20 Hidden Windows XP Tips


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1. Total Uptime:
It boasts how long it can stay up. Go to the Command Prompt in theAccessories menu from the All Programs start button option, and thentype ’systeminfo’. The computer will produce a lot of useful info,including the uptime. If you want to keep these, type ’systeminfo >info.txt’. This creates a file called info.txt you can look at laterwith Notepad.

2. Delete Files Immediately:
You can delete files immediately, without having them move to theRecycle Bin first. Go to the Start menu, select Run… and type‘gpedit.msc’; then select User Configuration, Administrative Templates,Windows Components, Windows Explorer and find the Do not move deletedfiles to the Recycle Bin setting. Set it. Poking around in gpedit willreveal a great many interface and system options, but take care — somemay stop your computer behaving as you wish.

3. Lock XP:
You can lock your XP workstation with two clicks of the mouse.Create a new shortcut on your desktop using a right mouse click, andenter ‘rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation’ in the location field.Give the shortcut a name you like. That’s it — just double click on itand your computer will be locked. And if that’s not easy enough,Windows key + L will do the same.

4. Remove System Software:
XP hides some system software you might want to remove, such as WindowsMessenger, but you can make it show everything. Using Notepad or Edit,edit the text file /windows/inf/sysoc.inf, search for the word ‘hide’and remove it. You can then go to the Add or Remove Programs in theControl Panel, select Add/Remove Windows Components and there will bethe software and you can now uninstall it.

5. Interesting New Commands:
For those skilled in the art of DOS batch files, XP has a number ofinteresting new commands. These include ‘eventcreate’ and‘eventtriggers’ for creating and watching system events, ‘typeperf’ formonitoring performance of various subsystems, and ’schtasks’ forhandling scheduled tasks. As usual, typing the command name followed by will give a list of options.

6. IP Version 6 Support:

XP has IP version 6 support — the next generation of IP. Unfortunatelythis is more than your ISP has, so you can only experiment with this onyour LAN. Type ‘ipv6 install’ into Run… (it’s OK, it won’t ruin yourexisting network setup) and then ‘ipv6 ’ at the command line to find out more. If you don’t know what IPv6 is, don’t worry.

7. Task Termination:
You can at last get rid of tasks on the computer from the command lineby using ‘taskkill /pid’ and the task number, or just ‘tskill’ and theprocess number. Find that out by typing ‘tasklist’, which will alsotell you a lot about what’s going on in your system.

8. ZIP Files as Folders:

XP will treat Zip files like folders, which is nice if you’ve got afast machine. On slower machines, you can make XP leave zip files aloneby typing ‘regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll’ at the command line. If you changeyour mind later, you can change things back by typing ‘regsvr32zipfldr.dll’.

9. XP Has ClearType:
XP has ClearType — Microsoft’s anti-aliasing font display technology —but doesn’t have it enabled by default. It’s well worth trying,especially if you were there for DOS and all those years of staring ata screen have given you the eyes of an astigmatic bat. To enableClearType, right click on the desktop, select Properties, Appearance,Effects, select ClearType from the second drop-down menu and enable theselection. Expect best results on laptop displays. If you want to useClearType on the Welcome login screen as well, set the registry entryHKEY_USERS/.DEFAULT/Control Panel/Desktop/FontSmoothingType to 2.

10. Remote Assistance:

You can use Remote Assistance to help a friend who’s using networkaddress translation (NAT) on a home network, but not automatically. Getyour pal to email you a Remote Assistance invitation and edit the file.Under the RCTICKET attribute will be a NAT IP address, like192.168.1.10. Replace this with your friend’s real IP address — theycan find this out by going to WhatIsMyIP.com - — and get them to make sure that they’ve got port 3389 open on their firewall and forwarded to the errant computer.

11. User Task Management:

You can run a program as a different user without logging out and backin again. Right click the icon, select Run As… and enter the user nameand password you want to use. This only applies for that run. The trickis particularly useful if you need to have administrative permissionsto install a program, which many require. Note that you can have somefun by running programs multiple times on the same system as differentusers, but this can have unforeseen effects.

12. Disable Default Notifications:
Windows XP can be very insistent about you checking for auto updates,registering a Passport, using Windows Messenger and so on. After awhile, the nagging goes away, but if you feel you might go insanebefore that point, run Regedit, go toHKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Explorer/Adva nced and create a DWORD value calledEnableBalloonTips with a value of 0.

13. Faster Startup:
You can start up without needing to enter a user name or password.Select Run… from the start menu and type ‘control userpasswords2′,which will open the user accounts application. On the Users tab, clearthe box for Users Must Enter A User Name And Password To Use ThisComputer, and click on OK. An Automatically Log On dialog box willappear; enter the user name and password for the account you want touse.

14. Delete Temp Internet Files Automatically:

Internet Explorer 6 will automatically delete temporary files, but onlyif you tell it to. Start the browser, select Tools / Internet Options…and Advanced, go down to the Security area and check the box to EmptyTemporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed.

15. Network Activity Light:
XP comes with a free Network Activity Light, just in case you can’t seethe LEDs twinkle on your network card. Right click on My Network Placeson the desktop, then select Properties. Right click on the descriptionfor your LAN or dial-up connection, select Properties, then check theShow icon in notification area when connected box. You’ll now see atiny network icon on the right of your task bar that glimmers nicelyduring network traffic.

16. Speed-Up Your Start Menu:
The Start Menu can be leisurely when it decides to appear, but you canspeed things along by changing the registry entryHKEY_CURRENT_USER/Control Panel/Desktop/MenuShowDelay from the default400 to something a little snappier. Like 0.

17. Batch Rename Files:

You can rename loads of files at once in Windows Explorer. Highlight aset of files in a window, then right click on one and rename it. Allthe other files will be renamed to that name, with individual numbersin brackets to distinguish them. Also, in a folder you can arrangeicons in alphabetised groups by View, Arrange Icon By… Show In Groups.

18. Album Cover Arts:

Windows Media Player will display the cover art for albums as it playsthe tracks — if it found the picture on the Internet when you copiedthe tracks from the CD. If it didn’t, or if you have lots of pre-WMPmusic files, you can put your own copy of the cover art in the samedirectory as the tracks. Just call it folder.jpg and Windows MediaPlayer will pick it up and display it.

19. Handy Shortcut Keys:
Windows key + Break brings up the System Properties dialogue box;Windows key + D brings up the desktop; Windows key + Tab moves throughthe taskbar buttons.

20. Windows File Protection:
Windows XP secretly KNOWS that the average user has no idea what theyare doing. Therefore, it doesn’t let you do really stupid things likedeleting the windows directory (at least not without spending severalhours convincing it that you REALLY want to do this).