In computing there is little actual real innovation, just a lot of reinvention of the same ideas. So those of us who have been using computers for while see a lot of techniques repeated. For example, in 1989 I used Word Perfect 4.2, a word processing program that used commands called Codes to tell the printer how to format a document. When you pressed Alt+F3 to "Reveal Codes" you saw something like this: My dog's name is [BOLD]Fred[bold]. And you knew the word Fred would be in bold type. To remove the bold formatting, you could just delete the code around Fred.
Now with the brave new world of the Internet, you have a formatting language called HTML that's used to create Web pages. To create the same sentence on a web page, you'd see: My dog's name is <b>Fred</b>. And Fred would be bold again. To unbold Fred, you remove the codes. (Sound familiar?)
Along the same lines, I figure when something works, you should stick with it. I feel this way about my desktop. Windows 98 was a big improvement over Windows 95 in terms of stability. But a lot of the new default options just get in the way. So to streamline your work environment, try changing these settings:
- Get Rid of the Active Desktop: I consider the Active desktop a dumb idea. If you hate it too, right-click anywhere on your desktop and choose Active DesktopCustomize My Desktop. Click the Web tab and remove the checkmarks next to Internet Explorer Channel Bar and View my Active Desktop as a Web page.
- Show All Your Files: By default, Windows doesn't show you all of your files or their information in My Computer or Windows Explorer. (How stupid is that?) So choose Start|Settings|Folder Options. Click Custom based on the settings you choose then click the View tab. Make sure that there is no check mark next to Hide File extensions for known file types, and there is a checkmark next to Show File Attributes in Detail View. Also be sure under Hidden Files that Show all files is selected. Click the Apply and Reset All Folders buttons.
If there's something you dislike about how Windows works, odds are you can change it. Most software features don't really go away, they just get more difficult to find.