This program is a much-appreciated addition to Win95. I love the "DOS Prompt Here" option from the right mouse CliCk in the 95 Explorer.

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PowerToys for Windows95: freeware from Microsoft

by Carol Taylor  

Many of you are purchasing new computers with Windows95 pre-loaded or are upgrading existing systems with this new version. "New and improved" are often the three words I fear the most when I see them on a product I already like. However, in the case of Windows95 I must say that I like most of the changes. There are still things I would like to see improved though, or tools I wish I had that don’t seem to be part of the system.

PowerToys for Windows95 have provided me with some of the things I would like to have. They are a set of software tools that were created by programmers at Microsoft expressly for the purpose of making Windows95 work the way they wanted it to work. Microsoft is making these tools available to you without cost through their Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/software/powertoy.htm). You can download the entire set of toys or select only those that satisfy your needs. I chose several tools I thought would be convenient for me. Here’s my (highly personal and opinionated) review of what I got.

Instructions, warnings and disclaimers

A complete set of instructions on how to download and install the PowerToys is included on the Web page. Please note that these tools are not officially supported by Microsoft so that means you can’t get any help on them at the Microsoft Help Center. Likewise, these tools are not supported here at DU—don’t expect anyone on the Help Desk or in the computer labs at DU to assist you with these tools. Except as noted below you should find these tools easy to install and use but support is not available. Most of the tools come with a readme.txt file or a file with the same name as the program but the extension .txt. You can refer to these files, which can be opened in NotePad or WordPad, for more information. (See "Windows Explorer tips and tricks" on page 9 for more information about viewing the file extensions.)

Remember that any software you download might contain a virus so be sure to scan your disk for viruses after downloading and extracting the files. I did not find any virus problems, but I make this a standard practice no matter where my downloads come from.

QuickRes

Most newer computers come with screens and video cards that can be set to one of several different resolutions. Unless you have QuickRes, you will have to restart your system each time you want to make a change in your screen resolution. QuickRes lets you pick a new screen resolution without having to reboot your system.

How to use it: Open the File Explorer, locate the quik_res.exe file and double-click on it to extract the QuickRes files. Then double-click on the QuickRes.exe file. A small computer screen icon is placed on the right end of the task bar near the clock. Click once on the icon to select from a menu of screen resolutions. Double-click on the icon to access the Display Properties dialog box for more extensive control over your display options.

Caveats: Each time you reset the resolution on your monitor your icons will be rearranged, which can be annoying. If you want to have the QuickRes icon appear near the clock each time you start your computer, you must add it to the StartUp menu with the following steps:

Comments: If you do a lot of testing which requires you to look at information in several different resolutions, testing HTML pages for example, you will find this tool very useful. Don’t bother to rearrange your icons until you are finished testing though; it’s a waste of time.

TweakUI

This application installs in your control panel and is designed to give you control over how Windows95 performs a number of tasks. For example, there is a short delay built in to the Windows95 menus. TweakUI lets you make the delay longer or shorter. It also lets you hide icons on the desktop (like that annoying Microsoft Network icon), control mouse sensitivity, and more.

How to install it: Open the File Explorer, locate the tweakui.exe file, then double-click on it to extract the TweakUI files. One of the extracted files is tweakui.inf. Right-click on this file, then select Install from the menu. TweakUI is automatically installed in your control panel and a help screen is displayed. Read the help screen, it contains valuable information about TweakUI, including how to uninstall it if you don’t like it.

Comments: I just love not having the Microsoft Network icon displayed on my desktop anymore! You will have to reboot your computer after making changes with TweakUI. You should use caution changing boot up parameters. Check out the "Tips" button on the main screen for additional information. I think this is a useful tool if you would like to have more control over how your system responds.

CabView

This mysterious little program does not appear to do a thing when you install it. However, once you unlock its secret you may find it quite useful if you are an advanced user who helps others with program installations and troubleshooting. Windows95 programs come in a compressed file format with the file extension ".cab". CabView gives you a tool to look "inside" .cab files to see what files they contain.

How to install it: Use the File Explorer to locate the cabview.exe file you downloaded. Double-click on it to extract the CabView files. Right-click on Cabview.inf, then select Install from the menu.

How to use it: Once CabView is installed you can use the File Explorer to locate any .cab file, then right-click on the file. Select View from the menu to see a list of the files stored in the .cab file. Once you have opened a .cab file for viewing you can extract any file contained in the .cab by clicking on it then selecting File, Extract from the menu.

Comments: This tool will be most useful to advanced users trying to troubleshoot installation and corrupted file problems.

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