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Window Manager
Brian Livingston
Readers provide tips on configuration secrets and ways to enhance system performance

MY COLUMNS FOR Sept. 13, 20, and 27 revealed 10 secrets from More Windows 98 Secrets, the latest book from my co-author, Davis Straub, and myself ( I invited you to send me your own favorite secrets -- and I'll share with you today some of the new tips readers have sent.

'My Documents' vs. plain old folders

Several readers sent in performance enhancement tips. Nimai Wilcox, for instance, found a work-around for a very irritating slowdown in his Windows 98 system.

Wilcox writes that his "My Documents" folder had acquired over 6,000 documents in various subfolders. He must be very prolific to have generated that many files, but the volume of files was hurting his performance. Microsoft Word 97 was taking more than a minute just to show a file list after he clicked the File Open button.

The same file list showed up almost immediately in Windows Explorer, however. On a hunch, he created a new folder called "Documents" and moved all his subfolders there. Now Word displays his file lists in a flash.

Has anyone else benchmarked the "My Documents" folder to quantify the slowdown it causes, I wonder?

Eliminate 'File, New' clutter

Another type of slowdown is reported by Ira Brickman. As he installed different applications, new file types seemed to add themselves to his "File, New" menus. To see these menus, right-click your Desktop, then click File, New. These menus also appear in Windows Explorer when you pull down its File menu and click New.

Because Windows insists on reading and displaying a different icon for each file type you can create, this menu is slower to display as the list gets longer. Brickman wanted just New Folder and New Text File on the menu, because those are the only objects he creates.

If you have TweakUI, a free Control Panel applet from Microsoft, the solution is easy. (To get TweakUI, download Power Toys for Windows 95 OSR2 at On TweakUI's New tab, simply uncheck the check boxes for file types you don't wish to have in File, New menus.

Without TweakUI, you can make a small change in the Registry. Click Start, Run, then type regedit and click OK. In the Registry Editor, select the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT folder in the left pane. Click Edit, Find, then search for keys called ShellNew. Rename "ShellNew" to "ShellNew-" (with a hyphen at the end) for extensions that you don't want on your New menus. This is exactly what TweakUI does. You can remove the hyphen if you ever decide you want a file type back on your New menus.

Get back Open/Save choices

Reader Jon Bondy writes that his copy of Microsoft's Outlook Express (OE) e-mail client had somehow lost an option.

Ordinarily, when you open an e-mail message with an attachment and you select that attachment, OE gives you choices: open the file, save it as a file on your hard disk, etc.

Bondy's copy of OE was automatically opening attachments in Word for Windows' .doc format without giving him a choice. Because .doc files can contain macro viruses, Bondy naturally wanted to turn off this behavior and get the original options back.

This involves a Windowswide setting and can't be changed in OE at all. Once you've deselected the check box in OE that says, "Always ask before opening this type of file," there's no OE dialog box to reverse it.

Instead, you must open Windows Explorer, then click View, Folder Options. Click the File Types tab, then scroll down the list of Registered File Types until you find the Microsoft Word Document. Select this, then click Edit. In the Edit File Type dialog box that appears, turn on the Confirm Open After Download check box. This restores your choices and can work for other file types as well.

Readers Wilcox, Brickman, and Bondy will receive free copies of More Windows 98 Secrets for being the first to send tips.


Operating Systems

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