If you’re using a dial-up modem and don’t have an extra phone line, then Window Me’s “secret” Synchronization Manager could be your answer to surfing the Web while still leaving your telephone line available for calls.
With Synchronization Manager, you can select your favorite Web sites, then every time you log on or off the Internet, the utility updates those sites in Internet Explorer so that you can “surf” offline.
Click Start, Programs, Accessories, then Synchronize. (Or right-click the Desktop and select Synchronize from the context menu.) The Items To Synchronize window opens, with Offline Web Pages listed. The box next to My Current Home Page should be checked.
Now you can choose either Synchronize or Setup; this time, select Setup. The Synchronization Settings window will open, displaying three tabs: Logon, On Idle, and Scheduled.
The Logon tab. This tab lists items that can be synchronized, with Offline Web Pages as the default item for synchronization. You can use the When I Am Using This Network Connection drop-down list to differentiate among network connections.
Select one of the two checkboxes at the bottom, either When I Log On To My Computer or When I Log Off My Computer, depending on when you’d like the system to update your Web content. You can also opt to have the system ask you before synchronizing anything.
The On Idle tab. This option allows offline content to be updated when the computer is idle. Click Advanced to open the Idle Settings window. Specify the amount of time you’d like the system to wait before synchronizing items. The default is 15 minutes.
You can also use this tab to indicate how often the system should repeat the synchronization during idle time. The default setting is 60 minutes, which you can adjust if necessary, or you can uncheck the box altogether. You can also prevent the system from doing any synchronizations at all when the computer is running on battery backup.
When you’re finished with the On Idle settings, click OK.
The Scheduled tab. This tab lets you indicate what offline content you want to keep synchronized, and provides a wizard to guide you through adding more content to synchronize. Click Add to start the Scheduled Synchronization Wizard. The first screen is basic info, which usually requires no action on your part. Click Next, and select which network connection to use. Make sure the Offline Web Pages box is checked; if desired, check the box next to If My Computer Is Not Connected When This Scheduled Synchronization Begins, Connect For Me. Click Next.
Select the time and day for synchronization to take place, then a start date. Click Next.
Name your scheduled synchronization (the default is My Scheduled Update). Click Next.
This final screen summarizes your synchronization schedule with date, day and time. You can click Back or Finish, or you can cancel the Wizard. Later, if you decide you want to change anything, you can use the Remove, Edit, or Add buttons to change the schedule.
Set Advanced Settings Click OK to return to the Items To Synchronize window. Click My Current Home Page so that the Properties button becomes active, then click Properties.
The My Current Home Page Properties window opens with three tabs: Web Document, Schedule, and Download.
The Web Document tab. This lists the Web page URL (Universal Resource Locator) for your default home page, and the number of times visited; Make This Page Available Offline is automatically checked; a summary of any synchronizations that have taken place appears.
Schedule Tab Under Synchronize This Favorite select either Only When I Choose Synchronize From The Tools Menu (the default) or Using The Following Schedule(s). If the latter is selected, Add, Remove, or Edit as necessary.
Download Tab Specifies what to download by how many links “deep” to go. Example: If three pages deep is selected, then all the pages linked to the second and third-level pages will be downloaded in addition to the top-level (or main) page.
Following links that go off that particular Web site is checked by default. So that you don’t download too much, you can Limit Hard Disk Usage For This Page; the default is 500 Kilobytes.
When changes are made to the Web site, an e-mail can be sent to you; if the Web site needs a username/password login, that can be added here as well for automatic login.
Click Advanced to select whether you want to download Images (default is checked), Sound And Video (unchecked), or ActiveX Controls And Java Applets (checked). Follow Links Only To HTML Pages is another option so that you won’t download a file that isn’t an actual Web page (such as a .pdf, .doc, etc.).
Once you’re done, click Okay, then Close.
How To Easily Add Web Sites.
Using Microsoft Internet Explorer:
Now you and your computer are synchronized to surf offline.
Whether you’re on the road with your laptop, on your desktop computer at work or at home, Synchronization Manager helps you save not only time, but frees up the phone so that you don’t miss important calls. Share the secret and everyone will think you’re a Windows guru.
Note: The Synchronization Manager is also available in Windows 98, 2000, NT and XP.
J.A. Hitchcock is a regular contributor to Compute Me. Visit her web site at jahitchcock.com.