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Removing the last of the desktop icons

By JOHN TORRO

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 27, 2000


Q. I would like to get rid of the last few icons on my desktop: the Recycle Bin and My Computer. I don't mind those programs being in my start bar, but I don't like being told I can't remove them from the desktop.

A. These are System icons and normally can't be removed. You can make changes to the registry to remove them and usually I recommend against doing that. However, I can tell that this is really bothering you, so in the spirit of the holiday season, here are the registry modification instructions to remove the icons:

1. Start Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).

2. Select the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key.

3. Navigate to the following location under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key: Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Desktop\NameSpace

4. You will see several hexadecimal strings called CLSIDs. Select each one in turn, and the right pane will show you which icon is being selected.

5. When you have the appropriate icon entry selected for the icon you want to remove from the desktop, export the key by using the Export Registry File command on the Registry menu (this will enable you to restore it later if you decide you wished you hadn't done this).

6. After the key has been exported, delete the registry entry to remove it from the desktop. Click Yes in the confirmation box to complete the icon deletion.

7. Quit Registry Editor, log off and log back on to the computer. When you log on, the icon will no longer be on the desktop and life will be good.

Of course, be sure to make a backup of your registry just in case.

Software, printer conflict

Q. When I go from my Windows 98 desktop to log onto my America Online account, I sometimes receive this message: "A fatal exception -- OE has occurred at 0028:CO28ACIE in VxD VCOMM(04)+ 0000053A. The current application will be terminated." Then I have to restart my computer.

A. VCOMM is part of the Windows communications subsystem that provides protected-mode services allowing Windows-based applications and device drivers to use ports and modems. The error you describe is a known issue for users who have installed Microsoft Plus! For Kids and also have a Hewlett Packard (HP) DeskJet 682 printer. The recommendation is to upgrade to the latest version of the printer drivers from HP. You can find these at HP's Web site (www.hp.com). You also may want to check your modem drivers for the latest versions at the vendor's Web site.

Changing times

Q. We have Windows 98 and I can't figure out how to change the clock setting.

A. Double-click the time that is displayed on the right side of the task bar (most likely on the bottom of the screen). This will display the Date/Time properties dialog where you can select the minutes or hour fields and make your changes.

Adding new search engines

Q. Is there any way a search engine can be added to the Search List in Internet Explorer? IE comes with a list, but I have some others that I would like to add.

A. I wasn't able to find a way to do this. The Customize area of the IE Search has a lot of options, but it looks as if adding search engines isn't one of them. However, you may want to try this: Navigate with IE to your favorite search engine, drag the IExplore icon in the address bar (far left side) to the Links area of the IE tool bar. This will put it just a click away regardless of where you're browsing.

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