To navigate with confidence, learn keyboard tricks

John McCormick

Microsoft Windows and its applications spawn temporary (.tmp) files at a prodigious rate.

They're supposed to be deleted when you close Windows properly via the Shut Down option in the Start menu.

But each time Windows crashes, the hard drive usually accumulates a few .tmp files that fail to vanish at the next proper shutdown. Even if you're unbelievably lucky and manage never to crash Windows, you will still end up with an occasional junk .tmp file.

After a while, they mount up. I just checked my system and found 7.4M of .tmp files while Windows was running. After I exited correctly and ran in MS-DOS mode'the only safe way to delete .tmp files'I still had 7.3M of them left.

All were junk. Remember that it's safe to delete the junk only when Windows is closed.

Tips and tricks

Here are a couple of shortcuts for Windows 98 users that should work no matter what application you have open.

To toggle between minimized and full windows, press the Windows key (at bottom left, next to Ctrl) plus the D key. This can have unpredictable results, but experiment with it. You might find it useful. A better way is to press Windows plus D to minimize and Shift plus Windows plus M to maximize.

If you use the Internet Explorer browser, there's a built-in shortcut to open it: the Windows key plus E.

The Windows key plus the Pause/Break key opens the System Properties dialog box. And Windows plus F1 produces a Windows help screen.

Here's a handy tip that works in Internet Explorer versions but not in Netscape Navigator 4'I haven't tried the newest Navigator version.

If you tend to edit uniform resource locators in the Address or Location window, you probably hit some wrong keys from time to time. The next time you want to edit a URL instead of navigating from the home page, try pressing the Ctrl key in combination with the left and right arrows. This makes the cursor jump to the next period or forward slash, just where you usually want to be when editing an address.

Another tip for Explorer is one that some users discover by accident.

I generally start Web searches at www.google.com, then move on to any of dozens of other search engines if Google doesn't show me the result I want in the first screen or two. But when I just want a fast search for something easy, I simply enter the words in Explorer's Address window. If you put spaces within any text you enter in that box, the browser is supposed to perform a search of a Microsoft database rather than look for a Web site.

This can be a real shortcut. For example, when I type Government Computer News in the window, it brings up a Microsoft Network search page that has GCN highlighted at the top of one frame and the day's front page automatically loaded in the other frame. I believe that's the default setting for the feature, but there are ways to alter it.

Every search engine works differently, so it's important to try several when you are beginning a new search. Sometimes I get excellent results from the MSN search engine, finding what I need in the first few hits.

Web controls

There's lots of talk about software to monitor improper use of the Internet on work time, but did you know that Explorer already has control features that can easily be set by an administrator? They're not perfect, but they're free and you already have them.

In Explorer 5, go to Tools, Internet Options and click on the Content tab. In Explorer 4, it's View, Internet Options, Content.

Click on Enable Content Advisor, and you can set four-stage filters for sex, violence, language and nudity. The filters are based on Internet Content Rating Association standards.

See www.icra.org/ratingsv01.html for details. These settings are useful for schools, training and public-access systems, but they also can strengthen control over what your office users do on the Web.

While you're in the menu, click the Advanced tab, which is where you can control things such as how the browser handles security. Options include Use Fortezza, Use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer encryption) and Empty Temporary Internet Files Folder when the browser is closed.

You can select options to control how multimedia is or isn't displayed in a browser. In some cases, altering these settings will really speed up Web page loading.

You can also modify or shut off the fast search feature I described above. Options include going to the most likely site, displaying only search results, or the default'doing both. If you want your users never to use the MSN search engine, select 'Do not search from the address bar.'

In the same menu, you can turn on an option to always display any alternative text embedded in a page to describe the contents of an image. This is a basic requirement for making Web sites accessible to visually impaired users.

John McCormick, a free-lance writer and computer consultant, has been working with computers since the early 1960s. E-mail him at [email protected].


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