This section of this website consists of four pages and provides a wide range of tips and tricks applicable to Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, web browsers tools/utilities and other software. The descriptive links below the contents should be good enough to inform you want each tips covers and entails. There are about 30 tips and tricks on each of the four pages.
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Windows 8 requires four to five clicks to shut it down, depending on the method used. Microsoft didn't provide a three-click shutdown that previous versions of Windows have, probably because there is no Start button in Win8 and the shutdown is Start => Turn Off Computer, followed by the Standby - Turn Off - Restart options in XP and something similar in Vista and Windows 7. (Note that there are several third-party solutions provided on the web that add a classic Start menu to Win8.) But it is a simple matter to create a shutdown shortcut in any version of Windows. In XP, instead of pinning it to the taskbar, as is possible in Vista and Win 7, you can drag-and-drop it into the Quick Start area or place it in the bottom left corner of the screen.
To create a Shutdown shortcut on the Desktop screen in Win8, right-click on an empty space on the Desktop and select New => Shortcut. A menu containing a option called Shortcut appears. Click on it to open the Create Shortcut window. Enter this command in its box: shutdown /s /t 0 (last character is a zero). Click Next. Give the shortcut a name, such as Shutdown and click the Finish button. It should appear on the Desktop.
You can change its icon by right-clicking on the shortcut and clicking Properties in the menu that comes up.
A window appears called Shutdown Properties. Open the Shortcut tab and click its Change Icon button. You can then choose an icon from the ones shown. Right-click the shortcut on the Desktop and click Pin to Start, which creates a Shutdown tile on the Start screen that you can drag into a desired position.
To create a Restart button, follow the same steps using the command: shutdown /r /t 0
All versions of Windows (XP, Vista, Windows 7) use a reserved part of the hard disk drive to swap data in and out of RAM memory, which is usually located in the same partition that Windows is installed on (if the drive has been partitioned), which is usually the C: drive (even when the drive has not been partitioned), but it can be transferred to any other partition or even another hard drive. The reserved area is a large file called the paging file, which is also know as the virtual-memory swap file.
The paging file can contain sensitive information, such as passwords, logon details, etc., that the user would not like to be accessed by cyber criminals, hackers, etc. The file is not cleared by Windows at shutdown by default, but Windows can be set to do so by editing its Registry. Making Windows do so will make the shutdown slower, because it takes some time to wipe the file, which has to be wiped because the file itself cannot be deleted and recreated. The likelihood of information in the paging file being accessed is very small and the more RAM memory the PC has, the longer it will take to wipe and the slower the shut down will be, so it is up to each user to decide whether or not to clear the file at shutdown. If the PC has 1GB of memory, it will take about 30 seconds to clear the paging file, but multiply that by 4 (2 minutes) for a PC with 4GB of memory, because the more RAM memory the PC has, the larger the paging file will be on the hard drive.
The following Microsoft Knowledge Base article provides a Fix it button that places the required setting in the Registry automatically, which should be used if you are not familiar with doing so manually using the editing information that is also provided. Note well that you should always create a restore point in System Restore before editing the Registry, because making an error can result in Windows not being able to boot. If that were to happen, you would press the F8 key at startup repeatedly before Windows starts to load to bring up the boot menu that provides Safe Mode as a boot option. You would then open System Restore and restore the restore point that you created, which returns Windows to the state it was in before you attempted to edit the Registry.
How to Clear the Windows Paging File at Shutdown -
Here is the information required for a manual editing of the Registry:
1.Start Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe) by entering regedit in the Start => Run box in XP and the Start => Search box in Vista and Win7.
2.Change the data value of the ClearPageFileAtShutdown value in the following registry location to a value of 1:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE => SYSTEM => CurrentControlSet => Control => Session Manager => Memory Management
If the value does not exist, add the following value:
Value Name: ClearPageFileAtShutdown
Value Type: REG_DWORD
With the mouse pointer in the left window pane of Memory Management, right-click in the pane, click New and then click on DWORD Value, enter the value name ClearPageFileAtShutdown and give it the decimal value of 1. A reboot is required before the new setting takes effect. I had to create the whole setting in Windows XP, but I only had to change the existing setting's value from 0 to 1 in Windows 7. In Windows 7, click the arrow head that appears beside each category to open each one, such as > CurrentControlSet. The image below shows the enabled setting.
Surprisingly, the 32-bit version of Office 2010 is the best version to install, even on a 64-bit system, which is running a 64-bit version of Windows Vista or Windows 7. 64-bit versions of Windows can run 32-bit software perfectly well. In fact, in this case, the 32-bit version of Office 2010 is both more complete and compatible than the 64-bit version, which is no doubt why it is the default installation on a 64-bit system. The following article on Microsoft's website provides information on the compatibility with other software and differences between the two versions.
Choose the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Microsoft Office -
With Google's new privacy policies having come into force from March 1 this year to coincide with the company's merging of all of its services and products under the governance of a single set of terms and conditions and the merging of the information it holds in them derived from their users, it has never been more urgent to protect your privacy from being invaded. Web browsers are dealt with here, but don't forget that a smartphone, especially one running the Google Android operating system that requires logging on to a Google account in order to make use of the services and apps provided by Google, logs everything you do on that phone. Here is what it says in Google's own privacy policies:
"When you use our services or view content provided by Google, we may automatically collect and store certain information in server logs. This may include: details of how you used our service, such as your search queries. - Telephony log information like your phone number, calling-party number, forwarding numbers, time and date of calls, duration of calls, SMS routing information and types of calls. - Internet protocol address. - Device event information such as crashes, system activity, hardware settings, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your request and referral URL. - Cookies that may uniquely identify your browser or your Google Account."
I used to use Mozilla's Firefox web browser, but now, because Firefox is constantly updating itself and is funded and therefore associated with Google (spyware?), I only use Internet Explorer 9 (IE9), which can only be used by Windows Vista and Windows 7. Windows XP is limited to IE8. IE9 has some new general and security features that make it the most secure browser, given that Google's Chrome web browser is a personal-data gatherer - spyware - working for Google so it can show you customised adverts. If you value your online privacy, in my opinion, if you have Chrome installed, you should uninstall it (Control Panel => Add or Remove Programs in Windows XP and Programs & Features in Vista and Windows 7. Make sure that you select the "Also delete browser data" checkbox, because it removes your user profile information, which include browser preferences, bookmarks and web-browsing history. Chrome installs plenty of add-ons, so also uninstall any software listed that you don't use, because they will remain unused but in place after the browser itself is uninstalled.
IE9's new features are very welcome to me, especially the new Tracking protection that prevents Google from using all of the information it has gathered on you and me from its search engine, YouTube, Gmail, Blogger, G+ social network, smartphones that use Google's Android operating system, etc., which are all now united as one, to track us any further.
IE9 InPrivate Browsing [also available in IE8] - http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/internet-explorer/products/ie-9/features/in-private
Internet Explorer 9 - Tracking protection -
The image below shows where the two settings are set in IE9.
What If Someone Could See Everything You’ve Ever Googled? - http://www.prisonplanet.com/...
Hide From Google - http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Hide_From_Google
But I am sure that I am not the only one who was not enamoured with IE9's bare Chrome-like default interface that doesn't show any of the menu bars. Fortunately, all of the toolbars, menus and favorites that were in the previous versions of IE can be brought back with a few clicks. I also chose the new option to Show tabs on a separate row. The image below shows the menu options, which are brought up by right-clicking the mouse with its pointer in an empty space - in this case in the purple-blue spot just above Help on the Favorites bar (which is not present until a check mark is placed in its setting box). All of the options are enabled, including Lock the toolbars, which prevents them from being disabled or changed.
August 10, 2011. - Many people buy to boost their productivity while travelling or for use as an extension of the office at home. However, many people waste precious time by going through the same lengthy procedures to carry out computing actions that could be done more efficiently by applying a few keyboard shortcuts instead of having to use a wireless mouse or the laptop's touchpad.
For example, press the Windows key (the one with the Windows flag on it) followed by the Pause key to bring up the System Properties window that provides access to many vital system settings, such as System Restore and the Device Manager.
The new taskbar in Windows 7 also provides some handy time-saving features, such being able to pin a well-used program to it. To do that, open the program, right-click on its icon on the taskbar and click on Pin this program to taskbar. With all of the programs you use most pinned there, you can launch a program by pressing the Windows key followed by the number key that it corresponds with starting from the left. If you use an additional monitor or projector, pressing the Windows + P keys switches display modes, which avoids having to do so by right-clicking an empty area of the desktop and then clicking Screen resolution or by going via Display in the Control Panel.
Windows + L locks the computer if password protection has been enabled by entering the word screensaver in the Start => Search programs and files box, clicking on the link called Set screensaver password and then setting one. That way you can make it necessary to enter the password to use the computer immediately instead of waiting for the set time to expire, thereby blocking access to the computer while you are away from it.
Another good tip to employ is to restore the Quick Launch bar made available by Windows XP, but no longer available by default in Windows 7. To restore it, right-click on the taskbar and uncheck Lock the taskbar with the mouse pointer before right-clicking the taskbar again, clicking Toolbars => New toolbar and then entering %appdata%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch into the Folder box and pressing Enter. The following Microsoft article illustrates the process and how to hide the Quick Launch bar. - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/975784
You can find a complete list of the available keyboard shortcuts for a particular version of Windows by using a search query in a search engine, such as: windows [XP/Vista/7] keyboard shortcuts.
Internet Explorer 9.0 (IE9) can only be used in Windows Vista and Windows 7, not in Windows XP, which can only use IE versions up to IE8. Note that most of the latest versions of the other major web browsers (Firefox, Opera, Safari, Chrome) work with Windows XP. IE9 is designed to work with the latest HTML 5 webpage coding standard, so it may not work well with webpages designed to use HTML 4. To rectify this, Microsoft has included a Compatibility View feature that enables IE9 to display older webpages correctly. To make Compatibility View engage for a website that you are viewing just click on the Tools menu and click on the option by that name. Another setting below it called Compatibility View settings that allows the user to add or remove websites from being viewed in that mode. There is also a setting called Display all websites in Compatibility View, but it is not advisable to enable it because then websites that are coded with HTML 5 might not display correctly.
The best (safest) policy with regard to online banking is that you do all of your Internet banking outside of Windows and off your PC's hard disk drive. The best way to do that is to use the Puppy Linux operating system. This version of Linux is is so easy to use your grandmother could set it up and use it. It boots from a CD/DVD disc to which its ISO file (downloaded from its developer's website - http://puppylinux.org/) has been written/burned, or from USB flash drive, providing a full Internet-connected desktop in about a minute. It is not installed on your computer's hard disk drive and records nothing on that drive unless you ask it to be installed there (as Windows itself is). It runs in the computer's RAM memory. Nothing can protect people from providing banking login information over the phone or the Internet, but Puppy Linux protects you against every other scenario and it's a sheer joy to use. The only complicated things are that you have to know how to burn an image to a recordable CD/DVD disc and you may have to set your computer's BIOS setup program so that the first boot (startup) device is its optical CD/DVD drive. Burning an image to a recordable CD/DVD is easy if you have the correct software. This website provides free software and instructions on how to achieve that - cdburnerxp.se. The BIOS section of this website tells you how to set the device boot order. Then, whenever you want to bank using the web, you just boot from the CD/DVD disc you burned Puppy Linux to and log on with complete safety because no malware (viruses, spyware, key-logging software, etc.) can interfere.
There are several ways of opening Windows Explorer in any version of Windows. The quickest way is to right-click on the Start button and then click on Explore in Windows XP and Open Windows Explorer in Windows 7.
If you find that whenever you right-click on a file in Windows Explorer in Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7, you have to wait around 15 seconds for the menu to appear, here is how to fix the problem.
The right-click menu in Windows Explorer is a convenient way of handling files quickly. For example, selecting and then right-clicking a group of files allows you to create a Zip file that contains them to make emailing them in a single file possible, or you can run a file with a specific application, rename it or set a file's attributes via the Properties option. There are only a few options in the right-click menu by default, but installing third-party software allows it to add entries to the right-click menu. For example, the free Microsoft Security Essentials, or any other malware scanner, usually adds an entry that allows one or more files to be scanned for viruses, spyware, etc. The slow response of the right-click menu is probably usually due to one or more programs installing entries in the right-click menu that are slowing it down. The best way to fix the problem is to reduce the number of entries by making a note of all of the entries when you right-click on a file in Windows Explorer. Examine each entry and decide whether or not it is required. To remove an entry, either open the relevant program and look for an option to remove the right-click menu entry, or, if you no longer use the program, just uninstall it. Alternatively, download a free right-click-menu-managing application that allows the settings to be edited, such as the free ShellExView from http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/shexview.html.
You may find that when you plug a USB flash drive into a desktop or laptop computer, which is running Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 that instead of the window giving options of what to do with the files, a window with no options is provided - or the window might not even appear.
The drive-options window is called after the drive letter that the flash drive uses, such as G: (plus the name you have given the drive). Here is an image of it taken from a computer running Windows XP.
How do you get the usual window with the display/play options back?
The window that presents itself when you plug a flash drive into a USB port should normally display the list of programs that Windows knows to be suitable for handling images, etc. In this case, the installation or uninstallation of photo-editing, camera, scanner or other software has probably failed to update the list correctly, rendering Windows unable to use it.
Assuming that you have an accurate idea when the problem first started, you could use System Restore in Windows XP/Visa/Windows 7 to restore a restore point that predates when things went wrong. You can also edit the Windows Registry to remove any orphaned entry or entries that could be the cause of the problem, but at the risk of damaging valid information in the Registry that could cause further problems.
The safest method is to download and run the following freeware program:
CleanHandlers - "When you right-click a CD drive or any removable drive and choose Properties, the AutoPlay tab lists all the AutoPlay Handlers for each Event. In some cases, an orphaned entry might appear there, as a result of incomplete uninstall of a software. CleanHandlers helps you remove the invalid entries from the listing. Moreover, CleanHandlers is able to find invalid AutoPlay entries and automatically erase them." -
Extract the zip file to a folder, run cleanhandlers.exe and click the Scan and Fix invalid entries button, which automatically backs up the relevant part of the Registry as a precaution before removing orphaned entries and, hopefully, fixing the problem.
In Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) when you try to use Edit => Find on this Page or use the CTRL + F shortcut, a Find: bar should appear under the other bars. However, if the space where the Find: bar should appear fails to expand and no Find: box can be seen, a fix has to be applied so that it does so. Moreover, when you click the Favorites button, the Favorites options might be missing.
These features are missing if a module is not registered in Windows. To fix the problem, do the following:
In Windows XP, click Start and enter regsvr32 oleacc.dll (as is) in the Run box. The following message should be displayed: DllRegisterServer in oleacc.dll succeeded.
Now you can open a new IE8 window and test the missing features.
To open an elevated Command Prompt, follow this click path: Start => All Programs => Accessories, right-click Command Prompt and then click on Run as administrator.
One of the most annoying omissions in Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Office 2007 is the inability to print lists of folders and files, such as print a directory and file list of photos, which can be very long, in order, say, to keep track of the photos that have been scanned and those that have not.
So many people must have complained about this problem that Microsoft has created a Knowledge Base article number 321379 on it called: How to add the Print Directory feature for folders in Windows XP, in Windows Vista, or in Windows 7. - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/321379
Microsoft's method requires editing the Windows Registry, but if you prefer using a free program, Karen Kenworthy's Directory Printer utility can be used instead. - http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptdirprn.asp
Most PC users have come across the situation in which some file or folder cannot be deleted by the normal methods because Windows has marked them as being "in use" even if that is not the case. For obvious reasons, Windows cannot remove a file that it thinks is currently open. Even a command-line delete won't work.
Some software programs, usually due to bad design, create files with non-standard, invalid names or other attributes that Windows cannot handle. Some malware makes use of this ploy deliberately, so that infected files are difficult to delete.
GiPo@MoveOnBoot is the best utility to use to get rid of these files. It is a free, small (496K) tool that installs easily. To remove an undeletable file, just right-click the file (select more than one file) in Windows Explorer (right-click Start => Explore), choose the GiPo@MoveOnBoot option, and instruct the utility to delete the file/files you want to remove.
The deletion is not immediate as in Windows. The utility creates a deletion script that runs the next time the system boots. The target file is deleted before it can be locked, marked as being in-use or loaded. There are several favours of GiPo@MoveOnBoot. Version 1.9.5 is the best one to use, because it works on all of the versions of Windows from Windows 98 to Windows 7.
GiPo@MoveOnBoot 1.9.5 is available from:
If the Registry in Windows XP, which contains the configuration data and the settings for all the PC's hardware, the operating system software, the application software and user settings,etc., is corrupted to the point where it won't allow the PC to boot, you won't be able to access Safe Mode in order to use System Restore or any of the other recovery options, all of which are dealt with on this section of this website.
However, there is a way to restore the backups of the Registry (that Windows stores as restore points in System Restore) by using the Windows XP Recovery Console.
If you have not installed it on the PC's hard disk drive that allows it to be accessed from the boot menu, accessing the Recovery Console requires a Windows XP installation CD. Note that you cannot use the Recovery CD/DVD that many brand-name PC manufacturers supply instead of a Windows XP CD.
How to install the Windows Recovery Console - "This article describes how to install the Microsoft Windows Recovery Console to your hard disk. If you install this tool to your local hard disk, Windows Recovery Console is added as a choice on the Windows Startup menu." - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/216417
If you don't have a Windows XP CD, you can make use of a specially-designed recovery CD, such as Bart's Preinstalled Environment (BartPE). You can also use a Linux-based recovery disc such as the Ultimate Boot CD. However, the commands will be different from those provided here for the Windows XP CD.
Here is how to use the Windows XP CD to restore the Registry:
1. - Make sure by entering the PC's BIOS that the CD/DVD drive is set as the first boot device, otherwise the computer won't be able to boot from the CD. If you don't know how to d that, visit the BIOS section of this website for the required information.
2. - Boot the system from the Windows XP CD.
3. - Windows setup will start. Use the option to press the R key to access the Recovery Console. Select your Windows installation. It will be the only installation unless you have more than one version of Windows installed.
4. - Enter the Administrator password when prompted for it. If you don't use one, just press the Enter key.
5. - Enter the following commands as is:
CD C:\ CD "system volume information\_resto~1"
6. - Choose the restore point (RPx) that you want to use by using the folder date stamps as a guide and then enter the following commands:
CD RPx (x is the System Restore restore point that you chose)
7. - Enter the following commands that overwrite the existing corrupted Registry files:
COPY _registry_machine_system C:\Windows\System32\Config\System
COPY _registry_machine_software C:\Windows\System32\Config\Software
COPY _registry_machine_sam C:\Windows\System32\Config\Sam
COPY _registry_machine_security C:\Windows\System32\Config\Security
COPY _registry_user_.default C:\Windows\System32\Config\Default
Enter the exit command to exit the Recovery Console and restart the PC.
Loss of features such as Help and Support is common when Window XP/Vista is reinstalled from a CD/DVD that contains an older version. Help and Support makes use of many files used by Internet Explorer. For example, the Windows Setup Reinstall option on the Windows XP CD replaces newer files with its older files, but leaves the newer versions of other files, which causes your particular problem - and can be the cause of many other problems. All that you have to do to rectify the situation is reinstall any of the Service Packs released since the version included on your CD/DVD. For example, if you have a Windows XP SP2 installation CD, reinstall Service Pack 3 (SP3) and then visit Windows Update for any updates released after SP3 become available. If you have the CD of the original issue of Windows XP, you must add SP2, which contains SP1 and then add SP3. If you installed Internet Explorer 7 as an upgrade from version 6, reinstall it as well.
In order not to have to perform so many reinstallations in the event of a future system failure, it would be a good idea to slipsteam the Windows XP CD that you have with the subsequent Service Packs to create a bootable CD that contains them.
Click the following link to go to that information on this website: Slipstreaming Windows XP/Vista: How to create a Windows XP/Windows Vista installation CD/DVD containing the service packs and missing drivers.
The Disk Cleanup tool in Windows 98/XP/Vista when used in enhanced mode offers additional options that are normally hidden.
The unenhanced tool is accessed by right-clicking the relevant drive (usually the C: drive) under My Computer (XP) and Computer (Vista), and then clicking Properties, followed by the Disk Cleanup button.
Before you try using the following commands to set and run the enhanced program, it is advisable to make a restorable backup of the system, or, at the very least, a System Restore restore point. Also make a note of the used and free space on the drive that you are going to clean so that you can compare the figures to those presented after the cleaning. To do that right-click on the drive under My Computer/Computer and click Properties.
If you want to read the documentation of Disk Cleanup to find out what is cleaned in more detail than the program provides, enter the term in Start => Help and Support in Windows XP/Vista.
The file name of the Windows Disk Cleanup is cleanmgr. To access and set Disk Cleanup's enhanced options, enter cleanmgr /sageset:99 in Windows Vista's Start => Start Search box. It is the Start => Run box in earlier versions of Windows.
When you press Enter, the Disk Cleanup tool will run in a special setup mode that offers more cleanup choices than are presented in its default state. The System Agent (Sage) will remember the choices you've set, so you will be able to reuse the same enhanced choices when you run the Disk Cleanup tool subsequently.
Select every option that is presented for maximum cleaning. If you want to change your mind later, you can. Just run the command cleanmgr /sageset:99 again and change your choices. Note that the Disk Cleanup tool in Windows Vista doesn't have the "Compress old files" option that is available in the version of the program in Windows XP.
To run the enhanced Disk Cleanup tool in Vista, enter cleanmgr /sagerun:99 in the Start => Start Search box. It is the Start => Run box in Windows XP.
When the Disk Cleanup tool has finished its cleanup, open My Computer/Computer and right-click on the C: (or other drive) that has been cleaned. Compare the free and used space values with the ones you noted.
Enabling DMA (Direct Memory Access) in Windows allows the hard disk drive to access the system's RAM memory directly instead of via the processor, thereby increasing system performance, because the processor can the do other work. Windows XP and Windows Vista should have DMA enabled by default, but, for reason or another, this isn't always the case. You should check that it has been enabled.
You can do that by opening the Device Manager by entering devmgmt.msc in the Start => Run box in Windows XP. In Windows Vista enter devmgmt.msc in the Start => Start Search box.
Under IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers, open the listed devices by clicking the + sign with the mouse and double-click on the Primary IDE Channel. Open the Advanced Settings tab and make sure that the DMA if available setting is enabled in both Transfer Mode drop-down menu boxes. Do the same for the Secondary IDE Channel.
If you don't have a PS/2 keyboard that will allow you to access your computer's BIOS setup program in order to enable Legacy system support for a USB keyboard and USB mouse, which would install USB keyboard and mouse device drivers before Windows starts to load, you can use the following method to force Windows XP/Windows Vista to boot into Safe Mode.
Open the System Configuration utility by entering msconfig in the Start => Run box. (In Windows Vista, enter msconfig in the Start => Start Search box.) Open the BOOT.INI tab by clicking on it with the mouse. There is a setting called SAFEBOOT under the Boot Options heading. Place a check mark in its box with the mouse pointer. The MINIMAL radio button is enabled by default. You can enable the NETWORK radio button if you want to boot into Safe Mode with network support, which allows access to the Internet. Windows will now boot into Safe Mode the next time Windows is booted. You can run your spyware scanners and then open the System Configuration utility (while still in Safe Mode) in order to disable the SAFEBOOT setting so that Windows boots into normal mode when the system is restarted.
All of the links to websites that you have in your Favorites folder or elsewhere will opened by the browser that is set as the default browser, which is usually Internet Explorer. However you can force a shortcut to any site to use the browser of your choice.
The executable files for Internet Explorer and the Mozilla Firefox browser that run the programs are iexplore.exe and firefox.exe. For example for the Firefox browser, open Windows Explorer (right-click on Start and click Explore) and locate the firefox.exe file under Program Files => Mozilla Firefox. Right-click on the file and choose Create Shortcut. You can the drag-and-drop or copy the shortcut that is created in that folder to the Windows Desktop or to any other folder. Right-click on the shortcut and choose Properties. In the Target box, is the path and executable filename for the Firefox browser in quotation marks. Just enter the full URL of the site that you want the shortcut to open after the path.
Here is an example: "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" http://www.pcbuyerbeware.co.uk/
Click OK and the shortcut will make the Firefox browser access that website when you click on it. You can change the name of the shortcut and also its icon. Note that in Internet Explorer 7, which was made available on October 18 2006, associating a website with a particular browser overrides any multiple Start websites/webpages that you may have set up.
Someone sent me this excellent tip.
"I have an older Systemax Pentium 4 1.4GHz PC, which has ATI Radeon 7000 and SoundBlaster Audigy 2 video and sound cards, running Windows XP Pro. I've always had problems with choppy video, audio and screen flicker. My DVD movies were skipping a lot a frames. Anyway, to keep it short, I discovered a checkbox below the hardware acceleration slider called "write combining" which is, I guess, a Windows program, which is checked by default. I unchecked this box, did the shut down and restart and viola, no more choppy video, audio or skipped DVD frames. It's as though I've got a new computer. I also tried this on a couple of friends' eMachines which run AMD Semprons, built-in audio and video, and Windows XP Home. While their computers were not quite as choppy as mine, there was also a huge increase in overall performance. I did not reduce hardware acceleration at all."
To find the setting, open Display in the Control Panel, open Settings tab, click on the Advanced button, open the Troubleshoot tab. Under Hardware acceleration, use your mouse to remove the check mark in the box beside Enable write combining.
Some pages don't display in Firefox as they should mainly because Internet Explorer contains bugs that website designers have had to create workarounds for. Firefox doesn't have these bugs, so the pages which contain the workarounds don't display properly in it.
Fortunately there is a workaround for this in Firefox itself in the form of an extension that you install. It enables you to run Internet Explorer from within Firefox.
To download the extension go to mozilla.com and look for IE View on the Extensions page.
Because Windows 95/98/Me and Windows XP systems have completely different architectures, some programs written for Windows 95/98/Me simply won't run at all or won't well under Windows XP, no matter what you do to rectify the situation.
However, there is a way of making such programs run properly under Windows XP - run the Program Compatibility Wizard.
I used it when MS Excel 97 and MS Word 97 wouldn't work. After running the wizard, they worked as they had done under Windows 98. I chose Windows 98 as the operating system to emulate.
To run the Program Compatibility Wizard, follow this path:
Start => All Programs => Accessories => Program Compatibility Wizard.
If you require more information on how to make Windows 95/98/Me programs and games run better under Windows XP, visit the following page on the Microsoft site. The information there also applies to virtually any program that anyone might want to run under Windows XP.
How to use Windows Program Compatibility mode in Windows XP -
In the event of an unrecoverable system crash, reactivation of Windows XP can be avoided by making copies of the Windows Product Activation database files - wpa.dbl and wpa.bak. The files are located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. Restore the copies to that folder after Windows has been reinstalled and you won't have to reactivate it.
This tip works in Windows 95, 98, Me, and XP.
To bring up Windows Help, click on an empty space on the Windows Desktop (where all the icons are), and press the F1 key. If you are in another window, such as in Internet Explorer or another program, there is no need to go back to the Desktop, just press one of the Windows keys (the two keys with the Windows flag on them) and then press the F1 key.
This tip works in Windows 95, 98, Me, and XP.
Click the Start button, click Run, and enter msconfig in the entry box.
You can run any program file by entering its file name in the Run box. There are also some shortcut names such as command to bring up a DOS window running within Windows 95, 98, and Me, and cmd to bring up the command prompt in Windows XP. Entering sfc will run the System File Checker in Windows 98, and Windows Me. [Click here! to go to information on this site on how to use the SFC in Windows 2000 and Windows XP.] Entering iexplore runs Internet Explorer. For other programs, you might have to enter the full file name, which, in this case is iexplore.exe.
To show the Quick Launch tool bar in Windows XP that previous versions of Windows have, use the right mouse button to click on the bottom taskbar, then click on Properties in the menu that is presented. Enable the Show Quick Launch option.
If you need to enable the Quick Launch bar in Windows 95/98/Me, right-click on the taskbar and then click Toolbars in the menu that is presented. Enable the Quick Launch bar by clicking on its name.
In Internet Explorer 6.0, if, say, you're visiting a particular web page that contains a link to another page (on the same or another site) and you want to bring it up in a new window so that both windows are shown on the taskbar, just hold one of the two Shift keys down (the two keys with an arrow pointing upwards) and then click on the link. A new browser window opens. Both windows are now showing on the taskbar. All you have to do is click on a particular entry on the taskbar to bring that window up on the screen. You can open many different windows in this way. You can also right-click on the link itself and then click on Open in New Window.
Internet Explorer 7 and the Mozilla Firefox browsers have tabbed browsing that makes a new tab open automatically within the main browser window for every page that is opened.
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If you want a program that lists the memory usage for all of the main process in the order of how demanding they are for Windows 95 and Windows 98, look for a program called Memload that is no longer supported by its author but which is still available from Tucows. For processor usage in Windows 95/98 there are plenty of programs you can use, but probably the best one is called TaskInfo from iarsn.com.
For Windows XP and Windows 2000, you can use its own Task Manager. If you press the Ctrl+Alt+Del key combination the Task Manager pops up. Click on the Processes tab, and all if the information is presented - the processes themselves, what is running each of them, and the processor time and memory that each of them is using.
By clicking on the heading you can sort them in ascending or descending order. You can sort so that the most processor-intensive programs appear at the top of the list, or you can sort by the amount of RAM memory used. For most of the processes you can determine which program launched them from its name. But if you can't identify a process, try using the Windows Search feature to locate its folder, or use the process name as a search query in a search engine, because doing that works most of the time.
When you go into Safe mode in Windows 95/98/98 SE, it has to use a lower resolution and thus rearranges the desktop icons to fit the screen space. When you go back into normal mode, many of the icons are in other parts of the screen, and you have to spend time rearranging them to the way they were. Often enough you can't remember which icon went where, and you have to get used to a new arrangement.
Luckily, this is an easy irritation to overcome. If you use a search phrase such as "save windows icon positions" (as is) as the search query in a search engine. Links to many programs that can do just that should be provided.
Here are a few I found: http://www.soft411.com/ provides ten pages of links to such programs.
Activicons - http://www.cursorarts.com/ca_aifw.html - Some inexperienced users might find it complicated to use.
Icon Restore - http://www.freesoft411.com/freeware/icon-restore.html - Install it, and use the right mouse button to click on an empty space on the Windows Desktop. On the menu that presents itself, there should be an item called Save Desktop Icon Layout and another item called Restore Desktop Icon Layout. After you have saved the icon layout, you just have to click the restore layout option to restore the icon layout.
If you do a lot of recording of audio on your computer then you should create a desktop shortcut to the recording level controls, because they are difficult to access.
Use the right mouse button to click on an empty space on the Windows desktop. Click on New => Shortcut and enter sndvol32 / r as the location of the item in Windows XP. Click Next, select where you want to place the shortcut, and then click Finish. In Windows 98, enter the command in the Command line box, and use the Browse feature to select a location, which is usually Desktop.
If you dislike the Search Assistant in Windows XP, you can disable it and restore the Windows 2000 type of search functionality. -
If you want to have two or more programs, such as Internet Explorer and Outlook Express start up at the same time, you have to create a batch file. A batch file contains text commands, and you give it a name that has a .bat extension.
To run a batch file, you would create a shortcut to it, and place it on the Desktop, or on the Quickstart taskbar. Batch files still work in Windows XP even though they are a hangover from DOS.
The command line that starts a program has to have the word Start preceding it. Then the path to the executable file that runs the program is provided within quotation marks. This is done because DOS doesn't allow spaces such as the space in the name of the Program Files folder, and some special characters such as a question mark. Moreover, DOS also doesn't understand file names that have more than eight characters in front of the extension. Using quotation marks around that file path allows DOS to find the correct path.
Here are the commands that start Internet Explorer and Outlook Express:
Start "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IExplore.exe"
Start "C:\Program Files\MSimn.exe"
Give the file a name, such as Internet.bat, and create a shortcut to it, and place it on the Desktop, from where it can be dragged down to make a copy of itself on the Quickstart taskbar. If there are no spaces, and no long file names, etc. in the path, you don't have to use quotation marks.
If you can't set a program as the default, such as to use Outlook Express as the default e-mail program via Internet Options => Programs, there is a new option available in Windows XP running Service Pack 1 (SP1) that does this for you. It's called Set Program Access and Defaults, and you access it by clicking Start => All Programs, and it's found up by the Windows Update icon.
There are several reasons why the System Restore option won't appear in Windows XP.
When you open System in the Control Panel, the only options available are General => Network Identification => Hardware => User Profile => Advanced. There is no mention of System Restore. This could be because you have logged on as a guest user, or limits have been placed on your administrative rights as a user.
You can tell if you have administrative rights by clicking the User Accounts in the Control Panel. If you are an Administrator, you will have access to the User Accounts and be able to change the rights of the other listed users. But if you see a message saying that you need to be an Administrator, you have to log on by entering the Administrator's password at start-up. You will have had the chance to register as the Administrator when Windows XP was installed. Otherwise, the only way to log on as an Administrator is to obtain the log-on password from the person who has administrative rights.
A virus such as the Blaster worm also has the ability to prevent System Restore from working. If you see the following cryptic message when you attempt to open System, there is an excellent chance that the system has been infected with the Blaster worm:
"Rundll32.exe Entry Point Not Found. The procedure entry point RemoteAssistancePrepareSystemRestore could not be located in the dynamic link library WINSTA.dll."
There is information on Microsoft's site on how to deal with the Blaster worm. You can also look up this worm at sites such as Trend's at http://www.trendmicro.com/us/index.html.
Another reason why the System Restore tab can go missing is if some system files somehow go missing or become corrupt. Luckily, there is a way to restore the missing or corrupt files.
1. - In the Tools menu in My Computer, choose Folder Options on the View tab, place a checkmark in the Hide extensions for known file types option, and click OK.
2. - From the Start menu, click Run, and in the Open box enter %windir%\inf.
3. - You should see plenty of files. Scroll down the list until you come to one called sr.inf. Right click on this file's entry, and then click Install from the list of options. Windows XP will ask for its CD to be inserted into the CD-ROM drive, and all you have to do is follow the steps and the System Restore feature will be restored.
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