Don Edrington's  PC Chat   nct-3.gif - 11316 Bytes
PC Chat appears twice weekly in San Diego's North County Times & in Riverside County's The Californian.

Year 2000 aro-left.gif - 1056 Bytes Click Here for Complete Listing of 2000's PC Chats
Year 2001 aro-left.gif - 1056 Bytes Click Here for Complete Listing of 2001's PC Chats
Jan 2, 2001 Clearing Out McGee's Closet
Jan 7, 2001 Resizing & Cropping Photos
Jan 9, 2001 Organizing Your PC Filing Cabinet
Jan 14, 2001 Compatibility Features of Various Email Services
Jan 16, 2001 Taking Advantage of Your PC's Desktop
Jan 21, 2001 More About Various Email Services
Jan 23, 2001 No Free Lunch?
Jan 28, 2001 Copy & Paste + Computer Classes
Jan 30, 2001 Some Observations on MSWorks 2000
Jan 30
Some Observations on MSWorks 2000

    Nowadays everyone needs MSWord.  This is not to imply that MSWord is necessarily the "best" word processor - but it's the one the rest of the world is using.  

    Users of MSWorks 2001 have MSWord 2000 included with the package - however, MSWorks 2000 still has the much-lighter-duty word processor it's always had.

Nonetheless, the MSWorks 2000 word processor has some significant changes from its previous versions that are worth noting.  One might say that "Microsoft giveth and Microsoft taketh away."

Among the "MSWord-like giveths" is the ability to do multiple undos and redos, rather than just toggling between the most recent editing change and its previous condition.  Another upgrade is the ability to get symbols such as the cents sign (¢) or the upside-down Spanish question mark (¿) by going to Insert, Special Character.  Another plus is the choice of "Insert Picture" and "Insert Clipart" icons on the toolbar, whereas earlier versions of Works made you jump through several hoops to insert a photo.

Works 2000 users also have access to full-blown bullets and numbering, rather than bullets only.  They also have tools to create useful tables similar to those in MSWord.

"New Drawing" and "New Painting" icons let one choose between creating a "vector" or a "bitmap" image.  The "vector drawing" options are the same as those in MSWord, and are not too shabby.  However, one would have an easier time creating a "bitmap painting" by going to Start, Run and typing in PBRUSH to bring up the Windows PaintBrush program, which allows you not only to "paint" your own picture, but to open and edit other bitmap images.

Speaking of pictures, MSWorks 2000 lets one insert a "text box" which can be positioned to let text flow around it, a la MSWord.  Graphics and/or text can be placed inside these moveable and resizable "text boxes."

Now let's look at the "take-aways" such as "Dial This Number" which was a handy feature that went all the way back to DOS versions of Works.  Also yanked was the "Normal" page view, leaving only the "Print Layout" view.  However, this view is preferable anyway, in my humble opinion.

Another "take-away" was the ability to "customize" the toolbar by adding and subtracting individual icons of your choice.  However, you can go to View, Toolbars, where you have a couple of "toolbar" choices.  

Works 2000 will not allow the default font to be changed.  You can, of course, change the font within a document - but you're stuck with 10 point Times New Roman every time you launch the program.

However, you can create a "template" that has the font size and style you want.  Launch MSWorks 2000 and click on "Start a New Word Processing Document."  When the blank page appears, choose the font, style and size you like, and go to File, Save As.  Click on Template and give the blank document a name.  Be sure to check the box that says, "Use This Template for New Word Processing Documents."

You can also put a "shortcut icon" on your Desktop that takes you right to this template, in case starting a new Works word processing document is something you do frequently.  Get into Windows Explorer by right-clicking Start, and choosing Explore.  Find the template you created in the "My Documents" folder, and right-click it.  Choose "Create Shortcut" and drag the shortcut onto your Desktop.

You can also use this trick with MSWorks 2000 spreadsheet and database files, if you'd like to be able to access these functions more quickly than going through the traditional "Launch" procedure.

Jan 28
Copy & Paste + Computer Classes

         I get asked regularly where one can go to learn more about computers.  Well, most high schools and junior colleges have computer labs with evening classes available.  Beyond that, many communities have computer clubs that give periodic seminars and even regular classes. 

     The Fallbrook PC Users Group, for instance, recently installed a computer lab in the town's Community Center, where, I'm honored to report, they're using my new instruction manual (shown below) as the classroom text book.

    You can log on to the club's web site at or call (760) 451-9630 for more information.

    If you have information about computer clubs and/or classes in your area, please email me.  I plan to put a page on my web site at where this information will be readily accessible.

    A reader recently asked, "How can I make a web page easier to read, when the text is very small or is on a dark background with very little contrast?"  Many others have asked, "How can I print just the part of a web page or an e-mail that I want, without printing all the unneeded stuff along with it?"  The answer to both questions is: Select, Copy and Paste.

    You can't control the way web pages appear on your screen, nor the way email arrives with its multiple lines of extraneous text - but you can pick out the parts you want and place them in a new document, which you can edit in any way you'd like.  Simply mouse-select the text you want and do Ctrl + C (Copy).  Launch a blank page in your word processor and do Ctrl + V (Paste).  Confirmed mousaholics, like myself, prefer to right-click the selected text and choose Copy from the popup menu and right-click on the blank page to choose Paste from its popup menu.

    Once the selected text is on a word processing page, you can edit it to suit yourself.  As for highlighting the text in the first place, you may find your mouse difficult to control if the selection is very large.  Here's the remedy: click at the very beginning of the desired text and then put your mouse away.  While pressing the Shift key, use your arrow keys and/or your Page Down key to select the text you want.  Try it - you'll like it.

    If you want to copy a graphic from a web page or email, right-click it and choose "Copy" if you plan to Paste it immediately into a document - or choose "Save Picture As" if you want to store it for future access.

    Being able to "Copy and Paste" has been a fundamental of computers since they were first invented - but AOL 6.0 has a glitch that's a real mystery.  I normally type this column in Word 2000 and then Copy and Paste it into an outgoing AOL email.  When I do this in Version 6.0, however, every tenth word or so gets connected to the one following it, meaning I have to re-insert several dozen blank spaces before sending the letter.  I can't tell you how readers many have written to me with the same complaint.

    As for how to easily launch your word processor while you're online, here's how I do it.  I've dragged a shortcut icon to MSWord onto my Taskbar, which is always in view.  I also keep a shortcut icon to Notepad there.  Notepad is a no-frills text editor that I find extremely handy for quickie notes and memos.  Launch Notepad by going to Start, Run.  Type in NOTEPAD and click OK.  When a blank Notepad page appears, go to File, Save As and give it a name, say, "MyMemos.txt," choosing the Desktop as the place to store it. 

    Close this document by clicking its X.  "MyMemos.txt" will then become an icon on your Desktop.  Drag this icon onto your Taskbar, where it will become a "shortcut" to the file and where it will always be in view.

Jan 23
No Free Lunch?

     One of the hazards of writing a computer column is: things change so fast that what you write about one day may have changed the next. I wrote recently that AOL's new version 6 is a big, cumbersome program that's slower than its predecessor and that some of its new features are unreliable and/or not very helpful. However, I just discovered that, with version 6, AOL has finally made its email compatible with other email services, in terms of font formatting with different colors and styles.

     Speaking of "Version 6," have you wondered why Netscape recently went from Version 4.7 to Version 6? My guess is: since Netscape is now owned by AOL, they want to keep their "versions" consistent. In any case, I tried Netscape 6 and ended up uninstalling it. I won't list all the things about it that bother me, but one of the commands I use most often is Ctrl + F - to FIND things - not only on web pages, but in many other types of documents as well.

     Guess what - Netscape 6 displays a dialogue box which invites you to type in the text you want to find - and then tells you it can't be found - even if you see it right in front of you. Anyway, all versions of Netscape are free to download, as are all versions of Internet Explorer, in case you'd like to experiment with different browsers.

     Speaking of free, there are some other programs available that are really quite impressive. For anyone who'd like a free "office suite" that's compatible with MSOffice, there's Sun Microsystem's Star Office, which includes a word processor, a spreadsheet application, a database manager, a presentation graphics program, a drawing utility, and even a built-in web browser. It's a huge package that can take over six hours to download - but you don't have to go for the whole thing - you can pick and choose the applications you want.

     I haven't had time to check out all of Star Office's features, but I found some significant pros and cons worth mentioning. One thing I like is the spreadsheet's ability to format text in a "header" row to be displayed at an angle (a la Excel) or even stacked, with one letter on top of another. This is handy when you want to create, say, a "State" field which only has two characters in it, such as "CA."

     On the down side, Star Office has a number of Menu and Toolbar inconsistencies with MSOffice - but they can be worked around with a little practice. One major deficiency I found is that there is no "word count" option in the text processor. For those of us who write newspaper columns and/or send out free newsletters, this is a sorely missed feature. In any case, when you consider MSOffice sells for $300 and up, getting Star Office totally free is something worth considering.

     Another free program is 1st Page 2000, which is an HTML editor for creating and editing web pages. I've been using it to maintain my website at - and it's so full-featured and comprehensive, that I continue to be amazed that its owners allow it to be freely distributed. I can't say enough about the merits of this amazing and thoroughly professional application. Check it out at or go directly to , where it and all the above mentioned programs can be freely downloaded.

Jan 21
More About Various Email Services

     In response to my recent request for e-mail with special formatting, I received dozens of interesting replies, for which I thank everyone who wrote.

     What I discovered is that there are basically two protocols for sending and receiving e-mail with fancy fonts and colored backgrounds - the one used by AOL-CompuServe and the one used by everyone else.

     Users of Netscape, Outlook Express, Eudora, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, Juno, and others can see each other's colorful formatting - but there are certain inconsistencies among the services.

     Some allow you to insert a picture right inside the email, and some don't. All services allow you to "attach" a picture, as well other types of files, to an e-mail - and attachments can be downloaded by any user of any other service, including AOL/CS.

     However, users of some services will find that a picture included inside an e-mail will still have to be "downloaded" as if it were an "attachment," while some will find that an enclosed picture will show up as a square "marker" inside the e-mail which has to be right-clicked to bring up a "Show Picture" command.

     In fact, there is no consistency regarding the way different services use the words "insert" and "attach." To me, the former has always meant placing one thing inside another, while the latter means connecting one thing to the outside of another. The various e-mail services seem to have their own definitions, which we are left to decipher.

     All ISPs provide subscribers with an e-mail service, but we're free to use others in addition to - or instead of - the one we get with our ISP. Hotmail and Yahoo mail need to be accessed from the Internet while online, while Juno, Outlook Express and Eudora can be used offline for creating mail to be sent after one logs on. Juno works through its own ISP, while OE and Eudora can work through any ISP.

     I discovered that OE and Hotmail are pretty much interchangeable, which is not surprising since both are Microsoft products. However, pictures can be included inside the former but not the latter, although graphics inside OE can be opened by Hotmail users.

     Eudora is one of the oldest e-mail systems and has some very useful features, including a voice-mail option. For many years the program had to be purchased, but is now offered free in a "Light" version - or it can be had free in its full-featured version - if you're willing to accept advertising along with it.

     One of the things I like most about Eudora is that there appears to be no limit to the number of "blind carbon copies" one can put in the BCC address box. I find this very useful for the newsletter I send out, since other services limit you to a couple of dozen names in this box.

     One reader sent me a link to a free e-mail program called "IncrediMail" and it does seem quite incredible - with all kinds of fancy features, including the ability to send and receive animated graphics. However, it has no provision for sending BCCs, which makes it unusable for me.

     For those who've not yet tried using special fonts and colors in their e-mail, here's what to look for: Hotmail users will check the "Rich Text Format" box. Yahoo users will click on "Switch to Formatted Version." OE users need to click on Format and choose between "Plain Text" and "Rich Text - HTML." Netscape users will go to Edit, Preferences, Mail & Newsgroup to make their choice.

     Eudora's full-featured version is RTF/HTML only - but you can still type your letter in plain vanilla text. The same applies to AOL and CompuServe - but their fancy formatting can only be seen by other members of those services.

Jan 16
Taking Advantage of Your PC's Desktop

     We recently talked about viewing one's computer as a "filing cabinet" that holds scads of files and folders. Your Desktop is actually one of these folders - and it's always open so its contents can be seen each time you power up.

     New PCs always comes with certain Desktop icons that are part of Windows, such as "My Computer" and the "Recycle Bin." Other icons are there to launch certain programs. You'll also see a folder called "My Documents," in which many of the files you create will automatically be stored.

     You'll usually see an icon for "Internet Explorer," the Web browser that comes with Windows. If you prefer "Netscape Navigator" you'll probably have to download it.

     I've noticed that many folks tend to leave their Desktop the way it way it came with the computer - but it's actually a very useful tool that can be used advantageously. For instance, you can put "shortcut icons" there that lead to your favorite programs.

     The first shortcut I'd suggest adding is one that leads to "Windows Explorer," the "file management" area of Windows. Microsoft, in its infinite wisdom, puts an "Internet Explorer" icon on the Desktop, but doesn't put one there for "Windows Explorer." Yet the latter is the one you will be using all the time for such things as copying, moving, deleting, and moving files and folders. Here's how to get this important icon on your Desktop.

     You can launch Windows Explorer by right-clicking "Start" and choosing "Explore" - or by pressing your "Windows key" and "E" simultaneously. Find a folder named "Windows" and double-click it. Look for a file icon labeled "Explore.exe." If you see "Explore" without ".exe" it means your file extensions have been hidden - another mysterious thing Microsoft does. Let's fix that. Win98+ users go to View, Folder Options, View and UNcheck "Hide File Extensions for Known File Types." Win95 users can fix this item by going to View, Options, View.

     Now drag your "Explore.exe" icon onto your "Desktop" icon - the top one in the left window pane. Exit Windows Explorer and return to your Desktop, where you'll see an "Explorer" icon with a little arrow in its lower left corner. Double-click it whenever you want to get into Windows Explorer. Drag this icon onto your Taskbar, and you can jump into this area with a single-click.

     You can also do this with any other programs you want quick access to, such as, say, TurboTax. Get into Windows Explorer and look for the TurboTax folder, which may be inside the Program Files folder. Look for a file called TurboTax.exe and drag into onto your Desktop. The dragged icon will become a "shortcut" while the actual file remains in place.

     If you frequently use utilities such as Calculator, Dialer, Character Map or PaintBrush - these can all be found inside the Windows folder. Look for Calc.exe, Dialer.exe, CharMap.exe, or PBrush.exe - and drag any or all of them onto your desktop. Game buffs will also find FreeCell.exe, Hearts.exe, and Sol.exe (Solitaire) in this folder.

     To make documents you create easier to find, put one or more folders on the Desktop for them. Right-click the Desktop and choose New, Folder. When it appears, type in a name. Get back into Windows Explorer and drag your documents into the new folder/s.

     If you have zillions of documents, however, your Desktop can quickly become cluttered. The fix? Drag folders into other folders, after naming them in some kind of order makes them easy to find.

     For instance, I have a folder called "Artwork" that contains other folders named, "Corel PhotoPaint" and "Adobe PhotoShop," etc. Another folder contains shortcuts to my most frequently used programs, such as Word, Quicken, Corel Draw, etc. The possibilities are endless.

Jan 14
Compatibility Features of Various E-mail Services

     I continue to get more questions about e-mail than just about anything else. There was a time when e-mail was relatively simple - it was plain black and white and never had anything "attached" to it.

     Now e-mail can be sent with fancy colored fonts and special backgrounds. However, the person on the receiving end may just see plain black and white.

     This is because most e-mail nowadays is sent in an "HTML" format - but different e-mail services have different "rules" regarding HyperText Markup Language. For instance, AOL and CompuServe use the same set of rules, so their fancy e-mails will look the same to all members. They can even enclose pictures right inside a letter.

     Users of Outlook Express will find that their fancy email will look the same to users of OE, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail, as well as vice versa. Outlook Express users can even insert pictures in their e-mail, which can be seen by other OE and Hotmail users. However, Hotmail users cannot insert pics in their e-mail - nor can Yahoo users.

     Users of Netscape WebMail can only send plain black and white "typewriter-style" monospaced text, however some HTML letters received by WebMail users will arrive with fancy formatting in tact.

     Users of Netscape Communicator can have colored fonts and pictures inside their e-mail. What I've yet to learn about Communicator mail, however, is if the inserted pictures can be seen by users of other e-mail services. But I'm working on it.

     Juno "Internet" users now have colored font and background choices, whereas the original free Juno e-mail service has always been plain black and white. I've not yet learned it fancy-formatted Juno mail comes through in colors to other services, but would love having some sent to me so I could check them out.

     Speaking of Juno's formatting capabilities, I found that only one font style and color can be used in an e-mail, whereas users of the other HTML services mentioned above can use multiple font styles and colors in a single letter.

     I realize that many reading this are thinking, "What's with all this HTML stuff? I just type out a letter and click Send. What else do I need?"

     Well, I can only speak for myself. I send out a newsletter to quite a few people, which I believe is easier to read when fonts of different sizes and colors are used. So I've recently begun sending out the newsletter via different services, in an attempt to let everybody see it in colors.

     For those who are totally in the dark about HTML, it's a set of formatting codes that tell text to be in a particular size and style, naming a background color for a document and telling where graphics should be placed on a page.

     Every time you look at a Web page on the Internet, you're seeing a document that was formatted with HTML coding called "tags." Ironically, most of the e-mail you receive nowadays has HTML coding in the background, even if the letter comes through in plain black and white.

Jan 9
Organizing Your PC Filing Cabinet

     Are you getting maximum use out of your computer's "filing cabinet?"

     If you think of your hard drive this way, it's easy to visualize all your files as being stored in a collection of alphabetized folders. Let's take a look.

     Get into Windows Explorer by right-clicking Start and choosing Explore - or by pressing your Windows key and E. Notice the yellow folders displayed in the left side of the double-paned window that opens. A plus sign (+) in front of a folder tells you it has one or more other folders inside it. Click on a plus sign and another level of folders will be displayed, some of which may have plus signs of their own.

     Click the resultant minus signs (-) to collapse the folders back to where they were. Now double-click any folder to have all its contents displayed in the right window pane. To make these contents easier to work with, go to View, Folder Options and choose Classic Style. Then go to View, List.

     Many of these folders came with your computer and contain the various files that make your PC do what it does. Other folders may have been created when you installed a new program or when you downloaded something from the Internet. But the important thing is: you can create your own folders.

     Let's say you need a folder for Correspondence. Double-click the C: (hard drive) icon in the left window pane. Click on File, New, Folder. A yellow icon will appear named "New Folder" which has a flashing cursor that invites you to type in a name for it. Type "Correspondence" and press Enter. Exit Windows Explorer. When you get back into Explorer you'll see your new folder listed alphabetically. Double-click C: and you'll see it listed in the right pane, as well.

     You can now put a couple of folders inside your "Correspondence" folder and call them, say, "Incoming" and "Outgoing". Here's how. Double-click the "Correspondence" folder in the left pane. If you don't see it there, click on your C: drive icon until it appears. Now repeat the above "File, New, Folder" steps twice. Name one new folder "Incoming" and the other "Outgoing." Additional folders could be placed inside of these two, with names of months and years. The possibilities of nested folders are limited only by your own imagination.

     But how do you get your personal files into these folders? Well, you can put them there as you create them, by going to File, Save As, and "browsing" your way to the new folders. However, this can be time-consuming. Let's make it easier. Most programs have a default folder where files go automatically as they're saved. MSWord files, for instance, normally go into a folder called "My Documents." Here's how to put the letters you write with Word in the new "Outgoing" folder.

     Use the plus signs to find your "Outgoing" folder in the left window pane of Windows Explorer. Right-click it and choose "Create Shortcut." A shortcut will have now been created to take you instantly to this folder. But where is it?

     Since the "Outgoing" folder is actually inside the "Correspondence" folder, the shortcut is in there, too. Double-click the "Correspondence" folder and the "Shortcut to Outgoing" icon will appear in the right window pane. In the left pane, find the "My Documents" folder. Now simply drag the shortcut icon from the right window pane into "My Documents" in the left pane. The next time you do a "File, Save As" from within Word, the "Shortcut to Outgoing" icon will appear. Double-click it to go instantly to the target folder.

     Yes, Word lets you set a default folder by going to Tools, Options, File Locations. However, by following the above instructions, you can create shortcuts to multiple folders - and the instructions work with any program.

Jan 7
Resizing & Cropping Photos

     It would appear that lots of photos were e-mailed over the holidays, since I've gotten so many letters asking how to resize them. Most have said that the pictures are too big - and they'd like to make them smaller.

     Resizing is a function of your image-editing software, and different programs use different terminology. Corel PhotoPaint, for instance, uses "resample" while Adobe PhotoDeluxe uses "size" and Windows PaintBrush uses "stretch & skew." Whichever program you use, it's important to understand that the "screen" size and the "print" size are two different things. An image can be made smaller or larger on the screen so that it's easier to edit - but this doesn't change the print size. To reduce the size of a print-out, the picture's actual dimensions need to be changed.

     It's also important to understand that computer pictures are made up of hundreds of tiny colored squares, called bits, which blend together to create the illusion of "continuous tone" photography. When a picture is made smaller, some of the bits have to be left out. If a picture is enlarged, more colored squares have to be added. As to how this affects the finished print - experiment to find out.

     A picture can also be made smaller by "cropping" it. It's not uncommon for a photo to have lots of extraneous background surrounding the person who is the actual subject of the shot. Make the picture smaller by just using what's needed to frame the person attractively.

     Since all Windows users have PaintBrush, we'll learn how to do it with this program. Click on Start, Run and type in PBRUSH. Click OK. Go to File, Open, and "browse" your way to the target photo. Click Open and the picture will appear.

     To change the picture's print size, click on Image, Stretch & Skew, and type in the percentage of reduction or enlargement you want. Click OK and the picture will change accordingly.

     To "crop" an image in PaintBrush, two "Selection" icons are available at the top of the toolbar - a rectangle and a star, the latter being for "free-form" selecting. Use either tool to "outline" the part of the picture you want to keep. Click on Edit, Copy. Then click on File, New. The cropped image will appear in the upper left corner of the new, blank "canvas" when you click on Edit, Paste. You can then grab the lower right corner of the white canvas and resize it to match the edges of the cropped image.

     Use, File, Save As to name the cropped picture. In the Save As Type box, choose JPG or JPEG, unless you have particular reason for choosing one of the other bitmap formats.

     By going to File, Print Preview, you'll see how the finished picture will look on an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. It will be in the upper left corner of the paper, and PaintBrush offers no way to move it. However, you can paste the picture into a word processor and move it around as you see fit. Use a Selection tool to outline the picture and do Edit, Copy. Launch your word processor and do Edit, Paste.

     Once the picture is on a word processor page, it can be resized by merely clicking on it and adjusting any of the little square "handles" at the picture's corners and edges.

     Another important thing to know about is the "resolution" of your pictures. Screen images are normally about 72 DPI - dots per inch. However, printouts on paper are often 300-720 DPI and can go even higher. In any case, it pays to buy better quality inkjet paper for prints to look their best. Plain photocopy or typewriter paper usually gives fuzzy, unsatisfactory results. Inkjet paper "quality" comes in a variety of ranges, with "high-gloss" type being the most expensive. I use a medium-price paper for most printouts, and the high-gloss for pictures that rival regular photographic prints.

Jan 2
Clearing Out McGee's Closet

     Have you made a New Year's resolution to clean up your hard drive and get rid of the unwanted files that may be cluttering it up? A good way to start is clear out your "TEMP" files. These are files which are created in the background when you use some of your programs - and they can be safely deleted at any time. They normally get stored in a folder named "Temp" which you can find by getting into Windows Explorer. Right-click Start, and choose Explore - or press your "Windows" and "E" keys simultaneously.

     Oddly enough, you probably have two "Temp" files on your computer. The one inside your "C:\Windows" folder is the one that normally contains these surplus files. The other is listed directly under your "C" drive, and should be looked into as well.

     After locating the target "Temp" folder, double-click it to display its contents. Then go to Edit, Select All - or do Ctrl+A. Hit your Delete key to get rid of the files. If you see a message saying certain files can't be deleted unless you take certain steps - just follow the prompts.

     Directly below the "C:\Windows\Temp" folder you'll see a folder named "Temporary Internet Files." These are files you accessed on the Web at one time or another, and which were copied to your hard drive to make them more quickly reaccessible. These files are stored in a "cache" which only holds so many files, and whose oldest files will eventually be dumped as new ones are added. Therefore, deleting these files does little to free up hard disk space, since the cache will eventually fill up again. Nonetheless, some folks have their own reasons for wanting to purge these files. Anyway, if you select all the files with "Ctrl+A" and hit your Delete key, it may look like nothing happened. However, if you exit the folder and then double-click it again, you'll see that it's been emptied.

     Getting back to "Temp" files, there may be some stored in other places on your hard drive. Most will have a ".TMP" extension and many will begin with the "~" tilde character. You can locate these files by going to Start, Find, Files & Folders and typing in *.TMP. The asterisk acts as a "wild card" which will locate all files with a .TMP extension. If you try to delete one of these files and get a message saying "Access Is Denied" it usually means that the file is currently in use. For instance, if you have an MS-Word document open, it will very likely have a "TEMP" file in use at the same time, which you won't see because it's working in the background. After you close the Word file, the TEMP file gets sent to the "C:\Windows\Temp folder, from whence you should eventually delete it.

     Another way to clean up your hard drive is to delete any programs you don't use. Most applications come with an "Uninstall.exe" file that can be found in the program's main folder. This file will sometimes be named "Unwise.exe" in a cute attempt to keep you from uninstalling the program. Anyway, if the unwanted program doesn't list such a file, it can still be uninstalled by going to My Computer, Control Panel and clicking on Add/Remove Programs. Click on the target program and then click on Install/Uninstall. Follow the prompts when asked if you're sure you want to uninstall the program.

     It's worth noting that merely finding a program's main folder and "deleting" it is NOT the same as "uninstalling" the application. When programs are first installed, some of their files are placed in different locations on your hard drive. Using an "Uninstall" command is what's needed to find and delete all pertinent files.

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