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The Cutting Edge | Tech Q&A

Sharing That Wondrous Web Page With a Special Friend Is Only an E-Mail Away

May 11, 2000|JEFF LEVY

Question: I often find Web pages that would be of interest to friends and co-workers. Is there a way to send these pages in an e-mail?

--Don L, Calabasas

Answer: Open the Web page you wish to send. If you use Netscape, click on "File" and then on "Send." You can send that Web page by e-mail. If you use Microsoft Internet Explorer click on "File" and then on "Send." You can then send that Web page to anyone via e-mail. You can also send a link to that page via e-mail. And you can create a desktop shortcut to that page on your computer.

Seeing Is Believing for Those 'X-Files'

Q: I hear about hidden files in Windows. What are they and how can I see them? Why are they hidden?

--Gilbert C, Encino

A: There are hidden files in several Windows folders. Files are hidden from your view so you don't accidentally delete them. Computer files can be assigned "attributes" that make them different from standard computer files. Attributes can make files "read only," so your computer can read them but can't delete or change them. Attributes can make files "system" files that are then identified as being necessary for Windows to work properly. Attributes can make a file "hidden" so you can't see them when you open Explore.

There are two ways you can view hidden files. You can right-click on "My Computer" and then click on "Explore." Click on "View" and then select "Folder Options." Click on the view tab and then click in the circle next to "Show All Files." Click "OK." Now you can see both hidden and system files in addition to all the regular files in any folder. If you work well in DOS, click on "Start" and then on "Run."

In the open box type "Command" (without the quotes) and click "OK" or press "Enter." To find hidden files in your root (default) hard drive directory, type DIR /AH and press enter. The specifies the root directory, while the /AH brings up only hidden files. To check the Windows directory for hidden files, just type DIR WINDOWS /AH /S /P and press enter. The Windows forces a directory of the Windows folder, while again the /AH specifies only hidden files. The /S forces Windows to check any sub-directories under Windows for hidden files, and the /P stops the screen from scrolling more than one at a time.

You will be prompted to press any key to move to the next screen. Type the word "Exit" at the DOS prompt to get back into Windows.

Computer Clipboard Works Like Real Thing

Q: What exactly is a "clipboard" in Windows? How would I use it?

--Adam L, Encino

A: Windows uses a file called "clipboard" to store things that you cut or copy. For example, if you highlight a Web site URL (Universal Recourse Locater, a Web address) or any part of a document, you can click on "Edit" and then select "Cut" or "Copy."

Once you have placed the information in your clipboard, you can "paste" it anywhere else by placing your cursor where you want the information to appear and then clicking on "Edit" and then on "Paste." You can use keyboard shortcuts to do the same thing. Press Ctrl + X to cut, Ctrl + C to copy and Ctrl+ V to paste. Once you add something to the clipboard by cutting or copying, the previous information stored there is lost.

Salvaging Damaged Floppy Disks

Q: I have several important files on a 3 1/2-inch floppy disk. The last time I removed it from my computer, I damaged the metal portion of the disk that goes inside the computer. I'm afraid to put the disk back in because I may not be able to get the disk out again. What should I do?

--Ken M, San Marino

A: The metal piece on your floppy disk functions as a cover and protects the disk media inside. When you insert the disk into drive A, the cover slides back to expose the disk media so the floppy drive can read and write to the disk. You can slide the cover back and look at the disk inside. When that metal cover is damaged, just gently remove it from the disk. It will pop right off.

Now place the disk in the floppy disk drive and double-click on "My Computer." Highlight drive A and right-click. Select "Copy Disk." The default setting lets Windows copy from drive A: to drive A:. Click OK and insert a fresh new formatted disk when Windows prompts you to do so. Now you can throw away that damaged floppy disk.

A Shortcut for 'Control' Freaks

Q: I seem to use "Control Panel" frequently for various tasks as I use my computer. Is there a fast way to open control panel when I'm working with a document or using the Internet?

--Barbara B, Anaheim

A: The fastest way to open control panel from anywhere is to create a shortcut key that when pressed will open control panel. Here's how it's done.

Right-click on your desktop. Select "New" and then "Shortcut." In the Command line box type "Control" (without the quote marks) and click "OK." Now type "Control Panel" to name the shortcut and then click "Finish."

Click once on the new shortcut to highlight it, and then right-click on it. Select "Properties" and open the shortcut tab. Place your cursor on the word "None" in the shortcut key box and click once. Now press a "Function" key (e.g. F12). Click "OK."

Now, any time you need access to control panel, just press the function key you selected in the setup we just did. Your control panel opens, no matter where you are working on the system.


Jeff Levy hosts the "On Computers" radio talk show from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on KFI-AM (640). He can be reached at

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