Desktop Shortcuts

Most software packages today put a shortcut to themselves on the desktop when they are installed. A large percentage of these shortcuts are never used as they are to utilities such as "Acrobat Reader" and "Quick Time Player" which are called by other programmes or when you double click a file to open it.

These shortcuts nearly always have a corresponding shortcut in the "Programs" menu and can therefore be safely deleted thus reducing the clutter on the desktop.

See note 1

The "System Tray"

This is the collection of icons that are next to the clock, probably, at the bottom right of the screen. As software is installed it will often add a "quick link" to the systray. Often this will allow you to access the programme quickly or show that is active. All of these indicate items that are resident in the systems memory all the time so, if your PC could be running low on resources, it may be good to remove some ofthese.

This can normally be achieved temporarily by right clicking on the icon and selecting something like exit, close or remove from tray.

To remove it completely it will probably be neccessary to open the application and find the settings tool for disabling this.

Outlook Express - Attachments.

Outlook Express has an option "Do not allow attachments to be saved or opened that could potentially be a virus".

This is ticked by default and will mean that you may not be able to open pictures, pdfs and etc that you receive in emails. To un-tick this go to Tools/Options, click on the "Security" tab and you will see the box to click. Hit apply and OK. You should now be able to open the attachments.

E.Mail Address

Most Internet Access suppliers will provide you with an email address such as "". It is often possible to find some combination of names or address which is nicer than something with a random set of digits thrown in.

However, if you then change your service provider you lose this address and have to go through the trauma of tryin to let everyone know your new address while wondering whether any important emails have been missed.

You could have your own domain e.g. and have all the email forwarded to your BT, Tiscali, AOL etc., address. Tus if you change your service provider all you need to do is change the address the mail is forwarded to.

Web Search

1. Search within a Site
On all four search engines, you can find information on a particular site using site:url followed by the search term.
E.g. "forum" will return all results from this web site for forum.

2. Link search
See which other sites are linking to a specific web address. The links returned may be different if you include the “www” or not.
Yahoo + Google: link: OR link:
MSN Search: link: OR link:
Ask Jeeves does not support this short cut.

3. Search within a date range
Narrow your search to a specific window of time, for info such as Hyphose” between Feb and March 2005.
Google: cadetech daterange:200502-200503
Ask Jeeves: cadetech betweendate:200502,200503
MSN: after searching, use the + Search Builder pull-down results ranking link.
Yahoo: The Yahoo Advanced page has a drop-down menu with four choices from “anytime” to “within the past three months.”

4. Word definition
Find what something means fast.
Google: define:flange
Yahoo: define flange
Ask Jeeves: define: flange
MSN Search: definition: flange

5. Convert stuff:
Find out quickly what 45 degrees Celsius is in Fahrenheit.
Ask Jeeves and Yahoo: convert 45 Celsius to Fahrenheit
MSN Search and Google: 45 Celsius in Fahrenheit

Buying a laptop

  • Don't be seduced by super-fast processor speeds. These are only necessary if you're running graphics-intensive applications such as games or design programmes.
  • If you're planning to watch DVDs on the move, avoid buying a laptop with a removable external DVD drive. It may reduce size and weight but could prove a nuisance if you travel a lot.
  • Buy spare or higher-capacity batteries. There's nothing worse than a flat battery when you're nowhere near a socket.
  • Be prepared to fork out extra for the software. Even Microsoft Office isn't included on many laptop software bundles.
  • If possible, opt for a laptop that comes with two hard drives, allowing you to back up the contents of one to the other.
  • If you plan to upload photographs from a digital camera, look for a machine with a memory-card slot for transferring images.
  • Buy a decent lap-top bag to protect your computer when you're travelling.

Deleting Files

When you delete files on a windows PC they will be put in the recycle bin by default. If you wish to delete the file completely then hold down the "shift" key while deleteng. Remember that even then, the file is still on the disc drive and can be recovered by someone with sufficient knowledge and some recovery software.

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  1. When you delete these they will be put in the "Recycle Bin". So! If you don't empty the bin too often, personnally I go to the bin every so often and chuck out everything that is over 4 weeks old, you can "restore" the item if you find you need it.

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