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Expand Your View
You can fully expand the folders in the Windows Explorer Folders pane hierarchical view with a single keystroke. Select the drive you'd like to expand, then press the asterisk key on the numeric keypad. Note that if you select My Computer, you'll expand your diskette drive (if there's a diskette in it), all local hard drives and your CD-ROM drive. Select "Desktop" and you'll add all connected network drives too.
Hail a CAB
Copying all the CAB files (Windows 95 installation files) from the Win95 CD to your hard disk is a great way to save time when reinstalling individual components or the whole shebang. First, copy all the CAB (Cabinet) files from the CD's Win95 folder to a Win95 folder on your hard drive. Make this process even quicker by modifying the Registry to point to the new location. Open the Registry Editor (Start/Run/Regedit), drill down to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion key and highlight the Setup subkey. Right click on the SourcePath item and select Modify from the Context menu. Enter the path of the folder that contains your CAB files and click on OK.
Defrag Virtual Memory
Although the Disk Defragmenter utility speeds up file access, it doesn't defrag your swap file, which is the file Windows uses as virtual memory. You can get additional performance gains by disabling your swap file, defragging your disk, then re-enabling the swap file. The new swap file will be effectively defragged and therefore faster. To do so, right-click on My Computer and select Properties from the Context menu. Click on the Performance tab, then the Virtual Memory button. Select the "Let me specify my own virtual memory settings" radio button, then select Disable Virtual Memory. Click on OK, then OK again. After defragging your disk, follow the same procedure above, but this time select "Let Windows manage my virtual memory setting."
Win95 Has Your Number
Someday you may need to do a complete reinstallation of Win95. Do you have your registration number, which Win95 requests during installation? If not, right-click on My Computer and select Properties. Write the registration number (the last number under Registered To:) on a piece of paper and keep it with your startup disk.
The Win95b or SR2 version of Windows runs the DOS version of Scandisk automatically during boot up if the system didn't properly shut down after it last ran. You can modify this feature by making a minor change in the MSDOS.SYS file. First, open a DOS window, log onto the C:\ root directory, type ATTRIB MSDOS.SYS -S -H -R and press the Enter key to clear its attributes. Then open the file and edit or add the following line to the [Options] section:
AutoScan=x.Make x 0 if you do not want to run ScanDisk; 1 if you want ScanDisk to prompt you before running (default); or 2 if you don't want ScanDisk to prompt you before running, but to prompt you before fixing errors. Save the file, then reset the attributes by typing ATTRIB MSDOS.SYS +S +H +R.
You probably already know how to change colors in Windows: Right-click on the Desktop, select Properties, click on the Appearance tab and either select one of the existing themes or modify any element by clicking on it in the example window and changing the colors below. If you select your own colors, you can click on the Save As button and name your custom theme. You can save as many custom themes as you like.
Open In the Back
Make your documents and programs open behind the currently active window by pressing and holding the Ctrl key while you double-click on its icon. Then click on any open title bar to return the focus to that window.
Of Cursors and Icons
We printed a tip in our March issue on how to use icons (ICO files) as mouse pointers, or cursors. But it works the other way around, too. To use a mouse cursor file as an icon, right-click on the document or shortcut, and select Properties from the Context menu. Click on the Shortcut tab, then the Change Icon button. Use the Browse button to navigate to the C:\WINDOWS\CURSORS folder. Select All Files from the Files of Type drop-down menu, then select the cursor file of your choice and click on OK. Note that if you choose an animated cursor (ANI extension), you'll see the animation on the Properties sheet, but not on the actual shortcut icon.You can download more cool cursors, icons and other fun Win95 stuff from our Free Win95 Software page (http://www.winmag.com/win95/software.htm)