Q. When I moved from Windows 95 to Windows 2000, I was introduced to the My Documents folder. We were encouraged to use this folder structure for all local data since our local support group would back it up if a system rebuild was required. I've had two such events since November 2002 so using My Documents has been beneficial. However, when I launch Windows Explorer, it always expands the Start menu or the C: drive. Is there a way to force the default to land on the My Documents folder, which is where I'm going in Explorer 95 percent of the time? Procedures: I usually right-click on the Start button and select EXPLORE. Rarely do I go through START/Programs/Accessories/Windows Explorer. Most always I am running other applications at the same time.
A. Do this: Run Explorer as you normally would. Navigate to your My Documents folder, but do not open it. Click the My Documents folder once to select it. Then using the right mouse click, drag (holding down the right mouse key) it to an empty area on your Desktop. When you release you will be presented with a contextual menu. Select "Create Shortcut(s) Here." Now you can just click on the newly created Desktop shortcut to go right to the My Documents folder.
Here's another way to do the same thing: Right-click any open area of your Desktop. Choose New, Shortcut. Click the Browse button to navigate to your My Documents folder. Click the My Documents folder and click OK. Click the Next button, then the Finish button.
What runs at startup?
Q. I thought I had read a column concerning what processes run automatically when Windows XP starts. I've looked in Task Manager and can't make heads or tails out of the items listed.
A. Look for the Sept. 8 column in the Personal Tech archives at www.sptimes.com/Technology/archive. shtml. It explains most of the operating system processes you'll see in Task Manager.
For processes you don't recognize, a simple Internet search will usually return lots of information regarding the process' identification and purpose.
This is an important area that any informed PC user needs to become familiar with. Once you become familiar with your normal running environment, rogue processes such as viruses and spyware that escape detection are easy to spot in Task Manager.
Configuring startup items
Q. MSCONFIG does not seem to work on Windows 2000 Professional. Do you have a different command that will?
A. MSCONFIG is not a Windows 2000 program. Instead, you have to run the Computer Management module (Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Computer Management). Click to expand System Information, Software Environment, then Startup Programs.
On a Windows 2000 or XP PC, you also have to check the Services. You may find it easier to download a program called "AutoRuns" from www.sysinternals.com (click the Utilities link).
You cannot change startup programs from either of these tools. You'll need to go directly to the Startup group and Services (Administrative Tools). For processes that start up from your registry, you'll need to edit the entries found at these registry keys:
Finding Ad-Aware and Spybot
Q. I surely could use Ad-Aware or Spybot. How do I find them please? A lost soul on the Net
A. Go to www.pcworld.com/downloads/ and click on the Most Popular Utilities link. You'll see both AdAware and Spybot. I like Spybot. However, either one will help rid your system of spyware. Download either of them and follow the directions.