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July 29, 1996

Anything I can do, you can do better: reader responses

This is a good week to take a look at some reader responses to recent columns. I can hardly mention a new shareware program or obscure technique without someone sending me a tip about an even better one. Fine! Keep those insider tips coming.

In my July 1 column, I described a way to make the My Computer icon default to Explorer View, rather than Folder View. Some people prefer the two-pane look of the Explorer, which is a much more informative view of My Computer's resources than the bland Folder View.

My method was a simple change using a standard dialog box of My Computer. I noted that while this change alters My Computer, it also affects other applications. The Recycle Bin, for example, defaults to Explorer View rather than Folder View after the edit.

Dan Norton, product manager for Symantec Corp.'s Norton Utilities, writes to say he has found a way to change only the behavior of My Computer.

His method is more complex, involving minor surgery on the Windows 95 Registry. But you might find it fascinating to see how individual applications are controlled in cases like this.

Dan writes (I'm paraphrasing a bit), "You can achieve your goal for My Computer without affecting the other interface elements by editing the Registry entry for My Computer:


"To cause the Explorer to start when you double-click My Computer:

"(1) Run RegEdit.exe and select [highlight] the Shell key. Right-click the right-hand pane; then click New, Key. Create a key called Open that branches from Shell.

"(2) With the Open key selected, right-click the right pane, click New, Key; and create a key called Command.

"(3) With the new Command key selected, right-click the (Default) key, click Modify, and set the (Default) value of Command to Explorer.exe. You can use any of the Explorer start-up switches [documented in Windows 95 Secrets] or substitute the fully qualified pathname of any other program. Norton Navigator users would probably want to specify the path to the Navigator file manager.

"Close RegEdit.exe. The change takes effect immediately."

Yep, it works.

Can we dialog?

I described last week a shareware utility called Let Me See that expands common dialog boxes such as File Open to the full width and height of high-resolution displays. The program is still available on InfoWorld Electric and from Eric Askilsrud's home page at

Eric asked me to mention that some features of Let Me See 1.11 "currently work only on English versions of Win95 and NT." Language groups other than these may have font metrics that can throw off the calculation of dialog box sizes.

Things are stacking up well

I'm getting my first feedback on the "stack pages" setting I unveiled on July 8. "Once again you have identified and provided a solution to a serious problem," John E. Hall writes. "You related exactly what happened to me and my frustration at trying to find the mysterious stack pages entry in System.ini. I think it was my Logitech Page Scan color scanner that was affected."

Keep 'em coming.

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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