the "Open" dialogue box.
Ctrl+P Bring up the "Print" dialogue box.
Ctrl+R Refreshes current page.
Ctrl+S Save the current page.
Ctrl+Shift+Tab Move backwards among frames.
Ctrl+Tab Move forwards among frames.
F4 Displays the Address Bar history.
F5 Refreshes current page.
F6 Jumps to the Address Bar.
F11 Toggles Full Screen mode.
Page Down Scrolls down, one page at a time.
Page Up Scrolls up, one page at a time.
Space Scrolls down, one page at a time (I especially like this one)
12. Find more keyboard shortcuts for Internet
Explorer by going to the Help menu, choosing Contents and Index, and
then looking in the Accessibility section.
These are just a start. There are thousands of
other tips and tricks for Windows and other applications, but I find
these have ended up saving me time and effort.