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Tips & Tricks for Windows Operating Systems.

Enable or disable Error Reporting (XP)

Start>Control Panel>System>Advanced>Error Reporting

Enable or disable Task Scheduler at startup (XP)

Double-click Task Scheduler and select the Startup type you want. If you also want to prevent Win2000/XP from scanning shared files for scheduled tasks, read:
Speed up access to network shares.

Remove FindFast (98)

FindFast is a program that indexes MS Office documents to make them easier to find and open. But FindFast destroys the efficiency of the rest of the system. If you just take FindFast out of the Startup group, Office applications will continue to use the indices that were created. To correctly disable FindFast, you must delete the FindFast index files.
1.  Start>Settings>Control Panel>FindFast
2.  In the Index for documents in and below list, click the first item.
3.  On the Index menu, click Delete Index.
4.  In the Delete Index dialog box, click OK.
5.  When you are prompted whether to delete the index, click OK.
6.  Repeat above until no more indices are listed.
7.  On the Index Menu, click Close and Stop. Then, click OK.
8.  Do either of the following:
Remove the FindFast shortcut from the Startup folder, and uncheck ffast.exe in start>run>msconfig>startup. Run the Microsoft Office 97 Setup program in maintenance mode, and remove FindFast.

Turn off Window animation (maximize-minimize) to speed up your work

Go to  HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\desktop\ WindowMetric
Create the string value MinAnimate.  Set it to 0 (off) or 1 (on)

Set Highlight and shadow of 3D-objects

By default, they are set in dependence of the button face.
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ Control Panel\Colors] Edit the corresponding names to change RGB Data

Restore the ability to display .ico files

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\icofile\ DefaultIcon]: Make sure the "(Default)" value is set to "%1"
If [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\icofile] or [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\icofile\ DefaultIcon] does not exist, cut and paste the following into a .reg file and merge it into your registry:
"Content Type"="image/x-icon"
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\ icofile\DefaultIcon]@="%1"

Remove invalid entries in Add/Remove Programs

The entries that show up in Add/Remove Programs are stored under[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\ Uninstall]. Deleting entries will only remove the ability to uninstall items through Add/Remove Programs.

Use Windows Update without being registered

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion] Create the string value RegDone, value = 1

Microsoft spy
To prevent Microsoft from reading your HWID (Hardware ID) and MSID:

Run (Win98) regsvr32 -u c:\windows\system\regwizc.dll or (Win XP) regsvr32 -u
c:\windows\system32\regwizc.dll (To go back to the default setting, do not use -u)[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion]:
Delete the string value HWID
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion]:
Delete the string value MSID

Change the Blue Screen of Death's colors

In system.ini, add the following two lines under [386Enh]:
MessageBackColor={color code}
MessageTextColor={color code}
Not tested with Windows XP

Colors Dark Light
Black 0 8
Blue 1 9
Green 2 A
Cyan 3 B
Red 4 C
Maganda 5 D
Yellow 6 E
White 7 F

Change registered owner and organization

9x: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion]
XP: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\Microsoft\ Windows NT\CurrentVersion]
Value Names: RegisteredOwner, RegisteredOrganization
Data Type: REG_SZ

Find registered owner and cd key to reinstall windows (98)

There is a system.1st file in the root unless it was deleted. It's a copy of the registry when Windows was last successfully installed. Use the Dos Editor to find Productkey. The registered owner's name is several lines above and to the right of it. You can make a text version of the registry by typing the following 2 lines in DOS mode:
regedit/e c:\hklm.reg HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE (Output: c:\hklm.reg)
regedit/e c:\hku.reg hkey users (Output: c:\hku.reg)

Include manufacturer and support details in the System Properties dialog box

You need to create two files in the Windows system directory (c:\windows\system, or
c:\windows\system32): oeminfo.ini and oemlogo.bmp.
Manufacturer=Enter the Company Name Here
Model=Enter the Computer Model Name Here
[Support Information]
Line1=first line of support information
Line2=second line (Create as many lines as you need by incrementing the line number)
oemlogo.bmp: Up to 180 x 120 pixels
Open System Properties from the Control Panel, and your logo and company name will be listed. The details you entered in the Support Information section will show up when you click on the Support Information button.

Change the number of registry backups (98)

Edit Scanreg.ini (But only five choices are given in scanreg/restore)

System file checker

Start > Run, then type SFC, and click OK. You may need your Windows CD.

Windows Xp

Start > Run, then type sfc /scannow and click OK. You will need the Windows CD unless you copied the I386 folder to C:\ drive during installation. If you didn't install the I386 folder you can copy it to C:\ drive from the CD then
Navigate to:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion| Setup
Now on the right hand side double click SourcePath and Replace D:| with C:\
Now if you run sfc /scannow you should not be asked to insert your Windows XP CD.
Try sfc /scannow again!

Play or do not play your CD's automatically (AIN, Autorun, AutoPlay)
Windows XP

Auto Insert Notification:
Open the Group Policy window (Start > Run > GPEDIT.MSC)
Computer Configuration >Administrative Templates > System
Double-click Turn off Autoplay (Left pane)
Click the appropriate radio button
Select an option in the combo box ("Turn off Autoplay on")
Click Apply, and close the Group Policy window
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SYSTEM\ CurrentControlSet\ Services\Cdrom
In the left pane, set Autorun to 0 (Disabled) or 1 (Enabled)
Left-click the CD drive, then click Properties > AutoPlay
Adjust the settings for the various content types

Windows 2000

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\ Services\CDRom]
Enable:  "Autorun"="1"
Disable: "Autorun"="0"

Windows 98

You must enable both Auto Insert Notification and Autorun if you want Windows to play automatically your CD's. Auto Insert Notification: If you disable Auto Insert Notification, Autorun will be disabled, and My Computer or Explorer will not be updated when a CD is inserted or removed. You will have to press F5 to refresh it yourself.
Control Panel > System > Device Manager > Right-click the actual CDROM drive > Properties >
Settings > Check or uncheck Auto Insert Notification
If you disable Autorun, commands in the Autorun.inf file will be ignored.[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ Software\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Policies\ Explorer]
Enable:  "NoDriveTypeAutoRun" = "95 00 00 00"
Disable: "NoDriveTypeAutoRun" = "BD 00 00 00"


You may have to reboot. If you hold down the Shift key when inserting the CD, Auto Insert Notification is temporarily disabled.

Search the content of .cab files
First Option

Use Windows Search feature to locate *.cab containing <filename.ext>

Second Option (98):If <filename.ext> need to be replaced.

Run sfc
Click Extract one file from installation disk
Specify the system file you would like to restore:<filename>
Start Restore From box: <Path to the Win98 folder on CD>
Save File In box: <Destination folder>
OK > OK > OK > Yes. Reboot

Number Lock (Numlock)

1. You may either set it in the bios, or (9x) add this line to Config.sys:


2. If it still doesn't work, set InitialKeyboardIndicators to 0 (OFF) or 2 (ON) in the registry:

[HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\ Control Panel\Keyboard]
[HKEY_USERS\{Long key that doesn't end in classes}\Control Panel\Keyboard]

Fix Icons (If Windows shows the wrong icons)
Windows XP

Go to C:\Documents and Settings\{username}\Local Settings\Application DataDelete IconCache.db

Windows 9x

Go to c:\windows
Delete ShellIconCache
If the problem persist, increase the icon cache size[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\ Explorer]
then delete ShellIconCache.

Military Time
Windows XP:

Control Panel > Regional and Language Options > Customize > Time In Time format, replace h by H

Windows 98:

Control Panel > Regional Settings > Time In Time Style, replace h by H

Msdos.sys (9x)

Keywords Default What It Does
AutoScan 2 When a shutdown error is found, Scandisk will not run (0), will prompt you (1), or will run automatically (2).
BootKeys 1 Disables (0) or enables (1) the use of boot-option function keys while starting Windows. When Bootkeys  is disabled, BootDelay, BootMenu, BootMenuDefault, BootMenuDelay, and BootMulti are ignored.
BootDelay 2 Number of seconds the Starting Windows message is displayed to give you enough time to press F8. W95 only.
BootMenu 0 Disables (0) or enables (1) the display of the start-up menu.
BootMenuDefault 1 Menu item that will be selected if you don't select one before the time specified by the BootMenuDelay setting expires.
1: Normal
2: Logged (c:\bootlog.txt)
3: Safe-Mode default (no networking components)
4: Safe-Mode default (networked computer)
BootMenuDelay 30 Number of seconds to display the Windows Startup menu before running the default menu item.
DisableLog 1 Disables (0) or enables (1) the creation of a bootlog.txt.
DoubleBuffer 1 Disables (0) or enables (1) loading of a double-buffering driver for a SCSI controller.
BootGUI 1 Command line (0), or graphical interface (1).
BootMulti 1 Disables (0) or enables (1) dual-boot capabilities.
BootSafe 1 Disables (0) or enables (1) the Safe Mode warning.
BootWarn 1 Disables (0) or enables (1) the Safe Mode startup warning.
BootWin 1 Disables (0) or enables (1) Windows as the default operating system. To be used with DOS 5 or 6.x.
DblSpace 1 Disables (0) or enables (1) loading of dblspace.bin.
DrvSpace 1 Disables (0) or enables (1) loading of drvspace.bin.
LoadTop 1 Disables (0) or enables (1) loading of command.com or drvspace.bin at the top of 640K memory.
Logo 1 Disables (0) or enables (1) the display of the animated logo when Windows processes config.sys and autoexec.bat.

Uninstall Additional Windows Components

To add additional components to the Add/Remove Programs list (Windows Components): Start Windows Explorer, and navigate to the inf folder in your Windows folder. Windows Explorer must be set to Show hidden files and folders. You can adjust this from the Tools menu, Folder Options, View tab (and while you are there, un-check Hide extensions for known file types too). Now find the file Sysoc.inf, and Open it (double-click) You will find several lines that include the word hide: xxxx=xxxx.dll,xxxx,xxxx.inf,hide,7 Remove the word hide, so that the line now reads: xxxx=xxxx.dll,xxxx,xxxx.inf,,7 Save the file, and close it Select Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel and click on Add/Remove Windows Components.Several additional Windows components will now be listed, and you will be able to remove them. Here's a list what some of the listings mean:
WBEM - Windows Management Instrumentation
com - COM+ (Provides support for developing and deploying distributed, component-based applications) dtc - Distributed Transaction Coordinator (Coordinates distributed transactions between multiple clients, servers, and resource managers)
AutoUpdate - Windows Automatic Updates
msmsgs - Windows Messenger
CommApps - Communications
MultiM - Multimedia
AccessOpt - Accessibility Wizard
Pinball - Yep, the game
MSWordPad - WordPad

Be careful about uninstalling certain parts (WEBM, com, dtc, and maybe even CommApps and MultiM), as it might break some functions in Windows!

Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows Users

Here is how to navigate Windows if your mouse has stopped working or if you want to save time by not moving your hand back and forth. When Windows first starts up and your desktop is displayed, an icon is already highlighted in order to select other icons, use your arrow keys to move among the icons. Once they are highlighted, you can hit your enter key instead of double-clicking them with your mouse. To access the start menu, most keyboards have a window key that you can use to open the start menu. If your keyboard doesn't have a windows key, you can hit ctrl and esc to open it. Once the start menu is open, you can use your arrow keys to move among the items and use your enter key to open the items. When you are at a dialog window you can move through all the option areas by hitting tab. Once you are at the area that you want to be in, use your arrow keys and your enter key to open the item. If you want to check or uncheck a box with your keyboard, get to that area by using tab and then click your spacebar to check or uncheck.

Here are more keyboard commands:

CTRL+ TAB - Move forward through tabs.
CTRL+ SHIFT + TAB - Move backward through tabs.
TAB - Move forward through options.
SHIFT+ TAB - Move backward through options.
ALT+ Underlined letter - Carry out the corresponding command or select the corresponding option.
ENTER - Carry out the command for the active option or button.
SPACEBAR - Select or clear the check box if the active option is a check box.
Arrow keys - Select a button if the active option is a group of option buttons.
F1 - Display help.
F4 - Display the items in the active list.
BACKSPACE - Open a folder one level up if a folder is selected in the Save As or Open dialog box.
CTRL + C - Copy
CTRL+ X - Cut
CTRL+ V - Paste
CTRL+ Z - Undo
DELETE - Delete
SHIFT+ DELETE - Delete selected item permanently without placing the item in the Recycle Bin
CTRL while dragging an item - Copy selected item.
CTRL+ SHIFT while dragging an item - Create shortcut to selected item.
F2 - Rename selected item.
CTRL+ RIGHT ARROW - Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next word.
CTRL+ LEFT ARROW - Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous word.
CTRL+ DOWN ARROW - Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next paragraph.
CTRL+ UP ARROW - Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous paragraph.
CTRL+ SHIFT with any of the arrow keys - Highlight a block of text.
SHIFT with any of the arrow keys - Select more than one item in a window or on the desktop,or select text within a document.
CTRL+ A - Select all.
F3 - Search for a file or folder.
ALT+ ENTER - View properties for the selected item.
ALT+F4 - Close the active item, or quit the active program.
ALT+ Enter - Displays the properties of the selected object.
ALT+ SPACEBAR - Opens the shortcut menu for the active window.
CTRL+F4 - close the active document in programs that allow you to have multiple documents open simultaneously.
ALT+ TAB - Switch between open items.
ALT+ ESC - Cycle through items in the order they were opened.
F6 - Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop.
F4 - Display the Address bar list in My Computer or Windows Explorer.
SHIFT+F10 - Display the shortcut menu for the selected item.
ALT+ SPACEBAR - Display the System menu for the active window.
CTRL+ ESC - Display the Start menu.
ALT+ Underlined letter in a menu name - Display the corresponding menu Underlined letter in a command name on an open menu - Carry out the corresponding demand.
F10 - Activate the menu bar in the active program.
RIGHT ARROW - Open the next menu to the right, or open a submenu.
LEFT ARROW - Open the next menu to the left, or close a submenu.
F5 - Refresh the active window.
BACKSPACE - View the folder one level up in My computer or Windows Explorer.
ESC - Cancel the current task.
SHIFT when you insert a CD into the CD-Rom drive - Prevent the CD from automatically playing.
Windows Key - Display or hide the Start menu.
Windows Key+ BREAK - Display the System Properties dialog box.
Windows Key+ D - Show the desktop.
Windows Key+ M - Minimize all windows.
Windows Key+ Shift+ M - Restores minimized windows.
Windows Key+ E - Open My Computer.
Windows Key+ F - Search for a file or folder.
CTRL+ Windows Key+ F - Search for computers.
Windows Key+F1 - Display Windows Help.
Windows Key+ L - Lock your computer if you are connected to a network domain, or switch users if you are not connected to a network domain.
Windows Key+ R - Open the Run dialog box.
Windows Key+ U - Open Utility Manager.

Remember that some of these commands will only work in some versions of Windows (i.e. 95, 98, ME, XP, 2000).

Windows XP clear Page File on Shutdown

Go to Control panel Administrative tools, local security policy. then goto local policies > securityoptions. Then change
the option for "Shutdown: Clear Virtual Memory Pagefile"

Enable or 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.

Turn off Indexing to speed up XP

Windows XP keeps a record of all files on the hard disk so when you do a search on the hard drive it is faster. There is a downside to this and because the computer has to index all files, it will slow down normal file commands like open, close, etc. If you do not do a whole lot of searches on your hard drive then I suggest turning this feature off:
Control Panel
Administrative Tools
Disable Indexing Services

Delete Prefetch files in XP Automatically

Here's an easy way to delete your Prefetch:
Go into My Computer and go into your hard drive.
Right-click anywhere that a file is not and select the 'New' submenu and click 'Text Document'
Name it "deleteprefetch"
Double-click on the text file you just created.
Type "del C:\Windows\Prefetch\*.* /Q" (without the quotes).
Go to File > Save As... and choose "All Files" from the "Save as Type" box and save it as " deleteprefetch.bat"
You just created a batch file that will automatically delete all the files in your Prefetch folder by double clicking on it.
Congrats, you just emptied the Prefetch folder Automatically!
Click HERE to download one already made! Just save it to your C:\ drive.

Make icons in windows appear quicker (XP)

In Windows XP every time you open My Computer to browse folders XP automatically searches for network files and printers. This causes a delay in displaying your icons. You probably see the " default" windows icon and as you scroll it changes to the correct icon. This is how to stop that...
Open My Computer
Click on the Tools menu and select Folder Options...
Under Folder Options select the view tab.
Uncheck the very first box that reads "Automatically search for network folders and printers".
Click "Apply" or "OK"
You should see a dramatic increase in speed when Windows displays your icons.

How to remove An Invalid Boot Path From The Boot Ini File

Click the Start button.
On the Start Menu click Run.
In the Run dialog box type: msconfig.
The System configuration utility window will now open.
Click the Boot ini Tab.
In the boot ini tab click the button marked Check all boot paths.
The system will check the boot paths and remove any invalid ones.
Finally Close the System configuration utility.
You will need to restart your pc for the changes to take effect.

How to Delete An Undeletable File

Click the Start Button.
Click All Programs followed by Accessories.
In the Accessories drop down menu click Command Prompt.
The Command Prompt window will now open.
Close all other programs that are running with the exception of the Command Prompt.
Now click Start and then Run.
In the Run dialog box type: taskmgr.exe.
In the Task Manager window click on the Processes tab.
From the processes list highlight Explorer.exe and then click the End Process button.
Don't close the Task Manager window, leave it open. You should have the Command Prompt and the Task Manager window open.
Now return to the Command Prompt window and change the directory to the directory that contains the file(s) you wish to delete.
At the Command Prompt type: del (filename) (where the (filename) is the name of the file you want to delete).
Press Enter to delete the file.
Now go back to the Task Manager window.
Click File>New Task.
In the New task dialog box type: explorer.exe.
The Explorer User Interface (GUI) should now start.
Finally close the Task Manager Window and the Command Prompt Window.

No Items Appear in the Device Manager List When You Open It

When you open Device Manager, no devices appear in the list. Instead, a blank window appears.
This behavior occurs if the Plug and Play service is turned off (disabled).
To resolve this behavior, set the startup type for Plug and Play to Automatic. To do so, follow these steps:
Click Start, click Run, type services.msc, and then click OK.
Double-click Plug and Play.
If you receive a Configuration Manager message, click OK.
In the Startup Type list, click Automatic, and then click OK.
Close Services.
Restart the computer.
Take a look at these site's for Blank Device Manager caused by Spyware:
http://www.dslreports.com/ forum/remark,14679793
http://swandog46.geekstogo.com/ (AproposFix)

Create your own Self-extracting/Self-installing Package with the XP Wizard

The following will show you how to use the Iexpress2.0 tool.
The tool allows you to make a self extracting file and much more
To play with this hidden feature of XP :
Navigate to : Windows\system32\ look for a file called iexpress.exe.
Double left click on it and follow the wizard.

Get System Uptime Only - Windows XP Pro

In XP Pro, in order to get your uptime you must execute the SYSTEMINFO command at the CMD terminal. As you
know, this produces other system information output, and you have to scroll up to see your uptime. If you wish to
receive ONLY your uptime information, simply copy and paste the following into notepad
@systeminfo | @find "System Up Time:"
And save as UPTIME.BAT (save to your windows dir if you want to be able to access it anywhere) Now when you type UPTIME you will see just:
System Up Time: 5 Days, 20 Hours, 13 Minutes, 46 Seconds
Also, if you wish to create a shortcut to IP.BAT, or run it via the Run command, it may close before you can view the result To stop this, add @pause after the last @echo. command, this will cause the terminal to wait for your response before closing. Example:

@systeminfo | @find "System Up Time:"

will result
System Up Time: 5 Days, 20 Hours, 13 Minutes, 46 Seconds
Press any key to continue . . .

(information about the code: @echo. produces a blank line, @systeminfo | @find "System Up Time:" causes the output of systeminfo to be piped to the find command, which looks for the line containing "System Up Time:", find then outputs your system uptime, the optional @pause causes the terminal to wait for user input before continuing. The @ before each command tells the terminal not to echo the command being typed.)

Click HERE to download one already made! Just save it to your C:\ drive.