If you place the mouse pointer over the small double monitor icon in the System Tray when you are on-line you will see a summary of bytes sent and received and modem connection speed. Click on the icon and the Disconnect dialogue box appears, with the same information displayed. However, unless the modem has been properly configured the connection speed may appear impossibly high, at 115,200 bits/sec. This is the speed at which the PC is communicating with the modem, rather than the speed of data flowing down the telephone line. To remedy that you need to program your modem with an ‘AT’ command (see Jargon Filter). Open Control Panel, double click on the Modem icon, make sure your modem is highlighted on the General tab, select Properties, then the Connection tab and click the Advanced Button. In Extra Settings type ‘W2’ (for modems with Rockwell chipsets), ‘AT&F1’ (3COM and USR models) or ‘MR=2’ (later Rockwell models and PCI cards). If you still see 115,200 bits/sec consult your modem’s manual or visit the manufacturer's web site and look for the Report DCE speed (Data Communication Equipment) command line.  



Save several seconds a week by increasing your PCs dialling speed (it may not work on some modems but it's worth trying). Go to Control Panel click on the Modem icon, then Properties, select the Connection tab and click on Advanced. In the Extra Settings field enter S11=50 (no spaces) then click OK. (You can have multiple AT commands in Extra Settings – see previous tip -- just make sure they’re separated by a space). S11determines the duration of each tone pulse, in milliseconds, the second number specifies the gap between each tone, thus reducing the number to 45 say, makes it dial even faster, increasing the number slows it down. If the connection fails or becomes unreliable simply clear the Extra Settings field to return to the default values.



There's an easy way to speed up page access on the Internet, by just loading text. Instead of all the pictures, graphics, advertising banners and sounds you will see icons. If you want to see or hear an item just right-click on the icon and you will get the option to load it. In Internet Explorer 5 the procedure is Tools > Internet Options > Advanced tab, scroll down to Multimedia and uncheck the Show Picture box. (Internet Options is on the View menu in IE4) Netscape Navigator has a similar facility called Auto Load Images; you’ll find it listed under Options or Preferences, depending on the version.



There are probably at least one or two Internet web sites that you visit frequently -- search engines or a particular home page etc. Rather than waste time opening your browser, manually selecting the address from the Favourites list and making the connection, just create a simple keyboard shortcut, it's easy! Pressing the keys will take you straight to your chosen web site from within any application.

On the Start menu click Favourites, right-click the site you are interested in then select Properties and the Internet Shortcut tab. In the Shortcut Key box you will see 'None', click in a cursor and type a single letter -- choose one that relates to the site and you can easily remember, such as 'Y' for Yahoo, etc. -- the field will now display the assigned shortcut, i.e. 'Ctrl + Alt + Y'. Click OK and try it out. Internet Explorer opens automatically and takes you straight to the web site. (If IE is not your chosen browser you will have to open it and manually add the web site address to the Favourites list).

On Internet Explorer 4 and 5 you can open a second smaller browser window by holding down the shift button before clicking on a link. Here are some more IE4/5 keyboard shortcuts worth remembering. Ctrl + D adds the current web page to your Favourite list. Ctrl + H opens the History folder, Ctrl + N opens a new browser window, Ctrl + W closes the active browser window and Ctrl + R reloads the page you are viewing.



If you compose your E-mails using MS Word (97 or 2000), or write articles then copy and paste the document into Outlook Express you might like to know there's an easier way. Go to the File menu on Word, select Send To then Mail Recipient. This will open the Outlook E-mail window, with your document already attached, all you have to do is select the address and click Send. You may have to make a couple of adjustments to Outlook Express first, however. On the Tools menu choose Options and on the General tab ensure 'Make Outlook Express my default e-mail program' is checked, then put a tick next to 'Make Outlook Express My Default Simple MAPI Client'. (MAPI stands for messaging application programming interface). Restart the PC and it's done.



When you delete mail messages in Outlook Express they are sent to the program's own Recycle Bin, and there they will stay until you get around to emptying it. In other words deleting a message doesn't free up any hard disc space, nor does it prevent others from reading your discarded mail as messages can be recovered at any time. If you are sure that you really want to get rid of deleted messages once and for all then you should instruct Outlook Express to automatically empty the bin every time you exit the program. Click on the Tools menu, select Options and the General tab and put a tick in the checkbox next to: 'Empty messages from the deleted items folder on exit'.



If you want to keep your messages get into the habit of regularly 'compacting' the files in your Inbox, this can also make them small enough to backup to a floppy disc. Click and highlight the selected Inbox or Outbox folder icon then go to the File menu, select Folder and Compact Folder. If you want to backup your email you will find it in C:/program files/Outlook Express/Default User. Inbox and Outbox files come in pairs with '.idx' (index) and '.mbx' (mailbox) extensions, and must be copied or saved together.



Here's a way to turn your Internet Explorer/Outlook Express email Address Book into a text file that can be read by a word processor, or imported into other email programs. Open Address Book and on the File menu select Export, then Address Book. In the dialogue box that appears select 'Text File (comma separated values)' and click the Export button. Type in the path (where you want the file to be stored) and give the file a name, for example: C:\my documents\adbook.txt. Select Next, check the items you wish to export and click Finish. 

Next week – Top Word Tips




ATtention – the prefix to a modem command, to tell the modem to expect an instruction


A simply remembered two or three key sequence to carry out a frequently used command or instruction


Peripheral Component Interconnect – high-speed connector and control system, used on most recent PCs, also used for internal modems, sound and video, adaptor cards etc.

Search PCTopTips 



Boot Camp Index















Top Tips Index

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Internet & Email

Microsoft Word

Folders & Files

Desktop Mouse & Keyboard

Crash Bang Wallop!

Privacy & Security

Imaging Scanning & Printing

Power, Safety & Comfort

Tools & Utilities

Sound Advice

Display & screen

Fun & Games

Windows 95/98/SE/ME






 Copyright 2006-2009 PCTOPTIPS UK.

All information on this web site is provided as-is without warranty of any kind. Neither PCTOPTIPS nor its employees nor contributors are responsible for any loss, injury, or damage, direct or consequential, resulting from your choosing to use any of the information contained herein.