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Customize your Windows 98 Channel Bar

July 14, 1998
Web posted at: 11:20 AM EDT

by Valerie Ryan

(IDG) -- Windows 98 and Internet Explorer 4.0 are tightly integrated. That means you'll find many of the browser's features on your desktop when you install the new OS. One such feature is the Channel Bar -- a floating bar on your desktop that provides direct access to "channels" of Web content. These tips will help you make the Channel Bar all your own, or, if you prefer, simply make it vanish altogether.

Something Old: Delete Channels

Are there channels on your Channel Bar that you have absolutely no interest in, and never will? Then ditch them. It's as easy as deleting shortcuts from your desktop. Just right-click the channel you want to remove, select Delete, and click Yes in the Confirm Folder Delete dialog box to confirm. You can also remove a channel that's hiding inside a channel category. To do this, select the category; in the resulting window, right-click the channel you want to delete; then select Delete. Now you have room for channels of your own choosing.

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Something New: Add Channels Once you've cleaned up the Channel Bar, you have plenty of room to add new, more useful channels. To add a channel to the Channel Bar, select the Channel Guide at the top of the Channel Bar (or click the Channel button in an Explorer toolbar, or click the View Channels item on the Quick Launch toolbar). When Microsoft's Active Channel guide appears, click the Search button. Now choose a content category--Business, Entertainment, Lifestyle and Travel, News and Technology, or Sports. To narrow your channel search further, enter a keyword. Click Search. The results will appear to the left of the window. Click a logo to preview a channel, and if you want to add it to your Channel Bar, click the Add Active Channel link. Select a subscription option, then click OK. The new channel will appear on the bar.

Changing Channels

The Channel Bar was designed to hold links to channels of Web content, but if you prefer, you can add plain old shortcuts to this bar: Simply click and drag an icon or an existing shortcut to a location between two channels on the bar (a gray line will appear to let you know where it's about to be inserted), and let go.

(Note: The items on the Channel Bar are stored in the \Windows\Favorites\Channels folder.)

Channel Bar Shuffle

You can customize your Channel Bar by rearranging the order of your channels on the main bar or filing them away inside one of the channel categories listed at the top of the bar.

To move a channel up or down the bar, hold your mouse pointer over the channel, then click and drag it up or down the list to the space just above the channel you'd like it to precede. (A vertical line appears between channels to let you know it's an acceptable place to drop the channel.) Let go and the channel falls into place, while the rest scoot up or down to make room.

To move a channel into a category, such as News and Technology, select that category to open its window, then move your mouse pointer to the left edge of your screen to make the Channel bar appear (if it isn't there already). Click and drag a channel from the Channel bar into the blank space in the open window, and let go; that channel now joins the ranks of the others in that category. You can also move a channel from an open category to the "main" Channel Bar by clicking and dragging in the same way. If necessary, before you attempt to click and drag, click the pushpin button at the top of the Channel bar to keep it from sliding back into the left edge of your screen.

Hide 'n' Seek Channel Bar

Sometimes you just don't want to see the Channel Bar on your desktop. To hide it, right-click the desktop, select Properties, and in the resulting Display Properties dialog box, click the Web tab. With View My Active Desktop as a Web Page checked, deselect Internet Explorer Channel Bar, click OK and, like magic, the bar vanishes. Don't worry--you can always access the bar inside any Explorer window by selecting View, Explorer Bar, Channels.

Edited by Lisa Moskowitz
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