Ask How-To Geek: Fix Annoying Arrows, Play Old-School DOS games, and Schedule Smart Computer Shutdowns
You’ve got questions and we’ve got answers. Today we highlight how to fix the oversized shortcut arrows in Windows 7, play your favorite DOS games in emulation, and schedule intelligent shutdown routines for your PC.
We get tons of emails with every kind of technology and computer question under the sun. Today we’re answering some reader emails and sharing the solutions with you.
Remove Over-Sized Shortcut Arrows in Windows Vista and 7
Dear How-To Geek:
Why are the shortcut arrows in Windows 7 so freaking big? I don’t remember them being so in-your-face back in earlier versions of Windows. What can I do to get rid of them?
Arrow Hatin’ in Omaha
Dear Arrow Hatin’–
You’re in luck. You’re not the only one that hates the clown-shoe sized arrows. While the original super-size arrows appeared in Windows Vista the tools and tricks you can use to scale them down or remove them work just as well in Windows 7. Check out our guide to disabling the shortcut arrow overlay to get rid of those ridiculous arrows once and for all.
Play DOS Games On a Modern PC
Dear How-To Geek:
I found some of my old DOS games in my parents’ basement over Thanksgiving. Most of them were on 3.5” disks so I didn’t have any trouble copying them over to my computer with an old 3.5” USB drive I had laying around. I’m having trouble playing them though and running into all sorts of issues such as: the games won’t load, if they load they play too fast, and other odd quirks. Surely there has to be some way to play old DOS games on a modern machine? Please tell me I don’t have to actually boot into DOS?
Longing for Doom in Detroit
Dear Motor City Doom Lover,
You’re on the internet and therefore in the good company of many a nostalgic gamer. Running DOS apps on modern systems is a bit of hit or miss—mostly miss—but thankfully there are DOS emulators and even great front ends for those DOS emulators so you can focus on gaming and not pecking at the prompt. You can clear up your problems in a jiffy by downloading D-Fend Reloaded, a front end package for the popular DOS emulator DOSBox. While D-Fend Reloaded is a pretty straight forward app we think you’ll find our step-by-step guide to setting it up and configuring your games helpful.
Setup an Intelligent Shutdown Routine for Your Windows Machine
Dear How-To Geek:
I always forget to shut my computer down at the end of the day. Not only do I feel bad about kicking the environment in the nuts by wasting electricity, I also pay higher electric bills because my quad-core system and all the accompanying hardware is just chugging along all night. I don’t want to schedule a shut down at a fixed time because then it might shut off when I’m actually getting work done? What can I do?
Penny Pinching in Pennsylvania
Dear Penny Pinching,
We hear you loud and clear. There are so many good reasons for shutting down your computer at night but an equal number of reason you might be up late working on it—the internet is magic after all—so that rules out a dumb and fixed shutdown rule in Task Scheduler. What we need is a smart rule that can check to see if we’re busy organizing our Hello Kitty collection and postpone shutdown if you are. Check out our guide to setting up a smart shutdown sequence here. When you’re done setting it up your computer will check, after your schedule time, every 30 minutes to see if you’re done working and shut down your computer when you call it a night.
Have a question you want to put before the How-To Geek staff? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and then keep an eye out for a solution in the Ask How-To Geek column.
Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on Google+ if you'd like.
- Published 12/13/10