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The followings are useful tweaks for Windows. I collect these tips as I browse the Web. 

WARNING: Most of these tweaks involve modifying the registry. Make sure you back up the registry before trying them out. This link offers a way to back up the registry in XP. And here a cache page of it.

In Win95, 98/SE, and Me, the registry consists of 2 hidden system files called user.dat and system.dat. Both are stored in the Windows directory. Use the copy command in DOS (within Windows) to copy and rename them like user.bak and system.bak, respectively. Make sure the file size of the backups are the same as the originals. That way, you are fairly sure that the copies are valid. After that, create another backup of just the key you will modify in the GUI interface of Regedit via the Export command. You can delete this backup after the tweak, but keep the ones you create previously.

  • Restore Missing CD or DVD Drive
  • Increase Internet Download Connections
  • Power Down the Computer After Shutdown
  • Prevent Programs from Loading at Startup
  • Show/Conceal Hidden Devices in Device Manager
  • Specify Source Path to XP Installation Files
  • XP: Password is going to change in 14 days. How do I disable it?
  • How can I access all of my ATAPI hard disk, which is larger than 137GB?
  • How can I prevent Windows XP from reminding me to enter Microsoft .NET Passport details?
  • When shutting-down Windows 98 or Windows 98 Second Edition it restarts instead of shutting-down.
  • Cannot even fdisk a drive?
  • How to Set User Logon Hours
  • What to do if HAL is missing
  • How to Clear the Page file at Shutdown
  • How to Hide your User Account on the XP Welcome Screen
  • How to Disable a Service that is Conflicting with Windows
  • Restore Private Folders
  • Add/Remove hidden programs in Windows XP and 2000
  • Create Hidden User Accounts
  • Delete Recent Documents
  • Automatically Send Custom Reply Messages with Outlook 2000
  • Disable Image Preview (Windows XP)
  • How to Start System Restore from the Command Line
  • Dial-up Modem or PPPoE Option in New Connection Wizard Is Unavailable
  • Adding SafeMode Option During Normal Boot
  • Share Outlook data across a network
  • Repairing and Reinstalling Internet Explorer
  • Places where programs can run on startup
  • Hide your computer from Network Browsing
  • How to Log On to XP Automatically
  • How to create hidden shares
  • How to send fax using built-in Windows XP program
  • Access data encrypted with EFS over the network via common certificates
  • How to Set Individual File and Folder Permissions in XP Home
  • Reinstall System Restore
  • Change letter of bootdrive
  • Local printer fix for Remote Desktop
  •  

Restore Missing CD or DVD Drive

Reports have filtered in that CD or DVD drives will suddenly cease to exist in XP systems. Most often this has been reported in conjunction with program installations and Windows upgrades, but it has also happened for no apparent reason. This tweak will restore the missing drives after a reboot.

[Start] [Run] [Regedit]
Registry Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class
Key Name: {4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}
Value Data: [Delete All Value Data from UpperFilters and LowerFilters]
Note: Do not delete the Key or the Multi-String Values. Delete only the data values.
Exit Registry and Reboot

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Increase Internet Download Connections

Increase Simultaneous Internet Download Connections
Increases the number of allowed simultaneous connections to ten (10).

[Start] [Run] [Regedit]
Registry Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings

Modify/Create the Value Data Type(s) and Value Name(s) as detailed below.
Data Type: REG_DWORD [Dword Value] // Value Name: MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server
Setting for Value Data: [0000000a]
Modify/Create the Value Data Type(s) and Value Name(s) as detailed below.
Data Type: REG_DWORD [Dword Value] // Value Name: MaxConnectionsPerServer
Setting for Value Data: [0000000a]
Exit Registry and Reboot

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Power Down the Computer After Shutdown

This tweak sets the XP machine to power off completely rather than stop at the prompt advising users it's now safe to power off the machine

[Start] [Run] [Regedit]
Registry Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
Modify/Create the Value Data Type(s) and Value Name(s) as detailed below.
Data Type: REG_DWORD [Dword Value] // Value Name: PowerdownAfterShutdown
Setting for Value Data: [0 = Disabled / 1 = Enabled]
Exit Registry and Reboot

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Prevent Programs from Loading at Startup

Provides an alternative method to MSCONFIG for disabling programs from loading at startup. Two methods are provided; one for disabling entries for the current user and another for all users of the local machine.

Disable Programs for the Current User

[Start] [Run] [Regedit]
Registry Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Modify/Create the Value Data Type(s) and Value Name(s) as detailed below.
Right click the program you don't want to load and click Delete.
Exit Registry and Reboot

Disable Programs for the Local Machine

[Start] [Run] [Regedit]
Registry Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
Modify/Create the Value Data Type(s) and Value Name(s) as detailed below.
Right click the program you don't want to load and click Delete.
Exit Registry and Reboot

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Show/Conceal Hidden Devices in Device Manager

When accessing Device Manager there may be hidden devices that are not displayed. This tweak forces all devices to be displayed.

[Start] [Run] [Regedit]
Registry Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment
Data Type: REG_SZ [String Value] // Value Name: DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES
Modify/Create the Value Name [DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES] according to the Value Data listed below.
Value Data: [1 = Show Devices / 0 = Hide Devices]
Exit Registry and Reboot

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Specify Source Path to XP Installation Files

Eliminates the need to insert Windows CD for system modifications.

Insert Windows XP CD and copy \i386 folder to hard drive.
Location does not have to be on C:\ drive

[Start] [Run] [Regedit]
Registry Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion
Data Type: REG_SZ [String Value] / Value Name: SourcePath
Value Data: [Enter the location where you copied the \i386 folder]
Example: A valid entry would be D:\I386
Modify/Create the Value Name [SourcePath] according to the Value Data listed above.
Exit Registry and Reboot

Notice this registry tweak also applies to System File Check. SFC will go to this target and look for the i386 folder to restore corrupted or missing core system files.

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XP: Password is going to change in 14 days. How do I disable it?

Right-click My Computer and select "Manage."

Expand the Local Users Groups folder and click on Users.

Right-click the User you'd like to change the password, and select "Properties."

Place a checkmark next the text labeled "Password never
expires" and click Apply.

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How can I access all of my ATAPI hard disk, which is larger than
137GB?


Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Windows 2000 SP3 or higher add support for 48-bit Logical Block Addressing (LBA), which lets you access hard
disks larger than 137GB. To enable 48-bit LBA, perform the following steps. With XP SP1, this is not necessary:

1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
2. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\atapi\Parameters
registry subkey.
3. From the Edit menu, select New, DWORD Value.
4. Enter the name EnableBigLba, then press Enter.
5. Double-click the new value, set it to 1, then click OK.
6. Close the registry editor.
7. Restart the machine for the change to take effect.

Be aware that if you multiboot your system with OSs that don't support 48-bit LBA, editing this registry setting might cause data corruption. If you still can't access hard disk space beyond the 137GB limit after you restart your system, your system BIOS might not be 48-bit LBA
compatible, in which case you need to talk to your computer manufacturer.
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How can I prevent Windows XP from reminding me to enter Microsoft .NET Passport details? 

A. After you install XP, the OS prompts you to enter a .NET Passport account to enable access to certain Internet communication features. To turn off this reminder, perform the following steps: 

1. Start a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
2. Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MessengerService registry subkey.
3. If the PassportBalloon registry value doesn't already exist, go to the Edit menu; select New, Binary Value; enter a name of PassportBalloon; then press Enter.
4. Double-click the PassportBalloon value, set it to 0A 00 00 00, then click OK.
5. Close the registry editor.

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Q. When shutting-down Windows 98 or Windows 98 Second Edition it restarts instead of shutting-down.

A. Disable fast shutdown...

Win 98

Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Information, Tools, menu, System Configuration Utility, General tab, Advanced, Check Disable Fast Shutdown check box, OK, OK, Yes when prompted to restart.

Win 98 SE

Start, Run, enter regedit... Read help on backing-up the registry and do so. Expand the registry tree by clicking pluses to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Shutdown

Change the FastReboot data value from 1 to 0.

NOTE: The Disable Fast Shutdown option will not no longer be listed in the Advanced tab in Msconfig.exe.

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I cannot even fdisk a drive. Why?

If your BIOS recognizes your hard drive, but you cannot even fdisk it, there is something wrong with the Master Boot Record (mbr). Perhaps there is nothing "wrong" with the MBR. Maybe the problem is there is a hidden partition on your drive. Some OEMs create hidden partitions to store images for a complete reinstallation of Windows when time arises. They may even create custom boot sectors. Things like EZDrive can cause troubles even after you reformat the drive.

Solution: Boot into DOS with a Win9x boot disk and run

fdisk /mbr

This does NOT invoke the full, normal FDISK, but instead merely rebuilds the MBR. If your hard disk is badly mangled, the MBR trick won't help,  but it only takes a moment to try, and so is worthwhile. This is the equivalent of fixmbr in the Repair Option in Win2k/XP.

If all else fails, there's always low level formating. Go to this link for some free low level formating programs.

 http://www.techrescue.net/drives.asp

After low level formating, do fdisk , then format as usual. If that doesn't work. The drive is broken beyond repair. There is no point in sending it away to any of these data recovery centers since there is no data left after a low level formattting.

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How to Set User Logon Hours

Want to restrict one of the users of your XP computer to logging on only during certain hours (for instance, to prevent little Johnny from sneaking downstairs and firing up the computer after you go to bed)? You can use the net user command line tool to do it. Here's how: 

1. Click Start | Run and type cmd to open a command prompt. 
2. Type net user /time:, For example, to set an account named littlejohnny to log on only between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, type the following: net user littlejohnny /time:M-F,8am-5pm 
You can also use 24-hour time, in the following format: 08:00-20:00

What to do if HAL is missing

Did you ever get an error message that says "HAL.DLL is missing or corrupt"? HAL is the Hardware Abstraction Layer; this is the operating system component that XP uses to interact with the hardware. If this file is really missing or corrupt, you won't be able to boot into XP. Often, though, this message appears when the real problem is a misconfiguration of your BOOT.INI file (the file that tells XP's boot process where to find important files.) If you get this message, try the following before you resort to reinstalling XP:

Boot from your XP installation CD.
Press the R key when you're given the option. R=Repair.
Press the number that designates the installation of XP that you want to repair (if you only have one instance of the operating system, this will be 1).
Type bootcfg /list This shows you the entries in your BOOT.INI file.
To repair the file, type bootcfg /rebuild
Type Exit
Here is a link to more info about HAL
http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_haldll_missing.htm

How to Clear the Page file at Shutdown

The Windows page file is a portion of the hard disk used for virtual memory - that is, swapping information in and out of physical memory (RAM) so the applications have more usable memory than is actually installed. The information in the page file is not needed when you shut down, since information in RAM is lost when the computer is turned off. The page file can be quite large, so if you want to be sure it's cleared at shutdown to save disk space, you can do so in Windows XP Pro by performing the following steps:

Click Start | Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Local Security Policy
In the Local Security Policy management console, expand Local Policies in the left pane.
Click Security Options.
In the right pane, scroll down to the policy named "Shutdown: clear virtual memory pagefile." This policy is disabled by default. Right click it and select Properties.
Click the Enable option button.

How to Hide your User Account on the XP Welcome Screen

By default, the account names for all the local user accounts created on your XP computer will be displayed on the Welcome screen when you boot into Windows. If you share the computer with other people, you might not want them to be able to click your account name and try to guess your password. You can keep your account name from appearing in the list of accounts by doing this Registry edit:

Click Start | Run and type regedit to start the Registry Editor.
In the left pane, navigate to the following registry key:
HKEY LOCAL MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\SpecialAccounts\UserList
Right click an empty space in the right pane and select New | DWORD value.
Name the new value exactly the same as your user account.
Double click the new value and set the data value to 0.
Close the Registry Editor and reboot the computer to apply the change.
If you change your mind later and want to "unhide" the account, repeat these steps and set the data value to 1.

How to Disable a Service that is Conflicting with Windows

If you install a service or hardware device that is not compatible with Windows XP, you might receive an error message when you try to restart the computer, which refers to the service or file (device driver) that's causing the problem. To get Windows to start, perform the following steps:

Start the computer with the Windows boot disks or the installation CD (if the computer will allow you to boot from the CD-ROM drive)
Press R (for Repair) at the Welcome screen
Press C to start the Recovery Console
Choose install Windows and log on with the Administrator account
At the command prompt, change to the System32 folder in the systemroot directory (typically Windows, but it may be named WINNT if you upgraded from Windows 2000).
When you are in the proper directory, type listsvc
Press ENTER
In the list of services and devices, find the one that was referenced by the error message. Type disable [service/device name]
Press ENTER
Type exit

Restore Private Folders

I had to reinstall Windows XP on a system containing private folders. Now I can't get back into these folders, even though I've created the same user names as before. What can I do?

Reboot your PC, and before Windows starts loading, press F8 to view the boot menu. Select Safe Mode and log on with an Administrator-level account.

Once XP is running in Safe Mode, open Windows Explorer, right-click a private folder, and select Properties. Click Security, Advanced, Owner. Select the appropriate owner in the 'Change owner to' box, select Replace owner on subcontainers and objects, and click OK. At the warning, click Yes. Reboot to return to normal Windows

Add/Remove hidden programs in Windows XP and 2000

  1. Navigate to C:\WINDOWS\inf
  2. Open the sysoc.inf file in Notepad or another plain text editor. If you can't find the inf directory, it's probably hidden. Unhide it.
  3. Click Tools and choose Folder Options. Under View, enable Show Hidden Files & Folders.
  4. In sysoc.inf, look for the section called "components" in XP or "old base components" in 2000. What looks like a bunch of gibberish is actually pretty easy to read. You'll see a component name, followed by an equals sign, followed by a list of parameters separated by commas.
  5. For example: Games=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,games.inf,HIDE,7
  6. The deal: the "HIDE" between the two last commas indicates a hidden component. Remove "HIDE" to unhide the component.
  7. For example: Games=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,games.inf,,7
  8. Unhide any component you want.
  9. Save the file.
  10. Reopen the Windows Component Wizard to see your new Add/Remove options


Create Hidden Accounts

User accounts normally appear on your Windows XP welcome screen. Today I'll show you a Windows tweak that lets you hide 'em from view. It only applies to a user account you've already created, so if you want to hide a completely new account, you must also create that account!

You'll need to go into your Registry, so back it up before you start just in case you make a mistake.

Here's how to hide your user account.

  • Click Start, Run, and type "regedit" (without quotes).
  • Go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE \Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\SpecialAccounts\UserList
  • Modify or create DWORD Value by right-clicking the right side of the screen and adding DWORD Value.
  • Give the value the same name as the account you want to hide. For example, if you want to hide StealthAccount, name the value StealthAccount.
  • Set the Value Data to 0 to hide the account. Value Data: 1 makes the account visible.
  • Exit the Registry and reboot.
  • Log on

To log on to your hidden account, you need to use the Log On To Windows dialog box by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Delete twice. Make sure you're logged off all accounts. You can't just switch users.

Not completely invisible

While your account remains hidden on the welcome screen, other users can still see its profile in C:\Documents and Settings (or wherever user profiles are stored), as well as in Local Users and Groups. So you're not totally in the clear, but you're certainly under the radar!

Delete Recent Documents

As you and those who look over your shoulder undoubtedly know by now, whenever you open a document, the file is added to the Recent Documents list in the Start menu. If you're concerned about keeping your files private, you hate this feature. It lets people see what you've accessed. On tonight's "Screen Savers" I have a set of tweaks that'll let you disable the Recent Documents menu, disable updating for the menu, or clear the list when you log off.

  • Run RegEdit.
  • Go to the key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE \Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies
  • Look for the Explorer subkey. If it doesn't exist, create it and navigate to the Explorer key.
  • To disable automatic updates, look for NoRecentDocsHistory. Documents currently in the list will stay on the list, but your system won't add anything new. I had a little trouble getting this tweak to work on an XP machine, but it works fine with Win98 and Win2000.
  • To clear the menu every time you log off, look for ClearRecentDocsOnExit. You'll still see your Recent Documents list while you're logged in.
  • To remove the Recent Documents list from your Start menu completely, look for NoRecentDocsMenu. Back up your registry before you try this one. I've had trouble reversing this regedit on some XP systems.
  • If the value you're looking for doesn't exist, create it as a DWORD value.
  • Set the value to 1.

To disable the tweak, change the value back to 0 or delete the value.

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Automatically Send Custom Reply Messages with Outlook 2000

Wouldn't it be nice to automatically send different reply messages when you're on vacation? For example, you could send one reply to business associates and another to friends. Well you can, if you use the Rules Wizard and Microsoft Outlook® templates. Here's how to create a custom reply for a group of people.

First, create an automatic reply template

  1. Open a new Outlook message.
  2. In the message body, type whatever information you'd like to appear in your custom reply.
  3. On the File menu, click Save As. If Save As is not found, go to View --> Toolbars --> and check on Advance. Alternatively, click on the pointing-downward arrow to expand the list.
  4. In the File name box, enter a name for your reply template.
  5. In the Save as type box, click Outlook Template, and then click Save.
  6. On the File menu, click Close, and then when prompted to save, click No.

Next, create a rule to send an automatic reply

  1. On the Tools menu, click Rules Wizard, and then click the New button.
  2. In the Which type of rule do you want to create list, click Check messages when they arrive, and then click the Next button.
  3. In the Which condition(s) do you want to check list, select the From people or distribution list check box.
  4. In the Rule description list, click the underlined phrase, people or distribution list, and in the Type name or select from list box, type the name of each person you want to receive the custom reply, and click the From button after you type each name.
  5. Click the OK button, and then click the Next button.
  6. In the What do you want to do with the message list, select the Reply using a specific template check box.
  7. In the Rule description list, click the underlined phrase, a specific template, and then in the Look in list, click User Templates in File System.
  8. Click the template you created above, and then click the Open button.
  9. Click the Finish button, and then click the OK button twice.

That's it. Now, when you receive a message from one of the people you specified in step 4, they'll automatically receive your custom response.

Important When you set up a rule to automatically reply to someone, the Rules Wizard will send a reply for each message you receive from that person.

If you cannot save the new message as an .oft file, you need to tell Outlook not to use Word as the default text editor. To do this go to Tools --> Options. Choose the Mail Format tab. Uncheck the box that says to use Word to edit email messages.

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Disable Image Preview (Windows XP)

When you open an image file in Windows XP the default action is to "Preview" it using the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer. This tweak can be used to disable the Preview image option.

Open your registry and find the key below.

Clear the value of "(Default)" to disable the default image preview action. You can restore the preview action by set the value to "{e84fda7c-1d6a-45f6-b725-cb260c236066}".

The change should take effect immediately.

Note: This will only remove Preview for image formats that are associated with an alternate viewer. File types that are associated with Windows Picture and Fax Viewer will still show the Preview option.

(Default) REG_SZ HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SystemFileAssociations\image\ShellEx\Conte...

Registry Settings
System Key: [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SystemFileAssociations\image\ShellEx\ ContextMenuHandlers\ShellImagePreview]
Value Name: (Default)
Data Type: REG_SZ
Value Data: Blank or {e84fda7c-1d6a-45f6-b725-cb260c236066}

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How to Start System Restore from the Command Line

Sometimes when you install a program or driver, it might render XP unbootable. If your computer won't boot into the operating system normally, you might be able to boot into Safe Mode and use System Restore to go back to a previous restore point to fix the problem. But what if you can't even boot into safe mode? Then you need to start the System Restore tool from the command line. Here's how:

When booting your computer, press F8 to bring up a boot menu

Select Safe Mode with Command Prompt

Select the operating system to start (if you have multiple operating systems installed)

Log on with an account that is a member of the administrators group

At the command prompt, type %systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe

Press Enter

This will start the "Welcome to System Restore" screen. Go through the steps of the Wizard and follow the instructions to restore your system to a previous restore point

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Dial-up Modem or PPPoE Option in New Connection Wizard Is Unavailable

SYMPTOMS

If you use the New Connection Wizard to create a new dial-up modem or PPP over Ethernet (PPPoE) connection you may experience one or both of the following behaviors:

The Connect using a dial-up modem option in the New Connection Wizard is unavailable (appears dimmed). The Connect using a broadband connection that requires a user name and password option in the New Connection Wizard is unavailable. As a result, you cannot create a dial-up modem connection or PPPoE connection to the Internet.

CAUSE

This issue may occur if both of the following conditions are true:

You upgrade your computer to Microsoft Windows XP from Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition or Microsoft Windows 98.

One or both of the following entries in the Windows registry are damaged or contain incorrect settings:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Telephony\Cards\NextID

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Telephony

For additional information about other causes for this problem, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: 329441 You Cannot Create a Network Connection After You Restore Windows XP

RESOLUTION

Warning If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

To resolve this issue, use the following methods in the order they are presented.

Method 1

Delete the NextID value in the registry, and then restart the computer. To do this, follow these steps:

Click Start, and then click Run. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK. Locate and click the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Telephony\Cards

In the right pane of the Registry Editor window, click NextID.

On the Edit menu, click Delete. When you are prompted to confirm the deletion, click Yes. On the File menu, click Exit to quit Registry Editor. Start the New Connection Wizard, and then create a new dial-up modem connection or PPPoE connection.

If the issue is resolved and you can create a new dial-up modem connection or PPPoE connection, do not follow the remaining steps in this article.

If the issue is not resolved, continue to Method 2.

Method 2

Delete the Telephony key in the Windows registry, and then do an in-place upgrade of Windows XP. To do this, follow these steps:

Click Start, and then click Run. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK. Locate and click the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Telephony

On the Edit menu, click Delete. When you are prompted to confirm the deletion, click Yes. On the File menu, click Exit to quit Registry Editor. Do an in-place upgrade of Windows XP.

REFERENCES For additional information about how to perform and in-place upgrade of Windows XP, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

315341 How to Perform an In-Place Upgrade (Reinstallation) of Windows XP

For additional information about how to create a dial-up modem connections in Windows XP, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

305549 HOW TO: Configure a Connection to the Internet in Windows XP Professional

310410 HOW TO: Configure and Use Dial-Up Connections in Windows XP

For additional information about how to create a PPPoE connection in Windows XP, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

283070 HOW TO: Create a PPPoE Connection in Windows XP

Adding SafeMode option during normal boot

Open the System Properties dialog box. You can do this from Control Panel (click System) or by pressing the Windows key + the Break key.
Click the Advanced tab.
Click the Settings button under Startup and Recovery.
Click the Edit button under System Startup. This opens the boot.ini file in Notepad.
One line should end with "/fastdetect" (NOT "/fastdetect /sos"). Copy that line.
Paste the line you just copied below the original line.
Change "WINDOWS=Microsoft XP Professional" to "WINDOWS="Safe Mode" and add the following text to the end of the line: /safeboot:minimal /sos /bootlog
Save the file and click OK to exit the dialog boxes. Note: If you named the Windows XP installation folder something other than WINDOWS when you installed XP, that name will appear instead of WINDOWS in step 6.

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Office Tip: Share Your Outlook Data

This technique doesn't keep one person's data separate from the other's, and it doesn't work between Outlook 2003 and older versions of the program, but it's free: Open Outlook on the first machine and select File, Import and Export to launch the Import and Export Wizard. Select Export to a file, and then Personal Folder File (.pst). Choose the folder you want to export (you can't select more than one folder, so you'll have to run the wizard separately for each folder you want to move). To export everything, select Personal Folders and check Include subfolders. Save the export in a shared folder that the other computer can access. Once the wizard is finished, exit and reopen Outlook.

Now open Outlook on the second PC, and select File, Import and Export to launch the Import and Export Wizard on that system. Select Import from another program or file; for the file type, click Personal Folder File (.pst). Choose the file you just created on the first PC, and click Replace duplicates with items imported. Click Finish, and the data from the first system merges with that on the second.

If you're willing to spend money for a more elegant solution, you might try Vaita's OsaSync ($37.50), which shares only contacts, or its bigger sibling, OsaSync Pro ($62.50), which shares everything. Go to this link to download either of these programs.

Repairing and Reinstalling Internet Explorer

With your Windows XP CD in the tray, you will want to run a repair by typing sfc /scannow so that the utility can scan for any changes and make needed repairs to Windows components such as IE. If this fails to work, then move on to step two.
Create a restore point with Windows System Restore. Then start the Registry Editor by typing regedit from the Run box. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Active Setup \ Installed Components \ {89820200-ECBD-11cf-8B85-00AA005B4383} and then right-click the “IsInstalled value.” Click Modify. From there, you will change the value from 1 to 0. All right, go ahead and close the editor and reinstall IE from this location.

Places where programs can run on startup

10. The user Startup folder—The user's Startup folder is the most common location for programs that Windows automatically loads at boot time. You can find the user Startup folder at Documents and Settings, user, Start Menu, Programs, Startup. If you've migrated from NT, you'll find the Startup folder at WinNT, Profiles, user, Start Menu, Programs, Startup.

9. The All Users Startup folder—The next most common place to find autostart programs is the All Users Startup folder. Whereas the user Startup folder runs programs for only the user who's logged on, the All Users Startup folder autostarts programs no matter who logs on to the system. You can find this folder at Documents and Settings, All Users, Start Menu, Programs, Startup. If you've migrated from NT, you'll find the folder at WinNT, Profiles, user, Start Menu, Programs, Startup.

8. The load entry—Several registry subkeys also can start programs automatically. One esoteric location is the load entry at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Windows\load.

7. The Userinit entry—The Userinit entry, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Userinit, can also initiate programs when the system boots. You'll usually see an entry for userinit.exe, but this subkey can accept multiple comma-separated values (CSVs), so other programs can tack themselves onto the end of the entry.

6. The Explorer\Run entry—Unlike the load and Userinit entries, the Explorer\Run entry works in both the HKEY_CURRENT_USER and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE root keys. You can find the Explorer\Run subkey at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer\Run and at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer\Run.

5. The RunServicesOnce subkey—The RunServicesOnce subkey is designed to start service programs before the user logs on and before the other registry autostart subkeys start their programs. You'll find the RunServicesOnce subkey at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServicesOnce and at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServicesOnce.

4. The RunServices subkey—The RunServices subkey loads immediately after the RunServicesOnce subkey and runs before the user logs on. You'll find the RunServices subkey at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServices and at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunServices.

3. The RunOnce\Setup subkey—The RunOnce\Setup subkey's default value specifies programs to run after the user logs on. The RunOnce\Setup subkey is in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE root keys. You'll find it at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce\Setup and at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce\Setup.

2. The RunOnce subkey—Setup programs typically use the RunOnce subkey to run programs automatically. You'll find this subkey at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce and at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce. The RunOnce entry in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE root runs associated programs immediately after logon and before the other registry Run entries start their programs. The RunOnce subkey in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER root runs after the OS processes the other registry Run subkeys and the contents of the Startup folder. If you run XP, you can also check the RunOnceEx subkey at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnceEx.

1. The Run subkey—By far the most common registry location for autorun programs is the Run entry, which you'll find at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run. The Run entry in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE root runs immediately before the Run entry in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER root, and both subkeys precede the processing of the Startup folder.

Hide your computer from Network Browsing

Don't want your XP computer to show up in the network browse list (Network Neighborhood/My Network Places) to other users on your network? One way to accomplish that is to disable file sharing. To do this, click Start, right click My Network Places and select Properties. Right click your local area connection and click Properties. Uncheck the box that says File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks. Click OK.
But what if you want to be able to share folders with some users; you just don't want everyone on the network to see your computer's shares? There's a way:

Click Start and select Run.
In the Run box, type net config server /hidden:yes
Click OK.
Now others who know the UNC path (\\computer name\share name) can connect to your computer's shares from the Run box, but it won't show up in the network browse list.

How to Log On to XP Automatically

Despite the security issue, we get many requests from readers for instructions on how to bypass the logon dialog box and log onto XP automatically when you boot the computer (while still having a password set on your account). We don't recommend it, but here's how:

Open your favorite registry editor and navigate to this key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon.
Click Edit, select New and then select String value.
Name the value DefaultUserName.
Set the value data by typing in the account name you want to log on automatically.
Click Edit, select New and select String value again.
Name the new value DefaultPassword.
Set the value data by typing in the password for the account.
Click Edit, select New and select String value one more time.
Name the new value AutoAdminLogon.
Set the value data to 1 to enable auto logon, or 0 to disable it.

How to create hidden shares including the computers themselves

In Windows XP Pro, you can set permissions on shared folders to control who else on your network can access them, and what level of access they have. XP Home uses something called Simple File Sharing. By default, when a folder is shared, everybody can access it. That might not be a good thing. Let's say you have a home network and you want your spouse to be able to read the files in your SpecialDocs folder on his/her computer, but you don't want the kids to be able to. One way to accomplish this is to share the folder as a hidden share. That prevents it from showing up when the kids browse My Network Places, so they won't know it's there. Here's how to make a share hidden:

Right click the folder you want to share as a hidden folder.
Click Sharing and Security.
On the Sharing tab, under Network Sharing and Security, check the box that says "Share this folder on the network."
In the Share Name field, type a name for the share and append a dollar sign ($) to the end of the name (for example, SpecialDocs$). This name should have no more than 12 characters, including the $.
Click OK.
Now, to access the folder, your spouse will need to connect to it via the UNC (universal naming convention) path. In the Run box, type \\\. In other words, if your computer is called BigBoy, your spouse would type \\bigboy\specialdocs$ in the Run box. If your spouse will be accessing it often, it can be mapped as a network drive. To do that:
Click Start | My Computer.
Click Tools and select Map Network Drive.
In the dialog box's Drive field, use the down arrow to choose a drive letter that is not already in use (for example, s:).
In the Folder field, type the UNC path to the folder (in this case, \\bigboy\specialdocs$).
Check the box that says "Reconnect at logon."
Now your spouse will be able to access the folder on your computer in Windows Explorer by clicking the S: drive.

Now if you do not want even your XP computer to show up in the network browser (Network Neighborhood). Just click Start | Run and type this: net config server /hidden:yes.

How to Send a FAX with Windows XP

Our recent discussion about how some businesses still want you to transmit documents by facsimile instead of as an e-mailed attachment spawned many questions about whether and how you can send FAX documents from XP. In fact, you can (assuming you have a scanner and a FAX modem) and you don't need any third party software to do it. Here's how:

Scan the document you want to send and save it in a graphic format.
Navigate to the saved document in Windows Explorer and double click it to launch the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer or, if you have associated some other graphics program with the file type, right click the file and select Open with and then choose Windows Picture and Fax Viewer to open the file.
In the Picture and Fax Viewer, click the Print button (printer icon) at the bottom or press CTRL+P. This opens the Photo Printing Wizard.
Click Next.
The file you selected should already have a check mark beside it. If not, or if you want to send a different file, check the one you want to send and click Next.
On the Printing Options page, select Fax from the drop-down list. Click Next.
Select the layout you want to use. Click Next. This invokes the Send Fax wizard.
Enter the recipient's name and number. Click Next.
Choose a cover page. Click Next.
Schedule the time that you want to send the FAX and choose a priority.
Click Next.
View the Summary page. If you want to change anything, click the Back button. Otherwise, click Finish.

It's as simple as that! Now you can check on the status of your scheduled FAX documents by using the Fax Console in Start | All Programs | Accessories | Communications | Fax.

You'll see the received FAXes in your Inbox and those you've scheduled to send in your Outbox.


Access EFS Encrypted Files Remotely

I use Windows XP Pro and I have encrypted some of my files with EFS for security. When I'm logged on to the machine where I made them with the same user account as when I encrypted them, I can read them without a problem. But if I try to access those files across the network, I can't. Do you always have to access EFS files locally, or is there some way that I can access them from another computer on the network?

ANSWER:
Yes, you can access your EFS-encrypted files across the network, but there's a trick to it. EFS uses certificates to identify who is or isn't authorized to view the files, and if you're trying to do it from a different computer, your EFS certificate isn't installed on that computer and that's why you're being denied access. One way to get around this is to export your certificate and then import it to the new computer.

To export your certificate, go to the computer where it's stored. You need to create a Certificates MMC. Click Start | Run and type mmc. In the new blank console, click File and then Add/Remove Snap-in. In the dialog box, click the Add button and select Certificates. Click Close, then OK. In the new Certificates MMC, in the left pane, expand Personal and then Certificates. Click the certificate you want to export. It should have the same name as your user name, and when you double click it and click the Details tab, then scroll down to "Enhanced key usage," in the Field column, it will say "Encrypting File System" in the Value column.

Now right click the certificate, select All Tasks and then select Export. This will start the Certificate Export Wizard, which walks you through the steps of exporting your certificate. Save the private key along with the certificate. You'll have to enter a password to protect it. To import it, on the new computer create a Certificates MMC, expand Personal and right click the Certificates folder. Click All Tasks and then Import. This starts the Certificate Import Wizard. You'll need to know the path where you saved the certificate and the password you used to save it. Import it to the personal certificate store.

A second way you can access EFS-encrypted files over the network is to use a roaming profile. When you do this, your certificate automatically goes with you to whatever computer you log onto.


How to Set Individual File and Folder Permissions in XP Home

In Windows XP Professional, you can easily set file and folder (NTFS) permissions to control which users can access particular files or folders, either across the network or locally. XP Home Edition makes it more difficult, but it can still be done. You have to restart the computer and log on in Safe Mode. Now you can right click the file or folder on which you want to set permissions, right click it, select Properties, and click the Security tab. Here you can specify the accounts that should have permission to access the file or folder. Note that the file or folder must be on an NTFS partition for this to work.

If you do not want to log into safe Mode, there is a free ultilty that you can use to do the same thing. It's called FaJo XP File Security Extension. It can be downloaded from here. http://www.fajo.de/portal/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=6&Itemid=


Reinstall System Restore

The System Restore function in Windows XP seems to be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it's pulled me back from the brink of more than a few disasters, including one fateful day when I somehow managed to trash my entire hardware tree and install the wrong HAL for my machine. On the other hand, it sometimes gets in the way of some other low-level functions -- virus scanning, for instance -- and if it gets damaged, it can be hard to work around.

The most common symptoms of a damaged System Restore installation in Windows are fairly obvious: You can't create System Restore points anymore, and you can't roll back to them either. Most users don't know this -- and many experts don't either.

It is possible, however, to reinstall System Restore and get it running again if the mechanisms for performing System Restore become damaged or unregistered. The one drawback to doing this is that all existing System Restore points will be deleted. But if you need to get System Restore working, this may be a relatively small price to pay.

Enable hidden and system files in Explorer if you haven't done so already. To do this, open Control Panel | Folder Options | View, and in Advanced Settings under Hidden Files and Folders, select "Show hidden files and folders," Below that, uncheck "Hide protected operating system files." (You will probably want to restore this option later.)

From Start | Run, type %SystemRoot%\inf and press Enter.

Find the file named sr.inf. Right click on it and select Install.

You may be prompted for your Windows installation media, or a directory on your hard drive that has the \i386 folder. If you installed Service Pack 2 (as opposed to installing a version of Windows XP with SP2 preinstalled), use the folder %SystemRoot%\ServicePackFiles\i386 .

If you have a virus or malware infection and System Restore still seems to be working properly (i.e., you can create restore points), do not attempt to reinstall System Restore until after you have dealt with the other problems at hand. As I mentioned, reinstalling SR will delete all your existing restore points, and those restore points may be the only way to get back what's been damaged if it comes to that.


Change drive letter for bootdrive

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=223188

This article describes how to change the system or boot drive letter in Windows. For the most part, this is not recommended, especially if the drive letter is the same as when Windows was installed. The only time that you may want to do this is when the drive letters get changed without any user intervention. This may happen when you break a mirror volume or there is a drive configuration change. This should be a rare occurrence and you should change the drive letters back to match the initial installation.

To change or swap drive letters on volumes that cannot otherwise be changed using the Disk Management snap-in, use the following steps.

Note In these steps, drive D refers to the (wrong) drive letter assigned to a volume, and drive C refers to the (new) drive letter you want to change to, or to assign to the volume.

This procedure swaps drive letters for drives C and D. If you do not need to swap drive letters, simply name the \DosDevice\letter: value to any new drive letter not in use.

1. Get ready
2. Log on as an Administrator. 
3. Start Regedt32.exe. 
4. Go to the following registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices 
5. Click MountedDevices. 
6. On the Security menu, click Permissions.  
7. Verify that Administrators have full control. Change this back when you are finished with these steps. 
8. Quit Regedt32.exe, and then start Regedit.exe.  
9. Locate the following registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices 
10. Find the drive letter you want to change to (new). Look for "\DosDevices\C:". 
11. Right-click \DosDevices\C:, and then click Rename.

Note You must use Regedit instead of Regedt32 to rename this registry key. 
12. Rename it to an unused drive letter "\DosDevices\Z:".

This frees up drive letter C. 
13. Find the drive letter you want changed. Look for "\DosDevices\D:". 
14. Right-click \DosDevices\D:, and then click Rename. 
15. Rename it to the appropriate (new) drive letter "\DosDevices\C:". 
16. Click the value for \DosDevices\Z:, click Rename, and then name it back to "\DosDevices\D:". 
17. Quit Regedit, and then start Regedt32. 
18. Change the permissions back to the previous setting for Administrators (this should probably be Read Only). 
19. Restart the computer. 


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Local printer fix for Remote Desktop

If you are having issues seeing local printers as a print destination on the remote host (and your RDP Local Resource options are set to use your local printers) follow these steps, and then quit Registry Editor:
1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK. 
2. Locate and then click the following key in the registry:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsof
t\Terminal Server Client\Default\AddIns\RDPDR 
3. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value. 
4. Type FilterQueueType, and then press ENTER. 
5. On the Edit menu, click Modify. 
6. Type FFFFFFFF, and then click OK. 
This enables all ports on the client to be redirected.

Note: The printer drivers for the printer you are attempting to use MUST BE INSTALLED ON BOTH THE REMOTE AND LOCAL MACHINES.