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* More XP Tweaks *


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Removing Windows Messenger from Windows XP

As an embedded component of Windows, Messenger can be difficult to remove. There is no entry in the Add / Remove Programs applet for it. If you simply wish to prevent users from gaining access to it, there is a registry key to do this.

To prevent Windows Messenger from being run:

Use a registry editing tool to navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftMessengerClient

Insert or change a value with the following details:

    PreventAutoRun          REG_DWORD          0x00000001

    [Restart the computer for the changes to take effect.]

Non-standard versions of Windows or MSN Messenger (version 5.0 or above) can usually be removed via the Add / Remove Programs applet within Control Panel. Once the non-standard version is removed, the Windows XP-native version (version 4.x) can be completely removed (i.e. uninstalled) using the method outlined below.

To remove Windows Messenger from Windows XP:

Copy and paste the following to a text file,

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Remove unneeded components

Windows XP comes with various completely useless components such as MSN Explorer. Reclaim some disk space and reduce the number of loaded DLLs by removing them. If you don't use Windows Messenger, now would be a good time to remove it.

To remove MSN Explorer:

Click Start, Settings and then Control Panel.

Switch to Classic view.

Double-click on Add / Remove Programs.

Click Add / Remove Windows Components.

Click on Accessories and Utilities then click Details. Remove any unwanted components by unchecking the tick-box next to the entry.

Click OK.

Remove MSN Explorer by unchecking the tickbox next to the entry.

Click Next.

After the un-installation has finished, click Finish.

[Reboot your computer if prompted.]

To remove other unneeded components:

Using notepad or a similar text editor, open:

WindowsSYSTEM32sysoc.inf

In the Components section, remove the word "HIDE" from all the components you wish to remove. Suggested sections to remove are:

msmsgs=msgrocm.dll,OcEntry,msmsgs.inf,hide,7

Pinball=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,pinball.inf,HIDE,7

MSWordPad=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,wordpad.inf,HIDE,7

ZoneGames=zoneoc.dll,ZoneSetupProc,igames.inf,,7

Freestyle=medctroc.dll,MedCtrOCISetupProc,medctroc.inf,HIDE,7

TabletPC=tabletoc.dll,TabletSetupProc,Tabletpc.inf,HIDE,7

[note:] keep the commas, as in ~ Pinball=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,pinball.inf,,7

Save the file, then exit.

Now you can remove the components through the Add / Remove Windows Components utility, as described in the process above.

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Disabling EXE signature-checking in Internet Explorer

By default, Internet Explorer checks to see if downloaded executables contain a valid signature. Signatures are often used by large software companies to verify that the downloaded executable is what they say it is. Unfortunately, many organisations offering various flavours of malware (Comet Cursor, CoolWebSearch and the like) also digitally sign their code. Signatures only guarantee that the executable concerned is what the software company say it is - not that once installed, it won't do any harm.

Should a downloaded executable not contain a signature or contain a invalid signature, Internet Explorer will display a prompt asking the user if they wish to continue. This tweak prevents Internet Explorer from looking for a valid signature and thus disables that prompt.

[note:] always scan executables with your anti-virus program after downloading, i.e. - right click on .exe program and scan.

To disable executable signature-checking in Internet Explorer:

Use a registry editing tool to navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerDownload

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  • 3 weeks later...

Increasing network browsing speed

Does your computer slow down when you browse your local area network and connect to other computers that are sharing data? One of the most common causes of this slowdown is a feature of Windows Explorer that looks for scheduled tasks on remote computers. This effort can take some time on some computers and can really slow down your browsing. The window with which you are browsing the network may appear to freeze momentarily, as the system is waiting for a response from the remote computer.

Although this problem is a complex one, the solution is very simple. Instead of having to wait for the remote scheduled tasks, which is useless information to anyone who is not a system administrator remotely configuring scheduled tasks, you can disable this feature.

In order to do this, you will have to hack the System Registry and delete a reference to a key so that this feature will not be loaded. To do this, follow these steps:

1. Open up the Registry Editor by clicking the Start Menu and selecting Run. Then type regedit in the text box and click the OK button.

2. Once the Registry Editor has loaded, expand the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key.

3. Next, expand Software and then Microsoft.

4. Locate Windows and expand that as well.

5. You will want to be editing the main system files, so expand CurrentVersion.

6. Because this feature is a feature of the Windows component known as Explorer, expand the Explorer key.

7. Next, you will want to modify the remote computer settings, so expand the RemoteComputer key and then expand the NameSpace key to show all of the features that are enabled when you browse to a remote computer.

8. In the NameSpace folder you will find two entries. One is "{2227A280-3AEA-1069-A2DE-08002B30309D}" which tells Explorer to show printers shared on the remote machine. The other, "{D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF}", tells Explorer to show remote scheduled tasks. This is the one that you should delete. This can be done by right-clicking the name of the key and selecting Delete.

Tip:

If you have no use for viewing remote shared printers and are really only interested in shared files, consider deleting the printers key, "{2227A280-3AEA-1069-A2DE-08002B30309D}", as well. This will also boost your browsing speed.

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Disabling unneeded protocols

With every computer comes programs installed that you do not need. As with extra programs taking up space, extra protocols are just wasting your network connection and can actually slow it down. How is this possible? By default, a few different protocols are installed on your computer to allow for maximum compatibility with other computers on a network; these protocols each require bandwidth to operate. Most users will not use too many protocols, and their computers will use up a portion of their connection as they respond and transmit information for these protocols.

Additionally, with extra protocols installed on your network adapter connected to the Internet, you increase your risk of security-related problems. One of the most common risks for broadband users is that they have the Client for Microsoft Networks networking protocol enabled on their connection. This protocol allows everyone in their neighborhood to connect to the users' computers and view any files that they may be sharing. This fact alone should be a good enough reason for you to turn off the extra protocols. But with them disabled, you will also save a little bandwidth as well.

Viewing protocols on your network adapters

Viewing the protocols installed and active on your various network adapters is easy. Just follow these quick steps and you will be viewing them in no time:

1. Right-click the My Network Places icon on the desktop or in the Start Menu and select Properties. If the My Network Places icon is not in either of those locations, then go to the Control Panel and click the Network Connections icon that is shown under the Classic view.

2. Next, right-click the network adapter with which you want to view the network protocols and select Properties.

3. This will bring up a list of the protocols installed as well as active on your adapter. The protocols that are installed but not active are indicated by the absence of a check in the checkbox.

Disabling a specific protocol

Now that you have the list of installed and active protocols on your screen, you are ready to disable a protocol. To do so, just click the check box to remove the check. Then click the OK button and the protocol is no longer active on the network adapter.

I highly recommend that you disable all protocols except for the TCP/IP protocol (also referred to as the Internet Protocol). Doing so will optimize your adapter for speed and security.

Be aware that if you remove the Client for Microsoft Networks protocol and the file-sharing protocol, you will no longer be able to share your files. Additionally, you will no longer be able to connect to remote computers to view their shared files.

Also keep in mind that if you have multiple adapters in your machines, such as a wireless adapter, a wired network adapter, and a dialup modem, you will have to repeat the preceding instructions for each adapter.

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Get Rid of Indexing Service

Indexing Service is a totally useless service that eats a TON of your resources[yes, Microsoft made a mistake, but didn't have time to 'write it out', imagine that!]

Gitting rid of it will give you a very noticable boost in performance, and your system will run much more smoothly due to the extra resources you'll have.

Double click on My Computer (desktop icon)

Then right click ON THE DRIVE ICON, then click on Properties and uncheck the box (at the bottom) that says: "Allow Indexing To Index This Drive For Fast File Searching", then click on Apply

Confirm Attribute Changes (window) will pop-up

click ~ Apply changes to [drive]:, subfolders and files

hit OK

[if another pop-up pops up saying something about not having permission - just click on Ignore All and it will start]

Applying Attributes to:(window) will pop-up un-indexing all your files, this will take a few minutes.

[repeat for all drives you may have]

Now, Click on Start > Administrative Tools > Services

find Indexing Services ~ double click on it

Indexing Service Properties (Local Computer) will pop-up

in the middle you'll find Startup type:

choose Disabled

restart computer

Now you have gotten rid of the biggest resource waster in XP!

[note] this may not work if you compressed your drive! Don't compress your drives (once you compress, you can't un-compress without re-formatting) ~ hard drives are big enough now that you should never have to worry about running out of space. If your worried ~ get a bigger drive or manage your system better.

(As always, please make a System Restore Point before you do this in the unlikely event that something goes wrong)!

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  • 1 month later...

Access the Administrator Account from the Welcome Screen

If you are at the Welcome screen and want to log on with the Administrator account, but it's not listed, press Ctrl+Alt+Del twice to bring up the logon window, which then allows you to log on as Administrator.

Change the Default Opening Folder in Windows Explorer

By default, Windows Explorer opens showing the My Documents folder. To change the default setting so that all top׬evel drives and folders are shown, follow these steps:

1. Click Start, point to Programs, then Accessories, then rightףlick Windows Explorer, and click Properties.

2. Under Target field, which reads %SystemRoot%explorer.exe, add to make the line read %SystemRoot%explorer.exe /n, /e, /select, C:

3. Click OK.

Now when you open Windows Explorer you get to choose from all the folders and drives, not just My Documents.

Add an Item to the Send To Menu

You can create a new shortcut on the Send To menu, for example, one that goes to a frequently-used folder.

1. Open My Computer, and double-click the drive where Windows is installed, which is usually drive C.

2. Double-click the Documents and Settings folder, and then double-click the folder for the particular user.

3. Double-click the Send To folder.

The Send To folder is hidden by default. To see the Send To folder, click Tools, click Folder Options, and then click Show hidden files and folders.

4. On the File menu, point to New, and then click Shortcut.

5. Follow the instructions to create a shortcut.

Now, when you right-click a file, and click Send To, the shortcut to the item you selected will be an option. You can create shortcuts to local or network programs, files, folders, computers, or Internet addresses.

Add New Programs to Your Menu Alphabetically

Many people find it annoying that new programs and icons add themselves to the end of the start menu. If you are like me, you'd like them all to be alphabetized. Also, you may have found that opening the All Programs menu as a folder and rearranging the icons changes nothing on the menu. To arrange the items by name follow these instructions:

1. Click Start, click All Programs, and then right-click on any folder or icon.

2. Click Sort by Name.

That's it, works like magic. Enjoy your refreshingly organized Start menu.

Tune ClearType to Improve Text

With Windows XP, ClearType can improve the resolution of text on your screen. It improves readability on color LCD monitors with a digital interface, such as those in laptops and high-quality flat desktop displays. Readability on CRT screens can also be somewhat improved.

Through a Web-interface you can turn on ClearType (if you don't have it on already) and customize it so it looks best on your screen. Follow the instructions on the Microsoft ClearType Tuner page. Select the text sample that looks best, and then click the Apply button at the bottom of the Web page. This will save how ClearType looks on your Windows XP system.

Manually Install Backup in Windows XP Home Edition

The Backup utility is not included in the default installation of Windows XP Home Edition. The Backup icon is not present on the Start menu in Windows XP Home Edition, nor is Backup listed in Add/Remove Programs for Windows XP Home Edition. The backup program is found on the Windows XP Home Edition CD in the Valueadd folder.

To manually install Backup

1. Double-click the Ntbackup.msi file in the following location on the Windows XP Home Edition CD to start a wizard that installs Backup:

CD-ROM Drive:VALUEADDMSFTNTBACKUP

2. When the wizard is complete, click Finish.

Instantly Activate a Screensaver

Turn on a screensaver without having to wait by adding a shortcut to your desktop:

1. Click the Start button, and then click Search.

2. In the Search Companion window, click All file types.

3. In the file name box, type *.scr

4. In the Look in box, choose Local Hard Drives (C:) or the drive where you have system files stored on your computer.

5. Click Search.

6. You will see a list of screensavers in the results. Pick a screensaver you want. You can preview it by double-clicking it.

7. Right click on the file, choose Send To, and then click Desktop (create shortcut).

To activate the screensaver, double-click the icon on your desktop.

Keyboard Control of the Desktop

Here's how to access icons on the desktop using the keyboard:

1. Press the Windows Logo key, which brings up the Start menu.

2. Press ESC (this makes the Start menu disappear, but keeps the taskbar active).

3. Press SHIFT + TAB one time (this toggles between the taskbar and the desktop). Your desktop will now be active, although you may not notice any visual indication of it.

4. Press the Down cursor key and you will see which desktop icon is active, and continue to use the cursor keys to move to the icon you want to use.

5. Press ENTER to run the icon, or press SHIFT + F10 to see the context menu for that icon.

Speed up Menu Display

You can use this tip to speed up the way menus display in Windows XP.

1. Click Start, click Control Panel, and click System.

2. Click the Advanced tab, and under Performance, click the Settings button.

3. Clear the Fade or slide menus into view check box, and then click OK.

Now when you bring up a collapsed menu, it will expand without delay.

Create a Keyboard Shortcut to Open a Folder

Do you have a folder to which you want instant access from anywhere on your computer? For example, if you want the My Music folder to pop up while Internet Explorer or Word is maximized, follow these steps:

1. Select the folder in Windows Explorer.

2. Create a shortcut, and place it on the desktop. (You create a shortcut by opening the folder, pointing to New on the File menu, then clicking Shortcut. Drag the shortcut to your desktop.)

3. Rightףlick the new shortcut, and then click Properties.

4. In the Properties dialog box, click the Shortcut tab, and in the Shortcut key box, enter a Control key combination or a Controlדhift key combination, (that is, CTRL+ALT+M or CTRL+SHIFT+M when M is for music), and then click OK.

Anytime you hit the key combination you specified, your folder will open, even when other programs are maximized! This tip can be applied to folders, programs, and text file shortcuts that are placed on the desktop.

Set Internet Explorer 6 to Run in Kiosk Mode

Kiosk mode means setting the browser window to full screen view with just a scroll bar for navigation. To provide additional controls, such as access to the Back, Forward, or Refresh buttons, you can set Internet Explorer 6 in partial kiosk mode, which includes a smaller toolbar at the top of the browser window. To add a Full Screen button to this toolbar, so that you can move easily from full screen view to the standard browser window, do this:

1. Right-click the toolbar at the top of the browser window, and then click Customize.

2. In the Customize Toolbar dialog box, click Full Screen under Available toolbar buttons, click Add, and then click Close.

To hide the toolbar at the top of the window entirely, do this:

1. When in full screen mode, right-click the toolbar.

2. Click Auto-Hide.

Now you can view Web pages at full size without any controls getting in the way. When you want to view the toolbar again, move the pointer over the top of the Web page. If you don't want to add a Full Screen button to the toolbar, you can also toggle between full screen and the standard view by pressing F11.

Use Your Keyboard if Your Mouse Goes Dead

If your mouse is not functioning, don't panic. You can use your keyboard to move around the Windows XP desktop. The keys to get used to are the Windows key, the arrow keys, and the Enter key.

For example, if you want to shut down the computer so that you can troubleshoot your mouse:

1. Press the Windows key

2. Press the up arrow key one time to highlight Shut Down, and then press Enter.

3. Press the up and down arrow key to select Shut Down from the menu, and then press Enter.

4. Use your Esc key to cancel.

5. Or, unplug mouse, then plug back in. Windows should re-detect.

Switch Between Users Quickly

You're using your Windows XP, and suddenly your sister who's late for school comes running down the stairs, pulls your arm, and needs to print her homework. The fastest way to do that is to use a keyboard shortcut for switching users. Press the Windows logo key + L to quickly switch to the Welcome screen. Neat huh?

Fast User Switching is not available for members of a domain. Fast User Switching will not appear if it has not been turned on in User Accounts in Control Panel.

Manually Put Your Computer Into Hibernation

If you are using Windows XP Home Edition, or Windows XP Professional with Fast User Switching turned on, the Turn Off Computer menu will present the options to Stand By, Turn Off, or Restart your computer. You might want to put your computer into Hibernate mode, a cool feature in Windows XP that is hidden in the Turn Off Computer box. To manually place your computer into hibernation (after enabling hibernation on your computer) follow this tip:

1. Click Start, and then click Turn off computer.

2. Press and hold the Shift key. The label under the first button on the left changes from Stand By to Hibernate.

3. Click the Hibernate button.

To enable hibernation support on your computer:

You must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators or Power Users group. If your computer is connected to a network, network policy settings may prevent this procedure.

1. Click Start, click Control Panel, click Performance and Maintenance, and then click Power Options.

2. Click the Hibernate tab, and then select the Enable hibernate support check box. If the Hibernate tab is not available, your hardware does not support this feature.

3. Click OK to close the Power Options dialog box.

Note: When you put your computer into hibernation, everything in computer memory is saved on your hard disk. When you turn the computer back on, all programs and documents that were open when you turned the computer off are restored on the desktop.

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  • 2 months later...

Simple hack-back to disable USB drives in XP

- Perfect for public machines

There is a simple registry change that will keep the USB storage drivers from starting when the system boots. Keeps people from walking up to a PC and copying data off with a USB key, but allows you to keep your scanner, keyboard, and mouse working.

[As always - back your system up before messing around in the registry]

Just open regedit and browse to this key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesUsbStor

Notice the value 'Start'

Switch this value to 4, and USB storage devices are disabled.

Switch this value to 3, and USB storage devices are enabled.

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