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Windows - Latest Posts

Get rid of obsolete drivers

Did you ever upgrade the hardware of your computer with, lets say, a new graphic or sound card ? Did you know that the drivers and registry settings of the old cards are still on your system and normally not removed ? This could let to errors especially if you did install additional utilities that try to speed up video playback for instance. I'm going to show a way to remove all those obsolete drivers and registry settings.

run system tools windows

Faster Access to XP system tools

What do you do if you want to access one of the administrative programs in Windows XP ? You click through various menus most of the time to reach the destination. If you wanted to reach the Device Manager you would have to click on Start, Control Panel, System, Hardware Tab and then the Device Manager.

xp iso builder

Upgrade a Windows XP Recovery CD to a full installation one

Many hardware companies sell their systems with a windows xp recovery cd which makes it most of the time impossible to install that operating system on a different system. This forces the user to either buy a new XP system or at least a standalone XP Cd, that is, unless you do what I'm going to explain here. The following steps create a bootable standalone installation system for your operating system that is not connected to the computer you purchased it with.

folder redirector

Move Special Folders like My Documents to a different path

If you want to move folders that are automatically created by windows xp on your c: drive to another path or folder you might face a problem. Simply moving the folders won't work which means there must be another way to relocate them. The easiest way that I've come up with is to use the freeware called Folder Redirector which makes it simple and fast to redirect the following folders to a different folder or drive on your system.

Add Defragment Now to the right-click menu

Defragmenting the hard drives of your computer is important especially for users who install lots of programs or perform lots of read and write operations on their hard drives (p2p users for instance). In a perfect world files would be written contiguously on the hard drive - in the world of windows they are not. Read operations waste more time because all the bits that make the file are not in one place but scattered around the complete hard drive. Defragmenting the drive moves them closer to each other to speed up loading times.

keep user display settings

Different Display Settings for each User in XP

Windows XP has the annoying habit of assuming that every user wants to run his operating system with the same screen resolution, color depth and refresh rate. If you ever had to share a computer running windows xp with older folks you know what I mean - they tend to love low resolutions because everything on the screen appears to be bigger that way.

volumouse

Control the volume of sound easily

Sounds on my computer seem to be different depending on the application that is used to play the sounds. Sometimes I have almost silent video playback and loud intros when playing games. What's the matter with the differences ? Volumouse gives you immediate control of the volume on your computer making it possible to alter it without leaving the application that you are currently working with.

Windows Vista Release Candidate 2 Download

Microsoft finally released the second release candidate of their upcoming Windows Vista operating system. Everyone is free to download the 32-bit or 64-bit version on the Microsoft Vista homepage. As always this version will only work 15 days if you do not have a key for Vista which you can get following this link, you need a windows live id - so signup to get one if you do not have it.

windows thumbnail previews

Change the Windows Thumbnail Preview Size

Well this is just a little registry hack that changes the size of the thumbnails of images that are displayed in windows explorer by default. The default size is relativly small and most people surely would like a bigger size for the thumbnails to get a better preview of the images. To do that you have to add a new entry called ThumbnailSize to the following registry key:

Windows Vista RC1 64-bit client download

Until yesterday it was only possible to download the 32-bit client version of the release candidate 1 of Windows Vista. Yesterday Microsoft added the Vista 64-bit client to the download list which can be downloaded through your browser by either using a direct download or Microsofts download manager. As usual this version is time limited and will stop working on June, 1st 2007. You will also need a product key for vista, I wrote a little article detailing the procedure to receive one.

clavier windows keyboard shortcuts

Add PC Wide Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts make our lifes easier, hitting Win +M is nicer than to minimize every windows by hand. Windows XP already has a method of assigning new keyboard shortcuts to programs but this method is very limited. You are only allowed to assign shortcuts using a combination of at least two STRG, ALT and SHIFT keys plus one additional letter, number or symbol.

usb dumper

How to dump all USB files without the user knowing

USBdumper runs silently as a background process once started and copies the complete content of every connected usb device to the system without the knowledge of the user. It creates a directory with the current date and begins the background copying process. The user has no indication that his files are copied from his USB drive unless he does know that USBdumper is running on the system. (or accidentally find the directory with the copied files).

Bypass Microsoft Software WGA Checks

I wrote an article some days ago about a way to download the latest Microsoft software from Microsoft.com without wga, windows genuine advantage, checks. Several users had problems installing the software afterwards because a second check was performed during the installation of the software. It did not install if the check failed and there was not way to prevent the check from happening. Until now..

How to get a product key for Vista RC1

Beta and release candidate versions of Windows Vista, Microsofts latest operating system, can be download from the official Microsoft Vista website but getting a product key did not seem to be that easy. Everyone was able to download Windows Vista but this did not mean that you would receive a product key to activate the beta or release candidate. Without a product key Vista would only work for 14 days.

sysmenusizing

Resize any window to predefined size

Sizer is a great freeware application that lets you resize any window to a predefined size. It is only 30k unpacked and can be started from any location on your computer. Once started a icon appears in the system tray that allows you to configure sizer. You are free to add exact pixel sizes to the configuration which appear when you right click any window that is open. You may also opt to reposition the window while resizing it, sizer offers some default locations like top left or bottom right but has another option that makes it possible to enter the coordinates yourself.

x-mouse gizmo

Copy Paste with middle mouse button

I received an email some days ago from a reader who would like to know if there was a program for Microsoft windows that would replicate the middle mouse functionality of Linux systems, that is copy a text with the first click and paste the text with the second click. Lucky me had already a bookmark to the freeware true x-mouse gizmo for windows website so I send him that information and think it made him happy.

my computer taskbar

How to add My Computer to the Task Bar

This little tweak is really helpfull if you happen to have many windows open and would like to access a hard drive on your computer quickly. Sure, you could hit the left windows key and M and all windows become minimized but you still have to double click the my computer icon and the hard drive icon before you are there - that is if you have my computer on your desktop at all.

Windows Vista RC1 available

Despite the latest rumors of postponing the released of the release candidate of Microsofts upcoming Windows Vista operating system a download link for the release candidate was made public earlier this day. Head over to Microsofts official Windows Vista website and grab it while it is hot. The size of the release candidate is 3677 megabytes and available in iso format. You will have to burn the iso to a dvd before you can install the new version.

Enhance your desktop with Samurize

The classic Windows desktop looks really boring, you can set a background image, edit some icons and enable some effects. Samurize has actually two benefits. First it is a system monitor, it displays information about your system, information that you specify like free disk space, your current IP address or a weather forecast. Besides that it enhances the desktop by applying a skin to the windows system. Take a look at the two examples below.

Windows Vista Price Leaked

What would we do without online retailers who are quick at adding new products and at the same time confirm the price of the product this way. This time it was amazon.com who added product pages for all Windows Vista versions, which as you might now will be available in seven different versions. Windows Vista Home Basic Edition is the cheapest version of Windows Vista with a price of 199$ and can be compared to the Windows XP home version which also retailed at 199 $.

Windows Vista Pre RC1 Released

Microsoft released a new version of their upcoming Windows Vista operating system called Pre RC1 which means this should be the last version before the release candidate gets out. It is only available for a limted time so hurry up and visit their download pages right away. Only the first 100.000 users will be able to download this version, after that the download will not be available anymore.

low disk space warning

Disable Low Disk Space Warnings in Windows

Windows popups a balloon tip with a "Low Disk Space - You are running out of Disk Space" warning everytime a hard drive goes below 200 megabytes of disk space. This can get pretty annoying if you have a lot of data on the drive and your disk spaces goes regulary below 200 megabytes on it. There is however a very easy way to turn this message off, it involves a registry setting.

subst virtual drives folders

Assign Drive Letters to Folders

This tip is really great if you have some folders on your computer that you are working very often with. Instead of navigating to the folder on the hard drive you assign a drive letter to that folder and can access it like it was a own partition or hard drive on your computer. It is very easy to assign a drive letter to a folder, do the following:

Get rid of unwanted files, cache and cookies

Panicwipe is a one click solution to delete unwanted files securely from your system. The freeware is able to delete programs, files, folders, registry entrys, IE cache, history and cookies with one simple click. You´ve got full control over the whole process of course: you select the data that you want to delete, everything else remains.

add ftp server windows

How to mount an ftp server as a drive in Windows

The following tip might be useful for all the webmasters out there and everyone else who is having access to a ftp drive on the internet. Instead of connecting to the ftp with your ftp software you can simply mount the ftp drive in windows and access it like every other hard drive you have installed. Here is how you do that:

windows explorer new menu

Remove Unnecessary Entries From The New File Menu

You see lots of file types when you right click and select new from the context menu. I will never need most of them and I think this is a common problem for most windows xp users. How many users would need the briefcase entry in that menu for instance ? I don´t know a single person who would use that entry on this machine.

Restore Accidentally Deleted Files with Restoration

I´am sometimes deleting files holding down the shift-key without thinking much about it. It happens that I delete a file that I did not want to be deleted at that moment because it is still needed on my system. A very easy way to restore files that have been accidentally deleted is Restoration which is a nice little freeware application that scans your hard disk and lists all files than can be either partially or fully restored.

freshui

Tune Windows with Fresh UI

The windows tuning freeware Fresh UI has been released in a new version and I thought this would be a good moment to write an article about the software. You can customize and tweak your windows operating system with fresh ui, every windows system since 95 is supported. You find six categories on the left side at the start of the program which expand in subcategories when you click on them.

Vista Voice Recognition gone awry Video

You might have heard this story before. Microsoft was holding a press conference in which they wanted to demonstrate the voice recognition capabilities of the upcoming Windows Vista operating system. Unfortunately for Microsoft the voice recognition did not work as intended.

regeditx

How to enhance the Windows Registry

Accessing keys in the registry is a lot of work, because there is no way to enter the path to the key directly. You always have to either search for the key or navigate through the structure to the key in question. RegeditX enhances the display of your registry by adding a path form field to it. This makes it way easier to work with the registry, you can simply paste complete paths into that field and are taken directly to the specified key at the end of the chain.

groupbar

Start your favorite applications with one click

Microsoft Groupbar is a freeware application for windows xp that offers an enhanced window management capability. Groupbar does not need to be installed, just download the file and start GroupBar.exe. The tool automatically appears as a sidebar on the left of your screen but can be placed in the other three corners as well. The sidebar displays all running applications, you are free to sort them anyway you like.

drive image

Backup your data with Drive Image XML

Chris asked me yesterday if I knew of a good freeware backup program for windows and I replied to him that Syncback would be such a tool. I discovered another one and thought it would be nice to share this one with everyone. The backup tool is called Drive Image XML, it is completely freeware and runs in windows xp and windows 2003 server only. If you are running a different version of windows use Syncback.

How to remove past icons from the taskbar

You have uninstalled the program completly and are sure that no reference is left on your computer. What if there is still one left that you probably did not know about ? Every item that appears on the left side of the clock in the taskbar will be cached by windows which means that the icon of the program is still available on your system. Check this out by yourself by right-clicking the taskbar. Select properties from the menu and click on the customize button at the bottom of that screen. If customize is not active activated it by enabling Hide Inactive Icons.

hdd-health

Check your Hard Drives with HDD Health

Hard drives are critical components in every personal computer. They store the data that you are working with and a failure or defect could lead to data loss sometimes without the possibility of recovering the data. Backups are of course a good idea but monitoring the hard drives performance is another method to check if it is likely that your hard drives might be at the end of their life cycle.

context menu

How to create new context menu options

The context menu pops up when you right click an item giving you some options based on the extension of the file. You could for instance select to rename the file, open it, open it with, take a look at the properties and so on. The tip I´am explaining right now will be helpfull for instance if you perform an action over and over again while the command is not directly available from the right click menu.

Backup or Restore Windows XP without new activation

You have thirty days to activate a new installation of Microsoft Windows XP before it stops working until you finally activated the installation. Activation works this way that you have to provide an installation number to Microsoft either by internet or by phone. If you change hardware or install the operating system again you will have to activate the product again as well. This does not make sense in my opinion but hey, they surely have an important reason for this procedure.

bootskin

Change the Windows XP Boot Graphic

Don´t you hate that boring Windows XP boot screen ? Would not it be nice to have a great skin for that screen ? If you answered the questions with yes bootskin might be exactly what you are looking for. The freeware makes only temporary changes which means that after uninstallation all settings are back to default value.

Microsoft Private Folder 1.0

Microsoft apparently released a new piece of software called private folder today. The software creates a folder called my private folder which can be password protected to keep the prying eyes of your loved ones from finding files they should not see. Windows Genuine Advantage will check twice if your computer is running a legit copy of windows xp.

desktops

Virtual Desktops and Windows Xp

Linux users are still laughing at windows users who were never able to experience how powerful a virtual desktop system might be. You have two options if you work with more information than your desktop can display. First, you could buy a second monitor and connect this one to your pc providing that your graphics adapter supports two monitors. Second, you could use a virtual desktop application that emulates a number of desktops on one monitor.

Windows shut down takes ages? Try Profile Hive Cleanup Service

Are you experiencing long shut down times ? Is it taken some minutes after you click on shut down before windows finally shuts down your computer ? This problem could be caused by unloading the current user profile.

This can happen when third party, or even Microsoft applications have not properly cleaned up when exiting. Windows will keep trying to unload the profile until Windows finally decides that it can't and should shutdown. Even if you find the application causing the problem - it may be impossible to do anything about it.