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Widows XP Tricks

Balloon Tips

To turn off balloon tips in most applications...

* Click Start
* Click Run
* Enter regedit
* Click OK
* Go to
o HKEY_CURRENT_USER
o Software
o Microsoft
o Windows
o CurrentVersion
o Explorer
o Advanced
* Click Edit
* Click New
* Create DWORD value = EnableBalloonTips
* Value = 0
* Click OK

NumLock

To set NUMLock on by default...

* Click Start
* Click Run
* Enter regedit
* Click OK
* Go to
o HKEY_USERS
o .DEFAULT
o Control Panel
o Keyboard
o InitialKeyboardIndicators
* Set Value = 2
* Click OK


To turn off the version number on the desktop...

* Click Start
* Click Run
* Enter regedit
* Click OK
* Go to
o HKEY_USERS
o .DEFAULT
o Control PanelDesktop
* Edit or Create the DWORD value = PaintDesktopVersion
* Value = 0 (will hide the version from displaying on the desktop)
* Click OK
* Reboot

Taskbar Buttons

By default, all open windows using the same application are grouped under a single icon. This saves
Task Bar space.

If you want to group, or ungroup, similar taskbar buttons...

* Right click on Taskbar
* Select Properties
* Check or Uncheck Group similar taskbar buttons

Logon Style

To change the logon screen so it looks like the traditional NT4 or 2000 style...

* Open Control Panel
* Select User Accounts
* Click Change the way users log on and off
* Uncheck Use the Welcome screen
* Click on Apply


System Tray Icons

Icons in the Notification area (on the right side of the taskbar) are, by default, hidden when they are
inactive. This behavior is determined by a setting, which can be cleared or selected for each item.

* Right click on the Taskbar
* Select Properties
* Check Hide inactive icons
* Click on Customize button This will bring up a dialog box that will allow you to select one of three
options for your applications:
o Hide when inactive
o Always hide
o Always show
* Highlight current or past applications and make any changes you like. A small arrow will now
appear in the System Tray that will allow you to show or hide these icons.

System Time

To make sure your system time is accurate, you can automatically set the time from an Internet
server.

* Double-click the time on the taskbar
* Click Internet Time tab
* Check Automatically synchronize with an Internet time server
* Click on Update Now button

See Microsoft Knowledge Base article.

Certain Dell machines lose their system time in XP. To correct this do the following...

* Click Start
* Click Run
* Enter cmd
* Click OK
* Enter the following and press Enter after each line
o Net stop w32time
o w32tm /unregister
o w32tm /unregister
o w32tm /register
o Net start w32time
* exit

Desktop

On some occasions changes to desktop settings will not save. Sometimes there is also a reason to
disable this for public machines that users should not be allowed to change settings. This can be used to
make it so your user's changes DO NOT get saved by disabling save desktop setting.

* Click Start
* Click Run
* Enterregedit
* Click OK
* Go to
o HKEY_CURRENT_USER
o Software
o Microsoft
o Windows NT
o CurrentVersion
o Program Manager
o Restrictions
* Create or edit the DWORD value = NoSaveSettings
o To save desktop settings, value = 0
o To disable saving desktop settings, value = 1
* Click OK
* Close regedit
* Reboot

The Desktop Cleanup Wizard keeps track of your usage of the icons on your desktop and
periodically offers to remove the icons you have not recently used. This is really not needed as most
people can delete icons off their desktop themselves.

* Right click on desktop
* Select Properties
* Click on Desktop tab
* Click on Customize Desktop button
* Uncheck Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard every 60 days


Paging File

To clear the Windows paging file (Pagefile.sys) during the shutdown process and prevent any unsecured
data from being contained after the shutdown process is complete. Some third-party programs can
temporarily store unencrypted (plain-text) passwords or other sensitive information in memory.

Method 1

* Open Control Panel
* Select Administrative Tools
* Select Local Security Policy
* Select Local Policies
* Click on Security Options
* In the right hand menu, right click on Shutdown: Clear Virtual Memory Pagefile
* Select Enable
* Reboot

Method 2

* Click Start
* Click Run
* Enter regedit
* Click OK
* Go to
o HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
o SYSTEM
o CurrentControlSet
o ControlSession Manager
o Memory Management
* Double click on ClearPageFileAtShutdown
* Set Value = 1
* Click OK
* Reboot

Quick Reinstall

To repair a corrupted operating system. This also works on Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

* On the Windows CD, go to the location of your source files
* Run WINNT32 /unattend


CD Info

After you remove either a CD recording software or other software from your computer, your
computer may not allow access to the CD drive.

To correct this the following registry keys need to be deleted:

* Click Start
* Click Run
* Enter regedit
* Click OK
* Go to
o HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
o SYSTEM
o CurrentControlSet
o Control
o Class
o {4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}
* Delete UpperFilters value
* Delete LowerFilters value


E-mail Message Count

Under your name on the Welcome screen, there is a hyperlink that indicates the number of unread e-
mail messages. To remove the Unread E-mail message count by user's login names: This feature is not
always active in XP for some reason.

* Click Start
* Click Run
* Enter regedit
* Click OK
* Go to
o HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
o SOFTWARE
o MicrosoftWindows
o CurrentVersion
o UnreadMaili
* Click Edit
* Click New
* Select Create DWORD value =MessageExpiryDays
* Set Value = 0
* Click OK

Adminiistrator Logon

If the administration logon is not show on the Welcome screen

To access it...

* Hold down Ctrl and Alt and press Del twice

To unhide the Administrator account so it always shows up...

* Click Start
* Click Run
* Enter regedit
* Click OK
* Go to
o HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
o SOFTWARE
o Microsoft
o Windows NT
o CurrentVersion
o Winlogon
o SpecialAccounts
o UserList
* If Administrator exists...
o Double Click on Administrator
o Set Value = 1
o Click OK
* IIf Administrator doesn't exist...
o Click Edit
o Click New
o Select DWORD value
o Enter the name Administrator
o Double Click on line
o Set value = 1
o Click OK
Registration

To change your name and company information...

* Click Start
* Click Run
* Enter regedit
* Click OK
* Go to
o HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
o SOFTWARE
o Microsoft
o Windows NT
* Double click on CurrentVersion
* Change the value in the Registered Owner key
* Click OK

Passwords

To change the password to never expire. This is identical to Windows 2000 and XP for the same
issue.

* Right click My Computer
* Select Manage
* Go to Local Users and Groups/Users
* Right-click on user to change
* Select Properties
* On General tab, check Password never expires
* Click OK

To allow logging in without a password... (Do not recommend)

* Click Start
* Click Run
* Enter gpedit.msc
* Click OK
* Select Computer Configuration
* Select Windows Settings
* Select Security Settings
* Select Local Policies
* Select Security Options
* Double click on Accounts
* Disable the option Limit local account use of blank passwords to console login only


Fast User Switc

To fix the the error referencing CSGina.DLL that a recently installed program has disabled the Welcome
screen and Fast User Switching ...

* Click Start
* Click Run
* Enter regedit
* Click OK
* Go to
o HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
o SOFTWARE
o Microsoft
o Windows NT
o CurrentVersion
o Winlogon
* Delete key GinaDLL

System Restore

To disable system restore. System restore, which is supposed to "roll back" your system to a previous
point, does not always solve problems. This feature can take up a large chunk of your hard drive and
system resources.

To Disable System Restore

* Open Control Panel
* Select System Control
* Click System Restore tab
* Check Turn off System Restore
* Click OK

To Re-Enable System Restore

* Open Control Panel
* Select System Control
* Click System Restore
* Uncheck Turn off System Restore
* Use the slider under Disk Space usage to set the limit on how much hard disk space to give up
* Click OK

You can re-enable it again by...

* Click Start
* Click Run
* Enter gpedit.msc
* Select Computer Configuration
* Select Administrative Templates
* Select System
* Select System Restore
* Set Turn off System Restore
* Set Turn off Configuration to Disable

* Right click My Computer
* Select Manage
* Select Services and Applications
* Select Services
* Scroll to System Restore Service
* Set to Automatic
* Click the Start button to start the service
* Close window

* Go back to the gpedit.msc and configure both to Not configured
* Right click My Computer
* Click System Restore
* Configure how much space will be used

Device Drivers

To restore a previous working device driver. If this does not work, you need to remove the device and
reinstall the drivers.

* Log in with an administrator
* Right click My Computer
* Select Properties
* Click Hardware tab
* Click Device Manager button
* Go to the device you want to reconfigure
* Click Driver tab
* Click Roll Back Drive button


Error Reporting

To turn off reporting of errors to Microsoft...

* Right click My Computer
* Select Properties
* Select Advanced
* Click Error Reporting tab
* Check Disable error reporting

See Microsoft Knowledge Base article.

Performance

By default, XP displays extra graphic objects for menu items which can slow down your display.

To turn off these selectively...

* Right click My Computer
* Select Properties
* Click Advanced tab
* Under Performance, click Settings button
* To turn them all off, select Adjust for best performance Preference is to leave them all off except
for Show shadows under mouse pointer and Show window contents while dragging



To speed up the display of the Start Menu Items, turn off the menu shadow.

* Right click open area of the Desktop
* Select Properties
* Click Appearance tab
* Click Effects button
* Uncheck Show shadows under menus

See Microsoft Knowledge Base article.

You can increase system performance by loading more of the system into memory. DO NOT
attempt this with less then 512MBs of ram. Your system will become unstable.

* Click Start
* Click Run
* Enter regedit
* Click OK
* Go to
o HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
o SYSTEM
o CurrentControlSet
o Control
o Session Manager
o Memory Management
* Double click on DisablePagingExecutive
* Set Value = 1
* Click OK
* Reboot
Hibernation

Hibernation takes up extra disk space.

To disable...

* Open Control Panel
* Select Power Options
* Click Hibernation
* Uncheck Enable Hibernation

MSN Messenger

MSN Messenger is typically a waste of system resources.

To remove the MSN Messenger from starting...

* Click Start
* Click Run
* Enter RunDll32 advpack.dll,LaunchINFSection %windir%INFmsmsgs.inf,BLC.Remove

To totally remove MSN Messenger, you need to first make Messenger appear in Add/Remove
programs.

* Edit the file WindowsInfsysoc.inf
* Change msmsgs=msgrocm.dll,OcEntry,msmsgs.inf,hide,7
* To msmsgs=msgrocm.dll,OcEntry,msmsgs.inf,,7


Non-Responsive Tasks

To set a time-out to automatically delete "Not Responding" tasks...

* Click Start
* Click Run
* Enter regedit
* Click OK
* Go to
o HKEY_CURRENT_USER
o Control Panel
o Desktop
* Double click on AutoEndTasks
* Set Value =1
* Click OK
* Change WaitToKillAppTimeout to the number of milliseconds to wait


File System Cache

To help speed up the system, increase the amount of memory to use for I/O operations...

* Click Start
* Click Run
* Enter regedit
* Click OK
* Go to
o HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
o SYSTEM
o CurrentControlSet
o ControlSession Manager
o Memory Management
* Edit IoPageLockLimit
o 4096 =32MB or less
o 8192 =32MB
o 16384 = 64MB
o 32768 = 128MB
o 65536 = 256MB+

DNS Cache

DNS (Domain Name System) caching is used to resolve hostnames for faster access. The problem with
this feature is that failed DNS lookups also get cached.

To change so that it will not cache failed DNS lookups...

1. Flush the DNS cache manually

* Go to the Command Prompt
* Enter ipconfig /flushdns

2. To permanently solve, modifing the Registry

* Click Start
* Click Run
* Enter regedit
* Click OK
Go to
o HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
o SYSTEM
o CurrentControlSet
o Services
o Dnscache
o Parameters
* NegativeCacheTime=0 (DWORD default=300 seconds) Determines how long an entry recording
a negative answer to a query remains in the DNS cache. When the time specified in the value of this
entry expires, the DNS client deletes the answer record from cache.
* NetFailureCacheTime=0 (DWORD default=30 seconds) Determines for how long the DNS client
stops sending queries when it suspects that the network is down. When the DNS client does not receive
responses to repeated queries sent to any network adapter, the DNS client stops sending queries for the
time specified in the value of this entry. During that time, the DNS client returns a time-out response to
all queries. If the value of this entry is 0x0, this optimizing feature is disabled. DNS continues to send
queries to an unresponsive network.
* NegativeSOACacheTime=0 (DWORD default=120 seconds) Determines how long an entry
recording a negative answer to a query for an SOA (Start of Authority) record remains in the Domain
Name System (DNS) cache. When the time specified in the value expires, the DNS client deletes the
answer record from the cache.

Bandwidth

If you run an application that needs to send high priority/real time data, XP will restrict "best effort"
traffic to 80% of the bandwidth.

To change this...

* Log in as Administrator (Not just any account with admin privileges)
* Click Start
* Click Run
* Enter gpedit.msc
* Select Local Computer Policy
* Select Administrative Templates
* Select Network
* Select QOS Packet Scheduler
* In the right window, double-click limit reservable bandwidth
* On setting tab, check enabled setting
* Bandwidth limit % value = 0
* Click OK
* Close gpedit.msc

* Click My Computer
o Select My Network Connections
o Select View Network Connections
o Right-click your connection
* Under Protocol Properties, check QOS Packet Scheduler
* Reboot

TCP/IP

To reinstall the TCP/IP protocol stack...

* netsh int ip reset [ log_file_name] The log_file_name needs to be specified

Example: netsh int ip reset ip_reset.txt

To change TCP/IP settings...

* Click Start
* Click Run
* Enter regedit
* Click OK
* Go to
o HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
o SYSTEM
o CurrentControlSet
o Services
o TCP/IP
o Parameters
* Edit or Create the following...
o GlobalMaxTcpWindowSize="256960" (DWORD)
o Tcp1323Opts="1" (DWORD)
o DefaultTTL="64" (DWORD)
o EnablePMTUDiscovery="1" (DWORD)
o EnablePMTUBHDetect="0" (DWORD)
o SackOpts="1" (DWORD)
o TcpMaxDupAcks="2" (DWORD)
* Reboot it

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