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Application shortcuts
Shortcut keys can be assigned to any application. In order to do so, right
click on the application icon, click Properties and then click on the Shortcut
tab. Here, you will see the text field for the shortcut key. Enter the hotkey of
your choice and click Apply to access that application through that hotkey.

Hiding a desktop icon

It is not easy to remove icons, such as My Computer, from your desktop, but
they can be hidden. To do this, create a 32 x 32 pixel image in Paint, with
the same colour as your desktop background. When creating the image in
Paint, go to the Image menu, click on Attributes and set the size as 32 x 32
pixels. Use the Fill tool to fill in the desktop background colour. Save the
image with a .ico extension. Now, right click on the desktop, and select
Properties. This will open the Display Properties settings. Go to the Effects
tab, select the My Computer icon, and click on Change Icon. Finally, specify
the path to the file you just created, and press the Apply button. You will not
see the My Computer icon anymore, but the text will still be there. To get rid
of this, right click on the My Computer text, select Rename, and rename it to
[Spacebar], so that it will appear blank. You have to do this, as Windows
needs at least a single character to name an icon.


Assigning drive letters to network computers

If you often work on shared folders, on a networked machine, then accessing
folders can be made easier. To do so, go to the network folder in Windows
Explorer, by typing \\machine_name\share_folder. In the left pane of the
window you will find the folder name, right click on the folder and select
Map Network Drive. Select Reconnect at Logon if you wish to automatically
get connected to the network drive as soon as Windows starts. From now
onwards, you can access the network folder as if it were a local drive on
your machine.


Understand your machine better

To get information about your machine, go to Start > Programs >
Accessories > System Tools > System Information. This tool will provide
you with information about the resources on your motherboard, the hardware
components and drivers and also software applications running on your


Troubleshooting Windows Errors

The first step to troubleshooting is to go to Start > Help and type the error
message. Follow the steps suggested by Windows Help.
If you can't find help with Windows help then go to
http://support.microsoft.com, type the error message and press search. If
necessary, change your search criteria to related topics and search again.
Finally, if you find that nothing is working, then while the error message is
on the screen, press [ALT] + [PrintScreen], open Paint, paste the content,
save the file and send it to Microsoft customer support.


Command Prompt and Explorer hand in hand.

It can be tedious to type in the entire path of a folder when you need to
access it through the Command Prompt. An easier way is to open an
Explorer window and drag the required folder from there into the Command
Prompt window. This will show you the folder's path within the prompt.
Now all you have to do is hit [Enter]. Similarly, if you are working on a
particular folder in Command Prompt and wish to open the same folder in
Explorer, just type explorer /e on the prompt and press [Enter]. The Explorer
window appears with the desired folder as the current folder.

Cascading menus of folders like Control Panel or Printers can be very
handy at the start menu. Here’s how to get them there:
1. Right click the Start button and click on Explore.
2. Create a new folder and type the following string, all on one line,
replacing the words New Folder with this new line. You must type the
period, the curly braces, all four hyphens, and the hexadecimal numbers
exactly as shown.

Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}
Dial Up Networking.{992CFFA0-F557-101A-88EC-00DD010CCC48}
Internet Cache.{7BD29E00-76C1-11CF-9DD0-00A0C9034933}
Network Neighborhood.{208D2C60-3AEA-1069-A2D7-08002B30309D}
My Computer.{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}
Recycle Bin.{645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}
URL History.{FF393560-C2A7-11CF-BFF4-444553540000}

In Windows 98, when a menu is too tall to fit the screen, you will see a
scroll arrow at the bottom. In Windows 95, a second menu would
appear next to the first when the entries don't fit. For Windows 95
like behaviour in Windows 98:
1. Start the Registry Editor and navigate to
2. Create a new String Value and name it StartMenuScrollPrograms.
3. Double-click on this entry and add the value 'false'.
4. To restore Windows 98 behavior, simply change the value of
StartMenuScrollPrograms to 'true'.


Shortcut icons have a small curved arrow in the lower-left corner. To

remove this arrow:
1. Start the Registry Editor.
2. Locate the keys
3. Delete the value IsShortcut under both these keys.
4. Close the Registry Editor and restart Windows.


If Windows asks you for a user name and password every time it is started,
you can have it log on automatically:
1. Open the Registry Editor, navigate to
Winlogon and add the following String values:
2. Double-click on each of them to enter their respective data. Set the value
of AutoAdminLogon to 1. Enter your user name and password in the
DefaultUserName and DefaultPassword items respectively.


It is possible to shutdown or restart Windows immediately, without waiting

for a confirmation.
1. Right-click on the Desktop and click New > Shortcut.
2. In the Command line box, type 'C:\Windows\rundll.exe user.exe,
3. Click Next, name the shortcut Shutdown Windows and click Finish.
Similarly, to create a shortcut to restart, type 'C:\Windows\rundll.exe
user.exe,ExitWindowsExec' for the Command line.


If you do not use the CD-ROM drive very often, you can reclaim some
precious memory. This can be especially useful for low-end computers.
1. Open Control Panel > System > Performance > File System.
2. From the CD-ROM tab, configure the amount of cache that is assigned to
the drive.
3. Adjust the slider according to your needs. The minimum amount is 64 KB
and the maximum is 1238 KB. Changing the Optimise access pattern for
drop-down selection also affects the amount of memory used.


To permanently Delete files without moving them to the Recycle Bin, hold
down the Shift key while pressing Delete. To stop using recycle bin
1. Right-click the Recycle Bin and click on Properties.
2. On the Global Tab, select Do not move files to the Recycle Bin. If you
enable Configure drives independently, you can set this up for the drives you
want to.


Sometimes, even after programs are uninstalled, or due to the files being
deleted instead of uninstalled, the entry in the Add/Remove Programs list do
not get removed. To remove them from the list:
1. Start the Registry Editor and navigate to
2. Locate the program entry here and delete it.


The Windows Maintenance Wizard can automate a lot of the routine system
maintenance tasks. To open this wizard:
1. Choose Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Maintenance
2. Follow the steps to configure the Task Scheduler to regularly run
Scandisk, Disk Defragmenter and Disk Cleanup.


When restarting Windows, you don't always need to go through the BIOS
initialisation and POST.
1. Click Start > Shut Down to bring up the Shut Down Windows dialog box.
2. Select Restart.
3. Hold down the [Shift] key as you click on Ok. This will restart only
Windows. This is particularly useful when you change some registry
entries or a few system settings.


Windows 98 gives you the option to use write-behind caching to improve

the performance of removable disk drives.
1. Open Control Panel > System > Performance and click on File System.
2. Check the 'Enable write-behind caching on all removable disk drives'
check box under the Removable Disk tab and click OK.


To hide all the icons on your Desktop and disable it completely:

1. Click Start > Run, type regedit and press Enter to open the Registry
2. Navigate to
3. Add a DWORD value and name it No Desktop.
4. Change its value to 1.
5. Close the Registry Editor and restart Windows.

You can preview bitmaps (BMP files) as icons in Explorer instead of the
default icon of the application it is associated with.
1. Click Start > Run, type regedit and press Enter to open the Registry
2. Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Paint.Picture\
3. Double-click the Default string and change it's value to "%1" (without
4. Close the Registry Editor and restart indows.

To share a resource that is not visible over the network, append a dollar sign
($) to its share name. When you do so, the resource doesn't appear in the
Network Neighbourhood, but is available by either mapping the drive or
typing the path in the run dialog box.
1. Right-click on the folder you want to share.
2. Click the Sharing option.
3. Click on the Sharing tab.
4. Type the dollar sign ($) after the share name and click OK.


Speed-up the time it takes for Dial Up Networking to establish a connection

with your ISP.
1. Open Dial-Up Networking, right-click the connection and choose
2. On the Server Types Tab, under Advanced Options, make sure that the
check-box for Log on to network is unchecked.
3. Under Allowed network protocols, select only TCP/IP and uncheck


Line busy? You can have Windows redial the number several times, so that
you don't have to keep clicking every time it doesn't connect.
1. Open Start > Programs > Accessories > Communications > Dial-Up
Networking and select your connection. From the Connections menu,
click on Settings.
2. Enable Redial, select the number of times to redial and click OK.


Internet Explorer 4 and higher allow previewing media files (wav, mid, avi,
mov, mpg) in Windows Explorer.
1. Using Windows Explorer, navigate to the folder Windows\Web.
2. Open the file Folder.htt in Notepad.
3. Look for wantMedia = false and replace this with wantMedia = true.
You should now be able to preview media files in folders that are viewed
as a web page.


You can preview images within Windows Explorer without opening them.
1. From the Windows Explorer menu, select View > As Web page. You will
see a preview for each image that you select.
2. A better way to preview images is as thumbnails. Right-click the folder
you want to preview and click on Properties.
3. Check the box against Enable thumbnail view and click Ok to exit the
dialog box. Now, from the View menu, select Thumbnails.


Inefficient use of the swap file could considerably slow down your system.
One of the best ways to speed up the swap file usage is to create a permanent
swap file. Ideally, create the swap file on a dedicated partition.
1. To configure the swap file size and location, open Start > Settings >
Control Panel > System > Performance > Virtual Memory.
2. Select the partition for the swap file.
3. Adjust the size of the swap file to around 2.5 times the amount of RAM
on the system.


One of the desktop enhancements built into Windows 98 is the animation

when you minimise and maximise windows and menus. Disabling this can
make navigating Windows a lot faster.
1. Right click on the Desktop and go to Properties.
2. Disable Animate windows, menus and lists from the Effects tab.


The advantage of using Direct Memory Access (DMA) with IDE drives is
that it lowers CPU usage during file transfers, drastically improving
performance. Ensure that your drive supports DMA before making these
changes, otherwise it could lead to unpredictable results.
1. Open Control Panel > System > Device Manager.
2. Click the '+' sign next to the Disk drives entry.
3. Select the drive you want to enable DMA for and click Properties.
4. On the Settings tab, enable the DMA check box.


Meet the Windows 98 Team!

1. Right-click an empty space on your Desktop.
2. Select New > Shortcut from the context menu.
3. In the Command line field, type the following line, exactly as it appears:
Data\Microsoft\WELCOME\WELDATA.EXE' You_are_a_real_rascal
4. Click Next and then Finish.
5. Edit the Properties for this shortcut.
6. Change the Run field to Minimised. Also, make sure that the Start in field
shows 'C:\WINDOWS\Application Data\Microsoft\WELCOME'.
7. Double-click the shortcut and enjoy the Easter Egg.


Even if your modem is working well, the baud rate of your COM port might
not allow you to reach top-speeds. To improve the port's speed:
1. Click Start > Settings > Control Panel >System.
2. Under the Device Manager tab, click the '+' sign next to Ports (COM &
3. Select the port your modem uses (usually COM2), click Properties, and
the Port Settings tab set the Bits per second to 115200 bps.


Send To is an option available when you right click any file in Windows.
You can use this feature not only for copying or moving files, but also for
quickly opening files with programs they are not associated with it. For
example, you could create a shortcut to Notepad and send any ASCII text
file (like .HTM files) to Notepad.
1. Browse to the \Windows\SendTo folder using Windows Explorer.
2. Right-click an empty space on the window and select New > Shortcut.
3. In the Create Shortcut window, use the Browse button to select the
program or the directory for the shortcut.
4. Click Next and Finish to create the shortcut.


Creating you own watermark for professional looking documents is pretty

simple in Word 2000.
1. Go to View > Header and Footer.
2. Click on the Show/Hide Text toolbar button located on the Header and
Footer toolbar. This should temporarily hide the text.
3. Click on Insert > Picture > Clip Art and choose the image you wish to use
4. Right-click the image and go to Format > Picture.
5. Under Image Control, for Color choose Watermark.
6. Now click on the Layout tab, click on Behind text and click OK.


Text in Word can be centred horizontally as well as vertically.

1. For the vertical centering, open File > Page Setup.
2. Click on the Layout tab and select the Center option in the Alignment
pull-down menu.
3. Format your document as usual and view its positioning using the Print
Preview button.


Typing quotes in Word results in straight quotes being converted to smart

quotes automatically. This is done by the AutoCorrect function. Pressing
[Ctrl]+[Z] (shortcut for Undo) after typing single or double quotes will give
you straight quotes. To permanently turn the feature off:
1. Click Tools > AutoCorrect.
2. Choose AutoFormat as you type and disable the option to replace straight
quotes with smart quotes.


Creating a bulleted list with the pictures as bullets can help add extra pep to
your documents.
1. Select the list where you want to add picture bullets.
2. Select Bullets and Numbering in the Format menu.
3. Click on the Bulleted tab.
4. Click the Picture button and select the image from the list of pictures.
5. Click on the image and select the insert button (image of icon) to set the


Word features an option known as AutoCorrect that can correct text as you
type it. You can add mistakes that you commonly make to be added to the
1. AutoCorrect can be enabled or disabled from Tools > AutoCorrect.
2. You can add more to the correction list from this window.
3. You can also add AutoCorrect entries by right-clicking a spelling error
and choosing the correct spelling from the AutoCorrect context menu.


While typing a long document, it may happen that one or two lines of a
paragraph slips to the next page. To fit the lines in the page:
1. Click File > Print Preview.
2. Click on the 'Shrink to Fit' button on the toolbar.


Check out the team behind Word 2000.

1. Press the [F1] key or click the Office Assistant button.
2. Under the 'What would you like to do?', type 'Cast'.
3. Click Search.
4. Select the 'Microsoft Office 2000 user assistance staff' topic.
5. Click the graphic in the Microsoft Word Help screen.


When you press the [Enter] key in a cell, Excel by default moves the cursor
to the cell below it. To change this:
1. Click Tools > Options and click on the Edit tab.
2. Change the direction of the selection movement from the drop-down list
titled 'Move Selection after Enter'.


To fill a series of cells with consecutive dates in Excel:

1. Click a cell and enter the starting date in the default date format.
2. Move the mouse pointer to the bottom right of the cell to get a small cross
called the Fill Handle.
3. Click and drag across the cells you want to fill with the dates.
4. To customise the series, drag with the right mouse button and click on
Series. For example, after clicking on Series, change the Step value or say
the Date unit depending upon the interval upto which the step up is


To add a background image to your spreadsheet:

1. Click on Format > Sheet > Background.
2. Browse for the image you want.
3. Click Insert to select it. The image will tile to fit the worksheet.


Keeping the row and column headings on your spreadsheet when you scroll
can definitely improve readability of your spreadsheets.
1. Drag the split control next to the scrollbars to the row and column that
holds the headings.
2. Click on Window > Freeze Panes.
The row and column will now be locked and remain visible as you move
through the spreadsheet.


Excel can be started up with spreadsheets that you most frequently use.
1. Open the spreadsheet you want to open at startup.
2. Click on File > Save As and locate the XLStart folder within the \Program
Files\Microsoft Office\Office folder.
3. Click the Save button to save this file in the folder.
Next time you start Excel, this spreadsheet will automatically open.


You can prevent users from entering data in Excel. This is how you do it:
1. Select the cells you wish to allow writing to. Non-adjacent cells can be
selected by clicking
on them while keeping the [Ctrl] key pressed.
2. Go to Format > Cells.
3. Under the Protection tab, uncheck Locked and click OK.
4. Next, click on Tools > Protection and select Protect Sheet. You will be
prompted for a password that is optional. Click OK and save the
5. Now only the unlocked cells can be modified. Trying to overwrite locked
cells results in an alert message being displayed.

Instead of creating presentation outlines in PowerPoint, they can also be
conveniently imported straight from Word.
1. Open the document in Word.
2. Click on the File > Send To.

3. Select Microsoft PowerPoint to export the outline to PowerPoint.It will
help to have the outline properly formatted with Word heading styles.

Clearing Document list

The Start menu, in Windows XP, has been completely revamped and made
extremely customisable. If you want the Start menu to display only certain
applications, right click in an empty section of the Start menu's left column and
select Properties > Start menu > Customise. Then, go to the General tab, click on
Clear List, and set the counter to zero. Now no one can keep track of the programs
or applications you've recently used.


Speedup the Start menu

The Start menu takes quite a while to display the list of programs installed.
In order to get Windows XP to display the list faster, you will have to edit
the registry settings. To speed up your Start menu, go to Start > Run and
type regedit. This will open the registry window. Then navigate to the
following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop. Scroll
down in the right panel and double-click on 'menushowdelay'. In the Value
Data box, change the default value for the menu speed from 400 to a lesser
number, such as 1 or even 0. Click OK. You should now find a significant
increase in the Start menu speed.
Note: Remember to back up your registry before making any changes.


Modifying visual settings

If you have only 128 MB RAM, your machine might be a bit sluggish after
installing Windows XP. So to achieve optimal performance without buying
additional RAM, disable certain visual settings and free up some precious
memory. Go to the Control Panel > system > Advanced, and click on the
Settings button under Performance. Change various graphical effects, and
ensure that the animation and shadow options are unchecked, as they tend to
consume a lot of memory. You should get a better response from your
operating system, without spending any money on RAM.


Enabling/disabling Clear Type text

Microsoft has introduced a new technology called 'Clear Type' with
Windows XP. However, it is not enabled by default. To enable it, right click
on a blank area of the Desktop, and choose Properties. Click on the
Appearance Tab, and then click on Effects. Check the 'Use following
method to smooth edges of screen fonts' option and then choose as per your
monitor. For desktop monitors choose the 'Standard' option, and for laptops
and other flat screen monitors, choose Clear Type. This option improves the
readability of large screen fonts.


The 'Classic Look'

If you are not comfortable with the new look of Windows XP, you can easily
switch back to the old classic Windows look. Right click the desktop, select
Properties, click the Themes tab and choose Windows Classic from the
drop-down list. You will now have the old Windows 2000 look.


Grouping/ungrouping taskbar items

Try opening more than three windows of any program, such as Internet Explorer,
and you will see them automatically grouped together under a single button.
This happens because Windows XP, by default, enables the option of grouping
similar programs. To uncheck this option, right click on a blank area of the Taskbar
and select Properties. Under Properties, deselect 'Group Similar Taskbar Buttons',
and then click OK. If you want to change the number of windows that can be opened,
without grouping, you will have to change a registry entry. Go to Start > Run and type
regedit, and press [Enter]. Navigate to the key to
Advanced\Taskbar Groupsize. Right click on 'Taskbar Groupsize', and change the
hexadecimal value to whatever you like-for example, 4, 5 or even 10. XP will now
group the programs according to the number you set.


Hiding inactive icons

Windows XP automatically hides inactive icons in the System Tray. If you
so wish, you can disable this option by right clicking on the Taskbar,
choosing Properties, and disabling the 'Hide Inactive Icons' option. You can
specify the ones you would like to be not hidden.


Disabling Automatic Windows Update and System Restore

There are certain services, such as Windows Update and System Restore,
which load automatically and occupy a lot of space. If you want to disable
them, 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 and save disk space.
Just next to the 'System Restore' option, you will find the 'Automatic Update'
option. This option will periodically ask you to update the OS. You can go
ahead and disable this, but remember that you will have to update Windows
manually after applying this option, and there will be no further reminders.


Change the picture on the welcome screen

Want to add your own picture in the Startup menu? Go to Start > Control
Panel > User account and click on the user name. There you will see an
option to change the picture on the welcome screen. On clicking it, you will
see an option from which you can select the picture already present or you
can browse to the folder where you've saved your photograph.


Creating personal screensavers

You can use your photographs for creating slide show presentations or even
creating a screensaver. Right click an empty spot on your desktop, choose
Properties, and click the Screensaver tab. In the Screensaver list, click on

'My Pictures Slideshow', and click 'Settings' to make any adjustments-such
as how often the pictures should change, their size, and whether you would
like to use transition effects between pictures. Click OK to finish. The
screensaver that will now be generated will display photographs from the
My Pictures folder in a random manner.


Tweak XP
This program allows you to tweak Windows XP, as well as your system
settings. You can optimise your system by freeing RAM, tweaking your
CPU and Internet settings. You can also shred files, selectively allow users
access to certain programs, and so on. You can make your Windows taskbar
transparent, by going to System + Files Tweaks > Make the taskbar


Power Toys
This program bundles a set of small programs, such as Tweak UI, Image
Resizer, Super Fast User Switcher, Power Calculator, etc-which let you
perform functions, such as switch users without having to go to the logon
screen, create graphs and evaluate functions, among others.


Customiser XP
Customiser XP is a special utility designed to optimise the performance of
Windows 2000 and XP. Using a graphical user interface, it allows you to
modify many hidden Windows registry settings by simply clicking the
provided checkboxes. Customiser XP helps you improve your Internet
connection, as it sets all recommended settings for you at the click of a
specified button. It also offers a wide range of possibilities to customise
Windows, such as choosing a background of your choice at pre-logon and
automatically restarting Windows Explorer when it crashes while you're
working, so that you don't lose your work.


Styles XP
Windows XP has a limited set of themes. In order to add more themes you
can use Styles XP, which provides a good variety of colours and themes. In
order to change the various themes supported by this program, right click on
your desktop and go to Properties > Themes, and select a theme of your
choice. You can change the colours from the Appearance tab, which is right
next to the Themes tab.


Group Policy Editor

In Windows XP Professional, there is a utility that allows you to change
almost every setting of the OS, without having to manually edit the registry.
In order to access the program, go to Start > Run and type gpedit.msc and
press [Enter]. Now you can navigate and change the options as you wish.
We have some examples here, but you can also try changing other settings.


Disabling MSN Messenger from starting automatically

Navigate to User configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows
Components > Windows Messenger. In the right pane, you will find options
to change the settings for this program. Click on 'Do not automatically start
windows messenger initially' and enable this rule to prevent starting MSN
Messenger when you start Windows. This will shorten your boot up time,
and also save memory.


Disabling Windows update

If you wish to remove the Windows update option, go to User Configuration
> Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update.
You can completely remove this option by enabling 'Remove access to all
update features'.
Note: After you do this, Windows will not prompt you to update, and you

cannot manually update from the Web site either.


Removing unnecessary options from Task Manager

XP hides inactive icons in the system tray by default. In order to remove this
facility completely, you will have to navigate to User configuration >
Administrative templates > Start menu and Taskbar. On the right-hand side,
scroll down to 'Turn off notification area clean up'. Now your icons cannot
be hidden at all.


Customising IE interface
Tired of the same old IE interface? Customise it by going to User
configuration > Internet Explorer Maintenance > Browser User Interface.
Change the browser title name and manually add the name you want to see
on the browser. You can even add a customised animated logo and change
the background of the toolbar by going to 'Browser toolbar customisation'.


Disable list of startup programs

To disable the list of startup programs, go to User Configuration >
Administrative Templates > System > Logon and enable 'Do not process the
run once list'. This prevents programs from starting up automatically, thus
giving you a faster boot up time.


Removing inactive icons from system tray

XP hides inactive icons in the system tray by default. In order to remove this
facility completely, you will have to navigate to User configuration >
Administrative templates > Start menu and Taskbar. On the right-hand side,
scroll down to 'Turn off notification area clean up'. Now your icons cannot
be hidden at all.


Turning the firewall on

Microsoft has included a firewall in Windows XP to keep you safe from
hackers, while on the Net. It's quite easy to enable the firewall. Just click on
the dial-up icon, which you must have created to connect to your ISP, and go
to Start > All Programs > Accessories > Communications > Network
Connections > Properties > Advanced, now select the box 'Internet
Connection Firewall' and you are done.


Sharing Internet connection

If you are connected to a network and want to enable Internet connection
sharing, it's easy with Windows XP. Go to Control Panel > Network
Connections and click on 'Set up or change your home or small office
Internet connection'. A wizard will guide you through the process of creating
a connection.
If you want this connection to dial automatically, when another computer on
your home or small office network attempts to access external resources,
check the 'Establish a dial-up connection whenever a computer on my
network attempts to access the Internet' option.
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' Option.


Controlling cookies
Often, when you visit a Web site, it sends a cookie which is placed on your
hard disk. Through the cookie, the site may steal and misuse information
from your computer. To prevent this, Internet Explorer 6 comes with an
option for blocking these cookies. In order to change this option to suit your
requirements, right click on Internet Explorer, go to Properties, and click on
the Privacy tab. Here you can select the option you want. For instance, in
order to ensure maximum privacy, you can keep it on 'High'-all the cookies
that contain your personal information and are sent to third-party Web sites

without your consent are now blocked.


Increasing connection speed

Some of us may find that after installing Windows XP, the Internet
connection gets slower. A possible reason for this is the QoS (Quality of
Service) installed. This service reserves 20 per cent of the bandwidth for
itself, even with QoS disabled. In order to remove this reserved quota, you
will have to make sure you are logged on as Administrator. Go to Start >
Run and type gpedit.msc. Expand the 'local computer policy' branch, the
'administrative templates' branch, and the 'network' branch. Highlight the
'QoS Packet Scheduler' in the left window. In the right window, double-click
the 'limit reservable bandwidth' setting. Then, on the Setting tab, check
'enabled', and change the 'Bandwidth limit %' to read 0. After doing this, you
should immediately notice a boost in your Internet connection speed.


Speeding up network browsing

A bug in Windows 2000, causes the scheduled tasks folder to be searched,
whenever the user browses network drives. While Microsoft has developed a
fix for this bug, the fix slows down the browsing of Microsoft networks. In
order to fix this problem, go to Start > Run,
type in regedit and press [Enter]. Navigate to
Version/Explorer/RemoteComputer/NameSpace. Then find a key named
{D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF}. Right-click on it and
delete it. Restart the computer. Now you will be able to browse the network
a lot faster.


Bridging connections
If you'd like to connect two or more computers via a LAN, then you should
utilise the Network Bridge option, provided in Windows XP. There is no
configuration required, and you do not need to purchase additional
hardware, such as routers or bridges. IP addressing, address allocation, and
name resolution, are highly simplified in a single subnet IP network. To use

this feature you will have to open Network Connections. Under LAN or
High-Speed Internet, select each of the private network connections that you
want to be part of the bridge. Right-click one of the highlighted private
network connections and click Bridge Connections.


Unable to uninstall MSN Messenger

To remove MSN Messenger in Windows XP, you have to locate the
SYSOC.INF file, located in the \Windows\INF folder-this is a 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. After making the necessary changes, you'll be
able to see MSN Messenger in the Add/Remove Windows components list.
You can then remove it for good


Disabling error reporting

Windows XP, like Windows 2000, provides a report of errors that are
generated during a session. In order to disable it, right-click on the My
Computer icon, go to Properties, and click on the Advanced tab. At the
bottom of this tab, you will find the 'Error reporting' option. Click it and you
will get an option to enable or disable it. Click Disable and you are done.


Renaming multiple files

In Windows XP, you can easily rename multiple files at a single go and save
a lot of time. Click Start and click My Pictures or the folder where you have
saved the pictures. Switch the view from the default Filmstrip to Thumbnails
by clicking the Views button on the toolbar. Select all the pictures you want
to rename, right click the first picture, and then click Rename. Rename the
first picture, and then click in the white space next to one of the pictures.
The pictures are renamed all at once! For example, if you select 10 JPEG
pictures, and name them XYZ, the files will be named: XYZ.JPG, XYZ
(1).JPG, XYZ (2).JPG, and so on to XYZ (9).JPG.


Creating boot-up disk

In order to create a bootable floppy disk in XP, insert a floppy and go to the
floppy icon in My Computer. There you will have to right click the floppy
drive icon and click on the Format option. You will see the option 'Create
MS-DOS Start up Disk'. After creating the boot up disk, you will be able to
boot into Windows XP using this disk.


Organising System Restore

If your Restore folder is full, assigning more space won't do any good. To
get rid of this problem, you have to go to Control Panel > System and click
on the Performance tab, and then click on the File System button. A new
window will pop up. Here, click on the Troubleshooting tab. Select the
'Disable System Restore' option. Close the applet and reboot the machine for
the setting to take effect. The Restore folder will be emptied while
To keep recent System Restore files intact, go to Control Panel > System >
File System and look for the Read-ahead Optimization slider. Set this slider
to 'Minimum'. The hard drive will start deleting files from the Restore folder.
Now, set the slider back to maximum and close the applet. Only the most
recent files will be restored. This is a good exercise to do before
defragmenting. your hard disk.


Previewing images
To preview a saved image or picture, click on the My Computer icon and
find the folder containing the images. Once you locate it, choose View from
the toolbar and click on 'Customize the folder'. This will open the wizard.
Click Next, then check the option 'Choose or edit an HTML template for this
folder'. Now, click on Next and select 'Image preview' and click Finish. This
will allow you to preview an image in that folder.


Optimising Media Player

You can create a folder on the desktop, for online documents. This will
make it easier for you to upload new files or folders, and streamline your
browsing activities. To create a Web folder, click on My Network Places. In
the window that opens, click on 'Add network places'. Enter the Web
address-for example, webfolder.mydocsonline.com for
www.mydocsonline.com. You will be asked for a login name and password.
After you have furnished this information, click OK and a connection will be
established to the Net. In the next window, select Finish. In a few seconds,
the Web folder will be created. Now you can just drag and drop files to this
folder to save them online.


Creating a Web folder

You can create a folder on the desktop, for online documents. This will
make it easier for you to upload new files or folders, and streamline your
browsing activities. To create a Web folder, click on My Network Places. In
the window that opens, click on 'Add network places'. Enter the Web
address-for example, webfolder.mydocsonline.com for
www.mydocsonline.com. You will be asked for a login name and password.
After you have furnished this information, click OK and a connection will be
established to the Net. In the next window, select Finish. In a few seconds,
the Web folder will be created. Now you can just drag and drop files to this
folder to save them online.


Closing multiple programs with one click

If you ever need to close many programs at once, you have an easier option
than going to each application and individually shutting it. Just hold down
the [Ctrl] key and select the applications you wish to close. Now right click
on one of the applications and click on the Close option. All the programs
you selected will shut down simultaneously. The same trick could be used to
minimise and maximise more than one program


Consolidate your browsing

In Windows Me, you can browse through your hard disk, internal network or
the Internet from the same window. Just type in the address and the toolbar
button will change according to the address. For example, if it's an Internet
address, the Refresh and Home buttons will be added to the toolbar.


One-click shutdown
For this, you will need to create a shortcut. In the path name, type in
C:\windows\rundll.exe user.exe.exitwindows. You can also add this shortcut
to your quick launch bar. Now, if you click on the shortcut, the machine
shuts down instantly.


Drag and drop video

To quickly import videos to your computer, open both Windows
Moviemaker and My Computer. Navigate to the folder with the video files,
using My Computer. Now, drag and drop video files to the My Collections
window in Windows Moviemaker.


Surfing from the taskbar

You can search or surf the Internet without even opening a browser, using
the 'Always There' taskbar. To get the address bar in the taskbar, just right
click on the blank area on the taskbar and then click Toolbars, and then on
Address. You can now Access Web pages directly from the taskbar by
entering their address.


Upgrading BIOS from DOS

In order to update the BIOS, you need to create a boot disk to run BIOS
update. To do this, take a 1.44 floppy and format it. Now, go to the folder

C:\Windows\Command\EBD, and copy the files io.sys and command.sys to
the floppy drive. Finally, copy the BIOS files to the floppy. Reboot the
machine with the floppy in it, and update the BIOS.


Home networking with Windows Me

If you have a Windows Me machine and wish to network it with a machine
running an older Windows OS, go to Control Panel and click on Add New
Hardware. This will install the necessary networking drivers. Now, you can
introduce the computers to one another in the following manner. First, on the
machine running Windows Me, which is the server, go to Start > Programs >
Accessories. Then, click on Communication > Home Networking Wizard
and create the client setup disk. Run this disk on the other machine to set it
up on the network.


Sharing Internet connection

If you plan to network machines, then you can also share Internet access. If
you are not using an internal DSL (digital subscriber line) connection or
sharing your modem, you will need to install one more Ethernet card in the
PC that is connected to the Internet. The advantage of having two Ethernet
cards in your machine, is that it prevents information from being seen by
people outside your home network, and thus safeguards you from hackers
and other malicious intruders.


Networking mobile devices

If you plan to use a mobile device or laptop on the network, using the
Ethernet card or phone line, then use the subnet or second network facility in
Window Me. This will allow you to access shared resources, and give you
freedom of movement. You will need to have a wireless (IEEE 1394)
connection for the mobile device. Internet connection sharing can also be set
up between two home networks. The first or primary network will be used to
share the Internet connection with the secondary network.
To share your Internet connection via the subnet, first set up your primary
connection using the Home Networking Wizard in the control panel. Then

go to Control Panel and click on Internet Options > Connection. In this
window, click the LAN Setting tab. Click on Sharing. From the list that pops
up, select 'Network adapter', which connects you to the client. Click OK and
restart your PC.


Shortcuts to Task and Device Managers

In order to quickly get to the Windows 2000 Task Manager or Device
Manager, first create a shortcut, by right-clicking on the desktop, selecting
New and then Shortcut.
When you are in the Create Shortcut window, type in the following string:
%windir%\System32\mmc.exe %systemroot%\system32\devmgmt.msc.
Click Next, and call the shortcut 'Device Manager'. Finally click Finish and
the shortcut will be created on your system.
The following are default shortcuts:
[Ctrl] + [Shift] + [Esc] to access the Task Manager, and [Windows] +
[Break] for System Properties.


Distortion-free audio
When your CD-ROM drive reads an audio CD, the signals are in a digital
format. When the signals are transmitted through the audio cable, they are
analogue, and so there is a chance that the signal might get distorted. In
Windows 2000, you can overcome this problem. Go to Control Panel >
System > Hardware, and in the Device Manager window click on DVD/CD-
ROM Drives. Right click on the drive you are using and select Properties. In
the new window that opens, click Properties again and select the option
named 'Enable digital CD audio for this CD-ROM'. Restart Windows and
enjoy better quality digital audio.


Converting to NTFS
The NTFS file system, provides you with better security as compared to the
FAT and FAT32 file systems. You can convert your FAT or FAT32 file
system to NTFS. To do so, go to the command prompt and type convert
drive_letter: /fs:NTFS. For example, convert drive_c: /fs:NTFS, will convert
drive C to NTFS file system.


Specifying page file size

You can increase the size of your virtual memory to improve performance
by using a Page file. A page file is a certain amount of allocated space on the
hard disk, that acts as additional memory. To change the amount of disk
space allocated to page files, go to Control Panel > System > Advanced >
Performance Options > Change. Now you will see the drives in your
computer and the current disk space allocated for page file on each drive. To
change the size, select the drive and, in the blank field below, specify the
initial and maximum size in MB. Finally click on Set. Click on OK and
restart the computer for the changes to take effect.


Changing user password

To change the user password, go to Start > Settings > Control Panel >
Administrative Tools > Computer Management. Here, click on Local Users
and Group and expand the branches, then click on the Users folder. Now you
will be able to see the names of the users in the right pane of the window.
Right click on the user whose password you want to change, click Set
Password, enter the new password and click OK.


Initializing your modem

In Windows 2000, you have to turn on your modem when the OS boots. If
you do not, you have to restart the system and remember to turn on the
modem, otherwise it refuses to work. There is a way around this problem.
Go to Start > Settings > Control Panel, and on Add/Remove Programs and
select the 'Phone and Modem' option. In this screen, click on the Modem tab
and then on Add. The Add/Remove wizard will pop up. Click on Next.
A few seconds later, a new window will pop up saying that it did not find
any modem attached. Click Cancel-this means the system couldn't find a
new modem-and your old modem has been initialised. You will see that
your modem is initialised and attached to COM1 under the Attached To tab.


Faster parallel port performance

If you are using a faster parallel port device, such as a scanner, with
Windows 2000, you can really speed up its performance. To do this, go to
Control Panel > System > Hardware > Device Manager > Port (COM &
LPT). Right click on Printer Port, and click on Properties. In the screen that
appears, click on Port Settings. Here, select the radio button beside the
option 'Use any interrupt assigned to the port'-if your parallel device uses an
IRQ, then enabling this will improve performance. Note: do this only if you
are sure that this feature is present-you can check this in the user manual of
the device. Otherwise, select the radio button beside the option 'Try not to
use interrupts'. This way, the PnP will check the parallel port device, and
automatically determine if it needs an IRQ. Finally click OK for the setting
to take effect.


Disabling IDE scanning

If you do not regularly plug-in and unplug your IDE devices, then disabling
IDE device monitoring will speed up your computer. To do this, go to
Control Panel > System > Hardware > Device Manager. A new window will
pop up, in the console tree, look for the IDE ATA/ATAPI controller. This
will show you the list of the IDE channels of your computer. Select one-for
example, the primary IDE channel-and right click on it. Now, go to
Properties, and click on the Advanced Settings tab. You will see 'device 0'
and 'device 1'. Look for the 'auto-detection' option-if it is greyed out it means
there is a device attached to that port. In the one that isn't greyed out, change
'auto-detection' to 'none', click OK and reboot the machine.
Note: If you happen to attach a device to that port later, you have to set this
setting back to 'auto-detection', or else the new device will not be detected.


Adding sub-menus to the Start menu
In Windows 2000, you can add a sub-menu to the Start menu for a group of
users. This means that if you log in as user ABC, you will see a certain sub-
menu, while user XYZ will see a completely different one. To enable this
feature first log in as an administrator, then right click on the Start menu and
click on Open All Users, and an explorer window will open. Click on the
program folder, where you would like to add a sub-menu. Then click File >
New > Menu. Enter the name of the new sub-menu and click anywhere on
the desktop. Now, when users log in, they will see their personalised menus,
as specified by you.


AutoDial in 2000
If you have a dial-up connection to the Net, instead of dialling, waiting to
connect and then typing a URL, you can connect to the Net, just by entering
a URL into your browser. To configure auto-dial, go to Start > Settings >
Control Panel > Network and Dial-up Connection. In the main tool bar, click
on Advanced > Dial-up Preferences. In the auto-dial section, select My
Location (Current Location) and click OK.
Now, go to the computer management console, to start the Remote Access
Auto-Connection Manager. To do this, click on Administrative Tools in the
Control Panel. Then click on Computer Management. Here, expand the
Services & Application tree, and then click on Services. A list of the services
will be displayed. In the list, look for the Remote Access Control Manager,
and right click on it. In the drop-down window, click Start. You will see the
word 'started' highlighted in the Services list under the Status section.


[Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Del]

Trojans act like ordinary programs, and retrieve information about your
system, which can later be used to hack into your system and cause damage.
In order to protect the system from Trojans, in Windows 2000, you need to
activate the [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Del] logon function. To do this, go to the
Control Panel, and click on Users and Passwords, then click on the
Advanced tab. In the window that appears, select the box with the option
'Require user to press [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Del] before logging on' under the

Secure Boot Setting section.


Input locale
Windows 2000 can support many languages, other than English, and there
are many applications available that allow this. When you change the input
locale to another language, the keyboard layout for that language is added-so
when you type in an alphabet, it will output the character assigned to that
key. To activate this, go to Control Panel > Regional Options > Input Locale
> Change > Key Settings. In this window, click on the hotkey for the input
locale, whose sequence you want to change, then click Change Key
Sequence. In the window that appears, assign the key of your choice by
selecting the options available.


Free system resources

We know that Windows 2000 is resource-hungry. To free up some memory-
usage, go to Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services. You will see
the list of applications. From this list, look for applications you do not use.
Double-click on them, and disable those services from the window that pops


Disabling startup programs

To disable programs from automatically starting, you will need to do some
registry tweaking. Go to Start > Run and type Regedit; the registry editor
will open. Here, go to
Version/Run. Here, look for the program strings of programs that you don't
want to load at start up. Right click on that string and select Delete. The
program will not be loaded during the next start up. Note: before you do
anything to the registry, always make a backup, so you can restore it in case
something goes wrong.


Improving serial port performance
You can get more out of your serial connection and get your modem
working at its fastest with the help of the Device Manager. Go to the Control
Panel > System > Hardware > Device Manager. This will show you a list of
all the devices attached to your PC. Look for the 'Port (COM)'
communication port. Right-click and select Properties, and click the port
settings tab. Increase the bits per second from '9600' to '115200' and
flowchart to 'Hardware'. Then, click on the Advanced tab and set the
Receive and Transmit buffers to maximum. Click OK and close all
windows. Your COM port will now run at full throttle.