Tips pages are best viewed on laptops and desktop computers. Last updated 2016


'Shortcut To' words removed

To remove the words Shortcut To, edit the registry:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
On the right side, double click on Link
Change the Value to: 00 00 00 00
Then go to, and delete the key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\NamingTemplates
You may or may not have that 2nd key.
You'll see the changes next time you restart your computer


Resize / Moving a window, Especially if it's lost at the top of your screen

Press ALT+Space Bar,

From there, you can choose Minimize, or even Move, if you've lost your window.
To move it, choose Move, then use your up/down/left/right arrow keys to move it around. When you have it back in order, press the press <enter> key to set it in.


Screen Saver on Demand!

Want your screen saver to kick in whenever you say? Create a shortcut to it, then set up hot-key access to the shortcut.

In Explorer, find your screen savers in the Windows folder or in the Windows\System32 folder. Find the one you want. Right click and hold and drag it to your desktop. Release the click and choose Create Shortcut Here.

Now you can set up your shortcut or hot key if you want. Right click on the shortcut and choose Properties, then click on the Shortcut tab. Place the cursor anywhere on the Shortcut key line, press any key, and Windows adds the Ctrl+Alt part automatically. Click OK to close the dialog box. Ready for a test run? Try pressing the shortcut key you just set up.


Explorer to start where YOU want to start

Every time you click on Start, Programs, Accessories, Windows Explorer, it goes to a certain folder (Probably the My Documents folder).
You then have to navigate your way around to where you really want to go (like your CD drive, or your second hard drive)

Make it start where you really want to go:
Go to Start, Programs, Accessories, and Right click and drag the Windows Explorer icon to the desktop. Choose Create shortcut here.
Right click on the new icon on your desktop and choose Properties
If using Windows 10, then you need to:
Right click on the desktop and choose New / Shortcut
In the command line box just type: explorer.exe
Then click on Next.
Give the explorer a name such as F Drive, then click on Finish
Right click on the new icon and choose Properties

Then continue with:
In the top line is where you make your changes

You might want it to start in your second hard drive. It the top line it would look like this:

c:\windows\explorer /e, F:\

Then click on Change icon and give it a new look is you want.

Then click on OK. Right click on that icon and choose Rename. Give it a name you'll recognize like E Drive

What about opening it to your CD drive. It would look like this:
c:\windows\explorer /e, D:\

Create as many as you want. Just change the icons and rename them all.

Note: If you want to use a folder such as your Program Files folder, then the entire path in the last part must be in " marks.
Example: c:\windows\explorer /e, "C:\Program Files"

To replace the Explorer icon on your taskbar, right click on the icon you want (that you just created) and choose Pin to Taskbar.
You can then UNpin the other explorer icon (if you want)


Icons changed for un-associated files

Tired of looking at those basic looking icons? Well here's you chance to change them without changing the association.

For example, you know that all *.cfg are configuration files, right? Well Instead of having that ugly looking basic icon, you can change it, without changing anything else. Just go do View, Options, File Type, New, Give it a name such as Configuration File, type in CFG, change the icon to anything you want and press Close. This won't open any program, but it will give you an icon you can recognize quicker.

++++ Note: don't do anything with the cursor or animated cursors associations. You'll really screw up things


Start Menu picture change

You probably have a chess piece for your picture on your Start Menu. Yuk (if you don't play chess)
Change it:
Click on the picture, then click on Make changes to my Account, then click on the Browse button right below your picture and go find a picture you want to use.


Rename Desktop Icons

You can "Rename" the shortcuts anywhere on your computer to shorter, more coherent names. Just rename them to something more familiar.

Do this just by clicking once on the shortcut icon. Then right click on it and choose Rename. Type any name you want. If you type something you shouldn't, Windows will tell you. There are certain characters you are not allowed to use.


Control Panel Cascading on Start Menu

It's quite convenient to have your control panel listed on your start menu just like the the others there.

If you don't have Control Panel on the right side when you click on Start, then you really should get the free program called Classic Shell. You can really customize your computer experience with that program!!
Once installed, Right click on the Start button and Settings
On the tab called Main Menu, scroll to the bottom and UNcheck the box for "Use Categories view for the Control Panel


Start Menu with smaller icons

Have you Start Menu take up less space (and get rid of the Windows logo that goes up the side)

I think it's best to install and use Classic Shell first.
Then Right click on the Start Button and choose settings
Click on the Skin tab and put the check in the box for Small Icons


'This PC' is now 'My Computer' or any name

Tired of seeing the words My Computer or This PC on your desktop? Give it some class!
In an explorer, right click on it and choose Rename. and Rename it!


Want more choices for changing icons

Whenever you change an icon, you'll be offered the default source of icons. It's a file called shell32.dll in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. But there's 2 other files in the System32 folder called pifmgr.dll and moricons.dll


More Icons in other .dll files

But there are some .dll files that have icons, and some that don't. How do you know which do, and which don't?

Here's a time to go to Regedit. Don't do this if you feel uncomfortable in going to Regedit.

In Regedit, navigate your way to:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\dllfile\DefaultIcon
Right-click the icon on the right side and select Modify. Change the value so it only reads: %1

Close Regedit and reset your computer.

Next time when you go looking for an icon, check the icon of the .dll files. If it's different, (not the old un-associated windows icon) then there are icons to be found.

To change it back, replace %1 with:
C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\shell32.dll,-154
for XP, reset it to: %SystemRoot%\System32\shell32.dll,-154


Icons using cursors & Cursors using Icons

Did you know that?

Yes you can use the image of a cursor as an icon on your desktop (or for any shortcut)

Just do the same as you normally do to change an icon (right click on the shortcut, select Properties, Change Icon, Browse). But this time navigate your way to the C:\Windows\Cursors directory. You will need to change the Type (bottom left corner) to All Files. Then just select a cursor. Your shortcut will now look like your favorite cursor

And do the same if you want to use a icon as a cursor. Just use the browse, and have it show All Files and go find one.


Stretching images for your desktop

If the image you want to use for your desktop is just to small, you can utilize a stretch feature.
After you choose your image, then choose the option to Stretch.


Recycle Bin renamed

Only go here if you feel comfortable modifying the registry.
Start the Regedit (Start, Run, Regedit)

Navigate your way to:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}

Right click on the word (Default) in the right pane and select Modify. For the data, type whatever name you want to use, such as Trash Bin, or (in my case) Toilet.


Start Menu Re-Organized

You can quickly change the order in which you view the start menu. Personally I like to have my shortcut to the control panel at the top of the list when I press Start).

So, in a nutshell, click on Start, then right-click and hold on any item you want to move, then drag it to where you want it to be. You will see a black horizontal line that will show you where it will be when you let go of the mouse.


Start menu cascading faster

Even find that when you use the start menu it goes to slow for you? Or for that matter, to fast?

Option 2:

If you don't have Tweak and don't want it, you can still adjust the speed.

Go to Start, Run, and type Regedit. Navigate your way to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop.
Add a New, String Value. Type: MenuShowDelay and press [enter]. Now double-click on MenuShowDelay and type in a number between 1 and 10. (1 being the fastest and 10 being the slowest). Click on OK and restart the computer.

This will be a bit of trial and error. If you find you typed 1 for the value and it's definitely to fast, you'll have to go through the Regedit again and change the value to, say, a 3. Then restart the computer again.


Icons to have no name

Do you have icons on your desktop that just don't need a name? Or that you don't want to have name?

Right click on the icon and choose Rename. Press and hold the Alt key and (on your numeric keypad with NumLock on) type 0160.

Release both and now you have an icon with no name.


Mouse Double-Click speed

Having trouble with your double-click. It just doesn't seem to activate at the rate you choose? You can fix that and have it adjust to what you want.

Go to Control Panel / Ease Of Use
Click on Make mouse easier to use
Click on Mouse Settings (at the bottom) On the Buttons tab and adjust the Double Click Spped according to your needs


Cursor with class

You are still seeing that 'ole hourglass on your screen when your computer is working on it's own, are you?

Well try something different, just for the heck of it.

Go to Control Panel / Ease Of Use
Click on Make mouse easier to use then click on the Pointers tab.
Here you will see a listing of all the different pointers that Windows is currently using for different tasks.

Click on the hourglass for Busy, then select Browse. You will be taken to the directory of your cursors. Each icon you click on will show you a preview of what the pointer will do. Just keep trying different pointers until you find one you like. When you find one, click on Open, then click on Apply, and OK

You can find many cursors available throughout the Internet.

And...here are some files that I've copied from my computer. I've found most of them on the Internet in various places. Just download and extract them (with an un-zipping program like WinZip). Hands, Misc

After you've downloaded the files from the Internet, go to Control Panel, Mouse, Pointers. Then use the browse button to locate your new cursors. Just click on them one at a time. If you click on one that you don't want to keep, just press your delete key.

When you've decided what cursors to keep, just click on Cancel. Next, in an Explorer, Move all of your new cursors to the C:\Windows\Cursors directory. Then follow the steps at the beginning of this tip to change your mouse pointer.


Desktop image unwanted

If you find that you change your desktop image, but when you reset the computer that image keeps showing up, it's because Windows doesn't know any better ;)
Here's how to remove the offending image so you only have the image you want showing
Open a Windows Explorer and go to the folder:
C:\Windows\Web\Wallpaper
You'll see the offending file in there....if you remember the name of it.
Then just click on it and delete it, then reset your computer.


Icons and Icon Fonts made smaller/larger on the desktop

The larger your screen resolution, the smaller your icons will be on your desktop. So, keep your resolution but change your icons.
Icons can be to big or they may be to small.....however you can change the size of icons themselves AND the size of the words for the icons to make it easier for you to see.
Right click on the desktop, then click on View. You can choose between Large, Medium or Small icons.
To change the FONT size go to Control Panel / Display
(Or right click on the desktop and choose Display Settings. On the bottom right, click on Advanced Display Settings. Click on Advanced sizing of text and other items)

On the right for 'Change only the text size', click on the first dropdown and choose Icon Text and bump it up to 10 or 11...whatever works for YOU.


Smooth Scrolling & More Tweaking

Right click on This PC (Computer) and choose Properties
Advanced System Settings
In the Performance Section, click on Settings
Pick & choose from the list for smoothing scrolling and MUCH more.


Shortcut Arrow Changed - Made Lighter

I Hate those dark blue or black large arrows. Here's how you can change yours too (only if you're comfortable opening regedit):
Open regedit
Navigate to:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Icons
NOTE: If Shell Icons it is not in the left pane under Explorer, then right click on Explorer and click on New and Key.
Type Shell Icons for the new key's name and press Enter.
In the right pane of Shell Icons, right click on a empty area and click on New and String Value, and name it 29.

Double click on the value called 29 to modify it with one of the 2 options below.

Now you can choose the small dark arrow that Windows had before, or you can choose a lighter one that I created
First, notice the comparison in the 3 different styles.

Option 1 - Use the small old style shortcut arrow as seen above in the middle.
In that box as noted above, type in in the following: C:\Windows\System32\shell32.dll,29
Then click on OK.
This will give you a smaller arrow for the shortcut.

Option 2 - My Light grey arrow:  
If you prefer one that's light, right click on the light arrow icon above and save my icon file to your C:\windows folder
Back in the registry entry dialog box, for the path, type in the following: C:\Windows\icon-LiteArrow.ico
This will give you the small light arrow as shown in the comparison image above
Restart the computer to apply the new small arrow appearance.


Screen Saver Settings Not Available

For the screen savers of Bubbles, Mystify & Ribbons, the Settings button is disabled. But you can manually change them, but....
Only if you're comfortable going into the registry !!
Here's how to get them to change. It won't give you the option to click on Settings...you'll have to go back into the registry later if you want to make changes in the future:
Right-click anywhere the desktop and Select "Personalize"
Click on "Screen Saver" at the bottom right.
Keep this window, so you can test the changes as you make them.
Open the Windows Registry
These instructions are for modifying the screen savers of: Bubbles, Mystify and Ribbons.
In regedit, go to :
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Screensavers
Click on any of the 3 sub-keys
On the right side below Default, create a new DWORD & Decimal value based on the table below

Bubbles
DWORD Name DESCRIPTION VALUE
ShowShadow Bubbles have shadows 0=Hide /1=Shadows
MaterialGlass Transparent or Opaque 0=Opaque/1=Transparent
ShowBubbles Show bubble on screen or bkg 0=Screen/0=black bkg
TurbulenceNumOctaves Speed of bubble changing color Choice of 0=slow to 255=fast
Radius Size of bubbles 1090000000=small to 1130000000=large
SphereDensity Number of bubbles 1000000000=few to 2100000000=lots
SpanMultiMon Bubble span 2 monitors 0=no/1=yes
 
Mystify
DWORD Name DESCRIPTION VALUE
LineWidth Thickness of the lines 1000000000=thin/1080000000=thick
NumLines Amount of lines in display 1=1 line to 100=lots
SpanMultiMon Spanning 2 monitors 0=no/1=yes
 
Ribbons
DWORD Name DESCRIPTION VALUE
RibbonWidth Thickness of the ribbons 1000000000=thin/1080000000=thick
Numribbons Amount of ribbons in display 1=1 line to 100=lots
SpanMultiMon Spanning 2 monitors 0=no/1=yes

There are 1 or 2 others changes per screen saver, but they aren't really worth the change.

To test the screen saver, go back to your Screen Saver dialog box, choose the screen saver and click on Preview.
If you don't like the changes, go back to regedit and make the change.

To use the settings on another computer: On th left side of Regedit, right click on the key for the screen saver and choose Export.
Give it a name and save it.
Take the file to the other computer and double click on it to import it into the registry.
When you're satisfied with your settings, close regedit.
I found this great tip at: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/


Icon Text Size Changed (as well as title bars, tool tips, etc) - Win10

If you have the start menu Control Panel in the List view then click on Personalization, then on the left side click on Control Panel Home.
Otherwise:
Click on Start and type the words Control Panel in the search box.
Click Control Panel that shows at the top of the list
click on Appearance and / Personalization
Under Display, click on 'Make text and other items larger or smaller'
You can only change colors of text size and few other minor things

HOWEVER...you CAN still change other aspect. BUT...you have to go to the registry and do it manually...but it'll be worth it for icon size, icon horizontal and vertical spacing, active & inactive title bars, scroll bar color and other special aspects
Go to each of the following keys and make the same change in each one. It will take some experimenting, but hey...if you know how to play around in the registry, it's worth it!
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Colors
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\Colors
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics
Tip: If you still have a Windows 7 computer, you can make the changes all you want. Then export the above keys and import them into the Windows 8/Windows 10 computer.
You will need to restart the computer to see the changes.


'Notifications' trimmed from 8 to 4.

There are always 8 icons at the bottom. You can trim them down to the 4 most used
In the Notifications, click on All Settings/System/Notiications & Actions
On the top 4 icons on the right side, click on them one at a time and make you pick
I use Brightness, WiFi, Battery & Settings
Then click on Collapse to hide the other ones.


Notifications missing.

Suddenly the battery icon, the volume icon and the 'safely remove' icon came up missing. Here's the fix
Open Regedit
Navigate to the following key
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\TrayNotify
click the IconStreams registry entry, then delete it.
click the PastIconsStream registry entry, then delete it.
Close Regedit and restart the computer.


View two Programs at Side by Side.

How many times have you found that you are doing a lot of copying and pasting from one program to another. Actually I'm doing it right now. I am constantly copying between WordPerfect and Outlook Express. One way of working faster is to have any other programs minimized but WordPerfect and Outlook Express.

Click on the first program. Then press the 'windows' key + {left arrow}
Click on the second program and press the 'windows' key + {right arrow}   (or for Windows 10, pick one of the previews that pop up for you to pick from