XP Professional Tips and Tricks:
 The Windows XP Professional Automated System Recovery Tool
 This tool can back up your System Files and create a floppy disk that you can use to restore your system. The ASR only backs up your system configuration, so make sure you use a regular backup method to back up your data files. Click the Start menu and then click the Run command. Type ntbackup in the Open text box and click OK. On the Welcome tab of the Backup Utility window, click on the Automated System Recovery Wizard button. Click next on the Welcome to the Automated System Recovery Preparation Wizard page.
 On the Backup Destination page, type in a path for the backup file. Make sure you don't use the C: drive to backup the configuration! For example, we type g: backup.bkf in the Backup media or file name text box. Click Next. Click Finish on the Completing the Automated System Recovery Preparation Wizard page. At this point, the backup program starts backing up the necessary files. This can take a while.
 You'll be asked to insert a blank floppy disk. Put the disk in and click OK. The Wizard tells you to remove the diskette and label it. Do so and click OK. Click Close on the Backup Progress dialog box and close the backup utility window.
 How to restore your system using the floppy disk and the backup you created.
 1. Find your Windows XP installation CD and put it into the CD drive. Start the computer and allow the computer to boot from the CD (you did get a CD with the FULL VERSION of Windows XP, didn't you?)
 2. During the text mode phase, on the bottom of the screen you'll see instructions to press F2 to Run Automated System Recovery (ASR). You have to be quick! When you see this on the bottom of the screen, press F2.
 3. You'll see instructions to "Please insert the disk labeled Windows Automated System Recovery Disk into the floppy drive. Press any key when ready." Do what it says.
 4. The ASR routine reads the information on the floppy disk and begins loading setup files.
 5. The ASR routine informs you that it must delete and recreate all the partitions on the disks listed below. Note that it won't tell you the drive letters, but will give you a cryptic notation like "Disk 0 at Id 0 on bus 0 on atapi (MBR)". You'll have to trust that this is correct. Press C to continue setup. The ASR routine then reformats the "boot" or main operating system partition. After reformatting the partition, the ASR routine reinstalls Windows XP. Now you know why you need that Windows XP CD! The best vendors will give you a full version of Windows XP, not some dopey "recovery CD."
 6. The ASR routine restarts the computer after the files are copied. It will look like it is going through the typical Windows XP setup, but it won't go through the whole thing, so keep your eyes peeled!
 7. The ASR Wizard will appear. Click Next. The Wizard will automatically recognize the location of your backup on the Data Recovery Source page. Click next again. You may get a bogus message that the file can't be used, but then the restore will begin automatically. The backed up files are restored and the system restarts.
 8. Log on and enjoy Windows XP just as it was when you ran the ASR backup Wizard!
 CAUTION: Always make a separate backup of your data files (such as documents you've created in applications) on a regular basis. ASR does not restore your data.
Install windows backup on your home edition system. Click here.
 Connecting Computers via VPN over the Internet
 This is what Virtual Private Networking (VPN) is all about. The key is to set up your Windows XP computer as a VPN server and the other computer as a VPN client. With both computers connected to the Internet, his computer will "call" your computer (using the Internet connection, not the phone line) and after the call goes through; your other computer will be joined to your network, just as if it were plugged into your network hub. The VPN client computer makes the call; the VPN server answers the call.
 1. Click Start and then click Control Panel.
 2. Make sure the Control Panel is in Classic Mode. Open the Network Connections applet.
 3. Double click on the Create a New Connection icon. This opens the New Connection Wizard. Click Next on the Welcome to the New Connection Wizard page.
 4. On the Network Connection Type page, select the Set up an advanced connection option and click Next.
 5. On the Advanced Connection Options page, select the Accept incoming connections option and click Next.
 6. On the Devices for Incoming Connections page, do not select any of the devices. Just click Next.
 7. On the Incoming Virtual Private Network (VPN) Connection page, select the Allow virtual private connections option and click Next.
 8. On the User Permissions page, click the Add button if you haven't already set up a user account for your Dad (if you have, just check the checkbox for his account). Type in the information required in the New User text box and click OK. Click Next.
 9. On the Network Software page, click on the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) entry and click the Properties button. In the Incoming TCP/IP Properties dialog box, put a checkmark in the Allow callers to access my local area network checkbox. Select the Specify TCP/IP addresses option. Type in a From and To address. For example, if you are using private addresses like for your network, type in a From address like and a To address like That allows your VPN server to allocate an IP address to itself and to your VPN caller (VPN client). Click OK. Click Next.
 10. Click Finish on the Completing the New Connection Wizard page.
 Now it's time to create the VPN client connection. Here's how:
 1. Click Start and click the Control Panel.
 2. In the Control Panel window, make sure you're in Classic View. If you're in Category View, click the link on the left side of the window that says Switch to Classic View.
 3. Double click the Network Connections icon to open the Network Connections applet.
 4. Double click on the New Connection Wizard entry in the Network Connections window. Click Next on the Welcome to the New Connection Wizard page.
 5. Select the Connect to the network at my workplace option and click Next.
 6. On the Network Connection page, select the Virtual Private Network Connection entry and click Next.
 7. On the Connection Name page, type in a meaningful name for the connection. Click Next.
 8. On the VPN Server Selection page, type in the IP address or the Fully Qualified Domain Name for the Windows XP computer to which you want to connect. The computer may not have a FQDN, so type in the IP address if you don't know the FQDN. Click Next.
 9. Select the option to Add a shortcut to this connection to my desktop and click Finish.
 Type in a user name and password in the Connect dialog box and click Connect. If everything is working correctly, you'll connect to the other Windows XP computer and be able to access resources on that computer, as well as the network behind it.
 Do you need to start System Restore from a command prompt? If so check here for Microsoft's info: Click here  If you are having trouble with the System Restore program, check this Microsoft article.

How to disable media sensing for TCP/IP Windows XP contains a feature called media sensing that is used to detect whether your computer is physically connected to the network. If it senses that you're disconnected, it will remove the bound protocols from your network adapter. If you don't want this to happen, you can disable media sensing by following the instructions in this Microsoft KB article.

Can't open Office files in Internet Explorer If you try to open an Office XP/2003 file in Internet Explorer 5.5 or 6.0, you might get an error message that says "414 Request - URI too large," "404 Page Not Found" or "A DDE error has occurred." This happens because the file or path name is too long. You can update IE with the appropriate service pack to fix the problem. For more information, see this Microsoft KB article.

XP Search doesn't find Office files If you try to search for files created by Microsoft Office programs with the extensions .doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.), you may find that the Search function doesn't locate any files even though you know that such files exist on the hard drive you're searching. This can happen when you've upgraded or removed Office. For a workaround to the issue, see this Microsoft KB article.

Service Pack 2 has been out there for a while now, but if you haven't yet done the upgrade, take note of this if your computer uses a VIA processor. Some models of this processor cause XP to hang up with a "Please wait ..." message when you install Windows XP with SP2 or upgrade to SP2. There are workarounds; one of them involves editing the registry so be sure and back it up first. The instructions for both workarounds are in KB article 893356.Click here.

How to perform a clean boot to prevent background programs from interfering with play
Gamers may find that some of the programs Windows automatically starts when you boot up normally can interfere with certain games such as Flight Simulator, Halo, Age of Mythology and others. You can do a "clean reboot" that only loads basic services and devices by following the instructions in KB article 331796. Click here.

How to restore the system/boot drive letter

Occasionally, if you make a change to the hardware/disk drive configuration, your drive letters may get changed so that the letter that was previously assigned to your system/boot drives (for example, c:) is no longer the same. These instructions assume your C: drive was changed to D: and tell you how to change it back to C: Before you begin, you should back up your data and the system state, and you must be logged on as an administrator. First you may need to change Permissions:

  1. Start Regedt32 and navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices
  2. Click MountedDevices and then click the Security menu.
  3. Select Permissions.
  4. Give Administrators Full Control permissions.
  5. Close Regedt32.

Next you can rename the drives:

  1. Start Regedit (you cannot use Regedt32) and navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices
  2. Find the entry for the original drive letter (in this case, \DosDevices\C:)
  3. Right click it and select Rename.
  4. Rename to a letter that's not being used, such as \DosDevices\Z:
  5. Now find the entry for the changed drive letter (in this case, \DosDevices\D:)
  6. Right click it and select Rename.
  7. Rename it to the original (\DosDevices\C:)
  8. Right click \DosDevices\Z: and rename it to \DosDevices\D:
  9. Close Regedit.

Finally, change the Permissions back:

  1. Follow Steps 1-3 in the first set of instructions.
  2. Set Administrators back to Read Only.
  3. Close Regedt32.

Note: you should use this procedure only if your drive letters were changed from the letter used when you installed XP. Don't change the letter of the system/boot drive otherwise.

How to automatically close non-responding programs It can get old: a program hangs and stops responding, and you open up the Task Manager and click End Program (sometimes several times before the uncooperative program finally shuts down). Why not just have Windows close programs that quit responding so you won't have to? You can do it with a registry tweak. As usual, we recommend that you back up the registry before making any changes. Here are the steps: 1. In your favorite registry editor, navigate to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop 2. in the right pane, right click the entry AutoEndTasks. 3. Select Modify. 4. In the Value Data field, change the value to 1. 5. Click OK, and close the registry editor. If you want to change Windows back to the default behavior (not closing unresponsive programs, just repeat the process and change the value back to 0). You'll need to restart the system for the change to take effect.

Battery drains too quickly on SP2 laptops

If you've installed Windows XP Service Pack 2 on your portable computer, you may find that the battery goes down more quickly than you expected after you unplug the AC power. This can happen because the computer isn't able to go into the ACPI processor idle state because of a component of the USB 2.0 driver. There's an update that you can download and apply to fix the problem. To find out more and get the update, see KB article 918005 at: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/918005/en-us

How to automatically log on to Windows XP

We often get questions from readers asking how to bypass the Windows logon screen and have the computer automatically log on with their user account each time they boot up. Although this isn't recommended in a business or other shared computer environment, if you're the only person who has physical access to your system you may want to speed up the boot process by setting up auto logon. Note that this won't work if the computer is a member of a domain (typically a business computer).

  1. First click Start | Control Panel and select User Accounts.
  2. Click "Change the way users log on or off."
  3. Click "Use the Welcome screen for fast and easy logon" and then click OK.
  4. Now remove the password from the user account you want to use to log on automatically, by clicking the user account in User Accounts in Control Panel and then clicking "Remove my password."
  5. Type your current password in the box, then click "Remove password."

How to set performance options:

You can use the System tool in Control Panel to change performance options and control how programs use memory, manually manage processor time allocation, and change visual effects to conserve resources so as to make XP perform faster. This can be especially helpful if you have a relatively slow processor and/or limited amount of RAM. Find out how by reading KB article 308417 at:

Prevent Windows from calling home

There have been many complaints about Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) anti-piracy feature, especially the aspect that regularly sends information to Microsoft on a daily basis (this is being changed to only check for new settings every 14 days). The WGA tool is part of the monthly security updates, and it has two parts: the validation part that determines whether the copy of Windows running is legal and the Notifications part. It's the latter that sends info every day even after the copy of Windows has been validated. Now a company called Firewall Leak Tester has come out with a program called RemoveWGA that removes the Notification portion of WGA only and works on XP SP1 and SP2. Read more about it here:

Processor pegged when you right click an item in Windows Explorer

If you right click an icon or file in Windows Explorer or on your XP desktop and you find that the processor is being pegged, then you see in the Task Manager that the Csrss.exe process is using 100% of the CPU resources, it may be because your user profile has been corrupted. You can fix it by deleting the old profile and creating a new one, but be sure to read and follow the instructions in KB article 555021 at: http://support.microsoft.com/?scid=kb;en-us;555021&spid=1173&sid=global

The Windows Installer Service is a component of XP that's used to install programs, but sometimes the files that make up the Installer service get damaged. Luckily, it's usually fairly easy to fix the problem, but you'll need to edit the registry. You need to be an administrator to perform these steps:

Click Start | Run.
In the Open box, type cmd to open a command prompt, and click OK.
At the prompt, type msiexec.exe /uregister. Press ENTER.
Make sure the SYSTEM account has full control permissions to the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT key in the registry:
Open your favorite registry editor.
In the left pane, navigate to the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT top level registry key.
Click the Edit menu and select Permissions.
In the Group User Names list, make sure SYSTEM is listed. If not, click the Add button and type SYSTEM in the box labeled "Enter the object names to select." Click OK.
Click SYSTEM in the Group or User Names list and check the checkbox labeled Full Control under Allow.
Click Apply and then OK.
Close the registry editor.
Restart the computer.

USB device connected to USB 2.0 hub is not detected

If you have a USB 2.0 hub attached to one of the USB ports on your Windows XP SP2 computer, and you connect a new USB device to it, you might find that not only does Windows not detect the new device, but all your other USB devices connected to that hub stop working and you have to reboot to get them back. What's up with that? Seems it's caused by a conflict between the USB 2.0 driver and the Enhanced Host Controller Interface (EHCI) specification. The good news is that there's a hotfix available for this one, too. Find out how to get it from KB article 892050 at: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/892050/en-us

Popup windows still appear with Popup Blocker turned on

In Windows XP SP2, the default setting for the IE popup blocker is "on," but you may find after installing SP2 that popups still appear even though it shows to be turned on. Now how annoying is that? This can happen for a number of different reasons: the popup window's sites is in your Trusted Sites, the popup is being opened by an ActiveX control, the popup is opened by some software program you have running on your system. The solution depends on the cause; you can read about some ways to resolve the problem in KB article 843015 at: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/843015/en-us

How to Tweak the XP Recovery Console

Here's a very useful article that shows you how to remove the built-in restrictions on XP's Recovery Console so you can use it to work anywhere on the hard drive, use removable media, and more:

Files that are automatically skipped by the backup program

If you use the backup program built into Windows XP, it's important to note that certain files are skipped by default during the backup and restore process. These include files that are locked by other applications, as well as other files depending on permissions, temporary nature and remote registry files. To find out more about this, see KB article 104169 at: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/104169/en-us

Description of Windows File Protection Feature

All editions of Windows XP include Windows File Protection (WFP), which prevents programs from overwriting critical system files, such as .DLL, .EXE and .SYS files that are installed as part of Windows. If you want to know how WFP works and how protected system files can be replaced, see KB article 222193 at: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/222193/en-us

How to log onto your XP computer when you've forgotten the password

We often get frantic pleas for help from computer users who have forgotten their passwords. If you forget the password to your XP user account, you may still be able to get back in. The easiest way is to use a password reset disk, but if you didn't create one, there's still hope:

  1. Log onto the computer with the administrator account (or have someone who has the administrator password perform these steps).
  2. Click Start | Run.
  3. In the Run box, type control userpasswords2
  4. Click OK.
  5. Click the user account for which you've forgotten the password.
  6. Click Reset Password.
  7. Enter a new password, confirm it, and click OK.

There are a few caveats to keep in mind before using this procedure. With XP Pro, you'll no longer to be able to access encrypted files or encrypted email messages. With XP Home, or with Pro in a workgroup, you'll need to boot into safe mode before logging on with the administrator account.

How to Reinstall System Restore

The System Restore feature in Windows XP is a great one - but sometimes it quits working properly (or at all). In this case, you may need to reinstall it. Here's how:

Click Start | Run.
In the Run box, type %Windir%\INF. This should open your WINDOWS directory to the INF folder.
Find a file named SR.INF (if you have Explorer configured to hide common file extensions, it may display as SR).
Right click the SR.INF file and select Install. Windows may prompt you for your Windows installation source path. If you have service packs installed, point it to the %Windir%\ServicePackFiles folder.
After the System Restore files are reinstalled, restart Windows. Important note: this process will remove any existing system restore points.

Computer stops responding when hibernation starts

If your XP computer stops responding when hibernation starts, it may be because you have Fast User Switching enabled. This problem can be resolved by installing the latest service pack, but if you're unable to do so (for instance, because of a known application compatibility), there is a separate hotfix available for this problem. To find out how to get it, see KB article 834202 at: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/834202/en-us

How to install the Windows Support Tools

You can use the free Windows Support Tools to troubleshoot and manage your network. The Support Tools aren't installed by default in Windows XP, but they are included on the installation CD with XP Pro. Here's how to install them:

  1. First remove any previous versions of the tools, including betas.
  2. With the installation CD in the CD-ROM drive, open Windows Explorer and navigate to the CD drive.
  3. Go to Support\Tools and double click Setup.exe.
  4. Follow the steps in the wizard. You'll be asked to agree to the EULA, provide your name/organization and choose the typical or complete installation. You can find descriptions of the individual tools and help on how to use them in the Suptools.chm file.
You can also install the tools from the command line, by typing the following at the command prompt: msiexec /I x:\support\tools\suptools.msi. For a complete installation, add the addlocal=all switch.

How to log onto XP if you forget your password

With all the information we have to remember these days, it's not a surprise that sometimes folks forget their logon passwords. If you created a password reset disk, just follow the directions for using it in KB article 305478 at

If you never quite got around to it, you can still log on as an administrator and change the password for your primary account. Once you've logged on with an admin account, just do the following:
Click Start | Run.
In the Open field, type: control userpasswords2
Click OK.
Click the user account for which you've forgotten the password and click Reset Password.
Type a new password and confirm it, then click OK again.
Note that if you've used a public key to encrypt email messages or encrypted files with EFS, you may not be able to access them after resetting the password this way.

Daylight Saving Time change: how will it affect your computer?

One aspect of a Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandated a big change in daylight saving time, which will be extended by four additional weeks starting in 2007. Well, 2007 is here and the change takes effect on March 11, when DST starts three weeks earlier than usual. Folks with older computers are wondering what problems, if any, the time change will cause. If your computer is relatively new and automatically updated, you probably don't have anything to worry about. Older operating systems may require you to manually update. Microsoft is making update tools available for Windows, Outlook, Exchange and mobile products.

For more info about Microsoft products affected by the change and what you should do to make the transition easier, including links to update utilities, see:
http://support.microsoft.com/gp/dst_overview All versions of Windows can be updated using the procedure in KB article 914387 at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/914387

You're prompted to activate XP every time you start your computer

This is an annoying one. Even though you've successfully installed and activated Windows XP, you get prompted to activate Windows again every time you reboot. This is because a script is interfering with Windows activation. For both a Guided Help resolution and the manual solution, see KB article 312295 at: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/312295

Damaged profile causes problems in XP

If your user profile becomes damaged, Windows XP will create a new profile for you. However, you may find that your My Documents folder is empty and the settings for your Outlook, IE and Passport accounts have to be reconfigured. Luckily, your documents are probably still on the hard drive. To find out how to get things back to normal, see KB article 326688 at: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/326688/en-us

Disable display of status messages

If you don't want your XP computer to display the logon, logoff, startup and shutdown status messages, you can turn them off by editing the registry. First be sure to back it up, then perform these steps:

  1. Open your favorite registry editor.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ policies \ system
  3. Right click in an empty space in the right pane, select New and select DWORD value.
  4. Name the new value DisableStatusMessages.
  5. Double click the value and give it a value of 1.

How can I make my computer power off when I shut it down?

QUESTION: When I shut down the computer, it doesn't turn off the power. I've checked the BIOS settings and the settings in the Power applet in Control Panel and they all seem to be correct. Can you help?

ANSWER: You may need to make an edit to the registry to get the computer to power off when you select Shutdown. Try this:

  1. Open your favorite registry editor.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
  3. In the right pane, double click the item named PowerOffActive.
  4. In the value data box, give it a value of 1.
Note that this should cause the power to go off at shutdown, but it only applies to the user account that's logged on when you make the change. If you want to make it apply to all users, substitute the following key in step 2: HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop.

How to make XP look like Vista

If you like the Vista look, but don't want to pay for the new OS or go through the hassle of upgrading right now, there are configuration tricks and add-on programs available that will help you make your XP machine look and feel more like Vista, from the desktop sidebar to the quick search features. Read about them here: http://infotech.indiatimes.com/Enterprise/Infrastructure/

How to install XP on a Vista computer (dual boot)

It's easy to install Vista in a dual boot configuration on a computer running XP. But as everyone who's ever set up a dual boot machine knows, the rule is that you're always supposed to install the earlier operating system first. What if you already have Vista installed (for instance, you buy a computer running Vista) and you want to install XP in a dual boot configuration? You might think you'll have to wipe the drive and start over, installing XP first - but this step by step guide from James Bannan shows you how to install XP after Vista: http://apcstart.com/5485/dualbooting_vista_and_xp

How to enable and configure the fax service in XP

Want to be able to send and receive faxes without installing third party software or using a dedicated fax machine? You can do it with your Windows XP computer. Of course, you must have a fax modem installed and connected to a telephone line. The fax service isn't installed by default in Windows setup, so you need to do the following:

  1. Click Start | Control Panel | Add or Remove Programs.
  2. Click Add/Remove Windows Components.
  3. In the Components list, select Fax Services and click Next. The fax service will be installed. You may need to insert the XP installation CD. Click Finish when it's done.
  4. Now click Start | All Programs | Accessories | Communications | and click Fax Console. This starts the Fax Configuration Wizard, which will guide you through the process of configuring the fax service.
For detailed information on how to configure each page of the wizard, see KB article 306550 at: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306550/

XP computer restarts unexpectedly or you get a stop error

If your computer suddenly decides to reboot itself without your permission and you get an error message saying the system has recovered from a serious error, or you receive a Stop error message that references "Driver_IRQL_Not_Less_Or_Equal," this may be caused by a problem with the TCP/IP stack on a network running the IP Security (IPsec) protocols. There is a hotfix available. For more info, see KB article 925922 at: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/925922/en-us

Recover from corrupt registry that prevents XP from starting

If your XP computer won't start because of corruption in the registry, this Guided Help article will help walk you through the process of resolving the problem. Find out more in KB article 307545 at: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307545/en-us

How to create a shortcut to quickly lock your XP or Vista computer

It's a good idea to lock your desktop if you're going to be away from the computer for a while and there are others around and you don't want them to use your account. You can do so by pressing the key combo Windows Key + L (with Fast User Switching disabled), but what if you're using a keyboard that doesn't have the Windows key? Then you can create a shortcut to put on your desktop or Quick Launch bar and simply click it to lock the desktop. This works in both XP and Vista:

1. Right click an empty area of the desktop and select New | Shortcut.
2. Enter the following location for the shortcut: %windir%\System32\rundll32.exe user32.dll, LockWorkStation
3. Name the shortcut "Lock" or something similar.

Now when you click the shortcut, the desktop is locked and you must press CTRL+ALT+DEL and enter your username and password to unlock it.

Why is my password expiring?

QUESTION: I reinstalled XP Pro on my computer a month or so ago. Now I'm getting a message that my password will expire in 14 days. I know I never got those messages before the reinstall. I don't want to change my password. Is there a way to stop it from expiring?

ANSWER: By default XP Professional is set up for passwords to expire in 42 days. You start to get the warning 14 days prior to expiration. This is a security measure; changing your password regularly makes it less likely to be guessed or hacked, especially in a business environment. On a home computer, you may not need such a high level of security. Here's how to stop your passwords from expiring:

1. Click Start | Run and type this in the Open box: control userpasswords2
2. In the User Accounts dialog box, click the Advanced tab.
3. Click the Advanced button under Advanced User Management.
4. In the Local Users and Groups section, click Users.
5. In the right pane, right click your user name.
6. Click Properties and then click the General tab.
7. Check the box labeled Password Never Expires.
8. Click Apply and OK to close the dialog boxes.

Now you can keep the same password and it will never expire.

How to get rid of the OEM link the XP Start menu

Some hardware vendors install all sorts of programs, links and insinuate themselves into the OS in a most annoying way. You might find links in the Start menu that take you to the vendor's web site, for instance. If you never use it, it's just taking up space - but if you try to delete it like a normal shortcut, you find that doesn't work. Luckily, you don't have to just learn to live with it. Here's what you can do:

  1. Right click the Start menu and select Properties.
  2. Click Start Menu tab, then the Customize button.
  3. Click the Advanced tab.
  4. In the list of Start Menu items, uncheck the box labeled Manufacturer Link.
  5. Click OK.
But what if it's not in the list? Don't despair. You can still kill it by editing the registry (as always, be careful and back up your registry first):
  1. In the registry editor, go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ StartMenu \ StartPanel
  2. Double click the ShowOEMLink entry in the right pane.
  3. Set the value to 0.
  4. Restart Windows.

How to copy data from a corrupted profile to a new one

If your user profile becomes corrupted, you can copy the files and settings from the old profile to a new one. This doesn't apply to Outlook Express email messages and addresses. For instructions on how to create the new profile and then copy the relevant files to it, see KB article 811151 at:

XP stops responding at the Welcome Screen

If your computer stops responding (hangs up) when the Welcome screen is displayed after a reboot, and the keyboard and mouse stop working, you might receive the following message after you restart again: "System restart has been paused. Continue with system restart. Delete restoration data and proceed to system boot menu." This happens because the computer goes into hibernation and accesses a corrupted memory snapshot. For instructions on how to fix it, see KB article 294427 at:

How to move the print spool folder in XP

The spool folder is where XP stores print jobs as they're waiting to be printed. By default, it's located on the boot partition (the one on which Windows is installed, often C:). If you're low on space on that drive, you can move the folder to a different location. Having the spool folder on a separate drive can also improve performance. Here's how:
Log on as an administrator.
Click Start | My Computer and double click the drive or folder to which you want to move the spool folder.
Under File and Folder Tasks, click Make A New Folder.
In the Name field, enter the name you want to assign to the folder.
Click Start | Printers and Faxes.
On the File menu, click Server Properties.
Click the Advanced tab.
In the Spool Folder field, enter the complete path to the folder you just created.
Click Apply.
A dialog box will notify you that you should allow all documents currently in the queue to finish printing before changing the spool folder, and asks if you're sure you want to make the change. Click Yes if there are no documents in the queue.
Click OK and close the Printers and Faxes folder.
Now print jobs will be stored in the new location.

Can't delete a file on an NTFS partition

In some cases, you may find that you are unable to delete a file or folder that's stored on an NTFS-formatted partition. There are several possible reasons for this and thus several different possible resolutions. To find out what they are, see KB article 320081 at:

Error Message: System has no paging file, or paging file is too small

The paging file is the area on the hard disk (also called virtual memory) where data is swapped out from RAM so applications have access to more memory than is physically installed in the machine. If you get an error message that says "Limited Virtual Memory. Your system has no paging file or the paging file is too small," this can happen because XP tried to create a paging file on an NTFS partition but the System and Administrators accounts didn't have permission to do so. To find out how to fix the problem, see KB article 315270 at:

System Restore displays a blank calendar

If you run the System Restore tool on XP in order to restore your computer to a previous state, you might find that the calendar on the left side of the "Choose a Restore Point" window is not displayed or is blank. This happens because the file association for HMTL is not in the registry. You can fix the problem by editing the registry. For instructions, see KB article 313853: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/313853/en-us

The XP SP3 vicious reboot cycle

SP3 is finally out, but some folks are reporting that after installing it on some computers, the system goes into continuous reboot mode. This happens because something in SP3 (on some hardware configurations) causes the computer to crash during the boot process and the OS is set to automatically reboot after a crash. This recently happened to Jesper Johansson, a fellow Enterprise Security MVP, and his blog contains an excellent discussion of what the problem (s) might be and what to do about it:

Microsoft is providing unlimited installation and compatibility support for XP SP3, valid until April 2009. Click here: http://support.microsoft.com/oas/default.aspx?ln=en-us&prid=11273&gprid=522131

How to get the address bar back after SP3 takes it away using Internet Explorer 7:

One of the optional toolbars that you can enable on Windows XP (and Vista) is the address bar, which is handy for typing in a URL without first opening up the browser. You can add it to your taskbar by right clicking and selecting Toolbars | Address. Or at least, you could - prior to installing the latest service pack. However, if you've installed SP3, you might notice that you no longer have that option when you right click. Apparently the EU deems this to be a violation of their antitrust ruling. Well, I'm not in the EU and I want that option back. Luckily, there's a way to get it, but you'll need to replace the version of the browserui.dll file installed by SP3 with one from SP2. Copy it from an XP system that doesn't have SP3 and put it on the c: drive, then do the following:

  1. Restart the SP3 computer in Safe Mode (press F8 at bootup and select Safe Mode with Command Prompt option.
  2. At the command prompt, type this: xcopy c:browserui.dll c:WindowsSystem32
  3. Reboot the computer.

"Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt" error

If you try to start a Windows XP computer and get an error that says "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt" with a path that points to a file named Isapnp.sys, it's usually because this driver is damaged or has been deleted or moved. You can use the recovery console to replace the Isapnp.sys file and fix the problem. For step by step instructions on how to do that, see KB article 315311 at: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315311/en-us

How to turn on automatic logon

How to automate the XP logon process so you won't have to enter a username and password each time they start XP. Although this can pose a security risk, if you're the only one who has physical access to the system and you want to do it, you can find the instructions in KB article 315231 at: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315231/en-us

How to make your USB drive show up in My Computer

Did you buy a new USB external hard drive to put your music and photos on, but whenyou plug it in,you doesn't see it in My Computer. This happens sometimes when you have many USB devices attached to your computer and/or you have mapped network drives. The problem is that Windows might have assigned it a drive letter that's already being used. Here's how to find it and give it another drive letter:

  1. With the drive plugged in, right click My Computer and click Manage.
  2. Click Disk Management.
  3. You should see the USB drive in the list of physical drives. For example, if it's a Western Digital MyBook external USB drive, it will say MyBook and the drive letter it's assigned.
  4. Change the drive letter to one that you know isn't used by any other device. To change it, right click the drive and click "Change drive letters and path."
  5. Click the Change button.
  6. Choose a drive letter from the drop down list of available letters.
  7. Click Yes in the "are you sure?" dialog box.

Copyright 2001 Jon A Martinez Computers LLC. All rights reserved.