I have several flash drives and a couple of memory card readers and want to change the automatic-play options that Windows XP offers when I plug them into a USB port. XP will automatically open Windows Explorer - unless there are JPG picture or AVI movie files on the drive. In that case, it opens a window giving me several program choices. I only want to use Windows Explorer, but I have to scroll down to see that "Folder View" option. Is there a way to force Windows to always open Explorer without asking? Alternatively, is there a file I can put in the root directory of the flash drive to make this happen - something like the autorun.inf file on a CD?
- Steve White, juno.com
You can set up those flash drives and memory cards so they always open in the Folder View instead of asking what you want to do each time. But it's going to take a bit of time to walk you through the drill to customize the boot-up behavior of each removable memory device.
You need to change a number of settings by hand for each and every one of your removable memory gadgets. Plug in one of them and ignore the pop-up asking what you want to do. Instead, click open the My Computer icon, find the listing for the "removable drive" you plugged in and give it a right-click. Then select the Properties option you are offered. A tabbed menu will pop up including a heading for Auto Play.
A small drop-down box there includes the names of file types such as Music, Pictures, Video and Mixed Media. Start by clicking in the circle to set an action. Then pick each of these types in turn and move down the list of options that come up automatically for that type. Pick Folder View for Music and click Apply. Move down to Pictures and select Folder View again. Repeat for the other file types, clicking Apply each time.
This, in effect, creates a file on the drive that works just as you suggested, along the lines of the autoplay.inf routines written on CDs to make them bootable.
I have a Hewlett-Packard computer system with Windows XP Home and an HP Photosmart 7660 printer that keeps cutting the top off my prints. Whenever I try to print pictures, the top of the image will run off the page. I have tried rotating the image and moving it into a photo program but nothing seems to work. I tried talking to the HP help people, but I had a very difficult time understanding their accent, so I received no help there. Some computer-savvy friends of mine were unable to help, either.
- Don Baltimore, Meridianville, Ala.
You are among way too many folks who didn't get told clearly enough by the displays from the HP printer and Windows XP that you need to implement a "fit to page" setting if the image file's actual pixels (also called resolution) make it larger than whatever print size you might pick.
You can either print an image from the Windows Fax and Photo Viewer, which by default displays all pictures when they are first clicked, or you can use some specific program, such as Photoshop. The confusion stems from the fact that no matter which photo-tweaking program you use, that program must access the Windows XP printing software, as well as the printer's software, to make the actual print. Among the things that can go wrong is that the photo software will have one page size setting and the Windows routine will have another.
With HP's Photosmart line of multipurpose printer/scanner machines, the Windows printing wizard comes up with a radio button to select "Scale to paper size" under a tab called Features. To catch the next spot where the problem arises, be sure to check the Show Preview box in that same Features menu. In the next display, the Windows printing wizard will appear and you will see a couple icons to click to get a preview of how the actual print will look, either in fax or photo layout. Pick the smallest one of these to head off the cropper.
When this problem arises, in almost every case, you should use the "fit image to page" option rather than trying to specify a given size, such as 8 inches by 10 inches, 5-by-7, etc. Second, always look for the option to present a preview before printing. Even though both of the previews look OK, when the cropping problem sets in, it can be avoided by selecting the smaller of the two options.
Jim Coates writes for the Chicago Tribune.