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Window Manager
Brian Livingston
Some Windows Me tips and tricks will save your battery and help preview graphics files

WINDOWS ME, Microsoft's successor to Windows 98, has been available to the public for almost five months now. Although it may never be a big seller as a stand-alone upgrade, Windows Me now ships as the standard operating system on most new PCs and will soon be the most common form of Windows on the desktop.

Perhaps to celebrate the first few months of its new baby, Microsoft recently released a set of tips for Windows Me that might not be obvious from the documentation. A couple of these tricks are worth a look, even for experienced PC hands. Some of the tips also work in Windows 9x and Windows 2000.

Suspend and Hibernate

If you use a laptop, you know that maximizing its battery life can make the difference between finishing your work or being stymied until you're near a power outlet again. (And in California lately, even having a power outlet doesn't necessarily mean you'll get any juice.)

Windows Me has better support for Suspend and Hibernate than previous versions of consumer Windows. But this doesn't mean these features are trouble-free yet.

Of the two modes, Suspend is quicker to shut down and restart than Hibernate. But Suspend mode continuously drains a bit of power from your laptop, whereas Hibernate consumes virtually none.

This can make a surprising difference. On one laptop I tested, the vendor provided an applet called BatteryScope in the System Tray that estimated the number of hours the machine's battery would supposedly last in Suspend mode. But the machine actually consumed power in Suspend mode four times faster than the applet predicted. (You can test this on your own laptop by writing down the applet's estimate and then checking the figure again after the machine has been in Suspend mode for x hours.)

If you have any concern, then, that your laptop won't last sufficiently long in Suspend mode, Hibernate is the better option. Unfortunately, the capability to Hibernate is often disabled on laptops by default because many older device drivers aren't compatible with it.

To deal with such cases, Microsoft has provided some troubleshooting tools to help you. If Windows Me detects drivers that would interfere with Hibernate mode, it writes a file called nohiber.txt. This file lists the drivers that need to be updated. You may be able to get new drivers from the Web sites of the affected vendors. To read this file in Windows Me, if it's present, click Start, Run, type "nohiber.txt," and then click OK.

After updating these drivers, if necessary, you'll need to enable the Hibernate feature. To do this, click Start, Settings, Control Panel, Power Options. If your machine supports Hibernate mode, a Hibernate tab or check box should be present. Enable Hibernate mode and then close the Power Options applet. The next time you click Start, Shut Down, a Hibernate option should be present.

The Hibernate feature still has many quirks. For example, Windows Me's System Configuration utility always reports that Hibernate and Standby are enabled, even if they're disabled or your machine doesn't have support for these modes. (To see this in Windows Me, click Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Information, Tools, System Configuration Utility, Advanced.)

If you plan to use Hibernate mode, I recommend you go to and search on "hibernate." Some of the articles there may help you avoid problems.

Thumbnail city

When in Windows Me and using Windows Explorer, you can click View, Thumbnails to display graphics files as small preview images. It's also possible to configure any folder in Windows Explorer so the right pane displays a tiny thumbnail of any graphics file you select -- in any View mode.

To do this, select a folder in Windows Explorer and then click View, Customize This Folder. Click Next; then select "Choose or edit an HTML template for this folder." Click Next. (This turns on Web View, if you didn't already have it on.) Select Image Preview, click Next, and then Finish. Now when you select a graphics file in the right pane of Windows Explorer, its thumbnail should appear.

To undo these customizations, pull down Windows Explorer's Tools menu, click Folder Options, select "Use Windows' classic folders," and then click OK.

For more information on these and other tricks, go to

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