Monthly Questions & Answers For Windows XP

I can't see part of my picture that I use for my background Wallpaper on my Desktop because of all of the icon pictures that are covering it. How can I move my icons out of the way?

Like with so many Windows XP solutions, there are many different options that you have to move your icons. Listed below are only a couple. First you need to know if your icons are set to auto arrange.

To find out if the icons are set to auto arrange:

  • Go to an open area of the Desktop
  • Right mouse click on an open space and move the cursor to highlight the option "Arrange Icons By >"
  • From this menu you can adjust whether the icons should be auto arranged and how they should be arranged.
  • From this menu, if "Auto Arrange" is checked, the icons will automatically be arranged.

If the icons are set to auto arrange:

  • Depending on your screen resolution, a certain number of icons fit in each auto-arranged column along the desktop. For example, if your resolution is set to 800 x 600 pixels, 7 icons fit in each column. More icons, however, can fit into a column giving more space for the Desktop Wallpaper by adjusting the icon spacing.
  • Right mouse click on an open area of the Desktop and then click "Properties"
  • In the Display Properties dialog box, click the "Appearance" tab, and then click "Advanced"
  • In the Item box, click "Icon Spacing (Vertical)"
  • Decrease the size, click "OK", and then click "Apply" to see the result on screen
  • Click "OK" when the sizing is correct

If they are not set to auto arrange:

  • From the Desktop move the cursor over an icon that you want to move
  • Left mouse click once and hold down the key highlighting the icon
  • While holding down the mouse key, drag the icon to an area of the Desktop where it is more appropriate.
  • Release the mouse key and the icon should stay in place.

Please remember that these are just a few options of many. Thanks for the great question!

My Menu in XP seems to Fade and is slower that in Windows 98, Why?

This fade is a new "feature" to help make Windows XP friendlier. Once nice thing that Microsoft does in Windows XP is it allows the user to turn off many of the new "features". This feature does slow then menu down. To speed the menu up:

  • From the Windows XP Start menu, click "Start", click "Control Panel", click "Performance and Maintenance", and the click "System"
  • Click the "Advanced" tab, and under Performance, click the "Settings" button
  • Clear the "Fade or slide menus into view" check box, and then click "OK"

This is a super question to help improve productivity, Thanks!

I have been told to create a Restore Point before installing Windows XP updates. What is Restore Point?

Restore Point is a super new feature of Windows XP that should be used before installing any new major Software or Hardware. Windows XP makes it easy for you to take a snapshot of critical system files before you make any major changes. Using restore points, however, is not a backup for your personal files like My Documents. Windows XP should automatically create system restore points approximately every 24 hours or when new software is installed, called system checkpoints. It is good habit to create your own Restore Points to make it even easier for recovering your system in case of a failure. To create restore points:

  • From the Windows XP Start menu, click "Start", "All Programs", "Accessories", "System Tools", and then click "System Restore"
  • In the System Restore window, click "Create a restore point", and then click "Next"
  • Type a description for your restore point, such as "Before Office XP Service Pack 3 Install", and then click "Create".

If your system fails, press F8 in the boot menu, and then click Last known good configuration. Windows XP restores your system to the most recent restore point. It is important to know that System Restore requires 200M-bytes of free space on your hard disk, and by default, it will utilize 12% of your drive's capacity for storing the restore.

Ever since my "expert" friend messed with my computer, I keep getting messages to repair the installation of Windows XP. Microsoft says that I need to reinstall Windows XP. The PC is not working. I do not want to lose all of my data. How do I reinstall Windows XP?

If the PC is new, it is always good to contact the computer vendor to check for their suggestions or to see if they have a restore disk that will fix your PC and still keep your data safe. Reinstalling Windows XP is a serious move, and I would suggest having an experienced friend handy before starting the process.

Microsoft probably meant for you to run a repair installation. Most computers are configured by default to start from the CD-ROM drive. If your computer doesn't, the BIOS will need to be adjusted based on your PC manufacturer's direction.

  • Insert your Windows XP Setup CD, and restart your computer
  • When the "Press any key to boot from CD" message is displayed on your screen, press a key to start your computer from the Windows XP CD
  • Press "ENTER" when you see the message "To setup Windows XP now" and then press "ENTER" displayed on the Welcome to Setup screen
  • Do not choose the option to press R to use the Recovery Console. Recovery and Repair are very different
  • In the Windows XP Licensing Agreement, press "F8" to agree to the license agreement
  • Make sure that your current installation of Windows XP is selected in the box, and then press "R" to repair Windows XP
  • Follow the instructions on the screen to complete Setup

This is a great question and after you do it 80 or 90 times, you will be very comfortable. Please remember, the best way to protect your data is to have and regularly run a backup process.

I have upgraded my Pentium computer from Windows 98 to Windows XP and now I am out of Hard Drive space, why? What can I do?

Great question, disk space on an older computer can be a real problem. An install of Windows 98 usually takes up about 60 megabytes of hard drive space. A full upgrade install of Windows XP can take up over 1000 megabytes of hard drive space. Start with running a new Windows XP Utility called "Clean-up".

  • From the Windows Start menu, click on "Start", "Control Panel", "Performance and Maintenance"
  • Click on "Free up space on your hard drive"
  • A Disk Cleanup Screen will appear stating that it is processing information
  • When finished, the "Disk Cleanup for C:" screen will appear giving suggested automated ways to free up space.
  • The "More Option" tab helps you remove programs, windows components and system restore points that are no longer needed. A general rule on the "More Option" tab is "If you do not know whether you need it, YOU DO and don't delete it.
  • The "Disk Cleanup" tab has safer ways to free up hard drive space and shows how much free space will be achieved by proceeding with this maintenance.
  • Click "OK" to accept the maintenance and "Yes" at the "Are You Sure?" screen.

Another option if extra space is needed is to use the new Windows XP zip compression utility. It can be used to compress individual files and folders on your hard disk. To compress a file or folder:

  • Right-click the file or folder (from Windows Explorer, My Computer or My Documents)
  • Highlight "Send To"
  • Then click Compressed (zipped) Folder
  • A compressed folder, identified by a zipper icon, which displays the same name as the file you compressed will now appear and the original file can be deleted.

You can also create a compressed folder from scratch and anytime you drag a file into it, the file will automatically become compressed.

  • Right-click on an open area of the Desktop
  • Highlight "New"
  • Click "Compressed (zipped) Folder"

Open the new compressed folder and drag files inside that you would like compressed.