Start Menu Settings
The first new feature that is evident in Windows Me is the Windows 2000-esque task manager settings. They allow far more customising than Windows 98 and can be accessed simply by right-clicking the Taskbar and clicking Properties. From the general tab you should see the usual features - such as "Auto hide" and "Show clock" - but there is also an option to "Use personalized menus". As in Windows 2000, if this option is enabled it will keep your menus "clean" by not displaying unpopular items. So, if you haven't used your word processor for eons, but have used Solitaire daily, expect your word processor to be hidden and your Games folder to be in full view on your Programs menu. To disable this somewhat annoying feature, just remove the check mark from the item box.
Over on the Advanced tab is where the real fun is, though. From here you can customise the items that appear on your Start menu, as well as customise the way they appear. For example, you can expand menu items such as the Control Panel so you can have easy access to all the applets instantaneously, and you can omit altogether items such as the Favorites folder from the Start menu.
One of the main selling points of Windows Me has been its much improved Internet experience. Not so, according to some of our readers who have had headaches finding driver support for their modems and suffered slow connection speeds once they do connect. According to Microsoft's Web site, dwindled connect speeds after you have upgraded to Me can be fixed by the following procedure: go to the Control Panel, double-click Modems and select Properties. From the Connection tab, click Advanced and type S95=0 in the Extra Settings box. Click OK and then Close.
One slight improvement is evident, though, when you launch Dial-up Networking connections. In the ensuing "Connect To" box you can select which account you want to dial into, via a drop-down box. This is especially handy for people who share systems with multiple ISP accounts or for frequent travellers who use multiple POP accounts for different dial-up locations. This feature can also save you the need to create extra shortcuts on your desktop - therefore keeping it cleaner.
For file management, Windows Me again borrows from cousin 2000. In the Windows Explorer View menu there is a new view called "Thumbnails" which will display all your files as little images. It is especially handy for finding rogue photographs quickly. Also of note are the modifications that can be made to the amount of file information displayed in "Details" view. Simply right-click any of the headings to bring forth more options, such as Attributes, Author, or even Frame rate if it's a video file. For more information on this feature check out the Windows 2000 article on page 122 in our October 2000 issue.
While we're on "the subject of file management, click-ing and dragging files and icons to different locations can sometimes be a tricky business if a lot of windows are involved in the process. It can be "even trickier if your mouse is uncom-fortable or has a will of its own. Fortunately, you don't have to keep a button pressed and drag at the same time if you don't want to, because Windows Me will do it for you. Go to the Control panel and open the Mouse applet. From the Buttons tab place a check mark next to the "Turn on ClickLock" box. Now, all you will have to do to drag an item is select it, single-click on it for a predetermined time, let go of the button and move the mouse. You can set this pre-determined time for your click by clicking on "Settings".
Although these features may seem insignificant, there is no doubt that if used correctly and efficiently they will aid you in keeping your system neat and you productive.