Windows Advisor

Making Your Mouse Work in Windows Command Prompt

Love the command prompt, but hate always using keyboard shortcuts? Put that mouse to work with this tip. Plus: Keeping message unread in Outloook.

Q: How can I make my mouse work at the command prompt in Windows 2000/XP/2003?

A: When you open a command prompt (Start | Run | cmd.exe), you may not be able to highlight the contents on your screen with your mouse unless you properly configure your command prompt. More specifically, you need to configure your command prompt for Quick Edit mode. Here's the procedure:

  1. Open command prompt by going to Start, Run, and typing cmd.
  2. Click on the upper left-hand corner on the C:\ icon and select Properties.
  3. Click on the Options tab and check the Quick Edit Mode box under Edit Options.
  4. Click OK and then select "Modify shortcut that started this window."

I recommend that you also customize the command prompt by going to All Programs | Accessories | Command Prompt. That way, you'll get the mouse support no matter how you start the command prompt.

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Q: Is it possible to keep new messages in my Outlook 2003 inbox marked as "Unread" indefinitely?

A: Absolutely. Some people like to see their messages as "Unread" to remind them that they need to take action on them.

In previous versions of Outlook, you could manually mark messages as Read or Unread. Although you can still do this in Outlook 2003 by right-clicking your messages, you can also configure Outlook 2003 so messages remain Unread unless you open them. Even if you have the Reading Pane enabled and you read messages by cycling through them in your inbox, the messages will remain Unread until you actually open them.

To configure this option, open Outlook and go to Tools | Options. Click on the Other tab and then click the Reading Pane button. Uncheck the box "Mark item as read when selection changes." If you check the box "Mark item as read when viewed in Reading Pane" and configure a time -- for example, 60 seconds -- the message will remain marked Unread for up to 60 seconds even if the message is selected.

To configure Outlook so the messages remain Unread indefinitely, even if you change your selection or leave the message selected, uncheck both these boxes in the Reading Pane dialog box: "Mark item as read when viewed in the Reading Pane" and "Mark item as read when selection changes."

About the Author

Zubair Alexander, MCSE, MCT, MCSA and Microsoft MVP is the founder of SeattlePro Enterprises, an IT training and consulting business. His experience covers a wide range of spectrum: trainer, consultant, systems administrator, security architect, network engineer, author, technical editor, college instructor and public speaker. Zubair holds more than 25 technical certifications and Bachelor of Science degrees in Aeronautics & Astronautics Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Information Systems. His Web site, www.techgalaxy.net, is dedicated to technical resources for IT professionals. Zubair may be reached at alexander@techgalaxy.net.

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