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September 21, 1998

Tips on Task Bar icons, MIDI players, and Easter in September

This week, I focus on Windows secrets that have been sent to me by readers. Keep them coming.

Bryan Rockwood reports that Windows 98 has a known problem in which icons on the Task Bar (to the right of the Start button) display garbage or the wrong icons. This is particularly known to happen when you have changed your display from one resolution to another.

The work-around is to place your mouse pointer on the vertical separator between the Start button and the icons, then click your right mouse button. On the context menu that appears, click Refresh. This clears up the problem. There is no word yet on any permanent fix or preventive measures.

MIDI player for Explorer

Reader Gerard Pinzone writes that installing Netscape Navigator 4.0 gives you a MIDI player plug-in so you can hear songs played in the background by many Web sites. But if you switch to Internet Explorer, you may get the following error message: "Plug-in installed, but not working properly."

Pinzone recommends that you install the free Crescendo MIDI player that works with Internet Explorer. This program is available from

Easter Egg hunt

Several people have asked me about the Easter Egg in Windows 98. An Easter Egg is a hidden feature of a program that displays the names of the programming team behind the product. Here's a method to display the Easter Egg in Win98:

  • Step 1. Double-click the clock in the Tray portion of the Task Bar. This opens the Date/Time Properties dialog box.

  • Step 2. Click the Time Zone tab.

  • Step 3. Press and hold your Ctrl key. Place your mouse pointer over Memphis, Egypt, (the point numbered 1 in the diagram above) then press and hold your left mouse button. Pretend to drag something to Memphis, Tenn., (the point numbered 2) then release the left mouse button. (Memphis, of course, was the code name for Windows 98.) Don't let go of your Ctrl key.

  • Step 4. Still holding down the Ctrl key, point to Memphis, Tenn., then pretend to click and drag something from there to Redmond, Wash. (the point numbered 3). Then release the left mouse button. You won't see anything happen on screen while you do this. There aren't any numbers or objects on the map in the real dialog box.

  • Step 5. Release the Ctrl key. An animated dialog box should appear, listing several Microsoft developers, complete with images of the Microsoft campus and the Seattle area. If you don't see it, try the steps again carefully. It takes some people two or three tries.

My thanks to Frank Condron for this tip.

Rockwood, Pinzone, and Condron will receive free copies of Windows 98 Secrets.

Brian Livingston's latest book is Windows 98 Secrets (IDG Books). Send tips to He regrets that he cannot answer individual questions.

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