SHCC WYSIWYG Article from April 2001

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This article appeared in the April 2001 WYSIWYG newsletter.

Windows Changes to Reduce Computer Difficulties

by Jack Vander-Schrier

During my weekly classes at the Shelby Senior Center, and also at the various organizations I speak at, I get quite a few comments from computer users about their difficulty using their computer.  I'm speaking of physical difficulties, such as small print, double clicks and so on.   The question I get is how can I make my computer easier to use?   These tips are for those of you that are using Windows 98, and some of the tips can be used on Windows 95.  If you have Windows ME, just click on start, then on programs, then on accessories, and click on the accessibility wizard to make things easier for you.

In Windows 95 and 98, click on your start button, then on settings, then on control panel and finally on accessibility options.

The first tab is for the keyboard changes that you can make.  If you have a difficult time hitting the CTRL key and another key such as F9, then turn on "sticky keys".  Once it is turned on, when you press the CTRL key it will pretend that the key is down, and will keep it down until you press the next key.  Therefore, when you press CTRL then the F9, its like pressing them at the same time. 

If you are typing a letter and all of a sudden you get a lot of doubbbblllleee characters, it could be that you are pressing the keys to long. This can be changed by changing the FILTER KEYS, which will ignore brief or repeated key strokes.   You can also slow the repeat rate, so that the characters will only start repeating if you keep the key pressed. 

Have you ever hit the Caps Lock key or NUM lock key by accident and forgot it was on?  Then click on Toggle Keys and you will be able to add sounds to those key presses.  You might even want to record a small file with your Sound Recorder and say "CAPS LOCK ON" and assign it to the Caps Lock key. 

The next tab is the SOUND tab.  In this tab you can generate visual warnings when your system makes a sound, in case you can't hear the sound or you have your speakers turned off.  You can also allow your programs to display captions for the speech and sounds they make.  This only works with certain programs but it is worth a chance if you have this problem.

The next tab is the Display tab.  If you are having a hard time reading your screen because the contrast is hard for you to see in case of color blind people, or the letters are to small, then click   on this tab and adjust the settings to different types of screen setups to make your screen easier to read.

The next tab is the Mouse tab.  By checking this box, you will be able to use your numeric keypad on your keyboard as a mouse.  You just hold down the 8 key and the mouse moves up, and the 2 key and the mouse moves down.  

The last tab is the General Tab. What this allows your computer to do is to turn off these features after the computer is idle for a period of time, or to give you a message if you turn the keys on accidentally.

The last suggestion is for those of you that are having problems with double clicking. Your double click speed can be changed by clicking on start, then on settings, then on control panel, then on mouse.  On this screen you can change your mouse from right handed to left handed, and also change the double click speed.  The default setting starts out right in the middle. Moving the slider to the right will speed up the clicking required, and moving the slider to the left will slow it down.  Mine is all the way to the left so I can have 5 seconds between clicks if I want. If you click on the Motion tab at the top of the dialog box, you can also add mouse trails so you can see that little cursor flying across your screen.

Finally, if you want to get rid of the double click completely, do a right click on your desktop, then a left click on active desktop, then left click on customize desktop.  At the bottom of the dialog box there is a tab which says "Folder Options".  Do a left click on this tab, and another screen will appear, entitled folder options.  Do a left click next to "Custom settings", and do a left click on settings.  At the bottom of this dialog box, you will see "Click items as follows".  Do a left click into the box next to Single-click to open an item, and you won't ever have to double click again.

I hope you enjoyed these tips.  If you have any questions about them please send me an email.  I'm always looking for subjects for this column and for the SIG meetings. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to send them to me at

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