Windows 9x - Customise your InfoTips and ToolTips

You may have trouble reading the tiny text the tips are written in, or you may want to eliminate some or all of these tips. Here are some ways to boss them around on your system.

Get a new look: if you find the ToolTips too hard to read or if you don't like their font or colour, right-click the Desktop and choose Properties. Then click the Appearance tab, and in the Item drop-down list, select ToolTip. Using the two colour buttons at the right, choose a background colour (top button) and a text colour (bottom button) from the pop-up palettes. You can also use the Font and Size drop-down lists and the Bold and Italic buttons to customise the text's appearance further. Then click Apply. Continue tweaking your choices until you're satisfied, and finish by clicking OK. Though your colour choices apply to both InfoTips and ToolTips, the typographic choices (font, type size, bold, italic) affect only ToolTips (the tips you see with toolbar buttons and icons), not the tips you see for folders.

In addition, your typographic choices affect the text you see in the status bar at the bottom of the Explorer window. If you don't see the status bar, you can choose View-Status Bar to make it visible. In Windows 95, your folder also affects the text at the top of each of the two panes in Explorer. When you change the InfoTips' font and size, you also have to change the font and size of the file names in Explorer and of the labels under all icons in Explorer and on your desktop. If that doesn't bother you, return to the Appearance tab of the Display Properties dialogue box, and select Icon from the Item drop-down list. Then use the Font and Size drop-down lists and Bold and Italic buttons as you like.

(Mini-tip: avoid using bold for icon text. Some Windows dialogue boxes use boldface to indicate a default choice in a list, so making everything bold obscures this information.) Turn off all Info-Tips: if you installed the Desktop Update portion of Internet Explorer 4, or if you're using Windows 98, Windows 98 SE, or Windows 2000, you may have noticed InfoTips popping up for My Computer, Network Neighborhood, and many other icons. You probably don't need Windows to remind you of the purpose of My Computer or the Recycle Bin each time your pointer pauses over them.

You can't turn off the ToolTips for every toolbar button, but you can turn off the tips for desktop icons, folders, and file icons in one fell swoop. And this time, you don't have to edit the Registry. Open any Explorer window, and choose View-Folder Options (Windows 9x) or Tools-Folder Options (Windows 2000). Click the View tab and, in the Advanced settings list, uncheck Show pop-up description for folder and desktop items. Then click toolboxEnhance Explorer with DMEXMenuIf you think Windows Explorer omitted a few useful file management features, you're not alone. Fortunately, you don't have to get a whole new file manager. Instead, try DMEXMenu, an extension that adds power to the right-click menu (or File menu) of Explorer by offering options specific to the selected item. From the DMEX submenu, you can quickly navigate to your favourite folders, launch batch files that send folder listings to a text file or to the printer, copy the current file (with or without its path) to the Clipboard, or open and manage other folder windows.

Best of all, DMEXMenu is free. You can grab DMEXMenu off our cover CD or download it from

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