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WinXP Tweaking: From Relax to Righteous

By: Koroush Ghazi | Guides | Posted: Feb 8, 2003 5:00 am

Windows Explorer (Continued)


Move the My Documents folder


Tool: Start Menu


By default the My Documents folder is in a specified location, and can't be moved easily. To place the My Documents folder in another location, do the following:


1. Open the Start Menu (click on Start), right-click on My Documents and select Properties. If you're having problems getting the context menu, right-click elsewhere on the Start Menu then right-click again on My Documents.


2. Click the Move button and select a new location. Click OK.


3. Choose whether you wish to move your existing documents across to this location.


Alternatively you can just type the new path in the Target box. When you're done, Windows will now recognise the new location as the home of My Documents.


Make the My Documents folder private


Tool: Explorer



If you want to password protect your My Documents folder, or in fact any folder which is unique to your user account (such as My Photos, Favorites, Desktop, Start Menu), and you're using the NTFS file system, you can do the following: Right-click on the folder in Explorer, select the Sharing tab and tick the 'Make this folder private' box. Now the folder and all its subdirectories will be password protected with your user password.


If you're logged in as the Administrator, or you've set no user password for speedy logon to Windows XP, this tweak is not particularly useful. If you try it, you'll be prompted to set a password, and unless you're worried about others accessing your private folders, it's not worth the additional effort if you're the only user.


Make a slideshow screensaver


Tool: Display Properties


To make a customizable slideshow screensaver from the pictures on your drive, do the following:


1. Go to Control Panel>Display Properties and select the Screensaver tab.


2. Under the screen saver list, select 'My Pictures slideshow'.


3. Click the Settings button.


4. By default the slideshow will use the pictures in your My Pictures folder and subdirectories. You can set the location for the pictures it uses by clicking the Browse button and choosing a new path.


5. Customize how long you want each picture to display before changing, and also how large the pictures are to be. Make sure you tick the 'Allow scrolling through pictures with the keyboard' option. Click OK.


6. You can either select the Preview button to start the slideshow straight away or set the time before the screensaver starts. Once it starts, you can use the left and right arrows on your keyboard to move through the pictures or wait the specified time for each new picture.


Change the default location for Programs and Common Files


Tool: Regedit




CommonFilesDir=C:\Program Files\Common Files Change this entry to another path if you want to change where Windows points to by default when installing common files for programs.


ProgramFilesDir=C:\Program Files Change this entry to another path if you want to change where Windows points to by default when installing new programs.


Reboot Windows (or use the Explorer trick under Before We Begin) to bring the changes into effect. Use this tweak with caution as it may cause problems with existing programs and play havoc with file associations.


Force every column in Explorer-based windows to be visible


Tool: Explorer


Sometimes when you open Explorer, or explorer-based interfaces (and there are many, such as Regedit) there may be columns which are way too large or way too small to show everything they contain. To force Windows to resize these columns appropriately, press the CTRL key and the + (plus) key together. This will instantly resize the columns so that the largest value in each column is visible. This may require you to expand the Window's size or use the scroll bar to see them all, but at least there won't be any hidden or too large/too small columns.


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