Many people are frustrated by the new Windows 98 "Active Desktop." For these people, the
default options make it more difficult to get your work done. By default, Windows turns on the
Active Desktop which lets you make your whole computer act like a giant web page. If you like
getting automatic stock updates, having the
channel bar readily available is a good thing. If you
regard "push" content as intrusive and a waste of
time, however, turning off the Active Desktop may make your computing life a lot better.
You can customize your computing environment in other ways as well. You can add
shortcuts to your desktop, set Taskbar options, and
change what programs appear on the Start menu and
how they are organized.
1 Lose the Active Desktop
First, you need to remove the Channel bar. To ditch it, right-click anywhere on
your desktop and choose Active
Desktop|Customize My Desktop from the pop-up menu. In the
Display Properties dialog box that appears, click
the Web tab if you aren’t already on it.
Click Internet Explorer Channel Bar to remove
the check mark. Next click to remove the check mark
from View my Active Desktop as a web page. Click
OK to exit the dialog box.
2 Set Folder Options
Options. In the Folder Options dialog box, choose
Custom, based on the settings you choose
and click the Settings button. In the Custom
Settings dialog box, choose these options: Use
Windows classic desktop;Open each folder in the same
window; Only for folders where I select as web
page; and Double-click to open an item.
3 Change View Options
Click OK and you return to the
Folder Options dialog box. Click the View tab. In
the Advanced settings section, make sure there is
NO check mark next to Hide file extensions.
Make sure a check mark is next to Show file
attributes in Detail view. Under Hidden Files,
be sure that Show all files is selected. Everything else
should NOT have a check mark next to it. Click the
Apply button, then the Reset All
Folders button, and then the Close button.
4 Create Shortcuts
In My Computer or Windows Explorer, you can easily create shortcuts and place them
on your desktop. This way you can simply double-click an icon to launch a program or file. If
you’ve set your folder options to show file extensions
(see step 3), it’s easy to find program files, which
generally end in .EXE. To create a shortcut on the desktop, right-click the filename and choose
Send to Desktop as Shortcut. A shortcut appears
on your desktop.
5 Rename the Shortcut
Often shortcuts appear with a name that is either not very descriptive or is extremely
long. To change it, right-click the icon and choose
Rename. The name is highlighted and the new name you type replaces the old one.
6 Change the Taskbar
You can change how the Taskbar behaves. To set options, right click the Taskbar and
choose Properties. Place check marks next to the
options you want. Always on top means that
the Taskbar will always appear to be on top of any other windows, no matter how many you open
up. Autohide means that the Taskbar disappears
until you point at the bottom of the screen
(many people "lose" the Taskbar by accidentally
setting this option). Show small icons in Start
Menu means that the Start menu no longer has
Windows 98 emblazoned on it. If you add a check
mark next to Show clock, you see a little
digital clock in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.
7 Change the Start Menu
You can change how items appear in your Start menu. Right click the Taskbar,
choose Properties, and click the Start Menu
Programs tab. Click the Add button to add items
or the Remove button to delete them. Click
Advanced if you want to rearrange how the
items appear in the pop-up menu. When the Explorer dialog box appears, you click and drag items
to folders in much the same way you normally work with files and folders.