Windows XP keeps a record of all files on the hard disk so searching for files is faster, but, it is unnecessary if you do not search for files on your hard drive much, and will slow down other file operations, such as open, or close.

  • Open my computer
  • Right click your hard drive and select properties.
  • Uncheck the "Allow indexing service to index this disk for faster searches," box at the bottom.
  • A window will pop up and select apply to all folders and subfolders, this will probably take a minute or two for the changes to take affect but then you should enjoy slightly faster performance.

With this tweak, you can add specific programs or files to your Send To option when you right click.

  •  Open X:\Documents and Settings\Username\SendTo (X is your drive, username is your username).

  •  Make and delete shortcuts to folders.

Disclaimer:  This tip should not be used for pirated keys!  It is intended to change from one legitimate key to another.  This may be necessary for those who purchased VLK's that were stolen from them, and had new licenses granted by MS.  It may also be necessary for those who purchased a used system, and would like to have their key associated with their OS.  The use of this information, though freely available in Microsoft's tech articles, is intended for legal use.

  • Run regedit (Start>Run>regedit>ok) and go to:
    HKey_Local_Machine\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\Current Version\WPAEvents,in
    the right pane double click on "oobetimer".  This will bring up the hex codes. Change at least one digit of this value to anything but what it originally was. It really doesn't matter.  Keep in mind that what you enter must still be in line with the hex-decimal format.  (Important: The hex-decimal format consists only of the numbers 1 thru 9 and the letters a through f.  Example: If it says "ff d5 71 d6 b3 8d..." Change the "ff" to "1f".  You can not change it to let's say "fg" because the value "g" does not exist in the hex-decimal system.)  This will deactivate windows. Exit regedit.
  • Choose Run from start menu again and type in this command:  "oobe/msoobe /a"  (without the quotes, of course) to get the activation screen. Then you will want to Activate by phone, so Click on "Activate by phone" (no you will not be activating by phone). Click Next.
  • In the new screen choose the option to change product key, and type in the new product key (Corporate one only). You cannot use the famous blacklisted "FCKGW" key. Enter your new legitimate key....no need to click next. Do not click Update.  If you do its ok.. but you don't need to ... you now should reboot. Just close that window, and reboot your system.
  • Once rebooted check to make sure that you're activated. (Enter the command in step 2 again to verify your activation , you should see "Windows Is Already Activated".)

You're done!  Be sure to download SP1 for extremely important security updates.  This is very important, as there are many exploits and vulnerabilities in the pre-SP1 release.

The temporary internet files clutter your hard drive with copies of each page visited. These can build up over time and take up disk space. Even more bothersome is that instead of getting new pages each time IE often takes the page out the temp internet files. This can be a problem if you are viewing a website that is updated all the time. If you are on a slow connection such as a 56K or lower then this can be good but if you are on a fast broadband connection, like me, then you can get away with decreasing the size of your temp internet files to just one meg without any performance decrease.  To do this:

  • Open Internet Explorer

  • Go to Tools > Internet Options

  • On the General Tab, you will see Temporary Internet Files.  Click on Settings.

  • Change to the desired level with the slider.

  • Click OK

   In this same area, you can also change the location that IE saves these files to.


The default search engine of Microsoft Internet explorer is MSN.  Uggh! Everybody knows Google rules.  Here's how to change your default search engine to Google.com

  1. Open regedit. (Start>Run>regedit)
  2. Navigate to following three keys separately and change it as shown below:
  • [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]
    "Search Page"="http://www.google.com"
    "Search Bar"="http://www.google.com/ie"
  • [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\SearchURL]
    ""="http://www.google.com/keyword/%s"
  • [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Search]
    "SearchAssistant"="http://www.google.com/ie"


If you have 512MB or or more of RAM, you do not need a swap file. Here's how to remove it:

  • Right click on My Computer and select Properties.
  • Select the Advanced tab and click on the Settings button for Performance.
  • Click again on Advanced tab. 
  • Click the Change button under Virtual Memory
  • Choose no paging file.

If you don't like the change, follow the same steps and change the paging file size to whatever you want (usually 1.5 times the physical RAM).

You can further gain by applying following changes in registry. Open the Registry up again (Start>Run>regedit).   Navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management, and look for DisablePagingExecutive. Default value is 0 (disabled). Set it to 1 to enable.

You can disable the windows XP splash screen, but you should be aware that removing the splash screen will also cause you not to see any boot-up messages, such as chkdsk, but it should boot a little quicker also:
 

  • Edit boot.ini with a text editor (notepad will do just fine).
  • Add " /noguiboot" right after "/fastdetect".

If you've received some anonymous messages popping up on your windows XP or 2000 systems, it may be messenger spam, people are taking advantage of the messenger service that allows administrators to monitor servers and send out service messages over corporate networks:

  • Open the Control Panel, and then double-click Administrative Tools
  • Double click the Services entry.
  • In the list of services listed in the resulting in the Services dialog box, locate the messenger entry, and double-click it.
  • Click the Stop button in the service status section and then in the same dialogue box, change the start-up type to Disable.

  • Log on to the computer as Administrator.
  • Open Control Panel.
  • Click Performance and Maintenance, and then click System.
  • Click the Advanced tab, and then under Performance, click Settings.
  • Click the Advanced tab, and then under Virtual memory, click Change.
  • In the Drive (Volume Label) list, click a drive other than the one on which Windows is installed. Under Total paging file size for all drives, note the value that is displayed next to Recommended.
  • Click Custom size, and then type the recommended value in the Initial size (MB) box.
  • Type the maximum size that you want to allow for paging in the Maximum size (MB) box, and then click Set.
  • In the Drive (Volume Label) box, click the drive on which Windows is installed (usually the drive C), and then use one of the following steps:
    • If you do not want a paging file on the drive, click No paging file, and then click Set. A message similar to the following message appears:
       
      "If the pagefile on volume C: has an initial size of less than XXX megabytes, then the system may not be able to create a debugging information file if a STOP error occurs.
      Continue anyway?"


      Click Yes.

       

    • If you want to keep the minimum size of the paging file on the drive, click Custom size, and then type a value that is equal to or greater than the amount of RAM in the computer in the Initial size (MB) box. Type that same value in the Maximum size (MB) box, and then click Set.
  • The following message appears:
     
    "The changes you have made require you to restart your computer before they can take effect."


    Click OK, click OK, click OK, and then click Yes when you are prompted to restart the computer.

If an older application gives you trouble when running Windows XP, you can set the compatibility properties manually so that the program runs in a different mode, such as Windows 95, or in a different display or resolution setting. To set the compatibility properties for a program:

  • Right–click the executable or the program shortcut to the executable, 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.
  • If necessary, also change the display settings and/or resolution, or disable the Windows XP visual themes.

Run the program again when you’re finished changing the settings. Adjust the compatibility settings again if the program is still not running smoothly: a program that won't work on Windows XP may with Win98 or NT SP 5 turned on!


 

Experts Only!  You're warned!

It seems that Windows XP installs two separate versions of the NIC card. One you do not normally see in any properties. Remember the "netcap/?" command above showing two different adapters? The LAN one is the one you see. The invisible one slows everything down and its like your running two separate cards together, sharing a connection among two cards. This method breaks This "bond" and allows the NIC to run unhindered.  Perform this tweak only if you have let Windows XP create a connection on install for your cable modem/NIC combination and that your connection has TCP/IP, QoS, File and Print Sharing, and Client for Microsoft Networks ,only installed. Do this only if XP will detect your NIC and has drivers for it. If it doesn't do not try this.

  • Right click on the My Network Places icon on your desktop and choose properties.
  • Right click the connection and choose Properties.
  • Uncheck the two bindings boxes for File and Printer sharing and Client for MS networks.
  • Click OK.
  • Insert the Windows XP CD
  • In the support directory, open Support.cab (WinAce works well for this).
  • Extract the file netcap.exe and place it in a directory  named netcap on your C:\ drive.
  • Open up a command prompt window (Start>Run>Command) and change directories to to netcap (cd\, enter, cd\netcap, enter)
  • Type netcap/?. It will list some commands that are available for netcap and a netmon driver will be installed. At the bottom you will see your adapters. (You should see two if using a 3Com card. One will be for LAN and the other will be for WAN).
  • Type "netcap/Remove". This will remove the netmon driver.
  • Open up Control Panel / System / Device Manager. and look at your network adapters. You should now see two of them and one will have a yellow exclamation point next to it.
  • Right click on the one without the yellow exclamation point and choose uninstall. (you are uninstalling your network adapter, continue with the uninstall. Don't worry.  Do not restart yet).
  • Check your connection properties to make sure that no connection exists. If you get a wizard just cancel out of it.
  • Restart the machine and go to your Connection Properties again.  You should have a new connection called "Local Area Connection 2".
  • Right click on the connection and go to Properties. Uncheck the two boxes in the lower half for the bindings for File and Printer sharing and Client for MS networks.
  • Click OK.
  • Choose Connection Properties and uncheck the "QOS" box.
  • Restart the machine and enjoy the increased responsiveness of IE, faster page loading, and a connection speed boost!


Unless and until you have run into issues and fixing XP (in which case you have to go to Safe Mode to login as Administrator), you can get to administrator screen by simply pressing CTRL+ALT+DELETE twice at the main screen.



C:\WINDOWS\system32\dllcache. Look for a file named "syncapp" and double click it. An icon should appear on your desktop that says "My Briefcase". Double click it and it will come up with this window that tells you how to use it.



These restrictions allow you to block unwanted web sites from downloading software onto your system. This can be useful in disabling the installation of some common "cursor" programs:
 
  • Open your registry and find the key below. Start/Run/Regedit
  • Create a new sub-key for each site you want to block, naming it based on the top-level domain for the site. For example to block www.restricted.com you would create a new sub-key called:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\InternetSettings\ZoneMap\Domains\
    restricted.com. Under the sub-key create a new DWORD value called "*" and set it to equal "4".

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\ZoneMap\Domains

    Value Name: *
    Data Type: REG_DWORD (DWORD Value)
    Value Data: (4 = restricted)

 

  • Restart Internet Explorer for the change to take effect.

Note: This setting can also be applied on a user-by-user basis by modifying the same key under the HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive.

A year or so ago, I though my box was hacked. When I would attempt to type a document or enter a web address, words would pop up that I never typed! That scared me. I realized after a while that whenever I spoke, the words (or similar sounding words) would start appearing on my screen. I finally realized that this had something to do with VR (Voice Recognition) and did some research. What I found is that Office 2000 and Office XP install a program called ctfmon. Ctfmon.exe monitors the active windows and provides text input service support for speech recognition, handwriting recognition, keyboard, translation, and other alternative user input technologies. Microsoft claims that it doesn't hog resources. That's a flat out lie though. It hogs resources like you wouldn't believe. You can't remove ctfmon from msconfig! The best way to disble this annoying resouce hog is:

Step 1: Uninstall Alternative User Input

  • Quit all Office programs.
  • Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel. NOTE: In Windows XP, click Start and then click Control Panel.
  • In Control Panel, double-click Add/Remove Programs.NOTE: In Windows XP, click Add or Remove Programs.
  • In the Currently installed programs list, click to select Microsoft Office XP product, where Office XP product is the name of the specific Office product being used. If you are using a standalone version of one of the Office programs, click to select the appropriate product in the list. Click Change.
    In the Maintenance Mode Options dialog box, select Add or Remove Features, and then click Next. This displays the Choose installation options for all Office applications and tools dialog box.
  • Click the plus sign (+) next to Office Shared Features to expand it.
  • Click the icon next to Alternative User Input, and then select Not Available.
  • Click Update.


NOTE: If you have multiple Office XP products installed, for example, Office XP Professional and Publisher 2002, you must repeat the preceding steps for each installed product.


Step 2: Remove Alternative User Input Services from Text Services:

  • Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
  • In the Control Panel, double-click Text Services.  NOTE: In Windows XP, click Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options, and then click Regional and Language Options. On the Languages tab, click Details.
  • Under Installed Services, select each input item that is listed, and then click Remove to remove the item. All items must be removed, one by one, except the following input service:  English (United States)- default Keyboard United States 101

Step 3: Run Regsvr32 /U on the Msimtf.dll and Msctf.dll Files

  • Click Start and then click Run.
  • In the Run dialog box, type the following command: Regsvr32.exe /u msimtf.dll
  • Click OK.
  • Repeat steps 1 through 3 for the Msctf.dll file.
     

This is really, really, cool.  Microsoft has a little known applet available for free, that lets you adjust the clear type font on your computer (a 3d rendered font that appears to be transparent and or shadowed).  That is, it lets you tune it to your eyes.  This really works, and may be one of the coolest things I've found.  It changes the transparency and shadowing on your fonts to give them a more subtle, smooth look.  Try it out by clicking here!

If you are having a problem with programs hanging and your system contains an AGP video adapter and an AMD Athlon Processors, you may need to add or edit the following Registry key: 

Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\

Value Name: LargePageMinimum

Data Type: REG_DWORD

Value: 0xFFFFFFFF in Hex / 4294967295 in Decimal

Note: Be sure to backup your Registry