Friday, March 06, 2009

20+ Windows XP Tricks and Tips

Windows XP
Here are some tips and tricks for your Windows XP system. Most of them would make your system more productive in some way or the others, rest are just for the eye-candy part! But be sure to play safe, use System Restore.

1. How to remove Windows XP Messenger:

Open the Windows Explorer and head over to %SYSTEMROOT% \ INF folder. Inside the INF folder, open the sysoc.inf. Try and look for the line containing "msmsgs" in the sysoc.inf file. Near the end of that particular line, you'll see that word "hide", delete the word "hide". Save the file and close it. Now, open Add and Remove Programs applet in the Control Panel. Click the Add / Remove Windows Components icon. You should see "Windows Messenger" in that list. De-select the Windows Messenger and that's it.

2. How to make your desktop icons transparent:
Press the Windows key+Pause Break key to fire up the System Properties dialog box. Go to Advanced tab, in the Performance section click on the Settings button. Then under the Visual Effects tab, select "Use drop shadows for icon labels on the Desktop".

3. Increase your browsing speed (Windows 2000 and Windows XP):
Open the registry editor by typing regedit in Start > Run. Then go to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/Explorer/RemoteComputer/NameSpace

Under that branch, select the value:


Delete this value. This key instructs Windows XP to search for Scheduled Tasks.

4. Set process priority:
Fire up the Windows XP Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc. Under the Processes tab, right click on the process for which you want to change the priority, select Set Priority and then select the priority level you want for that particular task.

5. Set Permissions for Shared Files and Folders:
Go to the Control Panel > Tools, and then click on Folder Options. Under the View tab scroll to the bottom of the Advanced Settings list. De-select the "Use simple file sharing (Recommended)" option. Now, to manage individual folder permissions, browse to the folder in Windows Explorer, right–click on the folder and then click Properties. Click the Security tab, and assign permissions, such as Full Control, Modify, Read, and/or Write, to specific users.

6. Restricting Logon access:
Head over to the Windows XP registry editor and find the following key:


Create the "Logon" subkey if it is not present on your machine by highlighting the Network key, then right-click in the left hand Regedit pane, select New > Key and name it "Logon" (no quotes), then press Enter. Then add/modify a DWORD value and call it "MustBeValidated" (without quotes). Double-click it, check the Decimal box and type 1 for value. Now click the Start button > Shut Down (Log off UserName) > Log on as a different user, and you will notice that the Logon Cancel button has been disabled.

7. Remove the Recycle Bin from the desktop:
If you don't intend to use the Recycle Bin to store deleted files and want them deleted directly, you can get rid of its desktop icon all together.

Run Regedit and go to:


Now delete the "Recycle Bin" string in the right hand pane.

8. How to rename the Recycle Bin:
Open the Windows XP registry editor and go to the following key:


Change the name "Recycle Bin" to anything you want.

9. How to find the IP Address of your connection:
Go to Start > Run, type 'cmd' and hit Enter. Then type 'ipconfig'. You can add the '/all' switch for more info.

10. How to convert FAT to NTFS:
To convert a FAT partition to NTFS, click Start > Run, type cmd and then click OK. At the command prompt, type CONVERT [driveletter]: /FS:NTFS. Convert.exe will attempt to convert the partition to NTFS.

11. Enable Advance security settings like Windows 2000 in Windows XP:
Open windows explorer then click on Tools > Folder Options. Click on the View Tab. Scroll to the bottom and deselect the option that reads 'use simple file sharing'. This will allow you to see the security tab when viewing the properties of a file/folder.

12. Hide "User Accounts" from users:
Go to Start > Run, and type:


This would open the Windows Group Policy Editor. Now, open the path User Config > Admin Templates > Control Panel, doubleclick "Hide specified Control Panel applets" and put a dot in 'enabled', then click "Show" and click on the Add button. Then type "nusrmgt.cpl" into the add box.

13. Create a password reset disk:
If you’re running Windows XP Professional as a local user in a workgroup environment, you can create a password reset disk to log onto your computer in case you forget your password. To create the disk click Start > Control Panel > User Accounts. Then click on your account name. Under Related Tasks, click Prevent a forgotten password. Follow the directions in the Forgotten Password Wizard to create a password reset disk. Store the disk in a secure location, because anyone using it can access your local user account.

14. How to disable CD Autorun:
Click Start > Run and enter GPEDIT.MSC to open the Windows XP Group Policy Editor. Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System. Find the entry for "Turn autoplay off" and modify it as you wish.

15. Adding Programs To Stay On The Start Menu:
Right click on any .exe file in Explorer, My Computer or Desktop and select 'Pin to Start Menu', the program is then displayed on the start menu, above the separator line. To remove it, click the file on the start menu and select 'Unpin from Start Menu'.

16. How to run old programs on Windows XP:
Right–click on the .exe file or the program shortcut to the .exe and then click Properties. Select the "Run this program in compatibility mode" check box. From the list, select an operating system that the program runs in comfortably the safest bet being Windows 98. If necessary, you can also change the display settings and/or resolution, or disable the Windows XP visual themes.

17. How to change the text in the IE title bar:
In Windows XP registry editor navigate to this key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Internet Explorer/Main

Now, change the value of the string "Window Title" to whatever you want on the title bar of Internet Explorer.

18. Reduce Temporary Internet file space:
Launch Internet Explorer. From the Tools menu click on Internet Options. On the Internet Options dialog box, click on the General tab. Under the "Temporary internet files" section click the Settings button. In the Settings window, slide the slider all the way to the left so the size indicated in the text box on the right is one. Click Ok twice.

19. Enable/Disable Firewall:
Go to Control Panel > Network Connections. In the Network Connections window right-click on the connection and click on Properties. Go to the Advanced tab and click on Settings. Then modify the Firewall settings the way you want to.

20. Disable error reporting:
Click on the Windows key+Pause Break to fire up the System Properties box. Go to the Advanced tab, click on the error-reporting button on the bottom of the windows. Select "Disable error reporting" and click Ok twice.

21. Remove shortcut arrows from desktop icons:
Open the Windows XP registry editor. Navigate to the following entry:


Delete the "IsShortcut" registry value. You may need to restart Windows XP for the changes to take effect.

22. How to enable Clear Type:
Right click on a blank area of the Desktop and choose Properties. Click on the Appearance Tab > Effects. Check the box "Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts" and in the drop down box select Clear Type.

23. Turn off Welcome screen:
Open User Accounts in Control Panel. Click on "Change the way users log on or off" and de-select "Use the welcome screen". Simple, wasn't it?

Did you like this article? I mean did you really like this article? Then mind helping me by giving this article a Stumble and/or a Digg. You can also help me by supporting my sponsors, they help me pay my bills. Also consider subscribing to my RSS feed so that you don't miss any of these tips and tricks.

7 Comment:

Butterfly said...

Frankly, I don't understand much about Windows XP in such details.:-(
But, I really liked this post because if I have a problem in future, I'll be able to refer to your post and try to solve the problem.Thanks for sharing!

Rajtilak Bhattacharjee said...

@Butterfly : Well, in case you don't find a solution to a particular problem in this post, feel free to drop me a line.

Julia Scissor said...

Great compilation! I'll tweak my Windows XP at the first opportunity.

usenext said...


thanks for sharing that information. Iw as acctually looking for a guide to tune my Windows XP I just recently installed again - together with the new Windows 7.

Thanks again!

Computer Tech Support said...

Thanks for sharing this info post.

Ayaz said...

thanks very much for sharing your kind information.....

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for share this magic

Post a Comment

Blog comment guideline