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metapad FAQ

[1] - Feature Requests
[2] - Dual Fonts
[3] - Installation & Replacing Notepad
[4] - Loading Large Files
[5] - Help
[6] - Date Formatting
[7] - .LOG files
[8] - Printing
[9] - Settings Explained
[10] - Custom File Filter
[11] - Recent Files
[12] - Searching (Find Next Word)
[13] - Fixed (Sticky) Window
[14] - Smart Select
[15] - Smart Home
[16] - Full vs. LE
[17] - Windows 2000 and Windows XP
[18] - RICHED20.DLL
[19] - The Tabs Are Broken
[20] - Font Problems
[21] - Slow to launch
[22] - Finding Tabs and Newlines
[23] - Column Editing
[24] - Default File Folder
[25] - Unwrap Lines & Commit Word Wrap
[26] - Favourites
[27] - Hyperlinks
[28] - Portability/INI Mode
[29] - Launching Viewers
[30] - Spell Checking
[31] - Windows Vista
[32] - Windows 7
[33] - Invisible window

[1] - Feature Requests

Q:  What new features will you add?

A:  At this point I am mostly done with metapad. I have released the source code under the GNU GPL.

[2] - Dual Fonts

Q:  What is the point of having dual font support?

A:  I basically stole this feature from NewsXpress (the best newsreader IMO). It lets you have one font as a proportional font (e.g. Times, Arial, ...) and one as a fixed width font (Fixedsys, Courier, ...). This is an advantage because some text files look messed up in a proportional font (like source code) but some look nice (like email).

In Version 1.1, printing support was added. Now dual font can be very useful here, also (i.e., one for viewing one for printing).

[3] - Installation

Q:  How do I make metapad the default text file viewer?

A:  There are a few things you can do (I like 3 and 4):

1) Associate metapad with *.txt files:

Unzip somewhere (e.g. C:\Windows or C:\Program Files\metapad). Find any text file using Explorer. Hold down shift and right click on the file. Select the special "Open with..." menu item. Check "Always use..." and use "Other..." and browse for the metapad executable that you unzipped.

2) Add metapad shortcut to "Send To":

Use explorer to navigate to the Send To folder. On Windows 7, Vista or XP type "shell:sendto" in the Run dialog or the Explorer location bar to access the "Send to" folder. (On earlier Windows versions it may be C:\Windows\SendTo or C:\Windows\profiles). Then use the right-click context menu entry or File » New » Shortcut to create a new shortcut to metapad.exe that you unzipped earlier.

3) Replace notepad (for maximum notepadiness):

This is what I intended metapad for.

There is a neat looking freeware tool that easily allows you replace Notepad (sent in by Doug Collins - 9/2016):

A nice clean way of doing this (provided by D.Charlemagne - 10/2005) reassigns associations for .txt and .log files as well as makes metapad the default editor for .cmd, .html, . reg, .vbe and .vbs files (assuming installation source as "C:\Program Files\Metapad\metapad.exe"). Download this registry file and run it (but take a look at it first - just good practice).

NB: for detailed instructions on how to replace notepad in specific versions of windows see Windows 2000 and Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 sections in this FAQ.

Warning: the following instructions worked once upon a time but most likely will no longer:

Locate Notepad.exe (on Windows 95, 98 or ME look in C:\Windows; on NT look in both C:\WinNT\ and C:\WinNT\system32). Important: Make a copy of it (Edit | Copy; Edit | Paste). Rename the copy from "Copy of Notepad.exe" to "notepadX.exe". Unzip to a temporary folder (e.g., C:\Temp). Rename "metapad.exe" to "notepad.exe". Drag this new "Notepad" into the windows folder (but not on top of any programs) and choose yes to the overwrite prompt. That's it! Now when you use applications that depend on Notepad, metapad will take over. To run your old Notepad for any reason just choose Run on the start menu and type "notepadx".

I also created an install script available here which will install metapad as notepad.exe (hopefully) without screwing up any file associations (because it uses the command prompt to do it.)

4) Add a right-click menu option:

Instead of the more cumbersome send to method above you can add a metapad menu item to the top of the context menu for all file types. Just download this file and follow the instructions inside.

[4] - Loading Large Files

Q:  Why can't I load large text files in metapad (LE)? (the same problem in Notepad)

A:  This is actually an operating system issue. The main part of both text editors is what is called an Edit window. Under Windows 95 and 98 this Edit window has a maximum capacity of about 32 KB (approximately 32 000 characters). There is no limited capacity on Windows NT (and the upcoming Windows 2000). On Windows NT 4.0 I have successfully loaded text files over 7 MB in size with metapad LE.

As of version 2.0 metapad now supports large files under Win9x. Unfortunately the rich edit control 2.0 (and 3.0) seems to take its sweet time to load larger (>1MB) files. Wordpad uses rich edit version 1.0 so that is why it loads large files faster. I am simply calling SetWindowText so there is no way that I know of to optimize this but if you have any ideas then feel free to play around with the source code.

[5] - Help

Q:  Why aren'ts there help topics available with metapad?

A:  A readme file is packed with metapad and provides sufficient information for such a simple (and free) product. This metaFAQ is the second source of information for metapad. If you cannot find a solution to your problem in either of these two sources then I can probably help you personally.

[6] - Date Formatting

Q:  How do I control the format in which the date is inserted into my metapad documents?

A:  The format of the date can be altered by going into the Control Panel clicking Regional Settings viewing the Date window sheet and editing the Short Date Style.

Now in metapad 1.4 you can also insert the Long Date Style (F7). You can also turn off insertion of time (the hours, minutes & seconds) which also works in the .LOG (see below).

[7] - .LOG files

Q:  Is the feature of creating a log file that appends the date and time, a capability in the original Windows Notepad, still available?

A:  Yes. Here's How you do it:

  1. On the first line of the text file, type the following at the left margin: ".LOG" (in capitals, and without the quotes)
  2. Save the document.
Note:  Every time you open this document, metapad will append the current time and date, as specified by your computer's clock in the short date format (see previous question), to the end of it.
[8] - Printing

Q:  The printing capabilities in metapad suck. How can I get more printing options?

A:  Yes, the printing support in metapad is quite limited. It was thrown in as a afterthought. The problem is that I am not motivated enough to do it well since I never print, let alone print from something like notepad (I prefer Word). A future goal is to have much better printing support in metapad.

A cool printing "hack" that I figured out is you can set up another program as your external viewer (e.g., notepad.exe) and use a command line arg of "/p". This will allow you to use notepad's advanced printing capabilities directly from metapad (simply by hitting Ctrl+L)!

NEW: metapad 2.0 has added printing features including Page Setup and print selected text.

Update: If you like to use a light font on a dark background colour you will find that the printed output is not readable (unless you use the LE version). As a workaround you can use a dark font on a light background for the secondary font and select "Print using secondary font" in the advanced options.

[9] - Settings Explained

Q:  What do the all the settings do?

A:  I will give a brief explanation of each of them organized by the tab in the settings dialog:

  • General:
    • Save window placement: Starts metapad with the window size and position it was in when you last exited.
    • Save options menu states: Save the check mark states of the menu items in the option menu (Always on top, primary font, etc).
    • Hide directory in caption: Display either C:\Windows\File.txt or File.txt at the top of the metapad window.
    • Enable quick exit: Hitting the escape key will exit metapad.
    • Auto-search at end of file: When searching for text and the bottom of the file is reached, this won't prompt you to start at the top.
    • Auto-indent text: When the line you are on has preceding whitespace (tabs or spaces) pressing enter will cause the next line to also have that whitespace. Useful for code editing.
    • Insert tabs as spaces: Hitting tab will not insert a tab character but instead x number of spaces where x is the same as the tab size.
    • Tab size: (default 8) Visible width of the tab character or number of spaces to insert if Insert tabs as spaces is enabled.
    • Quote string: (default "> ") String to add to the front of each line in the block of text that has been selected when Quote text (Edit|Block|Quote or Alt+Q) has been executed.
    • Primary external viewer: The program that is launched when the primary viewer is chosen (toolbar button, File|Launch|Primary Viewer or Ctrl+L).
    • Secondary external viewer: The program that is launched when the secondary viewer is chosen (toolbar button, File|Launch|Secondary Viewer or Ctrl+J).
    • Args: Command line arguments to be passed to either the primary or secondary viewer. For advanced use only.
    • When launching viewers: Allows you to customize how metapad acts regarding file saving when any viewer is launched.
    • Exit metapad after viewer is launched: Quits metapad after launching a viewer.
  • View:
    • Primary font: The font that is displayed when Primary font is chosen in the options menu (Ctrl+R).
    • Secondary font: The font that is displayed when Primary font is disabled. Often a proportional font (like Arial; not fixed-width) for easier viewing of prose.
    • Selection margin width: (default 10) The width of the left hand margin.
    • Transparency %: (default 25) Amount of transparency applied to the metapad window when Transparency Mode is enabled from the options menu (Ctrl+U). Only available when metapad is run on Windows 2000 or later.
    • Use classic toolbar: Don't use the new-school flat style of toolbar. Use this for Windows XP.
  • Advanced 1:
    • Separate recent files menu: Removes the "Recent Files" under the file menu and inserts a new "Recent" menu next to "File".
    • Enable read only menu item: Adds a menu item to the File menu. This advanced function allows you to toggle the read only status of the file you are working on. (NB: this is different behaviour than in previous (< 2.0) metapad versions.)
    • Find/replace use current font: The find and replace dialogs will use the current viewing font in their dropdown menus. This is useful for languages with non-standard characters.
    • Context menu moves cursor: If on, when you right click the mouse the cursor will move to where you clicked.
    • Disable favourites menu: Don't display the favourites menu.
    • Hyperlinks require doubleclick: (not in LE) This makes it easier to highlight and copy URLs with the mouse.
    • Suppress undo buffer prompt: (not in LE) Don't prompt whenever the undo buffer must be cleared (like when the font is changed).
    • Hide scrollbars when possible: (not in LE) Don't display the right hand scrollbar when the text is short enough. Don't display the bottom scrollbar when wordwrap is off and it isn't needed.
    • Launch viewer for large files: (LE only) Don't prompt when trying to load a file that is too big (for Windows 9x only.. NT and 2K don't have this limitation).
    • Use default printer font: (LE only) Don't use the current viewing font when printing.
    • Hide go to offset: This hides the ability to go to an offset when choosing to go to a line. Also enables old behaviour of highlighting the line that you want to go to.
    • Disable smart home: See the Smart Home section in this FAQ.
    • Don't auto-save extensions: This affects how the save as dialog works. If auto-save is on, if you type "file1" in the box it will append an extension depending on what is selected in the file types drop-down (and save "file1.html" for instance).
    • Skip load warning prompts: Don't show messages for removing solitary carriage returns and loading binary files.
    • Don't insert time with date: When disabled, you would get 1:00 AM 9/9/1999 and when enabled you get 9/9/1999. Works with long date format and .LOG files as well.
    • Print using secondary font: Always print with the secondary font.
    • Don't save find history: Don't save the find and replace histories between metapad settings for privacy reasons.
    • Don't auto-select on find: Don't select the text under the cursor when finding or replacing. Will use the last find string used. (Note you can still manually select text which will be used in the find dialog.)
    • Use fixed window position: Makes metapad not save the window position on exit. Instead it will always load with the position and size that the main window was in when "Save Window Position" was pushed.
    • Save Window Position: Will remember the current metapad window position for Use fixed window positon.
    • Clear Recent Files: Empties the recent file history.
    • Clear Find History: Empties the find/replace file history.
    • Recent files to remember: (default 8) How long the recent file menu should be. Maximum length is 16.
    • Default file format: (default DOS Text) Type of file to create when new file is selected (or when opening 0 byte files).
  • Advanced 2:
    • Quick buffers: Ten buffers that you can set here (or from within the editor using Alt + Shift and a number). Easily paste their contents in metapad by using Alt + the number corresponding to the desired buffer. You can use '\n' and '\t' for newline and tab when setting a buffer's contents.
    • Language: Set the language for metapad's user interface. Default uses the built in language (English). Or you can download a language plugin and tell metapad to use that instead.

[10] - Custom File Filter

Q:  How do I customize the Open dialog's file filter?

A:  One of metapad's features (added in 1.4) is the ability for the user to customize the "Files of type" field in the Open and Save As dialogs. To do this you must add a string to the metapad section in your registry. To make this easier I have created an example which you can download here. Before running it, examine the file (open it in metapad) and make any changes you want. Then save it and import it into your registry by double clicking on it.

[11] - Recent Files

Q:  Why is my Recent File list always empty?

A:  Make sure that you have Save menu settings enabled.

[12] - Searching (Find Next Word)

Q:  What is the difference between Find Next and Find Next Word?

A:  Here is a list of different search commands and what they do:

  • F3 - will find the next occurrence of what ever string is in the find buffer (what you last searched on)
  • Ctrl+F3 - will insert the string that is under the cursor into the find buffer and find the next occurrence
  • Shift+F3 - will find the previous occurrence of the string in the find buffer
  • Shift+Ctrl+F3 - will find the previous occurrence of the string under the cursor
Basically what this means is Find Next Word (using Ctrl) will allow you to bypass the find dialog!
[13] - Fixed (Sticky) Window

Q:  What is fixed (or sticky) window position?

A:  This is a pretty cool feature. First position the main metapad window just the way you like it. Now go into the advanced setting tab and enable fixed window positon. Next, hit Save Window Position. Now metapad will always start up in the saved position. This means that you can maximize the window (to see a certain file better) and then quit and next time metapad will start up as a smaller window.

[14] - Smart Select

Q:  What does smart select do?

A:  Smart Select determines what happens when you double click on a word or hit Ctrl+Space. Try experimenting with it on and off and click on a string such as "beginning::ending".

[15] - Smart Home

Q:  What is smart home?

A:  Smart Home is a feature mainly used when editing code. Try hitting home a few times on a line with initial whitespace (i.e., indented with tabs or spaces) with smart home enabled.

[16] - Full vs. LE

Q:  What is the difference between Full version and LE?

A:  Technically, the full version utilizes a RichEdit control whereas LE (Light Edition) uses the older but slightly speedier Edit control (as does metapad 1.x). LE may be slightly faster when loading very large files but it does not have the following features:

  • Multiple undo/redo
  • Show hyperlinks option
  • Drag & drop text editing
  • Insert/overwrite mode switching
  • No file size limit on Win9X

Those features are enough for me to strongly recommend the full version over LE. On a modern computer you probably won't notice any speed difference between the two.

[17] - Windows 2000 and Windows XP

Q:  How do I replace notepad under Windows 2000 or XP?

A:  For Windows 2000:

Go to the folder C:\WinNT\System32\DllCache and erase or rename notepad.exe. Now you can erase or rename notepad.exe in the default locations (C:\WinNT & C:\WinNT\System32). Simply cancel any warnings that pop up.

Some people will have to locate the file in the i386 folder that might be on your system. Try doing a search for Notepad.* in your windows folder (this will also locate Notepad.ex_ that might also need to be renamed).

Note: This folder may be called C:\Windows\System32\DllCache or something else depending on where you installed Windows 2000. Also note that this folder is probably hidden so to open it you can paste the above path into the Run dialog (click Start | Run) or in any Explorer Address bar. Typing in %SystemRoot%\System32\DllCache should locate the folder but if not then check HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon for a value named SFCDllCacheDir (which doesn't exist by default).

Update: Apparently you can permanently disable Windows File Protection by finding the SFCDisable value in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon and changing it to the hex value ffffff9d (the value of 0 does not do anything) and rebooting. For advanced users (i.e., sysadmins) only. Note: I could not get this to work myself.

For Windows XP:

System File Protection is in full effect.

You can try the following to get around System File Protection. Be very quick or XP will replace the file and it won't work. Make sure you don't have the WinXP CD-ROM in your drive!

  1. Copy metapad renamed as Notepad.exe to the clipboard.
  2. Go to C:\WINDOWS\System32\dllcache (NB: in XP SP2 this has changed to C:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386)
  3. Paste the file there.
  4. Go to C:\WINDOWS\System32 (using Backspace)
  5. Paste the file there.
  6. QUICKLY! Go back to C:\WINDOWS (another Backspace) and paste the file there.

If you have done this correctly, a message should pop up saying that a bad version of a Windows System file has been installed. Make sure you select 'Keep this file' or a similar option. If it doesn't work, keep trying, because it will. Just do the three pastes very fast.

A variation on the method above follows (submitted by Samutz):

I found another way to replace notepad with metapad that doesn't require you to work too fast. I made a copy of metapad.exe called notepad.exe, then made a batch file with the following commands:

      copy /-y notepad.exe C:\WINDOWS\System32\dllcache
      copy /-y notepad.exe C:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386
      copy /-y notepad.exe C:\WINDOWS\System32
      copy /-y notepad.exe C:\WINDOWS
Then I saved it as copy.bat and ran it. It prompts for overwrite for each file, but all you have to hit is Y and Enter a few times. I find it much easier than trying to flip through folders as fast as I can to paste it before Windows replaces it.

As of metapad 3.5, Windows XP's visual styles are natively supported (i.e., the buttons and stuff will match the theme you have).

[18] - RICHED20.DLL

Q:  The full version says I am missing the system file RICHED20.DLL?

A:  This file ships with all versions of Windows except for Windows 95. Microsoft Office will install it for you or you can try to find it on the web.

Update: The version 4.0 RICHED20.DLL which ships with Office XP has fixed a major bug: non-english character display problems with certain fonts (e.g., Terminal).

[19] - The Tabs Are Broken

Q:  I've set the tabs to something other than 8. Why isn't it working?

A:  This is a known problem with the RichEdit control under Windows NT. Microsoft has fixed this in version 3.x of RICHED20.DLL which ships with Microsoft Office 2000. Or you can use metapad LE which doesn't have this problem.

Update: See [18]

[20] - Font Problems

Q:  Why did the font switch from the default to something else in the middle of the file?

A:  This is (yet another) bug in Microsoft's RichEdit2 control (until it was fixed in version 4.0, read on for more info). It can't seem to display certain special (diacritic, non-english) characters with certain fonts (e.g., Terminal). I suggest you try using another font (like Courier) or you could use metapad LE which doesn't have this problem.

If you are having trouble saving files with non-english characters in them (they save as ?'s), make sure you have your native language selected as often as possible and especially before saving the file.

If you are having trouble displaying ANSI files with Terminal or other fonts try my favourite font NCBANSI.

Update: The font switching bug has finally been fixed by Microsoft! You need to acquire a copy of RICHED20.DLL that has a version of 4.0 or greater. This will be installed with Office XP and is not freely available from Microsoft. You may be lucky enough to find it somewhere on the internet though.

[21] - Slow to launch

Q:  Why does Metapad take 3-10 seconds to start up sometimes?

A:  This is almost certainly the fault of Avast, a free anti-virus/malware program. By default it scans programs every time you launch them. Ouch. You can disable this feature entirely by going to:

Real-time sheilds > File system shield > Expert Settings > Scan when executing > Uncheck Scan programs when executing
Or if you really feel you want to keep things safe but add an exception for Metapad just do the following:
Real-time sheilds > File system shield > Expert Settings > Exclusions > Add an entry with "*\metapad.exe" (without the quotes).
Other anti-malware applications may do something similar so look around if you're experiencing this but you don't run Avast.
[22] - Finding Tabs and Newlines

Q:  How can I search/replace tabs and carriage returns?

A:  Before version 3.0 you couldn't (see update) but you can do a couple of things that might solve your problem:

For tabs you can always use the Tabify/Untabify feature (F8, Ctrl+F8) to convert from tabs to spaces and back. You can also copy a tab to the clipboard (highlight it and hit Ctrl+C) and paste (Ctrl+V) it into the Find/Replace dialog (it will appear as a thick bar).

For carriage returns explore the Unwrap Lines feature (F9, Alt+F9). This will strip out the carriage returns so that when word wrap is on, the lines wrap to the window. (With the Commit Word Wrap feature (Ctrl+F9) you can then insert carriage returns after lines that are currently wrapped in the metapad window.)

Update: As of metapad 3.0 you can now search and replace tabs and newlines by typing in either a \t or a \n. Note well: you must first enable this feature by clicking on the arrow next to the find text field and deselecting disable.

[23] - Column Editing

Q:  Does/will metapad support column editing?

A:  No. It would be nearly impossible to implement unless I wrote a text control from scratch. Since for most people it isn't required much (I never need it) it wouldn't be too hard to use another editor for this purpose (e.g., Microsoft Word). (If you do this a lot I would consider using Word as your external editor. The flow would then be: Ctrl+L (Launch Word), Edit file in Word, Ctrl+S (Save in Word), Alt+F4 (Close Word), hit refresh (F5) in metapad. Simple.)

[24] - Default File Folder

Q:  How can I make metapad start in a certain folder when I choose Open/Save File?

A:  All you have to do is find the shortcut to metapad (or make one with File | New | Shortcut in Explorer). Right click on the shortcut and choose properties. In the shortcut tab there should be a field called Start in where you can enter a path to solve your problem.

Update: Here is how you can make metapad use your "My Documents" folder by default. "My Documents" is a type of symbolic link to another folder on your system. Run regedit (Start | Run | "regedit") and look in: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders\ (and/or User Shell Folders) and I believe the "Personal" value will point to where exactly your My Documents folder is (use this in the directions above).

[25] - Unwrap Lines & Commit Word Wrap

Q:  How do Unwrap Lines and Commit Word Wrap work?

A:  First you must select more than one line of text (e.g., with the mouse). Unwrap lines (F9) must also be applied to a block of text. This will remove any hard carriage returns (i.e., when enter whas pressed). If word wrap is off the text will appear as one long line so make sure to turn it on (Ctrl+W) to see all the text. You can also use unwrap lines with space (Alt+F9) to replace the carriage return with a space (sometimes necessary). Now you can resize the window to your liking and if you want you can use Commit Word Wrap (Ctrl+F9) to reinsert carriage returns where the lines currently wrap.

[26] - Favourites

Q:  Can you explain how the favourites work?

A:  The favourites (not favorites -- I am Canadian) are stored in a file called metafav.ini which is automatically created in the same folder in which the metapad executable is located. Choosing Edit Favourites from the Favourites menu will automatically load metafav.ini in a new instance of metapad. Each line in this file corresponds to a menu item on the favourites menu. The part before the = is what is displayed in the menu and the rest must be the full path to a file you want to be able to load. You can manually edit this file or simply choose Add to Favourites to automatically insert a line in this file.

You can also add separators to the Favourites menu by editing the favourites file and inserting lines containing "-=-" without the quotes (dash-equals-dash) wherever you would like a separator.

If you truly hate the favourites feature you can disable it by a switch in the advanced settings tab.

Update: As of metapad 3.5 you can specify where the favourites file is located by adding a string called szFavDir to the registry that contains the desired folder. This can be useful on multi-user systems.

[27] - Hyperlinks

Q:  Can you change the color of the hyperlinks (in the full version)?

A:  Some versions of Windows allow this. For Windows 7, go to Control Panel\Appearance and Personalization\Personalization\Window Color and Appearance then select Advanced Appearance Settings and the item called Hyperlink will allow you to change the color.

[28] - Portability/INI Mode

Q:  How do I enable portability or INI mode to have Metapad store all settings in a local file instead touching the Windows Registry?

A:  To enter this mode simply ensure that a file named metapad.ini exists where metapad.exe does or use the one time command line option /m to migrate all your registry settings over.

Read more about this on my blog

[29] - Launching Viewers

Q:  How can I make metapad do ____ when I launch a file in a viewer?

A:  In many cases you could write a batch file to run a program or do something to your environment before running a program. In special cases you might need something a little more fancy. As of metapad 3.5, you can now run viewers that are not executables (e.g., VB scripts). I have made available a script called Strip & Launch (grab it here). This script will strip the loaded file's extension and launch the file in the desired application (passed as an argument to the script in the args setting in metapad viewer setup). This is just one example; it is easy to modify the script to fit your specific needs.

[30] - Spell Checking

Q:  How do I spell check the stuff I write in Metapad?

A:  Here is a solution using aspell:

  1. Go to and download the "Full installer" as well as at least one precompiled dictionary (e.g. aspell-en-0.50-2-3.exe).
  2. Run both of the installers and choose the same target directory for them
  3. In Metapad General Settings, navigate to the aspell executable you just installed for either the Primary or Secondary viewer (e.g., C:\Program Files (x86)\Aspell\bin\aspell.exe)
  4. In the arguments field next to the path type "check"
  5. Load a file into Metapad with known speling errors. Run the viewer you've just set up (e.g., click the 1 or 2 icon in the toolbar). If the current file has errors, you will be prompted to fix them by aspell.
  6. After aspell has completed, the window will close. Refresh your file (F5) to pull up the corrected version.
Make sure to either select "Prompt to save" or "Automatically save" or you will have to remember to save the file before you spell check it. By default, aspell will create a backup file (filename.txt.bak) whenever it makes corrections to your text file. You can disable this feature by setting the viewer args to "check -x". Learn more about aspell options here.

[31] - Windows Vista

Q:  How do I replace notepad on Vista?

A:  Here's one method (provided by Richard Broxson):

  1. Open up a privileged command line prompt
  2. Take ownership of the old notepad.exe with takeown /f c:\windows\system32\notepad.exe
  3. Grant yourself full control with cacls c:\windows\system32\notepad.exe /G <USER ID>:F (replace <USER ID> with your login)
  4. *UPDATED* for Vista SP1:
  5. takeown /f c:\windows\system32\notepad.exe
    cacls c:\windows\system32\notepad.exe /G <USER ID>:F
    copy /y notepad.exe C:\WINDOWS\System32
    takeown /f c:\windows\notepad.exe
    cacls c:\windows\notepad.exe /G <USER ID>:F
    copy /y notepad.exe C:\WINDOWS
    Thanks to Steve Kingsland who says "I put these lines in a .cmd file, and ran it, and hit "Y" twice when prompted, and it worked like a charm!"

[32] - Windows 7

Q:  How do I replace notepad on Windows 7?

A:  Here are some instructions (provided by Brian Scott):

  1. Rename the downloaded metapad.exe file to notepad.exe as usual, then copy it to Drive C (not inside a folder). Open an Elevated Command Prompt by clicking All Programs (in Start Menu) and Accessories, then right-click Command Prompt and click Run as administrator.
  2. For Windows 7 32-bit, copy the following (based on the Broxson Vista method above) and paste it into the Command Prompt box, where it should run automatically. Close the box when finished and delete C:\notepad.exe.
            takeown /f c:\windows\system32\notepad.exe
            icacls c:\windows\system32\notepad.exe /grant administrators:f
            copy /y C:\notepad.exe C:\Windows\System32
            takeown /f c:\windows\notepad.exe
            icacls c:\windows\notepad.exe /grant administrators:f
            copy /y C:\notepad.exe C:\Windows
    For Windows 7 64-bit, instead run the following (thanks to Elaine Miller):
            takeown /f c:\windows\system32\notepad.exe
            icacls c:\windows\system32\notepad.exe /grant administrators:f
            copy /y C:\notepad.exe C:\Windows\System32
            takeown /f c:\windows\SysWOW64\notepad.exe
            icacls c:\windows\SysWOW64\notepad.exe /grant administrators:f
            copy /y C:\notepad.exe C:\Windows\SysWOW64
            takeown /f c:\windows\notepad.exe
            icacls c:\windows\notepad.exe /grant administrators:f
            copy /y C:\notepad.exe C:\Windows
  3. Metapad will then be installed, but the Notepad shortcut icon (usually in Start Menu\All Programs\Accessories) will still be light blue, and the text file icon will still be white. To restore the familiar Metapad purple icon, copy the following to a new notepad file and save it as any name with the extension .reg.
        Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
        ; Edit File Type Icon
  4. Open the reg file, click Yes to enter the info, followed by OK, and re-start the computer. The Start Menu Notepad shortcut and text file icons will have changed to purple, and the saved reg file can be deleted.

  5. [33] - Invisible window

    Q:  When I start Metapad the window isn't visible -- how can I fix this?

    A:  The window is probably outside the visible portion of the screen. Try the following steps:

    1. Start Metapad
    2. Press Alt+Space
    3. Press the M key
    4. Press the Down arrow key
    5. Move your mouse around until you see the window

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