Customize Windows XP

 Customize XP Tips ‘n’ Tricks
1) Remove windows messenger from WinXP one forever Go to Run box and type next: runDll32 advpack.dll, LaunchINFSection %windir%\INF\msmsgs.inf,BLC.Remove 2) Disable XP Error Reporting Right click on MyComputer choose Properties In System Properties click on Advenced In Advenced click on Error Reporting Check "Disable error reporting" Leave unchecked field "But notify me when critical errors occur" 3) Hide 'User Accounts' from users Go to Start/Run, and type: GPEDIT.MSC Open the path User Config > Admin Templates > Control Panel doubleclick "Hide specified Control Panel applets" put a dot in 'enabled', then click 'Show" click Add button, type "nusrmgt.cpl" into the add box 4) Create Your Own Logon Message Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK. In the Registry Editor, drill down to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon Right-click LegalNoticeCaption, click Modify, type My Windows XP Machine, and then click OK. Right-click LegalNoticeText, click Modify, and then type your message. Close the editor and your new message will appear at every log on. This tip applies to computers that are part of a domain. For stand-alone or peer-to-peer networks, the custom screen appears just before the Welcome screen. 5) Disable balloon tips Run regedit and Navigate to Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion \Explorer\Advanced then set the value of 'EnableBalloonTips' to 0. 6) Create your own popup menu in the taskbar You can create your own popup window other than START MENU in the taskbar. Put all the shortcuts to the applications that you want to popup in a folder. Then you right click on taskbar ->toolbars ->new toolbar -> and select the folder

7) Reset Your Password On XP 1. Restart you computer 2. When booting, press F8 and select "Safe Mode" 3. After getting to the user menu. Click on a user and this time it will not ask you for a password 4. Go to Start>Run and type "CMD" (without the quotes). 5. At command prompt type in "cd C:WindowsSystem32" (without the quotes), I am assuming C is your System/Windows Drive 6.For safety purposes first make a backup of your Logon.Scr file.. You can do this by typing in "Copy to Logon.scr to Logon.bak" (without the quotes) 7.Then type "copy CMD.EXE Logon.scr"(without the quotes) 8.Then type this command, I will assume that you want to set Administrator's password to "MyNewPass" (without the quotes) 9.Now, type this in (I am assuming that you are still in the directory C:WindowsSystem32) , "net user administrator MyNewPass" without the quotes 10. You will get a message saying that it was successful, this means Administrator's new password is "MyNewPass" (without the quotes) 11. Restart the PC and you will login as Administrator (or whatever you chose to reset) with your chosen password 8) Create your own Internet Explorer Toolbar First, create your HTML file and place it in whatever folder is easiest for you to remember. ( I have a folder on my D drive called Desktop Toolbars. ) Go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\AboutURLs Create a new String Value with an easy to remember name. Ex: TopToolbar ,BottomToolbar ,GoogleSearchPage In the data for the new string value you've created, put the COMPLETE address for the HTML page you want to display in a toolbar. Like this: D:\Desktop_Toolbars\TopBar.html To show your new toolbar, right-click on your taskbar and choose "Toolbars" > New Toolbar. In the box labeled Folder:, type about: with the name of the string value you created that represents the HTML file you want to see in your toolbar. Like this:

about:TopBar will display your D:\Desktop_Toolbars\TopBar.html in your taskbar. about:BottomBar about:GoogleSearchPage See this screenshot for a visual example of something simple you can do:

Speed Up Windows XP and Improve performance

1) Shutting down WinXP faster When a user shuts down Windows XP, first the system has to kill all services currently running. Every once in a while the service does not shut down instantly and windows give it a change to shut down on its own before it kills it. This amount of time that windows wait is stored in the system registry. If you modify this setting, then windows will kill the service earlier. To modify the setting, follow the directions below: Click on Start, and then goto run, type REGEDIT Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control. Click on the "Control" Folder. Select "WaitToKillServiceTimeout" Right click on it and select Modify. Set it a value lower than 4000 2) 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, clear the box for Users Must Enter A User Name And Password To Use This Computer, and click on OK. An Automatically Log On dialog box will appear; enter the user name and password for the account you want to use. 3) Windows XP SP2 Tweaks Disable the SP antivirus and firewall functions [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Security Center] "AntiVirusDisableNotify"=dword:00000001 "FirewallDisableNotify"=dword:00000001 ; don't monitor firewall and antivirus "AntiVirusOverride"=dword:00000001 "FirewallOverride"=dword:00000001

Turn off Auto Updates [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Aut o Update] "AUOptions"=dword:00000001 ;disable Auto Update [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Security Center] "UpdatesDisableNotify"=dword:00000001 Turn off the SP2 firewall [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\WindowsFirewall\DomainProfile] "EnableFirewall"=dword:00000000 turn off firewall policy for domain profile [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\WindowsFirewall\StandardProfile] "EnableFirewall"=dword:00000000 4) Disable unnecessary Services Caution: Exercise caution when stopping services. If you do not know what a service does or are unsure of the ramifications of stopping the service, leave it alone. Some services are critical to Windows XP's operations, so make sure you understand what the service is before you disable it. Open Control Panel/Administrative ToolsServices or else select Start/Run, type services.msc, and click OK. Either way, you see the Services console. Notice that on the General tab, you see a Startup Type drop-down menu. If you want to change an automatic service to manual, select Manual here and click OK. As a general rule, don't disable a service unless you are sure you will never use it. However, manual configuration allows the service to be started when you find it necessary, thus speeding up your boot time. However, before you change a service to manual, look at the Dependencies tab. This tab shows you which other services depend upon the service you are considering changing. Tip: The Indexing service and the System Restore service take up a lot of disk space and system resources across the board. You can live without the Indexing service but I suggest that you keep using System Restore. It works great when you are in a bind and this is one case where the loss of speed may not be worth the ramifications of not using System Restore. While disabling services, check and make sure that IIS (internet information server) is not installed and running if you do not want to run a web server, ftp, or mail server. If you find it, you can uninstall from the control panel. If you only want to run one of the 3 services it provides, disable the other 2 (the 3 should be HTTP server, FTP server, & SMTP server).
No. Service Name Comment/Detail

1 2

Terminal Services Telnet server

Disable this service unless you actually use this feature Same as above. Huge security risk here

3 4

Background intelligent transfer service Messenger

5 6 7 8

Remote registry service Routing and remote access Computer Browser DHCP Client

This service sends alert messages on a local area network (it is not the same as Windows Messenger). If you are not on a network, you can disable this service. This service allows remote users to modify the Registry on your computer. If you are not on a network, you can disable this service. only useful if you use ICS If your computer is not on a network, you don't need this service. If you are on a network, leave it alone. If you are not on a network, you do not need this service. If you are on a small workgroup, you can still increase boot time by configuring manual IP addresses

9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing Portable Media Serial Number Remote Desktop Help Session Manager Server SSDP Discovery Service TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper Service Windows Time Wireless Zero Configuration Alerter Security Center Windows Firewall Application Layer Gateway Automatic updates

Unless you want to share files. Only useful if you often access other Window's shares to get files. unless you use an internet time server If do not use wireless networking devices, you can disable this service. If you do not use these features, you can disable them. a part of the Windows Firewall setup This service enables Windows XP to check the Web automatically for updates. If you don't want to use Automatic Updates, you can disable the service. Won’t hurt anything, but doesn't need to run until you need it. Set it to Manual Set it to Manual Unless you use it. If you never use the Windows XP Help and Support Center (found on the Start menu), you can disable this service. Probably won't use it, but keep it available in case. Set it to Manual Set it to Manual Unless you use it. Set it to Manual If you are not on a network, you do not need this service. If you are, leave it alone. If you don't use your computer for fax

22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32

Cryptographic services Distributed Link Tracking Client Error Reporting and Event Log Help and Support IPSEC Security Accounts manager Task scheduler Web Client Upload Manager DNS Client Fax

33 34

IMAPI CD-Burning COM Indexing Service

35 36 37

Infrared Monitor Print Spooler System Restore Service

38 39

Themes Windows Image Acquisition Clipbook HID Input Service Fast User Switching Compatibility Network DDE Network DDE DSM Network Location Awareness (NLA) Performance Logs and Alerts QoS RSVP Secondary Logon Security Center Smart Card Uninterruptible Power Supply Volume Shadow Copy Windows User Mode Driver Framework WMI Performance Adapter

services, you can disable this one. This service enables you to burn CDs on your computer. If you never burn CDs, you can disable the service. Your computer keeps an index of files but if you rarely search for files, the service is just a resource hog. You can stop it and turn the service to manual. If you do not use infrared devices, you can disable this service. If you do not do any printing from the computer, you can disable this service. If you print, make sure you leave it as automatic. This service allows you to use System Restore. If you have turned off System Restore anyway, you do not need to turn off the service. If you do, you turn off System Restore. If you do not use themes, you can disable this service. If you do not use scanners or digital cameras, you can disable this service

41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 50 51 52 53 54 55

5) Disable Wallpapers: They slow your whole system down, so if you're willing to compromise, have a basic plain one instead! 6) Drivers: Update your hardware drivers as frequently as possible. New drivers tend to increase system speed especially in the case of graphics cards, their drivers are updated by the manufacturer very frequently! 7) Minimizing: If you want to use several programs at the same time then minimize those you are not using. This helps reduce the overload on RAM. 8) Boot Faster: The 'starting Windows 95/98' message on startup can delay your booting for a couple of seconds. To get rid of this message goes to c:\ and find the file Msdos.sys. Remove the Read-Only

option. Next, open it in Notepad or any other text editor. Finally, go to the text 'Options' within the file and make the following changes: Add BootDelay=0. To make your booting even faster, set add Logo=0 to remove the Windows logo at startup. 9) Restart only Windows: When restarting your PC, hold down Shift to only restart Windows rather than the whole system which will only take a fraction of the time. 10) Turn Off Animations: win98.jpg Go to Display Settings from the Control Panel and switch to the Effects Tab. Now turn off Show Windows Content While Dragging and Smooth Edges on Screen Fonts. This tip is also helpful with Windows XP because of the various fade/scroll effects. 11) Faster Start-Menu Access: Go to the Start menu and select Run. Now type Regedit and hit Enter. The Registry Editor will appear on the screen. Now, open the folder KEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop. You should see a MenuShowDelay value. If you don't then do the following: right click on a blank space in the right pane and select New\String. Change the name in the new value to MenuShowDelay. Now that we have the MenuShowDelay value, double click on it and enter 0 in the value data field. This sets the start menu delay to 0 milliseconds. 12) Resolutions: If you are willing to do anything for faster performance from your PC, then try lowering your display resolution. The lower it is, the faster your PC. 13) Turn off Active Desktop: win98.jpg Go to your Display Properties and switch to the Web tab. Uncheck View My Active Desktop As a Web Page. Since the Active Desktop option under Windows 98 uses a lot of system resources, this option can have a dramatic effect on the speed of the whole system. 14) Defragment Often: win98.jpg Windows 98's Defrag tool uses Application Acceleration from Intel which means that when you defragment your drive, data is physically arranged on the drive so that applications will load faster. 15) Take your PC to Bed: win98.jpg Using the Advanced Power Management feature under Windows 98 gives you the option to use the sleep command. That way, you can send your PC to sleep instead of shutting it down and then restarting it. It's as simple as pressing a button and then pressing the same button to wake it up. You can tell Windows after how many minutes/hours of inactivity to automatically sleep the machine in the Advanced Power Management section of the Control Panel. 16). Faster Internet Access: If you use the internet for reference and the sites you visit are rarely updated then try the following. In IE (the same can be done in Netscape) go to Tools, Internet Options. Next, click on Settings... in the Temporary Internet Files section. Finally, select Never for the first option and double the amount of storage space to use, click OK! 17). Benchmarking: Benchmarking can be very useful when run frequently. It can tell you how your PC's components are performing and then compare them to other machines like yours. For example, when you overclock your PC, you want to know how much more speed you have and whether it is stable. All this and more can be discovered using benchmarking. An excellent piece of software for doing this job is SiSoft Sandra which can be found in the 18) Start Up Programs: win98.jpg Windows can be slowed down when programs run on start up. To eliminate this, check your Start up folder. You can access it from the start menu: Start, Programs, Start Up. Another way to eliminate programs from loading even before Windows actually starts is by doing the following: Click on Start, then Run. Type msconfig. It will take quite a long time for this program

to load, but when you finally see it on your screen, explore the different tabs. They all have to do with how quickly your PC boots, so select what you want, and uncheck what you don't want! 19) Fonts: When Windows starts, it loads every single font in the Fonts folder. Therefore, the more fonts you have, the slower the booting process. To get rid of unwanted fonts, simply go to the Fonts folder under c:\windows and remove whatever you don't want. Fonts that have a red letter 'A' as their icon are system fonts, so don't delete them. 20) Stretching Wallpapers: win98.jpg Don't "stretch" your wallpaper in Windows 98 since it actually slows Windows down when you drag icons around on the desktop. 21) Eliminate Pests Start by visiting the Windows Update site to make sure you have the latest patches for your version of the OS. Next, check your antivirus and antispyware utilities for updates, and then run a complete check of your system with each tool.Once the scans come up clean, disconnect from the Internet and any local networks you might be on, and shut down each of the utilities’ autoprotect features. This will make it easier to spot the CPU-cycle robbers on your system. 22) Zap Unwanted Programs many of the programs that came preinstalled on your computer automatically launch helper programs when Windows starts, often doing little more than adding to the flurry of applets swirling around in the Windows atmosphere. First, jettison unneeded Windows components. In XP, click Start Control Panel Add or Remove Programs, and choose Add/ Remove Windows Components in the left pane. (The steps are similar in older versions of the operating system.) Two prime candidates for deletion are Games (click Accessories and Utilities Details Games Details, and uncheck those you don’t want) and MSN Explorer (simply uncheck it and step through the wizard). When you’re done, click Next and Finish.You can remove well-behaved applications by using Control Panel’s Add or Remove Programs applet, but if the program has its own undelete option (likely on its submenu in All Programs), use that. If the program still appears in Add or Remove Pro-grams after you do so, or if it doesn’t have its own undelete function, select it in the list of ‘Currently installed programs’, click Remove or Change/Remove, and follow the instructions (as shown below left). Some security programs have only a ‘Change’ option, requiring removal by their own uninstall component. Click Show updates at the top of this window to see the various Windows and Office patches that have been added to your system. If you delete a Windows or Office patch here, however, Windows concludes that you want to undo the patch, rather than just remove the files. Rolling back patches is risky. Sometimes programs remain in the Add or Remove Programs list after they have been uninstalled. Others insist on running components even after they’ve been removed, and icons for some removed programs may continue to appear in your system tray (next to the clock), the Ghosts of Applications Past. When you encounter such a spectral program, click its Remove or Change/Remove button again. Windows XP with Service Pack 2 may recognize your second try as an attempt to remove the entry from the Add or Remove Programs list, and fix the problem automatically. If that doesn’t work, shift Windows into Safe Mode: Restart your computer, hold down the <F8> key, and choose Safe Mode. Use the Remove/Change option in Add or Remove Programs once again. If that doesn’t work either, haul out the heavy artillery. While you can manually remove stuck entries by editing the Registry.Microsoft has a much more thorough and less dangerous option called the Windows Installer Cleanup Utility. Download that from Microsoft.

23) Poke Autostart Porkers

once you’ve deleted all the programs you can live without, look for cycle-stealing apps that run unnecessarily in the background on your system. The majority of self-starting Windows processes, inscrutable though they may be, serve vital roles. For example, if you press <Ctrl>-<Alt>-<Del> to bring up the Windows Task Manager, you may see ten copies of the file svchost.exe among your processes. Don’t worry. Svchost.exe is a wrapper a program that runs other programs and having half a dozen running all the time is common. If you read somewhere that Windows runs blazingly fast if you just disable one of these Windows services, be skeptical, and think twice before you stop any Windows service without knowing for sure that you don’t need it. 24) Whip Disks Into Shape having plenty of empty space on your hard drive is important for good Windows performance, as it allows room for virtual memory.Fortunately, clearing space on a drive is usually pretty easy. For example, few people need anywhere near the hard-disk space that Windows sets aside for the Recycle Bin the default is 10 percent of the drive’s total capacity. That’s 3GB of a 30GB hard drive. To make some room, rightclick the Recycle Bin, choose Properties, swing the slider down to 3 percent or less, and click OK. That would still give you almost a gigabyte to temporarily store deleted files on our example 30GB hard drive, which should be plenty under most circumstances. Another storage profligate is Windows’ System Restore, which uses a ton of hard-drive space to hold restore points that you will never need. To trim them, right-click My Computer, choose Properties System Restore, drag the slider down to 3 percent or less, and click OK (see image at right). That should be sufficient for at least two restore points on my example 30GB drive. Now you should run Windows’ Disk Cleanup: Click Start Run, type cleanmgr /sageset:99, and press <Enter>. Check each type of file you want to look for (I check them all), and click OK. Right-click the C: drive in My Computer and choose Properties Disk Cleanup. You’ll see a list of a dozen or so kinds of files that you can delete. Check the categories you don’t need, click OK, and then click Yes You may want to leave some entries unchecked, however. The contents of your Temporary Internet Files folder, for example, can help speed up Internet Explorer by reducing the amount of data you have to download to view Web pages that you return to frequently.more.) Also, if you delete your Office Setup files, some Office 2003 updates may not function properly.Once you’ve emptied the trash, restart your computer, right-click your C: drive in My Computer, and choose Properties Tools Defragment Now. In the Disk Defragmenter dialog box, click Analyze. If the Analyzer reports that you need to defrag the drive, wait until you can afford to leave your computer alone for a few hours before proceeding. In fact, there is some disagreement as to whether defragging actually improves your system’s performance. The consensus at present, however, is that defragging your hard drive periodically does indeed result in faster data accesses. 25) Automate Your Registry Scrubs you could spend the next ten years fiddling with Registry keys, cache parameters, menu delay settings, and a thousand other minute Windows details. Or you can take advantage of the years of work that other folks have devoted to the cause of achieving a more shipshape Windows. Two of my favorites are Macecraft’s $30 jv16 PowerTools (30-day free trial) and the Registry scanner in Iolo Technologies’ $50 System Mechanic utility suite (30-day free trial).Both programs make it easy to clear the crud from your Registry. (Note: The Registry is a terrible thing to muck up, so avoid no-name Registry cleaners like the plague.)

26) Manual IP Addressing on Small Office/Home Networks

Windows XP is configured to help you take care of networking. It uses the TCP/IP protocol for networking in workgroups, or what you might call small office or home networks that do not use a dedicated server. The problem is that automatic IP addressing can be slow. When your computer boots, it has to query the network to see what IP addresses are already in use and then assign itself one. If you want to speed up the boot time a bit, consider manually assigning IP addresses to all computers on the network. This way, the network computers do not have to worry about locating an automatic IP address. Because one is manually configured, the operating system doesn't have to spend time solving this problem. This isn't a networking book, however, so I won't delve into the implications of using a manual IP address, but if you are using a computer that functions as a host computer to the Internet (using Internet Connection Sharing [ICS]), you can get into connectivity problems if you change the configuration of the IP address. However, you can still work around this problem by starting with the ICS host computer. Select Start/Connect To/Show All Connections. Right-click your network adapter card and click Properties. On the General tab, select TCP/IP in the list of services and click the Properties button. In the TCP/IP properties, you can see if you use an automatic or manual IP address. In the example in Figure 4-5, I have configured a manual IP address of and a default subnet mask. The other computers on my office network each use a different IP address in the same class, such as,,, and so on. This way, each computer has a permanent IP address, which helps increase boot time. Note that if you change the IP addresses of your computers, they must all use the same subnet mask. A default subject mask of will keep you in good shape. Make sure you understand the implications of changing IP addresses on your network. If you have no networking experience at all, you may be wiser to leave the automatic IP addressing as is and try to gain some speed using the additional suggestions in this chapter. 27) Disabling Recent Documents History Windows XP includes a feature that keeps track of all recent documents you have opened or used. The idea is that you can select Start/Recent Documents History and quickly reopen any document you have recently used. I use many documents each day and never use the feature myself. In my opinion, I can keep up with what I want to use without Windows XP doing it for me. The bad thing about Recent Documents History is that Windows XP has to calculate what should be put there each time you boot Windows, which can slow things down. So, if you never use the Recent Documents History, it's a good idea to disable it. Here's how: 1. Open the Registry Editor (select Start/Run, type regedit, and click OK). 2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Mcft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer. 3. Create a NoRecentDocsHistory D_WORD key. Double-click the value to open it once it is created. 4. Set the Data Value to 1 to enable the restriction. 5. Click OK and close the Registry Editor. You'll need to restart the computer for the change to take effect. 28) Disabling the Boot Logo

You can remove the boot logo that appears when you start Windows XP. This little tweak probably shaves only a few seconds off your boot time but seconds count if you are serious about trying to get Windows XP up and running as quickly as possible. The only negative is that if you remove the boot logo, you will also not see any boot messages, such as check disk. (But if you are not having problems with your computer, this isn't such a big deal.) To remove the boot logo, follow these steps: 1. Select Start/Run, type msconfig, and click OK. 2. In the System Configuration Utility, click the BOOT.INI tab. 3. On the BOOT.INI tab, click the NOGUIBOOT check box option. Click OK. 29) disable Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop Sharing. you have two remote networking features called Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop Sharing. These remote networking features are very helpful in a variety of situations but if you don't use them, it is good idea to disable them to save boot time. You can always enable them later if you want to use them. Note: If you are interested in using Remote Desktop or Remote Assistance, see my book Windows XP for Power Users: Power Pack published by John Wiley & Sons. 1. Open the Start menu, right-click My Computer, and choose Properties. 2. Click the Remote Tab. 3. Clear both check boxes to disable Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop. 30) Speeding Up the Dual-Boot Timeout If you dual-boot your computer with Windows XP and another operating system, you see an operating system selection menu on startup. If you typically boot into Windows XP and not the other operating system, you can speed up the dual-boot timeout value so that you do not wait so long for the boot process to select your default operating system and continue with the boot process. The default timeout value is 30 seconds but you can change this setting to 10. This gives you enough time to select the alternate operating system if you want but also speeds up the boot process. You can skip this section if you do not use a dual-boot configuration. Follow these steps: 1. Locate the boot.ini file on your computer. It is a hidden file by default; mine is located in C:\boot.ini. 2. Open the file with Notepad (which is what opens it by default). 3. Change the Timeout value to 10 (see Figure 4-11). 4. Select File/Save and close Notepad. 31) Speeding Up Your PPPoE Connection If you use a Point-to-Point Protocol connection over Ethernet (PPPoE), you may notice a delay in using the PPPoE connection after startup. By default, there is a 120 second delay but you can stop this behavior by manually configuring an IP address for the network adapter card. If you do not use a PPPoE connection, you can skip this section. 1. Select Start/Connect to/Show All Connections.

2. Open the TCP/IP properties for your LAN network interface card. 3. Manually set the IP address on the TCP/IP properties to an appropriate IP address and subnet mask for your network. 32) Reducing the Wait Time When you start to shut down Windows XP, it has to quit, or "kill," any live applications or processes that are currently running. So close all applications first. However, some applications and processes are always running in the background. You can reduce the amount of time that Windows XP waits for those applications and processes to close before Windows XP kills them. Edit three different Registry settings to change this: 1. Open the Registry Editor. 2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop. Select WaitToKillAppTimeout and set the value to 1000. 3. Select the HungAppTimeout value and set it to 1000 as well. 4. Navigate to HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop. Set the WaitToKillAppTimeout and set the value to 1000. Select the HungAppTimeout \newline value and set it to 1000 as well. 5. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control. Select the WaitToKillServiceTimeout value and set it to 1000. 6. Close the Registry Editor. 33) Automatically Killing Tasks on Shutdown You know the drill. You start to shut down the computer, you wait a few moments, and then you see a dialog box asking if you want to kill an application or service that is running. Instead of prompting you, you can make Windows XP take care of the kill task automatically. Here's how: 1. Open the Registry Editor. 2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop. 3. Highlight the value AutoEndTasks and change the value to 1. 4. Close the Registry Editor. 3. enable boot defragmentation, so that files used during start-up are clubbed together. 5. disable : "clear page file on shutdown" option. cleaning the page-file on every shut down means overwriting the data by zeros, and it takes time. Start --> Run --> gpedit.msc Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options . . . Shutdown: Clear virtual memory pagefile

34) go to BIOS settings, by pressing del key during boot-up, and disable 'seek floppy drive' option. this saves time for those who do not use floppy drives.

35) disable windows startup/shutdown sounds. go to control panel,sounds & audio devices, sound tab, in program events select 'no sound' for these 2 events. 36) To control clear/not clear page file you can follow a reg tweak. Back up registry before trying this. Start->run->regedit [enter] Follow this path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management Modify (if not present, then right click in open space and create) the Value Data Type(s) and Value Name(s) as detailed below. Data Type: REG_DWORD [Dword Value] Value Name: ClearPageFileAtShutdown Setting for Value Data: [0 = Clear Page File Disabled / 1 = Clear Page File Enabled] Exit Registry and Reboot 37) Ensure that Windows XP is utilizing the NTFS file system. If you're not sure, here's how to check: First, double-click the My Computer icon, right-click on the C: Drive, then select Properties. Next, examine the File System type; if it says FAT32, then back-up any important data. Next, click Start, click Run, type CMD, and then click OK. At the prompt, type CONVERT C: /FS:NTFS and press the Enter key. This process may take a while; it's important that the computer be uninterrupted and virus-free. The file system used by the bootable drive will be either FAT32 or NTFS. I highly recommend NTFS for its superior security, reliability, and efficiency with larger disk drives. 38) Disable file indexing. The indexing service extracts information from documents and other files on the hard drive and creates a "searchable keyword index." As you can imagine, this process can be quite taxing on any system. The idea is that the user can search for a word, phrase, or property inside a document, should they have hundreds or thousands of documents and not know the file name of the document they want. Windows XP's built-in search functionality can still perform these kinds of searches without the Indexing service. It just takes longer. The OS has to open each file at the time of the request to help find what the user is looking for. Here's how: First, double-click the My Computer icon. Next, right-click on the C: Drive, then select Properties. Uncheck "Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching." Next, apply changes to "C: subfolders and files," and click OK. If a warning or error message appears (such as "Access is denied"), click the Ignore All button. 39) Once a month, run a disk cleanup. Here's how: Double-click the My Computer icon. Then rightclick on the C: drive and select Properties. Click the Disk Cleanup button -- it's just to the right of the Capacity pie graph -- and delete all temporary files. 40) In your Device Manager, double-click on the IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers device, and ensure that DMA is enabled for each drive you have connected to the Primary and Secondary controller. Do this by double-clicking on Primary IDE Channel. Then click the Advanced Settings tab. Ensure the

Transfer Mode is set to "DMA if available" for both Device 0 and Device 1. Then repeat this process with the Secondary IDE Channel. 41) Upgrade the cabling. As hard-drive technology improves, the cabling requirements to achieve these performance boosts have become more stringent. Be sure to use 80-wire Ultra-133 cables on all of your IDE devices with the connectors properly assigned to the matching Master/Slave/Motherboard sockets. A single device must be at the end of the cable; connecting a single drive to the middle connector on a ribbon cable will cause signaling problems. With Ultra DMA hard drives, these signaling problems will prevent the drive from performing at its maximum potential. Also, because these cables inherently support "cable select," the location of each drive on the cable is important. For these reasons, the cable is designed so drive positioning is explicitly clear. 42) Remove all spyware from the computer. Use free programs such as AdAware by Lavasoft or SpyBot Search & Destroy. Once these programs are installed, be sure to check for and download any updates before starting your search. Anything either program finds can be safely removed. Any free software that requires spyware to run will no longer function once the spyware portion has been removed; if your customer really wants the program even though it contains spyware, simply reinstall it. 43) Turn off any and all unnecessary animations, and disable active desktop. In fact, for optimal performance, turn off all animations. Windows XP offers many different settings in this area. Here's how to do it: First click on the System icon in the Control Panel. Next, click on the Advanced tab. Select the Settings button located under Performance. Feel free to play around with the options offered here, as nothing you can change will alter the reliability of the computer -- only its responsiveness. 44) Make sure you fewer than 500 type fonts installed on their computer. The more fonts they have, the slower the system will become. While Windows XP handles fonts much more efficiently than did the previous versions of Windows, too many fonts -- that is, anything over 500 -- will noticeably tax the system. 45) At least once a year, open the computer's cases and blow out all the dust and debris. While you're in there, check that all the fans are turning properly. Also inspect the motherboard capacitors for bulging or leaks. 46)Removing unused device drivers from Windows XP machines When you install a device driver on a Windows XP machine, the operating system loads that driver each time the computer boots regardless of whether the device is present—unless you specifically uninstall the driver. This means that drivers from devices that you have long since removed from your system may be wasting valuable system resources. Follow these steps to view and remove these unnecessary device drivers: 1. 2. 3. 4. Press [Windows] + [Break] to bring up the System Properties dialog box. Select the Advanced tab and click the Environment Variables button. Click the New button below the System Variables panel. In the New System Variable dialog box, type devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices in the Variable Name text box and 1 in the Variable Value text box. 5. Click OK to return to the System Properties dialog box and then click OK again. 6. Select the Hardware tab and click the Device Manager button. 7. In Device Manager, go to View | Show Hidden Devices.

8. Expand the various branches in the device tree and look for the washed out icons, which indicate unused device drivers. 9. To remove an unused device driver, right-click the icon and select Uninstall.

Secure your Computer while Surfing on Internet

1) Use NTFS, not FAT for your filesystem. If you're FAT and want to change, drop to a DOS prompt and type in "convert c: /fs:ntfs". 2) Give every account on your PC a password. And make them HARD passwords. I follow the rule that it should be at least 7 letters long, not be a dictionary word, use both upper and lowercase letters, and contain a numeral and/or other ASCII character in it somewhere. For instance, real good passwords would be like: $uPrn0v@, 1nMe&U2, Ih8$p@m. Ok passwords: ilbcnU2, 14daroaD, p1zz4isgood. BAD passwords: john1, password, 3) Disable the guest account, unless you have a real reason to use it. And if you do need to use it, still give it a password. Disable or delete any other account that you do not need to use. The more active accounts you have, the more venues a hacker has to attempt an entry. 4) Rename your default administrator account. Just so it's not so easy to guess. 5) Create a separate account for you to use, not the default administrator account. You can give your account admin access while you set things up and install apps, but generally you want to make any account you use daily at most a 'Power User'. This is not only for security, but also for safety from data corruption. And if something within your profile gets corrupt and you can't log in as yourself, you can still get in as the admin account and fix things. 6) Log on as admin and go into the Local Security Policy MMC (start>Settings>Control panel>Administrative tools>Local Security Policy) and change the following: 6a) under 'local policies', 'user rights assignment', open up "Access this computer from the network" and remove everyone. Unless you have a specific reason to access file shares or printers from another computer. And in that case, add only the accounts you need and remove all the rest. repeat for "Allow logon through Terminal services". Even if you have 3 accounts that need to access a printer remotely, they don't need to use Terminal services. Remove everyone from here, unless you have a specific reason for them to be here. 6b) under 'local policies', 'security options', open up "Network access: do not allow anonymous enumeration of SAM accounts". Set this to "enable". This will stop people from using certain software tools from scanning your computer and getting your account names, share names, etc. Using a simple program called Winfo, I can scan a computer and get all the user accounts, shares, computer name, etc, if they're on the internet and have not changed this setting. 6c) 'user rights assignments'>'force shutdown from remote system'. Remove anyone here. 7) Anti-Virus software! This is no longer just good to have, it's mandatory. And keep it up to date. This is to prevent you from getting trojans and worms that you can get by doing nothing more than plugging in your cable modem. I usually recomend that you have more than one AV program. One that runs all

the time (usually called "realtime" or "autoprotect") and one that does not, and only runs when you manually run it. This way they do not conflict with each other. Why 2? Because none of them catch everything. Of similar importance is antispyware software. I have 4 of those as well. Giant, Ad-Aware, Spybot, & Hijackthis!. The rest, imho, are garbage. 8) Disable unwanted services (as mention earlier in this tutorial) 9) keep up-to-date with your critical updates and service packs. Set it to automatic, if you trust it. 10) Firewalls. It's a mixed bag. Some people swear by software firewalls, but I personally don't care for them. They tended to crash too much and use resources. The best option is to use a router that actually has a full state packet inspection firewall built into it (or another dedicated firewall device). Recomended models: Linksys BEFSX41, NetGear FR114P & WGU624, Gigabyte GN-B41G, GNB49G & GN-BR404W. There's already a how-to on software firewalls, so I won't go into that here. 11) In Internet Explorer, hit 'tools>internet options>security>internet>custom level'. Either set it to "high" or manually disable all the ActiveX and scripting options. You can set certain websites to be "trusted" in that same place (like needs to be to run windowsupdate) if you need them to run ActiveX controls and scripting commands. Otherwise, you do not want arbitrary websites to run them. If you're paranoid like me, don't even use IE. Use Firefox. It blocks popups and ActiveX by default. You still need to set these options in IE though, because these settings affect the OS and all MS programs (because IE is built into the OS). 12) Open Windows Media Player. Hit 'tools>options>security'. Make sure "run script commands" is unchecked, and "Do not run script commands.....inside a web page" IS checked. WMV files have scripting abilities (thanks MS) and these scripts can be made to do malicious things. Even if you try to not ever use WMP, it's hard to prevent it from opening media while web browsing. Windows would prefer if WMP was the default for everything, and occasionally it somehow gets reset back to default. 13) Right click "My Network Places">properties. Right click "local area connection">properties. On the "general" tab, if you do not plan on sharing folders or accessing Windows shares on your local LAN, uncheck "Client for MS networks" and "File & printer sharing for MS networks". This effectively disables these protocols on this network card. If you see "NWLink IPX/SPX" or "Client for Netware" you can uninstall them, unless you happen to have a Novell Netware server. None of this will affect web browsing or bittorrent and the like. 14) Right click "My Computer">properties. On the "Remote" tab, make sure Remote assistance and Remote desktop are both turned off. Unless you actually use Remote Desktop. 15) Shared folder permissions. There are actually 2 sets of permissions. Share permissions and NTFS permissions. NTFS permissions override share permissions. You need to set/check both to be sure that you are giving access to who you think you are. When adding users to the permissions window, be as specific as possible. That is, only add users that need to open it, and only give them enough access to do what they need. Don't just add 'everyone' with full control. Don't add the whole "Users" group if your one account is the only one that will ever access it. 16) Auditing. This might be overkill for some of you, but here goes. Go back to the Local Security Policy MMC in #6. Under 'local policies'>'audit policy' Generally I will set "Audit Account Logon Events" to Success and Failure, and "Audit Logon Events" to just Failure. What this does is the system will record every time someone logs into the PC, or

accesses a share, or if they attempted and failed. To see these recorded logons, you open the Event Viewer (start>run>eventvwr), and click on "security log". It'll tell you date/time, account names, PC name they were on, and etc. Great for tracking down if someone hacked, or tried to hack you with the good old "net use" commands or something.

No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Application Character Map -- charmap.exe cleanmgr.exe Clipboard Viewer -- clipbrd.exe Dr Watson -- drwtsn32.exe DirectX diagnosis -- dxdiag.exe Private character editor -- eudcedit.exe IExpress Wizard -- iexpress.exe Microsoft Synchronization Manager -mobsync.exe Windows Media Player 5.1 -mplay32.exe ODBC Data Source Administrator -odbcad32.exe Object Packager -- packager.exe System Monitor -- perfmon.exe Program Manager -- progman.exe Remote Access phone book -rasphone.exe Registry Editor -- regedt32.exe ,also regedit.exe Network shared folder wizard -shrpubw.exe sigverif.exe sndvol32.exe System Configuration Editor -sysedit.exe Syskey -- syskey.exe Use very useful for finding unusual characters Disk Cleanup views contents of Windows clipboard Troubleshooting tool Diagnose & test DirectX, video & sound cards allows creation or modification of characters Create self-extracting / self-installing package appears to allow synchronization of files on the network for when working offline. Apparently undocumented Retro version of Media Player, very basic connecting to databases to do with packaging objects for insertion in files, appears to have comprehensive help files very useful, highly configurable tool, tells you everything you ever wanted to know about any aspect of PC performance, for uber-geeks only Legacy Windows 3.x desktop shell documentation is virtually non-existant for hacking the Windows Registry creates shared folders on network File signature verification tool Volume Control modify System.ini & Win.ini just like in Win98! Secures XP Account database - use with care, it's virtually undocumented but it appears to encrypt all passwords, I'm not sure of the full implications Microsoft Telnet Client Seems to be a utility for monitoring the actions of drivers, might be useful for people having driver problems. Undocumented appears to be an old NT utility to allow chat sessions over a LAN, help files available can use to control starup programs

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telnet.exe Driver Verifier Manager -- verifier.exe Windows for Workgroups Chat -winchat.exe System configuration -- msconfig.exe

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gpedit.msc control userpasswords2 System file Checker -SFC.exe/scannow

used to manage group policies, and permissions Excellent for adding user accounts, deleting passwords etc. Verifies that windows protected files are correct

Run Commands
No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Command Name compmgmt.msc devmgmt.msc diskmgmt.msc dfrg.msc eventvwr.msc fsmgmt.msc gpedit.msc lusrmgr.msc perfmon.msc rsop.msc secpol.msc services.msc msconfig regedit msinfo32 sysedit win.ini winver mailto: Detail Computer management Device manager Disk management Disk defrag Event viewer Shared folders Group policies Local users and groups Performance monitor Resultant set of policies Local security settings Various Services System Configuration Utility Registry Editor System Information System Edit windows loading information(also system.ini) Shows current version of windows Opens default email client

Control Panel Command
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 timedate.cpl desk.cpl findfast.cpl fonts inetcpl.cpl main.cpl keyboard main.cpl mmsys.cpl netcpl.cpl password.cpl printers mmsys.cpl sounds sysdm.cpl Date/Time Properties Display Properties control FindFast Fonts Folder Internet Properties Keyboard Properties Mouse Properties Multimedia Properties Network Properties Password Properties Printers Folder Sound Properties System Properties

Command Prompt

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Detail Defines functions that change display graphics, control cursor movement, and reassign keys. Causes MS-DOS to look in other directories when editing a file or running a command. Displays, adds, and removes arp information from network devices Assign a drive letter to an alternate letter View the file associations Schedule a time to execute commands or programs. Lists connections and addresses seen by Windows ATM call manager. Display and change file attributes. Recovery console command that executes a series of commands in a file. Recovery console command that allows a user to view, modify, and rebuild the boot.ini Enable / disable CTRL + C feature. View and modify file ACL's. Calls a batch file from another batch file. Changes directories. Supplement the International keyboard and character set information. Changes directories. Check the hard disk drive running FAT for errors. Check the hard disk drive running NTFS for errors. Specify a listing of multiple options within a batch file. Clears the screen. Opens the command interpreter. Easily change the foreground and background color of the MS-DOS window. Compares files. Compresses and uncompress files. Open control panel icons from the MS-DOS prompt. Convert FAT to NTFS. Copy one or more files to an alternate location. Change the computers input/output devices. View or change the systems date. Debug utility to create assembly programs to modify hardware settings. Re-arrange the hard disk drive to help with loading programs. Deletes one or more files. Recovery console command that deletes a file. Deletes one or more files and/or directories. List the contents of one or more directory. Recovery console command that disables Windows system services or drivers. Compare a disk with another disk. Copy the contents of one disk and place them on another disk. Command to view and execute commands that have been run in the past. A GUI to help with early MS-DOS users.

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Enables overwrite of original device drivers. Displays messages and enables and disables echo. View and edit files. View and edit files. Load extended Memory Manager. Recovery console command to enable a disable service or driver. Stops the localization of the environment changes enabled by the setlocal command. Erase files from computer. Expand a Microsoft Windows file back to it's original format. Exit from the command interpreter. Extract files from the Microsoft Windows cabinets. Displays a listing of MS-DOS commands and information about them Compare files. Utility used to create partitions on the hard disk drive. Search for text within a file. Searches for a string of text within a file. Writes a new boot sector. Writes a new boot record to a disk drive. Boolean used in batch files. Command to erase and prepare a disk drive. Command to connect and operate on a FTP server. Displays or modifies file types used in file extension associations. Moves a batch file to a specific label or location. Show extended characters in graphics mode. Display a listing of commands and brief explanation. Allows for batch files to perform conditional processing. 32-bit file manager. Network command to view network adapter settings and assigned values. Change layout of keyboard. Change the label of a disk drive. Load a device driver in to high memory. Recovery console command that displays the services and drivers. Load a program above the first 64k. Load a device driver in to high memory. Lock the hard disk drive. Recovery console command to list installations and enable administrator login. Displays the device name of a drive. Command to create a new directory. Display memory on system. Command to create a new directory. Modify the port or display settings. Display one page at a time. Move one or more files from one directory to another directory. Early Microsoft Virus scanner. Diagnostics utility. Utility used to load and provide access to the CD-ROM. Displays protocol statistics and current TCP/IP connections using NBT

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Update, fix, or view the network or network settings Configure dynamic and static network information from MS-DOS. Display the TCP/IP network protocol statistics and information. Load country specific information. Look up an IP address of a domain or host on a network. View and modify the computers path location. View and locate locations of network latency. Command used in batch files to stop the processing of a command. Test / send information to another network computer or network device. Changes to the directory or network path stored by the pushd command. Conserve power with computer portables. Prints data to a printer port. View and change the MS-DOS prompt. Stores a directory or network path in memory so it can be returned to at any time. Open the QBasic. Removes an empty directory. Renames a file or directory. Renames a file or directory. Removes an empty directory. View and configure windows network route tables. Enables a user to execute a program on another computer. Run the scandisk utility. Scan registry and recover registry from errors. Change one variable or string to another. Enables local environments to be changed without affecting anything else. Installs support for file sharing and locking capabilities. Change MS-DOS version to trick older MS-DOS programs. Changes the position of replaceable parameters in a batch program. Shutdown the computer from the MS-DOS prompt. Create a disk cache in conventional memory or extended memory. Sorts the input and displays the output to the screen. Start a separate window in Windows from the MS-DOS prompt. Substitute a folder on your computer for another drive letter. Remove add functions from MS-DOS. Transfer system files to disk drive. Telnet to another computer / device from the prompt. View or modify the system time. Change the title of their MS-DOS window. Visually view a network packets route across a network. View a visual tree of the hard disk drive. Display the contents of a file. Undelete a file that has been deleted. Unformat a hard disk drive. Unlock a disk drive. Display the version information. Enables or disables the feature to determine if files have been written

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properly. Displays the volume information about the designated drive. Copy multiple files, directories, and/or drives from one location to another. When placed before a file, will display the whole directory in which it exists It allows you to kill those unneeded or locked up applications