Windows News, Updates, tips and software

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.

Pirated Keys only cause 80% of all WGA failures

You all know windows genuine advantage (wga) which checks if you are running a legit copy of windows xp on every startup and when you try to download certain tools and updates from the microsoft website. Microsoft confirmed that only 80% of all WGA failures are caused by pirated keys which means that about 20% are not caused by pirated keys.

check hard drive mode

How To fix slow hard drives

If you think that your IDE hard drives are slow you might want to check their transfer mode by going into Control Panel > System > Hardware > Device Manager. Click on IDE ATA / ATAPI Controllers and right click the primary ide channel (and secondary ide channel if you have hard drives there too) and select properties from the menu. Select advanced setttings from the tab and check the setting under current transfer mode. If you see Pio or a low Ultra DMA mode you might want to try the following fix to increase the speed of your drive(s).

windows update reprompt for restart

How to Remove the Restart your Computer now dialog box

Updating your computer is almost complete. You must restart your computer for the updates to take effect. Do you want to restart your computer now?

This message pop ups at the end and immediatly gets the focus, even if you are in a game or watching a fullscreen movie. You have the option to restart now or later. The first would result in an immediate reboot while the second would nag you again in 10 minutes. This will be annoying if you can´t reboot your computer at that time.

change user account password

Howto log into Windows XP if you lost your password

I once had the problem that I changed some settings in windows which disabled my automatic login into windows xp. I was prompted to enter my login details and could not remember them at all. The following method could be working in this and similar cases. You could try using the default Administrator login and leave the password blank. This should work for every computer where the admin password has not been changed.

Make Windows XP boot faster with Bootvis

Many of you might know the discountinued freeware microsoft bootvis, for those who do not. Bootvis analyses the boot process and measures the startup time from cold boot, hibernate and standby. After analysing the startup process it will optimise it so that boot times of one or more minutes are a thing of the past. It´s a great tool if you have a computer that is slowly booting into windows xp.

xpy

Change Windows XP Settings with XPY

Xpy is a great little freeware application that lets you change windows xp settings with ease. The normal way of changing items would be to use a registry editor, search for the relevant key and change the value of that key. Xpy aids you by offering options to change many settings with a simple click of the mouse button.

microsoft security essentials

Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool Observations

Microsoft released a pdf file called MSRT - Progress Made Lessons Learned yesterday which provides an analysis of the data that the program reported when scanning computers. The tool itself was executed more than 2.7 billion times on at least 270 million unique computers since January 13th, 2005. The tool has removed more than 16 million instances of malicious software which means that on average every 311th computer was infected.

Dual Booting Windows Vista and XP

Microsoft released a beta version of their upcoming Microsoft Vista operating systems a few days ago. I don´t think it´s wise to install a beta version of a microsoft os as your main operating system:dual booting is the solution. You want to experience Vista and still be able to return to XP or whatever other operating system you are using ? Fine, follow this easy to understand guide to dual booting.

safe-xp

Change Security Settings with Safe XP

Safe XP which is developed by Theorica Software is a freeware application for Microsofts Windows XP operating system. It requires no installation at all and is ready to run once you unpacked it into a directory of your choice. The software makes it easy to change some security related settings of the following elements: Services, TCP & Ip and Netbios, Internet Explorer 6, Media Player, MS Office XP & 2003, Start Menu, Windows Messenger and Network.

Find out if the Windows product key is legit

Microsoft introduced Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) just a month ago to Windows XP users. Once installed it checks if the running Windows XP version is genuine. If it´s not the it´s showing annonying popup messages. It´s Microsofts decision that only popups are showing, they could easily change this to force a purchase for example at a later point.