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Windows 98 Getting Started Guide

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Chapter 4 - Customizing Your Desktop

Windows 98 provides endless possibilities for integrating your computer with the Internet. Even if you don't have an Internet connection or if you prefer the classic Windows look, you can still take advantage of the Web-like features. For example, now you can browse the World Wide Web or your hard drive from any window by using single-click navigation. Or you can use Web pages as backgrounds on your desktop and in individual windows.

Never before have so many choices for customizing Windows been available. Create your own toolbar, from which you can easily open your favorite applications or to which you can add your favorite links. Perform an Internet search while browsing your hard drive in the same window. Have news topics that interest you delivered automatically. View an electronic television program guide and watch live Internet broadcasts.

Choosing a Desktop Style

Windows 98 provides several ways to view your desktop and browse your files and folders. You can choose between three different views — the Web style, the classic Windows 95 look, or a combination of options. The view you choose determines how you browse in Windows 98, regardless of whether you start from the desktop, My Computer, Windows Explorer, or Internet Explorer.

  • Web style In this view, you can browse the desktop and folders like you browse Web pages, by single-clicking items. In the Web-style view, files, folders, and applications open in a single window, instead of in separate windows. 

  • Classic style This desktop view is similar to the classic Windows 95 desktop. You double-click to open items, and a new window appears for each item you open. 

  • Custom style You can also pick and choose which options you want. Custom settings include options for browsing folders, creating window backgrounds, and selecting and opening items. For example, you can use options from both the Web style and the Classic style so that you double-click to open items and use Web pages as window backgrounds. 

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For more information about changing your desktop style, look up "customizing the desktop" on the Index tab in Windows Help.

Note The procedures in this book describe the double-click method of browsing. Your computer manufacturer may have selected a different desktop style for your copy of Windows 98. If you're using the single-click option, point to an icon to select a file and single-click the icon to open the file.

Working in Web Style

You can work in Web style if you prefer to organize and browse your computer contents using the following Web-like options.

  • Single-click to browse the desktop and folders. 

    You click only once to open an item, just as you click a Web link to jump. Similarly, you simply point to items to select them. 

  • Show Web page backgrounds in individual windows. 

    You can display Web pages, or any HTML page, as background in a window. In Web style, any folder with HTML content is displayed as a Web page, as shown in the following illustration. An HTML page can include artwork, Microsoft Office documents, multimedia, interactive forms, and so on. Some windows — such as My Computer and Control Panel — come with a background that displays a description of each feature when you point to its icon. 

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    For more information about using Web content within a window, see "Displaying Web Content in Individual Windows," later in this chapter. 

To select the Web-style browsing option
  1. On the desktop, double-click My Computer

    The My Computer window appears. 

  2. On the View menu, click Folder Options

    The Folder Options dialog box appears. 

  3. Click the Web style option, and then click OK

    The Single-click dialog box appears. 

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  4. Verify that Yes is selected, and then click OK

Working in Windows 95 Classic Style

The Classic style resembles the Windows 95 desktop. Using this option, you double-click to open items, and each item opens in a separate window.

To select the Classic-style browsing option
  1. On the desktop, double-click My Computer

    The My Computer window appears. 

  2. On the View menu, click Folder Options

    The Folder Options dialog box appears. 

  3. Click Classic style, and then click OK

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Choosing Custom Settings

If you want a combination of the Web style and the classic Windows 95 style, you can customize these settings. For example, you may want to customize your desktop by double-clicking to browse (Classic style) and displaying the Active Desktop (Web style).

To customize browsing options
  1. On the desktop, double-click My Computer

    The My Computer window appears. 

  2. On the View menu, click Folder Options

    The Folder Options dialog box appears. 

  3. Select Custom, based on settings you choose, and then click Settings

    The Custom Settings dialog box appears. 

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  4. Select the options you want, and then click OK

Adding Browsing Tools

No matter what view you're using, you can browse your computer and the Internet more efficiently by using the optional browsing tools. You can add toolbars and Explorer Bars to many windows.

Using Toolbars

You can display one or more customizable toolbars at the top of a window. As you browse, Windows 98 detects the kind of information presented in the window and automatically displays the appropriate toolbar buttons and menus. You can also add the following toolbars to the taskbar.

Toolbar

Use to

Standard Buttons

Display buttons for commonly used commands, such as copying, pasting, and deleting items; changing views; and browsing backward and forward.

Address Bar

Open Web pages, programs, folders, or documents. By default, the Address Bar shows your current location, whether it's a folder or a Web page. You can browse to another location by typing an address — a URL, a path, or even a program name.
If you start typing a previously typed address, the AutoComplete feature finishes the address for you.

Links

Go to featured pages such as the Best of the Web site, or create your own custom links.

Quick Launch

Open Web browsing software, read e-mail, view channels, or instantly bring your desktop to the front. You can easily add a new toolbar button by dragging the program icon to the Quick Launch toolbar.

The following illustration shows the various toolbars you can display.

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To display a toolbar in a window
  1. On the desktop, click My Computer

    The My Computer window appears. 

  2. On the View menu, point to Toolbars, and then click the name of the toolbar you want to display. 

    The toolbar appears below the menu bar. 

To display a toolbar on the taskbar

You can enlarge your taskbar by dragging its inside edge.

  1. Right-click a blank area on the taskbar. 

    A shortcut menu appears. 

  2. Point to Toolbars, and then click the name of the toolbar you want to display. 

    The toolbar appears on the taskbar. 

To open a Web page or file by using the Address Bar

To return to a recently visited site, right-click the Back or Forward button. On the list that appears, click the site you want to view.

  1. On the desktop, click My Computer

    The My Computer window appears. 

  2. On the View menu, point to Toolbars, and then click Address Bar

  3. In the Address Bar, type the Internet address or path, and then press ENTER. 

    -Or- 

  4. Right-click a blank area on the taskbar. 

    A shortcut menu appears. 

  5. Point to Toolbars, and then click Address

  6. In the Address Bar, type the Internet address or path, and then press ENTER. 

Using Explorer Bars

You can use a browsing tool called an Explorer Bar for quick and easy access to search engines and your favorite Web sites. When you display an Explorer Bar, the current window splits into two frames. The left frame is the Explorer Bar — it displays Favorites, search engines, or links such as channels. The right frame displays the contents of the current directory or Web page. When you click a link in the Explorer Bar, the content appears in the right frame. This way, for example, you can browse search results in the right frame while your search engine is still available in the left frame. The following Explorer Bars are available in most windows:

  • Search Presents several popular Internet search engines. You can select a search engine, or you can use the Provider-of-the-day. 

  • Favorites Displays items you've specified as your favorite files, folders, channels, and Web sites. 

  • History Lists previously viewed Web sites and files, grouped by daily and weekly time periods. 

  • Channels Shows the Channel Bar, which contains links to a content provider's Web site. A channel is a special way of receiving Internet content. You can subscribe to specific channels that interest you — the channel provider updates the content and delivers it to you. 

  • All Folders Uses a tree structure to show the hierarchy of available drives and folders. This Explorer Bar is available only in Windows Explorer. 

To display an Explorer Bar
  1. Open the window in which you want to use the Explorer Bar. 

  2. On the View menu, point to Explorer Bar, and then click the name of the Explorer Bar you want to display. 

    The Explorer Bar appears in the left frame of the window. 

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Delivering Web Content to Your Desktop

Through the Internet, you have access to a wealth of information, from up-to-the-minute international news and weather to research results. One of the most exciting capabilities of Windows 98 is its ability to integrate Web content. You can display Web content anywhere in Windows 98, such as on the desktop or in an open folder.

Using the Active Desktop

To create your own Web pages, you can use HTML editing software such as Microsoft FrontPage Express.

By using the Active Desktop feature, you can display any Web page on your desktop without opening your Web browsing software. You can view one or more of your favorite World Wide Web sites, or you can even add Web pages that you create. Using the Active Desktop Gallery on the Microsoft Web site, you can also add live content, such as an MSN™ Investor Ticker and the MSNBC Weather page, to your desktop.

Either way, the Active Desktop makes your workspace far more functional, regardless of which desktop view you're using. On your Active Desktop you can display:

  • Live, updated information, such as weather reports, stock ticker results, sports scores, or server status. 

  • A page on your company intranet

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  • An Office document, with active links. 

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  • A common desktop between computers, even over a network or the Internet. 

  • A Web-based search engine. 

    Cc722911.xgs_d03(en-us,TechNet.10).gif

Windows 98 comes with several items that you can try out on your Active Desktop. For example, if you add the Channel Bar to your Active Desktop, you can quickly access the Web contents provided by your favorite channels.

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For more information about changing your Active Desktop, look up "Active Desktop" on the Index tab in Windows Help.

To show or hide Active Desktop
  1. Right-click a blank area on the desktop. 

    A shortcut menu appears. 

  2. Point to Active Desktop, and then click View As Web Page

    A check mark appears next to your selection if Web content can appear on the desktop. 

Note What you see on your Active Desktop varies depending on how Windows 98 is set up — your computer manufacturer may have provided a unique Active Desktop.

To add an Active Desktop item
  1. Right-click a blank area on the desktop, and then click Properties

    The Display Properties dialog box appears. 

  2. Click the Web tab, and verify that the View my Active Desktop as a web page check box is selected. 

  3. Click New

  4. If you want to add live desktop items, such as a stock ticker or news headlines, click Yes to visit the Microsoft Active Desktop Gallery Web site; otherwise, click No

    The New Active Desktop Item dialog box appears. 

  5. Type the location in the Location box, or click Browse to locate the item, and then click OK

    The item is added to your Active Desktop. 

To refresh Web content on the Active Desktop
  1. Right-click a blank area on the desktop. 

    A shortcut menu appears. 

  2. Point to Active Desktop, and then click Update Now

Displaying Web Content in Individual Windows

Just as you can display a Web page on your desktop, you can also display a Web page in an individual window. If you subscribe to the Web page, it can be automatically updated on a regular basis. For example, using this Web integration feature you can monitor weather, game scores, stock prices, or headlines — all in the window of your choice.

If you select art or a Web page as window background, you need to view that window as a Web page. That is, to display the background, you need to use Web style — or select the As Web Page option on the View menu.

To add a background to a window
  1. Double-click My Computer

    The My Computer window appears. 

  2. Open the folder you want to customize. 

  3. On the View menu, click Customize this Folder, and then follow the instructions in the Customize this Folder wizard. 

To display a folder as a Web page
  1. Double-click My Computer

    The My Computer window appears. 

  2. Open the folder you want to view as a Web page. 

  3. On the View menu, select as Web Page

    A window background appears. 

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Displaying Web Content Automatically

You can automatically receive timely news and information from the World Wide Web. Content from Web pages can be delivered to your desktop through a subscription or a channel.

Subscriptions

A subscription is invaluable if you frequently visit certain Web sites looking for new content. Web site subscriptions work much like magazine subscriptions — you are notified periodically of new content, according to a schedule that you set up. If you want, you can have Windows 98 automatically deliver the new content to your computer. For example, you can schedule the latest financial news to be automatically downloaded every night while you sleep, and it will be ready for you in the morning.

You can subscribe to any Web page that you visit. When you subscribe to a Web page, you'll need to decide if you want the new Web pages automatically downloaded to your computer. You can save connection time and expense by having your subscriptions downloaded so that you can read them offline later at your leisure. Or if you don't want the information downloaded to your computer, you can be notified in the following ways when new content is available:

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  • Smart Favorites Your subscription is automatically checked for updates — the icon changes if the page is updated. You can view the icons for your subscriptions in the Subscriptions folder. 

  • E-mail notification A copy of updated Web pages with live links to the World Wide Web can be automatically sent to you by e-mail

To subscribe to a Web site
  1. In the My Computer window, go to the Web page to which you want to subscribe. 

  2. On the Favorites menu, click Add to Favorites

    The Add Favorite dialog box appears. 

  3. Select Yes, but only tell me when this page is updated or Yes, notify me of updates and download the page for offline viewing

  4. Click Customize to see subscription options. 

    The Subscription wizard starts. 

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  5. Follow the instructions in the Subscription wizard. 

To update subscriptions to all Web sites
  1. Double-click My Computer

    The My Computer window appears. 

  2. On the Favorites menu, click Update All Subscriptions

To view your subscriptions
  1. Double-click My Computer

    The My Computer window appears. 

  2. On the Favorites menu, click Manage Subscriptions

    The Subscriptions window starts, with a list of your subscriptions. In this window, you can delete, update, or modify your subscriptions. 

Channels

If subscriptions work like magazine subscriptions, then channels are similar to TV channels. Instead of receiving periodic updates of Web sites, your computer has access to content that's always available. A channel is a Web site that's designed to deliver content to you — the content provider specifies what Web content is delivered and how often.

To view the content in a channel, you can click one of the channel buttons on the Channel Bar. The Channel Bar displays all channels installed on your computer. You don't have to subscribe to a channel to view it, but you'll add the channel button to the Channel Bar if you do subscribe, making the content readily available. Some content providers allow you to preview their entire Web site without a subscription, while other sites require that you first subscribe. You can view channels in many places — on the desktop, in windows, and even in a special screen saver.

To view channels
  1. In the My Computer window, on the Favorites menu, point to Channels

    A list of available channels appears. 

  2. Point to a channel, and then click a topic. 

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To add the Channel Bar to your desktop
  1. Right-click a blank area on the desktop, and then click Properties

    The Display Properties dialog box appears. 

  2. Click the Web tab. 

  3. Select the View my Active Desktop as a web page check box. 

    A check mark indicates that the check box is selected. 

  4. Select the Internet Explorer Channel Bar check box. 

  5. Click OK

    The Channel Bar is added to your desktop. 

To view the Channel Bar in a window
  • In any Internet Explorer window, click the Channels button. 

    You can also click the View Channels button on the taskbar. 

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Reading Web Content Offline

You can cut down on your Internet connection time by reading Web content offline. At any time, you can save a copy of the current Web page for later reading — even after you're no longer connected to the Internet. If you're browsing Web pages while offline, the mouse pointer indicates that links are not available.

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To browse a Web page offline
  1. Go to the Web page you want to read offline. 

  2. On the File menu, click Work Offline

    A check mark appears next to your selection, indicating that you're disconnected from the Internet, and the current Web page is stored on your computer. Repeat these steps to reconnect to the Internet and browse online. 

Watching TV on Your Computer

Windows 98 supports cable or broadcast TV. From your desktop, you can watch your favorite TV shows, search through program schedules, and be reminded when your favorite shows are on. You don't have to have an Internet connection to use WebTV for Windows, but your computer has to have a compatible TV tuner card. Using WebTV for Windows, you can view the online Program Guide, which offers TV channel listings, previews, interactive features, TV schedule searching, and one-click VCR programming.

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WebTV for Windows is an optional feature, so you may first have to install it.

To install WebTV for Windows

  1. Click the Start button, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel

  2. Double-click Add/Remove Programs

  3. Click the Windows Setup tab. 

  4. Select WebTV for Windows, and then click OK

  5. Follow the instructions that appear on your screen. 

To start WebTV for Windows

  • Click the Start button, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to Entertainment, and then click WebTV for Windows

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For more information about using WebTV for Windows, start WebTV for Windows and press F1.

Personalizing Your Desktop Display

In addition to customizing your computer by using the TV and Web-like options, you can personalize your desktop with pictures, patterns, and colors by using the Display control panel. You can display pictures, patterns, or even scanned photographs as your wallpaper, the background of your desktop. Using the different tabs in the Display Properties dialog box, you can also change items such as the icons on your desktop, the colors of individual windows, and the size of the objects on your screen. You can even add items to your Active Desktop or set up a screen saver.

To open the Display control panel

  1. Click the Start button, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel

    The Control Panel window appears. 

  2. Double-click Display

    The Display Properties dialog box appears. To set wallpaper, select an image or click the Browse button. Click the other tabs in the dialog box to set up a screen saver, change the desktop and window colors, add Active Desktop items, change your screen resolution, and so on. 

    To see a description of any item in the dialog box, click the question mark button, then click the item. 

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Customizing the Desktop for Multiple Users

You can set up different desktop configurations, or profiles, if more than one person uses the same computer. Each person logs on to Windows and sees his or her own customized settings, including desktop settings, programs, Start menu, and Favorites. Because each user has a unique profile of settings, if one person makes changes, it doesn't affect another user's profile. Before you can use profiles, you must first set up a unique user name and password for each user.

To set up a user profile

  1. Click the Start button, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel

    The Control Panel window appears. 

  2. Double-click Users

    The Enable Multi-User Settings wizard starts. 

  3. Follow the instructions in the wizard. 

    Repeat this process for each user's personalized settings. 

Customizing the Start Menu and the Taskbar

You can rearrange items on the Start menu by dragging items to another location on the Start menu.

You can customize the Start menu to help you work more efficiently. You can add folders or files that you open frequently, so that you can open them quickly from the Start menu at any time. Or you can create your own groups of files and programs. You can also add items to or remove them from the Start menu. For example, you can reduce the size of the Start menu by removing a program that you no longer use.

If you remove an item from the Start menu, you're not uninstalling the program or removing it from your computer. For more information, see "Adding and Removing Programs" in Chapter 3, "Using Your Desktop."

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To customize the Start menu

  1. Click the Start button, point to Settings, and then click Taskbar & Start Menu

    The Taskbar Properties dialog box appears. 

  2. Click the Start Menu Programs tab. 

  3. Click Add or Remove, and then follow the instructions that appear on the screen. 

To set the date and time, double-click the clock on the right end of the taskbar.

You can also customize the taskbar to suit your needs. The taskbar is located at the bottom of the desktop by default, but you can drag it to any side of the desktop. You can also hide the taskbar until you want to use it, or you can always display the taskbar on top of other windows.

To customize the taskbar

  1. Click the Start button, point to Settings, and then click Taskbar & Start Menu

    The Taskbar Properties dialog box appears. 

  2. Select the taskbar options you want. 

To move the taskbar

  • Drag the taskbar to any edge of the desktop. 

For information about adding toolbars to your taskbar, see "Using Toolbars," earlier in this chapter.

Using Multiple Monitors

With Windows 98, you can connect up to nine monitors to your computer. You can set up these monitors like one large desktop, or you can set them up to show a different program on each monitor. For example, you could have a financial report open in Word on one monitor, have a quarterly budget spreadsheet open in Microsoft Excel on another monitor, and refer to the budget while you write the report.

To set up multiple monitors, you must have a PCI graphics adapter for each monitor you want to connect to your computer. The multiple monitor feature supports only PCI graphics adapters at this time.

With your computer off, install the PCI graphics adapters in your computer, connect a monitor to each, and turn on your computer. Windows 98 detects the multiple graphics adapters and prompts you through their setup.

Note If you're unsure how to install a PCI graphics adapter, or if your warranty will be voided by installing your own hardware, you should contact an authorized service center to install it for you.

You can change the settings for each monitor in the Settings tab of the Display control panel. Your primary monitor will be the one connected to the graphics adapter in the first open PCI slot.

Note You don't need to install Windows 98 before you install the multiple graphics adapters. Windows 98 will detect them during the initial setup. However, if you have a graphics adapter built into your motherboard, you must install Windows 98 first, and then any additional graphics adapters. If you don't, Windows 98 might not detect the graphics adapter on your motherboard.

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For more information about multiple monitors, look up "multiple display support" on the Index tab in Windows Help.

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