Monday, December 13, 2010

Turning Off the Firewall

If you want to turn off the firewall for your computer:
  1. Go to Start / Settings / Network Connections
  2. Right click on the network connection you want to change
  3. Select Properties
  4. Click on the Advanced tab
  5. Uncheck the box in Internet Connection Firewall

Hiding a XP Computer from Network Neighborhood

If you want to share files from a XP computer,
yet want to remove it from showing up in the Network Neighborhood,

Run net config server /hidden:yes

Running CHKDSK - in Windows XP

One way to run a chkdsk (this is like Scandisk that was with Win9X), is to
  1. Double click on My Computer
  2. Right click on the drive you want to check
  3. Select Properties
  4. Click on the Tools tab
  5. Click on the Check Now button
  6. Check to Automatically fix file system errors - This is the same as running chkdsk /f
  7. If you want to Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors, check that box - This is the same as running chkdsk /R. It can also add a lot of time to the scan
  8. Reboot if necessary
You can also run chkdsk from the command line with will give you more options.
The following switches are available:
/F - fix any errors
/R - identifies bad sectors
/V - with FAT32, displays a verbose output
With NTFS Volumes:
/I - Performs simpler check (stage 2)
/C - Skips the checking of cycles within folder structures
/X - Forces the volume to dismount if necessary.  Intended for server administrators and should be avoided for normal use

Renaming Multiple Files in a Directory

If you want to rename multiple files in the same directory:
  1. Using the Windows Explorer, select all the files you want to rename
  2. Press F2 or right click and select Rename
  3. Enter the prefix for the name you want (e.g. Newname)
  4. This will automatically rename the rest of the files Newname (1).jpg, Newname (2).jpg etc.
  5. Make sure you include the extension if you have the Explorer configured to show them.

Showing Common Tasks in Window

When you open a window from My Computer or the Control Panel, and you don't see the blue bar with additional options on the left side, you may simply need to turn on Common Tasks
  1. From that same windows, go to Tools / Folder Options
  2. Check Show common tasks in folders

Cleaning the Prefetch Directory

Windows XP has a feature called Prefetch. This keeps a shortcut to recently used programs.
However it can fill up with old and obsolete programs.
To clean this periodically go to:
  1. Start / Run / Prefetch
  2. Press Ctrl-A to highlight all the files
  3. Delete them

Displaying the QuickLaunch Toolbar

By default, WindowsXP does not show the QuickLaunch toolbar.
To enable it again:
  1. Right click on an open area of the toolbar
  2. Select Toolbars
  3. Select Quick Launch

Changing the Picture Displayed for a User

You can change the picture that gets displayed for a particular user
  1. Go to the Control Panel
  2. Select User Accounts
  3. Click on the Account to change
  4. Click on Change my picture
  5. You can then browse to the picture you want to use

Locking the Workstation - in Windows XP

There are two ways you can lock the workstation.
  1. With a Windows key + L
  2. Create an shortcut rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation

Disabling Hibernation - in Windows XP

If you don't want to use up the disk space taken by Hibernation, or don't need to use it at all,
you can easily disable it.
  1. Open up the Control Panel / Power Options icon
  2. Click on the Hibernation icon
  3. Uncheck Enable Hibernation

Setting System Time Over the Internet - in Windows XP

You can set your system clock to a time server on the Internet.
  1. Double-click the time on your taskbar
  2. Click the Internet Time tab
  3. Check Automatically synchronize with an Internet time server
  4. Click on the Update Now button

Creating a Shutdown/Reboot Icon - in Windows XP

WindowsXP has a program called SHUTDOWN.EXE which allows you to easily create icons to shutdown or restart your computer.

To create a shutdown shortcut on the desktop:
  1. Right click on an open area of the desktop
  2. Select New / Shortcut
  3. Enter in "shutdown -s -t 00" - no quotes
  4. Press the Next button
  5. For the name, enter in anything you like. I just use shutdown. Click on the Finish button.
For a reboot, enter "shutdown -r -t 00"

Shutdown [{-l|-s|-r|-a}] [-f] [-m [\\ComputerName]] [-t xx] [-c "message"] [-d[u][p]:xx:yy]

  • -l - Logs off the current user, this is also the defualt. -m ComputerName takes precedence.
  • -s - Shuts down the local computer.
  • -r - Reboots after shutdown.
  • -a - Aborts shutdown. Ignores other parameters, except -l and ComputerName. You can only use -a during the time-out period.
  • -f - Forces running applications to close.
  • -m [\\ComputerName] - Specifies the computer that you want to shut down.
  • -t xx - Sets the timer for system shutdown in xx seconds. The default is 20 seconds.
  • -c "message" - Specifies a message to be displayed in the Message area of the System Shutdown window. You can use a maximum of 127 characters. You must enclose the message in quotation marks.

Turning Off the Built-In CD Burner - in Windows XP

If you want to turn off the ability to using the built-in CD burner software that comes with WindowsXP:
  1. Open up the Explorer
  2. Right click on the drive that is your CD burner
  3. Select Properties
  4. Click on the Recording tab
  5. Uncheck Enable CD recording on this drive

Changing Drive Letters - in Windows XP

If you want to change the letters assigned to your fixed or removable drives:
  1. Right Click on My Computer
  2. Select Manage
  3. Select Disk Management
For a Fixed Disk:
  1. Select it
  2. Right click
  3. Select Change Drive Letter and Path
  4. Click on the Edit button
  5. Enter in the letter you want to use
For a Removable Disk:
  1. In the lower, right hand panel, right click on the Disk or CD ROM # 
  2. Select Change Drive Letter and Path
  3. Click on the Edit button
  4. Enter in the letter you want to use
Note: This can only be done for drives that do not have the Operating System Installed or you are booting to.

Removing Thumbs.db Files - in Windows XP

When viewing a folder with the Thumbnail view, WindowsXP creates a thumbs.db file.
This is a cache of the current pictures in that directory.
If you want to turn this feature off and save a little disk space
  1. Start the Windows Explorer
  2. Go to Tools / Folder Options / View
  3. In the first section under Files and Folders, check Do not cache thumbnails
  4. Now you can search for the thumbs.db file on your computer and remove them. No more should be created.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Virtual Memory Too Low Warning Trouble in Win XP and Vista

When there is less physical memory than needed, then some virtual memory (virtual RAM) is created on the disk. When there is a limit set to the size of virtual memory usage and there is not enough of it present there is a warning that frequently comes “Virtual Memory too low”.

Solution 1 :
This problem occurs when physical RAM + Virtual RAM (usually created on hard disk) together are not sufficient to take care of the currently needed RAM size, or this situation is about to arise. This usually happens when some fixed upper limit for Virtual Memory has been set. To solve this problem, you can either upgrade you physical RAM on your computer (recommended), or you can set the Virtual Memory to system managed size or you can do both. Setting Virtual Memory to system managed size means windows will set it to higher size whenever needed automatically,for this,

Adding Windows Vista Fonts in Windows XP & Windows 2000

If you are bored of the old XP and Win2000 fonts, then here comes Windows Vista to the rescue. It has some cool and sexy fonts like Candara, Consolas, Calibri, Cambria, Constantia and Corbel, etc. Now you can install these in Windows XP and Windows 2000 as well.
Just follow the instructions given below:

1. First go here and download the Microsoft Compatibility pack (MCP). The MCP is a free utility that allows you open, edit, and save documents, workbooks, and presentations in the file formats new to Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007.

2. Save to desired location and install it.

3. That’s it now you’ll have these vista fonts in all office applications including the previous fonts.

Speed Up Your Folder Browsing

You may have noticed that everytime you open my computer to browse folders that there is a slight delay. This is because Windows XP automatically searches for network files and printers everytime you open Windows Explorer. To fix this and to increase browsing significantly:
1. Open My Computer
2. Click on Tools menu
3. Click on Folder Options
4. Click on the View tab.
5. Uncheck the Automatically search for network folders & printers check box
6. Click Apply
7. Click Ok
8. Reboot your computer

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Safe Surfing Tips for Teens

How could we live without the Internet? That's how most of us keep in touch with friends, find homework support, research a cool place to visit, or find out the latest news.

But besides the millions of sites to visit and things to do, the Internet offers lots of ways to waste time — and even get into trouble. And just as in the non-cyber world, some people you encounter online might try to take advantage of you — financially or physically.

You've probably heard stories about people who get into trouble in chat rooms. Because users can easily remain anonymous, chat rooms often attract people who are interested in more than just chatting. They'll sometimes ask visitors for information about themselves, their families, or where they live — information that shouldn't be given away.

Usually, the people who request personal information like home addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses use this information to fill mailboxes and answering machines with advertisements. In some cases, though, predators may use this information to begin illegal or indecent relationships or to harm a person's or family's well-being.

Of course, the Internet is home to millions of places you can and should visit. Like an infinite library, the Web can take you to the ends of the earth with the information it contains.

Safe Surfing Tips for Children

Just like you wouldn't want to surf in real water when you don't know how to swim, you don't want to enter the Internet without knowing the rules of safety, would you?.  Here are some tips to follow while surfing the net.

1) DON’T CHAT WITH STRANGERS- Your Parents are RIGHT when they say “DON'T TALK TO STRANGERS”. As far as possible NEVER talk with strangers in ADULT chat rooms. You really don't know who the person is that you are chatting with.  Because you can't see or even hear the person it would be very easy for someone to mislead you. People on the Internet can pretend to be anyone or anything they want.  

Remember that people online may not be who they say they are.  

Don't let them fool you. If you like to chat, make sure that your parents know that you are chatting, where you're chatting, with whom you're chatting, and what information you are giving people. Never use bad language & don't get into arguments with or answer anyone who uses bad language.  

If you still chat, use a fun name when you're online, not your real name (not even your real first name). Don't ever give them your phone number or address. YES.  Never give your name, address, phone number, credit card information to anyone. This is very important.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tips to keep your passwords secret

Treat your passwords with as much care as you treat the information that they protect.
Use strong passwords to log on to your computer and to any site—including social networking sites—where you enter your credit card number, or any financial or personal information.
  1. Never provide your password in an email or in response to an email request.
    • Internet "phishing" scams use fraudulent email messages to entice you to reveal your user names and passwords, steal your identity, and more.
  2. Do not type passwords on computers that you do not control, such as those in Internet cafes, computer labs, kiosk systems, and airport lounges.
    • Cyber criminals can purchase keystroke logging devices that gather information typed on public computers, including passwords.

Create strong passwords

Strong passwords are important protections to help you have safer online transactions.

Keys to password strength: length and complexity

An ideal password is long and has letters, punctuation, symbols, and numbers.
  • Whenever possible, use at least 14 characters or more.
  • The greater the variety of characters in your password, the better.
  • Use the entire keyboard, not just the letters and characters you use or see most often.

Create a strong password you can remember

There are many ways to create a long, complex password. Here is one way that may make remembering it easier:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Save time with quick computer shortcuts

Driving around your desktop

To...Use this shortcut
Select a file/folder/icon
Type the first letter of the file. If you have several files starting with the same letter, continue hitting the letter key until your cursor lands on the file or folder you want.
Search for a file/folder
Rename a file/folder
Select the file/folder, click F2, and then re-type the name
Find out when the file or folder was created, by whom, and how big it is
Select the file, right-click, and then clickProperties
Display the Start menu
Ctrl + Esc
Create a shortcut on your desktop to your favorite file/folder
Drag the file/folder icon to your desktop
Scroll between open items
Alt + Tab, then hold down Alt while clicking Tab to reach the desired file or program

Simple ways to Speed Up Windows XP

1. Disable Indexing Services
Indexing Services is a small little program that uses large amounts of RAM and can often make a computer endlessly loud and noisy. This system process indexes and updates lists of all the files that are on your computer. It does this so that when you do a search for something on your computer, it will search faster by scanning the index lists. If you don’t search your computer often, or even if you do search often, this system service is completely unnecessary. To disable do the following:
  • Go to Start
  • Click Settings
  • Click Control Panel
  • Double-click Add/Remove Programs
  • Click the Add/Remove Window Components
  • Uncheck the Indexing services
  • Click Next

Keyboard shortcuts for Windows XP

Windows system key combinations

  • F1: Help
  • CTRL+ESC: Open Start menu
  • ALT+TAB: Switch between open programs
  • ALT+F4: Quit program
  • SHIFT+DELETE: Delete item permanently
  • Windows Logo+L: Lock the computer (without using CTRL+ALT+DELETE)

Windows program key combinations
  • CTRL+C: Copy
  • CTRL+X: Cut
  • CTRL+V: Paste
  • CTRL+Z: Undo
  • CTRL+B: Bold
  • CTRL+U: Underline
  • CTRL+I: Italic

Optimize your computer's performance - in Windows XP

Windows XP has a rich user interface with menus that slide into view, shadows that create three-dimensional effects, and rounded corners that soften the appearance of windows. If you have an older computer, these visual effects may noticeably slow down it's performance. For example, dialog boxes and menus might not open smoothly. To help improve the performance of your computer, you can disable some or all visual effects. When you disable visual effects, you change only the graphical elements on your desktop; you can still do everything you've always done with your computer—only faster.

How to disable specific visual effects

To control which visual effects Windows XP uses
Click Start, right-click My Computer, and click Properties.
My Computer menu with Properties selected

Configure Windows XP power management

If you’re a portable computer user, you probably know the frustration of running out of battery power before you run out of work. But power management isn’t just for stretching battery life on portable computers. Configuring power management can reduce electrical usage on your desktop computer and lower your electric bill.

To configure power management in Microsoft Windows XP
Log on to your computer as an administrator. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
Start menu with Control Panel selected

Maintenance tasks that improve performance - in Windows XP

If your computer seems slower than it used to be, it probably is. Over time, computers get slower because files become disorganized and resources are consumed by unnecessary software. Fortunately, Microsoft Windows XP includes tools to clean up your computer and restore its performance. The five steps in this article will walk you through the use of these tools to tune up your computer.
Before you do anything, back up your computer. Some of the steps in this article can cause pre-existing but hidden problems to surface, which may keep your computer from starting. A backup allows you to restore your important files in the unlikely event that something does go wrong.

1. Remove unused programs

First, remove programs you don't use anymore. Programs take up space on your computer, and some run in the background without your knowledge. Removing programs you don't use can help restore your computer's performance.

2. Install and run antispyware software

Most programs can be removed using the Add or Remove Programs function accessible from Control Panel, but spyware programs are more stubborn. Windows Defender (a free download from Microsoft) or another antispyware program can detect and remove these programs. You should always have an antispyware program installed, because spyware might install itself on your computer without your knowledge. After you install the antispyware program, run it to detect and remove any unwanted programs.

Organize your notification area - in Windows XP

The notification area is the collection of small icons near your system clock, in the bottom-right corner of your screen. After you've used your computer for a few months, the notification area can become cluttered with icons for different programs you may have installed. Each icon takes up space on your Microsoft Windows XP taskbar, which leaves less room for your program buttons.
Fortunately, you can free up space in the notification area by hiding icons that you don't use very often.
To organize your notification area
Right-click the system clock, and then click Properties on the shortcut menu.
System clock shortcut menu with Properties selected

Save energy by putting your monitor to sleep - in Windows XP

You can save electricity and reduce your impact on the environment by activating your monitor’s sleep feature in Microsoft Windows XP. Activating sleep settings on just one computer may prevent considerable CO2 emissions each year. Letting your monitor sleep allows it to go into a low-power mode when you’re not using it. To wake your monitor, you simply touch your mouse or keyboard.

To set Windows XP to automatically turn your monitor off when your computer isn’t being used
Right-click the desktop, and then click Properties.
Desktop shortcut menu with Properties selected

Speed up menu display - For Windows XP

Microsoft Windows XP uses many visual effects to provide a rich, friendly interface. One of these settings allows menus to fade into view when you open them. This visual effect is so smooth that you may never have noticed it; however, the effect does cause menus to take a little longer to appear.
On a fast computer, this shouldn't be an issue. But on a computer that isn’t responding as quickly as you'd like, you can make menus display faster.
To speed up menu display
Click Start. Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
My Computer shortcut menu with Properties selected

Use keyboard shortcuts - For Windows XP

The mouse, one of the greatest advances in computing history, provides you with an intuitive point-and-click method for using your computer. Depending on the type of work you're doing, however, sometimes using a mouse actually slows you down. If you are a good typist, taking your hands away from the keyboard to move the mouse can use up a few seconds. Over the course of a full day, you could save several minutes by using keyboard shortcuts instead of the mouse.
You can use your keyboard instead of your mouse to do these three tasks:
Start a program
Navigate menus
Minimize, maximize, and close windows

Start a program using a keyboard shortcut

The Start menu is great for finding programs, but its multiple levels of folders can be time consuming to navigate. If there is a program you start frequently, you should set a keyboard shortcut for it so that you can start the program without taking your hands off the keyboard.
To set a keyboard shortcut to start a program
Click the Start menu, and then click All Programs. Right-click the program that you want to start with a keyboard shortcut, and then click Properties.

Shortcut menu for a program with Properties selected