How to get Windows to list files on startup

Ask Jim

Plugged In

May 24, 2007|By Jim Coates | Jim Coates,Chicago Tribune

When I start my computer, the files are shown as fat icons. I would like them to open instead in List View, with each file shown by its name on just one line.

I've followed the standard procedure of going to View and selecting List, then going to Tools/View/Apply to All Folders.

All files will then open in List format until I turn off my computer and restart. All files again open with icons, and I have to repeat the procedure.

Any ideas?

- Charles Kelly

Let's recap for other readers: By right-clicking inside any folder, one gets a pop-up menu offering, among other options, to change the way icons are presented. The display choices include Thumbnails, Tiles, Icons, List and Details. By clicking on Tools and Folder Options in the command bar, you'll see a tabbed menu with one tab marked View, letting you apply the choice to all folders for that session.

You got that far but weren't told that one also needs to scroll down the long list of Advanced Settings, just below the Apply to All Folders button, and select the option to "Remember each folder's view settings." Give that a check and reboot to make all folders display in those efficient line-by-line lists, instead of the colorful thumbnails I prefer.

Our old printer, a Lexmark Z45, finally died. We purchased a new printer, a Lexmark Z645. Whenever I try to remove the old software for the Z45, the computer tells me that the printer is in use and that I must wait until it is finished before I can uninstall the Z45 software.

That happens even when no printer is hooked up.

How can I tell it we're finished?

- Randall Turpen

The best way I know to get rid of your clingy ex-printer, is to use the Safe Mode in Windows. This is a special boot-up session in which most of the driver software for peripherals such as printers, scanners and cameras is not loaded into memory. Safe Mode is designed to let users solve problems such as your errant printer's corrupted drivers.

So, shut down the computer and then start it. Hold down the F8 key during the boot-up period. This brings up a screen with various options, including entering Safe Mode.

Once there, you can use the Start/Control Panel/Add and Remove Programs tool to delete the software without complaint.

Next, you need to make sure the drivers are gone even after the un-installation, so give the My Computer icon a right-click and select Properties in the tabbed menu that appears. Open the tab called Hardware in the next menu and then click on the button for Device Manager.

That brings up a list of all of the peripheral equipment attached to the computer over its lifetime. Look for the printer's name, which may be hard to find but it probably will be listed under the last item in the device list that includes USB equipment.

There are a number of other headings where the driver might be found, so you may need to expand the list fully by clicking on the little plus sign alongside each item.

Once you've found it, give a right-click and select the Uninstall option that appears in a pop-up menu. With the software removed and the drivers deleted, your old printer will be exorcised to make room for the new one.

I am being bugged by my computer. At various Web sites I get a "line error" message asking me if I wish to debug. It takes several clicks on "no" to get rid of it. When I try "yes" just to give in, I get an error message that it can't debug.

I am running Vista on a new computer but had the same problem with Windows XP on my old computer.

How can I stop being bugged?

- Diane Farrell

You have a lot of company in your frustration with these debug messages. They're meant for programmers rather than proper people. The fix is easy but hardly intuitive.

Open the Microsoft Internet Explorer Web browser and click on Tools in the command bar and then open the Internet Options item. In the tabbed menu, open the one for Advanced. You will get a display of a couple dozen options, each with a check box. You need to put checks in the boxes for "Disable Script Debugging" for the Internet Explorer and for Other.

This tool is used by people creating Web pages to find errors, and it is enabled far too often in computers sold to the general public.

Jim Coates writes for the Chicago Tribune.

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