1. Lock Windows XP Workstation
You can lock your XP workstation with two clicks of the mouse. Create a
new shortcut on your desktop using a right mouse click, and enter
‘rundll32.exe user32.dll, LockWorkStation‘ in the location field. Give
the shortcut a name you like. That’s it, just double click on it and
your computer will be locked. And if that’s not easy enough, Windows
key + L will do the same.
2. Remove Windows XP system software
XP hides some system software you might want to remove, such as Windows
Messenger, but you can tickle it and make it disgorge 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 the Control Panel, select Add/Remove Windows Components and
there will be your prey, exposed and vulnerable.
3. New commands
For those skilled in the art of DOS batch files, XP has a number of
interesting new commands. These include ‘eventcreate‘ and
‘eventtriggers‘ for creating and watching system events, ‘typeperf‘ for
monitoring performance of various subsystems, and ‘schtasks‘ for
handling scheduled tasks. As usual, typing the command name followed by
"/?" will give a list of options.
4. Windows XP supports IPv6
XP has IP version 6 support, the next generation of IP. Unfortunately
this is more than your ISP has, so you can only experiment with this on
your LAN. Type ‘ipv6 install‘ into Run… (it’s OK, it won’t ruin your
existing network setup) and then ‘ipv6 /?‘ at the command line to find
out more. If you don’t know what IPv6 is, don’t worry and don’t bother.
5. Kill tasks from the command line
You can at last get rid of tasks on the computer from the command line
by using ‘taskkill /pid‘ and the task number, or just ‘tskill‘ and the
process number. Find that find out by typing ‘tasklist‘, which will also
tell you a lot about what’s going on in your system.
6. Enable ClearType by default
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 at
a screen have given you the eyes of an astigmatic bat. To enable
ClearType, right click on the desktop, select Properties, Appearance,
Effects, select ClearType from the second drop-down menu and enable the
selection. Expect best results on laptop displays. If you want to use
ClearType on the Welcome login screen as well, set the registry entry
HKEY_USERS/.DEFAULT/Control Panel/Desktop/FontSmoothingType to 2.
7. Run program as different user
You can run a program as a different user without logging out and back
in again. Right click the icon, select Run As… and enter the user
name and password you want to use. This only applies for that run. The
trick is particularly useful if you need to have administrative
permissions to install a program, which many require. Note that you can
have some fun by running programs multiple times on the same system as
different users, but this can have unforeseen effects.
8. Speed up the Start Menu
The Start Menu can be leisurely when it decides to appear, but you can
speed things along by changing the registry entry
HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Control Panel/Desktop/MenuShowDelay from the default
400 to something a little snappier. Like 0.
9. Rename multiple files at once
You can rename loads of files at once in Windows Explorer. Highlight a
set of files in a window, then right click on one and rename it. All
the other files will be renamed to that name, with individual numbers
in brackets to distinguish them. Also, in a folder you can arrange
icons in alphabetized groups by View, Arrange Icon By… Show In-Groups.
10. Show cover art in Media Player
Windows Media Player will display the cover art for albums as it plays
the tracks, if it found the picture on the Internet when you copied
the tracks from the CD. If it didn’t, or if you have lots of pre-WMP
music files, you can put your own copy of the cover art in the same
directory as the tracks. Just call it folder.jpg and Windows Media
Player will pick it up and display it.
11. Display Hibernate Option on the Shut Down dialog
For some reason, Hibernate isn’t available from the default Shut Down
dialog. But you can enable it simply enough, by holding down the SHIFT
key while the dialog is visible. Now you see it, now you don’t!
12. Enable ClearType on the Welcome Screen!
As laptop users and other LCD owners are quickly realizing, Microsoft’s
ClearType technology in Windows XP really makes a big difference for
readability. But this feature is enabled on a per-user basis in
Windows XP, so you can’t see the effect on the Welcome screen; it only
appears after you logon.
But you can fix that. Open up the Registry Editor and look for the following keys:
(default user) HKEY_USERS .DefaultControl PanelDesktopFontSmoothing (String Value)
HKEY_USERS.DefaultControl PanelDesktopFontSmoothingType (Hexadecimal DWORD Value)
Make sure both of these values are set to 2 and you’ll have ClearType
enabled on the Welcome screen and on each new user by default.
13. Change User Picture
Click on the Icon at the top of the start menu. Select desired picture
from resulting screen Windows 2000 style logon. To revert back to the
Win2k style logon so you can log on as the administrator and other
options, press ctrl+alt+delete twice at the logon screen. Change the
location of the My Music or My Pictures folders.
In Windows 2000, Microsoft added the ability to right-click the My
Documents folder and choosing a new location for that folder in the
shell. With Windows XP, Microsoft has elevated the My Music and My
Pictures folders to the same "special shell folder" status of My
Documents, but they never added a similar (and simple) method for
changing those folder’s locations. However, it is actually pretty easy
to change the location of these folders, using the following method:
Open a My Computer window and navigate to the location where you’d like
My Music (or My Pictures) to reside. Then, open the My Documents folder
in a different window. Drag the My Music (or My Pictures) folder to the
other window, and Windows XP will update all of the references to that
folder to the new location, including the Start menu.
14. Protect Your Files From Unauthorized Users
Other users with permission to delete a file (users with Modify or Full
Control permission) can’t use your encrypted files but they can make
them difficult for you to use. Any such user can rename your files,
which can make them difficult to find, and can also delete your files.
(Even if the user merely deletes them to the Recycle Bin and doesn’t
remove them altogether, the deleted files are unavailable to you
because you don’t have access to any other user’s Recycle Bin.)
Therefore, if you’re concerned about protecting your files from other
authorized users as well as from a thief who steals your computer, you
should modify the NTFS permissions to prevent any type of modification
by other users.
15. Shutdown Your System in a Hurry
If you need to shut down in a hurry-or if a frozen application prevents
you from shutting down in the normal ways-you can use the following
procedure. Be aware, however, that you won’t get an opportunity to save
open documents. To perform an emergency shutdown, press Ctrl+Alt+Del to
display Task Manager. Open the Shut down menu and hold down the Ctrl
key as you click the Turn Off command. Poof! If your computer is part
of a domain, the procedure is similar. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del and then hold
down Ctrl when you click Shut Down. In this situation, you’ll get a
warning message pointing out-quite correctly-that this should be used
only as a last resort.
16. Provide Personal Support
It never fails: when friends, co-workers, or family members discover
that you’re a Windows expert, you get pressed into service as an unpaid
support technician. If the party asking for help is running any edition
of Windows XP and has an active Internet connection, your job is much
easier. Have the other person send you a Remote Assistance request;
when you accept the request, you connect directly to their computer and
can edit Registry settings, fix file associations, set System options,
and perform just about any other troubleshooting or repair task, just
as if you were sitting at the other person’s desk.
17. Quickly Fix Connectivity Problems
Are you having trouble connecting to other computers on your local area
network? If your network uses hardware firewall that assigns IP
addresses to each machine and you’re certain you’ve configured all
other components correctly, check to see whether the Internet
Connection Firewall is enabled. That component can effectively block
communication between PCs on the network.
18. Hack IE Title bar
This can be an impressive bit of personalization. Use your name to brand Internet Explorer. Go to
HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftInternet Explorer and left-click
on Main to change the string "Window Title" to whatever you wish.
19. Unload DLLs
To prevent Windows from caching DLLs after the program using them has closed, follow this procedure: Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersion then
left-click on Explorer. Right-click (as above) and create the DWORD AlwaysUnloadDLL with a value of 1. This requires a reboot to take effect. This will allow memory to be used more efficiently.
20. Registry Hacks
Editing the Windows Registry, while much more common now than in years
past, is still not to be entered into lightly. You can break Windows,
cause boot failure. I know you’re gonna do it anyway; why else would
you be reading this. Just be careful, OK?
These are few because, for the most part WinXP can be customized through the interlace or with third-party freeware (as above).
All of the tips below require running regedit. To do so, hit ‘Start/Run‘ then type ‘regedit‘ and follow the instructions.
Naturally, I take no responsibility for any damage or loss of data
incurred in the remote possibility that something goes terribly wrong.
21. The Ultimate Appearance Tweak
Microsoft said: "You can connect up to 10 monitors to your Windows
XP-based computer and display numerous programs or windows at one time.
You can use your mouse to move items from one monitor to another. You
can open a different file on each monitor. Or several! Or you can
stretch one item across several monitors; so for example, you can see
more columns in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, or the entire layout of
a Web page, without scrolling." Consider it. Monitors and PCI video
cards are pretty cheap now. Windows recognizes the addition &
allows easy adjustments on the ‘Display Properties/Settings’ menu.
22. Save Streaming Media
It’s cool to listen to MP3s (or watch movies) over the Internet. Often,
saving this media, however, seems impossible. Hey, if it plays on your
computer, it’s on your hard drive. Once the file is fully loaded and
with folder view set to show hidden and systems folders, searches for
the media (.mp3 or .mpg). There it is!
23. Securing the Paging File
If you’re truly concerned about the possibility of your computer
falling into the wrong hands, you should be sure that you don’t leave
any tracks in the paging file. By default, when you shut down your
system, the paging file remains intact. People who’ve access to your
computer could conceivably look through the unencrypted paging file to
find information they shouldn’t have.
24. Assign a Keyboard Shortcut
Click in the Shortcut Key field and press a keyboard combination that
you want to use for launching or switching to this program. The
shortcut key you assign must consist of one character key (a letter,
number, or symbol) plus at least two of the following three keys: Ctrl,
Alt, and Shift. (If you press a character key only, Windows
automatically adds Ctrl+Alt.)
Shortcut keys work only when assigned to a program shortcut on the
Start menu, the Programs menu, or the Desktop. The shortcuts you define
will not work if it conflicts with a combination used in the program
whose window has the focus.
Please remember, we cannot accept responsibility with what you decide
to do with these tips. These tips act as a guide to tweaking and
changing Windows XP from the default settings. If you are unsure about
how to make these changes then don’t meddle!