I heard about a shortcut that you could create to quickly start a new e-mail message without having to open my e-mail program (Outlook Express). Do you know what I am talking about and how to do it?
This question was answered on November 8, 1999. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
Shortcuts are a great way to launch programs or utilities without having to click on a dozen items Windows 95/98/NT as well as most “Internet aware” operating systems can recognize Internet based statements and act upon them as shortcuts The statement “mailto:” for instance, is a signal to your computer to launch your e-mail program and start a new message In a previous column, I gave instructions on how to create a shortcut on your desktop to your favorite web sites The same basic steps apply to creating a shortcut on your desktop for e-mail Right-click on any blank area of your desktop (the initial screen that has “My Computer” etc.) then select “New” then “shortcut” This will open the “Create shortcut” window with the cursor blinking in the “Command line:” box Type “mailto:” without the quotation marks (but do include the colon), then click on Next You will then be prompted to give the new shortcut a name; I use “New e-mail message” Once you have given it a name, click on Finish to complete the process To test the icon simply double-click it and it should open a new e-mail message If you are an AOL user, this method will not work for you because the AOL e-mail program is part of their proprietary system and must be launched from within the AOL program
Another useful shortcut that you can create on your desktop is one to immediately activate your screen saver Many of you use your screen saver with the password option activated as a form of security to keep prying eyes from getting at your files when you are not there In most cases, however, your screen saver is set to go off only after a period of inactivity such as 5 minutes By creating a shortcut you can activate it anytime that you would like Screen saver files all have the *.scr extension and generally reside in your C:\Windows\System folder Double-click My Computer, then on The C: drive, then on the Windows folder, then on the System folder You can group all of your screen saver files together by clicking on the “View” menu, then on “Arrange Icons” then on “by Type” Scroll down the list of files while watching the “Type” column until you get to the Screen Savers Right-click and drag the desired screen saver to your desktop Be sure to right-click and drag, because a left-click and drag will move the file instead of creating a shortcut When you release the mouse button, you should be presented with multiple options Always choose the “Create Shortcut(s) here” option You can now simply double-click this new shortcut anytime that you want to launch your screen saver!
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Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on November 8, 1999