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Viruses are everywhere. They run ramped across the internet and your computer just might be a virtual playground for these computer bugs. But it simply does not have to be that way. There are certain measures you can take that will stop almost all viruses, trojans, spyware, adware, and worms dead in their tracks. In fact if your computer is running slower than when you first got it, you should start practicing what I am going to tell you about immediately.

You can catch these nasties by simply checking your email or downloading a program from an un reliable source. All viruses and things like them are man made and there are several reasons why people make viruses. Most of the times though the creator does it simply to be destructive or build a reputation in the virus making or hacking community. If these people would take that energy they put into being jerks they could be putting that energy into making product and selling it. Hell if you are going to do a bunch of work for nothing at least make it so people enjoy your work instead of making everyone hate you.

Below is a simple six step plan to protecting your computer from these harmful nasties. If you follow it religiously you should not have problems with this kind of garbage again. But if you fail to do so you are just opening a window of opportunity for something to happen. Following these steps may not get rid of every thing that you have accumulated up until now though, so it is best to start with a clean install of Windows to assure that your system is clean to begin with. However these steps should stop any further viruses and like things get into your computer.

6 Steps To Protecting Your Computer

1) Update your Operating System Regularly
The first step to protecting your PC and your valuable data is to ensure that the operating system (OS) is updated with the latest security patches. This is critical as OS manufacturers such as Microsoft Windows update security features of their products continuously to cover any potential and actual loopholes.

To check whether you have the latest update, click on the Start Menu->All Programs and select the Windows Update icon. Windows will take you to their update web page. From there just click on the appropriate button to download and install and required updates. We usually advise that this be done at least once every two weeks.

2) Buy Good Anti-Virus Software
Secondly you should have an updated anti-virus software running on your system.

Make sure to choose one of the better ones on the market today - a few dollars won't break you but malware will. I use and recommend Macro Virus. It it is also a spyware / adware removal tool and a pop up blocker all in one. They come out with frequent updates and have proved to one of the best I have found. You can check it out and use there free scan at Another great online virus scan to use is Trend Micro's House Call. You can use their free scan at

Make sure that the anti-virus software is updated frequently (sometimes even daily if need be) with fixes to the actual engine and to the database files that contain the latest cures against new viruses, worms and Trojans.

The anti-virus software must have the ability of scanning email and files as they are downloaded from the Internet to help prevent malware reaching your system. You should also make sure that the anti-virus software chosen awards you protection while on the Internet.

3) Know your Processes
Knowing what is running on your computer will increase your ability to identify potential harmful processes.

Call up the Windows Task Manager (press CTRL+ALT+DEL) and familiarize yourself with the processes running at any point in time.

Many are using to learn about the processes they have running on their computer. This web site is a free resource library containing a comprehensive description of over 9000 that may be running on your computer. Searching for the processes is similar to using a search engine - type in the process name and returns the full description including information on security threat levels if any and ways on removing the malicious code.

If you don't want to go through the rigmarole of typing in the search, has an InfoBar which is essentially a plug-in for your Task Manager. You may download this free of charge (not a trial version) from there .

Just click on the i-button next to process and you can pull down information from the Internet regarding the process in question. With the Task Manager and process library data you can identify some of the threats. We say some because the Task Manager does not show you all the processes and dll's running at any point in time. For that you need a more powerful tool (such as WinTasks, read, WinTasks 5.0 Professional Unplugged).

4) Use Firewalls on the Internet
You should also seriously consider installing firewall software or using the native Windows firewall.

To activate your Windows Firewall click on your control panel and select Windows Firewall. Switch the firewall on by ticking the "On" radio button.

A good firewall prevents unauthorized use and access to your computer from external sources (e.g. hackers or hijackers) plus giving you additional protection against the more common Trojans and worms. A firewall on its own will not get rid of the virus problem but when used in conjunction with your OS updates, anti-virus software and information, it will give you deeper system security and protection.

5) Know your Registry
The latest statistics show that about 94% of computers have corrupt and possibly harmful files. On average, almost each PC will have about 150+ errors on them due to registry fragmentation, and corrupt, unused, missing, orphaned or obsolete entries.

Residual files, unused and undeleted drivers, and corrupt or bad entries in registry settings will quickly litter even the newest of computers.The result? Frequent error messages, slow start-ups, declining and poor performance and registry integrity, unstable and frequent application errors and crashes, and, at times, even an inability to start Windows.

Some malware does effect your registry. If you keep your registry clean and know what is inside, you will be in a better position to realize immediately when performance has taken a downturn. We advise you to invest in a good registry cleaner, one that allows you to scan your registry deeply and fix all errors. Moreover, the cleaner must be able to backup your registry.

6) Backup your data
Prevention is better than cure however you may still catch a virus no matter how tight your security is. It is always advisable to backup all your data regularly - at least once a week. And, if you are a frequent PC user, you should backup your data on a daily basis.

Most people do not even realize that their system has been infected when it first happens. This is because the people that write this junk don't want you to know that it is on your computer. In other cases though you may notice that something did happen. Some of these things can be a new toolbar at the top of your browser, new home page, changes to security settings, changes to your bookmarks, or an overwhelming amount of pop-ups even when you are not doing anything.

Invest In Your Computers Future

The first and most important thing you need to buy for your computer is a good anti virus software package. There are a few good ones out there but some professionals recommend going as far as installing two or three of them. This is because not any one anti virus program will catch everything. These programs are made to remove known viruses. Some companies find them and find a way to fix them before others do and there is not one of them that knows of them all.

This is also the reason why completely free virus software is not that good. The people that put out completely free anti virus programs really have no motivation to upgrade them. They are not receiving money from people to keep up their virus definitions so it is simply a project put on the back burner. I strongly recommend you get Macro Virus or some other virus scan that has a paid version.

The second thing you need to get is anti spyware / adware software. There are several out on the market today and just like anti virus software there is not one that catches it all. The free ones that are on the market are ok. Free anti spyware software is just like free anti virus software though. You can expect to get fewer updates and wait longer for them. In this world you really get what you pay for and in this situation you simply cannot rely on free software alone. I recommend that you run at least two of these programs just like your anti virus. I use Macro Virus and AdWare for accomplishing this.

The third thing you need is a great registry cleaner. This will take allot of pain and guess work out of doing it yourself. Your registry is a very sensitive thing to mess with and I highly recommend you don't try to alter it before you get a good understanding of what the entries mean as well as what hkey's they are in. I use Error Nuker to take care of this hard work. They are one of the only ones that uses a Windows registry map so you know it isn't going to accidentally mess something up. It also automatically backs up your registry.

Last but not least you need to invest in a firewall. Windows firewall does work to an extent. But after all this is Microsoft we are talking about. The rest of their software is released with bugs and other problems. A firewall is one of those products that even the free ones work well since they don't need nearly as much updating as a anti virus or spyware application. I recommend Zone Alarm myself. You can get their free version that works very well in my opinion from

Practice is six step process frequently and you should not have any problems. But whatever you do don't put this on the back burner. If you keep putting it off eventually your computer will crash hard and all of your valuable information will be lost. Once you have things clean and running good continue to practice these steps and you should stay free and clear of any software related problems. Trust me a little bit of work right now is worth saving a major headache down the road.

Posted bySumedh at 11:15 PM 3 comments  

147 Win XP tips

1. Not sure of website address and want to try out all possible options ?
Most of the computer users would choose to type less if they are given such an option. Problem is for many of us, to find that option itself is challenging enough! Anyway I am talking to those folks who don't have habit of typing complete domain names and want the computer/Internet to do the job. Here are some of the registry changes that can widen your search domain.. If in Internet options, Display result and go to most likely site or just go to most likely site is enabled, you can type only the domain root in the Address box and Internet Explorer attempts to locate the correct Web site by searching different domain types. For example, if you type "Microsoft" in the Address box, Internet Explorer searches the domain types in the Autoscan list until a domain name match is found (in this case,
By default, Internet Explorer searches the following domain types when the Autoscan Common Root Domains option is enabled:.
.com, .org, .net, .edu
To add a domain type to the Autoscan search list, add the string value "" with a value of "%s." and a string value "" with a value of "www.%s." (without quotation marks), where is the next available number and is the domain type, under the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Internet Explorer/Main/Url Template For example, if you want to add the .gov domain type and there are already 7 domain types listed, add a string value "8" with a value of "" and a string value "9" with a value of NOTE: The order in which Internet Explorer searches domains is based on the string value.For example, the domain type associated with string value 1 is searched before the domain type associated with string value 2.

2. Attention LAPTOP Users ! Do your eyes a favor, use Clear Type Fonts.

Hi everyone! May be you have already realized the importance of clear type font by now. A new feature that must be a boon to all those people who are spending their life staring these monitor screens!. After years of research, it has been noticed that Clear Type Fonts are best way to prolong you Laptop computer experience. Windows XP comes equipped with it and you can change the setting to use Clear Type fonts. What is not so simple to do is to even change the Welcome (logon) screen to used Clear Type. I have got hand of a tip that might be of help to you installing clear type fonts at logon screen. Save following to a .reg file and import it in registry.
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]

[HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop]
For those of you who do not know how to use clear type fonts in normal session here are the instructions: Right click on at any free area of the desktop and go to appearance tab of Display Properties. Click on effects and check the box saying "use following methods to smooth edges of screen fonts" and select clear type.

3. Fine tune Internet connection speed: Tip on changing QoS parameter
This tweak deals with QoS parameter manipulation. There have been some confusion as to what can be achieved in real terms by changing the QoS parameter. Microsoft has finally released an article correcting describing the behavior of QoS parameter. I am providing a link to Microsoft web site knowledgebase article In brief though, this tweak would only work on QoS aware programs and rest of the programs would simply ignore them. Networking Quality of Service (QoS) refers to a variety of techniques that prioritize one type of traffic or program when these operate across a network connection rather than relying solely on "best effort" connectivity. Please click on how to change QoS parameter article using Group Policy Editor (GPEDIT.MSC).By default, programs can reserve up to an aggregate bandwidth of 20 percent of the underlying link speed on each interface on an end computer. If the program that reserved the bandwidth is not sending enough data to utilize it completely, the unused portion of the reserved bandwidth is available for other data flows on the same host. This default parameter can be changed.

4. Further fine tune Internet access speed: Tip on improving DNS resolution.

Internet browsing is such an exciting and easy experience now a days that we have almost forgotten the amount of work that goes behind the scene to make this all happen. We only feel bad if we can't find something easily or have to wait for a long time (I have heard many people saying WWW stands for world wide wait not too long ago!!!) Well with changes in technology and falling prices we have far better hardware and software to do this job but fruits of fine tuning have always been great and would continue to remain so. One of the things that should happen before Internet connection would go through is DNS resolution.DNS stands for Domain Name Service. Even though XP does a fine job of handling DNS resolution, you may still gain by increase the DNS Cache size. To do this you would have to add following entries in registry. Save what is written below in say "dnstuning.reg" file and import it in REGISTRY but opening registry editor and going to IMPORT option from top menu.

5. Want to remove shared documents folder from My Computer window ?
Microsoft has done a fabulous job in the making of Windows XP. But least to say, no two people are alike. Some of the default features that Microsoft thought was good may not be liked by you at all. I have read various newsgroups and chats and one thing I noticed is that some don't like my shared documents folder option. If you are one of that, here is a trick to remove it.Open registry editor by going to START-RUN and entering regedit. Once in registry, navigate to key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ My Computer \ NameSpace \ DelegateFolders You must see a sub-key named {59031a47-3f72-44a7-89c5-5595fe6b30ee}. If you delete this key, you have effectively removed the my shared documents folder.

6. Want to have more options in the Add/Remove program list ?

All programs that are available on your Windows XP system are not available for removal. For example wordpad. I mean you don't want to remove wordpad from Add/Remove program list, but that serves just as an example. So why are some programs in the list and some not. Its not a game of Random numbers. There many a few unique methods through which we can control what appears on list and what does not. If you have installed Windows in C: drive , Go to C:\WINDOWS\inf (substituting the correct drive letter for your version of Windows) and open the sysoc.inf file. File contents looks like this: See the components that have word HIDE as second last item on the row. This hide tells system to not to display those items/apps in the Add/Remove program list. If you want to have this item in list, simply replace it with blank. I think you understand what am I saying
Signature = "$Windows NT$"
IndexSrv_System = setupqry.dll,IndexSrv,setupqry.inf,,7
TerminalServer=TsOc.dll, HydraOc, TsOc.inf,hide,2

7. How to verify XP software you bought is OEM/UPGRADE/RETAIL?

I am sure we all have noticed Microsoft product marketing strategy. Whenever they launch any new product line,there are various flavors of it available right from day one. Some are given adjectives like UPGRADE version or FULL, others RETAIL v/s OEM and then of-course we have various categories of the product like HOME, PRO , SERVER , ADVANCED SERVER etc etc. Well ever wondered what you bought is same as what was advertised ? How to tell the difference. Here comes the help. Look for a file called Setupp.ini that is present on your Windows XP CD and double click on it and browse its content. There is a field called PID=. This PID is what would tell us exactly what we have got.First 5 bytes of PID decide whether (it is OEM or RETAIL or is an UPGRADE ) and last three digits determine what kind of CD KEY will it accept. Here are some of the typical PID values:
Retail = 51882 335
Volume License = 51883 270
OEM = 82503 OEM

8. Group Policy Editor: Extremely powerful tool in Microsoft XP Operating System.

Have you heard of group policy editor ? This is one of the most powerful tool that Microsoft XP comes bundled with that most of us don't even know about. I recently discovered it by accident. Learn more about it at Group Policy Editor section of this site but in brief it can be used to carry out powerful customizations and performance tuning of your system. Go to START-RUN and enter gpedit.msc

9. Have tendency to forget passwords ? Want a solution that will help you get back in business ?

Most of us have a common tendency of forgetting passwords. If you don't every forget anything, I envy you and this may not be of much use to you but for most of us, this may be a life saver. If you're running Windows XP Professional as a local user in a workgroup environment, you can create a password reset disk by following instruction as shown below:
Go to START-CONTROL PANEL-USER ACCOUNTS. Then click your account name and further on in RELATED TASKS, click PREVENT A FORGOT PASSOWRD. A wizard would come up, follow instructions and you have your password reset disk ready.
IMPORTANT NOTE: As it goes with things like password, make sure that you keep this disk at secure location else you risk tress passing with your user account.

10. Want to change font size of Internet Explorer content on the fly ?

Do you know that font size of many of the web sites can be changed as per your view pleasure. Yea ! You know about it but do not want to take those additional steps. I hear you ! Here is a tip. If you have a mouse that has scrolling button then fond changing is as easy as pressing CTRL key and rotating scrolling button either towards you (to increase) or away from you (to decrease). Try it out. It works for me.

11. Start menu is slow in responding? Want to boost response time of start menu ?

Windows XP is touted as a new generation of OS Xperience. No doubt about that but this experience come at a cost. Resources. If your hardware configuration (read CPU,RAM) is not upto speed but still want to boost response time of start menu, here are a few tricks that might help. Open registry editor by going to START-RUN and entering regedit and navigate to key HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Control Panel \ Desktop \ MenuShowDelay . Change the value (default may be 400) to 5 or 50 or even 0. This should speed up. If you are not all that crazy for shadowy effects, you can further speed the things up by going to DISPLAY Properties Window and from there to appearance and over there clicking Advanced command button and check off Show menu shadow.

12. Want to enhance Network throughput? Try out this tip.

Network throughput depends on a variety of factors and as such you never no what could be the bottleneck. One of things that we can try out is the network redirector reserves.Open registry editor by going to START-RUN and entering regedit and navigate to key [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanWorkstation\Parameters]. One here, click on right pane and added following Dwords. Dwords are in hexadecimal (and value as shown below indicates that of 104, valid values are 0-255). Keep both values same. I think default is 15 or 20. This may help networkthrough put but there is no guarantee. Try it out.


26. Further speedup broadband cable Internet connection
A. in the "My Network Places" properties (right click on the desktop icon and choose properties), highlight the connection then at the menu bar choose "Advanced" then "Advanced Settings". Uncheck the two boxes in the lower half for the bindings for File and Printer sharing and Client for MS networks. Click OK
B. Continue as indicated below steps:
1. from the Windows XP CD in the support directory from the support cab, extract the file netcap.exe and place it in a directory on your hard drive or even in the root of your C:\ drive.
2. next, open up a command prompt window and change directories to where you put netcap.exe then type "netcap/?". It will list some commands that are available for netcap and a netmon driver will be installed. At the bottom you will see your adapters. You should see two of them if using a 3Com card. One will be for LAN and the other will be for WAN something or other.
3. Next type "netcap/Remove". This will remove the netmon driver.
4. Open up control panel / system / dev man and look at your network adapters. You should now see two of them and one will have a yellow ! on it. Right click on the one without the yellow ! and choose uninstall. YES! you are uninstalling your network adapter, continue with the uninstall. Do not restart yet.
5. Check your connection properties to make sure that no connection exists. If you get a wizard just cancel out of it.
6. Now restart the machine and go to your connection properties again and you should have a new connection called "Local area connection 2". highlight the connection then at the menu bar choose "Advanced" then "Advanced Settings". Uncheck the two boxes in the lower half for the bindings for File and Printer sharing and Client for MS networks. Click OK.
8. Choose connection properties and uncheck the "QOS" box
9. Restart the machine and enjoy the increased responsiveness of IE, faster page loading, and a connection speed boost

It seems that Windows XP installs two separate versions of the NIC card. One you do not normally see in any properties. Remember the "netcap/?" command above showing two different adapters? The LAN one is the one you see. The invisible one slows everything down and its like your running two separate cards together, sharing a connection among two cards. This method breaks This"bond" and allows the NIC to run unhindered.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This tweak assumes that you have let Windows XP create a connection on install for your cable modem/NIC combination and that your connection has tcp/ip - QoS - file and print sharing - and client for Microsoft networks ,only installed. It also assumes that winxp will detect your NIC and has in-box drivers for it. If it doesn't do not try This as This may not work.

27. Avoid download of file attachments that may have virus infections

Open Group Policy Editor by going to START - RUN and entering gpedit.msc. This one is easy.. Navigate to USER CONFIGURATION - ADMINISTRATIVE TEMPLATES - WINDOWS COMPONENTS - INTERNET EXPLORER. For This on right hand pane (most likely secondly last line at bottom) you should see an item Configure Outlook Express. Double Click on it and enable it and mark check box that says "Block attachments that may contain virus". OK out and close the global policy editor.

28. Heard of Atomic Clocks? or NIST ? Here is a tip on accurately setting your computer clock

Till yesterday I was using a separate third party utility to synchronize my computer clock precisely. I am not a timely person in all other aspects of life (not a good thing but have to be truthful !) to worry about time that too at atomic level but as it is with many things, it sounds like good a good idea to do it anyway! Thanks to National Institute of Standards and Technology, It has become much easier to do that via Internet. And there is no need for third party tool if you have bought WINDOWS XP Operating System. Just click on the time (right side of your START bar or panel) and click on INTERNET TIME tab. Select the and click update now. Your are all set. Wait a minute your computer clock is still not that advanced. So you many need to synchronize again and again. But hey, we are in the computer world and who has time for This manual work. So I have a solution for you. OPEN registry editor ( I think you know how to open a registry.. click START-RUN and enter regedit) and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ ControlSet001 \ Services \ W32Time \ TimeProviders \ NtpClient. In right pane, you would see "SpecialPollInterval". Double click and set a decimal number (unit is seconds) to the frequency with which you want to have the automatic synchronization carried out.

Also you can add many more time servers directly into registry because by default all that you can see is two time servers in the drop down list. List of many other time servers is available at . To add any other time servers, get details about the server and then navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\DateTime\Servers] and adding them into the list.

29. Do you know there are two command shell environments in XP ? which one is better ?

In Microsoft Windows XP Pro ( I think this must be true for HOME Edition, but don't quote on me), There is not one but two different command shell environment. One is the old one COMMAND.COM and other one is CMD.EXE. Both would do the job but they do it somewhat differently at a lower level. Which one is better ? I have noticed that CMD.EXE is much better in executing your commands. And this is true. CMD.EXE is the new command shell environment. that is better by design.So if you want to try out even your very old DOS apps, try it first in CMD.EXE. There is a very good chance that it will work and will work better than in your old shell.

30. Ever wondered how come you get into those HTML error pages ? Want to customize them ?

Some times, I type a webpage address and instead of seeing the page, see an error message. Do you know that all these error messages are stored in a DLL file. That is correct ! All of this message are burned into SHDOCLC.DLL file. Here is the syntax to see all of these error messages . If you want to see server busy error message type in Internet address field, res://c:\Windows\System32\SHDOCLC.DLL/servbusy.htm Similarly If you want to try out any other error message simply replace servbusy.htm by that html file (just the names) Here are some complete examples html files that you can try .

http_400.htm, http_404.htm, http_406.htm, http_410.htm, http_500.htm, http_501.htm, http_gen.htm, servbusy.htm, syntax.htm, navcancl.htm, offcancl.htm, policyerror.htm, policylooking.htm, policynone.htm, policysyntaxerror.htm, privacypolicy.dlg, preview.dlg, printerr.htm, printnf.htm, printnof.htm, printunk.htm, wcee.htm, ietext.bmp, ietext256.bmp, world.bmp, world256.gif, ie.gif, ie256.gif, orgfav.dlg, about.dlg, analyze.dlg, bidifind.dlg, docppg.ppg, error.dlg, find.dlg, findic.dlg, ieerror.dlg, imageppg.ppg, orgfav.dlg, and pstemplate.dlg

If you need to customize these messages, write an error message that you want to see as displayed and store it somewhere on your harddisk, open registry by going to START-RUN and entering REGEDIT and navigate to Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\AboutURLs and changing entries associated with various keys and provide complete path name to your own custom html file.

31. If you have a lot of RAM, do you really need swap file?

With RAM prices dropping so low ( I saw 256 MB SDRAM for $34 in COMPUSA on Jan 2nd,2002), more and more people are adding RAM to their computer. This is the best upgrade I would suggested to anyone. Well if you have 512MB or 768 MB or a whopping 1GB of RAM, you do not need a swap file (SWAP FILE is the concept of old dayw when RAM was too costly). Try this out. Go to My Computer and right click on properties and get into System Properties window. Go to Advanced tab and click on the Settings button for Performance group, click again on advanced tab and then click on change and choose NO SWAP FILE. I think you would see an improvement. If you don't like the change, follow the same steps and change SWAP FILE size to whatever you want (typically 1.5 * physical RAM). Also you can further gain by applying following changes in registry. Open Registry by going to START-RUN and typing REGEDIT. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management and look for DisablePagingExecutive. On my computer default value is 0. Set it to 1. This will stop paging act as well.

32. How to boost XP speed by by changing real time clock priority?

I read about this trick the other day over Internet. Open Registry by going to START-RUN and typing REGEDIT. Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\PriorityControl]. If you see an entry by the name IRQ8Priority set it to a value "IRQ8Priority"=dword:00000001 if you don't then click on the right pane and add a new dword entry with given name.. IRQ8 is typically reserved for real time clock in most of the computers. Make sure thats the case (by going to device manager -> system devices -> system COMS/realtime clock -> properties -> resources tab , if it is set to another number try adding an entry with that number N as IRQNPriority) . Generally realtime clock priority boosting helps most but you are free to try others as well.

33. Reduce IO and increase turnaround which means faster computer !

I read about this trick the other day over Internet. Open Registry by going to START-RUN and typing REGEDIT. Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\IoPageLockLimit. Depending upon how much RAM you have, you can increase your diskcache size by entering a higher value in IoPageLockLimit. Typically your computer won't come optimized for diskcache and you can set to a value which works best for you by trial and error.Rule of thumb is to have a ratio of 1 or 2 for every 64K chuck. But try out various different values as each case would be a little different

34. Correctly set your level 2 cache and improve performance !!

I read about this trick the other day over Internet. Open Registry by going to START-RUN and typing REGEDIT. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\SecondLevelDataCache. Based on the kind of CPU you have, this value should change. Here are some of the defaults. Intel Celeron - 128 , AMD Duron - 64. PII and Athalon: 512. Cyrix and AMD K6-3 256. Pentium IV-1024. Figure out what your CPU type is and what L2 cache it supports and set it accordingly. It is important to know what critics have to say about this tweak. Opinions vary and I have put following three articles that have been brought to my attention which may help you understand why it may not be effective in some situations:

Do not change the SecondLevelDataCache entry (from Microsoft technet article )
Some third-party sources have erroneously reported that modifying the SecondLevelDataCache registry entry in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \System \CurrentControlSet \Control \Session Manager\Memory Management can enhance system performance. The second level (L2) cache is recognized by the operating system and is fully utilized regardless of the setting of this parameter.

(from Microsoft knowledge base item Q183063 )This is not related to the hardware; it is only useful for computers with direct-mapped L2 caches. Pentium II and later processors do not have direct- mapped L2 caches. SecondLevelDataCache can increase performance by approximately 2 percent in certain cases for older computers with ample memory (more than 64 MB) by scattering physical pages better in the address space so there are not so many L2 cache collisions. Setting SecondLevelDataCache to 256 KB rather than 2 MB (when the computer has a 2 MB L2 cache) would probably have about a 0.4 percent performance penalty.

(From an arstechnica article ) One of the most infamous NT tweaks since the introduction of NT4 has got to be the "L2 cache" tweak, a lone registry entry which stipulates the amount of L2 cache (or secondary cache) that the OS will make use of. Well, as with many things in life, the effects of this tweak are not so black and white. If you're using a processor that implements a direct-mapped L2 cache design (like Pentium I's), then this registry adjustment is indeed for you. However, if you own any Intel processor post-PI, or any modern AMD processor (K6-2 and newer), then your processor is using a set-associative L2 cache design, and thus you need not specify your L2 cache size. Let me explain.
If you choose not to futz with the registry key in question, the OS will call on the HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) for retrieval of the L2 cache size when you boot your computer. If this happens to fail, a default value of 256KB is used for all logon sessions on that boot session. This is where the myth that NT can only use 256KB of L2 cache comes from. But it's false. See, the HAL is able to retrieve the processor (L2) cache from any processor using the set-associative cache design, it's only the relatively few processors out there with direct-mapped L2 caches that the HAL won't chat it up with. Thus, this tweak only applies to a select number of people anymore (like people with Pentium I procs between 166-233MHz, as lower rated procs had only 256KB cache).

35. Do you know you can have Virtual Desktops (like in Linux) with PowerToys ?

If you have powertoys installed on Windows XP Its available for free at Microsoft website, visit my downloads webpage address) It is very easy to enable Microsoft Virtual Desktop Feature. Simply right click on the Start Panel Bar also called TaskBar, Click on Tool Bar and select Desktop manager. You would see a set of 5 icons placed on the right portion of the TAskBar. Click on number 1 to 4 to go to any of the desktops. Now you have have four different Active Desktops.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You may see a little degradation in performance but for desktop work it is negligible.

36. How to login as administrator if you don't see it available ?

Unless and until you have run into issues and fixing XP (underwhich case you have to go to Safe Mode to login as Administrator), you can get to administrator screen by simply pressing CTRL+ALT+DELETE twice at the main screen.

37. How to avoid password entry at start up ?

Open Administrative tools in control panel and go to Local security policy.Select accounts and within that password policies. Set minimum password length to 0. This should be enough to stop password from being entered at startup.
I have received some criticism for asking users to set their password length to 0 and I agree to some of the potential security risks. Here is one better way to do it.

Go to START-RUN and enter "control userpasswords2" select the user the you would like to have auto logon set to and then uncheck "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer". Ok out. Now you have to do one more thing. Go to START-RUN and enter "control userpasswords" and clicking on “Change the way users log on or off”, and unchecking both “Use the Welcome Screen” and “Use Fast User Switching”.

Now Reboot and see it happen.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: (Please make sure that you are doing this to user account and not administrator account. If you do this to administrator account or user accounts that have admin privileges and connect to Internet. and do not have a good firewall installed or enabled, your are exposing yourself to potential risks) XPTOOLS is not responsible for any such damage. *Also note that default user accounts created by XP are in admin group and have admin privileges so be careful.

38. How to stop new programs installed balloon from coming up?

Right click on START button and select properties. Click on Customize and go to Advanced tab and deselect check box saying "Highlight newly installed programs". This would help you stop this annoying feature from popping up every now and then.

39. How to improve on shutdown time ? Close apps automatically & quickly at shutdown

Open Registry by going to START-RUN and typing REGEDIT. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\CONTROL PANEL\DESKTOP and look for AutoEndTasks. On my computer default value is 0. Change it to 1. Thats all. Further more you can reduce the time it takes for Windows to issue kill directive to all active/hung applications. In doing this only constraint that you should make sure exists is that HungAppTimeout is greater than WaitToKillAppTimeout. Change the values of WaitToKillAppTimeout to say 3500 (since default value for HungAppTimeout 5000 and for WaitToKillAppTimeout is 20000)

40. Speedup boot up sequence by defragmenting all key boot files

Open Registry by going to START-RUN and typing REGEDIT. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Dfrg\BootOptimizeFunction. In right hand panel look for Enable. Right click on it and set it 'Y' for enable. This is the way I have it set on my computer. This will help speedup boot time.

41. Create your own customized legal notice at Windows Startup

This tip won't make your computer any faster but may help personalize your computer experience. Open Registry by going to START-RUN and typing REGEDIT. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon. In right hand panel look for two fields by the name legalnoticecaption and legalnoticetext. Modify legalnoticecaption to what you want popup window caption should read and change legalnoticetext to customize whatever message you want.

42. One more way to fine tune Internet. Explorer load time

If you do this little trick, application load time may improve significantly. Right Click on shortcut to Internet. Explorer in taskbar ( If you do not see it right click on taskbar,click toolbar and select quicklaunch) , click on properties and under shortcut tab look for Target field. It should say some thing like "C:\Program Files\Internet. Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE". This is typical default. I am suggesting you to put " -nohome" without quotes at the end of this string with one space in between. It should read like this "C:\Program Files\Internet. Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE" -nohome. Doing this would help load the application quickly as time would not be wasted in connecting to home page again and again. This is good for normal use as well.

43. Customize Internet. Explorer Title bar

This tip won't make your computer any faster but may help personalize your computer experience. Open Registry by going to START-RUN and typing REGEDIT. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet. Explorer\Main. In right hand panel look for string "Window Title" and change its value to whatever custom text you want to see. That is it.

44. Are you a MP3 fan ? Add ability to rip MP3 songs in Windows Media Player 8

I am not that great a fan of MP3 but do appreciate its power. If you have a truckload of CDs that you would like to listen to but do not want to carry all of them at the same time, you can rip them into MP3. Yes it can be done technically and that too from Windows Media Player even though make sure you have legally on right side of fence, meaning you own the CD that you would rip MP3 from. That said here is the little tweak in registry. Open Registry by going to START-RUN and typing REGEDIT. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MediaPlayerSettings\MP3Encoding] and adding following entries

which corresponds to 56, 64, 128 and 192 Kbps. Following table would help with other settings as well:

320 Kbps = dword:0004e200
256 Kbps = dword:0003e800
224 Kbps = dword:00036b00
160 Kbps = dword:00027100
112 Kbps = dword:0001b580

45. Enable write caching on disk and improve disk performance

I have enabled write caching on my disk and this does have helped improve disk performance to a significant degree. Now you may ask why ?. WriteCache is nothing else but implementation of concept of delayed write. As we all know I/O activities are generally slow and hence if they are synchronous can significantly reduce the system performance. Hence if system performance has to be improved we have to reduce I/O activities. Now practically we can not ask you to change your habits (meaning start typing like a superman or robot etc.) but we can have a solution. We can control the frequency of diskwrite by specifying regular intervals. All that needs to be written between the intervals would be writen in a write buffer which would be maintained in RAM. This write buffer would be written to the disk at regular intervals or whenever it gets full. This is a smart concept with one drawback. There is a chance that you may loose some data in case of critical power loss or system failure but this is not an issue for me and should not be to most of the users. Such things become an issue for Mission Critical Business Servers.
To enable write cache on your disk, go to DEVICE MANAGER. Then select hard disk in the disk drives and right click on it and select properties. Go to policies tab and select checkbox which say "Enable write caching on the disk". Close out everything and you are done.

46. MFT (Master File Table) manipulations to improve disk performance

MFT stands for Master File Table. Typically in Windows XP , if you are using NTFS ( I would recommend it if you don't) then by default,NTFS would reserve 12.5% of your free diskspace for MFT. MFT fragmentation could also cause a significant slow down. Let me discuss size first. Now if you have installed tons of different programs on your hard disk (or intend to do so), MFT utilization is going to be high. Under such situation, it may be beneficial to increase this percentage to say 25%. If you want to do this, here is the the trick. Open Registry by going to START-RUN and entering REGEDIT and Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem. In right pane, Add one more key by the name "NtfsMftZoneReservation" with the REG_DWORD value of 2. DWORD value of 1 is interpreted as 12.5% ,2 as 25% and so on.

47. Improve system performance by disabling DOS 8.3 naming convention

In tip number 46, I briefly mentioned MFT fragmentation. So what is the cause of fragmentation. Well most common cause is too much use. As with anything excessive use causes fragmentation. Activities of add/update/delete to a section of disk would invariable cause it to fragment. So there is no permanent solution as we can not avoid these acts. As such it is a good idea to use disk defragmenter regularly. Contiguous data which results from defragmenting disk, improves system performance considerably. But what I am suggesting you here would prolong intervals between defragmentations resulting in more time for your own productive work. OK! This tip is for those folks would never be using a DOS based program or don't care for connection from DOS based operating systems (example: old games and all things before windows 95). In Windows XP, two file names are created for each file one is the actual name and another one is 8.3 version of that file name for compatibility with DOS based programs. Now this work name in the name of compatibility takes quite a lot of system resources specifically CPU time and disk space.But this is not it, it also increases your MFT utilization and fragmentation. So the solution is to disable it. How to do this ? Open Registry by going to START-RUN and entering REGEDIT and Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem. In right pane, look for key by the name "NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation" and sets its value to 1. Thats it. You would see improvement in system performance for sure.

48. Customize logon prompt with your own words

This tip won't make your computer any faster but may help personalize your computer experience. Open Registry by going to START-RUN and entering REGEDIT and Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]. In right pane, look for key by the name "LogonPrompt". Set its value to whatever text you want to see displayed at login screen.

49. Where does Window's ProductId get stored ?

There are two places at least where ProductId gets stored. To see the first place, open Registry by going to START-RUN and entering REGEDIT and Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion]. In right pane, look for key by the name "ProductId". This is your Windows Product Id. Alternatively you can navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion] and still find same field with the name ProductId.

50. Set the low level hook time-out and stop certain programs from crashing or becoming unstable

One of the things that you can do avoid some programs from becoming unstable is to set a low level hook timeout. There are a few programs which use this low level hook timeout. Setting a low value (in milliseconds) means that if the hooked program does not respond within timeout period, one that has set the hook would not become unstable or go in infinite wait but would kill itself saving windows resources and improving performance. Open Registry by going to START-RUN and entering REGEDIT and Navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT USER\Control Panel\Desktop] and look for "LowLevelHooksTimeout" in the right pane. Now set it to a small number in milliseconds for example a value of 3500 would mean 3.5 seconds.


51. Having problems with Outlook Express ? Does it ask for password everytime you connect ?
Even though this is not a problem for me but there is a chance that it could be a problem for you. Sometimes no matter what you do, Outlook Express forgets your password and asks you to enter it again each and every time you connect to your mail server.I have a solution that may work for you. Open Registry by going to START-RUN and entering REGEDIT and Navigate to HKEY_CURRRENT USER\Software\Microsoft and look for "Protected Storage System Provider". There is a good chance that you will see this folder. If you have it. Simply delete it. More than likely, you have solved your problem .

52. Tuning up MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) to speed up Internet access.

This is an old one. I had tried it on Window 2000 as well. Now let me tell you one important fact related with tuning. Value of MTU depends upon how fast a connection you have, what kind of activities you perform (ask yourself a question. Are your a mild, average or high end user of Internet ? To put it in other words, Do you download little or nothing, or are an average surfer or are Internet savvy individual and download everything from programs,apps,patches to watching Internet audio/video real-time content?) Depending upon who you are as a user and what kind of connection (modem,dsl,cable or in rare cases T1/T3), this tuning may have little to significant effect on your Internet experience. All right MTU stand for Maximum Transmission Unit. Value of MTU decides the size of Internet data packet. Bigger the size, more you can transfer. Analogy could be made with a bucket. If bucket is small, you can carry little but it would be no strain on your strength. Bigger the bucket, more you can carry but it strains your physical strength. (Well! Its not that simple but good enough to understand). Objective should be find a perfect balance which works for you. I think maximum that you can put is as value of MTU is 1500 (but could be higher for your specific network) and it may not make sense making it smaller than 68.

Again this is a registry tweak unless and until you have a tweaking utility that can do it for you.Open Registry by going to START-RUN and entering REGEDIT and Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters\Interfaces\ ID for Adapter. For this right click on right pane and add a key by the name MTU. For this key you can add a DWORD value from 68 to 1500 (or higher value is certain cases). If you put less than 68, it will default to 68. If you put a value higher than 1500 or your Network permitted max, it will default to permitted max.
The MTU (Maximum Transfer Unit) specifies the maximum transmission unit size of an interface, and is usually determined by negotiation at the link layer of the driver.
The upper level protocols normally optimize pack size for each medium.

Following table gives typical values of MTU in bytes:-

Network Type

Windows XP MTU (bytes)

Windows NT / Windows 2000 MTU (bytes)

16 Mbps Token Ring



4 Mbits/Sec Token Ring









IEEE 802.3/802.2






PPPoE (WAN Miniport)



53. Enable automatic path MTU size detection and improve Internet throughput.

As stated on previous tip (Tip 52), MTP size plays an important role in deciding Internet speed. But its not so easy to determine the right value of MTU. For those of us who fall in this category and would prefer computer to find that for us, follow trick may work. I can not say with confidence whether this would work across all network but it should and there is no harm in trying it out. Now before I do that let me tell you what this action will do. Applying this trick, you would ask computer to automatically find out the maximum MTU size possible in the connection path to a host. This value could be different for different sites. I think this trick should pick the lowest common denominator across a particular path. Typically If MTU size is not optimized, this job has to be done by a router which would mean a significant waste of time (small chunks adds to a considerable loss if you imagine that there are billions of packets involved across the whole Internet) resulting in poor throughout and congestion on cyber lanes. All right this key is called EnablePMTUDiscovery.

Again this is a registry.Open Registry by going to START-RUN and entering REGEDIT and Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters\Interfaces\ ID for Adapter. For this right click on right pane and add a key by the name EnablePMTUDiscovery. For this key you can add a DWORD boolean value of 0 or 1 with 1 being TRUE (value that enables auto detection). Since we are trying this tweak, set to 1 and enable the TCP to attempt to discover the MTU size over the specific path to host. Microsoft has an interesting article on many similar tips and is titled TCP/IP and NBT Configuration Parameters for Windows (Q120642).

54. How to avoid autoplay of CD ? Way I like best.

Hey this time no registry trick even though there are ways in registry to do it. In earlier operating systems only those CD that had autorun.inf file in their root directory were able to execute on its own but with advent of WINDOWS XP it has become possible with just about anything. Well sometimes it is good but there are other times when you want to avoid this part of automation. What would I do. Simply press SHIFT key when you enter a CD in your CD drive. It won't Auto play. For those of you, who do want a registry hack. Here it is: Open Registry and navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\Explorer] and look for key "NoDriveTypeAutoRun" and set its value to 185 (decimal). This would stop autoplay.

55. Running into Internet connection problem ? clean TCP/IP stack may be your solution

One of things that has improved a lot is the Windows ability to detect and connect to Internet But I still get into situations where (specially with my NAT and consistent testing of new ideas and tricks) that I end up correcting the TCP/IP stack. I got another IBM computer day before yesterday and I got into trouble again. Well one quick command that you can try out to rebuild the TCPIP stack is by means of using netsh network command shell. This is mentioned on my list of tools page and I would be describing its capability in great detail whenever I get some free time. But for now try this command netsh int ip reset mynetsh.log . This would rebuild your TCP/IP stack and a log of activities would be created in mynetsh.log (by the way you can give any name to log file as long as you do give some name).

56. Are you using an computer that is accessed by more than one ? Secure your privacy by cleaning pagefile.

I read about this tweak a long time ago and even found out couple of ways of achieving the same results but wasn't sure of the importance. But you know what, there is reason for everything. Assume your are working on computer where you don't really own the computer or is shared with someone else. Do you want maintain privacy and avoid other know what you were doing etc. Then this tweak may be of interest to you. Go to Control panel Administrative tools, local security policy. Then goto local policies ---> security options.Then change the option for "Shutdown: Clear Virtual Memory Pagefile"

57. Gain temp access to Administrative privileges even if you are not logged in as administrator.

I must be telling you one thing. In most of the cases where Windows XP is installed on a personal computer, users generally have access to administrative account. But you know, it is not in your best interest to log on as administrator for all your computing needs. I must advise you to create a normal user account as well. But what if you are logged in as normal user and happen to download/install some software application that would need administrative privileges Here is the solution. Simply right click on the executable and select run as. You would see a window poping up. Here you can provide one of the userid/password that would have admin privileges That's all you need to run that program with administrative privileges

58. Another tweak to boost up network application performance. Change thread priority

I just read about this over the internet.You can change the priority of applications as soon as associated IO tasks are completed. Microsoft TCP/IP Stack component AFD.SYS allows you to do this. You can read all about it at Again this is a registry tweak and works well with XP.Open Registry by going to START-RUN and entering REGEDIT and Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\AFD\Parameters] and set the following key values to the values shown.

59. Make a habit of cleaning prefetch data once a month.

Prefetch is a new and very useful technique in Windows XP. However, after using XP some time, the prefetch directory can get full of junk and obsolete links in the Prefetch catalog, which can slow down your computer noticeably. I would suggest that You do this once a month: Go to C(system drive):/windows/prefetch, and delete everything and reboot. This may help speed up your computer.

60. How to determine a 16 bit application from a 32 bit application ?

Old 16 bit app are still useful and are in use by many. I think this is the result computer evolution. If You want to know whether a particular executable is a 16 bit or 32 bit application, here is a secret. Right-click the program’s executable file and Then choose Properties. If You see a Version tab, it’s a 32-bit program else its a 16-bit program. Alternately You can go into task manager and look for applications that have ntvdm.exe (virtual dos machine) in the name column of process tab. If there is one, it means its a 16 bit app.

61. Do You know how to add/delete entries in Control Panel ? Heard about CPL extension ?

If You open windows explorer and search for all *.cpl files, You would see at least as many entries in search as You have in your control panel.Yes ! .cpl stands for control panel. If You do not want to navigate to any of your favorite entries, You can create a shortcut to that entry's corresponding cpl file. Following lists control panel and cpl file names:
System Properties = sysdm.cpl
Network Connections = ncpa.cpl
ODBC Administrator = odbccp32.cpl
Display Properties = desk.cpl
Add or remove programs = appwiz.cpl
Internet Properties = Inetcpl.cpl
Game Controllers = joy.cpl
Phone and modem Options = telephon.cpl
Time and Date Properties = timedate.cpl
Region and Language Options = intl.cpl
Power Options = powercfg.cpl
Mouse Properties = main.cpl
Accessibility Options = access.cpl
Add Hardware Wizard = hdwwiz.cpl
Sound and Audio Devices = mmsys.cpl
User Accounts = nusrmgr.cpl
Speech Properties = sapi.cpl
Now if You want to add/delete any of these entries from panel You can do it through Registry or gpedit.msc or through tweakui if You have powertoys installed. It is preferable to use gpedit or TweakUi as its easier.

From TweakUi, You have to simply click on control panel , and select/deselect entries in right panel as per your choice.

From gpedit.msc (to run gpedit, goto START-RUN and type gpedit.msc) Navigate to User Configuration- Administrative Templates-Control Panel folder select and right click on Show only specified Control Panel Applets , click on enabled and Then click on the show. In this list You won't see anything if its your first time. Click on add and type the complete file name from above list. (This is a bit more complicated process specially if You are a new user of the tool)

And if You are a registry fan, You can do this my navigating to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\] and adding a key field by the name "don't load" and one string value to each of the cpl file names. For example if You don't want to see accessibility options, add a string "access.cpl" on the right pane to the newly added key field "don't load". You can add as many strings You want.

62. Have a IDE drive ? Improve disk performance by changing to DMA access mode

If You are an average user, there is a good chance that your are using a IDE hard disk that supports DMA access. Even Windows XP fails to set the DMA mode correctly for the IDE device designated as the slaves on the primary IDE and secondary IDE channels. Most CD-ROMS are capable of supporting DMA mode, but the default in XP is still PIO. Setting it to DMA won't make your CD-ROM faster, but it will consume less CPU cycles. Follow instructions below:
1. Open the Device Manager and navigate to "IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers", expand it and double-click on "Primary IDE Channel"
2. Under the "Advanced Settings" tab, verify the "Device 1" setting. If transfer mode is set to PIO Then set it to "DMA if available". Repeat the step for the "Secondary IDE Channel" if You have devices attached to it. Reboot the sytem.

63. Working in command environment ? Avoid keystrokes - use TAB key

One of the features in Linux and certain UNIX shells is the ability to predict user keystroke. If You are typing a directory name or a filename and if it exists, using this feature would help You avoiding those extra keystrokes. Do You know WindowsXP command environment has this feature ? (Well it is available in Windows 2000 as well). To use this feature You have to use TAB key. (I would also show You how to change it to some other key even though there is no need of it). Assume You are in C:\ drive and want to type autoexec.bat and there is a file that exists by that name. Result are amazing if there is no ambiguity in filenames (meaning multiple files/directories with similar names/prefix). In such cases You can simply type first few characters and press the TAB key. You would really be amazed at this finding (Hey if not, You are really too smart and don't need this tip! )

Now if You want to change this power key to some other key here is howto: Open Registry by going to START-RUN and entering REGEDIT and Navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Command Processor] and set CompletionChar" to ASCII number associated with the key char. for example, "CompletionChar"=dword:00000009

64. Customizing Windows Explorer Context menu (right click menu in windows explorer)

Ever wondered how does the right click menu (which is actually a context menu) work ? For example, when I right click in windows explorer, I see an option which says "open command window here". Do You know why I see this ? Well I see this because I have following entries in my registry.

@="Open Command Window Here"

@="C:\WINDOWS\System32\cmd.exe /k cd "%1""

If You have never used a tweaking utility and have newly installed Windows XP, You would not see this option. You would have to navigate to [[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Drive] go and create two subkeys ("cmd" and within that "command" and would have to put the text "Open Command Window Here" without quotes in default string value of "cmd" key and the text "C:\WINDOWS\System32\cmd.exe /k CD"%1"" without quotes in default string value of command key). After this You need to REBOOT for these changes to take effect.

Trick is in adding similar entries for other applications as well even though its much harder to come with ideas about what to put in the context menu!!!! .

65. Low on disk space and do not use Windows XP Hibernate feature ?

With hardware prices going down every passing day You may not need this tip but if You are in a situation where You are really low on disk space even after using disk cleaner, one of the things You can do is to identify features of XP You don't use. It may very well be the hibernate feature. If You don't use it, simply disable it and get as much of hard disk space free as is your physical RAM size. To do that go to power options in control panel (fast route: goto START-RUN or win+R and type powercfg.cpl ) and click on hibernate tab and deselect "enable hibernation".

66. How to make autodisconnect work in Internet explorer ?

If You are having problem setting autodisconnect in Internet explorer 6 , here is a tip for You Open Registry by going to START-RUN and entering REGEDIT and Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters] and look for autodisconnect parameter. Change its value to whatever You want (in minutes).

Alternately You can try this from command prompt: net config server /autodisconnect:30 -to set the autodisconnect to 30 minutes. Microsoft have a detailed article dealing on this titled How Autodisconnect Works in Windows NT and Windows 2000 (Q138365)

67. Do You want Windows to unload dll immediately?

Folks, I read about this a long time ago and my preliminary findings are that it works on XP as well even though I can not say how beneficial this trick is (or how damaging !). Also there might be some potential problems with a a few apps. But I would still provide it to You There is a way in registry for You to tell Windows OS to unload DLL,immediately as soon as its use is over. Here is how to do that: . Open Registry by going to START-RUN and entering REGEDIT and Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer] and look for AlwaysUnloadDLL parameter. It may not be present by default. If not, add a key by the name AlwaysUnloadDLL and set it to value of 1.

This would inform OS to unload the DLL files from memory immediately. This has its advantages and disadvantages. It may also crash some Microsoft applications (like Access).

68. Lock known dll's list and make your computer a bit more safer

Folks, You may be wondering that I am talking about making your computer a bit more safer even though my very site was hacked on 1/14/2002. As it stands I have kept this site simple and I do not control the webhosting part. Anyway it is a good idea to keep your computer safe.Open Registry by going to START-RUN and entering REGEDIT and Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager] and look for ProtectionMode parameter. If its value is not 1 , set it to value of 1. On my computer default value is 1. Doing this will protect your list of known system dlls from being compromised. To see what is present in your known DLL list, navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\KnownDLLs] and look in the right pane. I have not yet tried this but You may even try adding some other DLLs that You feel important and should be protected. This could be risky as I have not yet tried this myself.

Microsoft has an old but informative article on it

69. Improve computer performance by reducing EFS cache validation

Navigate to HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\NTFS\EFS\Parameters and set the parameter of EFSKCACHEPERIOD to a value between 2 and 30. default is 5. Value suggest the time in seconds the kernel will cache the session key for a user for a given file. The Kernel will not validate the user credentials during this cache period. This has the net effect of faster access to encrypted files that may be opened several times during a given time period.This is helpful in kernel and user mode of the EFS (encrypting file system) as it provides quicker access to frequently use components.
Similarly navigate to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\EFS and set the value of KeyCacheValidationPeriod to a value in units of second from 1 minute to 1 day (60 to 86400).

Microsoft has an interesting article on this at Registry Keys Used to Tune EFS Caching (Q278256) . Read it for complete details.

70. Customize your Start Menu setting and preferences

You can open group policy editor (gpedit.msc) and go to User Configuration \ Administrative Templates \ Start Menu and Taskbar and set a variety of preferences for your startmenu. Or if You want You can open registry editor and navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer and enable/disable various parameters by changing 1 to 0 and viceversa. I am doing a cut/paste of list available at Microsoft site. Visit the site to get details on these registry values

Registry Value:"NoSimpleStartMenu"
Registry Value:"NoStartMenuPinnedList"
Registry Value:"NoStartMenuMFUprogramsList"
Registry Value:"NoStartMenuMorePrograms"
Registry Value:"NoCommonGroups"
Registry Value:"GreyMSIAds"
Registry Value:"NoWindowsUpdate"
Registry Value:"NoStartMenuMyMusic", "NoSMMyPictures","NoFavoritesMenu","NoRecentDocsMenu"
Registry Value:"DisableMyPicturesDirChange", "DisableMyMusicDirChange", "DisableFavoritesDirChange".
Registry Value:"NoSMMyDocs"
Registry Value:"DisablePersonalDirChange"
Registry Value:"NoRecentDocsMenu"
Registry Value:"MaxRecentDocs"
Registry Value:"ClearRecentDocsOnExit"
Registry Value:"NoFavoritesMenu"
Registry Value:"{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}" under
Registry Value:"NoNetworkConnections"
Registry Value:"NoStartMenuNetworkPlaces"
Registry Value:"NoRecentDocsNetHood"
Registry Value:"NoSMHelp"
Registry Value:"NoFind"
Registry Value:"NoRun"
Registry Value:"MemCheckBoxInRunDlg"
Registry Value:"NoResolveSearch"
Registry Value:"NoResolveTrack"
Registry Value:"ForceStartMenuLogoff"
Registry Value:"StartMenuLogoff"
Registry Value:"NoClose"
Registry Value:"NoStartMenuEjectPC"
Registry Value:"NoChangeStartMenu"
Registry Value:"NoSetTaskbar"
Registry Value:"NoInstrumentation"
Registry Value:"NoUserNameInStartMenu"

I read about this on Microsoft Web Site. Here is the link Policy Settings for the Start Menu in Windows XP (Q292504)

71. How to Add a Control Panel Tool to a Category : Tips on customizing categories

Have You noticed the new view of control panel in XP. Well as its says,its a view and You can switch to a classic view anytime. But if You like the view but want to customize the categories, there is again a good article on How to do this : How to Add a Control Panel Tool to a Category (Q292463) . You can get complete details by visiting the site but in brief a control Panel tool can be included in a particular category by adding a registry DWORD entry for the tool in the following registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Control Panel\Extended Properties\{305CA226-D286-468e-B848-2B2E8E697B74} 2
Value category ids are:
0x00000000 : Other Control Panel Options (any tool that does not specify a category ID is placed in this category)
0x00000001 : Appearance and Themes
0x00000002 : Printers and Other Hardware
0x00000003 : Network and Internet Connections
0x00000004 : Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices
0x00000005 : Performance and Maintenance
0x00000006 : Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options
0x00000007 : Accessibility Options
0xFFFFFFFF : Do not put the tool in any category (for special tools such as Add/Remove Programs which only start directly)

72. Protect yourself from denial of service attacks: UPnP weakness in Windows XP

You might have heard of Denial of Service attacks . Recently this news covered media headlines. Microsoft has provided a fix for it. You can read complete details at But in brief few registry tweaks can save the day for You in unlikely case of You being the target .

1. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\UPnP Control Point and add "DownloadScope" key and put a value of 0 to 3. Here is the description of these values:
0 - on the same subnet
1 - same subnet or at a private address
2 - same subnet or at a private address or within 4 hops
3 - anywhere

2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\SSDPSRV\Parameters and add key "TTL" and sets its value to max number of rounter hops allowed in the PnP device search on Internet .

73. How startup programs get loaded in Windows at boot time ? Run keys of Windows Registry

Run keys cause programs to automatically run every time computer/XP boots up . The Windows XP registry includes the following four Run keys:


Each of these keys has a series of values. The values allow multiple entries to exist without overwriting one another. The data value for a value is a command line. There are some special considerations for the third and fourth keys in the list, the RunOnce keys: By default, Run keys are ignored when the computer starts in Safe mode. Under the RunOnce keys, You can prefix a value name with an asterisk (*) to force the associated program to run even in Safe mode. You can prefix a RunOnce value name with an exclamation point (!) to defer deletion of the value until after the command runs. Without the exclamation point prefix, a RunOnce value is deleted before the command runs. As a result, if a RunOnce operation does not run properly, the associated program is not asked to run the next time You start the computer.

Again, this article is available at Microsoft site at A Definition of the Run Keys in the Windows XP Registry (Q314866)

74. Have You seen those annoying searches for broken shortcuts/links ? Need a remedy ?

This could be annoying ! Has been to me. Well there is are couple of ways to solve this problem. If You are comfortable with Registry manipulation, Open registry editor by going to START-RUN and entering regedit.exe. After this , Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer add a new key by the name "NoResolveTrack" (without quotes) and sets its value to 1.

This can be achieved by group policy editor as well. Open group policy editor by opening START-RUN and entering gpedit.msc. Navigate to User Configuration\AdministrativeTemplates\Start Menu and Taskbar group policy and selecting "Do not use the tracking-based method when resolving shell shortcuts"

75. Want to move a Windows XP Installation to Different Hardware. How to do that ?

In most of the scenarios (legal !), You would be doing one of the following acts:

A. Migrate a working Windows XP operating system and your installed programs to a different or more powerful computer in minimal downtime.
B. Replace a small system/boot disk drive with a larger system/boot disk drive.
C. Restore a Windows backup from a malfunctioning computer to a different computer for disaster recovery purposes

Windows Backup (Ntbackup.exe) can handle differences in hardware configuration information between computers and maintain critical registry entries that are unique to the computer to which You are migrating information. This capability means that You can migrate to new hardware by performing a full backup of the source computer and Then restoring the backup over a fresh installation of Windows XP on the destination computer.

Ntbackup.exe handles restore operations in the registry by first querying the following registry key:

This registry key indicates to Ntbackup.exe that certain registry keys under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM key should not be overwritten when files are restored.

An entry that ends with a backslash (\) indicates that a key is protected and that any keys or values under that key should not be restored. If the entry ends with a backslash and an asterisk (\*), all subkeys are "merged." In this situation, "merged" means comparing the start values of the keys in the backup set with the start values that exist in the current registry, to determine the correct key to restore.

If the value of the key on the backup set has a lower start value, the backup key takes precedence. If the value of the key in the current registry has a lower start value, the current key takes precedence. This process ensures that all services and devices start correctly after a "system state" restoration, even on dissimilar hardware.

Complete details on this are available at Microsoft site at How to Move a Windows XP Installation to Different Hardware (Q314070) 


76. Do you have a problem with your Video ? Always going in VGA MODE ?
This happens to everyone at some point of time or other and is most likely caused by some application or third party utility overwriting your drivers files (or if you do not have had a right video driver to begin with). To verify exactly what gets loaded, follow these steps. Open registry by going to START-RUN and entering regedit. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\hardware\DeviceMap\Video . In this value of Device\Video0 points to a registry key that has the location of the video driver that Windows is configured to load. for example: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\ videodriver \Device0 . Navigate to this key. Check value of "InstalledDisplayDrivers" . Its value indicates whether driver was loaded or not. If the setting shows another registry location, a third-party driver may be getting loaded. Check out Microsoft Knowledgebase article for more details:

77. Prevent a Program From Being Displayed in the Most Frequently Used Programs List

This is easy.Open registry by going to START-RUN and entering regedit. Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications\ Program name.exe where Program name.exe is the name of the application that you do not want to be displayed in the Most Frequently Used Programs List. Add an empty string value named NoStartPage. That's it. Reboot your computer.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Before doing anything with registry, It is very important that you take a backup of registry by exporting it. Remember even a minor mistake in registry could render your system unusable or will cause it to stop or crash. XPTOOLS is not responsible for any such damage that may occur directly or indirectly as a result of your applying these changes. Don't try it if you are not sure. Use at your own risk.

78. Having trouble with MSDOS program ? Tips on troubleshooting
I read a good article on Troubleshooting MS-DOS-Based Programs in Windows (Q314106) at Microsoft knowledgebase website. One of the first thing to test when you are having problems with MS-DOS-based programs is the Windows Virtual DOS Machine (NTVDM) subsystem. Open START-RUN and enter or cmd.exe. If you don't see a MSDOS windows coming up you of course have a problem. Check the Config.nt and Autoexec.nt files in the SystemRoot%\System32 folder for nonstandard settings.
Use a REM statement to remark out all entries except the following default entries:
dos=high, umb
lh %SystemRoot%\System32\Mscdexnt.exe
lh %SystemRoot%\System32\Redir
lh %SystemRoot%\System32\Dosx
lh %SystemRoot%\System32\Nw16 (only if CSNW is installed)
lh %SystemRoot%\System32\Vwipxspx (only if CSNW is installed)

The registry entries that are associated with the NTVDM subsystem are: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment
This key stores the environment variables from the Config.sys and Autoexec.bat files for use in Windows.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\ VirtualDeviceDrivers
This key stores the device drivers that are used in an NTVDM session. Windows Setup creates these entries when a device driver is installed.
Read the article at Troubleshooting MS-DOS-Based Programs in Windows (Q314106) for complete details as I am simply repeating what's already available in the article.

79. Create your own popup menu in TASK BAR

This is not a registry tweak or anything big at all but may still be helpful to some. Remember what happens when you click on START button. You see a popup window coming up. You can create your own popup window other than START MENU in taskbar. Put down shortcuts to all applications that you want to see in your popup in a folder. Then you right click on taskbar->toolbars->new toolbar-> and select the new folder.

80. Change default directory of Windows Explorer

If you are one of those who are annoyed by Windows Explorer always opening my documents folder by default, here is a solution.In the properties of explorer or explorer shortcut which you access by left click you enter this in the end: /n,/e,c: After this , it look like : %SystemRoot%explorer.exe /n,/e,c: . You can change C: to anything you want !! .

81. How to alter behavior of System Restore Utility

There are three specific keys that control behavior of System Restore Utility. It has many values that can be altered and also have some that should not be altered under any circumstances. Microsoft Article The Registry Keys and Values for the System Restore Utility (Q295659) explains it all in detail this but in brief following three keys are important.
1. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Sr
2. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Srservice
3. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\SystemRestore
Only some sub-keys of third key can be modified without harming your computer. Read the Microsoft Article to know what can not be modified.Following keys can be modified (copied from Microsoft Article):
This value, listed in seconds, specifies the idle time compression: The amount of time to compress data after the computer reaches its idle time. A service can compress data for the amount of time that is specified in this value, and then stop. Then, at the next idle time compression, the computer can repeat the process.
This value relates to the percentage of disk space that System Restore uses for its data store. The default value is 12 percent. The data store size is always calculated as "max(12 percent, DSMax)," regardless of the size of the hard disk. The maximum (max) size is what is specified in DSMax. For hard disk sizes that are less than 4 gigabytes (GB) in size, 12 percent is less than 400 megabytes (MB), so "max(12 percent, DSMax) equals 400 MB." For hard disk sizes that are greater than 4 GB, 12 percent is greater than 400 MB, so "max(12 percent, DSMax) equals 12 percent." This data store size is not a reserved disk space, and the data store size is used only on demand.
This value specifies the maximum size for the System Restore data store. The default size of the data store is 400 MB. The data store size is always calculated as "max(12 percent, DSMax)," regardless of the size of the hard disk. The maximum (max) size is what is specified in DSMax. For hard disk sizes that are less than 4 GB, 12 percent is less than 400 MB, so "max(12 percent, DSMax) equals 400 MB." For hard disk sizes that are greater than 4 GB, 12 percent is greater than 400 MB, so "max(12 percent, DSMax) equals 12 percent." This data store size is not a reserved disk space, and the data store size is used only on demand.
This value relates to the minimum amount of free disk space that System Restore needs so that it can function during the installation process. Also, this value relates to the minimum amount of free disk space that is needed for System Restore to reactivate and to resume the creation of restore points after System Restore has been disabled because of low disk space.
This value specifies if the last restore operation failed (0), succeeded (1), or had been interrupted (2).
This value specifies, in seconds, the amount of time that System Restore waits before it creates the automatic computer check points for elapsed time. The default value is 24 hours.
This value specifies, in seconds, the restore points Time to Live (TTL). When a restore point reaches this time and it is still on the system, it gets deleted. The default value is (7776000), which will be 90 days.
This value specifies, in seconds, the amount of time that System Restore waits before it creates the automatic computer check points for session time (the amount of time that the computer has been on). The default value is zero (0), which means that this feature is turned off.
This value specifies, in seconds, the amount of time that System Restore waits before it activates itself from a disabled state (after the conditions for this process to occur have been met). If you start the System Restore user interface, System Restore is activated immediately.

82. Remove unnecessary Scheduled Tasks scan by Internet Explorer and make Internet Explorer Load faster

I read about this tip on internet at INFOWORLD . This tips is about a bug in Windows OS (was originally present in Windows 2000 and I do see it in Windows XP as well) that causes Internet explorer to search for Scheduled Tasks whenever your launch the Internet explorer as a user. Microsoft has it documented in a knowledgebase article. Anyway trick is to open registry and navigating to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Explorer\RemoteComputer\NameSpace and then looking for shared tasks ClassId key {D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF}. Simply delete it and get out of registry. No need to reboot. Launch Internet Explorer and see the difference. I noticed significant gains on my computer and I sure bet you will as well.

83. If you have a faster hard disk, keep your pagefile.sys
If you do not already know, pagefile.sys is your swap file. It makes common sense to put it on a hard disk that is fastest. So say if you have upgraded you machine and a newer and faster harddisk, change the pagefile location to that drive. Open registry and navigating to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SessionManager\ MemoryManagement and then looking for Paging files Change its drive location (on mine its says C:\pagefile.sys) to the one that is faster (say D:\pagefile.sys if D: denotes the faster drive).

84. Make Windows XP load frequently used programs in quickly accessible location
Windows XP is smart enough to analyze user behavior and adjust accordingly (somewhat !) Important example is MRU list. Periodically (default is 3 days I think), XP would do some file movements to keep most actively used programs in that part of the disk that are quickly accessible. (Believe me all parts of disk are not the same,some are quicker to access and some are not..its simple law of physics). Anyway if you want to do it at your will, go to START-RUN and enter Rundll32.exe advapi32.dll,ProcessIdleTasks and start the reordering process.

85. Surfing the web ? Find related web sites easily and quickly
Gone are the days when you were forced to have a separate application (like Alexa) to get relevant and related information to a site being viewed. With Internet Explorer 6, you can have this functionality by default. All that you need to do is to follow steps listed below and you have unraveled the secret.
1. Right-click the toolbar at the top of the browser window, and then click Customize.
2. In the Customize Toolbar dialog box, click related under Available toolbar buttons, click Add, and then click Close. Now you would see a new icon appearing on your Internet explorer tool bar. Click on this and you would get all the relevant information on the site being visited.

86. How is the Icon color depth and Size information controlled ?
Icon color and Icon Size information is controlled by following entries in Registry. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics and look for two keys by the following name:
"Shell Icon BPP"
"Shell Icon Size"
Value of "Shell Icon BPP" determines bits per pixel (color depth) and value of "Shell Icon Size" determines icon size in pixels. You can determine number of colors that Icon have by raising 2 to the power of "Shell Icon BPP" value. If value is 16, total number of colors (or color depth) is 2^16 = 65536

87. Enable UDMA/66 mode on IDE Channels
Even if DMA is enabled on IDE channels, by default UDMA/66 mode is disabled. You can improved disc performance by enabling it. Open registry by going to START-RUN and entering REGEDIT and Navigating to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\ {4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0000]. In right pane look for a key by the name "EnableUDMA66". If it is there, set its value to 1 if it is not already set to 1. If not, add a dword entry by the name "EnableUDMA66" and set its value to 1.

88. Save electricity ! Specify the typical role for your computer.
Based on how you use your computer (meaning your computer) you might be wasting a lot of electricity if you leave it on with little or no activity for extended periods of time. Depending upon whether you rarely use the computer or you frequently use the computer or keep it always on, you can do a registry tweak to let the system know the typical role of your computer and help select the best approach to power savings. Navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\PowerCfg] and look for value of CurrentPowerPolicy. Following defaults are in use:
Enter 0 for Home/Office Desk.
Enter 1 for Portable/Laptop.
Enter 2 for Presentation.
Enter 3 for Always On.
Enter 4 for Minimal Power Management.
Enter 5 for Maximum Battery.

89. Private information about who is logged on your computer at a time.
XP stores certain information about you as and when you are logged on in following places in registry:
Logged on User: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Logon User Name]
Personal: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders\Personnal]
Default Document folder: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Volatile Environment\HOMEDRIVE]
.Net email account: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MessengerService\ListCache\.NET Messenger Service\IdentityName]
Number of Open programs: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SessionInformation\ProgramCount]

90. Does your computer forgets to power off after shutdown ?
If this is is the case, try this. It may help. Open registry by going to START-RUN and entering REGEDIT and Navigating to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop] and look for value of PowerOffActive key. If it is set to 0, set it to 1 . This may not work in all cases (specially if your hardware does not support APMS protocol) but is worth a try in other cases.

91. Have you been asked to insert Window XP CD whenever you install a new software ?
If this is is the case, you may want to automate the process a bit. Assuming you have enough disk space (meaning at least 600 MB extra), you can copy all that you have in your Win XP CD's \i386\ directory to your harddisk and change its pointer in registry. Assume you copy everything that you have in \i386 directory to say C:\i386 where C: is your hard disk, you can automate this process and avoid being asked for inserting CD by changing following entry in registry. Open registry and navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion and look for the key called SourcePath. Change this key's value to your hard disk path. Thats all.

92. Optimize your XP Pro system by tweaking service manager ? Remove unnecessary services !
This is important. You don't know how many services are started by your service manager everytime you boot your system. There is a very strong likelihood that some of these services are never of any use to you and as such you never directly or indirectly use them. If so, why delay the boot time and also degrade the system performance for no reason ! Stop this services from starting automatically. Here is How-to ! Open service manager by going to START-RUN and entering services.msc. Now in the right pane, you would see a list of services some of them would be started and others don't. Also they could be set to any of three status of start mode. "Manual", "automatic" and "disabled". If you double Click on any of these you would see detailed info on each of these. You have an option of starting or stopping the services running on your computer. If you are typical desktop user like most of us, it might be safe to disable and stop following services. But still do understand it before you do it. Also some of those listed below may not be available for you as well.
1. Portable Media Serial Number
2. DHCP Client
3. Distributed Link Tracking Client (Most likely you're not connected to a Windows 2000 domain )
4. DNS Client ( Again you're not connecting to a specific DNS server on your local network most of times)
5. FTP Publishing Service ( If you don't want your system to act as an FTP server. I don't !)
6. IIS Admin Service ( You computer may not be a WWW server and as such no need for this service )
7. IPSEC Policy Agent ( disable it if you're not connected to a Windows 2000 domain )
8. Messenger ( same may not be connected to a Windows 2000 domain )
9. Remote Registry Service (Typically you don't remotely access the Registry of other systems )
10. RIP Service (If you are a typical home user, you don't need your system to act as a router)
11. Run As Service ( This can also go since most likely you don't use any applications that run as an alias )
12. World Wide Web Publishing Service ( If you are a not into web publishing business,You don't need this as well)

93. Improve speed of of file search in WINDOWS XP PRO operating system.
If you have not already noticed, you soon will. Default search for a file in Windows Explorer takes a long time to complete. Yes thats correct. I had to wait for some time before I could do that when I was creating the screen print of *.msc search on my computer (see the article on gpedit.msc in list of tools link). Anyway bottom line is default search would be slow in XP, In fact slower than even a Window 98 PC. But there is a reason for it and couple of ways to tweak it. First the reason: One of the reasons XP's default file search takes so long is it not only looks for file names in your directories, it processes compressed (.zip and .cab) files, looking for your filename inside of these zipped files! There are few ways to improve your search.
Disable ZIP and CAB search:
This tip was brought to my attention by James Heinrich.

To disable Compressed Folders for zip files:
regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll
For CAB files:
regsvr32 /u cabview.dll
All of a sudden it goes so much faster, and no need for indexing service,
or weird searching limitations.
Can always be re-enabled afterwards with the same command, minus the/u
Set index service on:
You can further improve the search bye turning the index service on ! Well it does not end here. You not only have to turn the index service on but also has to follow many do's and don'ts. Here are some of them.
1: Never search by putting criteria in the "All or part of the file name" box.
2. Enter your criteria in the "A word or phrase in the file" as described below - no matter what you want to achieve !
Your search criteria must begin with:
followed by all or part of the filename you are looking for and you must put it in the "A word or phrase in the file: input area Wildcards * and/or ? are allowed:
Your search criteria must start with an exclamation mark
The exclamation mark forces use of the index. If the exclamation mark isn't used, Search Companion will begin a slow file-by-file physical search.

There is an interesting article devoted to search. Please visit and read all about it. It even has section on search tips.

94. Troubled by IE crashing unexpectedly for no reason? Launch it in its own process.
If you have seen it happening, you must hate it. You are working on something important (may be filling an application form, filing a tax return, view sensitive data what not or may be just reading an interesting site ) and out of no where an error is reported in iexplorer.exe and all instances of Internet explorer closes out. Isn't this painful ? Well sure it is , but what can you do (???) Well you can do some thing. Thats not the perfect solution but may be a good workaround till we achieve perfection. Open registry (by going to START-RUN and entering regedit) and navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer] and add a new string by the name "BrowseNewProcess" and set its value to "yes". That all. Doing this would open your Internet Explorer Browser in a separate process area of its own, and this would not shut down just because there was a problem with another instance of Internet Explorer. Hey this takes more memory but for those who can afford it offers a solution.

95. Don't want Num Lock to be switched on at boot time ? Shut it off.
This tip is not a performance tip but may be liked by those who like customization. If you are one of those who do not want NUMLOCK to be on at boot time, here is the trick. Open registry (by going to START-RUN and entering regedit) and navigate to [HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Keyboard] and look for a string key by the name "InitialKeyboardIndicators". If its not there , create it else change its value to
0 to set NUMLOCK off or 2 to set NUMLOCK on.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Before doing anything with registry, It is very important that you take a backup of registry by exporting it. Remember even a minor mistake in registry could render your system unusable or will cause it to stop or crash. XPTools is not responsible for any such damage that may occur directly or indirectly as a result of your applying these changes. Don't try it if you are not sure. Use at your own risk

96. Modify color selection of default theme.
Again this tip is not a performance tip but may be liked by those who like customization. Also it may be useful more once Microsoft provides more themes. Open registry (by going to START-RUN and entering regedit) and navigate to [HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ThemeManager] and locate the key "ColorName".
Right Click on it and select modify its value from "NormalColor" to "Metallic"
Click Ok, and exit regedit and restart your computer.

This tip does not do much on my computer but those who have Microsoft XP Plus Installed might see a difference. Please provide me your feedback on this tip.

97. Troubled by IE crashing unexpectedly for no reason? Launch it in its own process.
I am not a serious gamer but there was a time when I was playing a chilly eating game at Guiness book of records. Even with my best efforts I was not able to eat more than 72 chillies where as record was for that of 90 in a minute. I was wondering how could that happen ? Same goes with 1 minute short chess games on line. I think an accelerating mouse and pointing device was what I was missing (apart from the gamer skills !) Well if you want to accelerate your mouse , here a tip I found on Internet There is a logic order in the 64-bit hexadecimal values in the registry trick I am suggesting to you folks. When trying different values, you should come up with a diagram which displays a curve, this is the unwanted acceleration. Adjusting the values that the curve becomes a straight line resolves the mouse-acceleration. Open registry (by going to START-RUN and entering regedit) and navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Mouse] and set value of "SmoothMouseXCurve" and
"SmoothMouseYCurve" as follows:

"SmoothMouseYCurve"=hex:00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,66,a6,02,00,00,00,00,00,cd,4c, 05,00,00,00,00,00,a0,99,0a,00,00,00,00,00,38,33,15,00,00,00,00,00
Drop me a mail if you find it helpful as I myself have not tested it effectiveness.

98. Increasing number of connections per http server
Folks, HTTP Protocol limits number of maximum connections to a HTTP server to 2. Following table explains restrictions placed by various HTTP PROTOCOLS. This is the as per the RFC specifications.


HTTP 1.0 conforming server

4 simultaneous connections


HTTP 1.1 conforming server

2 simputaneous connections

Limitation caused by this is visible whenever your applications make calls like HttpSendRequest and InternetOpenURL which take longer to complete as they wait for previous connections to be freed up before their requests are sent. You can configure WinInet to exceed this limit by creating and setting the registry entries. Open registry (by going to START-RUN and entering regedit) and navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings] and look for values of "MaxConnectionsPerServer" and "MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server ". If you don't see then add two key by the names "MaxConnectionsPerServer" and "MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server " respectively. Default values are as
MaxConnectionsPerServer = 2
MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server = 4

Changes its value to a number you want. I read about this at

CAUTIONARY NOTE: By changing these settings you are causing WinInet to break the HTTP protocol specification for your application and any other WinInet applications running on your machine, including Internet Explorer. You should only do this if absolutely necessary and then you should avoid doing standard Web browsing while these settings are in effect

99. Load Outlook Express faster. Stop Outlook express logo screen from poping up
Not a big deal but would help you get there faster. Open registry (by going to START-RUN and entering regedit) and navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\{** Identity ID **}\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\5.0] where Identity Id is your computer specific value (on my computer Identity Id is {9144D186-C4E5-462F-A269-E9F293F14A1D}) and look for value of "NoSplash ". If this is the first time, you may not see this key and if so add the DWORD key by the name "NoSplash ". Now sets its value to 1

100. Run your Windows Desktop in its own process environment
This may take a little more memory but would make your Desktop more stable. So this is more of a security tip. Security from other applications running on your desktop. Open registry (by going to START-RUN and entering regedit) and navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer] and look for value of "DesktopProcess". If this is the first time, you may not see this key and if so add the DWORD key by the name "DesktopProcess". Now sets its value to 1


101. Run Windows Explorer in its own process. Avoid Total Explorer Crash
This will further secure your windows explorer from crash though not a great idea if short on memory. Open registry by going to START-RUN and entering regedit. Navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced] . In this look for value of "SeparateProcess". If available set its value to 1 and if not (which could be the case ) then add a DWORD key by the name "SeparateProcess" and set its value to 1.

If you would rather prefer not to change registry settings , you can get similar results by following steps mentioned below
Click on "Start" Menu
Clcik "My Computer"
Click on "Tools" Menu
Click "Folder Options"
Check "Lauch folder windows in separate process"
Stability would be more because each Folder window will start in separate process and will not cause system to halt in case one or more of such processes stop responding. Although it is supposed to provide better stability but may be at the cost of performance.

102. Secure your computer: Enable Advanced File System Security Options

This will further secure your windows explorer and not really a performance tweak. Open registry by going to START-RUN and entering regedit. Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa] . In this look for value of "forceguest". If available, its default value would be 1. Set its value to 1. This would enables Windows XP logic for advanced permissions.

103. Define a logical value for System Cache

Depending upon how you intend to use your computer (like a workstation or server ), it may make sense to set the system cache. Open registry by going to START-RUN and entering regedit. Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management] . In this look for value of "LargeSystemCache". If available, do one of the following:
If intention is to use the computer like a workstation, set its value to 0.
If intention is to use the computer like a server, set its value to 1.

104. Control parsing of autoexec.bat

In Window 3.1 autoexec.bat was one of the few choices of executing any app at boot time. But its importance has gradually thinned. It is still supported but you can pretty much do without it for most part. If you do not need to parse the autoexec.bat (there may not be anything in it anyway !), you can tell Windows XP to do that. Open registry by going to START-RUN and entering regedit. Navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon] . In this look for value of "ParseAutoexec". If available, do one of the following:
If you want to disable parsing of autoexec.bat, set its value to 0.
If you want to enable parsing of autoexec.bat, set its value to 1.

105. Disable default capability of Windows XP to open the compressed/zipped folder

I am comfortable with the default capability that Windows XP provides to unzip the zipped/compressed files/folders. But if you are used to winzip/pkzip or any other third vendor software, it may make sense to avoid confusion by disabling default unzipper code in windows. To do this go to START-RUN and entering "regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll" (without quotes). To enable it go to START-RUN and entering "regsvr32 zipfldr.dll" (without quotes).

106. Automatically kill non-responding application at shutdown

Remember this ! It happens to all of us invariably sometime or the other no matter what you do. Don't you hate waiting for those extra seconds and then simply responding yes to the windows query. Well you have a remedy. You can tell Windows XP to automatically close all non responding windows. Open registry by going to START-RUN and entering regedit. Navigate to [HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktopn] . In this look for value of "AutoEndTasks". If available, do one of the following:
If you want to enable automatic killing of non responding tasks, set its value to 1. to disable it set it back to 0.

107. Improve Shutdown. Lets not save your active session's settings on exit

If you Don't care which windows app was located where when you are shutting down the system, this tip may in fact help improve the shutdown time a bit (a bit not too much)..Simply inform windows not to save the settings at exit time. To do this , open registry by going to START-RUN and entering regedit. Navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer] . In this look for value of "NoSaveSettings". If available, do one of the following:
If you want to enable no save on exit, set its value to 1 else to save on exit. set it back to 0.

108. Disable use of Win key

I am not sure why you would ever want to do this except probably if you do not have a windows enabled keyboard but here is the tip anyway (tip for the sack of tip !!!!). To disable use of Win key, open registry by going to START-RUN and entering regedit. Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout] . In this look for value of "Scancode Map". Its binary data so be extra careful:
Set its value to "00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 03 00 00 00 00 00 5B E0 00 00 5C E0 00 00 00 00" to disable the win key.

109. AutoReboot whenever Windows XP experiences BSOD (Blue Screen of Death!)

Since Windows XP is touted as most reliable Windows XP ever, you do not need this trick!. Well I am somewhat kidding. There is nothing in this world that is foolproof. I have faced this twice so far. To make windows reboot instead of producing the cryptic dump, open registry by going to START-RUN and entering regedit. Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\CrashControl] . In this look for value of "AutoReboot". Setting its value to 1 will activate Autoreboot. By default this is the value on my system but just in case if you have a 0,set it to 1.

110. Laptop/portable computer users ! Undock without logon

I read about this over the Internet. This would allow you to undock without logging on to Window XP.To do this, open registry by going to START-RUN and entering regedit. Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System] . In this look for value of "UndockWithoutLogon". Setting its value to 1 to enable it or 0 to disable it.

111. Selectively clean the history of START-RUN list

If you have not cleaned the RUN entries for a while or you choose not to, you would have a list of them.If you want to selectively delete the entries do this.Open registry by going to START-RUN and entering regedit. Navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\RunMRU] . In this look for various entries on right pane. You can choose what you want to delete and simply delete it. Or you can clear all command lines as well.

112. Customize task bar grouping

This is a customizing tip. If you want to change the default number of grouping in task bar do this.Open registry by going to START-RUN and entering regedit. Navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced] . In this look for value of "TaskbarGroupSize". You can set it to any value you want. Default is 3.

113. Activate Automatic Boot Disk Optimization

To activate automatic boot disk optimization, do this.Open registry by going to START-RUN and entering regedit. Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Dfrg\BootOptimizeFunction] . In this look for value of "Enable". You can set its value to "Y" to enable it.

114. Restrict certain users from running an application

You can selectively restrict access to few apps and file names. To do this, open registry by going to START-RUN and entering regedit. Navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion \Policies\Explorer] and a sub-key by the name "DisallowRun". Within this key, add many string keys you like each mapped to an application or file that you want to be restricted.

115. Do not let Regedit remember last changed key

You'll need to be in the admin account, or yours must have admin privileges.

In regedit, navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Applets\Regedit] and look for the value LastKey. Double-click it and clear the string. Then right-click the Regedit key (in the left-hand pane) and select Permissions. Set Permissions to Deny for any/all users/group. IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Before doing anything with registry, It is very important that you take a backup of registry by exporting it. Remember even a minor mistake in registry could render your system unusable or will cause it to stop or crash. XPTOOLS is not responsible for any such damage that may occur directly or indirectly as a result of your applying these changes. Don't try it if you are not sure. Use at your own risk

116. How to use program aliases
You can use program aliases to run actual program. Well there are ways to hide actual program name. Not sure what's the good use for this tip but here it is anyway

In regedit, navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths]. To create a new alias, create a sub-key, and call it the name of the alias you wish to create. Then modify the Default value of the sub-key to equal the fully qualified path and filename of the application you want to be launched.

117. How to disable MSN Messenger from loading up whenever you start Outlook Express.

I thought I had this covered in one of my tips. Actually, I told you indirectly about how to uninstall MSN messenger and also how to stop from loading it at boot time. But recently I saw few mails/posts where people want to keep the MSN messenger , but do not want it to run whenever Outlook Express is executed.
For these folks here are a couple of solution. There is a Microsoft knowledgebase article on this as well. Visit How to Prevent Windows Messenger from Running on a Windows XP-Based Computer (Q302089) and learn more.
In regedit, navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft]. Create a new key by the name "Messenger" and then within that another key by the name "Client". This is equivalent to creating and navigation to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Messenger\Client]. Within this create a DWORD key by the name "PreventRun" and set its value to 1. Quit registry and even though not a must, its a good idea to reboot.

118. Change alignment of Start Menu panel.

This is a customizing tip. If you have noticed, START MENU PANEL has all the entries aligned to left. Well that's not a cause of concern but may be you are one of those who want it to be the other way, say you want it to align to right. This can be done by a quick registry tweak. In regedit, navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop] and look for key "MenuDropAlignment". Set its value to 1 to align the menu entry to right or if you did not like the idea of entries aligned to right, set it back to 0 for align back to left which is the Default XP behavior.

119. Customize windows explorer's Default search

This is a customizing tip. If you want to customize your windows explorer search here are some tips. In regedit, navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer] and look for following keys
Key names are self revealing. If you want a CaseSensitive search set its value to 1 else 0. This is the technique, if you prefer to enable any of the above feature, set its value to 1 else set it back to 0.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Before doing anything with registry, It is very important that you take a backup of registry by exporting it. Remember even a minor mistake in registry could render your system unusable or will cause it to stop or crash. XPTOOLS is not responsible for any such damage that may occur directly or indirectly as a result of your applying these changes. Don't try it if you are not sure. Use at your own risk

120. Get back to old days, see the file attributes in Windows Explorer

I have noticed that in Windows Explorer, when you click on the detailed mode, you do not see the file attributes any more. This used to be there in previous versions of Windows (Well in office, I still use Windows 95 and Windows Explorer out there shows the file attributes). If you want to enable this setting, do this:
In regedit, navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ Explorer\Advanced] and look for key "ShowAttribCol". You may not find it there if this is your first time. In this case, create a new DWORD key "ShowAttribCol" and set its value to 1 to enable it.

121. Stop a user from changing Start Menu

This can be considered a security tip. If you want to restrict modifications to Start menu, do the following:
In regedit, navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer] and look for key "NoChangeStartMenu". Set its value to 1 to enable it to stop users from changing the Start Menu.

122. Control Scrolling or Cascading behavior of Start Menu

If there are more items in Start-Program menu than can be shown in a single screen, then windows has to do either scrolling or cascading effect to display rest of the items. You can tell Windows what to do by doing this:
In regedit, navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced] and look for key "StartMenuScrollPrograms". You may not find it there if this is your first time. In this case, create a new STRING key "StartMenuScrollPrograms" and set its value to "YES" to enable scrolling or "NO" for the cascading effect.

123. How to enable/disable thumbnail cache

For performance reason, Windows explorer stores thumbnail of pictures in a cache. This is good but there is a problem. Some time caching mechanism would show incorrect pictures just because update process is not instantaneous. If you want to have thumbnail pictures refreshed every time (mind you, this would be an additional load on your CPU resources), do this:
In regedit, navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced] and look for key "DisableThumbnailCache". You may not find it there if this is your first time. In this case, create a new DWORD key "DisableThumbnailCache" and set its value to 1 to disable caching mechanism.

124. Disable Default CD Burning capability

If you have a good CD burning software, you may want to disable the CD burning capability. There are couple of ways to, do this:
In regedit, navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer] and look for key "NoCDBurning". You may not find it there if this is your first time. In this case, create a new DWORD key "NoCDBurning" and set its value to disable it.
Go to your windows explorer and locate the drive that corresponds to CD-RW drive. Right click on it and select properties. Within Properties window, go to Recording tab and you would see and option called "Enable CD Recording on this drive". If it is checked , deselect it.

125. Securing your WINDOWS XP computer

You can provide added level of security to your WINDOWS XP System. This is called securing your Windows XP accounts database. You can store all information related to your accounts in a encrypted form on a floppy disk. What this would do is that if You do not have access to your floppy disk, You can not access the system. I am not sure You realized what I just said ! Even if You know your userid/password, You will not be able to access the system unless and until You have this startup disk.
Process of generating the this secure startup floppy disk is simple. Go to START-RUN and type syskey. You would see a window coming up. Click on Upgrade command button. You would see another window poping up which will give You the option of storing the encrypted accounts database either locally or on your floppy disk. Choose floppy disk and click OK and let the process complete. You are done.
Next time You reboot the computer and get to the logon prompt, make sure that You have the floppy disk available in A: drive else You can not log on.


126. How to disable images using Outlook express
This has been an issue to few folks. Basically what happens is that when your receive your email, you get lot of junk mail which are formatted with HTML etc. Some of them are not suitable to your taste but also take some time to load. There are some alternative ways to block the load of images but each has its advantage and disadvantages:
1) Disable images in IE as it also affects OE
2) If you're running a firewall with rules make a rule that blocks OE's access to port 80. That way it can't get the images it needs.
3) There is a utility called DetachXP . This program could be used to apply the blocking even though its primary aim is to allows you to access these blocked files in Outlook 2002, without editing the Windows Registry manually

127. How to restart Windows without restarting your computer

This one is again is. When you click on the SHUTDOWN button, make sure to simultaneous press SHIFT Button. If you hold the Shift key down while clicking on SHUTDOWN button, you computer would restart without restarting the Computer. This is equivalent to term"HOT REBOOT".

128. How to print content of directory
Here work around is to create a DOS batch file with command to print the dir content into your printer port (make sure you know what is your printer port, in general it is LPT1 but it could be USB001 if you have it connected to USB port, right click on the printer icon and go to port tab and figure this out first) and then creating a context menu access this batch functionality. All right here are the instructions:
step 1:
Open a text editor, such as Notepad, and type the following lines into a new document: (assuming the printer you wish to use is connected to printer port #1). CD %1

Save the two-line file into your Windows\Command folder, and call it PRINTDIR.BAT.
step 2:
Find the file in Explorer, right click on it, and select Properties.
Click on the Program tab, turn on the Close on Exit option, choose Minimized from the Run list, and click Ok.
Next, run the Registry Editor (REGEDIT.EXE) by going to START-RUN and type regedit and navigate to
[\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell]. Select New from the Edit menu, and then select Key. Type Print for the name of this new key, and press Enter. Highlight the new Print key, select New from the Edit menu, and then select Key again. Type command for the name of this new key, and press Enter. Double-click on the (default) value in the right pane, and type C:\Windows\Command\PRINTDIR.BAT (assuming that C:\Windows\ is your Windows folder).
From now on, when you right-click on a folder icon, you can click Print to print its contents. Note: this assumes that your printer is connected to the LPT1 port, which is true for most users. However, if your printer is connected over a network or you have more than one printer, you need to change LPT1 to the correct port.

129. Using third part defrag utility ? Make it defrag all files

I read about this tip on web. If you are using a third party defrag utility, you can make it defrag all files. Go to C:\Windows\Prefetch directory and removing/deleting layout.ini file.

130. Speedup boot time by improving NTFS check

CHKNTFS is the command used to set the AUTOCHK initiation count down time. You can reduce it from default 9 seconds to a much lower value say 4 seconds. Go to command prompt and type CHKNTFS/T:4 This command would set the AUTOCHK initiation count time down to 4.

131. How to kill the IE About windows that popup from time to time

There is an Internet Explorer vulnerability to which allows some web sites to open a hidden popup tracking minimized window either upon your first visit or when you leave their web site or even when you close your browser while one of their web pages is still displayed. They do this by using the little known "about:" browser built-in command into their HTML/DHTML/XML code. Sometimes this window Go undetected as these are not resizable as you come to expect of a typical window app. If you do not have anything specific with, there could be a registry tweak that you can do. Run the Registry Editor (REGEDIT.EXE) by going to START-RUN and type regedit and navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\
Internet Settings\ZoneMap\ProtocolDefaults]
and add two DWORD keys"about" and "about:" and set its value to 4.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Doing this tweak would mean that you would not be able to use the blank about page as your startup page. There is a workaround for this by adding it to your zone ...but I do not like it and hence not mentioning it here.

132. What is Master Bood Record ? How to fix problems with master boot record

So what is Master Boot Record (MBR)? Master boot record is the first sector of the disk that is accessed by you computer BIOS as soon as it boots up. So what does it mean ? It means that your ability to boot to a particular operating system depends upon the correctness of Master Bood Record. If you have ever installed two or more operating system, your ability to select an operating system is controlled by master boot record. Assume if you are not able to boot due to your dislike of the changes in boot loader process or corruption in MBR (btw, this could happen for a variety of reasons, right from virus to your own experiments with multi boot process.. I have seen this happening a lot on my PC since I have a dual cpu system with Mandrake 8.1 on one partition and Windows XP on another with Mandrake graphical Master Boot Menu ) you have to correct the master boot record.
Assuming you are in Windows XP, you have to put WINDOWS XP CD in your drive and make it reboot next time in recovery console.
1. Simplest way to do this would be to would be to navigate to START-RUN and type D:\i386\winnt /cmdcons (D: is the CDROM drive in my computer) and let the process finish and reboot.
2. Once rebooted, system would prompt you to choose recovery console and chose it by entering proper menu id number (by default should be 1). Once console is loaded do enter this command FIXMBR /device/harddisk0 (where harddisk0 refers to C: drive where WINDOWS XP is installed by default). This would fix your master boot record to default XP boot. By the way FIXMBR command is only available from recovery console. What to know more about FIXMBR, visit Microsoft TechNet site

If you have followed the instructions correctly, you are done.

133. How to write a new partition boot sector to the system partition

Are you look for a way to correct the partition boot sector, here is a quick fix. You have to put WINDOWS XP CD in your reboot the computer next time in recovery console. Here are the steps after you put your XP CD and boot into recovery console (Choose R for Recovery console when Windows XP setup disk starts)
1. Once console is loaded do enter this command FIXBOOT C:(where C: is the hard disk drive where WINDOWS XP is installed by default). To know more about FIXBOOT options, click here to visit Microsoft Technet site

If you have followed the instructions correctly, you are done.

134. How to change the text in START Button in task bar ?

I have received many emails from users on this topic. In Windows XP Pro, you can change your Start button and you are not even restricted with 5 characters as it used to be the case in previous version of Windows but the process itself of modifiying the start button is a bit more tedious than what it used to be. Anyways, gist of act is to modify your
1. First of all, make a backup of your explorer.exe This is one of the most important executables of your operating system and incase you make a mistake, you should have its backup to fall back on to ! You will see this file in C:\Windows directory. Go there, make a copy and change its name to something you remember like "explorerold.exe or explorer.old".
2. Download a freeware called ResourceHacker by going to
3. Now, lauch resource hacker and locate your explorer.exe by going to c:\windows. Now go to String Table>37>1033. This is where the START text is located. Change it whatever you would like....
4. Once done with the changing START button text, click on the button called "Compile Script". Now its time to save the changes. Important: Save the file as explorer_modified.exe (or something similar). You can not save it as explorer.exe as file is in use as you are exploring the directories etc etc.
5. All right, reboot the computer and boot into safe mode in command prompt environment (at boot time press 'F8' a few times...) and log in as administrator.
6. Now all that you need to do is to copy the modified explorer file to original one.
Type this at command prompt "copy c:\windows\explorer_modified.exe to c:\windows\explorer.exe" (without quotes)
7. Reboot your computer as you would normally do.

If you have followed the steps correctly, you should have new explorer by now.

135. How to disable screen saver in Windows XP ?

One of the easiest things that you can do to remove screen saver is to simply select none from the Screen Saver tab of Desktop properties window. This should help. Doing this would be all that most of us would ever need for those few who want to go one more level, here is what you can do. Windows has a default screen saver called login.scr, which runs even if no screen saver has been selected. There is a potential security risk here as login.scr can be removed and replaced with malicious screen saver with system priviledges.
To resolve this, Open registry and navigate to [HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop] and look for the data key "ScreenSaveActive". Setting its value to 0 would disable screen saver (you can always enable it by setting it back to 1). You may as well change the login.scr that is goes as the value of data key 'SCRNSAVE.EXE' .Try clearing out the value for 'SCRNSAVE.EXE' to completely remove the screen saver or replace it with some thing of your own.

136. How to stop XP from displaying unread messages count on Welcome Screen?

I received few mails from users requesting HowTo on disabling unread message count from Welcome Screen.
To stop XP from displaying count of unread messages, Open registry and navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\UnreadMail] and look for the data key "MessageExpiryDays". If you do not see this key, create one DWORD key by the name "MessageExpiryDays". Setting its value to 0 would stop Windows XP from displaying the count of unread mesages.

137. How to rollback a device driver ?

There are times when you install an ungrade to a device driver but instead of getting an upgrade you get downgraded in the sense that either you loose on performance or its stoping functioning at all. In situation like this where you are still able to logon with System priviledges, you can roll back the driver. Even though this can not be considered as a tweak, but it could save you a good deal of time and disappointment.
Here are the steps:

Step:1 Log in with an administrator account
Step:2 Right click on My Computer
Step:3 Select Properties
Step:4 Click on the Hardware tab
Step:5 Click on the Device Manager button
Step:6 Select the device you want to rollback or reconfigure
Step:7 Click on the Driver tab and then click on the Roll Back Drive button

138. Windows XP Command Line Reference

You would be surprised to know what you can do from command line of Windows XP Pro. Windows XP Pro comes equipped with a powerful set of command line utilities. If you want to know what they are and how to run them and a good decription of each of them...go no futher.. Its available right in your computer. This is again not a tip or trick or tweak of any kind but information that is as powerful as any of the tips/tricks.

Open START-RUN window and type C:\WINDOWS\Help\ntcmds.chm
Also you may not know that .chm is the windows help file extension. I find the Windows Help to be a very good starting point to learn all the power and resources of Windows environment. I like section of NETSH and Windows scripting host among other things. You can read most of it in the reference but here I am doing a cut/paste of the new command line tools.

The following table lists the new Windows XP Professional command-line tools.






Configures, queries, or changes Boot.ini file settings.


Locates and consolidates fragmented boot files, data files, and folders on local volumes.


Manages disks, partitions, or volumes.


Queries for a list of drivers and driver properties.


Enables an administrator to create a custom event in a specified event log.


Lists the events and event properties from one or more event logs.


Displays and configures event triggers on local or remote machines.


Manages reparse points, managing sparse files, dismounting a volume, or extending a volume.


Obtains the media access control (MAC) address and list of network protocols


Starts Help and Support Center.


Configures Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) policies in the directory service, or in a local or remote registry. Ipseccmd is a command-line version of the IP Security Policies Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in.


Manages and schedules performance counter and event trace log collections on local and remote systems.


Queries, displays, or disconnects open files.


Displays and configures the paging file Virtual Memory settings of a system.


Enables you to open a Performance console configured with settings files from Windows NT 4.0 version of Performance Monitor.


Configures or displays configuration information about a printer.


Adds, deletes, and lists printer drivers from local or remote print servers.


Pauses, resumes, cancels, and lists print jobs.


Adds, deletes, and lists printers or printer connections, in addition to setting and displaying the default printer.


Creates, deletes, and lists standard TCP/IP printer ports, in addition to displaying and changing port configuration.


Prints a test page, pauses or resumes a printer, and clears a printer queue.


Extracts performance counters from performance counter logs into other formats, such as text-TSV (for tab-delimited text), text-CSV (for comma-delimited text), binary-BIN, or SQL.


Retrieves and sets information about services. Tests and debugs service programs.


Schedules commands and programs to run periodically or at a specific time. Adds and removes tasks from the schedule, starts and stops tasks on demand, and displays and changes scheduled tasks.


Shuts down or restarts a local or remote computer.


Queries the system for basic system configuration information.


Ends one or more tasks or processes.


Displays a list of applications, services, and the Process ID (PID) currently running on either a local or a remote computer.


Processes event trace logs or real-time data from instrumented event trace providers and allows you to generate trace analysis reports and CSV (comma-delimited) files for the events generated.


Writes performance counter data to the command window or to a supported log file format.


Eases the use of Windows Management Insturmentation (WMI) and systems managed through WMI.

139. Enable 5th zone setting in Internet Explorer 6.0

I read about this a few days ago. There a fith setting in Internet Explorer 6 called my computer which is diabled by default. If you want to enable this, Open registry by going to START-RUN and entering regedit and then navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\InternetSettings\Zones\0] and look for the data value called "flags". Its default value is 33 ("Flags"=dword: 0X00000021 ) . Chage its value 1 and reboot. Now you should see an option called my computer in Internet Explorer 6 Zone settings.

140. Are you annoyed by XP asking for registration again & again ?

First of all, this trick must only be used by those who have legal copy of XP and are troubled by registrations reminders every now and then. Before you begin, make sure PC must not be connected to the network. During XP setup answer no when setup asks you to use Windows Dynamic Update. Dynamic update connects to Microsoft to register XP. Once the installation is completed, reboot to Safe mode.
Go to Windows Explorer and rename %systemroot%\System32\regwizc.dll and %systemroot%\System32\Dllcach\regwizc.dll to regwizc.dll.bak or whatever. By renaming the regwizc DLL, it blocks other windows components from registering XP to Microsoft.
Now, navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion] and look for the data key "RegDone" and set its value to 1 to make XP believe that its registered .
Change the IE home page to something besides Microsoft's web site.
Reboot to Normal mode and reconnect your nic card before the XP Windows GUI loads.

141. Turn off the descriptions that poppup when you place the cursor on windows object

If you want to turn off the descriptions that poppup when you place the cursor above desktop icons or Explorer objects, you can use the following registy hack: .
Navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion \Explorer\Advanced] and look for the data key "ShowInfoTip" and set its value to 0 to disable it. In future if you want to enable it again, simply change it back to 1 .

142. Disable XP warning on low disk space ?

XP warns you on three different occassions with messages related to low disk space.
when this is true : 80 MB < free disk space < 200 MB The following alert displays for 10 seconds, once per session: You are running out of disk space on [drive]. To free space on this drive by deleting old or unnecessary files, click here.
when this is true : 50 MB < free disk space < 80 MB The following alert displays for 30 seconds, every four hours, twice per session: You are running very low on disk space on [drive]. To free space on this drive by deleting old or unnecessary files, click here.
when this is true : 0 MB < free disk space < 50 MB The following message for 30 seconds, every five minutes, until free space is above 50 MB: You are running very low on disk space on [drive]. To free space on this drive by deleting old or unnecessary files, click here.

Navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer] and look for the data key "NoLowDiskSpaceChecks" and set its value to 1 to disable low disk space check

143. Improve system performance by disabling last access/update feature

NTFS file system in XP maintains liast access/update details for each file and directory. This information is useful sometimes but for an average user this may not be of much use most of the times. Doing this takes considerable resources and as such it may make sense to diable it. Even after disabling it you still have access to last modified info which would still be available. To disable lass access update feature, do as follows:

Navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem] and look for the data key "NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate" and set its value to 1 to disable lass access update feature.

144. How to enable/disable command prompt extension ?

NTFS file system in XP maintains liast access/update details for each file and directory. This information is useful sometimes but for an average user this may not be of much use most of the times. Doing this takes considerable resources and as such it may make sense to diable it. Even after disabling it you still have access to last modified info which would still be available. To disable lass access update feature, do as follows:

Navigate to [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor] and look for the data key "EnableExtensions" and set its value to 1 to enable command prompt extension or 0 to disable this feature.
You can enable/disable the extensions for the command shell you are in by issuing the following commands:
cmd /y disables command extensions for this cmd session
cmd /x enables command extensions for this cmd session

145. Do you hate that "Local Area Connection A network cable is unpluged" or MSN-Messenger icon in your System Tray and want to get rid of that ?

Right Click on "Start" Menu
Click "Properties" Tab
Click "Taskbar" Tab
Click "Hide inactive icons" if not Checked
Click on "Customize" Button
Click the Notification item you want to change under Current Items
Select "Always Hide" behaviour under the Behavior column

Click "Ok" and then click "Apply".

146. How do I get Volume Control icon in system tray that is available with all earlier version of Windows ?

To add the Volume Control icon to the taskbar
Click on "Start" Button
Click on "Control Panel"
Click on "Sound, Speech, and Audio Devices"
Click on "Adjust the system volume" or "Change Speaker Settings" or Sounds and Audio Devices
Click "Place volume icon in the taskbar" in Device Volume Secion on "Volume" Tab
Click on "Apply"

If you cann't see the Speaker icon in your system tray then do the following additional settings.
Right-click the taskbar
Click "Properties".
Select the "Hide inactive icons" check box, under "Notification area", on the "Taskbar" tab,
Click "Customize" Button.
In the Name column, click Volume
Click "Always show" behaviour from the drop down list, in the Behavior column
Click "OK" and then "Apply" Buttons.

147. Enable drag and drop operation to add custom menu links to Start Menu

Right Click on "Start" Menu
Click "Properties"
Click "Start Menu" Radio Button
Click on "Customize" Button
Click on "Advanced" Tab
Click "Enable draggin and dropping" Checkbox.
Click "Ok" and then click "Apply"



Posted bySumedh at 11:14 PM 0 comments