Best Practice Ezine #86 – Twelve Tips
This week I have a Pot Pourri of tips. I expect that you will already know eight, and I predict that you don’t want to know three, but that leaves one that will be of interest. My challenge is for you to find that one really useful tip out of this dozen.
1) I will start with a reminder. If you have a planned reinstall of XP, then remember to save, then import, your settings with the FAST wizard in the System Tools. Windows Server 2003 has FAST’s big brother USMT, which is found on the installation CD.
2) DXDIAG. This is Direct X’s diagnostic tool. I think of DXDIAG as a cousin of DCDiag and NetDiag, just type the command dcxdiag in the run dialog box. It’s a specialist tool, but worth a place in your toolkit.
3) Speech Recognition. Voice recognition software is getting better, I want to plant a seed of an idea that one day Speech Recognition could relieve your RSI.
If you have allowed a Psycho to use your machine they may have already played with Voice Recognition settings and consequently slowed down your machine. To check, go to the Control Panel, Regional and Language Options
4) Search in Outlook. I can recommend Lookout for Outlook, or Google’s desktop search. My point Outlook’s own search is painfully slow you need help from a free third party add-on.
5) Are you short of space on the C:\ drive? If so, move the Documents and settings folder to a volume with more space. Even better, move it to another disk.
6) Add a folder to the Quick Launch area. I thought I knew everything about the Quick Launch area, but then I discovered that you could not only add shortcuts, but also whole folders to this area.
7) Check the visual effects in Windows. System Icon, (Launch with Windows Key and Pause Key), Advanced Tab, Performance Tab Settings. Guy thinks this is a waste of time, but it kept my friend ‘Barking’ Eddie amused for hours.
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8) Possible disk problem? Which do you prefer the command line chkdsk, or the GUI where you select the Volume, right-click, Tools, Error-Correcting.
9) AutoComplete. This is the setting in Internet Explorer which holds your email address and possibly your password. My point is that you may need to re-enable the setting if you accidentally turned it off. The key tab from the IE Tools menu is ‘Content’. Incidentally, XP home does not seem to have this setting.
10) If you know of anyone with failing eye sight, Windows has a Magnifier in the Accessories, Accessibility tab. Indeed if your company has any staff with disabilities the Accessibility has lots of options, for example ‘Sticky Keys’.
11) Keyboard shortcuts. I always find it useful to invest a few minutes creating keyboard shortcuts to my favourite applications. The only trick is that the keyboard strokes only work with a shortcut and not the main executable.
12) Mouse ‘Snap to’. This is a trivial tip where the mouse snaps to the default button on any dialog box. I have seen ‘Mad’ Mick using it, but it drives me crazy as the mouse takes on a life of its own.
Lots of useful computer tools