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Tech 101 | Tech Q&A

Making a Clean Sweep of IE Address Box

February 08, 2001|DAVE WILSON |

Q: My Internet Explorer address box has many, many URLs, plus several nonsense letter items I want to get rid of. I have not been able to find any way to do this. Can you please tell me where to look for information or how to accomplish this?

A: The friendly geeks at Q&A labs have a solution for you, though we don't know of any way to do anything but wipe out all those records without doing some heavy lifting.

Assuming you're using Internet Explorer 5.0 (this will work with other versions as well, but we've tested it with IE 5), you can open up Internet Options in the Control Panel. Or in IE itself, go to the Tools menu at the top and open up Internet Options. Under the General tab is a button labeled Clear History. Hitting the button will clear your browser's history and completely empty the address bar. You might also want to punch the button above it that deletes temporary Internet files.

Q: I'm having a problem that no one seems to be able to handle. I have a Celeron 500 with 128 megabytes of RAM. I'm using the original version of Windows 98. My computer was programmed to do the following pertaining to audio CDs: You put the audio CD in the CD drive and it starts automatically. When I do that now I get a message that states the following: "Windows cannot find Play.exe. This program is needed for opening files on audio CD." I cannot find a copy of Play.exe on my drive. I have asked friends to look for same on their computers and they have found no such animal. Your advice would be appreciated.

A: We salute your excellent description of the symptoms. We're always grateful when people help us help them. Please join us in publicly mocking the fellow who mailed us the following question this week: "My CD doesn't work. How do I fix it?"

The problem you're experiencing is quite common among those who have installed, or installed and removed, such programs as RealAudio. To fix it, you'll need to modify some file types, probably CD Audio Tracks and possibly Audio CD. What you're doing here is pointing the file associations for your CD audio software to the CD player built into Windows, which should be something like "cdplayer.exe." Be sure to make extensive backups before doing anything like this.

To change which program starts when you open a file, open up My Computer and go to the View menu on top. Click Folder Options. Click the File Types tab. In the list of file types, click the one you want to change. Hit the Edit button. In Actions, double-click the word in the box, which should be Play. This should open up the Edit box. If not, hit Edit. In the empty box labeled "Application used to perform action," enter the program you want to use to open files that have this extension (it should read something like "C:WINDOWScdplayer.exe /play") and then click OK.

Q: My taskbar in Windows 95 has always been horizontal at the bottom of the screen with Start at the left and the time at the right. For no apparent reason, it suddenly shifted clockwise 90 degrees to a vertical position with Start at the top and the time at the bottom. Help.

A: The taskbar can be placed in various locations around the screen. To make it move, left-click on a blank portion--that's the important part--and then slowly drag it in the general direction you'd like it to move: left, right, up or down.

It should suddenly snap into place against the edge of the screen in whatever direction your cursor is moving. Be careful that you don't shove the taskbar down so low against the edge of the monitor that it disappears, or you'll have to tease the edge back up and drag it into the proper position.


Dave Wilson is The Times' personal technology columnist. Submit questions to Tech Q&A at

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