My favorite Windows annoyance busters

I get lots of e-mail asking if I have a smart fix for a dumb computing hassle. Boy, do I--times six. Here are my freebie favorites.

Diagnose faulty RAM

The hassle: My PC crashes abruptly, up to a dozen times a week. I've tried every troubleshooting trick I can think of. Any ideas?

The fix: Your PC's memory modules might be failing. Check them with Microsoft's Windows Memory Diagnostic tool. Burn the program onto a CD (Burnatonce is quick and easy) and then boot from the CD.

Fix right-click messes

The hassle: The context menu that appears when I right-click a file in Explorer or on the desktop is full of items I never use.

The fix: Why don't you give FileMenu Tools a try? The program lets you customize the context menu By removing unused commands that other programs have added; ditto for entries on the 'Send-to' submenu.

Open apps in a jiffy

The hassle: My Start menu is jammed with shortcuts I don't need, and I can never remember where the ones that I do use are hiding. I spend more time shortcut-hunting than working.

The fix: Quick, get a copy of Josh Karlin's Launchy, a clever little keyboard-shortcut maker. Press - to open Launchy (you can change it to another combination if you like), tap the first few letters of the program you want to open, press , and Launchy will launch it (see the screen shot above). If you use several files In a specific folder--say, Adobe PDFs or Word docs--just add them to the list of folders that you want Launchy to monitor.

The tool has more cool tricks. For example, you can send a search request to Google, MSN, or Yahoo. To search Google, type google, press , type your search query, and press . Launchy displays the search results in your browser. This trick also works with Amazon, Netflix, Wikipedia, and the IMDB movie database. You can even add your music folder to Launchy for quick access to your favorite songs.

To open a Control Panel applet, type the first few letters of its name--mouse, sound, or add-remove, for instance. For fast access to a Command box, add cmd To Launchy's Runny plug-in. The Weby plug-in automatically loads Firefox bookmarks and keywords.

File-name case fixer

The hassle: It's a small issue, but it bothers me: The files I import from my camera are all uppercase. I want them all lowercase.

The fix: Recase to the rescue. Highlight one or all of the files--whether upper-, lower-, or mixed case--and Recase will change them to the case that's just right for you.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Steve Bass

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?