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500 Tips
Portable Computing

Spin a Presentation

You can control presentations delivered by a far-flung, notebook toting sales force? A service like Think Twice (http://www.thinktwiceinc.com) will take your presentation graphics files and convert them into a format that can be run on virtually all notebook and desktop computers and delivered to clients using Think Twice's home page on the World Wide Web. Running presentation-graphics programs from a Web page lets you more easily distribute data files and control the appearance and content of files, important considerations for most corporations.

Extend Battery Life

To get the most life from your notebook battery, consider using integrated applications (such as ClarisWorks) that load into memory and are not disk based. This reduces disk activity.

Be Selective

To save space on your notebook's hard disk, select minimum or custom during the installation of programs.

Power Plays

To maximize your Win95 notebook's battery life, go to Settings/Control Panel, and look for the box marked Power. Set the LCD panel to turn off if the machine is not in use for 10 minutes (if the command is available), and select Advanced power settings.

Cut Disk Cache

Equip your portable computer with as much RAM as possible, which tends to reduce disk cache for most applications. This will reduce the number of disk accesses your machine experiences, thus prolonging battery life.

Halt PC Card Drain

Is a vampire in your notebook sucking your batteries dry? The culprit could be a PCMCIA modem. Unless you plan to connect to an online service, local area network, the Internet or other communications-related services, remove PCMCIA cards or turn them off by opening Control Panel and double-clicking on the icon marked PC Card. Click on the appropriate device and select Stop.

Newer Batteries

New battery types outperform the older nickel cadmiums. Consider upgrading to nickel metal hydride or to lithium ion batteries. Make sure your computer can use the new battery before you buy it.


To fully charge batteries, open the case when you recharge. This allows more heat to escape, which cools the computer during the charging cycle. Also consider purchasing and carrying a second charged battery.

Longer Battery Life

If you're not going to use your portable computer for extended periods, prolong battery life by taking it out of the machine and storing it along with your notebook in a cool, dry place. Batteries left in unused computers for long periods discharge, reducing battery life.

Port Inspection

If your infrared port won't work, make sure there are no objects between it and the port you are communicating with. Next, make sure the two ports aren't too far apart (two feet is often the maximum range). Finally, see whether a wireless remote unit or similar device is in use nearby.

Carry a Spare

A PCMCIA device such as a modem can completely drain some Windows CE hand-held devices in less than 15 minutes, so pack extra batteries.

Presentation Pointers

Want to deliver professional-quality presentations on your notebook? Use an external mouse rather than an integrated pointing device so your hands and body don't get in the way of your presentation. Separate stereo speakers will also produce better sound than the small speakers built into the notebook.

Get Charitable

Selling your old notebook may not be a worthwhile proposition. Instead, donate it to a recognized charity and write it off on your taxes. Be sure to record the serial number of the notebook, as well as those for all the applications that go with the machine.

Be Prepared!

When you travel, pack a toolkit with medium standard and Phillips screwdrivers, a 10-foot length of phone cord, needle nose pliers, tweezers, two-into-one phone jacks and other small tools in the unlikely event you need to connect your laptop to nonstandard phone systems. Veteran travelers often use high-speed (14.4Kbps) acoustic modems to make sure they can connect to U.S. services from anywhere in Europe.

Safeguard Data

To make sure data is safe, go into Setup. There will be a control-key sequence that gets you into the Setup screen--check your notebook documentation to find out what it is. Look for the BIOS string, and assign and activate BIOS security. Then, every time you boot up, you'll have to enter a password. Record and store that password in a safe place in case you forget it.

Facilitate File Transfers

To prevent problems transferring Excel and Word files between your primary computer and a Windows CE hand-held, avoid using extensive formatting commands in original documents or spreadsheets.

Don't Tote Extra Files

To improve the performance of Windows CE applications like Outlook and Pocket Mail, delete unneeded data files on your hand-held computer.

Slim Down Schedule+

Keep your Schedule+ file svelte by deleting completed tasks and appointments and other extraneous information. When moving data to the Windows CE hand-held using the command Synchronize Options, clear the entry Synchronize Every X Minutes but check the command Always Upon Exit.

Play Peacemaker

Need to resolve conflicts in data files on your desktop and Windows CE hand-held? Windows CE includes a Resolve Conflict feature as part of its Synchronizing mechanism. When CE detects conflicting files, it automatically generates a Resolve Conflict box that lets you choose which file needs to be updated.

Manage Remote Mail

Gain control when downloading e-mail files in Microsoft Exchange by using the Remote Mail function rather than Tools/Deliver Now. Remote Mail allows you to view headers and choose which messages you want to download, or to delete them without reading. The Deliver Now option downloads all mail addressed to you.

Copy Critical Files

You never know when you may need to connect your notebook to an alien printer, network or modem, or cope with a corrupted drive on your notebook. Assuming you have adequate space on your hard disk, create a directory and copy SETUP.EXE, the Win95 folder, the drivers folder and the help folder from your original Windows 95 CD. In the event you have a system problem or need additional drivers, the files you require will be on your hard disk.

Keep Presentation Handy

Do you give the same presentation repeatedly? Create a shortcut to PPTView.exe and include the full name and path of your presentation on the Shortcut line. Anytime you click on that icon, the presentation will start.

Improved Backups

Dismayed by the prospect of backing up your notebook? Use a utility such as WinZip to compress and archive your data directories to a server or to an external drive such as a Zip Drive.

Stay Connected

Want to access information on your desktop computer when you're on the road? Use a program such as Traveling Software's LapLink to connect to your desktop. You can remotely control your desktop PC, access data files, synchronize information on different computers and perform other functions as if you were sitting in the office. Check the WINDOWS Magazine Recommended List for the best remote-control programs.

Use Offline Browser

Use an offline browser such as WebEx or FreeLoader to get Internet and other access numbers in the area you'll be visiting.

Take a Shortcut

To take full advantage of Windows CE and its related applications, create shortcuts and simulate desktop mouse actions. To create a desktop shortcut, press the Alt key and tap once with the stylus to bring up a menu from which you can create desktop shortcuts. Activate menus from within Pocket Excel and Pocket Word by holding down the Alt key and tapping the screen once with the stylus.

Display Some Common Sense

Some LCD projection systems work only at 640x480. Use Windows 95 to create a new hardware profile for that display. Right-click on My Computer and choose Properties. Select Copy and give it a name such as LCD. Restart your machine. When given the choice of profile, choose the configuration marked LCD and set the resolution to match the requirements of your LCD.

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