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July 15, 1996

Exile maddening dialog boxes and buttons for good

For every new convenience and shortcut that Windows 95 provides us, it sometimes seems Win95 adds an equal number of irritations.

Good examples of these pet peeves are the new dialog boxes that insist on reminding us -- again and again and again -- about the most obvious things.

  • If you try to change the spelling of a file extension in the Explorer, you see a nagging dialog box saying, "If you change a filename extension, the file may become unusable. Are you sure you want to change it?" This message may be necessary the first time a novice renames a file, but even newbies get sick of seeing this dialog box every time.
  • If you select several files and you try to delete the set, Win95 halts on every executable file. If more than one executable is in the set of files, you can click Yes To All to dismiss the dialog box for the entire operation. But dealing with this gets old pretty fast, too.
  • Nag messages from the recycle bin can be turned off by changing its properties. But if you press Shift+Delete to delete files without holding them first in the Recycle Bin, you get hit with the message, "Are you sure you want to delete FILENAME.TXT?" You must answer Yes to this dialog box every time.
  • Several dial-up services, such as the Microsoft Network, require you to click Connect or a similar button every time you do something to launch your Internet browser.

    You may be saying, didn't I start these processes myself? Shouldn't Win95 just accept my actions? Shouldn't I have a way to turn these irritations off for good?

    There is a way, with a free utility (donations accepted) from RtvSoft of London. It's called RtvReco, because it was originally conceived to automatically press the Reconnect button for you when an Internet connection drops. But the newest version does much more.

    RtvReco 5.0 basically enables you to define a button or menu item for it to click whenever it detects any window that might appear on your display. To suppress the dialog box that appears when you try to rename a file extension, for instance, you can define an action to occur when RtvReco sees a window with "Rename" in the title bar. If the window also contains the string, "If you change...," RtvReco can click the Yes button for you.

    RtvReco has been around for a while, but the new release makes it unnecessary for you to define the exact strings in the title bar, dialog box, and button. A portion of each string can be enough to trigger the automatic response for you. Or, if you wish, you can require exact matching.

    The latest version is listed as RtvReco 5.0, Beta 8, but, like many Internet "beta" applications, it seems to be very solid at this point. RtvReco is available from two Web sites, one in the United States and one in the United Kingdom. Download it from whichever is closer to you.

    The zip files for RtvReco contain a rudimentary documentation file. A complete explanation of all of RtvReco's features is available by printing the file rtvrecouser.htm from either of the above Web sites.

    I've placed all the relevant files on InfoWorld Electric (Click here to download.

    After unzipping and configuring the program, you can create a shortcut to the executable in your StartUp folder so you'll enjoy RtvReco every time you start Windows.

    Brian Livingston is the coauthor of the new Windows 95 Secrets and author of three other Windows books (IDG Books). Send tips to or fax: (206) 282-1248.

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    Copyright © 1996 by InfoWorld Publishing Company


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