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47 Little-known

Computer Secrets

That Saves You Time and Money 

Created for our valued and
important customers

Did you ever want to print out a dialog box for future use?  Well, here’s how you do it.
When a dialog box is on your screen, press these two keys at the same time: ALT and Print Screen (usually in the upper right hand area of your keyboard).  Voila’ nothing happened, right?  Well, you just took a picture of your dialog box and copied it into your clipboard for pasting.  Now all you have to do is open a program like Microsoft Word and Paste it in.  Click the Edit menu, select Paste.  TaDaa!  And if you want your entire screen from corner to corner captured, just press the Print Screen button alone and it is captured into your Windows clipboard ready for pasting. 

This can be a great help when you want to remember your exact settings, taking notes and for training others.


How to create special characters like •, ®, ™, ¼, ½, ¾, ¢

Once you discover how to do this, you’ll be able to use them in virtually any Windows based program.  Character Map is a little-know program that is usually (but not always) installed with Windows.  It shows you all the characters you have available.  Look in the bottom right-hand corner of this dialog box.  Do you see that “Keystroke” code?  Alt+0188 is the shortcut to ¼.  If you don’t have this program installed (if it’s there its somewhere in the Programs, Accessories area) you have to install it through Add/Remove programs in the Control Panel.  Look for adding Windows® Components. 

Just in case you want a shortcut, we’ll give you a quick list of the more popular ones.  All you have to do is hold down the ALT key and press the corresponding numbers on your NUMBER Keypad on the right of the keyboard (you can’t use the numbers on the top line of your keyboard).































Fast Internet address entry

When using Internet Explorer and the Internet address you want to enter is something like this: http://www.something.com here’s a great shortcut. Just type in the something, then press the CTRL key at the same time as the Enter key. Voila’ it adds the http://www and the .com. This will save you approximately 1, 233,010 keystrokes per year ;-).

Use a fax server for busy offices

If your office is one of those that use the fax machine a lot, you may be a strong candidate for a fax server.  A fax server is a dedicated computer that allows any user on your network to send out and receive faxes using fax software like WinFax Pro. 

This method saves users from constantly getting up from their desk and running over to the fax machine.  It also rids your office of those lost faxes because of paper, toner or ink problems.  All received faxes are in a list that can be reprinted at any time.  Likewise, all sent faxes have their sent status listed in case a recipient claims they haven’t received it.  Contact our staff for more details and for help to determine if your office is a good candidate for this.

Use the scroll wheel on your mouse for more

We all know that the scroll wheel on your mouse can scroll a page up and down, but did you know it’s other uses? 

In many programs, holding the CTRL button on your keyboard down while scrolling can zoom the page in and out. On many web pages using Internet Explorer, holding the CTRL key enlarges or decreases the font size. Note that not all pages allow this because of their coding, but many do and it can really come in handy. And an extension on the scrolling functionality, press down the scroll wheel and you will see an image like this show up on your screen. Moving your cursor away from this speeds up and slows down the speed of scrolling. This can be useful on long pages that you want to read on screen.

Memory speeds up your computer

Imagine you have more work than the top of your desk will hold.  You have to keep taking things off and putting things on.  You may even have to remove important tools like stapler, tape dispenser, 3 hole punches and the like to make room for the workload.  What happens?  Your pace is slowed.  You are constantly removing and replacing things on your desktop.

This scenario is similar to your computer’s memory.  If you don’t have enough memory to store all of the files and programs that you need open, the computer has to remove tools and jockey files around.  This slows your computer’s pace. 

The solution for the desktop scenario is to get a bigger desktop so constant swapping of tools and work is eliminated.  The solution in your computer is adding memory so swapping of files, programs and resources is eliminated too.  Many office workers do not have enough memory for the work they are doing.  Adding memory simply speeds up work for these users.

Memory is very affordable right now, and we don’t charge to install it (most systems) when you bring it to our office.  This can be done while you wait.

Speed up your computer with these other tips

1.        Reduce the amount of icons on your desktop.  The more icons you have up on your desktop, the longer the computer takes to boot up.  You can organize your Start menu in a variety of ways to help with this issue.  Besides, having to minimize windows to start a program is not very efficient.

2.        Reduce the amount of fonts you have installed.  If you have more than about 200 or so fonts, your system is slowing down and taking up unnecessary memory.  Take a look in your fonts folder to see if there are any fonts that you can do without.  It is usually in the C:\Windows (or WINNT)\Fonts folder.

3.        Upgrade your hardware.  Many computers (especially industry-standard ones from Demand Systems) have many ways to upgrade and greatly increase the performance.  For example, current Intel® motherboards allow you to use a processor that costs $59 and all the way up to over $600.  This means you may be able to greatly improve the speed of your computer with one simple change that can usually be done at our store while you wait – or at your office in moments.  There are other items that can be upgraded, call us for a free estimate if you’re not sure.

4.        Turn off visual effects for Windows.  Look in Control Panel, Display and select the “Effects” tab at the top of the dialog box (this varies in different versions of Windows, so you may have to look around in the Display properties to find it).  If you uncheck each of those items, it can improve the speed of your computer – sometimes quite noticeably.

Decrease downtime a Windows XP Upgrade

Did you know that Windows XP is reported to be 50 times more crash-proof than Windows 98?  That’s 5000% better!  XP is built on the very reliable and widely tested platform of Windows 2000. 

Many workers “work around” problems and are frequently forced to reboot the computer to get work done.  Windows XP could be the solution to keep these workers more productive.  Get advice from our staff about this.  Some computers are NOT good candidates, so check with us first.

Stop wasting time with ineffective backups

Because of the increased causes for data loss today, more companies are losing their data.  We recently spoke with one local company that lost 14 years of company data and could not retrieve it.  The frequency of these issues is rising every day.

And, what most small businesses do to backup their data is often not enough to keep their data safe.  Employees are backing up on CD’s, ZIP! Drives and floppies.  This has potential for problems because of the reliability of the media and the irregularity of the backups.  Additionally, full data backup is not occurring on a regular basis.

An excellent solution for many companies that have more than 3 or 4 computers networked is a central backup that is automated for daily backup.  Typically one computer is designated as a “File Server,” this is a central computer that all users store their important data that is to be backed up.  Then each night after hours, the backup device backs up all the files needed for a complete disaster recovery.

Many companies have chose to use our remote backup services which will backup your company data to our server is a remote location nightly and email you upon completion.  Tape backups are also very effective if you have someone rotating the tapes on a daily basis and taking to an offsite location.

This method streamlines the backup process and makes it much more effective.  Your company can save time each day during the backup process, produce a complete data backup and prevent a total disaster.  Disaster recovery could cost your company tremendous money and time to recover without a good backup system like this.

If you need advice and consultation of which avenue for an effective, time-saving backup is appropriate for you, please give us a call.  We can keep you up-to-date on your choices and provide effective solutions.


Stop programs from starting up with Windows

Many of today’s programs seem to want to be started when Windows starts up.  This can be annoying and in no time, you can have too many programs starting up on boot up.  So, what can you do?

The best way is prevention.  Customize the installation of the program so it won’t start at boot up.  Not all programs offer this choice, but most do.  When installing a program you may be asked to make the program available at startup.  You may have to really study the choices during installation to find it.  Sometimes, you will have to choose a Custom installation button instead of Standard.  Look around, you will find it in most cases.

Another way is to open the main program that is loaded automatically and look for options or preferences.  Poke around until you find an option that allows you to turn off the load at startup option.  It is usually there somewhere, and because there are so many program variations, we can’t tell you one place for all programs.  You’ll just have to explore the options, and maybe the programs help file.

Finally, there are the least-preferred options of stopping the program from loading by deleting it from the startup places.  First, click Start, Programs and navigate to the Startup folder.  If the item you want to stop loading at startup is in there, just right-click on it and select Delete from the little popup menu. 

If it’s not there, most Windows versions have a program called System Configuration Utility that allows you to turn on or off the items in the startup.  To do this, click Start, Run, then type MSCONFIG and press enter/ok.  This brings up the program, now look for the tab at the top called Startup.  Now you can uncheck any program that you don’t want to start up with Windows.

Here are a couple important notes on this last method.  One, this is a more extreme method for stopping programs from loading.  It is best to stop it the other ways we mentioned above.  Two, you should not uncheck programs you are not sure of, especially your antivirus and firewall programs.  If you’re not sure, give us a call, we’d be glad to provide clearer direction.

The secret uses of the Windows Key

Here are a few great uses for that Windows key found on most recent keyboards between the CTRL and ALT keys.


Imitates clicking the Start button, use the arrow keys to navigate

 + F

Opens the Windows Find or Search program to find files on your computer

+ E

Opens Windows Explorer, the file manager for Windows

+ R

Opens the Run command

+ M

Minimizes all open programs

+ D

Toggles the minimizing and maximizing all open programs


Opens the Device Manager (for advanced users)

Uses for the ALT key

ALT + F4 keys closes open programs

ALT + Tab allows you to cycle through open programs

ALT + Esc cycles through open programs

ALT + the Underlined letter in menus opens that menu

Common CTRL key uses - most programs


To Copy a selection


To Cut a selection


To Paste a selection


To Undo the last command


To select all in a list or text


To make a text selection Bold


To make a text selection Italic


To make a text selection Underlined


To center text


To right justify text


To left justify text

Internet tips that save you time


How To

To open a new window of Internet Explorer

Press CTRL + N

To open a link in a new window of Internet Explorer

Right-Click on the link and select "Open in new window" or hold the Shift key down while you click on the link.

Keyboard shortcut to get to the URL address line in IE

Press Alt + D, now you can just begin typing over the highlighted URL

To add your favorite, regularly visited links on the Links Bar in Internet Explorer

Grab the icon at the beginning of the URL address and drag it to the link bar.  If your link bar is not present, right-click on any of the standard icons and select Links.

To add a list of Links on the links bar under one main folder in Internet Explorer

Click Favorite, Organize Favorites.  Double-click on the Links folder, click on Create Folder, name it what you want and hit Enter.

To rename or organize links or folders on your Links Bar in Internet Explorer

Right-click on the link or the folder, and select one of the options such as rename, delete, etc.

To change your home page in Internet Explorer

Click Tools, Internet Options and on the General tab, in Home Page area select your desired page, or click Use Blank for no page when you open IE.

To start or stop saving passwords on web pages using Internet Explorer

Click Tools, Internet Options and on the Content tab, select the button AutoComplete.  There are several options here to examine.  Choose your desired options.

Internet Explorer's AutoComplete function stores data that you have typed into forms.  If you want to remove one item from this list, rather than the whole list.

On the form that has the data you want deleted, double click on the form field.  You will see the list appear, scroll down with the arrow keys to the word you want to delete, then press the delete key while you are highlighted on it.

To send a link to a page you are viewing in Internet Explorer to a friend

While you are on the page you want to send, click the Mail button at the top of IE and select "Send a Link."

Keyboard shortcut in Internet Explorer to open the find utility and find words in the open page


The best tip of them all…

Use Demand Systems for all of your office computer and technology service needs.  Our company slogan is "When Your Company Demands Technology That Runs Right.”

We want your life with your technology to go smoothly.  We start by building the very best quality computers that you can find around, and Yes, they are better and more affordable than Dell.

We then, provide the very best, unsurpassed service around.  You simply cannot get the level of support and attention from the big computer companies that you can from Demand Systems.  We’re local, we’re quality, we’re friendly and above all we are very helpful.

Give us a call today to find out how we can make your life with your technology become smoother, more dependable and less problematic.



“When Your Company Demands Technology That Runs Right”

569 D Constitution Ave. Camarillo, CA  93012

(805) 482-7900

Serving Ventura County since 1984. Website © Copyright 2009 Demand Systems™.