Windows XP news and help


Windows XP Service Pack 3 Issues

Microsoft published a release notes page together with the download of Windows XP Service Pack 3. The first part of the release notes lists the new and previously available functionality in the […]

windows update

Windows Update Error services not running

I read today that Windows Update would not work with the beta version of Internet Explorer 8. I did want to check it out for myself before writing about it and went to the Windows Update website which greeted me with the error message "The site cannot continue because one or more of these Windows services is not running". The services mentioned were Automatic Updates, Event Log and Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS).

No Password securer than a weak password?

According to Digital Inspiration that's the case if you are using Windows XP because leaving the password blank makes it impossible to connect to the computer remotely. The link given in the article which points to the Password Strength & Password Security page at is unfortunately not available at this point.

xp start menu programs

Windows XP Run Count List and Editor

Windows XP keeps track of how many times an application has been started by a user of the system and displays the most frequently used programs in the start menu. That's a pretty convenient feature for some users but there is no obvious way to control which applications are listed in the start menu.

virtual memory

Virtual Memory too low

Windows loves to use virtual memory. Even if you set the value of virtual memory to zero it is still being used. It's basic use is to provide additional memory if most of the RAM of the computer is already occupied. This virtual memory is taken from the hard drive from so called paging files. Most optimization articles suggest to use between one and three times of the amount of RAM as virtual memory.

WPF Performance Fix for Windows Vista and XP

Microsoft released a hotfix a few days ago that is fixing a problem that affected some Windows Vista and Windows XP systems. the knowledge base articles Performance for a WPF-based program that uses the layered windows feature may be less than expected in Windows Vista and Performance is poor in a WPF-based application in which you have enabled layered windows in Windows XP or in Windows Server 2003 are unfortunately offering only a mediocre explanation.

project dakota

Project Dakota Full Windows XP Update CD

Just a few days ago I posted an article about How to update Windows with Offline Updates which downloaded selected updates for various Windows operating systems and Microsoft Office directly from Windows update servers.

Join The Windows Feedback Program and grab some free apps

Are you 18 years of age or older and living in the United States ? Are you the owner of the computer and use either Windows XP or Windows Vista as your main operating system ? Then you might apply to join the Windows Feedback Program which will supply you with a free Microsoft application of your choice if your application gets accepted.

Pin Folders to the start menu

While Windows XP and Vista offer a way to pin files to the Start Menu both operating systems do not offer a way to pin folders to it. You might have noticed that a right-click on a file on your hard drive does not give the option to pin it to the Start Menu as well, it only appears if you press the shift key while right-clicking the file.

Make XP look like Windows Vista

Not many users like Windows Vista. It surely looks better than Windows XP, but other than that ? Please raise your hand if you think that UAC is more annoying than helpful. Windows Vista is just not that ready for prime time and there is not really a good reason to make the switch.

XP Keep Per User Display Settings

If you share a computer with several other users you might have noticed that it is not possible to set a differing screen resolution, refresh rate and color depth for each user. Windows XP forces each user to use the same resolution, refresh rate and color depth which is a great annoyance.

Stealth Windows Update poses more problems than thought

I have been writing about the stealth update that Microsoft did two weeks ago. Files in Windows XP and Windows Vista were updated without the users consent silently in the background. After some users did find out about the secret update Microsoft tried to convince everyone that the update was used to update the update routine of Windows XP and Vista.

Microsoft secretly updating Windows Files

We all know that Microsoft can update Windows Vista and Windows XP at will if automatic updates are enabled. Did you know that Microsoft can also update your operating system even if you disabled automatic updates ? Most users would probably deny that this is possible but it turns out to be true.

10 Freeware Recommendations 2

It has been a while since I posted the first part of this mini series entitled 10 Freeware Recommendations. Two months are a long time considering that I write about software almost every day here at Ghacks, that is why I decided to open my treasure trove again and present you another batch of freeware recommendations for Windows that will probably make your day.

DirectX 10 for Windows XP

We all know that Microsoft has decided to make the latest version of DirectX 10 Windows Vista only most likely to drive more sales to the new operating systems. Some independent developers have decided to create a working version of DirectX 10 for Windows XP with the goal to run any application that requires DirectX 10 also on that operating system.

The current release is a alpha release and probably only interesting for developers or coders. The plan is however to support the two games that have been released for Vista only. Halo 2 and Shadowrun are the two games that can only be installed and played using Windows Vista at the moment.

The Memory could not be read error

I know that this may sound funny but I also received the error "The memory could not be read" during Windows startup. The funny thing is that this error and the error "the memory could not be written" are not related to each other. I found a fix that helped pretty fast. The memory could not be read is apparently a Java error which is causing the problem. You find a big explanation with various solutions at a official Java website.

The memory could not be written error

I have lately been getting the error message The instruction at "0x62e2cc0f" referenced memory at "0x00000000". The memory could not be "written" in Microsoft Windows XP. This happened frequently when I tried to play certain avi video files. I first thought that I had a memory problem, maybe defective RAM or bad sectors on my hard drive but soon found out that this was not the case. It took me a while to realize what it was. Once I knew where the error came from I was able to wave goodbye to the memory could not be written and watch all the avi movies on my system without problems again.

Send Windows to Nirvana with an animated cursor

One of the many disadvantages of every new Windows edition is the fact that the operating system becomes more and more bloated. Microsoft adds new features to Windows which could then be used to exploit the system.Instead of concentrating on fast efficient systems they produce heavy systems that look shiny but have problems under the surface. Recently a vulnerability in Windows Animated Cursor Handling was discovered. In order for this attack to be carried out, a user must either visit a Web site that contains a Web page that is used to exploit the vulnerability or view a specially crafted e-mail message or email attachment sent to them by an attacker.