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Brian Livingston
Get quick access to IE 5's History and brand icons with these Windows tips

THIS IS THE SECOND of three columns in which I reveal the top 10 undocumented features in More Windows 98 Secrets (IDG Books). This new 800-page volume is crammed with everything my co-author, Davis Straub, and I have learned since releasing Windows 98 Secrets a year ago. For more information, see

These first two secrets work in Windows NT and Windows 95, as well as Windows 98, if you have Internet Explorer (IE) 5 installed.

* Get your own History menu. Microsoft's History function is much improved in IE 5, compared with previous versions. This function lets you jump to a site you visited recently without having to type in its name.

Because this feature is so potentially useful, it's even better if you place History right on your Start menu. This makes it more convenient than starting IE and retracing your path through the History button on the toolbar.

To make your own History appear on your Start menu, follow these steps:

Step 1. Right-click the Start button, then click Open. If you want your History menu item on a submenu, navigate to that folder. Otherwise, stay in the Start Menu folder.

Step 2. Right-click any vacant area of the window you have selected. Click New, then click Folder. You should see a new folder with the name "New Folder" highlighted.

Step 3. Type the following new name, all on one line, exactly as shown below. (All the "0" characters in hex are zeroes, and the "1" characters are ones.)


Step 4. When you press Enter after typing the above line, the New Folder icon in the window should be replaced with a History icon. This indicates that Windows has recognized the History resource.

Step 5. Test this by clicking your Start button with your left mouse button. You should see a History item on the menu level where you created it. The Web sites you've recently visited will appear in cascading menus.

This might be a good time to expand the number of days that Web sites you have visited are stored in IE's History folder. The default is 20 days, but this is easily changed. In IE, click Tools, then click Internet Options. In the General tab, increase the number of days.

* Change branded icons. If you got your copy of IE from an Internet source or a PC manufacturer, you may be stuck with its animated logo commercial in the IE window. You can get rid of this image or change it to one of your own.

Step 1. Click Start, Run, then type regedit and click Enter to run the Registry Editor.

Step 2. In RegEdit, navigate to the following branch: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Ex plorer\Toolbar. When you select the Toolbar folder, you should see in the right pane of the window two string values named BrandBitmap and SmBrandBitmap. (These appear only if you have a third-party branded version of IE.)

Step 3. To get rid of the commercial icons, simply right-click BrandBitmap, then click Delete. Do the same to SmBrandBitmap. Close RegEdit.

Step 4. You can use your own images in IE instead of deleting the third-party icons. Note where RegEdit says BrandBitmap and SmBrandBitmap are located on your hard disk. Then replace these files with your own. BrandBitmap must be 30 pixels wide and 38 pixels high (or a multiple if you use an animated bitmap sequence). SmBrandBitmap must be 22 pixels wide and high.

* Improve drive performance. This trick is only for people who use Iomega Zip drives and upgraded to Windows 98 over a copy of Windows 3.1. Win98 doesn't remark out the old Guest.exe program that Zip drives use.

If this program is in your Autoexec.bat, all your hard drives are forced to slow down to "MS-DOS compatibility mode." Guest.exe isn't needed under Win98, so insert REM and a space in front of this line in Autoexec.bat and restart Windows.

To ensure that Win98 is now employing 32-bit drivers, right-click your My Computer icon, then click Properties, Performance, File System, Troubleshooting. If all six settings in this dialog box are "off," you're fine.


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