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  • Are you blessed with a Macintosh to experience the brighter side of computing but are still trying to forget your Windows XP box?
  • Are you a Mac techie who wants to run some software which is released only to Windows XP systems and not yet entered the Mac world?
  • Are you wanting to fascinate your friends with showing your skills by doing a dual boot?
bootcamp+Mac --> Mac + Windows XP  ..logo
Whatever your motive is, if you want to run a Windows XP system along with a Mac OS in a Macintosh computer, then the best possible option for you is Apple's Boot Camp.The Bootcamp lets you install Windows XP on a Macintosh system and do dual boot.

So if you want to install Windows XP on a Mac using bootcamp, then follow the below steps:

  1. Download latest version of Mac OSX(currently 10.5.5) and the firmaware updates from the Apple Site .
  2. Create a Macintosh drivers CD by running BootCamp Assistant.These drivers are very important.So check once again if the CD has been properly written.
  3. Create a hard-disk partition so that Windows can be installed on it.Make sure the partition has a size ideally 10GB.This will provide sufficient storage for windows to install the OS and some required software.
  4. Now insert your Windows XP setup CD and start the installation.When asked to select the hard disk partition select C drive.Format it using FAT.NTFS format is not readable by Mac and hence to access the Windows XP drive from Mac , you have to format as a FAT partition.
  5. Wait for the XP installation to get on.Once the XP installation is complete, your system will be restarted by BootCamp in Windows XP automatically.
  6. Now take the Macintosh Drivers CD created in step 2 and install the Mac drivers.The drivers are extremely essential for your hardware to function properly.
That is all you have to do to get Windows installed on your Mac.The next time you boot you will be booted by default into windows.To boot into Mac press ALT key while booting up.

Create Windows Show Desktop Icon

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Have you ever wondered How to create Show Desktop Icon on your Windows XP box? Then you have a solution to the problem right here.Follow my favorite step by step approach :)

  1. Open your text editor(May be Notepad);
  2. Copy the following text into it
    Command = 2
    IconFile = explorer.exe,3
    Command = ToggleDesktop
  3. Save it as "Show Desktop.scf" and you are ready with the shortcut file.
  4. Cut the file and paste wherever you want to :)

Send free SMS through your Iphone

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Iphone Free SMS.png If you own that great master piece called as an Iphone, then you have the advantage of sending free SMS.Actually you need not limit your self to an Iphone.With the following tip you can send free SMS from any mobile that can access internet.
You have to point your mobile's browser to There you will be presented with a form as shown to the right.Fill the form with the details and with that you are done.

Dynadel's SMS service supports carriers in US,UK,Canada, France etc countries.

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I have recently experienced this bug of Google Chrome not playing You Tube videos.It just plays for the first two seconds and then stops.I first thought it's problem with Google Chrome.But when I tried it in my other browsers, I realised my Google Chrome,Firefox and even Flock don't play YouTube video.After doing some research I came to know that it's due to the incompatibility of newest version of Macromedia Flash Player.So as a temporary fix, follow the following procedure.

Problem:You Tube video plays for 2 seconds and stops in Firefox,Google Chrome and Flock.
  1. Download the Adobe Flash Player uninstaller:
  2. Save the file to your system (for example, your desktop). Macintosh users may need to open or unstuff the .hqx file.
  3. Quit ALL running applications, including all Internet Explorer or other browser windows, AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, or other Messengers. Check the Windows system tray carefully to make certain no applications are still in memory which might possibly use Flash Player.
  4. Run the uninstaller. This will remove Adobe Flash Player from all browsers on the system.
  5. Now reboot your PC.
  6. Download Macromedia Flash Player v. from here .
  7. Install it and now start your browser to see YouTube Videos.
  8. Enjoy!!!!!!!!!

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    In the last post of the series, I provided you with some advanced tweaks for your system.The tweaks that I am going to present in this part are a bit easier than the previous ones. It's not compulsory for you to perform previous tweaks,to perform these.You can start right away with these.

    Optimizing Startup Programs [msconfig]

    MsConfig is a hidden application in Windows XP which allows the user to fine tune the applications that are launched at startup. To disable some of the applications launched at startup perform the following steps.
    1. Go to Start->Run and enter msconfig.exe and press Ok.
    2. The MsConfig window opens.In this go to the Startup tab.
    3. In the startup tab, un-tick the checkbox next to the startup items which you don't want to load at startup and keep the ones you want to load at startup as it is
    4. While unchecking, keep in mind not to uncheck any entry of which you are not aware of.
    5. After this, press Exit and restart.

    The nice part of MsConfig is that it does not delete any of the settings.It simply disables them.So you can go back and restart a startup application if you find that you need it.

    Bootvis Application

    This program was designed by Microsoft to enable Windows XP to cold boot in 30 seconds, return from hibernation in 20 seconds, and return from standby in 10 seconds. Bootvis has two extremely useful features. First, it can be used to optimize the boot process on your computer automatically. Second, it can be used to analyze the boot process for specific subsystems that are having difficulty loading. The first process specifically targets the prefetching subsystem (discussed in the part I), as well as the layout of boot files on the disk. When both of these systems are optimized, it can result in a significant reduction in the time it takes for the computer to boot

    To use the software to optimize your system startup, first start with a full analysis of a fresh boot. Start Bootvis, go to the Tools menu, and select next boot. Set the Trace Repetition Settings to 2 repetitions, Start at 1, and Reboot automatically. Then set the trace into motion. The system will fully reboot twice, and then reopen bootvis and open the second trace file (should have _2 in the name). Analyze the graphs and make any changes that you think are necessary (this is a great tool for determining which startup programs you want to kill using msconfig). Once you have made your optimizations go to the Trace menu, and select the Optimize System item. This will cause the system to reboot and will then make some changes to the file structure on the hard drive (this includes a defragmentation of boot files and a shifting of their location to the fastest portion of the hard disk, as well as some other optimizations). After this is done, once again run a Trace analysis as above, except change the starting number to 3. Once the system has rebooted both times, compare the charts from the second trace to the charts for the fourth trace to show you the time improvement of the system's boot up.

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    It was quite some time since I did not post in this blog.To revive the blog, I am going to make
    series of posts to tweak your Windows XP box.Follow this tweaks to improve your windows's functionality.These posts require a bit of time, but once done you will see the change to be awesome.

    For each of the following tips,you have to know about Registry Editor.To perform any of these tweaks, first go to Start->Run and type regedit and press ENTER key.Then a window opens as shown in the below picture.

    In the Left pane is the tree view.You have to use this to navigate to the key mentioned. Then follow as said.

    To start with, in this Part 1, I will discuss the tweaks related to the startup of windows XP.

    Windows Prefetcher
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ Session Manager \ Memory Management \ PrefetchParameters]

    Go to this key and there will be a setting called EnablePrefetcher in the right pane.The default setting of it will be 3. Increasing this number to 5 gives the prefetcher system more system resources to prefetch application data for faster load times during startup. Depending on the number of startup processes you run on your computer, you may get benefits from using settings up to 9. However, I do not have any data on settings above 9.So I cannot verify the benefits of settings above 9.So enter anything above 3 till 9 and test which suits best for your system. This setting will not take effect until after you reboot your system.

    Master File Table(MFT) Zone Reservation
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ FileSystem]

    If you navigate to this key, there you will see a setting called NtfsMftZoneReservation in the right pane.Its default value is 1. The range of this value is from 1 to 4. The default setting reserves one-eighth of the volume for the MFT. A setting of 2 reserves one-quarter of the volume for the MFT. A setting of 3 for NtfsMftZoneReservation reserves three-eighths of the volume for the MFT and setting it to 4 reserves half of the volume for the MFT. Most users will never exceed one-quarter of the volume. I recommend a setting of 2 for most users. This allows for a "moderate number of files" commensurate with the number of small files included in most computer games and applications. Reboot after applying this tweak.

    Optimize Boot Files
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Dfrg \ BootOptimizeFunction]

    Under this key is a text value named Enable. A value of Y for this setting enables the boot files defragmenter. This setting defragments the boot files and may move the boot files to the beginning (fastest) part of the partition. Reboot after applying this tweak.

    Single click shutdown and restart

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    It's always sweet to have a process simplified in number of steps.Whenever you shut down your computer,you have to always go to Start->Turn off Computer->Shutdown.But there is a simple methgod to do all this in a single click.The following tip explains it.

    1.Create a shortcut on your desktop by Right Click->New-> Shortcut. This shows the Create Shortcut Wizard.
    2.Type "shutdown" where it asks for the location of shortcut.Name it as you like.
    3. After you have created the shortcut, double-clicking on it will shut down your computer.

    You can do many more things with a shutdown shortcut than merely shut down your PC. You can add any combination of several options to add extra functionality, like this:

    In the location for shortcut, instead of "shutdown",type this
    shutdown -r -t 31 -c "Rebooting your PC"
    Double-clicking on that shortcut will restart your computer after a delay of 31 displaying the message "Rebooting your PC". You can put anytime you like to schedule your shutdown process.

    You could append the following switches to "shutdown" with their functionality a mentioned.
    -s Shuts down the PC.

    -l Logs off the current user.

    -t nn waits for 'nn' seconds before performing the action.

    -c "messagetext" Displays 'messagetext' in the System Shutdown window with amaximum of 127 character.Don't forget to enclose the message text in quotation marks.

    -f Forces any running applications to shut down.

    -r Restarts the computer.

    Simple tip to Block all the ads

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    If you want to remove ads which waste lot of your time and bandwidth from webpages, then here is a technique for you.I hope it will help you a lot.
    Whenever you go to a webpage the ads it generates are from some specific sites on the internet.Now the site has been given a domain name like .If somehow you could make your computer to go to some other site instead of googlesyndication,then you could escape google ads.Similar is the case with others. The most common way to do this is by using a file called "hosts file". The hosts file contains a list of domain names and their corresponding IP addresses, which our windows OS looks at every time we go to a site. If it finds entry for the domain name, it sets the IP address for that domain name to be whatever is in the hosts file. is a special IP address which always means that the computer itself. Any time a machine sends a request to, it is talking to itself. This is very useful in our present case, because all we have to do is specify the IP address of any ad server to be And for that, we have to edit the hosts file.

    So for doing it first find out your "Hosts file".See your hosts file according to here.

    *Windows 98/Me:C:\Windows/hosts
    * Windows NT: C:\WinNT\hosts
    * Windows NT/2000/XP Pro: C:\WinNT\system32\drivers\etc\
    * Windows XP Home,Vista: C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc
    * FreeBSD / Linux / Mac OS X / Unixish operating systems: /etc/hosts

    The format of the hosts file is very simple - IP address, whitespace, then a list of hostnames .
    The following file contains all the mappings required.All you have to do is this:

    Find your hosts file from above and add the contents of this text file in a new line in the same pattern.

    That's all you have to do and your comp is rid of all those nasty ads.If you want any ads just remove the line corresponding to it.I prefer you remove google's entry i.e., because I use google ads to sponsor myself and also google ads are very simple that they don't waste your bandwidth.But anyway it's your wish in the end :)

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    Many a times when you are shutting down your computer you might have seen some alerts of programs blocking the shutdown process by alerting with a message.You have to manually click end program to proceed with the shutdown process.The following tip overcomes this problem.
    The following registry file automatically ends tasks and timeouts that prevent programs from shutting down.It also clears the Paging File(the file which acts like a virtual RAM disk on your computer) on Exit.

    1.Firstly, copy and paste the following code into notepad.

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management]

    [HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop]


    2. Now save the file as yourfilename.reg.
    3.Right click the file and select merge to get it added to registry.You may get a warning ignore it.

    That's it and now your computer shutsdown clean and fast

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    Many people who use windows are affected with problems like viruses,worms,trojan,spyware and malware etc.So they resort to spend a lot of money on antivirus,anti spyware etc tools.But before you spend money for security, you could always try these simple free tips.

    1. Update your windows and office regularly .Have your Office CD ready. Windows Me, 2000, and XP users can configure automatic updates. Click on the Automatic Updates tab in the System control panel and choose the appropriate options.

    2. Install a personal firewall. Both SyGate and ZoneAlarm free versions.

    3. Install spyware blocker. SpyBot is paranoid and ruthless in hunting out tracking cookies and spyware.

    4. Block balloon messages in Windows NT, 2000, or XP by disabling the Windows Messenger service (it's no way related to MSN messenger). Open Control Panel-> Administrative Tools -> Services and you'll see Messenger. Right-click ->Properties. Set Start-up Type to Disabled and press the Stop button. That's it the balloon popups are gone! Any good firewall will also stop them.

    5. Use strong passwords and change them periodically. Passwords should be at least eight characters; use letters and numbers and have at least one symbol. This will make it much harder for anyone to gain unauthorized access to your accounts.

    6. Use always the latest versions of mail clients like MS Outlook and Outlook Messenger.

    7. Use a good antivirus software and always keep it up to date. If you're not willing to pay, try Grisoft AVG Free Edition. And doublecheck your antivirus with the free, online scanners like Panda Software and Trendmicro.

    8. If you have a wireless network, turn on the security features: Use MAC filtering, turn off SSID broadcast, and use WEP with the biggest key you can get.

    9. Join a good security forum, preferably those of antivirus software company sites , so that you learn about emerging and new threats quickly and can take proper precautions.

    10. Don't believe anything blindly on the Internet. Don't assume that the if the From: address is from a known person, it is actually from that person until you have further reason to believe it. Don't believe any attachments. Don't give out your password to anyone, even if that person says he's going to help you.

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    The Windows logo key, located in the bottom row of keyboards is a little-used treasure. Don''t ignore it. It is the shortcut anchor for the following commands:

    Windows: Display the Start menu
    Windows + D: Show Desktop(Minimize or restore all windows)
    Windows + E: Display My Documents(Windows Explorer )
    Windows + F: Display Search for files
    Windows + Ctrl + F: Display Search for computer
    Windows + F1: Display Help and Support Center
    Windows + R: Display Run dialog box (Start->Run)
    Windows + break: Display System Properties dialog box
    Windows + shift + M: Undo minimize all windows
    Windows + L: Lock the workstation
    Windows + U: Open Utility Manager
    Windows + Q: Quick switching of users (Powertoys only)
    Windows + Q: Hold Windows Key, then tap Q to scroll thru the different users on your pc

    Windows XP Hidden Apps

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    To run any of these hidden windows apps go to Start > Run and type the executable name (eg: charmap.exe).


    1) Character Map = charmap.exe (very useful for finding unusual characters)

    2) Disk Cleanup = cleanmgr.exe

    3) Clipboard Viewer = clipbrd.exe (views contents of Windows clipboard)

    4) Dr Watson = drwtsn32.exe (Troubleshooting tool)

    5) DirectX diagnosis = dxdiag.exe (Diagnose & test DirectX, video & sound cards)

    6) Private character editor = eudcedit.exe (allows creation or modification of characters)

    7) IExpress Wizard = iexpress.exe (Create self-extracting / self-installing package)

    8) Microsoft Synchronization Manager = mobsync.exe (appears to allow synchronization of files on the network for when working offline. Apparently undocumented).

    9) Windows Media Player 5.1 = mplay32.exe (Retro version of Media Player, very basic).

    10) ODBC Data Source Administrator = odbcad32.exe (something to do with databases)

    11) Object Packager = packager.exe (to do with packaging objects for insertion in files, appears to have comprehensive help files).

    12) System Monitor = perfmon.exe (very useful, highly configurable tool, tells you everything you ever wanted to know about any aspect of PC performance, for uber-geeks only )

    13) Program Manager = progman.exe (Legacy Windows 3.x desktop shell).

    14) Remote Access phone book = rasphone.exe (documentation is virtually non-existant).

    15) Registry Editor = regedt32.exe [also regedit.exe] (for hacking the Windows Registry).

    16) Network shared folder wizard = shrpubw.exe (creates shared folders on network).

    17) File siganture verification tool = sigverif.exe

    18) Volume Contro = sndvol32.exe (I've included this for those people that lose it from the System Notification area).

    19) System Configuration Editor = sysedit.exe (modify System.ini & Win.ini just like in Win98! ).

    20) Syskey = syskey.exe (Secures XP Account database - use with care, it's virtually undocumented but it appears to encrypt all passwords, I'm not sure of the full implications).

    21) Microsoft Telnet Client = telnet.exe

    22) Driver Verifier Manager = verifier.exe (seems to be a utility for monitoring the actions of drivers, might be useful for people having driver problems. Undocumented).

    23) Windows for Workgroups Chat = winchat.exe (appears to be an old NT utility to allow chat sessions over a LAN, help files available).

    24) System configuration = msconfig.exe (can use to control starup programs)

    25) gpedit.msc used to manage group policies, and permissions

    Remove ads in Yahoo messenger

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    1. Open notepad and paste the following code:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    “First Login Beacon”=”*”
    “Messenger Help”=”*”
    “Voice General Help”=”*”
    “Change Room Banner”=”*”
    “Address Book”=”*”
    “Finance Disclaimer”=”*”
    “Messenger Ad”=”*”
    “Chat Adurl”=”*”
    “Calendar Alert Ad URL”=”*”
    “Conf Adurl”=”*”
    “Mail Alert Ad URL”=”*”
    “News Alert Ad URL”=”*”
    “Personals Alert Ad URL”=”*”
    “Stock Alert Ad URL”=”*”
    “Webcam Viewer Ad Medium”=”*”
    “Webcam Viewer Ad Big”=”*”
    “Webcam Viewer Ad”=”*”
    “Webcam Upload Ad”=”*”
    “Chat Transition Ad”=”*”
    “N2Phone Adurl”=”*”
    “Webcam Viewer Ad Bid”=”*”

    2. Save the file with any name and extension .REG

    3. Right click on the file and select merge.

    That's all and you are done with it.Now your yahoo messenger doesn't have any ads.

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    Some websites illegally modify your registry editor and set their website as default home page.
    For example if you download megaupload toolbar or some other spyware and trojan like starwarez,starware,hotoffers etc change your homepage to their site or some other porn websites making it difficult to go away and always waste bandwidth for those ads.To prevent this from happening follow this procedure,

    1. Right-click on the Internet Explorer icon on your desktop and select "Properties".

    2. In the "Target" box you will see something like "C:\Program Files\Internet


    3. Now add the URL of the site you would like to be your homepage to the end of this.This will override any homepage setting in internet options:
    Suppose if you put something like this in your target box
    "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE"
    then your homepage will be forever and no other site could manipulate it.Any other problems mention in the comments.I will be ever ready to help.

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    1.Speed up the Boot Menu

    Tired of waiting thirty seconds to boot Windows 2000 if you don't select from the boot menu? Speed up the booting process by only showing the available operating systems for just a couple of seconds.

    Right-click "My Computer" on the desktop and choose "Properties". On the "System Properties" multi-tabbed dialog box that follows, click "Advanced". Click the "Startup and Recovery..." button. Then, on the "Startup and Recovery" dialog box that follows, next to "Display list of operating systems for ... seconds", select the number of seconds that you want the computer to wait before continuing with the default OS. When you're done, press "OK" to close the dialog box.

    2.Desktop Disappearing?

    Although Windows 2000 is more stable than previous versions of NT, in some situations, strange things can happen. If, for example, Explorer crashes, most of your desktop, including the "Start" button, disappears. To bring back Explorer without rebooting your machine, press CONTROL-ALT-DELETE. When the "Windows Security" dialog box appears, click the "Task Manager" button. If the "Windows Task Manager' dialog box appears as it should, select the "File" menu and then "New Task (Run)". When the "Create New Task" dialog box appears, just type in "Explorer" and press the "OK" button. Windows Explorer should then reappear, complete with the "Start" button.

    3.Change Process Priority

    Is a particular program or process running too fast or too slow? Is a program or process taking too much of your CPU time or can you allow a process or program to take more of your computing power? To change these settings for a particular process, just right-click on an empty area of your taskbar and choose "Task Manager..." On the "Windows Task Manager" dialog box that follows, select a process and right-click it. On the popup menu that appears, select "Set Priority" and choose one of the following priorities: "Realtime", "High", "Above Normal", "Normal", "Below Normal", or "Low". The lower the priority is on the popup menu, the lower percentage of CPU time will be delegated to said priority.

    Note that depending on the process and your administrative rights to your machine, you may not be able to change a particular process's priority.

    4.Put the Desktop in your Taskbar

    Do you frequently multitask? If so, all of the windows created by running applications can quickly cover your desktop. If you'd like, you can make the desktop icons immediately accessible from your taskbar. Just right-click an empty area of your taskbar, choose "Toolbars", and check "Desktop". Your desktop icons will then be immediately accessible without having to minimize your current windows. If you have a lot of desktop icons, click on the two greater-than arrows (">>") to the right of your desktop icons and a popup menu will appear allowing you to select from any of the available desktop icons not immediately visible on your taskbar.

    5.Changing DOS Window Titles

    If you use DOS a lot, you may frequently have more than one DOS window open at once. Perhaps you'll have one a window for FTP, one for debugging a batch file, one for doing basic tasks such as displaying directories, etc. If so, it can get very confusing navigating between the different DOS windows since each of their titles just say "Command Prompt". If you'd like, you can change the titles of a DOS window so you can easily see what tasks you are performing in each window.

    To change the title of a Windows 2000 command prompt window, just enter in the TITLE command, followed by your desired window title. For example, to name a DOS window "Debugging Window", just enter the following command at a DOS prompt:

    TITLE Debugging Window

    6.Save the Current Directory Name

    Windows 2000 lets you temporarily store the name of the current directory that you are in, letting you recall the directory name later after you are doing other processing. This may be useful if you are jumping around DOS directories a lot, either manually or through a batch file.

    To store the name of the current directory, or rather, to PUSH the name of the current directory onto the stack, enter the PUSHD command followed by the name of a directory that you would like to access next. For example, if you are in the "C:\Program Files" directory and want to push that directory name onto the stack, jumping to the C:\WINNT" directory, enter:


    After you are done working in the "C:\WINNT" directory and ready to go back to the "C:\Program Files" directory, don't type in "CD C:\Program Files", just POP the old directory from the stack by entering:

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    This is the second part of the tips list to speed up your personal computer.Read the part 1 here before reading this part.

    11.) Remove any unnecessary programs and/or items from Windows Startup routine using the MSCONFIG utility. Here's how: First, click Start, click Run, type MSCONFIG, and click OK. Click the StartUp tab, then uncheck any items you don't want to start when Windows starts. Unsure what some items are? Visit the WinTasks Process Library. It contains known system processes, applications, as well as spyware references and explanations. Or quickly identify them by searching for the filenames using Google or another Web search engine.

    12.) Remove any unnecessary or unused programs from the Add/Remove Programs section of the Control Panel.

    13.) Turn off any and all unnecessary animations, and disable active desktop. In fact, for optimal performance, turn off all animations. Windows XP offers many different settings in this area. Here's how to do it: First click on the System icon in the Control Panel. Next, click on the Advanced tab. Select the Settings button located under Performance. Feel free to play around with the options offered here, as nothing you can change will alter the reliability of the computer -- only its responsiveness.

    14.) If your customer is an advanced user who is comfortable editing their registry, try some of the performance registry tweaks offered at Tweak XP.

    15.) Visit Microsoft's Windows update site regularly, and download all updates labeled Critical. Download any optional updates at your discretion.

    16.) Update the customer's anti-virus software on a weekly, even daily, basis. Make sure they have only one anti-virus software package installed. Mixing anti-virus software is a sure way to spell disaster for performance and reliability.

    17.) Make sure the customer has fewer than 500 type fonts installed on their computer. The more fonts they have, the slower the system will become. While Windows XP handles fonts much more efficiently than did the previous versions of Windows, too many fonts -- that is, anything over 500 -- will noticeably tax the system.

    18.) Do not partition the hard drive. Windows XP's NTFS file system runs more efficiently on one large partition. The data is no safer on a separate partition, and a reformat is never necessary to reinstall an operating system. The same excuses people offer for using partitions apply to using a folder instead. For example, instead of putting all your data on the D: drive, put it in a folder called "D drive." You'll achieve the same organizational benefits that a separate partition offers, but without the degradation in system performance. Also, your free space won't be limited by the size of the partition; instead, it will be limited by the size of the entire hard drive. This means you won't need to resize any partitions, ever. That task can be time-consuming and also can result in lost data.

    19.) Check the system's RAM to ensure it is operating properly. I recommend using a free program called MemTest86. The download will make a bootable CD or diskette (your choice), which will run 10 extensive tests on the PC's memory automatically after you boot to the disk you created. Allow all tests to run until at least three passes of the 10 tests are completed. If the program encounters any errors, turn off and unplug the computer, remove a stick of memory (assuming you have more than one), and run the test again. Remember, bad memory cannot be repaired, but only replaced.

    20.) If the PC has a CD or DVD recorder, check the drive manufacturer's Web site for updated firmware. In some cases you'll be able to upgrade the recorder to a faster speed. Best of all, it's free.

    21.) Disable unnecessary services. Windows XP loads a lot of services that your customer most likely does not need. To determine which services you can disable for your client, visit the Black Viper site for Windows XP configurations.

    22.) If you're sick of a single Windows Explorer window crashing and then taking the rest of your OS down with it, then follow this tip: open My Computer, click on Tools, then Folder Options. Now click on the View tab. Scroll down to "Launch folder windows in a separate process," and enable this option. You'll have to reboot your machine for this option to take effect.

    23.) At least once a year, open the computer's cases and blow out all the dust and debris. While you're in there, check that all the fans are turning properly. Also inspect the motherboard capacitors for bulging or leaks. For more information on this leaking-capacitor phenomena, you can read numerous articles on my site.

    Following any of these suggestions should result in noticeable improvements to the performance and reliability of your customers' computers.

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    Since defragging the disk won't do much to improve Windows XP performance, I thought I would give some tips which will enhance the speed. Each of these will improve the performance and reliability of your computers. And the best thing is that most of them are cheap.

    1.) To decrease your system's boot time and increase system performance, the built-in Windows defragmenter works just fine -- and you could use the saved money you would have used to buy defragmenter software to equip the computer with a SATA hard drive with 8-MB cache buffer.

    2.) If a PC has less than 512 MB of RAM, add more memory. This is a relatively inexpensive and easy upgrade that can dramatically improve system performance.

    3.) Ensure that Windows XP is utilizing the NTFS file system. If you're not sure, here's how to check: First, double-click the My Computer icon, right-click on the C: Drive, then select Properties. Next, examine the File System type; if it says FAT32, then back-up any important data. Next, click Start, click Run, type CMD, and then click OK. At the prompt, type CONVERT C: /FS:NTFS and press the Enter key. This process may take a while; it's important that the computer be uninterrupted and virus-free. The file system used by the bootable drive will be either FAT32 or NTFS. I highly recommend NTFS for its superior security, reliability, and efficiency with larger disk drives.

    4.) Disable file indexing. The indexing service extracts information from documents and other files on the hard drive and creates a "searchable keyword index." As you can imagine, this process can be quite taxing on any system.

    The idea is that the user can search for a word, phrase, or property inside a document, should they have hundreds or thousands of documents and not know the file name of the document they want. Windows XP's built-in search functionality can still perform these kinds of searches without the Indexing service. It just takes longer. The OS has to open each file at the time of the request to help find what the user is looking for.

    Most people never need this feature of search. Those who do are typically in a large corporate environment where thousands of documents are located on at least one server. But if you're a typical system builder, most of your clients are small and medium businesses. And if your clients have no need for this search feature, I recommend disabling it.

    Here's how: First, double-click the My Computer icon. Next, right-click on the C: Drive, then select Properties. Uncheck "Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching." Next, apply changes to "C: subfolders and files," and click OK. If a warning or error message appears (such as "Access is denied"), click the Ignore All button.

    5.) Update the PC's video and motherboard chipset drivers. Also, update and configure the BIOS. For more information on how to configure your BIOS properly, see this article on my site.

    6.) Empty the Windows Prefetch folder every three months or so. Windows XP can "prefetch" portions of data and applications that are used frequently. This makes processes appear to load faster when called upon by the user. That's fine. But over time, the prefetch folder may become overloaded with references to files and applications no longer in use. When that happens, Windows XP is wasting time, and slowing system performance, by pre-loading them. Nothing critical is in this folder, and the entire contents are safe to delete.

    7.) Once a month, run a disk cleanup. Here's how: Double-click the My Computer icon. Then right-click on the C: drive and select Properties. Click the Disk Cleanup button -- it's just to the right of the Capacity pie graph -- and delete all temporary files.

    8.) In your Device Manager, double-click on the IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers device, and ensure that DMA is enabled for each drive you have connected to the Primary and Secondary controller. Do this by double-clicking on Primary IDE Channel. Then click the Advanced Settings tab. Ensure the Transfer Mode is set to "DMA if available" for both Device 0 and Device 1. Then repeat this process with the Secondary IDE Channel.

    9.) Upgrade the cabling. As hard-drive technology improves, the cabling requirements to achieve these performance boosts have become more stringent. Be sure to use 80-wire Ultra-133 cables on all of your IDE devices with the connectors properly assigned to the matching Master/Slave/Motherboard sockets. A single device must be at the end of the cable; connecting a single drive to the middle connector on a ribbon cable will cause signaling problems. With Ultra DMA hard drives, these signaling problems will prevent the drive from performing at its maximum potential. Also, because these cables inherently support "cable select," the location of each drive on the cable is important. For these reasons, the cable is designed so drive positioning is explicitly clear.

    10.) Remove all spyware from the computer. Use free programs such as AdAware by Lavasoft or SpyBot Search & Destroy. Once these programs are installed, be sure to check for and download any updates before starting your search. Anything either program finds can be safely removed. Any free software that requires spyware to run will no longer function once the spyware portion has been removed; if your customer really wants the program even though it contains spyware, simply reinstall it. For more information on removing Spyware visit this Web Pro News page.

    The remaining tips will be are covered in the follow through post to this.Follow this link

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    Fatal error: the system has become unstable or is busy," it says. "Enter to return to Windows or press Control-Alt-Delete to restart your computer. If you do this you will lose any unsaved information in all open applications."

    You have just been struck by the Blue Screen of Death. Anyone who uses Mcft Windows will be familiar with this. What can you do? More importantly, how can you prevent it happening?

    1 Hardware conflict

    The number one reason why Windows crashes is hardware conflict. Each hardware device communicates to other devices through an interrupt request channel (IRQ). These are supposed to be unique for each device.

    For example, a printer usually connects internally on IRQ 7. The keyboard usually uses IRQ 1 and the floppy disk drive IRQ 6. Each device will try to hog a single IRQ for itself.

    If there are a lot of devices, or if they are not installed properly, two of them may end up sharing the same IRQ number. When the user tries to use both devices at the same time, a crash can happen. The way to check if your computer has a hardware conflict is through the following route:

    * Start-Settings-Control Panel-System-Device Manager.

    Often if a device has a problem a yellow '!' appears next to its description in the Device Manager. Highlight Computer (in the Device Manager) and press Properties to see the IRQ numbers used by your computer. If the IRQ number appears twice, two devices may be using it.

    Sometimes a device might share an IRQ with something described as 'IRQ holder for PCI steering'. This can be ignored. The best way to fix this problem is to remove the problem device and reinstall it.

    Sometimes you may have to find more recent drivers on the internet to make the device function properly. A good resource is If the device is a soundcard, or a modem, it can often be fixed by moving it to a different slot on the motherboard (be careful about opening your computer, as you may void the warranty).

    When working inside a computer you should switch it off, unplug the mains lead and touch an unpainted metal surface to discharge any static electricity.

    To be fair to Mcft, the problem with IRQ numbers is not of its making. It is a legacy problem going back to the first PC designs using the IBM 8086 chip. Initially there were only eight IRQs. Today there are 16 IRQs in a PC. It is easy to run out of them. There are plans to increase the number of IRQs in future designs.

    2 Bad Ram

    Ram (random-access memory) problems might bring on the blue screen of death with a message saying Fatal Exception Error. A fatal error indicates a serious hardware problem. Sometimes it may mean a part is damaged and will need replacing.

    But a fatal error caused by Ram might be caused by a mismatch of chips. For example, mixing 70-nanosecond (70ns) Ram with 60ns Ram will usually force the computer to run all the Ram at the slower speed. This will often crash the machine if the Ram is overworked.

    One way around this problem is to enter the BIOS settings and increase the wait state of the Ram. This can make it more stable. Another way to troubleshoot a suspected Ram problem is to rearrange the Ram chips on the motherboard, or take some of them out. Then try to repeat the circumstances that caused the crash. When handling Ram try not to touch the gold connections, as they can be easily damaged.

    Parity error messages also refer to Ram. Modern Ram chips are either parity (ECC) or non parity (non-ECC). It is best not to mix the two types, as this can be a cause of trouble.

    EMM386 error messages refer to memory problems but may not be connected to bad Ram. This may be due to free memory problems often linked to old Dos-based programmes.

    3 BIOS settings

    Every motherboard is supplied with a range of chipset settings that are decided in the factory. A common way to access these settings is to press the F2 or delete button during the first few seconds of a boot-up.

    Once inside the BIOS, great care should be taken. It is a good idea to write down on a piece of paper all the settings that appear on the screen. That way, if you change something and the computer becomes more unstable, you will know what settings to revert to.

    A common BIOS error concerns the CAS latency. This refers to the Ram. Older EDO (extended data out) Ram has a CAS latency of 3. Newer SDRam has a CAS latency of 2. Setting the wrong figure can cause the Ram to lock up and freeze the computer's display.

    Mcft Windows is better at allocating IRQ numbers than any BIOS. If possible set the IRQ numbers to Auto in the BIOS. This will allow Windows to allocate the IRQ numbers (make sure the BIOS setting for Plug and Play OS is switched to 'yes' to allow Windows to do this.).

    4 Hard disk drives

    After a few weeks, the information on a hard disk drive starts to become piecemeal or fragmented. It is a good idea to defragment the hard disk every week or so, to prevent the disk from causing a screen freeze. Go to

    * Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-Disk Defragmenter

    This will start the procedure. You will be unable to write data to the hard drive (to save it) while the disk is defragmenting, so it is a good idea to schedule the procedure for a period of inactivity using the Task Scheduler.

    The Task Scheduler should be one of the small icons on the bottom right of the Windows opening page (the desktop).

    Some lockups and screen freezes caused by hard disk problems can be solved by reducing the read-ahead optimisation. This can be adjusted by going to

    * Start-Settings-Control Panel-System Icon-Performance-File System-Hard Disk.

    Hard disks will slow down and crash if they are too full. Do some housekeeping on your hard drive every few months and free some space on it. Open the Windows folder on the C drive and find the Temporary Internet Files folder. Deleting the contents (not the folder) can free a lot of space.

    Empty the Recycle Bin every week to free more space. Hard disk drives should be scanned every week for errors or bad sectors. Go to

    * Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-ScanDisk

    Otherwise assign the Task Scheduler to perform this operation at night when the computer is not in use.

    5 Fatal OE exceptions and VXD errors

    Fatal OE exception errors and VXD errors are often caused by video card problems.

    These can often be resolved easily by reducing the resolution of the video display. Go to

    * Start-Settings-Control Panel-Display-Settings

    Here you should slide the screen area bar to the left. Take a look at the colour settings on the left of that window. For most desktops, high colour 16-bit depth is adequate.

    If the screen freezes or you experience system lockups it might be due to the video card. Make sure it does not have a hardware conflict. Go to

    * Start-Settings-Control Panel-System-Device Manager

    Here, select the + beside Display Adapter. A line of text describing your video card should appear. Select it (make it blue) and press properties. Then select Resources and select each line in the window. Look for a message that says No Conflicts.

    If you have video card hardware conflict, you will see it here. Be careful at this point and make a note of everything you do in case you make things worse.

    The way to resolve a hardware conflict is to uncheck the Use Automatic Settings box and hit the Change Settings button. You are searching for a setting that will display a No Conflicts message.

    Another useful way to resolve video problems is to go to

    * Start-Settings-Control Panel-System-Performance-Graphics

    Here you should move the Hardware Acceleration slider to the left. As ever, the most common cause of problems relating to graphics cards is old or faulty drivers (a driver is a small piece of software used by a computer to communicate with a device).

    Look up your video card's manufacturer on the internet and search for the most recent drivers for it.

    6 Viruses

    Often the first sign of a virus infection is instability. Some viruses erase the boot sector of a hard drive, making it impossible to start. This is why it is a good idea to create a Windows start-up disk. Go to

    * Start-Settings-Control Panel-Add/Remove Programs

    Here, look for the Start Up Disk tab. Virus protection requires constant vigilance.

    A virus scanner requires a list of virus signatures in order to be able to identify viruses. These signatures are stored in a DAT file. DAT files should be updated weekly from the website of your antivirus software manufacturer.

    An excellent antivirus programme is McAfee VirusScan by Network Associates ( Another is Norton AntiVirus 2000, made by Symantec (

    7 Printers

    The action of sending a document to print creates a bigger file, often called a postscript file.

    Printers have only a small amount of memory, called a buffer. This can be easily overloaded. Printing a document also uses a considerable amount of CPU power. This will also slow down the computer's performance.

    If the printer is trying to print unusual characters, these might not be recognised, and can crash the computer. Sometimes printers will not recover from a crash because of confusion in the buffer. A good way to clear the buffer is to unplug the printer for ten seconds. Booting up from a powerless state, also called a cold boot, will restore the printer's default settings and you may be able to carry on.

    8 Software

    A common cause of computer crash is faulty or badly-installed software. Often the problem can be cured by uninstalling the software and then reinstalling it. Use Norton Uninstall or Uninstall Shield to remove an application from your system properly. This will also remove references to the programme in the System Registry and leaves the way clear for a completely fresh copy.

    The System Registry can be corrupted by old references to obsolete software that you thought was uninstalled. Use Reg Cleaner by Jouni Vuorio to clean up the System Registry and remove obsolete entries. It works on Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 SE (Second Edition), Windows Millennium Edition (ME), NT4 and Windows 2000.

    Read the instructions and use it carefully so you don't do permanent damage to the Registry. If the Registry is damaged you will have to reinstall your operating system. Reg Cleaner can be obtained from

    Often a Windows problem can be resolved by entering Safe Mode. This can be done during start-up. When you see the message "Starting Windows" press F4. This should take you into Safe Mode.

    Safe Mode loads a minimum of drivers. It allows you to find and fix problems that prevent Windows from loading properly.

    Sometimes installing Windows is difficult because of unsuitable BIOS settings. If you keep getting SUWIN error messages (Windows setup) during the Windows installation, then try entering the BIOS and disabling the CPU internal cache. Try to disable the Level 2 (L2) cache if that doesn't work.

    Remember to restore all the BIOS settings back to their former settings following installation.

    9 Overheating

    Central processing units (CPUs) are usually equipped with fans to keep them cool. If the fan fails or if the CPU gets old it may start to overheat and generate a particular kind of error called a kernel error. This is a common problem in chips that have been overclocked to operate at higher speeds than they are supposed to.

    One remedy is to get a bigger better fan and install it on top of the CPU. Specialist cooling fans/heatsinks are available from or

    CPU problems can often be fixed by disabling the CPU internal cache in the BIOS. This will make the machine run more slowly, but it should also be more stable.

    10 Power supply problems

    With all the new construction going on around the country the steady supply of electricity has become disrupted. A power surge or spike can crash a computer as easily as a power cut.

    If this has become a nuisance for you then consider buying a uninterrupted power supply (UPS). This will give you a clean power supply when there is electricity, and it will give you a few minutes to perform a controlled shutdown in case of a power cut.

    It is a good investment if your data are critical, because a power cut will cause any unsaved data to be lost.

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