A handy `tweak' for Windows use

Helpline

April 08, 2004|By James Coates | James Coates,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Even though I'm the only one who uses it, Windows makes me log on every time I turn on my computer. I understand there is a fix that eliminates my having to do that, but I can't find it. I recently upgraded from Windows 98 to XP Professional.

Your question is among dozens of other issues about the various versions of Windows that can be resolved by downloading a utility called TweakUI. The software was created by Microsoft programmers, but the company does not support the utility.

In your case, TweakUI includes a routine that will stop Windows from asking for passwords at login as it does by default.

The TweakUI tool is included in what Microsoft calls Power Toys that allow users to customize their machines. TweakUI handles everything from the auto logon you seek to letting users remove programs from the list at the Start menu.

You can use it to change the browser so it always erases history files whenever you close the browser.

A second browser tool lets you choose any search engine you want as the default. TweakUI lets users hide the existence of external hard drives connected to the machine and alter the way the mouse works, among other tweaks.

My favorite TweakUI feature is one called Tips that is listed at the top of the program's display and contains dozens of very useful insights into things such as keyboard shortcuts and finding files, changing icons and defragmenting drives.

So let me answer your question by pointing you and other readers to a tool that keeps many of us propeller heads busy long into the night. It's at www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/downloads/powertoys.asp.

The Chicago Tribune is a Tribune Publishing newspaper. Contact James Coates at jcoates@tribune.com.

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