Mr. Modem: Enlarge bars for easy scrolling - East Valley Tribune: Business

Mr. Modem: Enlarge bars for easy scrolling

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Posted: Monday, April 14, 2008 9:09 am | Updated: 12:00 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Q. I read somewhere that I can enlarge my scroll bars, but I can’t remember how to do it. I’m using Windows XP, if that makes any difference. Your weekly newsletter saved my computer a costly trip to the repair shop. Thanks for being there, Mr. M.

A. Skinny scroll bars can be frustrating if you can’t quite place your cursor directly on them. It’s easy to expand the size of your scroll bars, however, to provide a larger target. To do this, go to your Display Properties window by right-clicking a blank area of your Windows Desktop, then click Properties. Click the Appearance tab, followed by the Advanced button.

In the Advanced Appearance window, display the drop-down list under “Item” and select “Scrollbar” as the item you want to change. Increase the “Size” number to increase the width of the scroll bars. Your changes will be reflected in the little preview area at the top of the window. When you have sufficiently plumped up your scroll bars, click OK twice and your changes will take effect.

Q. When I make settings changes, there’s usually an OK and an Apply button. I’ve always assumed that by clicking OK, I’m selecting whatever setting I want, but I’m not sure what choosing Apply does. Can you explain the difference between choosing OK and Apply?

A. Clicking Apply activates whatever settings changes you made, but without closing the window in which the changes were made. This is convenient if you're not sure if the settings you selected are the ones you want to keep. If you’re working in the Control Panel, for example, click Apply. If you don't like your changes, you can immediately edit the settings without clicking through Start > Settings > Control Panel to get back where you started.

Clicking OK does two things: It applies the settings you selected (the same as clicking Apply), and it closes the window in which you're working.

Armed with this information, if you make changes that you absolutely, positively know that you want to keep, you don’t have to click Apply > OK; instead, you can simply click OK, which will implement your settings and close the window.

Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week:

How Everyday Things Are Made

Your very own private, virtual factory tour awaits you at this fascinating site. It profiles more than 40 different products and manufacturing processes, and includes almost four hours of manufacturing video. Find out how everything from an airplane to a jelly bean is made. You will need a high-speed Internet connection and Flashplayer. Hmmm…I wonder how those are made?

Kooky Chow

Here you’ll find a quirky photo gallery of “unusual” foods from around the world. Each section of the site contains items that are enjoyed by people of various countries and cultures that are not normally found on or even under your average American dinner table. Delicacies include Instant Jellyfish, Pork Brains in Milk Gravy, Gator Stew, and Monkey Gland Sauce. Mylanta, anyone?

Virtual Museums Directory

With so many outstanding exhibits online these days, it’s impossible to know what displays are appearing where and when. Use this directory to access a variety of museum Web sites, including most major institutions around the world. Search for a specific museum or simply select a country from the list. You can also use the directory to find libraries, galleries, and other centers of culture and art.

For plain-English answers to your questions by email, plus useful PC tips, subscribe to Mr. Modem’s Weekly Newsletter. For information, visit

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