Folders, Files & Backup



Black To Back

There’s no shortage of decent backup programs. Some of them are free, like the utility we are looking at here, called Hitek JaBlack, but this one has a few interesting extras. In addition to standard stuff, like saving and synchronising nominated files and folders to selected locations and external drives, it also has the facility upload, via FTP or even email, to remote locations. There’s also automated compression using standard Zip format of backed up files, it has powerful scheduling features, email notification of alerts, like task failure. A local file monitor automates backups when folder contents have changed and there’s also a version for Mac OS. It is reasonably straightforward to use and there’s some useful support, demo and tutorial material on the Hitek website. If you are not already backing up your irreplaceable files, you are playing with fire, and with this little freeware program there’s no longer any excuse to put it off any longer.



Exploring New Possibilities

Windows Explorer has been around forever and is the way most of us look inside our computers, to find, see or open the files and folders stored on our hard drive. It does the job, albeit in a fairly clanky way, so if you are the sort of PC users that often has two or three Explorer windows open at the same time then your life could be a lot easier with a this free Windows Explorer alternative, called Q-Dir. By default it opens in a convenient 4-pane view but there are numerous alternatives, one of which will be bound to suit your way of working. Each Q-Dir window is a separate entity, but like open Explorer windows, you can drag, drop, copy paste and move files around, from window to window, with the greatest of ease. There are all of the usual view icons, from small to large thumbnails, and there’s a few useful extras, including a great many customisation options, zoom, the facility set up shortcuts to frequently used utilities, and more besides. It can be installed or used as a portable application and there’s a very good chance that once you have used it, you won’t want to go back…



Backup Freebie

There should be no need by now to remind every PC user that it is vital that they backup all of their irreplaceable files. Yet many still do not, putting their faith in the reliability and longevity of hard drives and solid-state memory chips. Big mistake! One day, and it happens to everyone, the hardware will let you down, and if you haven’t backed up those files, they are effectively lost forever. So what’s stopping those misguided users? Who knows, but if it’s something as trivial as cost, or the time needed to set something up, then here’s a quick and easy way to back up 5GB of your irreplaceable data, that won’t cost you a penny. Your backed up files can be automatically updated every time they are changed, and you can retrieve them at any time, on any PC, through a browser. Is there a catch? Not really, the only thing to watch out for is the 5GB limit, and if that’s a problem, you can buy more space; another 200GB will set you back £42.99. So what is this miracle offer? It comes from Avira, an antivirus company that we’ve spoken of before. It’s called Avira Secure Backup, and you can take it as read that that your files will be well protected whilst in transit, and once safely stored on the company servers. It’s not a complete backup solution but if you have a few gigs of data that you absolutely cannot afford to lose then a few minutes spent downloading the desktop manager program could one day save you a whole lot of headaches and heartache.



Easy Peasy Folder Printing

Here’s one of those quick and simple tips that’s worth filing away, because one day you will need it. First the problem. The Windows filing system, accessed through Windows Explorer is generally okay and does pretty well everything you want, but it has one serious limitation, and that is there is no obvious way of printing out a list of files stored in a folder, So, for example, you want to print out a list of tunes, or photos in a folder, there’s just no easy way to do it. Of course there are programs that can do the job, and we’ve discussed them in the past, but here is a way using software that may already be on your PC, namely the Mozilla Firefox or Chrome browsers. Here’s what you do. Just open Windows Explorer on your desktop – it helps to open it in a minimized view, so you can see the other icons on your desktop -- navigate to the folder containing the files that you want to print out as a list, now drag and drop the folder icon onto the Firefox or Chrome icon and hey presto, it opens displaying the file list and all you have to do is go to Print on the browsers File men and away you go!




USB Tell Tale

Many company computers, those used in schools and colleges or for public use have their USB ports disabled. It’s normally for a good reason, some people just can’t be trusted and USB is the preferred route in for viruses and malware, and usually the quickest way to extract information, so everyone has to suffer for the actions of a few. Clearly this is a big problem for honest users. It doesn’t help productivity and a lot of PC owners and operators would prefer to allow greater freedom of access, so maybe a little freeware application, called USB History Viewer can help. It identifies all of the devices that have ever been connected to a PC’s or networked computer’s USB sockets, along with a date and time stamp of when it was last in use, and whether or not it is currently connected. It may not provide protection against infections and data theft, but at least it should be able to tell who was responsible, and when it happened.



Sticky Security Wiper

It’s bad enough when ordinary programs on your PC won’t go away but some security applications can be particularly difficult to uninstall. Of course it’s mostly self-defence and a lot of malware programs try to delete or disable anti-virus programs and malware cleaners etc., so they are deliberately made more difficult to remove. But that’s no consolation when you want to get rid of one, maybe because it’s causing conflicts, or you want to switch to another program. Either way there is a solution in the shape of AppRemover, a freeware utility that’s designed specifically to remove security applications, failed uninstalls and the files left behind by these programs.



Hunter Killer For Stubborn Files

If you have ever been confronted with a file that you just can’t get rid of you’ll know just how frustrating it can be. The usual excuses are that Windows says it’s locked or in use by another program, but even if you know it isn’t, you still can’t remove it. There are ways and means of zapping stubborn files If you know your way around Command Line instructions but here’s a much simpler method, a small freeware utility called LockHunter. It shows you what’s stopping you delete a file and lets you unlock it, so you can delete or rename it without further hindrance. The file goes to the Recycle Bin, just in case you change your mind.



Nero Free For All

Back in the days when recordable CDs were still a bit of a novelty there were only a couple of applications on the market that could actually make recordings, and one of them was Nero Burning, and it is still regarded as one of the best CD/DVD utilities you can get. Now here’s the good news, you can get it for free, that’s right, Nero 9 Essentials Free version is all yours for the cost of a download. There are no catches unless you count the pre-checked facility to install an annoying toolbar – so read before you click – and the nags to upgrade to the paid for version. Otherwise it’s good to go with a decent set of basic but efficient CD and DVD burning and copying facilities



Display Your Disks

For most Windows PC users the only insight into what they have on what’s stored on their hard drive is clunky old Windows Explorer. True, it tells you how much space a file or folder occupies, but what you really need is the big picture, a way of telling, at a glance, which files are taking up the space, and how much you have left. I’ve recommended a number of graphical disc usage utilities over the years but this one, called OverDIsk is arguably the best looking. Key features include a good assortment of disc and file statistics as you hover your mouse, you can drill down into any folder and sub-folder by clicking on it and the window is magically resizable It’s still in beta form and the author admits there’s a couple of bugs that needs sorting but they appear to be a very low level and it performed flawlessly on my test PCs but as usual, you download and this program entirely at your own risk



Inspect Your Videos

If you are like most PC users your computer is probably choc-full of video files. How most of them got there is anyone’s guess, they seem to breed and just about everything these days, from mobile phones to digital cameras can create them, not to mention the Internet. The question is, what do you know about the video files stored on your PC? Probably not much, but with this handy little tool, called Video Inspector you can delve into your video file’s innermost secrets. Find out what sort of file it is, resolution, frame rate, quality, which codecs it relies on, and whether or not you have them (and if you don’t it will help you get them). It can even perform simple diagnostics, telling you why it won’t play properly, or why there is no sound. Face it, you need to know what’s on your computer…



New Trick for Old Files

Here’s a useful, and I fear, potentially quite dangerous little utility that can be set to automatically delete files in specified folders that are older than a specified date. The idea is Auto Delete can zap space hungry temp files, old emails and photographs and so on when they are a certain number of days old. It could also be a useful security tool, deleting sensitive data that has passed its use-by date, scans of old bank statements, redundant backups etc. However make sure you use it carefully. Don’t forget it either, if you leave it to wipe files willy-nilly you might accidentally lose important files that you wanted to keep; I get more pleas for help on how to recover accidentally deleted files than almost any other…



Conquer Copious Copies

I don’t know about you but it’s been a while since I worried about running out of hard disc space, but I do dislike waste, and try to avoid having too many duplicate files cluttering up my drives. I was therefore staggered to find that I had hundreds of copies of pictures that I don’t remember creating, taking up several hundred megabytes of space. This revelation was provided by a freeware program called Vispics. It’s really clever because it uses no less than five comparison filters and lets you choose the degree of similarity between images, before they are deemed to be duplicates. It also makes it absurdly easy to pick the ones you want to zap and you don’t have to wait for it to finish scanning before you can start using it. The download is under 2Mb a tiny fraction of the space it could save for you.



Precision Defrag?

Hard drives become disorganised over time. That much is not in dispute but the extent to which this affects performance has greatly diminished since the introduction of the NTFS filing system in Windows. Nevertheless, it can’t hurt and a thorough defrag once or twice a year should help to keep things running smoothly. However, the utility supplied in Windows is fairly basic, so here’s something else to try. It’s called Defraggler, and it comes from the same company that bought us the excellent Crap Cleaner and Recuva, so it’s off to a good start. What makes it different is the facility to defrag individual files. This could be handy if, for example, most of the changes to your computer are confined to just a few files and folders, and you’ve noticed a slowdown in the programs that access those files. Basically it saves you having to do a full disc defrag and the job can be completed in just a few seconds.  



Backup to Basics

Anything that makes backing up your important files quicker and easier has to be worth having, so how about this? It’s called JaBack and it doesn’t get much easier… JaBack uses the industry standard zip file format, so there’s no need to mess around with proprietary file formats. It’s automated, you tell it what to backup and when, and to where. You can transfer files to a website or email them, and it’ll email you to let you know if it’s failed. It’s simple to use and that’s all you need to know, so if you’ve been putting off installing backup software until now because of the cost or complexity, you’ve just run out of excuses.




Portable Pulveriser

When you are on your travels you may have occasion to use someone else’s computer, maybe to do a spot of emailing or file uploading/downloading. But when happens to all of the day you’ve left behind? There may also be times when you need to erase a file, folder or even a whole drive on your own PC, and make sure that it says erased and beyond recovery. Well, here’s an easy way to do it. It’s called Eraser Portable and it is designed to run from a USB flash drive, mp3 player, iPod, memory card or any memory device that plugs into a PC. Simply download and install the files onto your portable drive and it’s ready to go. It can be set to do it multiple times, overwrite erased files with pseudo random data and even erase data at a preset time. It’s a powerful tool so use it wisely!



Top of the Tree

Over the years we’ve looked a several hard disc visualisation programs. These are handy utilities that show you what’s on your hard drive, and how much space it occupies. Here’s another one, it’s called TreeSize Free and unlike most rival products (SpaceMonger, Windirstat etc.), which rely on fancy graphics, this one uses a really simple bargraph type display, with the largest folders at the top of the ‘tree’. If you want to know what’s within simply hover your mouse over the folder icon, or right click to see a set of TreeSize context options, added to the normal Explorer right-click menu. You can toggle between actual space (in kb, Mb or Gb) or percentage used displays, print reports or open folders in Windows Explorer. If you’ve ever wondered where all your free space has gone, you should defintiely try this program for size…



Space on the Tray

I have to say that if you feel the need to install this little application on your PC, then you probably need a larger hard disc drive. Tray DisK Free sits in the System Tray – next to the Windows clock -- and it does just one thing, it displays the amount of free space left on your disc drive. If you hover your mouse over the icon there’s a more detailed analysis. Nominally it’s set for your main drive (usually C:) but it can be set to monitor any drive on your PC. The menu option lets you change how frequently the program checks the drive, and if you want to have a fiddle with some command line switches, you can change the display and text colour.   



Print Folder List

Here’s a nifty little trick for creating a text file listing of the contents of a folder, without using any extra software. Step one is to note down the path and name of the folder concerned; if it’s a long one, click on the folder icon in Windows Explorer so that it’s displayed in the address box, then right-click on it and select Copy. Now open a command window by going to Run (XP) or Search (Vista) on the Start menu and type ‘cmd’


A DOS like window opens and at the flashing prompt type cd then a space and  type in the path and name of the folder – in my example the folder is called ‘Pix’, so the first line looks like this:

cd C:\Pix


If you used the Copy trick simply right-click on the flashing prompt and select Paste.


Now press Enter and the cd (change directory) command changes the display to show the path and name of your folder, thus:



Now at the flashing command prompt type the following:

dir /b > c:\listfolder.txt


Press Enter and a file called listfolder.text appears in the root directory of your C: drive; open it in Word or double click on it and Notepad displays a text file listing the contents of your chosen folder.


For those who may be interested, ‘dir’ is the Directory list command, ‘/b’ tells it to omit the file’s time, date and size information and the forward arrow or greater than symbol (>) tells it to send the information into the file called listfolder.text



Seeker and Ye Shall Find

Have you ever lost a file or forgotten where you’ve put it on your hard drive? Of course you have, we’ve all done it, and if you’re lucky you may even have found it by searching through folders, or using the Windows Search facility. The one in Vista is actually quite good, but even that won’t be able help you if you can’t remember what the file was called.


Here’s something else to try, it’s called Seeker and in addition to searching for files by all or part of the name, it also looks inside files, for keywords or phrases. Again it’s something Windows can do, but this search tool is fast, very fast in fact, thanks to a powerful algorithm and an unusually flexible range of search criteria. Try it yourself, in a side-by-side race with XP Search on a couple of well used office PCs Seeker was consistently 10 – 20% quicker.



Space Invader

Over the years we’ve looked at several hard disc file viewers, that show in an easy to visualise way, what’s on your drive and how much space it is using, and I still use SpaceMonger, one of the first and still one of the best, but there’s a new kid on the block. It’s called FosiX, it’s also free and it displays the contents of your drive as a bar or pie char, in 2D or 3D. Like its rivals, you can click on the bars or segments to drill down through folders and see what’s inside and using up all the space but here’s the good bit. It comes with a number of extra tools, basically shortcuts to existing Windows functions, for clearing the browser cache and history, remove temporary files and run Windows defrag. SpaceMonger still gets my vote for simplicity but this one is well worth trying and if nothing else, those cleanup tools should come in handy.



Keeping Tabs on Windows Explorer

As you know Windows Explorer (aka My Computer, Explorer etc.) lets you see what’s stored on your computer, move files around and so on, and it works reasonably well, but it could be so much better.


Over the years we’ve looked at several Explorer alternatives, but this one, called Explorer ++ is definitely one of the best. It does pretty well everything standard Windows Explorer does but its main claim to fame is a multi-tab display, so you can quickly switch between folders. There’s also a file details and thumbnail preview pane at the bottom (it has all of the usual Explorer type ‘Views’ as well), Permanent file delete, it’s highly customisable and it supports advanced operations, like file merging and splitting.


This is an Alpha release and there’s still a few bits missing and the odd bug that need sorting out, and you shouldn’t really install it on a mission-critical PC. Nevertheless, it seems pretty stable and it’s a stand-alone application so doesn’t interfere with Windows Explorer and it should be fairly safe but you try it at your own risk.



Colourful Clicks

You are going to like this one. It’s called Rainbow Folders and it allows you to change the colour of your folders, the ones that appear in Windows Explorer, and any Explorer type window (Open, Save Save As etc.). This makes life a lot easier, instead of everything being in drab yellow, your important or most frequently used folders, really stand out and are therefore much easier to find, or avoid.


Okay, so it’s not exactly a new idea, but unlike similar utilities, you can specify any colour you like from the palette, rather than just a few presets. That means you are never going to run out of colours, and you can use a vivid red for your photographs, a subtle green for documents and fluorescent orange for audio files. There’s more, you can also assign each folder a Tool Tip, which might say something like ‘Please Don’t Delete Me’ when you hover the mouse pointer over it.   



A Better Uninstaller?

At a rough guess I would say that around 50 percent of PC problems are concerned – one way or another – with installing and uninstalling software, the latter being far and away the most troublesome operation for many users. A lot of programs are just not very good at removing themselves from systems, bits and pieces are often left behind, cluttering the Registry or interfering with other programs.


Contrary to popular belief Add/Remove Programs in Windows doesn’t actually do any uninstalling, it’s simply groups together the uninstall utilities for the programs on your PC so maybe it’s time for something with a bit more teeth. How about Revo Uninstaller, it’s a powerful uninstaller utility that takes over where Add/Remove Programs leaves off. Firstly it analyses the program, checking files folders and Registry keys, then it sets a new Restore Point and then, only when it is satisfied that it knows everything there is to know about a program, does it remove all traces of it. It should even work on programs that won’t uninstall by conventional means, or simply refuse to go away. There’s also an advanced Hunter mode for uninstalling and managing programs that start automatically, so if you’ve got a blockage or unwelcome guest on your PC, this might just be what you need to get rid of it.



Switch Off Use the Web Annoyance

Whenever Windows stumbles across a file type it doesn’t recognise you are will see a message box that says Windows cannot open this file’ and gives you the option to ‘Use the Web Service’, to find the necessary program. I don’t know about you but I can’t recall a single instance where it has worked and it’s usually much quicker just to Google the file name or extension. Well, thanks to the clever folk at ‘howtogeek’ here’s a way to zap that dialogue box and go straight to the Programs list, that you would get if you chose the second option. It works in both XP and Vista and involves editing the Registry, so pay attention, and bear in mind the usual warnings and disclaimers about backing up the Registry first, and not messing with it if you don’t know what you are doing.


Begin by opening the Registry Editor (‘regedit’ in Run on the Start menu) and pop along to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\



If there is a key called Explorer skip the next step, if not create one by right-click Policies then New > Key and rename it ‘Explorer’ (without the quotes). The Explorer key should now be open in the right hand pane, right click into it and select New > DWORD Value, rename that to: ‘NoInternetOpenWith’, right-click it, select Modify and change the Value to 1. (Changing the Value to 0, or deleting the key will reset the hack). That’s it, close Regedit, there’s no need for a reboot, so all that remains is to try it out by creating a file with an unrecognised extension and see what happens whenyou try to open it.



Dealing With Doubles

Sooner or later most of us have to confront the problem of running out of hard disc space. Usually there’s no alternative but to bite the bullet and delete some files and applications, upgrade to a larger hard drive, install a second hard drive, or if the PC is coming to the end of the road, buy a new one. However, it may be possible to delay the inevitable by scanning your drive with this freeware utility. It’s called DoubleKiller and its job is to track down and eradicate duplicate files. You would probably be surprised how many duplicate files you accumulate over time, I found several hundred megabytes worth on a quite modestly well-used office PC. It’s a stand-alone program, so it doesn’t have to be installed on your PC, and it is very easy to use, and very safe too as you can specify exactly which types of files to look for, and manually or automatically select the files to be deleted.



Free and Easy Email Archive

Over the years we’ve looked at various manual methods of backing up and archiving your email messages but here’s a clever little program that makes the whole thing much easier. It’s called MailStore Home and it works with all of the popular email client programs, including Outlook Express, Outlook, Windows Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird and so on. It allows you to take all of your emails and store them in one convenient place with a single click, on your hard drive or a CD or DVD, and it is smart enough to only save one instance of each attachment (in case you have been sent the same one several times). You can also search your archive and preview messages directly, or open then in your email program. It’s fast, easy to use and free, so what are you waiting for?



Speedier Searches for XP

Those of you who have migrated to Vista will probably appreciate the excellent Search facility, which finds things on your with impressive speed and ease. There are various ways to search the contents of an XP PC, but they tend to be a bit unwieldy and slow. Here’s an alternative, it’s called Copernic 2 and it’ll search all of your hard drives in less than a second. It’s really easy to use, and even suggests alternative spellings by comparing what you have typed with its index of your hard drives. It’s all free, uses minimal resources and new additions to your hard drive, emails web pages and so on, are automatically indexed as they arrive.



New SyncToy Understands USB

File and folder synchronisation over a network and using USB flash drives just got a little easier with the release of Microsoft SyncToy 2. This free utility is an update of the old SyncToy, the new version, which syncs the contents of two folders, has extra features including automatic driver letter detection. Basically this means if you are using more than one USB drive, and Windows assigns them different drive letters when you plug them in to your PC, SyncToy will figure out which one is which. There’s also better management, making it easier to include or exclude individual files. This is still a Beta release; so if your PC or pen drive explodes (they probably won’t…) don’t blame Microsoft, but it looks pretty stable to me, so if you are getting your pen drives in a muddle it’s well worth a try. 



Hide Folders For Free

We’ve all got our little secrets, personal and private stuff on our computer that we want to keep safe or rather not share with others. But hiding things on a computer can be difficult, especially If you can’t remember where you put it, and encrypted files are a dead giveaway that you have something to hide.


Free Hide Folder is what you need, it simply makes folders and their contents disappear from Windows, so even if someone is snooping around your PC it won’t show up, and what they can’t see they can’t break into. It’s unbelievably easy to use, just set a password, confirm it, specify the folders you want to hide and click OK. The only way to make them appear again is to open Free Hide Folder and enter your password, so just remember to hide the program, or give it a different name. Now hang on, what happens if you forget where you’ve hidden the program? Oh well, back to the drawing board… No serious, it’s a really neat little program, and don’t forget to make a donation to the author if you find it useful.



Sync or Swim

I’ve said it before – many times in fact – and I’ll say it again, backup your irreplaceable files and you’ll never get caught short when your PC curls its toes. The trouble with most backup software is that it’s often awkward to use, well have a look at this one. It’s called GoodSync and it couldn’t be simpler, just tell it the name of the folder you want to backup, where you want to back it up – it could be another partition, a CD drive, flash drive or an external drive, and that’s it. You can set it to do straight backups, either manually or automatically at pre-set times, or you can synchronise the two folders, so that if the contents of one changes, the other will be updated, and this can be a two-way process, ensuring both folders stay the same, irrespective of which one changes. If you’ve been putting off setting up a backup system either because it was too expensive of complicated, you have just run out of excuses!



Free CD/DVD Recovery Tool

If you have been using recordable CDs or DVDs to backup data for any length of time than you probably have a few dodgy discs that cannot be read any longer. Recordable CDs can fail for a number of reasons, from surface scratches to a chemical breakdown of the recording layer, or it could just be corrupt data, either way there’s a chance you may be able to recorder some of all of the data using this freeware utility. CD Recovery Toolbox scans the disc, looking for files and folders, assessing the amount of damage. Afterwards it shows a list of what has been found, and whether any of them can be recovered. It’s safe, non-destructive, and of course free, so you have nothing to lose. 



DIY Memory Card Holder

Here’s one I made earlier, or to be more accurate, here’s a clever little DIY project from the Indestructibles website, which shows you in simple to follow steps, how to make a holder for your digital camera memory cards out of an old credit card.


Not only does it protect them from loss or damage, it means you can pop them in your wallet for safe keeping. All you need is an old credit card, a pen, a sharp knife, a cutting board and yes, you guessed it, some sticky-backed plastic…



Create a Ghost Folder in XP & Vista

There are endless ways to secure data stored on your PC but here’s a really simple little trick that hides a folder and its contents by making it completely invisible. It works best on sub folders (i.e. folders within a folder). To make a folder vanish you need to do two things, give it a name using a non-printing/displaying character then replace the standard folder icon with a blank one.


Start by opening Windows Explorer or My Computer, right click on the folder icon you want to hide and select rename. Press the Numlock key and press Alt + 0160 then OK and the name box should disappear. Next, right-click on the folder icon and select Properties, then the Customize tab then the Change Icon button at the bottom. You’ll find the blank icons about one click to the right on the bottom scroll bar; they’re the gaps between the normal icons. Select one then click OK. Your folder should now have disappeared so take care you don’t forget it where it is.  A ghost image or flicking hyphen will appear when you hover your mouse over where the icon used to be and you can rename or delete it by right-clicking on it.



Empty Folder Finder

Okay, so on the list of irritants empty folders in Windows Explorer probably doesn’t score very high with most users. On the other hand, if you have an obsessive personality and like to keep everything -- including your computer’s hard drive -- spick and span, and free of clutter, then this little application, called Empty Folder Nuker, will keep you happy for ages.


It couldn’t be simpler, just tell it where to look and off it goes, seeking out any folder or sub folder that has absolutely nothing in it. After a while it reports back and you have the chance to check that it hasn’t made any terrible mistakes. If you are happy just click the Delete button and they’re gone. Just in case they’re sent to the Recycle Bin, so if you later decided you want one or all of them back they are safe, until the next time you empty the bin. There’s also an option to integrate the program with the ‘Shell’, which basically means it is added to the right-click menu in Windows Explorer.



Small Furry Backup

I’ve been banging on about the importance of backing up your important and irreplaceable files for years, and I’m pleased to say some of you have taken my advice but there’s still a few brave souls out there who continue to trust in luck and gamble with their data. But now there’s no excuse. What we have here is one of the simplest and easiest to use backup programs ever! It’s called Filehamster and once set it quietly gets on with the job of backing up files in real time, while you are working, to your chosen location, saving revisions and changes as you go. This makes it perfect for anyone who works on images or graphics, where they often make frequent changes to files.


It’s versatile too, and the program can be updated and expanded using freely available plug-ins, and last but not least, it’s all free, though as with many freeware and shareware programs the developers are not averse to a small token of appreciation in the shape of a donation. It’s only polite, and it could be a very small price to pay as one day this furry rodent could save your bacon. Please note if you haven’t got Microsoft NET Framework installed on your computer you will need to download it, but the program tells you, and guides you through the procedure.



Pen Drive for a Pound?

A few months ago you may recall that I mentioned an excellent little gadget that turned a SD or MMC memory card into a USB pen drive. At the time I thought I had a bargain as it cost me £5.00 at a local computer fair. That was until I paid a visit to my local Poundland where they have them -- you guessed it -- for just £1. It’s an incredible bargain, and really useful for transporting images and data between PCs so get down to your local store fast because they can’t last long at that price.


The only slight disadvantage that I can see is there’s no mention of a Windows 98 driver; so if anyone finds one, please let me know. While you are in the shop check out their mini DVDs and see of they’ve got any compact USB hubs in stock. These are brilliant and for some inexplicable reason they manage to make my PC ‘see’ a couple of troublesome USB devices that normally just result in an error message when they are plugged in. Poundland have stores all over the country, check the website for one near to you.



Clone Hard Drives For Free

What’s the best way to backup your hard drive?  Simple, clone it, and if the worst ever happens you can connect up your clone drive and continue working. Drive cloning is not as easy as it sounds, at least not without specialist or expensive software, but here’s a freebie program that promises to as good a job as its commercial rivals for one-off and occasional use.


It’s called HDClone and it works with most common drives (IDE, SATA, and ATA) and can copy a drive’s contents to another, larger drive at up to 300Mb/min. (For even higher transfer speeds and to copy to a smaller drive you‘ll need one of the paid-for editions). HDClone doesn’t know or care about partitions or filing systems, it simply copies everything from one drive to another. This can be quite a tricky job and very difficult to do when Windows is running – that’s the province of the commercial programs -- but it gets around it by creating a bootable floppy and carries out the cloning operation using its own independent operating system.  If you want to make a one-off backup for emergencies or maybe migrate to another PC then check it out.



Online File Conversion

How do you go about converting a Word document into a PDF? How about changing a Bitmap into a Tiff or Gif or even a Postscript file? Then there’s the tricky problem of changing avi video files into Apple QuickTime movs. It can be a nightmare finding the right file conversion utility to download, and avoiding the shed-loads of freeware and shareware programs, some of which may be spiked malware, or worse, but here’s an alternative.


Zamzar is an online file conversion facility. Simply locate the file on your PC select the format you want to convert it to and upload the file. Shortly afterwards you will receive an email with a link to the converted file and it’s all free. The catch? Well, there is a 100Mb limit on file size and the converted file is only available for 24 hours. You also have to give up your email address so read the Terms of Service carefully, but if you are stuck and want to convert a file in a hurry it could save you a lot of trouble.



FreeCommander, Alternative Windows Explorer

We all know Windows Explorer is at the heart of Windows and allows you to navigate around your PC, but have you ever wondered if there’s a better way?  Maybe there is, a neat little freeware program called FreeCommander does everything Windows Explorer does, and much more besides.


It uses the familiar dual pane layout but that’s where the similarities end. The panes can be arranged horizontally or vertically, there’s easy access to all drives, it has a built-in file viewer, it calculates folder size, there’s built-in archive handling (it can read Zip, Cab and Rar files, there’s quick access to Start menu, Control Panel, Desktop and System folders, I could go on but don’t just take my word for it, try it for yourself It doesn’t affect Windows Explorer, you can even use both at once, so what have you got to lose? You might even prefer it to Windows Explorer.



Driver Backup Just in Case…

What would happen if the driver for a widget that you hooked up to your PC threw a wobbly? If you are super-organised all you have to do is dig out your stash of driver discs and update the old driver, or go on-line and download a new one, but if you are like the rest of us, it means a lot of searching or messing around on the web, filling out Registration forms and so on. In short it’s a pain. But it doesn’t have to be that way My Drivers is a nifty little donationware program that seeks out all of the drivers on your PC then safely archives them in the location or backup drive of our choice. When a driver goes belly-up just dial in the backup and away you go. 



Disk Cleaner Freeware

If you are running short of hard disc space that’s a sign you need a new hard disc, but for short-term relief you can probably claw back several tens of megabytes of wasted and unused space. Most versions of Windows have a Cleanup utility that will clear out temporary files, the Recycle Bin and so on but for a more aggressive mucking out you need something like DiskCleaner. This freeware program digs deep into your drive and roots out all sorts of space wasters, including old Zip files. Log files, recent documents, prefetch files and so on. It was originally written for Windows 98 but it works fine in XP and it is small enough to run from a floppy or pen drive.



Memory Card Madness - A Cure?

I expect that like me you now have a growing collection of memory devices, cards for your camera or PDA, memory sticks, pen drives and so on. I’ve become increasingly fed up with all of the different formats and about two years ago I took a conscious decision to stick with one type, the small, cheap and plentiful SD/MMC format.


Anything that I buy or acquire must be able to use this type of card and surprisingly it hasn’t been too much of a problem.  It didn’t even stop me buying a Canon digital camera, which uses Compact Flash cards, thanks to my local Maplin Electronics, which sells a MMC/SD to CF adaptor for £20. The final link in the chain is a neat little gadget called the Singim SG361 Card Driver and it looks and works exactly like a USB pen drive, except that it uses MMC/SD cards. So now I can share the same cards and move data images and music files between PCs (Windows, Mac and Linux) and laptops, my PDA and cameras, there’s even a Windows 98 driver for it. Mine cost £5.00 at my local computer fair and they’re selling online from the likes of Aria for only a little more.



Freeundelete Recovery Utility

Sooner or later it will happen to you and you will delete a file, intentionally or by accident, then some time regret it. You might be lucky and it will still be in the Recycle Bin, but most of the time it’s gone to digital heaven and there’s no way of getting it back, or is there?


As you may know when you delete a file in Windows all that happens is its directory entry is erased and the space the file occupies on the hard drive is marked as free. Until they are overwritten -- and that could be hours, days or weeks afterwards -- deleted files can often be recovered and one easy way to do that is to use this little freeware utility, called Freeundelete. Set it to scan your PC and it will tell you quickly what has been deleted and what the chances are of recovery. It’s easy to use and very safe, so keep it handy, for the next time you do something you might regret….



Index.Dat File Viewer

In case you are wondering what this is all about a quick recap might be in order. Al versions of Windows (since Windows 95) have a number of hidden and protected files called index.dat, one in particular is quite troubling because it logs the address of every web page you visit using Internet Explorer, from the day that you first switch your PC on. Needless to say conspiracy theorists have has a field day with it and the favourite explanation is that it was put there a the behest of the FBI. Microsoft has certainly never given a sensible reason for its inclusion, or why it is tucked away and protected from deletion by normal means.


Anyway, over the years we’ve looked at several tools that will clear out the index.dat files -- Crap Cleaner and Spider (Windows 9x only) have done a sterling job over the years, but here’s a new one, called Index.Dat Spy. This little freeware utility tracks down all of the index.dat files on your PC and shows you their contents, with the option to delete whatever they contain on the next reboot. On my admittedly well-used multi-drive machine it found no less than 55 instances of the file, many of them quite innocent and belonging to other applications but anything that reveals files that may contain personal, private or sensitive information has to be worth investigating.



Forbidden Characters and Filenames

This comes from the Trivia Department, but it’s worth remembering, if Windows tells you off, or stops you doing something, without telling you why. There are a number of little-known restrictions on characters and names that you are allowed to use when naming folders or files.


Most of the restrictions hark back to the olden days of DOS and UNIX, and quite honestly the chances of you wanting to use any of them are fairly remote, but here goes.


The characters that you are not allowed to use in folder or filenames are:  \ / : * ? " < > |, and if you try Windows will bleep at you.


The following is a list of names that you are not allowed to use: CON, PRN, AUX, NUL, COM1, COM2, COM3, COM4, COM5, COM6, COM7, COM8, COM9, LPT1, LPT2, LPT3, LPT4, LPT5, LPT6, LPT7, LPT8, and LPT9. This time it will let you enter the name but as soon as you press Return it will revert to its former name. Before anyone writes in, yes I know there are ways to defeat the system, but it’s really something only industrial-strength geeks would be interested in…



Folder Size Display For Windows Explorer

One of the Windows Explorer’s many small and niggling annoyances is the way it displays the size of a file, but not the size of a folder, which is handy to know if you are looking for the programs and files that are gobbling up your hard disc space. This little utility, called appropriately enough Foldersize, sets things straight, in Windows Explorer’s Details view just right-click on the column title bar, select Folder Size from the drop-down menu and the new column will appear, with the amount of disc space both folders and files occupy clearly displayed. This makes the standard File Size column redundant so if you want to get rid of it right-click on the title bar again and uncheck ‘Size’. In you want to reposition the File Size column simply drag it to the spot on the bar where you want it to be.



Swap Your Swap File

This tip is mainly for advanced users and concerns the Windows XP Swap File or ‘virtual memory’. This is a portion of hard disc space that is used as an extension of your PC’s RAM memory. Basically it fools the computer into thinking that it has a lot more memory that it really has and on a well used PC files are being moved in and out of the swap file all of the time. The trouble is this keeps the drive really busy, which has an impact on your machine’s performance, particularly if you have less than 1Gb of memory.


If your PC has a second hard drive then you can lighten the load on your main drive by moving the swap file to the second drive. To do that open System Properties (Winkey + Break or System in Control Panel), select the Advanced tab then under Performance click Settings, in the Performance Options box select the Advanced tab and then under Virtual Memory click the Settings button. Make a note of the Initial Size and Maximum size settings and select the second drive, enter the Initial and Maximum values and click OK. For maximum benefit the second drive should be on the motherboard’s second IDE channel, so if both drives are connected together by the same ribbon cable you might want to consider reorganising them.



CD/DVD Drive Lock For Added Security

The CD and DVD drives on your PC represent a major security loophole. For example, if someone is determined to get at the files on your computer then all they have to do is pop in a bootable CD and bypass all of Windows password security. Equally, when your PC is running there's nothing to stop someone from loading a malicious program from disc, or downloading files onto a recordable disc.


The solution is to lock your drives, and one way of doing that is to use a little freeware utility called CD-ROM Lock. This program disables the eject command on one of all of your drives from an icon in the System Tray. Simply download the Zip file (it's only 55kb) and extract the files into a folder and run the program. You can then configure the program by clicking on the icon, select the drive or drives you want to lock or manually open and close the selected drive.



Shortcut to ClipBook Viewer

Here’s another one of those hidden features in Windows XP that are actually quite useful, except that Microsoft forget to tell anyone that it is there… It’s called the ClipBook Viewer and old Windows hands may remember something similar in Windows 98, called the Clipboard Viewer. Basically it shows you whatever is currently stored in the Windows Clipboard, be it a chunk of text, image or a file. Anyway, unless you know where to look for it ClipBook Viewer remains behind the scenes, so this simple little tip brings it out into the open and puts it on your desktop, as a shortcut. All you have to do is right-click onto an empty part of the Desktop and select New > Shortcut. In the Location box type or copy and paste the following: C:WINDOWS\system32\clipbrd.exe, click Next then give it a name and it’s ready to use.




Here’s a neat little trick for those of you who want to be able to quickly review the status and amount of free space on all of your hard disc drives, including network and removable drives. Open My Computer or Windows Explorer and double click the My Computer icon to display all of the drives in the right hand pane. Now hold down the Ctrl key and click on each of the drive icons in turn to highlight them. Next, release the Ctrl key and right-click on one of the highlighted drives and select Properties and a tabbed dialogue box appears, showing the disk usage pie charts for each of your chosen drives.




If you have been around PCs for any length of time than you probably have one or two old hard disc drives kicking around, gathering dust. The chances are they’re in perfect working order but they’ve been retired because they’re full up, or the capacity isn’t large enough to for today’s space-hungry applications. Don’t throw them away, a 20 to 40Gb drive can be quickly and cheaply turned into an external HDD, which is ideal for data backups, file storage or transportation. All you need is a USB to IDE converter cable and power supply, they’re wisely available from PC suppliers, and they’re cheap too, typically costing less then £20. Just plug it in to the back of the drive and connect it up to your PC and Windows XP should immediately recognise it as an external drive. The only thing to watch out for is that a ‘naked’ drive can be quite vulnerable so you might want to protect it by housing it in a well ventilated plastic box, or a removable drive caddy (also available from PC suppliers for around a tenner).




Windows (all recent versions), has a little-used facility that lets you add your own notes to some types of files. These are hidden from normal view but easily accessible. For example, you could add a short title or description to an image file, detailing where it was taken, the people in the photograph and so on. You can do something similar with audio files (though oddly enough not document or video files). It’s really easy to do, simply right-click on the file icon in My Computer or Windows Explorer, select Properties, then the Summary Tab (In pre XP versions of Windows click the Custom tab) and type your notes in the Comments box.




The way Windows Explorer has been configured in XP to open on the My Documents folder drives a lot of people nuts. It doesn’t have to be that way. All you have to do is right-click the Windows Explorer icon or shortcut that you use and select Properties. Next, in the Target box add the following ‘switches   /n,/e,c:   where c: is your primary hard drive. The Target command should now look like this:


%SystemRoot%explorer.exe /n,/e,c:


N.B. make sure there is a space before /n and the commas after the n and the e.



A few days ago we carried a simple little tip concerning a little-known feature in Windows Explorer, for automatically resizing single columns to the correct width, so all of the file names or items are displayed. This new improved tip does the job for all columns in one hit, widening or narrowing them according to what’s in them. It’s really easy, all you have to do is hold down the Ctrl key then press the plus ‘+’ key, but it has to be the one on the numeric keypad, otherwise it doesn’t work.




Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it, but this simple little trick is well worth remembering the next time you are trying to search for something or check a file name in Windows Explorer. As you probably know you can adjust column width by manually on the column ‘separators’ and make them wider or narrower, but there’s a better way. If you double-click on the separator it will automatically adjust column width to the longest file name or item in the column to the left.


For those of you who are new to Windows it’s also worth knowing that you can sort item in columns by clicking on the column headers. For example, to sort folders or files alphabetically double click the Name header, click once and the order is A to Z, click again and it sorts the column Z to A. To arrange items by date click the Date Modified header (once for most recent at the top, twice for oldest at the top), and the same trick works for File Types and any other column headings you see, both in Windows Explorer and most Explorer type dialogue boxes.



Here’s a neat little tweak that overcomes a minor irritant by changing the way Windows Explorer and My Computer displays drive names and letters. Normally they are listed by drive name then drive letter. This tip switches them around, so that Local Disc (C:) becomes (C:) Local Disc. It involves making a small change to the Registry, it’s not difficult but it’s not really for novices and if you don’t know your way around the Registry and how to make a backup then it’s probably best avoided.


If you are still with us and want to give it a try set a new Restore Point (just in case) then open the Registry Editor by going to Run on the Start menu and type ‘regedit’ (without the quotes). Work your way to:





Right click in the right hand pan, select New > DWORD Value and rename it ‘ShowDriveLettersFirst’ (without the quotes). Double click the new DWORD icon and change the Value Data to 4 then close Regedit. Open Windows Explorer or My Computer and the drive letter and name should now be reversed.




There are bound to be several folders on your PC that you’re opening several times a day, My Documents is a likely candidate, but this trick works on any one. The idea is you can put your chosen folder icon on the Taskbar and when you click on it, it opens, giving you fast and easy access to the contents. Start by right-clicking on an empty area of the taskbar and select Toolbar > New Toolbar and use the Browse button to find the one that you want. Click OK and it’s done, now all you have to do is click on the little double-arrow symbol beneath the folder name and all will be revealed.




I have never quite understood why My Computer in Windows XP has a different ‘look’ to other folders so if you are anything like me you like this simple little tip, which switches it to a normal Windows Explorer type view. Open My Computer then go to Tools > Options and click the File Types tab. Close to the top you will see ‘(NONE) Folder’. Click to highlight then click the Advanced button. Click ‘explore’ to highligh6 then click Set Default. Click OK then Close to exit the dialogue boxes.




Windows XP has a very useful way of making your files and folders easier to get at, by arranging them in Groups. It works best on folders that contain a number of sub-folders or lots of different files. To see what it looks like open Windows Explorer or My Computer, right-click into an empty area then select Arrange Icons By and on the pop-out menu that appears click Show in Groups. Immediately all of the files and folders should be grouped together alphabetically, but there’s more. Right-click into an empty space again, click Arrange Icons, as before, but this time select form one of the sort criteria: Name, Size, Type, Modified etc, and see if that makes it easier to find what you are looking for. If you want to revert back to the normal view simply uncheck ‘Show in Groups'.




System Restore in Windows ME and XP is an invaluable facility that may well save your bacon one day but if you let it, it will gobble up vast amounts of hard disc space, especially on today’s large drives. By default SR is allocated 12 percent of the drive’s capacity but you can safe reduce this figure, without compromising its ability to get your PC back up on its feet again following a nasty crash. In fact SR only needs 200Mb of free space but limiting its capacity by too much will reduce the amount of data it stores and the number of restore points, so it is important to strike a balance. To change the setting in Windows XP open System Properties by pressing Winkey + Break then click the System Restore tab. Select your System drive (usually Local disk C:) then click the Settings button. Move the slider to the left. On drives 80Gb or more I suggest allocating between 500Mb and 1Gb of space. If you have a second drive used purely for data storage you might as well disable System Restore for that drive, as it serves no useful purpose.




If you use the Thumbnail View in Windows Explorer you may be wondering why some folder icons show a little image, and others don’t?


If the folder contains images Windows will make an apparently random selection but you can override this with a picture of your choosing. All you have to do give the picture you want to use the name ‘folder.jpg’ (without the quotes) and save it in the selected folder. This simple trick can also be used to good effect on folders that contain multimedia files. Your chosen folder.jpg image automatically becomes that folder’s ‘Album Art’ image when it is opened in Windows Media Player, which you will see if you go to View > Visualisations.




Windows XP has a very useful feature in My Pictures called Filmstrip that allows you to quickly step through and display image files stored in the folder. You can add this feature to any other folder in Windows Explorer. Just right click the folder icon, select Properties then click the Customize tab. On the ‘Use this folder type as a template’ drop down menu choose either ‘Pictures’ or ‘Photo Album’ and if you like tick the ‘Also apply this template…’ option and click OK. When you next open the folder you will find that Filmstrip has been added to the list of options when you select the View menu or click the View icon on the toolbar.  




If you use your PC to listen to music, or perhaps need to access our picture files regularly or in a hurry, here’s a way to create a simple keyboard shortcut that will quickly open any folder in Windows Explorer whilst other programs are running and maximised. This is what you do: open Windows Explorer, right click on the folder you want to access  (My Music, My Pictures, etc.) then click Send To > Desktop Create Shortcut. Right click on the folder icon on your desktop, select Properties then the Shortcut tab. Click into the Shortcut Key box press Ctrl + Alt then a letter or symbol of your choosing (e.g. M for Music, P for pictures). In some cases you may find that the shortcut character is already in use by something else when running a program, in which case go back and try another one.




How many times has your PC asked you to ‘Insert the Windows CD’, when you are installing a new piece of software or hardware? It’s okay if you are super-organised and know exactly where you can lay your hands on the disc but for the rest of us it means scrabbling around in drawers and cupboards to find it.


Admittedly Windows XP is nowhere near as demanding as previous versions but it still happens, so here’s a way to avoid seeing that message. (Before you ask, if Windows was pre-installed on your PC and it didn’t come with an installation disc you almost certainly don’t need to worry about this Tip…).


Just pop your Windows XP disc in the CD drive and when it open click ‘Perform additional tasks’ and then ‘Browse this CD’. Right click on the I386 folder and select Copy, now open Windows Explorer, highlight the C:\ drive, right-click and select Paste and hopefully you’ll never need to play hunt the disc ever again.




Did you know in Windows XP you can add extra columns to the Details View in Windows Explorer? There are lots to choose from, just right click onto the column header bar and a list appears. If you have a large collection of MP3 or music files the Bit Rate, Artist, Album title, and Track Number columns should prove useful. For picture files try Date Created and Camera Model. Don’t forget, this only works in the Details View, so make sure that is selected, either from the View menu or the View icon on the toolbar.




Following on from the Top Tip change the size of Thumbnail images in Windows Explorer -- see below -- here’s another way pack more images in the display by switching off the filenames. Simply hold down the Shift key when you double-click to open a folder in Thumbnail View. Windows Explorer will remember the setting so if you want to restore the filenames just repeat the exercise.




The Thumbnail View in Windows Explorer can be really useful for previewing images stored on your hard drive but the size of the thumbnail images are fixed, which may be inconvenient if you have a lot of images in each folder, or you just want to see more detail. If you know your way around the Windows XP Registry then there is a way to adjust the size but as always I have to stress that Registry editing is not for novices, and you should always make a backup first.


Start by opening the Registry Editor (‘regedit’ in Run on the Start menu) and click your way to:





Right click into the right hand window and select New > DWORD Value and change the default name to 'ThumbnailSize’ (without the quotes). Next double click the newly created key and in the Value box enter a number between 32 (smallest) and 256 (largest). Close Regedit and open Explorer and check your newly shrunken or enlarged thumbnails for size.




If you have ever copied files from a CD to your hard disc you will find that they will have been automatically given a ‘Read-Only’ attribute, which means they can’t be edited until the attribute has been cleared. This isn’t too difficult when it only involves one or two files but if you’ve just copied a batch of documents or images, for example, unchecking the Read Only attribute in the file’s Properties window can be a real pain. Here’s one easy way to unlock all of the files in a folder in one go. In Windows XP open the DOS-like Command Prompt window by typing ‘cmd’ (without the quotes) in Run on the Start menu. Change to the location of the folder where the files are stored using the change directory (cd) command. So, for example, if the files are stored in a folder called mypix, you enter the command: ‘cd c:\mypix’ (again, without the quotes), now enter the following command to clear the Read Only attribute: ‘attrib -r *.* /s’ then press Enter.




Here’s a nifty little Windows XP trick that lets you quickly preview multimedia files (AVI, CD Audio, MP3 etc.) in Windows Explorer, without having to wait for Windows Medial Player or your chosen media player to open. All you have to do is open Windows Explorer then go to Tools > Folder Options and select the File Types tab. Scroll down the list and click to highlight the multimedia file type you want to be able to preview. e.g. avi movie files, then click the Advanced button then New. In the Action box give the function a name, i.e. ‘Quickview’ then in the ‘Application used to perform action’ box copy and paste the following command:


C:\Windows\System32\Mplay32.exe /Play %1


Click OK to exit the dialogue boxes and it’s done. Now in Windows Explorer find an avi file (or your chosen file type), on the menu that appears select Quickview and the file will immediately start playing.




Windows Explorer is great for navigating your way around your hard disc but it doesn’t really tell you much unless you delve into the Details and Properties views. SpaceMonger is a brilliant little freeware program that shows you exactly what you’ve got on your PC’s drives and removable media, and how much space is being used with a clear, colourful and easy to understand visual map. You can zoom in on the contents of files and folders and you can also use it to delete those monster redundant files you never knew you had.




Whilst flash drives are very convenient there are other ways of transporting or carrying important data around with you. If you have a digital camera or MP3 player you can normally use the memory card or drive to store word processor documents, spreadsheets etc. The card or drive will usually show up as a removable storage device in Windows Explorer whilst downloading pictures or tunes when the camera or player is connected to the PC by a USB cable. You can also drag and drop files into the card using a USB memory card reader, which you can take with you, when travelling on business or holiday, so the contents of the card can be read on other computers




Every so often you may want to transfer files between PCs on floppy disc. It's no problem, providing the file is no larger than 1.4Mb. If it is you could compress the data, or use multiple floppies, but there's another option, compress the disc. Windows 95 (and 98) has a utility called DriveSpace. It is intended to increase the capacity of hard disc drives, but it works just as well with floppies, almost doubling their capacity, to around 2.6Mb. Insert a clean disc into drive A: and from the Start Menu click on Programs, then Accessories then System Tools and open DriveSpace. Click on the disc icon or choose compress from the File men and follow the instructions




If you need to quickly make a copy of a floppy disk -- maybe a colleague needs to see some files you've been working on -- then Windows can help. From your desktop or the Start Button open My Computer then right-click on the floppy disc icon and select Copy Disk on the menu. Windows then reads the entire contents of the disc into the PC’s memory; a bar graph shows how the copy process is progressing. When the indicator reaches halfway Copy Disc will ask you to remove the original disc and load a blank formatted floppy. Make sure there's nothing on it or it may be overwritten, click OK and the information is read back to the second disc.




Send To is one of the most useful facilities in Windows Explorer. By right clicking on a file, the Send To option will instantly copy the file to another folder, a floppy disc or the clipboard, but it can do many more things besides. You can add any application or drive destination to the Send To list and save yourself a lot of time moving files and opening applications.


Unfortunately the default locations for Send To are a bit limited, but there’s a way around that. Send To Toys is an invaluable little utility that lets you add to (and remove) items on the Send To list with a single click. It’s freeware and compatible with all flavours of Windows 9x, 2000 and XP and the download is only 400Kb. The link to the download can be found at:




Go to the Start menu then Programs and open Windows Explorer. Scroll down the list to the Windows folder, open it, locate and double click on Send To. Now go up to File on the menu bar, select New, then Shortcut and use Browse to find the application you are interested in. Open the folder and look for the relevant *.exe file, single click to highlight and select Open. You will be asked to give the program a name -- if you don't want to use the default -- then click Next and Finish and the item is added to the Send To list. 

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