Microsoft Windows tips and tutorials

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Vista Explorer Breadcrumbs for Windows XP

Windows Vista does have some nice features that are a great addition but not enough to justify a purchase. That is why clever software coders stepped in and implemented those features for Windows XP. XP has the major advantage that it is a fairly stable system that is not as resource hungry as Windows Vista is.

move-folders

Move MyDocuments to another drive

Microsoft tried to enhance Windows XP by adding a central folder for user data which is called MyDocuments which is the default place for save games, pictures, music and everything else that is user related. The default location has some disadvantages though. First, it adds another folder that has to be backed up if you do backup your data regularly.

kill app timeout

Automatically Kill Hung Applications

Windows can really sometimes annoy the hell out of me. Starting a new software that was recently installed and seeing it hang after the start with delayed reactions from the system can be really painful. Hitting CTRL + ALT + DEL and waiting minutes before the dialog pops up is not the number one solution to get rid of a process that is stuck in nirvana.

Windows Vista Sidebar Styler

I don't like the Windows Vista sidebar that much and think that most applications - also called widgets and gadgets - are pretty much useless. The Windows Vista sidebar styler is a great software for those who use the sidebar and would like to have more options to customize the look and feel of it.

XdN Tweaker for Windows

XdN Tweaker is not one of those usual tweaking softwares that give you access to change hundreds of Windows settings in one tiny menu. This one is different. It concentrates on only a handful of tweaks that are not so common and supports Windows Vista, Windows XP and Windows 2003 both 32-bit and 64-bit versions and needs the .net framework 2.0 as well.

nifty windows

Nifty Windows

Nifty Windows is a compilation of dozens of Autohotkey scripts in one application that are all aimed at providing the user with a better way of interacting with windows. The compilation offers 28 new ways to interact with the user interface of Windows by using either hotkeys or the mouse.

taskbar-grouping

Customize group similar windows

Windows has a feature that groups similar windows, for example seven explorer windows, in one taskbar button which is great if you like your taskbar as clean as possible. There is however no direct way to change the amount of windows that are needed before Windows starts grouping them.

environment variables

Speed up Windows by moving the temp folder

The default temporary directory in Windows is located on the same hard drive and partition as the operating system itself. This is not really optimized and you could speed up your operating system by moving the temporary folder from the default location to another hard drive.

change drive letter windows

Change all Drive Letters in Windows

Don't you think it is annoying that Windows assigns drive letters automatically to certain drives such as the floppy disk drives A: and B: ? The A: drive letter is assigned even if no floppy disk drive is installed on the system. There is a way to reassign all drive keys in Windows by manipulating the registry.

A word of advise before I'm going to explain how this is done. Do not try to change the assignment of the drive letter C: which has to stay the way it is. If you change it Windows will not boot anymore. So, what you need to do is to open the Windows registry by hitting Windows + R, typing regedit and pressing Enter afterwards.

Partypoker Windows Vista Fix

One of the first programs that I installed on my new notebook that is running Windows Vista is the Partypoker application. The first start of the Partypoker application went fine and I was able to login into Partypoker and play Poker games. The next time I tried to start the Partypoker application I witnessed something that left me puzzled for a while. The application would not start.

system health report

Generate A System Health Report in Windows

Windows Vista offers a way to quickly perform a system check which results in a so called System Health Report. It takes about 60 seconds to gather the information and display them in a list. You find the option to generate a system health report in your control panel. Click on System and Maintenance, then Performance Information and Tools. Select advanced tools from the menu and click on generate a system health report to start the program.

windows explorer context menu

Add Context Tools to Windows XP

Windows XP and previous versions such as Windows ME or Windows 98 lack some important context menu entries that make it easier to work with the operating system. If you want to copy files from one folder to another one you normally have to open two explorer windows to move the files. The Camtech Context Tools add many functions to the context menu to make such operations easier. The Copy to Folder menu entry would do the job in this case.

Adding Windows Vista and Kubuntu to Windows XP

I did not expect that it would take this long to install Kubuntu Linux and Windows Vista on another hard drive of my computer. I bought a new external hard drive and wanted to install both new operating systems next to Windows XP. It was unfortunately not possible to install Windows Vista or Kubuntu on that external drive. It took some time to create enough space on my second internal SATA drive to use it to store both operating systems.

backup registry

Automatically order your Windows XP Start menu alphabetically

The windows xp star menu adds new entries to the end of the list even though you have sorted it alphabetically before by right-clicking and choosing to sort the entries by name. Most users who sort their start menu alphabetically don't like it when new entries to the start menu are added at the bottom of the list. Looks bad, causes confusion.

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.

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.

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 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: