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Dealing with Windows' annoyances, Part 1
technofile  by al fasoldt
Columns and commentaries in a life-long dance with technology
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Dealing with Windows' annoyances, Part 1

Technofile for Oct. 4, 1998

By Al Fasoldt

Copyright © 1998, The Syracuse Newspapers

Microsoft could have tried harder when it designed Windows. As many of us know all too well, Windows 95 and Windows 98 can be very annoying at times, mostly because the operating system doesn't offer enough clues about how to fix problems and how to get things working right.

This week and next, I'll tell you how to deal with some of the most vexing of these Windows annoyances. They're listed in no particular order.

Problem: The icons on your desktop never go where you want them to. They always snap over to the left, with a mind of their own.

Solution: Right click the desktop, click Arrange Icons, then click Auto Arrange so that the checkmark in front of Auto Arrange goes away. Then put your icons where you want them, left click anywhere on the desktop and press the F5 key to force Windows to remember the positions.

Problem: Somehow a window went off the screen, and all you can see is part of it. You can't figure any way to move it back so all of it is on the screen.

Solution: Left click on whatever part of the window you can still see to make it the top window on your desktop. Hold down the Alt key and the Spacebar at the same time, let go of the two keys and press the M key. Press any of the arrow keys to move the window back onto the desktop. Press the Enter key when the windows is where you want it.

Problem: When you run ScanDisk or when ScanDisk is run automatically by Windows, it runs and runs and runs and never finishes checking the hard drive.

Solution: ScanDisk stops running when another program accesses the hard drive. Disable the screen saver and any anti-virus software before running ScanDisk. Close any other programs that access the hard drive, too. Suprisingly, this could include your word processor if it routinely saves your open documents every few minutes.

Problem: Windows always asks me for a password when the computer boots up. I don't want a password.

Solution: Right click the Network Neighborhood icon. Choose Properties. Under Configuration, click Windows Logon in the Primary Network Logon box, and then click OK. When you are prompted to restart your computer, click No. In Control Panel, double-click Passwords. Click the Change Passwords tab, click Change Windows Password, and then click OK. In the Change Windows Password dialog box, type your current Windows password in the Old Password box. Leave the New Password and Confirm New Password boxes blank, click OK, and then click OK. Click the User Profiles tab and verify that the "All users of this PC use the same preferences and desktop settings" option is selected. Click Close. Shut down and then restart Windows.

Problem: When I try to read text files using Notepad, sometimes I get a message saying the files are too big. My PC has plenty of memory and this makes no sense.

Solution: You're right. It makes no sense, but that's how Notepad works. It's the single worst program Microsoft ever put into Windows. Use WordPad instead, or get a substitute for Notepad from one of the Internet software sites.

Problem: Sometimes clicking the left mouse button shows me a weird menu. It might be the menu I get when I click the right mouse button. I have to reboot to fix it.

Solution: Hold the mouse button down for a few seconds and the bug will go away.

Next: Part 2.

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