Create a Start-Up Floppy for Windows 2000 and XPBe prepared in case your Windows 2000 or XP machine won't boot.
Windows XP lacks the start-up disk feature of earlier Windows versions. How do I create a bootable floppy I can use if XP fails to boot?
Brian Kramp, Provo, Utah
Windows 9 x and Me let you create a floppy disk you can use to start your system in case anything goes wrong with your hard drive. The start-up disk boots your PC into MS-DOS and contains various diagnostic and repair tools.
Windows 2000 and XP take a different approach to booting in PC emergencies than 9 x and Me do. Some of their solutions don't even require a floppy. For instance, if Windows 2000 or XP hangs while loading, simply reboot and press F8 as your PC begins to reload the operating system to see a menu of boot options (you may have to press F8 twice to get the full menu). Your best option for restoring your PC is probably to select Last Known Good Configuration. If this choice doesn't work, try selecting Safe Mode. Keep in mind that your mouse won't work on this menu; you must use your keyboard's arrow keys.
Such nonfloppy restoration methods rely on Windows itself, however. If Windows won't even start to boot, you'll need a boot disk. Here's how to make one:
Start with a blank, formatted floppy disk. It may seem counterintuitive, but this disk shouldn't be bootable. If you need to format a floppy, simply insert the disk into its drive, double-click My Computer, right-click the floppy drive icon, select Format, and then click Start.
Next, open your C: drive in Windows Explorer. If Explorer displays a warning, click Show the contents of this folder. To display the particular files you need, select Tools, Folder Options, then click the View tab. Make sure Show hidden files and folders is selected, and uncheck Hide protected operating system files (Recommended). At the warning, click Yes, then OK.
Copy the files boot.ini, ntdetect.com, and ntldr to your floppy. Remove the disk, open the write-protect switch in its bottom-left corner, and label the floppy "Boot Disk." Return to the Folder Options dialog box and recheck Hide protected operating system files and folders (Recommended).
Place this floppy in the drive and reboot your system. Your PC will bypass the basic boot files on your hard drive, but it will otherwise load Windows normally.
Add to the 'Send To' Menu
Is there a way I can add programs to the Send To list that I get when I right-click a file?
Daniel Wissinger, Ruffsdale, Pennsylvania
The Send To menu is simply a folder. Put a shortcut in the folder, and it will be on the menu. You can right-drag a file or folder to the Send To folder and select Create Shortcut(s) Here to put a shortcut to that item on the menu, too (see FIGURE 1).
So where is the Send To folder? In Windows 9 x and Me, the folder path is C:\Windows\SendTo. In Windows 2000 and XP, the path is C:\Documents and Settings\ username\SendTo, where username is your user name for the computer.
In Windows 2000, Me, and XP, Send To is a hidden folder. To view hidden folders, open Windows Explorer, select Tools, Folder Options, click the View tab, select Show hidden files and folders, and click OK.
Close All Programs With One Click
How can I easily close all Windows programs before installing a new application or running ScanDisk?
Ted Earley, Goleta, California
We're often told to close all open programs before performing some action--installing a new program or defragmenting a hard drive, for example.
But which programs do you need to close? Some experts say you have to close only the applications that run in their own windows and that minimize to the main section of the taskbar. Others recommend that you close everything except Windows' bare bones, including antivirus software, firewalls, and other programs that run in the background. I close just the applications, and it has never caused a problem.
The easiest way to close all programs is with BK-Soft's Kill Win freeware or its $15 shareware cousin, Kill Win Pro (both are available at PCWorld.com's Downloads).
To create a shortcut that will close only your applications, right-click the Kill Win icon in your Start menu and select Copy. Then right-click the desktop and select Paste. Right-click the new icon on your desktop and select Properties. Choose the Shortcut tab; in the Target field, add a space and then /w to the end of the existing text, so that it reads something like 'C:\KillWin\KillWin.exe /w'. Click OK, then right-click the icon to rename the file Close applications. If you wish, you can drag the icon back to the Start menu.
Kill Win has an option to close everything, but it's not very good. It just reloads Windows, skipping your autolaunching programs; it doesn't work at all in XP. If you want to use it, follow the instructions above for creating a close-all-apps icon, but instead of adding '/w', add /p. Name the shortcut Close everything.
Archive an OE Mailbox
Outlook Express stores each e-mail folder as a.dbx file. If I archive one of these files to a floppy, then delete the folder, how do I restore it?
Peter R. Law, Monroe, New York
Outlook Express keeps saved e-mail in.dbx files in a location called Store Folder. To find your Store Folder, open OE, select Tools, Options, click the Maintenance tab, then the Store Folder button. (The word folder gets a little confusing here, since an Outlook Express "folder" is a Windows file that resides in a Windows "folder.")
To archive an Outlook Express folder, go to your Store Folder and move the.dbx file to a floppy, CD-R, or other removable medium. Then delete the folder in Outlook Express if you no longer want it.
To restore your saved e-mail, open Outlook Express and select File, New, Folder. Give the new folder the same name as the one you're restoring (it's the archived file's name, minus the.dbx extension), and press Enter. Click the new, empty folder and close Outlook Express. Now copy the archived.dbx file to your Store Folder. If you named the new folder properly, Windows will ask you to confirm that you want to replace the file; click Yes.
The next time you reenter Outlook Express, your saved e-mail file will be there.
Migrate Outlook to a New Computer
In January, you told us how to transfer Outlook Express settings ("Move Outlook Express Settings to a New PC"), but what about Microsoft Outlook settings?
James Hoffer, Smithsburg, Maryland
Migrating Outlook is easier than migrating Outlook Express. You need to export only accounts, rules, and folders. Accounts identify you on the Internet, and rules determine how you filter incoming e-mail, among other vital functions. Important Outlook data--such as your address book, your saved e-mail messages, and any calendar appointments--are in folders.
To migrate accounts, open Outlook on the old PC, select Tools, Accounts, choose your mail account, and then click Export. Save the file to a shared folder or to a removable medium, and then click Close.
To export your rules, select Tools, Rules Wizard, click the Options button, then Export Rules. Again, save this file to a shared folder or removable medium.
To export folders, select File, Import and Export on the old machine, and on the first page of the Import and Export Wizard, select Export to a file (see FIGURE 2). On the next page, select Personal Folder File (.pst). On the page after that, select Personal Folders, check Include subfolders, and click Next. Save the file to a shared folder or a removable medium as well.
When you move these three files to the new computer, repeat the above steps in Outlook on that machine, choosing to import rather than to export. If you get the Startup Wizard when you start Outlook on the new PC, click Cancel, then Yes.
The obvious way to import your accounts is to select Tools, Accounts, click the Import button, and import the file from the old computer. If you're using Office 2000, this will work. Unfortunately, you can't directly import an account in Office XP's Outlook 2002. To do so indirectly, launch Outlook Express and select Tools, Accounts. Click the Import button and import the account file that you copied from the old computer to your shared folder or removable medium. Click Close, then close Outlook Express. Back in Outlook, select File, Import and Export; then choose Import Internet Mail Account Settings and follow the prompts.
To import your rules, select Tools, Rules Wizard, click the Options button, then the Import Rules button. Now simply import the file from the old computer.
Importing folders works as it should in both Outlook versions. Select File, Import and Export. Choose Import from another program or file, then Next. Click Personal Folder File (.pst) and Next again. Import the folders file you copied from the old computer to a shared folder or a removable medium. If some of your old folders don't appear on the Outlook Bar, select View, Folder List and drag them to it.
Time-Stamping in Excel
It's easy to date or time-stamp a Microsoft Excel worksheet. To insert the date, press Ctrl-;. For the time, press Ctrl-Shift-;. To stamp the time and date, press Ctrl-;, the spacebar, and then Ctrl-Shift-;. To turn these keystrokes into a macro, select Tools, Macro, Record New Macro, give the macro a name, assign it a shortcut key combination, and press OK. Insert the date and time as described above, and then press the recorder bar's stop icon. To add dates and times that update automatically, append the =today() and =now() functions to your macro.