Tagged With windows tip

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Too many large email attachments weighing down Outlook's PST file and your hard drive, but you don't want to throw out the message with the attachment? Weblog Digital Inspiration details how to separate attachments from email messages in Outlook without deleting the message. It's a simple process, and when you're done the file is no longer attached to the message; you can keep or delete it as you see fit. It's not difficult, but the little two-step process could save you hard drive space and keep Outlook's PST file lighter and snappier—especially if you back it up regularly.

Remove Email Attachments In Outlook Without Deleting the Message

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If you're a veteran Windows XP user, you're familiar with the "helpful" count of your unread email messages you'll find at the login screen—which is usually wrong or overstated (my screenshot came from a fresh install of Thunderbird). The Online Tech Tips blog shows how to eliminate this stress-inducing reminder through a registry hack. Readers comfortable tweaking in regedit can find the values and instructions at the link below; those who don't mind installing a free (and very handy) power-user program can accomplish the same thing using TweakUI (here's where to look once you've busted out this power tool).

How to get rid of Unread Mail Count in Windows XP

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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The default prompt in Windows' Command Prompt isn't the easiest to read, but Microsoft has a font, Consolas, that works much better in a terminal, as attested to by our commenters. The Digital Inspiration blog runs down how to set Consolas as the default font in your command prompt. Vista users can perform a registry hack to enable their pre-installed Consolas, but XP users without Office 2007 can download the PowerPoint viewer to grab all the Vista fonts. Hit the link for installation and registry-tweaking instructions.

Change the Font of Command Prompt Window to Consolas For More Comfortable Reading

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Most any savvy computer user is probably pretty handy with a free compression and archiving tool (like, say, 7-Zip), but not everyone they send files to will be. The Confessions of a Freeware Junkie blog points out that IExpress.exe, a built-in utility you simply type into the "Run" menu in Windows XP or "Start Search" in Vista, can create self-extracting archives to be emailed to anyone using Windows. Just choose "Extract files only" while clicking through the wizard interface, choose the files to be zipped up, and the end user only has to double-click to get them. IExpress also works as an easy way to convert batch files into executables. Need more info on IExpress? Check out Microsoft's help page on the tool.

Did you know? Windows has a built-in tool to create self-extracting archives via 'Iexpress.exe'

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We've covered how to quickly shutdown Windows from the command line or using shortcuts to shutdown.exe as a command line tool, but the Confessions of a freeware junkie weblog points out that shutdown.exe can also be used to great effect through it's lesser-known graphical interface. In fact, the graphical utility provides a simple interface to remotely shutdown one or several computers on your network, making it a particularly useful tool if you need to perform some network maintenance. It may not be something you use all the time, but this built-in tool is handy to have on hand.

Did you know? Windows Shutdown.exe has a built-in GUI

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If you've ever copied a folder's worth of files in Windows, you've come across the Confirm File Replace dialog, which asks you if you want to replace an existing file with a new file. You have the option to answer Yes just for this file, Yes to All—which will just replace all the originals with the new copies—or you can say No; what's missing is a button to say No to All. Rather than clicking No countless times if No to All is what you really want, tech weblog Online Tech Tips points out that Windows simulates the No to All response if you hold the Shift key and then click No. It's a strange feature, and actually one that we covered years ago, but it's worth a second mention. Vista changed this dialog entirely, but if you're still living la vida XP, it's a good shortcut to know.

How to simulate "No to all" when copying in Windows XP

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Tech blogger Amit Agarwal loves Vista's new system tray clock and calendar, but prefers not to move to his mouse whenever he wants to take a closer look. To remedy this, he's set up a simple shortcut to display the clock at the stroke of his keyboard. If you don't want to take the shortcut route, the post also details a few other methods for getting a quick look at the date and time. Got a favourite method of your own to get a quick glance at the calendar and clock? Share it in the comments.

Display Windows Clock On Your Desktop With a Keyboard Shortcut

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If you use Windows' built-in feature that groups similar program windows on the taskbar, you've noticed it only works when you've launched enough windows to fill the taskbar. The CyberNet blog offers up a customisable registry tweak that activates the grouping with just two or more windows open. Not everyone enjoys the grouping function, as it was downgraded to a non-default setting in Vista, but for those who do, the hack can be a real helper. You can download a registry fix file at the link below, or make the change yourself at the following key:

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Windows only: Last week we highlighted how to mute your Mac on a schedule, and this week weblog Inspect My Gadget details how to set up similar functionality in Windows. The post suggests a few tools that might do the job, then settles on adding a scheduled task to Windows to mute your computer using a freeware utility called Mute. It requires a minimum of setup but works perfectly, which is always nice. Like the idea of all that automation? Check out how you can get more from Windows Scheduled Tasks.

How-to: Schedule your speakers to automatically mute overnight

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Tired of having to look up which drive letter Windows assigned to his multiple USB thumb drives, one author at gHacks decided to assign each drive to its own folder nested inside a "USB" folder. Not only does it add some consistency to swapped storage, it also allows for a persistent shortcut on a Windows desktop. The short how-to: Run "diskmgmt.msc" from Windows' Run/Start Search box, right-click on your plugged-in drive and choose "Change Drive Letter and Paths." Then:

Click on the Add button, select Mount into the following empty NTFS folder and click on browse. Now navigate to the subfolder that you want to assign the USB drive to and confirm the assignment. The USB drive will from now on be accessible from that folder as well if it is connected to the computer.

Hit the link for a more detailed explanation and a quick undo fix.

Assign USB Drives to a Folder

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The Windows AutoPlay feature is the bane of many-a-PC user, particularly because of nasty DRM histories and other intrusive business, but what about when you actually want to use the AutoPlay feature? For example, let's say you're a fan of Lifehacker's very own DVD-ripping tool, DVD Rip, and you want your computer to automatically start ripping DVDs as soon as you put one in (making the simple one-click solution even simpler). Here's how it works.

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Windows guy Dennis O'Reilly points out a few Windows registry tweaks that will make your PC "close shop like it's late for the bus ride home." These modifications will shorten the amount of time Windows waits around before killing hanging applications, and will set your PC to automatically stop running tasks. If Windows takes a little too much time to shut itself down, these may be for you; of course keep in mind that registry tweaks shouldn't be done lightly or without a full backup.

Shut down Windows in an instant

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If you upgraded to Vista Service Pack 1 when it went live earlier this week, Windows left behind several files system files from your pre-SP1 install that aren't being used any longer. The files are left taking up space on your drive so that you can roll back SP1 if you wanted to, but since you're unlikely to grow sick of all those improvements, weblog Digital Inspiration details how to remove the unneeded junk files and free up space on your hard drive.

There are no manual steps involved. Just open your Windows command prompt and type vsp1cln.exe (short for Vista SP1 Cleaner). It takes less than a minute to execute.

Just remember, once you execute the SP1 cleaner, you won't be able to roll back, so make sure you're happy with SP1 before you start freeing up space.

Finished Installing Windows Vista SP1 ? Now Remove All The Junk Files

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CNET's Worker's Edge blog offers up a way to customise the default locations for saving or opening files in Windows XP by putting shortcuts to your favourite folders in common dialogs via XP's Places Bar.

You can use Microsoft's own Tweak UI utility in PowerToys for XP to do this. Or to do it manually, hit Start > Run and type:

gpedit.msc, and press Enter to open the Group Policy applet. Navigate in the left pane to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Explorer > Common Open File Dialog. Double-click Items displayed in Places Bar in the right pane, check Enabled in the resulting dialog box, and enter the folder paths in the five text fields below it.

You must enter five locations to avoid having empty default locations created, and you'll need to follow his directions for specifying the path.

He also explains how to do a similar thing in Vista using Favorite Links.

There's certainly a few ways to shortcut to your favourite locations in Windows - I use FileBox eXtender to give me one click access to my frequently used folders. Got a favourite shortcut? Please share in comments.

Place shortcuts to your favorite folders in Windows' common dialogs

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The best way to speed up your PC is to give it more available memory—but freeing up as much of the memory you already have is cheaper and easier than cracking open your case to install a new stick of RAM. It takes a lot of memory to get a modern Windows system up and ... well, not doing anything in particular, really. Between cryptic system processes, confusing "helper" applications, and background utilities, a whole lot of who-knows-what gobbles up memory and slows down your work. While a lot of programs claim to optimse memory use and pare down processes, Windows' built-in Task Manager can do the job just fine, given the right tools and know-how. Today you'll extend and empower Windows' Task Manager to speed up your system by cutting out unnecessary memory hogs.

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Dear Lifehacker, The only Vista feature (honestly) I hoped that XP could have is a very simple one. In Explorer if you hit F2 to rename a file Vista automatically selects the file name WITHOUT the extension, something that does not happen in XP. I cannot begin to describe how frustrating it is to hit F2+Shift+<-<-<-<- every time I need to rename a file. Can you help me? Respectfully, Renaming Randy

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Despite its slim profile and Windows 3.1-style interface, Notepad is a tool that Windows users have come to know and love, using it for all manner of tweaking, quick editing, and other tasks. The How-To Geek explains a pretty simple registry hack that lets you add "Open with Notepad" to the right-click context menu anywhere in Windows, saving most of us a few screens' worth of clicking through the "Open with ..." dialogs. We've previously show how to accomplish the same kind of tweak with the freeware apps Sent to Notepad and the larger Send To Toys, but the Geek's solution requires no extra software and just a little bit of registry hacking (which means, of course, it's time to make a backup). Follow the link for instructions, or a file that can add the right key for you.

Add "Open with Notepad" to the Context Menu for All Files

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Windows guy Dennis O'Reilly says you can clear space on your hard drive by removing "uninstall folders"—temporary folders of files Windows sets up that let it roll back updates in case something goes wrong. To see your uninstall folders, browse to the C:\Windows\ directory, and take a gander at all the folders listed there whose name starts with "$NtUninstall." (You've got to have "Show hidden files and folders" enabled in Explorer's folder options to see them). I've got about 231MB of uninstall data stored there myself. Of course, deleting these folders all willy-nilly could screw up any System Restore points you've got going on, or perhaps the Add/Remove Programs functionality for Windows updates, so proceed with caution and only delete if you're desperate for space. Here's how to identify more system disk space hogs with a free download.

Clear space on your hard drive by deleting old Windows uninstall folders

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Tech blog CyberNet delves into System Restore, Windows' built-in configuration roll-back service, and surfaces with a shortuct that saves time, and might save your system, with just two clicks. Click through for the code to create the shortcuts in Windows XP and Vista.

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The CyberNet weblog follows up on their previous tip for creating quick-kill shortcuts for individual programs in Windows by expanding the idea to an automated batch file that kills off a bunch of programs at once. The batch script is smart enough to skip any apps you don't have open, and makes it easy to strip down running programs to grab the most power from your system, for Photoshop, games, or other resource-intensive apps. The basic trick is to open the Windows Task Manager, find the executable names (like firefox.exe) of the apps you want to kill, then open a simple text editor and add a line for each app, like so:

taskkill /im program.exe

Replace program.exe with the ones you want to kill, save the text file with a .bat extension, and you've got a quick streamlining app. Ready to take the next step? Take a look at setting up working environments with batch files.

Shortcut to Close Multiple Programs