Turning Off Mis-Features of Windows
Many features added by Microsoft to the Windows operating system are damaging to productivity and should generally be turned off by serious users. The best example is Personalized Menus, which go against the very purpose of menus by hiding from you the full range of available functionality. Some people do not know these features can be turned off and fight against them day-after-day. Others know they can be turned off but can't remember where Microsoft have hidden the controls.
On this page, I intend to collect suggestions for turning a new installation of Windows into a decent working environment somewhat like Windows 98SE. You may disagree with my choices, so at each step I'll tell you what I'm doing and why and you can make the call.
- Right-click on the desktop and select Properties from the pop-up. The Display Properties dialog appears. Many important controls, some having little to do with the display, are hidden here.
- In the Display Properties dialog, select the Themes tab.
- In the Theme: pick list, select Windows Classic. Windows will now have the lean, businesslike appearance of Windows 98SE.
- In the Display Properties dialog, select the Desktop tab.
- In the Background: pane, select (None). This will give you a plain colored background rather than a distracting image. You can use the Color: control to select a color.
- Click Customize Desktop. The Desktop Items dialog appears.
- On the General tab, uncheck Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard every 60 days. This will prevent Windows accusing you of not knowing what icons should and shouldn't be on your desktop.
- In the Display Properties dialog, select the Screen Saver tab.
- Click Power.... The Power Options Properties dialog appears.
- On the Advanced tab, select the actions you want the computer to take when you press the power and sleep buttons or close the lid (as applicable). Also decide whether you want to have to re-enter any password when the computer resumes from the standby state.
- In the Display Properties dialog, select the Appearance tab and click Effects....
- Uncheck Use the following transition effect for menus and tooltips:. Menus and tooltips will now snap onto the screen, just as they should, and be ready to use immediately.
- Uncheck Show shadows under menus. Menus will now just have their normal 3-D appearance and not waste resources by being decorated with shadows.
- Uncheck Show window contents while dragging. When you drag a window, you will just see an outline of the window move around with the cursor to the new position.
- Uncheck Hide underlined letters for keyboard navigation until I press the Alt key. You will now be able to see and learn keyboard shortcuts and decide whether or not to use them.
Taskbar and Start Menu
- Click Start, select Settings and then Taskbar and Start Menu in the pop-up. The Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog appears.
- In the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog, select the Taskbar tab.
- Check Auto-hide the taskbar. This will make the taskbar shrink to a thin line at the bottom of the screen when you are not using it and so increase available screen space.
- Check Keep the taskbar on top of other windows. This will make sure that the taskbar is always available, even if you maximize an application window.
- In the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog, select the Start Menu tab.
- Select Classic Start menu.
- Click Customize.... The Customize Classic Start Menu dialog appears.
- In the Advanced Start menu options: pane, scroll down to the bottom and uncheck Use Personalized Menus. You will now be able to see all items on menus as soon as you bring them down.
- Also, check Show Small Icons in Start menu. This will remove the advertising on the first-level menu when you click Start and make entries the same size as second and subsequent level menus.