Organizing Your PC Part 1

An attendee at the Boca Raton Computer Society (BRCS) April 2006 meeting Q&A session asked how they could organize things on their PC so that they can be found later.

Just yesterday a coworker was asking me how I knew where to find what I am looking for when I have 7 or 8 programs going at the same time, this is just the way I work.

The above gave me the idea to start this multi-part series on how I organize my PC from top to bottom. I am sure anyone reading this has their opinion also, I just know that how I do it works for me.

The first thing for me is to organize my workspace.

I like to have a clean desktop to begin with. The picture above is from my home XP desktop PC, but is very similar to my both my 9x and XP laptops, as well as my Suse Linux playground.

As you can see I have hidden by desktop icons. You can do this in XP by right clicking a blank area of the screen, left click on Arrange Icons By and then uncheck Show Desktop Icons. To make your desktop icons visible once again follow the same process, except now you want to check Show Desktop Icons.

I use an 1152×864 pixel resolution, because I want to have the most room available, that is still readable, for me to work in. I know that this will not work with most people, but the same principle applies no matter what the resolution. Why ruin a nice background with a lot of icons, when you can just as easily access your icons via the Desktop toolbar or the Quick Launch toolbar, which will be the topic of my next installment in the Organizing your PC series.

Faxing and XP

This morning one of my coworkers, who just got a new XP machine, said he was fooling around and somehow got something asking him if he wanted to set up faxing on his computer, he said he did not know he could fax right from his machine.

I told him that most new computers come standard with a fax modem and XP (most versions of 9x also)comes with fax software, though it is not typically installed with the default installation.

He then asked how would he do this as he has his ISP through the cable company. I informed him that he would have to hook up to his fax modem with a telephone connection and it would not interfere with his online access through the cable and that I do the same thing with my DSL connection with no problems.

If you have Windows XP and a computer with a fax modem you to can send and receive faxes right from your computer, without the need of a separate fax machine or special software.

Note: If you are on a dial up connection, you will have to disconnect your online service to send or receive a fax.

Here are some links, from Microsoft, to help you get faxing up and running with XP:

How to enable and configure the Fax service in Windows XP

How to Send a Fax in Windows XP

How to receive a fax in Windows XP

How to fax a scanned document or image in Windows XP

For even more information try the results of Google search: “Windows XP” “how to fax”

XP Command Prompt Shortcut

I know I am a throwback, but even in these days of graphical everything, I still prefer to use the command line for some things such as utilities and older software. (Yes you can get older software to work in Win 9x and XP, with some fiddling around.)

To that end, I find it useful to have a shortcut readily available. The easy way to do this in XP is as follows:

Click Start, All Programs, Accessories, Right Click on Command Prompt (at least that is where I have usually found it) click Send To and then Desktop (Create Shortcut).

Now you have a shortcut to the command prompt easily available.

For even easier access, find the shortcut you created on the desktop and drag and drop to the Quick Launch Toolbar, provided of course that you use the toolbar.