Windows XP Tips

Windows XP Tips



Welcome to Windows XP tips, we're here to help you solve your problems, wether it involves windows xp bandwidth problems, problems with QOS and the reserving of your bandwidth, gpedit and all you can do with it, disabling windows xp qos, stopping messenger from running at startup or you're just having shut down problems. We also will be covering the next version of Windows, Longhorn, which will be NT 5.2, with the first beta to be released in the first quarter of 2002, and Blackcomb, which will be NT 6.0, and the first beta of it is scheduled to be released near the end of 2003. Lognhorn will probably be a minor update, while Blackcomb will probably be a major update, if not the next release. You should check out the Upgrade XP section of windowsreinstall.com, loads and loads of info on installing, upgrading, reinstalling and much more, check em out today!

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My Favorite Tips for Windows XP SP2

Jan 01 2005-Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) is a big deal. It provides immediate benefits, but it also comes with some potential pitfalls. Before you do a mass rollout of XP SP2, arm yourself with my favorite tips and tricks for deploying SP2 and dealing with some difficulties you'll likely run into after you deploy it.
Click here for more.

Windows XP Technical Overview

Windows XP is the next version of Microsoft Windows beyond Windows 2000 and Windows Millennium. Windows XP brings the convergence of Windows operating systems by integrating the strengths of Windows 2000—standards-based security, manageability and reliability with the best features of Windows 98 and Windows Me—Plug and Play, easy-to-use user interface, and innovative support services to create the best Windows yet.
This article provides a broad technical overview of what’s new in Windows XP. It shows how new technologies and features make it easier to get work done, share information, manage your desktop, stay productive while traveling with a mobile computer, obtain help and support, and perform many other computing tasks.
Windows XP is built on an enhanced Windows 2000 code base, with different versions aimed at home users and business users: Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional. Unless otherwise noted, this article addresses technologies and features common to both versions of the operating system.
Click here for more.


Windows XP and .NET: An Overview

The release of Windows XP comes at a time of transition and growing maturity of the Internet.
The Web has grown to include many millions of sites on almost every conceivable topic. Although more information is available than ever before, the opportunities to fully manage and customize it have remained limited. Until now.
The Microsoft .NET initiative aims to change this through a framework built around XML-based Web services that interoperate via existing open Internet protocols such as TCP/IP and HTTP.
And at the heart of the .NET platform for knowledge workers, business users, and consumers lies the new client operating system, Windows XP.
Click here for more.

XP bandwidth brouhaha

The newness of Windows XP -- with its sometimes addled approach to licence restrictions, copy protection and security -- lends itself to confusion. Reader Tom Gleason sent me an example, quoting websites that claimed XP needlessly consumes 20% of your PC's network bandwidth.
Like a lot of online talk, this is misinformed. Windows 2000 introduced QoS (quality of service) features using an admission control service and the Internet Engineering Task Force's RSVP signalling. XP doesn't support these two protocols but provides its own QoS components. The QoS packet scheduler dialogue box in XP Professional shows a default "bandwidth limit" of 20%. This created a buzz on the web to the effect that XP artificially withheld a fifth of your bandwidth, even if its packet scheduler was turned off.
Not to worry. There's no restriction unless your network specifically supports XP-style QoS and it's requested by an application, such as a streaming media player. Even then, by default only 20% is set aside. (See Tech TV's website).
Click here for the article.

Microsoft KB article on removing messenger

January 30th 2002-Microsft has releases a knowledge base article(Q302089) on preveting MSN messenegr from running on a windows XP machine. This article describes how to prevent Windows Messenger from running. By default, Windows Messenger is installed by Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home Edition, and the user interface does not provide a way to remove or to uninstall Windows Messenger.
The information in this article applies to Microsoft Windows Messenger 4.0, Microsoft Windows Messenger 4.5, and Microsoft Windows Messenger 4.6 running on Windows XP Professional and Windows XP home edition based computers.
Click here for the article.

How to Install the Netbeui Protocol on a Windows XP-Based Computer

This article describes how to install the NetBEUI protocol on a Windows XP-based computer. This may be useful because the NetBEUI protocol is not included in the list of installable protocols in Windows XP even though the files that are needed to install the protocol are included with the installation CD-ROM. It is important to note that the NetBEUI protocol is not supported on Windows XP.
The Netnbf.inf and Nbf.sys files are the files that are needed to install the NetBEUI protocol. To install the NetBEUI protocol:
  1. Click Start, click Control Panel, and then double-click Network Connections.
  2. Right-click the adapter you want to add NetBEUI to, and then click Properties.
  3. On the General tab, click Install.
  4. Click Protocol, and then click Add.
  5. Click Have Disk, insert your Windows XP CD-ROM, open the Valueadd\msft\net\netbeui folder, click the Netnbf.inf file, and then click Open.
  6. Click OK, and then click OK to complete the installation.

Visit the Gateway Windows XP Info Center

If you have recently installed Windows XP or are thinking about upgrading to Windows XP, check out Gateway's Info Center for Windows XP today.
Most folks know Gateway only as a maker of personal computers, but the company also offers learning tools to help you use Windows XP, accessories, and -- for owners of Gateway machines -- great technical support. The Windows XP Info Center will help you figure out just what sort of tools you need to start ruling the digital universe, whether you do so from a desktop PC or a notebook.
Click here to visit Gateway's Windows XP Tips and Info Center.

Change Out Your Pointer Scheme

Tired of seeing your pointer as an arrow or an hourglass all the time? Windows XP offers a number of alternative pointer schemes, such as Dinosaur, Ocean and Sports.
Open the Control Panel, double-click Mouse, and select the Pointers tab. (If you start in Category view, select Appearance and Themes, then click Mouse Pointers under "See Also.") Next to Schemes, click the down arrow and select a scheme to preview its pointers. Click OK to apply the scheme to your desktop. Simple as that.

Check Out the Read1st File First

When you’re ready to install Windows XP, what are the first two things you should do? First, place the installation CD into your CD drive, but do not start Setup. Instead, click Browse this CD, open the file named READ1ST.txt, and then go read it. This file contains a variety of useful information including:
  • Last minute information that did not make it into other documentation.
  • Selected pre-installation information.
  • A roadmap that will help you find other useful text files.

Use the ultimate configuration tool (Professional Edition only)

One of the most full featured Windows XP configuration tools available is hidden right there in your system, but most people don't even know it exists. It's called the Local Group Policy Editor, or gpedit for short. To invoke this editor, select Start and then Run, then type the following:
gpedit.msc
After you hit ENTER, you'll be greeted by gpedit, which lets you modify virtually every feature in Windows XP without having to resort to regedit.

Want to remove MSN Messenger?

A lot of people want to know how to remove the MSN Messenger service from XP... here's how:
Locate SYSOC.INF in the \Windows\INF folder (hidden file and folder), Open it in Notepad and locate the line: msmsgs=msgrocm.dll,OcEntry,msmsgs.inf,hide,7
Remove the word "hide" from the line and save the file. You will now have an entry in add/remove programs. Do what you will :)
OR (XP Pro Only) leave it installed, but tell Windows to never let it run. If you're running XP Professional, you can use GPEDIT.MSC to prevent Messenger from loading. Otherwise, even disabling it in startup won't cause it to "always" not run. NOTE: Outlook, Outlook Express and some Microsoft web pages can still make it load.
  • Start, Run and enter GPEDIT.MSC
  • Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Messenger
  • You can now modify whether it starts initially and/or whether it's to run at all. UPDATE: I have recieved some email that say this fix slows down outlook when starting, that is because outlook wants to start messenger when it starts, the easiest and fastest way to disable messenger and still have a quickj starttime with outlook is to rename the exe file, located here c:\program files\messenger\msmsgs.exe, to something other than msmsgs.exe, such as msmsgsnew.exe.

    Know your rights

    Windows XP comes bundled with Windows Media Player 8.0. While Media Player plays just about any digital media file format--it supports 35, including MP3, it records music only in the Windows Media Audio, or WMA, format. The reason? Content protection.
    When recording, or ripping, music from CDs, Media Player allows you to make protected recordings so that no one will be able to copy the recording from one computer to another. You can turn copy protection on or off on the Copy Music tab by checking or unchecking the box that says Protect Content.

    Protect your identity

    Like many other audio players, Windows Media Player rushes out to the Internet to find information for you when you play a CD. Some of this information, such as song titles and album art, is useful, but Media Player also identifies your copy of Media Player to the site where it's getting data. Why? According to the help file, "The server uses this unique identifier to monitor your connection. By monitoring your connection, the server can make adjustments to increase the playback quality and to alert you about events that occur when receiving streams over the Internet."
    If you're disturbed by this exchange of information, here's how to stop it. In Windows Media Player, click Tools > Options and go to the Player tab. Notice the option that says "Allow Internet sites to uniquely identify your player?" Turn it off.

    Group and Ungroup Similar Taskbar Items

    Just open three or four Internet Explorer windows and you won't see them all in a row on your Taskbar, as you did in previous versions of Windows. By default, Windows XP groups similar items on one button. For example, if you have 3 Internet Explorer windows open, you'll see an Explorer item with the number 3 on it. Click it to see a pop-up list of those windows, then select the one you want.
    If you would like, Windows XP will display all open windows separately on the Taskbar. Right click a blank area of the Taskbar and select Properties. Under Taskbar Properties, deselect Group Similar Taskbar Buttons, then click OK.

    Turn back the clock

    Gray is definitely out. The folks at Microsoft bathed Windows XP in color. Don't like XP's look? To switch back to the Classic look that resembles Windows 2000, right-click the desktop, select Properties, click the Themes tab, and choose Windows Classic from the drop-down list. Voilà! You're back to comfy shades of blue and gray--not to mention having all those familiar icons.
    Click "Switch to Classic view" in the upper-left corner of the Properties dialog to bring back the familiar Control Panel icons of earlier versions of Windows. To get back to a Start menu that looks more like Windows 2000's, right-click in an empty portion of the Start menu's left-hand column, select Properties, and go to the Start Menu tab. Select Classic Start Menu. To bring the new look back, just reverse these steps.

    Customize the Start menu

    The Start menu gets more real estate in XP than in previous versions, and it's more customizable. To make the Start menu display only the applications you want, rather than the default determined by Microsoft, right-click in an empty section of the Start menu's left column, and select Properties > Start Menu > Customize. Here you'll find a list of your most frequently used programs. (XP keeps track of what you use and what you don't, then updates this list dynamically.) Don't want your boss to know that Pinball, Solitaire, and Quake all make your list? Go to the General tab, click Clear List, and set the counter to zero.

    Swap out the defaults

    In XP, your favorite programs are displayed in the top left column of the Start menu. Microsoft starts you off with Internet Explorer and Outlook Express.
    Want to display a different set of applications in this spot? Right-click an empty portion of the Start menu's left column and select Properties > Start Menu > Customize. At the bottom, deselect the program you no longer want displayed in the "Show on the Start menu" dialog, and, using Windows Explorer or My Computer, navigate to the program you want instead. Right-click the program and select "Pin to Start menu." To rename the new shortcut, right-click it and select Rename. Note: You can't pin files, just programs.

    Organize your desktop

    The only default icon on XP's desktop is the Recycle Bin, but we think it's a good idea to add a shortcut to Computer Management, a quick and dirty way to get to such important tools as the Event Viewer, Local Users and Groups, Shared Folders, the Device Manager, and Disk Management. To surface this handy management dialog, click Start > Control Panel > Performance and Maintenance > Administrative Tools. Right-click the Computer Management shortcut. Select Copy from the dialog menu. Right-click an empty portion of the desktop and select Paste Shortcut. Use this procedure to add shortcuts to anything else; use Windows Explorer or My Computer to find your target

    Turn on your firewall

    Microsoft included a firewall in Windows XP to keep you safe from hackers while you cruise the Internet. How do you know that the Internet Connection Firewall is on? Go to the Control Panel and double-click the Network Connections icon. In the dial-up, DSL, or cable connection dialog that appears, check the Status column. If your firewall is on, it should say Firewalled. You can turn the firewall off with the check box, but unless you are going to add a third-party firewall for heightened security, it's best to leave it on.
    Now that you know that your firewall is on, how do you know that it's doing its job? Test it with ShieldsUp, the free testing service sponsored by Gibson Research. According to our tests, XP's Internet Connection Firewall kept the computer in full stealth mode. Hackers could not break in and couldn't even see the computer online.
    But, given the latest security problems with USB 2.0, etc, you should always go to Windows Update to make sure you have the latest patches, no matter what operating system you use.

    Microsoft Narrator

    Want to hear your computer talk? Select Start, Programs, Accessories, Accessibility, Narrator. Or press the Windows key plus the letter "U" to open the Utility Manager. Microsoft Narrator, an accessibility option designed to assist readers who are blind or have impaired vision, starts automatically.
    Once you've read through the intro screen (or let the Narrator do it), click OK and you'll see a dialog box of Narrator options. Assuming you want to leave Narrator running, select the desired options, then minimize its dialog box. And if you've opened the Utility Manager, feel free to close it.
    To turn Narrator off, click the Exit button or right-click its taskbar item and select Close.

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    Internet Connection Sharing

    To enable Internet Connection Sharing on a network connection:
    1. Open Network Connections.
    2. Click the dial-up, local area network, PPPoE, or VPN connection you want to share, and then, under Network Tasks, click Change settings of this connection.
    3. On the Advanced tab, select the Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection check box.
    4. If you want this connection to dial automatically when another computer on your home or small office network attempts to access external resources, select the Establish a dial-up connection whenever a computer on my network attempts to access the Internet check box.
    5. If you want other network users to enable or disable the shared Internet connection, select the Allow other network users to control or disable the shared Internet connection check box.
    6. Under Internet Connection Sharing, in Home networking connection, select any adapter that connects the computer sharing its Internet connection to the other computers on your network.

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    Watch your cookies

    In XP, the Documents And Settings folder holds all user information, including configuration settings, favorites, and cookies. The Documents And Settings\Username\Cookies folder is where XP stashes cookies. How do you control the number of cookies you allow on your system? Click Start > Control Panel > Network And Internet Connections > Internet Options. Click the Privacy tab, then use the slider bar to modify your cookie settings. For instance, you can block cookies from sites that use personal identification without your consent. To increase your security, try out the other privacy settings in this dialog. The lowest level is Accept All Cookies while the highest is Block All Cookies, with low, medium, medium-high, and high settings in between. (An explanation of each appears as you move between settings.) Keep in mind that rejecting cookies may limit your actions on some Web sites, and some sites use cookies to track how many times you see a popup, for example, on this website, if you blocked cookies, you would see a popup on every page.


    The omnipotent Administrator

    When you use Windows XP, you belong to one of two groups: Administrators or Users. Administrators are all-powerful: if you have a so-called Admin account, you can make systemwide changes and change other users' accounts. While this power is a boon to the ego, it's also dangerous. If, for example, you encounter a virus, a Trojan horse, or a worm while you're logged on as Administrator, you could wreck all the accounts on your entire system. Log in as User, on the other hand, and any damage you cause will be less extensive, because ordinary users are prevented from making systemwide changes. A word to the wise: Do your everyday computing as a regular user and log on as Administrator only when it's absolutely necessary, such as when adding a new user or changing security settings. To sign on as User, use the Run As command: just right-click a shortcut and select Run As. As long as you know the username and password, you can sign on as another user.

    Reduce Temporary Internet File Space

    The temporary internet files clutter your hard drive with copies of each page visited. These can build up over time and take up disk space. Even more bothersome is that instead of getting new pages each time IE often takes the page out the temp internet files. This can be a problem if you are viewing a website that is updated all the time. If you are on a slow connection such as a 56K or lower then this can be good but if you are on a fast broadband connection, like me, then you can get away with decreasing the size of your temp internet files to just one meg without any performance decrease.

    Launch Internet Explorer.

    Select the Tools from the menu bar. Then select Internet Options... from the drop down menu. Once the internet options has loaded click on the general tab. Under the temporary internet files section click the settings button. A settings window will load. Slide the slider all the way to the left so the size indicated in the text box on the right is one. Click OK Click Ok

    Turn Off System Recovery

    Right click on My Computer and choose Properties. Click on the System Restore tab and check the box Turn off System Restore. (This will increase Windows performance & save disk space)

    Enable / Disable Firewall

    Open Control Panel and double click on Network Connections. In the new box that appears right click on the Connection and click on the Advanced tab. Check or uncheck the box according to your desire.

    Win XP Won’t Completely Shutdown

    • Goto Control Panel, then goto Power Options.
    • Click on the APM Tab, then check the "Enable Advanced Power Management support."
    • Shut down your PC. It should now successfully complete the Shut Down process.

    WinXP Clear Page file on shutdown

    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"

    Turn off hibernation

    Control Panel-Screen Saver Power-Hibernate Tab-uncheck hibernation box-reboot and hiberfil.sys is no more.

    Adjust various visual effects

    1. Open up the control panel
    2. Go under system and click on the advanced tab
    3. Click settings under Performance options
    4. You can now change various graphical effects (mainly animations and shadows)

    Disable error reporting

    • Open Control Panel
    • Click on Performance and Maintenance.
    • Click on System.
    • Then click on the Advanced tab
    • Click on the error-reporting button on the bottom of the windows.
    • Select Disable error reporting.
    • Click OK
    • Click OK

    Close Multiple Windows : Note works in all versions of Windows

    If you just opened a number of separate, related windows (a folder inside a folder, and so on), there's an easier way to close them all than one-at-a-time. Hold down the Shift key as you click the X caption button in the upper-right corner of the last window opened. Doing so closes that window and all windows that came before it.

    Remove shortcut arrow from desktop icons

    Here's how you can remove those shortcut arrows from your desktop icons in Windows XP.
    1. Start regedit.
    2. Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTlnkfile
    3. Delete the IsShortcut registry value.
    You may need to restart Windows XP.

    Remove Shared Documents

    Open Regedit(Start- Run- Regedit) and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWARE Microsoft Windows CurrentVersion Explorer My Computer NameSpace DelegateFolders There will see a sub-key named {59031a47-3f72-44a7-89c5-5595fe6b30ee}. By Deleting this you can remove the 'Other Files stored on This Computer' group.

    Change the text in Internet Explorers title bar to anything you want

    In regedit navigate to this key:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerMain
    change the value of the string "Window Title" to whatever you want on the title bar of Internet Explorer - to have no title except the title of the web pages you are browsing do not enter anything for a value.

    Easy sendto menu modification

    first open - X:Documents and SettingsusernameSendTo (it is hidden) where X is your drive letter and username is your username make and delete shortcuts to folders at will

    Enable Clear Type

    Easy way- Click on or cut and paste link below: http://www.microsoft.com/typography/cleartype/cleartypeactivate.htm?fname=%20&fsize= or
    • Right click on a blank area of the Desktop and choose Properties
    • Click on the Appearance Tab; Click effects
    • Check the box: Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts
    • In the drop down box select: Clear Type

    Turn of CD Auto Play

    • Open My Computer
    • Right click on your CD ROM and choose Properties
    • Click on the Auto Play tab
    • In the drop down box you can choose the Action for each choice shown in the drop down box
    Or
    1. Go to Start->Run->gpedit.msc
    2. Computer Config -> Administrative Template -> System
    3. Double click Turn off Autoplay
    4. Enable it.

    Getting MP3 ripping to work in Windows Media Player 8 in XP

    Enter the following in the registry : [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWARE
    MicrosoftMediaPlayerSettingsMP3Encoding] "LowRate"=dword:0000dac0 "MediumRate"=dword:0000fa00 "MediumHighRate"=dword:0001f400 "HighRate"=dword:0002ee00 This corresponds to 56, 64, 128 and 192 Kbps. You can change this to your liking using the following dword hex values : 320 Kbps = dword:0004e200 256 Kbps = dword:0003e800 224 Kbps = dword:00036b00 192 Kbps = dword:0002ee00 160 Kbps = dword:00027100 128 Kbps = dword:0001f400 112 Kbps = dword:0001b580 64 Kbps = dword:0000fa00 56 Kbps = dword:0000dac0

    Increase BROADBAND

    This is for broad band connections. I didn’t try it on dial up but might work for dial up.
    1. make sure your logged on as actually "Administrator". do not log on with any account that just has administrator privileges.
    2. start - run - type gpedit.msc
    3. expand the "local computer policy" branch
    4. expand the "administrative templates" branch
    5. expand the "network branch"
    6. Highlight the "QoS Packet Scheduler" in left window
    7. in right window double click the "limit reservable bandwidth" setting
    8. on setting tab check the "enabled" item
    9. where it says "Bandwidth limit %" change it to read 0
    Effect is immediate on some systems, some need to re-boot. This is more of a "counter what XP does" thing. In other words, programs can request up to 20% of the bandwidth be reserved for them, even with QoS disabled, this is no big deal and most programs do not request it. So, although QOS has caused a big stink because people think it reserves 20% of their bandwidth, you can still disable it, just to be sure, hehe.

    Increase your cable modem or DSL speed in XP

    This tweak is for broad band cable connections on stand alone machines with winXP professional version - might work on Home version also. It will probably work with networked machines as well but I haven't tried it in that configuration. This is for windows XP only, it does not work on win2000.
    I use 3 Com cards so I don't know how it works on others at this point. It does not involve editing the registry. This tweak assumes that you have let winXP 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.
    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
    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 re-start the machine.
    7. After re-start 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. Re-start the machine
    10. after restart enjoy the increased responsivness of IE, faster page loading, and a connection speed boost.
    Why it works, it seems that windows XP, in its zeal to make sure every base is covered installs two seperate 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 loads 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 un-hindered.

    Use a Shortcut to Local Area Network Connection Information

    Something new in Windows XP, instead of using the command line program and typing ipconfig to find local area network information, you can use the following shortcut:
    • Click Start, point to Connect to, and then click Show All Connections.
    • Right–click the connection you want information about, and then click Status.
    • In the connection Properties dialog box, click the Support tab.
    • For even more information, click the Advanced tab.
    To automatically enable the status monitor each time the connection is active, in the connection Properties dialog box, select the Show icon in taskbar notification area when connected check box.

    Change the Start Menu Style

    Does the new Windows XP Start menu take up too much space on your desktop? You can easily change the look back to the Windows Classic Start menu by following these steps:
    • Right–click the Start button, and then click Properties.
    • Click Classic Start menu.
    • Click the Customize button to select items to display on the Start menu.
    By default, selecting the Classic Start menu also adds the My Documents, My Computer, My Network Places, and Internet Explorer icons to your desktop.

    Add a Map Drive Button to the Toolbar

    Do you want to quickly map a drive, but can’t find the toolbar button? If you map drives often, use one of these options to add a Map Drive button to the folder toolbar.
    1. Option One (Long Term Fix)
      • Click Start, click My Computer, right-click the toolbar, then unlock the toolbars, if necessary.
      • Right-click the toolbar again, and then click Customize.
      • Under Available toolbar buttons, locate Map Drive, and drag it into the position you want on the right under Current toolbar buttons.
      • Click Close, click OK, and then click OK again.
      You now have drive mapping buttons on your toolbar, so you can map drives from any folder window. To unmap drives, follow the above procedure, selecting Disconnect under Available toolbar buttons. To quickly map a drive, try this option.
    2. Option Two (Quick Fix)
      • Click Start, and right-click My Computer.
      • Click Map Network Drive.
    If you place your My Computer icon directly on the desktop, you can make this move in only two clicks!

    Do Not Highlight Newly Installed Programs

    Tired of that annoying little window that pops up to tell you that new software is installed? If it gets in the way when you’re logging off, turn it off completely.
    • To do this Click Start, right-click at the top of the Start menu where your name is displayed, and then click Properties.
    • In the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box, on the Start Menu tab, click Customize.
    • Click the Advanced tab, and then clear the Highlight newly installed programs check box.
    • Click OK, and then click OK again.
    Now that message won’t be popping up when you least want to see it.

    Speed up the Start Menu

    You can use this tip to speed up the Start Menu in Windows XP release candidate 1. You can customize the speed of the Start Menu by editing a Registry Key.
    1. Click Start, and then click Run.
    2. Type Regedit in the box, and then click OK.
    3. Expand the menu in the left panel and select the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop folder.
    4. Scroll down in the right panel and double click on the MenuShowDelay file.
    5. In the Value Data box, change to default value for the menu speed from 400 to a lesser number, such as 1.
    6. Click OK.
    Caution: Incorrectly editing the registry may severely damage your system. Before making changes to the registry, you should back up any valued data on your computer.

    Use the Windows Classic Look

    More comfortable performing a task with the familiar Windows Classic user interface? You can quickly switch the user interface to the familiar Windows Classic appearance on your computer if it helps you remember a task in your operating system or program. You can go back to the original Windows look with a couple clicks.
    • Right-click on your desktop, and then click Properties.
    • Click the Appearance tab.
    • On the Windows and Buttons menu, select Windows Classic. Click OK.
    There you go, now you can feel right at home with the old look, and you'll still get the best out of Windows XP, new look or old.

    Add Familiar Icons back to your desktop

    It’s the case of the missing icons. Many of you may be wondering where all the icons from your desktop are in Windows XP? Well if you're like me, you like to have at least My Computer, My Network Places, and My Documents on the desktop.
    To do this:
    • Right-click on the desktop, and then click Properties.
    • Click the Desktop tab and then click on Customize Desktop.
    • Put a check mark in the box next to My Document, My Computer, My Network Places, or Internet Explorer, to add those familiar icons to your desktop.


    Unlock Toolbars to Customize Them

    Windows XP now features locking toolbars, and you can adjust them. You can customize a lot of the Windows XP features such as the Taskbar, Start Menu, and even toolbar icons in Internet Explorer and Outlook Express. Remember your right-click:
    • Right-click on a toolbar, and then click Lock the Toolbars to remove the check mark.
    • Right-click on the toolbar again, and then click Customize.
    • You can add and remove toolbar buttons, change text options and icon options. When you've got the toolbar customized, click Close.
    • Now right-click on the toolbar and then click Lock the Toolbars to lock them in place.


    Display Your Quick Launch Toolbar

    Is your Quick Launch toolbar missing from the taskbar? To display your familiar Quick Launch toolbar:
    • Right-click an empty area on the taskbar, click Toolbars, and then click Quick Launch.
    • Easy as that your Quick Launch bar appears. To add items to your Quick Launch toolbar, click the icon for the program you want to add, and drag it to the Quick Launch portion of the taskbar.


    Keep Your Favorite Programs Near the Top of the Start Menu

    Do you have a favorite program that you frequently use? Elevate its priority on the Start menu by putting it at the top of the list. This ensures that the program will remain on the Start menu and cannot be bumped by other programs, even if you use the others more frequently. Right-click the link to your favorite program on the Start menu and select Pin to Start Menu. Your program will be moved permanently to the top part of the list, just below your browser and e-mail programs.

    Use the Address Bar to Launch Programs or Web Pages

    Windows XP Professional enhanced the functionality of the Address bar to make it easier to launch your favorite programs. You can add the Address bar to the taskbar on the bottom of your desktop. Then you can launch programs simply by entering their names in the Address bar. For example, to launch Calculator, simply enter calc in the Address bar. Anything you would normally enter in the Run box on the Start menu can be entered in the Address bar. The Address bar also lets you quickly go to any Web page you specify.
    To add the Address bar to the taskbar:
    • Right-click an empty area on the taskbar.
    • Point to Toolbars, and then click Address.
    • Open the Address bar by double-clicking it.


    Stop Password Expiration

    After you have run Windows XP for a while, you may receive this message when you log on: "Your password will expire in 14 days.....".
    By default, Windows XP is set up with passwords which will expire after 42 days. 14 days in advance, Windows will start warning you of this fact. If you do not want your passwords to expire:
    1. Go to Start > Run and in the Open: box type control userpasswords2
    2. Select the Advanced tab in the User Accounts window
    3. Press the Advanced button below the Advanced user management header
    4. Select Users in the Local Users and Groups
    5. In the right pane, right-click the user name for which you want to change the setting, and select Properties
    6. On the General tab, check Password never expires
    7. Click Apply and OK (all the way out)

    Safely Remove Hardware Icon?

    If you have an USB device attached to your system, you will notice an icon in the Notification area, which - when clicked - will give you the option to Stop your hardware, before you unplug it.
    It is possible that you never unplug this hardware. So how do you get rid of the icon? As far as I know the only way is to right-click the notification area, and selecting Properties. Under the Notification area heading, click Customize. Find the Safely Remove Hardware icon and select Always hide in the Behavior column next to it (press OK and Apply to back out).

    Multiuser features

    Like Windows 2000, but unlike Windows 95, 98, and Me, the ability to log in multiple users simultaneously plays a big role in Windows XP. There is a default Administrator account set up when Windows XP is first installed, but you can create as many accounts as you need later, depending on how many people will be using the machine. Each user, once he or she has an account, can customize XP to his or her liking. Individual users get their own subfolders in the Documents And Settings folder; this folder serves as a centralized location for most personalized information, such as the Start Menu, Favorites, and Documents settings.

    Missing Administrator account

    Once you have created regular user accounts, the default Administrator account vanishes from the Welcome screen, which you see when the computer starts up. Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete twice at the Welcome screen to retrieve the standard logon dialog. You can log on as Administrator from here. To switch among accounts, just click the Log Off button on the Start menu. You'll then see the Log Off Windows dialog box. Click the Switch User button, and you'll be taken to the Welcome screen where you can select and log on to other accounts.

    Show yourself

    Only the Administrator can set up new user accounts (go to Control Panel > User Accounts > Create A New Account). You can select a picture to identify the account. When you're logged on to the system under your username, this picture, along with your username, peeks out at you from the top of the Start menu. There are a slew of 48x48-pixel bitmap images to choose from within XP. They're housed in D:\Documents And Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\User Account Pictures\Default Pictures. But why limit yourself? You can also copy any graphic you want into this folder or browse for another from your hard drive. Usable file types are BMP, GIF, JPEG, or PNG. However, always use a square picture, to limit the white space on the side. Your image can be any size but will be displayed as 48x48-pixel image, so a close-up works best.

    Hide yourself

    Once you've created a user account, password-protect it to keep other users from viewing your files, Favorites, and cookies. Why? You may not want your child to see the note that you're sending to his or her teacher, or you may be planning someone's surprise party. (Note: Anyone with an Administrator account can still see them.)
    Worried about remembering your password? Create a hint to help you when you initially create it by following the prompts during setup. XP stores the password hints in the Registry at Hkey_local_machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Hints.
    What if the hint doesn't help? Any user or Administrator can create a password reset disk, which you can use to log on and create a new password. Go to Control Panel > User Accounts and select "Prevent a forgotten password" in the Related Tasks box on the left. Follow the wizard's instructions. After creating the disk, find a safe place for it. Don't forget the password or where you put the disk. Someone else could use it to change your password without you knowing it.

    Not A Tweak, But A Double XP Surprise!

    Neither Win2K nor WinME has the ability to create a simple, basic, DOS- based boot floppy (a "startup disk") unless you jump through hoops or do things in nonstandard ways. Because XP is the fusion of Win2K and Win9x/ME, I assumed it would follow the same "no boot floppy" tack. But instead, I was surprised to poke around in XP and see that the format option there does indeed offer a "Create MS-DOS Startup Disk."
    As an experiment, I created a startup disk, and all went smoothly. I was able to use the disk to boot my PC without any problems. But when it started up, I got the second surprise. The DOS boot message showed "Microsoft Windows Millennium." To confirm this, I typed "Ver" to see what version of DOS was running, and the screen showed: Windows Millennium [Version 4.90.300]
    Although it's very strange to see the WinME startup message on an XP-created floppy, all this means is that Microsoft cribbed a few essential DOS boot files from WinME, and made it so XP can drop them onto a freshly- formatted floppy for you. I'm glad they did: It's a very good thing that Microsoft restored the ability to make a simple boot disk.

    Fast Boot /Fast Resume Design

    Customer research shows a frequently requested feature that users want from their PCs is fast system startup, whether from cold boot or when resuming from standby or hibernation. The Windows development team at Microsoft has taken bold steps in making fast startup PCs a reality with the Microsoft Windows XP operating system.
    The design goals for Windows XP on a typical consumer PC are:
    • Boot to a useable state in a total of 30 seconds
    • Resume from Hibernate (S4) in a total of 20 seconds
    • Resume from Standby (S3) in a total of 5 seconds
    Boot and resume times are measured from the time the power switch is pressed to being able to start a program from a desktop shortcut. Click here to go to Microsoft's development center and learn how, download boot tools and read white papers on the subject.

    Display Hibernate Option on the Shut Down dialog

    For some reason, Hibernate isn't available from the default Shut Down dialog. But you can enable it simply enough, by holding down the SHIFT key while the dialog is visible. Now you see it, now you don't!

    Speed up the Start Menu

    The default speed of the Start Menu is pretty slow, but you can fix that by editing a Registry Key. Fire up the Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Control Panel \ Desktop \ MenuShowDelay
    By default, the value is 400. Change this to a smaller value, such as 0, to speed it up.
    If this doesn't work for some reason, then you might try the following: Navigate to Display Properties then Appearance then Advanced and turn off the option titled Show menu shadow. You will get much better overall performance.

    Automatically defrag drives with a new context menu item

    Create a new Registry import file named context_defrag.inf in Notepad (be sure to save with it with the Save as type set to All Files and not Text Documents) and place the following text inside:
    ; context_defrag.INF
    ; Adds Defrag to the right click context menu in Windows XP
    [version]
    signature="$CHICAGO$"
    [DefaultInstall]
    AddReg=AddMe
    [AddMe]
    HKCR,"Drive\Shell\Defrag\command",,,"DEFRAG.EXE %1"
    Then, right-click and choose Install. This will add a context menu to XP that allows you to automatically defrag drives, using the command line version of the built-in defragmentation utility. To use it, navigate to a drive in My Computer, right-click, and choose Defrag. A command line window will appear, and that drive will be defragged. When it's complete, the window just disappears.

    Display the Sharing Tab in Folder Properties

    In Windows 2000, getting to the Sharing options for a folder was simple: Just right-click, choose Properties, and you'd see a Sharing tab. In Windows XP, this feature is missing by default, but you can make the system display the Sharing tab if desired. Simply open up Folder Options (My Computer, then Tools, Folder Options) and navigate to the View tab. In the Advanced Settings section, scroll down to the bottom and uncheck Use simple file sharing (Recommended), a Mickey Mouse feature if there ever was one. Now share your folders on the LAN as you would in Windows 2000.

    My Computer Won't Shut Down Itself After Installing XP

    There are a number of users who have been complaining that their PC will no longer automatically power down/shut off without pressing the power off button on the computers unlike in Windows Me/95/2000. There could be a number of reasons for this - but the main one seems to be that ACPI is not enabled on the computer or in Windows XP. Here is how to enable it:
    1. Click - Start - Control Panel - Performance and Maintenance - Power Options Tab
    2. Then click APM - Enable Advanced Power Management Support


    Create a Password Reset Disk

    Microsoft has enhanced security features in XP including the the ability to create a floppy diskette to recover your password incase it is forgotten.
    • Click Start
    • Click Control Panel
    • Click User Accounts
    • Click on the account which you want to create a password disk
    • Click Prevent a forgotten password which starts the Forgotten Password Wizard . This is found under Related Tasks
    • Insert a blank, formatted disk into drive A, and click Next
    • Enter the password in the Current user account password box
    To use the recovery disk, at the Welcome screen
    • Click the user name whose password is on the recovery disk
    • Click the question mark button
    • This causes the Did you forget your password message to appear.
    • Click use your password reset disk
    • This will start the Password Reset Wizard.
    From this point, just follow the wizard's instructions and you will be able to set a new password. It is different if you are part of a domain, see next tip.

    How to Create a Password Reset Disk for computers that are part of a domain

    Note that this procedure requires one blank, formatted floppy disk.
    To create a password reset disk for your local user account:
    1. Press CTRL+ALT+DELETE. The Windows Security dialog box appears.
    2. Click Change Password . The Change Password dialog box appears.
    3. In the Log on to box, click the local computer. For example, click Computer (this computer) .
    4. Click Backup . The Forgotten Password Wizard starts.
    5. On the "Welcome to the Forgotten Password Wizard" page, click Next .
    6. Insert a blank, formatted disk in drive A, and then click Next .
    7. In the Current user account password box, type your password, and then click Next . The Forgotten Password Wizard creates the disk.
    8. When the progress bar reaches 100 percent complete, click Next , and then click Finish . The Forgotten Password Wizard quits and you return to the Change Password dialog box.
    9. Remove, and then label the password reset disk. Store the disk in a safe place.
    10. In the Change Password dialog box, click Cancel .
    11. In the Windows Security dialog box, click Cancel.
    If you forget your password, you can log on to the computer with a new password that you create by using the Password Reset Wizard and your password reset disk.
    To gain access to your local user account on a computer that is a member of a domain, or has been disconnected from a domain:
    1. In the Welcome to Windows dialog box, press CTRL+ALT+DELETE.
    2. In the Log On to Windows dialog box, type an incorrect password in the Password box, and then click OK .
    3. In the Logon Failed dialog box that appears, click Reset . The Password Reset Wizard starts. The Password Reset Wizard lets you create a new password for your local user account.
    4. On the "Welcome to the Password Reset Wizard" page, click Next .
    5. Insert the password reset disk in drive A, and then click Next .
    6. On the "Reset the User Account Password" page, type a new password in the Type a new password box.
    7. Type the same password in the Type the password again to confirm box.
    8. In the Type a new password hint box, type a hint that will help you remember the password if you forget it. NOTE : This hint is visible to anyone who attempts to log on to the computer by using your user account.
    9. Click Next , and then click Finish . The Password Reset Wizard quits and you return to the Log On to Windows dialog box. The password reset disk is automatically updated with the new password information. You do not have to create a new password reset disk.
    10. In the Log On to Windows dialog box, type your new password in the Password box.
    11. In the Log on to box, click the local computer. For example, click Computer (this computer) , and then click OK . You are logged on to the local computer with your local account information.

    Disable Automatic Windows Update

    Windows XP is configured out of the box to routinely scan for and download updates to Windows XP automatically. While this can be somewhat convenient for those with very fast Internet connections and those who would otherwise forget to check for updates, it can be a nuisance for the rest of us, who are still using 56k or, even worse 33k modem connections.
    To control or disable automatic updating, open the System icon in Control Panel (or right-click My Computer and select Properties), and choose the Automatic Updating tab.
    To check for updates manually, open Internet Explorer and select Windows Update from the Tools menu.

    Try automatic camera recognition in windows xp

    If you have a digital camera, try this trick for downloading pictures to your machine. Don't load any of the drivers or software that comes with your digital camera. Instead--if your camera supports USB--connect your camera via a USB port. There's a good chance that Windows XP will recognize the digicam. After a few moments, the Scanner And Camera Wizard should start up and walk you through the steps involved in copying your pictures from the camera to a folder of your choice on your computer--much faster than doing it manually. You may still need to install your camera's software if it provides configuration controls you can't access in any other way, such as those for changing the picture resolution on your camera or the software's special editing functions.

    HOW TO: Use Automatic Completion with a Command Prompt in Windows XP

    To Activate Automatic Completion
    For example, to change to the Program Files folder, you can type cd \pro control_character. Or, to display the contents of the Myfile.txt file, you can type type myf control_character. If there are multiple folders or files that match the characters you type, typing the control character again displays the next matching instance. When the correct folder or file is displayed, press ENTER to complete the command. If no folder of file matches the characters that you type, you hear a beep. You can activate or deactivate this feature for a computer, for a user, or for only the current command session.
    Click here for the article from Microsoft.

    Easy CD Creator 5.0 Does Not Function In Windows XP

    When you try to use Roxio Easy CD Creator 5.0, any of the following symptoms may occur:
    Your computer may stop responding (hang) or may stop functioning correctly.
    You may receive an error message on a blue screen. The error message may be similar to:
    Stop 0x00000050: PrtSeqRd deferencing null device object
    After you receive this error message, your computer restarts.
    You may receive an error message that is similar to:
    Createcd50.exe has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.
    Click here for the article from Microsoft.

    Damaged Registry Repair and Recovery in Windows XP

    When a registry hive becomes damaged, your computer may become unbootable, and you may receive one of the following Stop error messages on a blue screen:
    Unexpected Shutdown
    Stop:0xc0000135
    Registry damage often occurs when programs with access to the registry do not cleanly remove temporary items that they store in the registry. This problem may also be caused if a program is terminated or experiences a user-mode fault.
    Click here for the article from Microsoft.

    Be sure to return to Windows XP Tips soon, we are constantly finding and adding tips to our website, and hope to be adding direct downloads for drivers and other free downloads of windows xp software.