In this episode of our Windows XP tweaking saga, we’ll learn how to customize a few default applications of this operating system. If you’re just joining us, please allow me to ‘fill you in’ on the details: the “Registry Tweaks to Enhance Your Windows XPerience” series provides tweaks that do not require any IT knowledge whatsoever, that are easy and fast to apply and don’t need any third-party software to be installed on your computer. Notepad is all you need. During the process, you will create an optimization file with just the tweaks you’re interested in, that you can apply on any number of computers.

The first thing you have to do, if you’re not familiar with this series, is to read the first article. There, you’ll find the few steps that must be followed in order for the optimization process to be completed successfully (and for you to understand what must be done with the bolded lines below).

So, now that you’ve created your tweaks.reg file and wrote ‘Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00′ at the beginning, let’s start changing a few things under the hood of Notepad. Before making these modifications, please be sure that Notepad is not running. More »

Microsoft generally makes newer programs backward-compatible with their older versions, so they can at least read the old program’s files. But in Windows XP SP2, the file converters for old versions of WordPad files aren’t enabled by default. If you don’t have Microsoft Office installed, WordPad is the default application for opening DOC and RTF files—and it can’t handle the old ones. With Office installed, Microsoft Word takes over, and it will successfully open old DOC and RTF files. But even then, WordPad remains the default application for files with the WordPad-specific WRI extension. More »

Anyone upgrading from XP to Vista may be wondering what happened to the file-type association menu option that used to be in the Windows Explorer. For example, say that *.TXT files are currently associated with NotePad as the default editor, but you want to change them to be associated with WordPad, Textpad, NotePad++, or whatever your favorite editor may be. In XP, such associations were managed via the Windows Explorer under Tools >> Folder Options >> File Types.
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Have you ever tried to copy something simple from a web page into Outlook or MS Word only to see it mess up your formatting? The Windows clipboard helps you by copying the formatting information from the website. Sometimes thats exactly what you want, but more often its incompatible with the formatting of the document or e-mail you are pasting it into. So how do you stop that helpfulness? You cant turn off the rich format feature, but there are ways around it. Here are two simple workarounds:

The First Way
Copy your text as you normally would. Then in your document select Edit | Paste Special You will get the following dialog box: More »