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Blocking Unwanted Parasites with a HOSTS File


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

What it does ...

The Hosts file contains the mappings of IP addresses to host names. This file is loaded into memory at startup, then Winbl@ws checks the Hosts file before it queries any DNS servers, which enables it to override addresses in the DNS. This prevents access to the listed sites by redirecting any connection attempts back to the local machine. Another feature of the HOSTS file is it's ability to block other applications from connecting to the Internet, as long the the entry exists.

You can use a HOSTS file to block ads, banners, cookies, web bugs, and even most hijackers. This is accomplished by blocking the Server that supplies these little gems. Example - the following entry 127.0.0.1 ad.doubleclick.net blocks all files supplied by the DoubleClick Server to the web page you are viewing. This also prevents the server from tracking your movements.

http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm



How do I get rid of spyware?


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

Typical problem: While working on your computer at work online advertisement files will save to desktop. Pop up blocker is on and it seems to be working but you keep having items on desktop for advertisements. How do you stop this?

Heres the tutorial of an expert on this problem:

If there's one thing that drives me crazy about working within the Winbl@ws environment, it's how there are thousands of sites lurking, poised, ready to infect my computer, and once infected, tons of different spyware programs to ruin my computing experience.

First off, though, let's define spyware. Spyware is any software that's actually running on your computer without you explicitly granting it permission, installing it or wanting it there. Most typically, spyware tracks what you're doing and reports salient data to a remote server, for example capturing keystrokes and trying to report email addresses or credit card numbers. Very bad stuff!

Some spyware does the opposite, though, just acting as a conduit for third parties to drop information on your computer, and I think that's what you're seeing with these online advertisements showing up on your desktop. This category of spyware is called adware, by the way, but it's still the same insidious type of program running without permission on your computer.

To deal with the scourge of spyware, you need to install an anti-spyware tool (why does this remind me of the old Mad Magazine's Spy Vs. Spy comics?). There are a number of choices, ranging from free to fairly expensive, so let me run down a couple that I feel are the best options.

First off, the single most popular solution to avoiding spyware is LavaSoft's Ad-Aware. This is a great little program that you install and then it promptly scares the daylights out of you by reporting all this spyware that's probably already running on your computer without you knowing. Zap everything, then you'll be able to run your Winbl@ws system with just a bit more safety and comfort. Ad-Aware is what I run on my WinXP computers.

MickeyMouseS@ft has also been putting considerable effort into figuring out how to eradicate spyware from Winbl@ws XP computers, and while it's rumored that the upcoming Winbl@ws Vista will have a much smarter backend to minimize the risk of spyware, in the meantime it's worth checking out Winbl@ws AntiSpyware. However, this application is still in "beta" so there's a slight chance it'll do something bad to your computer, I suppose. My experience is that MickeyMouseS@ft doesn't release something into beta until it's pretty darn stable, so unless you have an exceptional or unusual configuration, you're probably a perfect customer for this application.

A third strong solution is from a German developer, called Spybot Search & Destroy, and it's very highly rated by publications like PC World in this category.

When you're deciding what anti-spyware to install, remember that one critical factor is how trustworthy the company is. It'd be terrible to install an anti-spyware program just to find out that it's actually sponsored, secretly, by a spyware group and that it flags and deletes all spyware except from that group. Not too likely, but I would certainly counsel you choose from one of the top four or five solutions in this space, not test out something from a company you've never heard of before.

Once you have one of these programs installed, you should be able to both eliminate the adware that appears to have infected your computer and avoid a reinfection in the future.

Good luck!



How to build a computre: very basic guide.....


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin.

INDEX:

PART I: what you need
PART II: putting it together

Step 1. inventory
Step 2. CPU installation
Step 3. CPU cooler installation
Step 4. RAM
Step 5. PSU
Step 6. Motherboard
Step 7. Drives
Step 8. Video Card
Step 9. Cooling

PART III: powering up and setup: coming soon.

PART IV: recommended systems with current specs..

This is a basic guide, to which i hope others will contribute. I should be able to compile several resources that may be helpful as you build your PC.

Keep in mind, i am not an expert, and of course, my computers will probably begin to fry one by one as soon as i finish this guide, so i hope it was worth it. Here goes:

PART I: Parts you will need

So, you've decided to build your own computer? good. Now comes the fun, and probably longest phase of building it: picking out the parts!

Becuase things constantly change, i wont go into too much compatibility detail here, but this is the single most important part of buying the right stuff, so maybe somebody else will help out with that.

very basic compatibility checklist

these are just some common compatibility issues, there are plenty more, so do your research.
*Enough power, make sure PSU is powerful enough and High quality.
*SATA hard drives require a motherboard that supports SATA
*The socket type of the processor MUST match the socket type of the motherboard.
*The motherboard will only support AGP or PCIe x16, one or the other, your video card must match.
*RAM must match the type supported by the motherboard, it will say which is supported, DDR2 WILL not fit on a DDR motherboard.

Basic "needed parts" list:

getting all of the parts is also critical, so here is the stuff you will need:

Motherboard
The motherboard is the large circuit board that holds the processor, the system memory, the chipset, and other goodies that your computer will need to run. when you buy your motherboard, make sure it has the appropriate graphics card interface (or just buy the right video card.) there are two common types of graphic card ports, AGP and PCIe, your motherboard will be one or the other, and so will the video card. make sure that they are both the same, or they WILL NOT fit together.

RAM (system memory)
you will need RAM for your system to operate. at the writing of this guide, most gamers suggest getting 1 gigabyte of RAM (1024 Megabytes), but many current gaming rigs have 512 MB (sometimes less). when buying ram, it is usually better (at the time of this writing) to get 2x 1/2 of what you want: for example, if you want a gig of ram, it will run faster if you get 2 sticks of 512 rather than one stick of 1024. buying ram can be complicated, decipher which ram is supported by your motherboard (it will say), and which ram is best for your processor (buying ram that is faster than needed can be a waste of money.)

see the Opurt guide to memory:

http://forums.steampowered.com/foru...threadid=285248

Power Supply Unit (PSU)
The PSU delivers power to all of your components. this is the piece of the computer that plugs directly into the wall.(well, surge protector or UPS, if you are smart.)

here is a guide which may help in selecting the PSU:
http://shsc.info/PowerSupplyGuide
(thanks to thegrommit)

Processor (CPU)
Dont build a comp without it!
You generally have 2 options here:
1. buy a CPU that is a "retail" version. this usually means it comes with a CPU cooler (you need one) and a longer warranty.
2. buy a CPU marked "OEM." this usually means that you will need to buy a CPU cooler, and the warranty period will be shorter.
some compatibility information for mobo/cpus
The type of processor you buy will determine the type of motherboard that you need, or vice-versa. There are currently, at the time of this writing, several socket types to choose from. both the processors and motherboards will plainly state which socket type it is, and no other types of processors will be compatible with it. here are some examples of socket types:

INtel: Skt 478, Skt LGA 775.
AMD: Skt A, Skt 754, Skt 939.

make sure your motherboard and processor are compatible. also, even if the socket type matches, there may be other compatibility issues. best bet is to look for a motherboard that specifically says (at the manufacturer's website) that it supports the processor you want to use. short of this, there are a couple of numbers you can look at to make sure it is compatible: FSB and SKT type. if the Motherboard supports the FSB speed that your processor says it has, it will say. make sure that it does. The skt type will indicate if the processor will 'fit' on the motherboard, the FSB will indicate if it will run fast enough.

CPU cooler
CPUs generate a lot of heat, without a cooler, they will burn up very quickly. CPU coolers will generally include the 'stuff' you will need to install it: It will generally consist of a heatsink (big metal thing), a fan (some can be fanless), thermal conducting material (paste or a pad, paste is recommended).

Video Card
got to have it! you cant see what your computer is doing if you dont have one of these. some motherboards come with integrated graphics. these are fine for most home-use applications, but even teh best integrated cards aren't very good for games. at the time of this writing, do not consider a video card with less than 128MB of RAM if you are going to be gaming. (see the video card guide tutorial, a stickie by Lotos.)

Hard Drive (HD)
The harddrive stores information such as operating system files and games. you can generally use as much as 2/3 of the overall space of the HD (without performance loss), so try to shop accordingly. You will need a hard drive that has the appropriate interface. your motherboard will say which interfaces it has that you can use. the two most common types of interfaces for home computers are:

*SATA 150
*IDE (IDE is used for IDE, ATA, and UATA, but the motherboard will specify if it has ATA or UATA support)

40GB is about as small as you should go for gaming, but that's streching it a little thin if this will be your only storage space.

Optical Drive
Nowadays, these come in many different configurations, buy according to your needs, but you at least need one that has CDROM functioinality, and it is advisable to also have DVDROM functionality as some games will begin shipping on DVDs.

Cables
Yes, you will need a way to connect the various components to the motherboard, this is done with, thats right, cables. a cable is referred to usually by the the type of interface it uses. for example:
Hard drive cables can be SATA or IDE b/c a hard drive will use one or the other.
CD drive cables use an IDE interface, so they are usually simply called IDE device cables.

*most* motherboard manufacturers include the cables that you will need. specialty cables that match your color scheme and/or are rounded for style are available for cheap.

Other Misc. Stuff you may already have:
Monitor
Keyboard
Mouse
Speakers

OK, so what is that so far, in short?

motherboard
RAM
PSU
CPU
Cooler
HD
CD drive
Cables
Misc. Stuff

Now, while all of those things together should give you a working computer, there are some other parts that many people (myself included) would highly recommend.

CASE (chassis)Note: HIGHLY recommended!
you don't want your computer spilling out all over the floor or your desk do you? NO? well, consider getting a case. I have found that small wooden shelves (dont conduct electricity) work well if you want to build a comp w/o a case, but its not recommended to leave it out of the case b/c of dust and other FOD (foreign object damage) possibilities (Beer).

Sound Card
Most motherboards come with onboard sound which is fine for most people. A sound card will usually give better sound and more features.

Extra Cooling
this normally comes in the form of extra case fans. one could write an entire guide on fans alone, so i can't go into this much, but it should suffice to say, if you put your computer in a case, you will usually want at least one extra fan to keep air moving through the case.

3.5" drive: (floppy) remember these?
these can become very useful, even if you dont want to leave it installed all of the time, it is a good idea to have one. If you purchase a harddrive with an SATA interface, the 3.5" drive may be needed to install the SATA drivers for windows if you only use one SATA drive. (using 2 will avoid this problem, usually.)

Media card reader
these are becoming more popular. they allow you to insert any one of many types of flash media cards that are used in PDAs, Cameras, and other digital devices. (much faster than using the device to read/write onto the card.)

Uninterrupted Power Supply(ier)This will give your computer a stream of power if the power goes out at your house. even cheap ones will give the computer enough power to shut down properly. the better ones will let you game for hours if your power goes out. Some powersupplies may have the UPS built in, or, it may be a separate unit.

Extra USB ports
many cases come with fron USB ports. if you are buying one that doesnt, you can always use the ones that are on the motherboard (which will be on the back of the case.) if you want easy access, consider a fron USB panel. many media readers have a single USB port on them as well.

PART II: Putting it all together

Once you have all of your parts sitting in front of you, you will naturally want to build it now. dont forget to go to all of the websites that you bought the parts from and begin reviewing the packaging of the parts.

note: i have this ordered in "steps." this is the order that i find easy, but, there is not a particular "correct order" that you must use.

Step 1. Inventory and precautions
this is simple, make sure you have all of the necessary parts before you start building.

when building the computer, it is important to be cautious of static electricity. there are static-preventing wrist bands that you can buy, but most people just recommend touching grounded bare metal before handling any components.

handle all of your components with care. they are all very fragile and sensitive, treat them as such.

thanks to thegrommit:
"You might want to mention that you'll need a small cross-head or phillips screwdriver" ---indeed, you will certainly need one of these.

this basic checklist from AMD applies to almost any system you may want to buld, so have a gander:

http://www.amd.com/us-en/assets/con..._docs/24387.pdf

Step 2. Installing the CPU:

I wanted to take a quote from a post that T Rush recently made, as to why and how you may want to install the CPU onto the motherboard before you put the motherboard into the case.
So here's what he has to say about that:
"I feel it is far easier and better to put the RAM, CPU and heatsink/fan on when you can get to and see the the slots, sockets and clamps/catches. with some heatsinks like the ZALMANs you need the motherboard out of the case to replace the 'back plate' with the one that comes with the heatsink....other heatsinks like the XP-120 not only needs to have a new mount attached to the stock back plate (which may come off the back of the motherboard when you remove the stock mount)...but the XP-120 also uses 4 spring clips which are very hard to reach from any angle but the side, as they are under the fins.

I really like to be able to see what I'm doing when seating a CPU in its socket and applying thermal paste... with the board outside of the case you have much better lighting....I also do the thermal paste twice...after putting on the heatsink...I take it back off, and look at the mark left on the CPU and heatsink by the paste...this will tell me if I used too much or too little...and if the heatsink is make'n good contact and is setting level and flat.....then I clean off the paste and do it all over again."
thanks 2 T Rush

Like he says, if you are going to install any parts onto the motherboard, keep something protective under it, like the pad that comes in the bottom of the motherboard box.

The intallation procedure on recent motherboards has become fairly simple. The manual that came with your motherboard will probably have a fairly good outline of the process.

SKT A AMD:
http://www.unicore.com/techsupport/...nstallguide.pdf

(the procedure outlined in that guide actually also pretty much applies to the newer "skt 754 and skt 939" processors and motherboards as well this applies to the CPU only, not the cooler!. you should not use tools when install the cooler for an a64/sempron/opteron system that is socket 754 or higher.) thanks to thegrommit, and to quote him on sound advice:

"My suggestion is that you follow the illustrated guide that comes with the Athlon64, not that PDF."

here is an additional building guide from AMD that is helpful:
http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors...82_9342,00.html

INTEL: here is a good guide from Omnicast.net (with pictures):
(hope link stays good )
http://www.omnicast.net/~tmcfadden/guides/build/P4.html

The basic procedure is something like this, and barely varies with newer processors:

1. "open" the socket.
2. set (do not force) the CPU carefully into the socket using the correct orientation, and touching only the sides of the unit.
3. "close" the socket, locking the CPU into place.

Step 3. Installing CPU cooler:

those guides linked to above will also show you how to install the cooler. a few things to keep in mind:

*thermal paste is generally recommended over the thermal pad, although (for AMD, at least) the manufacturers support the use of the thermal pad. (make sure to use a thin layer)

*try to keep the cooler flat as you install it.

*remove the cooler after you have installed it and examine the paste to make sure that it has been applied correctly.

*the use of an aftermarket cooler may provide several advantages over the stock cooler in terms of quietness of operation or overall cooling performance, or both.

This guide is popular, but kind of old, it has pictures though:
http://www.dansdata.com/coolers.htm

so after all that is said, here is the basic process for installing the cooler:

1. apply a thin layer of thermal paste to the Heatspreader of the processor, or to the top of the chip (have a look at those guides)

2. set the heatsink down FLATLY onto the processor and clip it on.

3. remove the heatsink to examine how well your grease application has worked, make sure that it is uniform and thin.

4. clean the thermal grease off of both (coffee filter and isoprophyl alcohol will work, although, many people recommend using a more pure form of alcohol, available from electronics stores that is made for cleaning electronic parts.

Here is a tip from Taimaster regarding the removal of thermal grease:
"...Brake cleaner (only used spray type) from your local Auto parts dealer and Q-Tip cotten swab is the best way to clean the Thermal grease off anything and it doesnt leave a residue.
Spray a little on a Q-Tip by putting the cotten swab right on the spray nozzles hole so as to contain any over spray.
Wipe the area to be cleaned with the swab, the cleaner desolves the grease and the Q-Tip soaks it up.
I spin the Q-Tip between my finger and thumb as i wipe, it helps prevent smearing as the grease loads the Q-Tip." thanks to Taimaster.

5. Re-apply the paste and re-seat the heatsink/fan assembly

6. ALWAYS, always, always, make sure to plug the fan into the motherboard. the fan connector will usually be marked "CPU."

*note: your motherboard manual probably has the procedure outlined in good detail, if you have it. if you are installing an aftermarket cooler, they will usually come with detailed instructions.

if your aftermarket cooler calls for a backing plate, DO NOT ignore this part of the directions! not using the correct backing plate will at best make you computer less mobile, and at worst completly f-up the mobo.

Step 4. installing the RAM

The ram goes into slots that have clips on either side of them that will latch onto the ram.
Make sure to check your motherboard instruction manual to make sure you are using the right slots.

Push the ram down into the slots until the clips 'click' into place. This requires a bit of pressure, so dont be afraid, but at the same time, dont force them in if it seems like they aren't going down with a good amount of pressure.

The ram is made to be easily installed and removed becuase this is one of the most common upgrades that people make to their computers. follow the motherboard instruction manual, and you will have no problems.

the ram is made to be installed in a particular direction. look at the interface, you will see a notch that is offset, you will see a corresponding piece in the slot. make sure they match up.

Step 5. Install the PSU

The PSU screws into the back of the case, usually at the top. you will see the holes on the back of the case. it may be easier to install the motherboard first, before the PSU, becuase you dont have the wires to deal with. If you do this, however, you will run the risk of dropping the rather heavy PSU onto the motherboard, the CPU, or the CPU cooler, damaging it, so be careful.

Step 6: installing the Motherboard into the case:

The motherboard screws down into the case. well, actually it usually screws down onto spacers that are installed in the case. Most times you have to screw these spacers in yourself, MAKE SURE YOU DO THIS! (your motherboard will short out and possibly be ruined if you screw it directly down onto the metal back of the case!)

The motherboard has two special power connectors for it. a 20 or 24 pin connector and a 4 pin connector. there is only one place for each of these to go, and it will be easy to spot them. be sure to install them both.

Step 7: installing the Drives

You will see where your case manufacturer intended for you to install your drives. If they are meant to be screwed in, i recommend screwing down both sides of the drive, which means taking off the other side of the case. when you first set it up, for ease of removal and reconfiguration, you may not want to do this; once your comp is set up the way you like, however, it is a good idea.

the drives will slide into the drive rails and you will need to remove the plastic covers from the front of your case for the CD drive so that it will be able to open and close.

For your hard drive, i keep reading that you shouldnt install them upside down. OK, dont install it upside down then, install it with the label side facing the ceiling, not the circuit side.

For each drive that you install:

1. Install the drive into the case
2. hook up the appropriate cable to the drive
3. hook up the cable to the appropriate interface on the motherboard (more to come on this)
4. be sure to hook up the appropriate power cable from teh power supply. The CD drive and the Hard drive will require their own power source, so make sure you give it to them. they usually accept a female four pin power connector from the PSU which is called a "molex" connector.

Special SATA procedure
If you have an SATA hard drive, are installing windows, and are planning on using a single SATA drive as the primary hard drive onto which you will install windows, there is a special procedure you must use that involves using a 3.5" disk to install the SATA drivers. i can't go into this right now, but maybe i can get some help on this. otherwise, just be aware of the issue, and do some google searchin'.

Step 8. installing the Video card

And now, the video card! yippie! this is what the entire computer was built to run, right? this may not be the "heart" of the computer, but it sure is important, if you had to compare it to a body part (or parts) and its not the heart, then its probably, the.....um, well, you know.

place the video card into the correct slot and push down, done. installing video cards is actually quite easy (another common upgrade). Your motherboard manual will tell you which slot to use if you are confused.

If you are using a single AGP 8x or PCIe 16x card on a motherboard that is made for single cards, there will only be one slot that the card will fit into. (none, if you bought the wrong motherboard.)

If you are using a single card on a motherboard that is made for dual cards (sli, crossfire), refer to the motherboard manual, which will be quite specific on this subject.

don't worry about video card drivers and such for now, we'll get to that after you install windows.

Many newer cards are made to use an external power source. this means that you will need to hook it up directly to your PSU. If you have this kind of card, you should be able to see where it is meant to accept (most commonly) a molex connector on the back of the card. be sure to plug this in or you will get some scary (though usually not harmful) results.

Step 9. cooling

installing fans is easy, and each set-up is different. you can plug your fans directly into the motherboard, or attach them to the PSU directly. there are many ways to configure your cooling, but just pay attention and make sure you have enough.

this should now bring you to part III, power-up.

PART III: powering it up and setup

coming soon. for now, here is some stuff i, um, borrowed from T Rush:

quote:originally posted by T Rush
he BIOS (Basic In and Out System) is your friend

it is the first step in getting hardware to run

most hardware will be auto detected by the BIOS and be set-up for you

when your system is first powered on, the BIOS will read 'micro codes' on the hardware you add to the motherboard..this will set the voltage to the RAM and CPU, CPU multi, CPU and RAM speed(ie: 200MHz), RAM timings, hard drive size and type, CD/DVD and Floppy type
(often the micro codes will set the CPU and RAM to 'safe' default settings...RAM timings that are set by 'SPD' are often much higher than what it is rated at..you can then go into the BIOS and set them to the 'tighter' timings the RAM was tested/rated to perform at)

in most cases you will want to clear the BIOS of any settings from hardware that the motherboard was tested with at the factory
the BIOS is stored in a flash memory chip called the CMOS, and there should be a jumper on the motherboard to clear/re-set it with so that you can start with a fresh BIOS

you may need to open the BIOS and change settings or have the BIOS try to detect hard drives after you have enabled controllers(SATA and RAID)

RAID controllers have their own BIOS that you can use to set-up arrays use'n two or more hard drives

remember that IDE drives (CD/DVD and Hard Drives) use jumpers that may need to be set on the drives themselves so that they match their placement on the IDE ribbon(master or slave)
the BIOS still may be able to 'see' these drives if the jumpers are set wrong, but they may not work properly

get all your hardware up and running/detected before you try and install Windows ( a RAID array will need to be 'built' use'n the RAID controllers BIOS before you can use it)

also ...you will need a CD with Windows XP to have SP1 or higher if you are use'n a hard drive larger than 137GB


Building a high performance gaming box.

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin
http://sysbuild.corsairmemory.com/report.aspx?id=2&sid=1


A Handy Guide to Using the Files You've Downloaded

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin
Hey guys, here's some info about common files that you can download from the internet, and a little bit about using these files for their intended purposes. If you're stuck on what exactly a file is or how to open it maybe your answer lies ahead. If you dont' find your answer here, then please post in the "Forum". So without further adieu lets get the show on the road!

Compression Files
.rar .zip .ace .r01 .001
These extensions are quite common and mean that your file(s) are compressed into an "archive".
This is just a way of making the files more compact and easier to download.
To open any of those archives listed above you can use WinRAR (Make sure you have the latest version) or PowerArchiver.
If those progams aren't working for you and you have a .zip file you can try WinZip (Trial version).
If the two first mentioned programs aren't working for you and you have a .ace or .001 file you can try Winace (Trial version).

.cbr .cbz
These are usually comic books in an archive format. a .cbr file is actually the same thing as a .rar file and a .cbz file is the same as a .zip file. However, often when opening them with WinRAR or WinZip it will disorder your pages. To display these archives properly it's often best to use CDisplay.


Multimedia Files
.avi .mpg. .mpeg .divx .xvid .wmv
These files are usually movies or TVshows, or a host of other types of media. They can be viewed using various media players, but I suggest using Zoomplayer, BSPlayer, or Windows Media Player. Also, you'll need to make sure you have the right codecs to play each individual file. Codecs are a tricky business sometimes so to help you out with your file and what exact codecs it needs try using GSpot. It tells you what codecs you need. Then just look on the net to find them, below are some common codecs and their download links for quick reference:
• ffdshow (Recommended! (plays many formats: XviD, DivX, 3ivX, mpeg-4))
• XviD codec
• DivX codec
• ac3filter (for AC3 soundtracks, aka "5.1")
• Ogg media codec (for .OGM files)
Can't find what you're looking for? Check out these sites...use google to find them;
• DivX-Digest
• Digital-Digest
• Doom9
• DVD-R Help

.mov
These are QuickTime files. Hopefully you won't have to open these as I hate quicktime, but if you do you can get it here. There are however alternatives to the original program, Check out QuickTime Alternative.

.ra .rm .ram
These are RealPlayer files. RealPlayer IMO is the devils work. It installs lord knows what on your system and never really goes away when you want to uninstall it. Still if you insists you can get the player here. There are however alternatives to the original program, check out Real Alternative.

vcd/svcd
These can be a pain on some peoples setups, but more so, on your stand-alone DVD player. For all your vcd needs check out www.dvdrhelp.com. These guys know their stuff, and can help you with all kinds of media related questions.

.mp3 .mp2
Usually music files. Play them with WinAmp.

.ogm .ogg
Ogg Vorbis media files. You can find out more about them and download applications here. This filetype is another music file format, but can be used for various media. You will probably want to download the DirectShow Ogg filter to play back OGM files. Any new version of WinAmp will also do.


CD Image Files
.bin and .cue
These are your standard images of a CD, and are used quite alot these days. To open them you have a couple options. You can burn them using Nero (Trial Version) or Alcohol 120%, but this proves to be soooooooo problematic for a lot of people. You should also consult this tutorial for burning images with various software programs You can also use Daemon Tools, which lets you mount the image to a "virtual cd-rom", so basically it tricks your computer into thinking that you have another cd-rom and that you're putting a cd with your image file on it into this virtual cd-rom, it's great cuz you'll never make a bad cd again, Alcohol 120% also sports a virtual cd-rom feature. Finally, if you're still struggling to access the files contained within any given image file you can use CDMage to extract the files and then burn them, or just access them from your hard drive. You can also use VCDGear to extract the mpeg contents of a SVCD or VCD image file such as bin/cue.

.iso
Another type of image file that follows similar rules as .bin and .cue, only you extract or create them using WinISO or ISOBuster. Sometimes converting a problematic .bin and .cue file to an .iso can help you burn it to a cd.

.ccd .img .sub
All these files go together and are in the CloneCD format. CloneCD is like most other CD-Burning programs, see the .bin and .cue section if you're having problems with these files.


Other Files
.txt .doc
These are text files. .txt files can be opened with notepad or watever you default text editor happens to be, and .doc are opened with M*crosoft Word.

.nfo
These contain information about the file you just downloaded, and it's HIGHLY recommended that you read these! They are plain text files, often with ascii-art. You can open them with Notepad, Wordpad, Darn NFO Viewer or UltraEdit.

.pdf
Opened with Adobe Acrobat Reader.

.jpg .gif .tga .psd
Basic image files. These files generally contain pictures, and can be opened with Adobe Photoshop or whatever your default image viewer is.

.sfv
Checks to make sure that your multi-volume archives are complete. This just lets you know if you've downloaded something complete or not. (This is not really an issue when DL:ing via torrent.) You can open/activate these files with SFVChecker (Trial version) or hkSFV for example.

.par
This is a parity file, and is often used when downloading from newsgroups. These files can fill in gaps when you're downloading a multi-volume archive and get corrupted or missing parts. Open them with QuickPar.


How to burn a Bin/image file..using NERO

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin
http://www.wezsweb.com/BurningABinFile.htm


A lot of Windows XP tips......

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin
Lock XP Workstation (#1)
You can lock your XP workstation with two clicks of the mouse. Create a new shortcut on your desktop using a right mouse click, and enter 'rundll32.exe user32.dll, LockWorkStation' in the location field. Give the shortcut a name you like. That's it -- just double click on it and your computer will be locked. And if that's not easy enough, Windows key + L will do the same.
Remove Windows XP system software (#2)
XP hides some system software you might want to remove, such as Windows Messenger, but you can tickle it and make it disgorge everything. Using Notepad or Edit, edit the text file /windows/inf/sysoc.inf, search for the word 'hide' and remove it. You can then go to the Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel, select Add/Remove Windows Components and there will be your prey, exposed and vulnerable.
New commands (#3)
For those skilled in the art of DOS batch files, XP has a number of interesting new commands. These include 'eventcreate' and 'eventtriggers' for creating and watching system events, 'typeperf' for monitoring performance of various subsystems, and 'schtasks' for handling scheduled tasks. As usual, typing the command name followed by /? will give a list of options -- they're all far too baroque to go into here.
Windows XP supports IPv6 (#4)
XP has IP version 6 support -- the next generation of IP. Unfortunately this is more than your ISP has, so you can only experiment with this on your LAN. Type 'ipv6 install' into Run... (it's OK, it won't ruin your existing network setup) and then 'ipv6 /?' at the command line to find out more. If you don't know what IPv6 is, don't worry and don't bother.
Kill tasks from the command line (#5)
You can at last get rid of tasks on the computer from the command line by using 'taskkill /pid' and the task number, or just 'tskill' and the process number. Find that out by typing 'tasklist', which will also tell you a lot about what's going on in your system.
Enable ClearType by default (#6)
XP has ClearType -- M*crosoft's anti-aliasing font display technology-- but doesn't have it enabled by default. It's well worth trying, especially if you were there for DOS and all those years of staring at a screen have given you the eyes of an astigmatic bat. To enable ClearType, right click on the desktop, select Properties, Appearance, Effects, select ClearType from the second drop-down menu and enable the selection. Expect best results on laptop displays. If you want to use ClearType on the Welcome login screen as well, set the registry entry
HKEY_USERS/.DEFAULT/ControlPanel/Desktop/FontSmoothingType to 2.
Run program as different user (#7)
You can run a program as a different user without logging out and back in again. Right click the icon, select Run As... and enter the user name and password you want to use. This only applies for that run. The trick is particularly useful if you need to have administrative permissions to install a program, which many require. Note that you can have some fun by running programs multiple times on the same system as different users, but this can have unforeseen effects.
Speed up the Start Menu (#
The Start Menu can be leisurely when it decides to appear, but you can speed things along by changing the registry entry HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Control Panel/Desktop/MenuShowDelay from the default 400 to something a little snappier. Like 0.
Rename multiple files at once (#9)
You can rename loads of files at once in Windows Explorer. Highlight a set of files in a window, then right click on one and rename it. All the other files will be renamed to that name, with individual numbers in brackets to distinguish them. Also, in a folder you can arrange icons in alphabetized groups by View, Arrange Icon By... Show In-Groups.
Show cover art in Media Player (#10)
Windows Media Player will display the cover art for albums as it plays the tracks -- if it found the picture on the Internet when you copied the tracks from the CD. If it didn't, or if you have lots of pre-WMP music files, you can put your own copy of the cover art in the same directory as the tracks. Just call it folder.jpg and Windows Media Player will pick it up and display it.
Display Hibernate Option on the Shut Down dialog (#11)
For some reason, Hibernate isn't available from the default Shut Down dialog. But you can enable it simply enough, by holding down the SHIFT key while the dialog is visible. Now you see it, now you don't!
Enable ClearType on the Welcome Screen! (#12)
As laptop users and other LCD owners are quickly realizing, M*crosoft's ClearType technology in Windows XP really makes a big difference for readability. But the this feature is enabled on a per-user basis in Windows XP, so you can't see the effect on the Welcome screen; it only appears after you logon.
But you can fix that. Fire up the Registry Editor and look for the following keys:
(default user) HKEY_USERS \ .Default \ Control Panel \ Desktop FontSmoothing (String Value)
HKEY_USERS \ .Default \ Control Panel \ Desktop FontSmoothingType (Hexadecimal DWORD Value)
Make sure both of these values are set to 2 and you'll have ClearType enabled on the Welcome screen and on each new user by default.
Change User Picture (#13)
Click on the Icon at the top of the start menu. Select desired picture from resulting screen Windows 2000 style logon. To revert back to the Win2k style logon so you can log on as the administrator and other options, press ctrl+alt+delete twice at the logon screen. Change the location of the My Music or My Pictures folders:
In Windows 2000, M*crosoft added the ability to right-click the My Documents folder and choose a new location for that folder in the shell. With Windows XP, M*crosoft has elevated the My Music and My Pictures folders to the same "special shell folder" status of My Documents, but they never added a similar (and simple) method for changing those folder's locations. However, it is actually pretty easy to change the location of these folders, using the following method.
Open a My Computer window and navigate to the location where you'd like My Music (or My Pictures) to reside. Then, open the My Documents folder in a different window. Drag the My Music (or My Pictures) folder to the other window, and Windows XP will update all of the references to that folder to the new location, including the Start menu.
Protect Your Files From Unauthorized Users (#14)
Other users with permission to delete a file (users with Modify or Full Control permission) can't use your encrypted files-but they can make them difficult for you to use. Any such user can rename your files, which can make them difficult to find, and can also delete your files. (Even if the user merely deletes them to the Recycle Bin and doesn't remove them altogether, the deleted files are unavailable to you because you don't have access to any other user's Recycle Bin.) Therefore, if you're concerned about protecting your files from other authorized users as well as from a thief who steals your computer, you should modify the NTFS permissions to prevent any type of modification by other users.
Shutdown Your System in a Hurry (#15)
If you need to shut down in a hurry-or if a frozen application prevents you from shutting down in the normal ways-you can use the following procedure. Be aware, however, that you won't get an opportunity to save open documents. To perform an emergency shutdown, press Ctrl+Alt+Del to display Task Manager. Open the Shut down menu and hold down the Ctrl key as you click the Turn Off command. Poof! If your computer is part of a domain, the procedure is similar. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del and then hold down Ctrl when you click Shut Down. In this situation, you'll get a warning message pointing out-quite correctly-that this should be used only as a last resort.
Provide Personal Support (#16)
It never fails: when friends, co-workers, or family members discover that you're a Windows expert, you get pressed into service as an unpaid support technician. If the party asking for help is running any edition of Windows XP and has an active Internet connection, your job is much easier. Have the other person send you a Remote Assistance request; when you accept the request, you connect directly to their computer and can edit Registry settings, fix file associations, set System options, and perform just about any other troubleshooting or repair task, just as if you were sitting at the other person's desk.
Quickly Fix Connectivity Problems (#17)
Are you having trouble connecting to other computers on your local area network? If your network uses a hardware firewall that assigns IP addresses to each machine and you're certain you've configured all other components correctly, check to see whether the Internet Connection Firewall is enabled. That component can effectively block communication between PCs on the network.
Hack IE Title Bar (#1
This can be an impressive bit of personalization. Use your name or moniker to brand Internet Explorer. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\M*crosoft\Internet Explorer\ and left-click on Main to change the string "Window Title" to whatever you wish.
Unload DLLs (#19)
To prevent Windows from caching DLLs after the program using them has closed, follow this procedure: Navigate to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\M*crosoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ then left-click on Explorer. Right-click (as above) and create the DWORD
AlwaysUnloadDLL with a value of 1. This requires a reboot to take effect. This will allow memory to be used more efficiently.
Registry Hacks (#20)
Editing the Windows Registry, while much more common now than in years past, is still not to be entered into lightly. You can break Windows, cause boot failure. I know you're gonna do it anyway; why else would you be reading this. Just be careful, OK?
These are few because, for the most part WinXP can be customized through the interlace or with third-party freeware (as above).
All of the tips below require running regedit. To do so, hit 'Start/Run' then type 'regedit' and follow the instructions.
Naturally, I take no responsibility for any damage or loss of data incurred in the remote possibility that something goes terribly wrong.
The Ultimate Appearance Tweak (#21)
M*crosoft said: "You can connect up to 10 monitors to your Windows XP-based computer and display numerous programs or windows at one time. You can use your mouse to move items from one monitor to another. You can open a different file on each monitor. Or several. Or you can stretch one item across several monitors; so for example, you can see more columns in a M*crosoft Excel spreadsheet, or the entire layout of a Web page, without scrolling." Consider it. Monitors and PCI video cards are pretty cheap now. Windows recognizes the addition & allows easy adjustments on the 'Display Properties/Settings' menu.
Save Streaming Media (#22)
It's cool to listen to MP3s (or watch movies) over the Internet. Often, saving this media, however, seems impossible. Hey, if it plays on your computer, it's on your hard drive. Once the file is fully loaded and with folder view set to show hidden and systems folders, searches for the media (.mp3 or .mpg). There it is!
Securing the Paging File (#23)
If you're truly concerned about the possibility of your computer falling into the wrong hands, you should be sure that you don't leave any tracks in the paging file. By default, when you shut down your system, the paging file remains intact. People who've access to your computer could conceivably look through the unencrypted paging file to find information they shouldn't have.
Assign a Keyboard Shortcut (#24)
Click in the Shortcut Key field and press a keyboard combination that you want to use for launching or switching to this program. The shortcut key you assign must consist of one character key (a letter, number, or symbol) plus at least two of the following three keys: Ctrl, Alt, and Shift. (If you press a character key only, Windows automatically adds Ctrl+Alt.)
Shortcut keys work only when assigned to a program shortcut on the Start menu, the Programs menu, or the Desktop. The shortcuts you define will not work if it conflicts with a combination used in the program whose window has the focus.

These tips act as a guide to tweaking and changing Windows XP from the default settings. If you are unsure about how to make these changes then don't do aynthing!!

Here are some XP tweaks that I have picked up here and there.
First of all some of this is registry changes so Back up your registry first.
I do a backup by setting a system restore point before I start. Also a Startup disc is nice because I have screwed up bad enough I can’t boot my computer before (called learning).
Remove Login for Windows XP
Many Windows XP users are the only users on their computer, yet they are asked for a password every time they boot. This can be annoying for newbies because they don't want the login, but they get a message every few weeks saying their password is about to expire and that it must be reset. There is a way to get rid of this. If you wish to get rid of the login for all users on the machine, then go to the Start Menu > Run and type "control userpasswords2". Select the user account you wish to log into automatically and then un-check the option that says "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer". After saving changes, your computer will now auto-login and you will not have to click through a log-in screen.
With this option fixed, you might not even want the Welcome screen. If you want to boot the PC and have it take you directly to the desktop, then go to the Control Panel > User accounts. Then click on "Change the way users log on or off". Un-check "Use the Welcome screen". Click "Apply Options".
Recycle Bin
By default, the recycle bin uses 10% of each drive/partition for a pit stop for deleted data before it gets permanently deleted. To adjust the amount of space the recycle bin uses, right click on the "Recycle Bin" and click "Properties". On the "Global" tab, set the slider to about 5%. This value will be applied to all drives/partitions. If you wish to configure the drives/partitions independently, check the "Configure drives independently" box, and proceed to go to each drive tab to adjust each slider. Once finished, hit apply and OK. If you find that files are too large to go to the recycle bin, you will be prompted to either permanently delete, or cancel. If you don't want to permanently delete the file yet, hit cancel and just increase the size of the appropriate recycle bin.
Turn Off Hibernation
Hibernation is a feature that allows your system to shut down quickly and save everything that’s open in the RAM to be stored on the hard drive until the computer is powered on again. XP and 2000 use a file called hiberfil.sys to save everything it needs when they go go into hibernation. If you never use the hibernate function, you can turn it off. When this feature is disabled, the hiberfil.sys file is deleted. This can free up the as much disk space as the amount of ram that you computer has. For example, if you have 1GB of RAM, you could be freeing up to 1GB of hard drive space. In XP, go to Control Panel > Power Options > Hibernation and uncheck “Enable hibernation”. In 2000, go to Control Panel > Power Options > “Hibernate” tab and uncheck “Enable hibernate support” If you should want to re-enable hibernation, go back in and check “Enable hibernation” in XP or “Enable hibernate support in 2000.

Disable Administrative Alerts
Few people use or have even heard of this feature. What it does is use Windows Messenger to send messages between computers pertaining to administrative notifications and alerts. If you already have Windows Messenger disabled, it makes so sense to have this service enabled, for it won't work without Messenger anyway. To disable this service, go to Start > Run and type services.msc. Double click "Alerter" and on the "General" tab, set the startup type to "Disabled". Do the same to the "Messenger" service. "Messenger" is not the Windows Messenger service.
System Restore
By default, XP's System Restore takes up 12% of your hard drive space. 12% of an 80GB hard drive is 9.6GB, and that's 9.6GB you cannot use for data storage. How can this be adjusted? Start out by right clicking "My Computer" and "Properties". Select the “System Restore” tab. The window in that panel contains all your hard drives and/or partitions.
It is not necessary to have System Restore “Monitoring” every drive/partition. It only needs to be monitoring the drive/partition with the Operating System. You can proceed to turn it off on drives/partitions by hitting “Settings” and checking “Turn off System Restore on this drive.” On the drive/partition that wish to keep System Restore working, hit “Settings” and drag the slider bar down to 2-4%. This is small enough as to not take up much space, yet large enough to provide a few restore points.
Disable Performance Counters Running in Background
There is a performance monitor located in XP in Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Performance that does not usually see the light of day with most users. What it does is track a number of different areas regarding your system’s performance, such as CPU activity and hard drive access. It runs constantly in the background using up system resources without most people even using it. If you have no use for this and wish to reclaim some system resources, there is a tweak to turn it off. First, you will need to download and install the Extensible Performance Counter List Utility. Go to C:\Program Files\Resource Kit and run the Exctrlst.exe utility. Select each line in the “Extensible performance counters” window and clear the “performance counters enabled” button below. This must be done for each counter. When it’s finished, just exit the utility. The next time you access the performance monitor, there will be no information available or shown.
Disable Remote Registry
This service allows your registry to be edited from a remote computer. It is most likely the case that this service is not needed, not to mention a possible security risk for people concerned about their system security. To turn it off, go to Start > Run and type services.msc. Set the startup type to “Manual” or “Disabled” for XP’s “Remote Registry” or 2000’s “Remote Registry Service”.
Disable the “nVidia Driver Helper” Service
This relatively new feature has been included with some of the more recent Detonator driver packages. What does it do? That’s where it gets hazy. There is no solid definition of what it is or what it does, and it is even left off of nVidia’s web site. The only thing that is definite about it is that can slow down boot and shutdown times considerably. Here’s how to disable it. Go to Start > Run and type services.msc. Set the startup value of the “nVidia Driver Helper” service to “Manual” or “Disabled”.
Turn Off Terminal Services
If you are experiencing slow shutdowns, one tweak you can try is turning off Ternimal Services. If you do not use remote desktop, fast user switching, remote assistance or the terminal server, then proceed with this tweak. Go to Start > Run and type services.msc /s. Find "Terminal Services" on the list and double click on it (If it’s not there, it isn’t installed). Change startup type to “disabled” or “manual” and click OK.
Driver Signing
It’s a pain to be prompted by Windows warning you about “unsigned drivers” whenever you need to install third party drivers for hardware. No, there’s nothing wrong with installing “unsigned drivers”. They merely lack M*crosoft’s stamp of approval. The only thing the prompts are good at is slowing down a driver installation. Here’s the simple fix that gets rid of those annoying prompts. Right click “My Computer” and click “Properties”. Go to the “Hardware” tab and click on “Driver Signing”. Select “Ignore” for the action. You will never be bothered by those pesky prompts again.
Error Reporting
On the occasion that a program, or even the entire Operating System experiences a crash, you are greeted with a prompt to send an error report back to M*crosoft. I don’t know about everybody else, but most of the time when I get this, it isn’t usually the Operating System’s fault and I would never bother to send a report. To turn off this prompting, go to Control Panel > System >“Advanced” tab and click “Error Reporting”. Select “Disable Error Reporting”, but leave “But notify me when a critical error occurs” checked, for it’s sometimes a good idea to see it and it sometimes give a clue as to what happened.
No Recent Documents History
In Windows XP Pro, you can make it so that Windows does not keep a running document history. Go to Start > Run and then type "gpedit.msc" and enter. Now go to User Configuration - Administrative Templates - Start Menu and Taskbar. Double click "Do not keep history of recently opened documents" and click on "Enabled". Hit OK. Then you are done.

Internet Connection Sharing
If you don’t use Windows’ Internet Connection Sharing service, it can be turned off. This will have no effect on computers running on a LAN off of one Internet connection, as long as the feature has not been configured for use. It is most often the case that it is not used.
To turn it off, go to Start > Run and type services.msc. In XP, set the startup type to “Manual” or “Disabled” for “Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) / Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)”. For 2000, it is the “Internet Connection Sharing” service.
DNS Caching
When you surf the web, Windows stores recently visited addresses in a DNS cache. The cache is accessed before a request is sent out over the net when a web page address is requested. If the address is found in the DNS cache, it saves time by eliminating the need to request and IP address from a DNS server over the net.
There is a stack of IP addresses in the DNS cache that constantly gets bumped down as IP requests are made. Sort of like a waiting list. This tweak will increase the size of the DNS cache, thus greatly increasing the speed at which web pages are accessed, especially if you regularly check certain web pages.
You can either apply this tweak using a downloadable registry file, or apply it manually with the following instructions:
Open up regedit and go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Services/Dnscache/Parametersand create/modify these DWORD values: “CacheHashTableBucketSize” set with the value of 1; “CacheHashTableSize” set with the value of 180; “MaxCacheEntryTtlLimit” set with the value of ff00; and “MaxSOACacheEntryTtlLimit” set with the value of 12d.
The second part of DNS caching involves the caching of unsuccessful results. Namely, a valid URL that is temporary offline or cannot be accessed for some reason. As long as that entry remains in the cache and even if the URL goes live again, because Windows refers to the DNS cache first, it will only see the unsuccessful connection and continue to refer to it until it is bumped from the cache. Sounds bad, but there is a way to avoid this with a registry fix that prevents unsuccessful DNS lookups from being cached.
Open regedit and go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Services/Dnscache/Parameters. Create/modify the following DWORD values: “NegativeCacheTime” set with the value of 0; “NetFailureCacheTime” set with the value of 0; and “NegativeSOACacheTime” set with the value of 0. Close regedit and reboot.
Windows Sharing
It’s fairly common nowadays to have more than one computer in the house on LAN so they can each connect to the Internet. It’s also common to share and transfer files between the computers. When you try to access one computer from another, there is often a significant delay while trying to connect. This is because your computer will check the remote computer you are accessing for any scheduled tasks. The more there are on the remote PC, the longer it takes to connect.
To avoid this delay, go into regedit, and go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/M*crosoft/Windows/Current Version/Explorer/RemoteComputer/NameSpace. Delete the {D6277990-4C6A-8D87-00AA0060F5BF} key and reboot. The next time you try to access the shared files on a remote computer, you will probably notice your computer gets there faster.
Turning off the SP2 Security Service (and other annoying services)
While SP2’s Security Center may be enlightening to many users, it can be a pest to others. If you are annoyed by Windows constantly warning you of your lack of a virus solution at startup or the fact that Windows Firewall is turned off, you may be one of the annoyed. To turn it off, go to “Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services.” When the Services MMC snap-in comes up, find the service named “Security Center,” double-click it, and when the next window comes up, press “Stop.” Then, select “Disable” from start-up type, and press “OK.” The result is that Security Center is both stopped and will never start up again, until you enable the service again. Note that this can be done with any service, not just “Security Center.” (However, before you start disabling services, make sure that you do not need them – in most cases, a search on Google will yield a quick answer.)
Remove the QoS Bandwidth Reserve Setting
QoS, or "Quality of Service" is a provision in Windows XP's networking connections that allows certain software that has been written to take advantage of QoS to reserve up to 20% of a connection's bandwidth solely for that program's use. So, whenever a program is running that has the ability to utilize the QoS provision, it will automatically delegate this 20% to its self and not allow anything else to use it in order to make sure it has priority. Yes, it will allow smooth sailing for this program over a net connection, but it can also hinder any other programs that require bandwidth. Remember, this 20% is reserved whether or not there is actually traffic going over the networking connection. Disabling this option will ensure that everything requesting bandwidth to be put in the "first come, first served" queue.
If you wish to disable QoS, go into Control Panel > Network Connections, right click on your active net connection and select "Properties". Scroll through the scroll box to locate "QoS Packet Scheduler". Uncheck the box and click "OK". It will appear to freeze for a few moments, so be patient. Once the dialog windows closes, QoS will have been disabled. If you should want to enable QoS again, simply go back in and check the box.
ClearType
If you have ever noticed how crisp text appears on certain systems as compared to your own and wished that you could have that same sharpness and clarity, you should turn on ClearType. ClearType is a feature built into Windows XP that allows you to further smooth screen fonts. To turn it on, go to Start -> Control Panel -> Display -> Appearance -> Effects, and check "Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts." Choose "ClearType" (as opposed to "Standard") and press OK. You should immediately notice a subtle difference!
XP Performance Tweak
Before doing anything in the Registry ALWAYS back up it up first just in case something goes wrong ...If you are not sure what the registry is or how to make a back up then this tweak is not for you
If you have 512 megs or more of memory, you can increase system performance
by having the core system kept in memory.
1. Start Regedit
2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\Session Manager\Memory Management\DisablePagingExecutive
3. Set the value to be 1
4. Reboot the computer
Enable Super Fetch To enable super prefetch:
  • Use a registry editing tool (run>regedit) to navigate to the following key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\C ontro l\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters
  • Insert a value with the following details:
Data Type: DWORD
Value Name: EnableSuperfetch
Value: 1
  • Reboot your computer for the changes to take effect
make sure you back up your registry!!!
Reducing Shutdown Time
One of the most common causes of long waits to shutdown is that XP by default will wait 20 seconds for an application to shut down! You can decrease this time to decrease total shutdown time. Go to Start -> Run -> regedt32, find HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop, change the value of "WaitToKillAppTimeout" to what you wish (in milliseconds), press "OK," and exit the editor. I set it to 5000 ms usually because that is just enough time for me to save any documents that I forgot to save before the shut down.
LargeSystemCache and DisablePagingExecutive in Registry Windows XP includes an option to utilize more memory for file system caching. Go to Start -> Run -> regedt32, find HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management, change LargeSystemCache from 0 to 1, press OK, and then exit. The result should be increased performance in systems with a lot of memory; note that if you are low on memory, this tip will not help you out! In fact, this tip will hurt you, so make sure you have at least 512 MB of memory before attempting this. Also, setting DisablePagingExecutive can similarly boost system performance for systems with 512+ MB of memory.
Create a Shutdown Shortcut
Follow these directions to create a one-click shutdown shortcut on your desktop:
1. On your desktop, right-click on a blank spot and point to New, then click on Shortcut.
2. In the "Create Shortcut" window, type the following depending of the version of Windows you are using.
For Windows 95, 98, or Me type (or even better, copy and paste:
C:windowsrundll.exe user.exe,exitwindows
For Windows XP type or copy:
SHUTDOWN -s -t 01
3. Click the "Next" button.
4. Name the shortcut whatever you would like, and click the "Finish" button. Now whenever you want to shut down, just double click on this shortcut.

Speed up Internet by 20% (XP Pro doesn’t work for home)
Start/run/ gpedit.msc
Local Computer Policy-->Computer Configuration-->Administrative Templates-->Network-->QOS Packet Scheduler-->Limit Reservable Bandwidth
Double click on Limit Reservable bandwidth. It will say it is not configured, but the truth is under the 'Explain' tab :
"By default, the Packet Scheduler limits the system to 20 percent of the bandwidth of a connection, but you can use this setting to override the default."
So the trick is to ENABLE reservable bandwidth, then set it to ZERO.
Increase Max Number of Simultaneous Connections in IE
IE6 only offers two simultaneous server connections by default, although it may be fine for normal use with low traffic demands, traffic can get bogged down when connecting to web pages with a significant amount of graphical content. By increasing the number of possible server connections, your bandwidth can be used more efficiently and load complex web pages faster. Start out by opening up regedit and going to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\M*crosoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings. Create/modify two DWORD values: “MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server” set with the value of 0000000a, and “MaxConnectionsPerServer” set with the value of 0000000a. Close regedit and reboot.
Speed up Firefox
1.Type “about:config” into the address bar and hit return. Scroll down and look for the following entries:
network.http.pipelining network.http.proxy.pipelining network.http.pipelining.maxrequests
Normally the browser will make one request to a web page at a time. When you enable pipelining it will make several at once, which really speeds up page loading.
2. Alter the entries as follows:
Set “network.http.pipelining” to “true”
Set “network.http.proxy.pipelining” to “true”
Set “network.http.pipelining.maxrequests” to some number like 30. This means it will make 30 requests at once.
3. Lastly right-click anywhere and select New-> Integer. Name it “nglayout.initialpaint.delay” and set its value to “0”. This value is the amount of time the browser waits before it acts on information it receives.
If you’re using a broadband connection you’ll load pages MUCH faster now!


How to recover MOST of scratched CD data discs

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin
I learn an old thecnique to how to recover damaged or scratched disks
with some lost of data. In this case i have one borrowed game - MAX PAYNE 2
with a chunck of 4 mb lost with a scratch in CD1 Install. Here we cover some
special thecniques of how to create a full working CD from the scratched one.
First some tools will be needed:
1. Alcohol 120%
2. UltraISO
3. Windows XP/2000 (not tested on 95/98/me)
3. Small piece of cotton
4. Dry cleaner paper
5. Finally, oil for cooking.
First step - preparing the CD
Get the cotton and drop some water, start cleaning vertically the surface of CD.
Do it 3 times and dry the water with a piece of dry cleaner paper. With a new piece
of cotton, drop some oil for cooking and start to wet the surface like you are
washing the CD with the oil. Dry carefully now. Some particles of oil will stay on the
microsurface of the scrath. It's okay. Seems the oil helps the laser of the CD/DVD driver
to read the surface again. Sure this will work with small unreadable scratchs - some hard
scratchs loose parts of the surface of the CD where we have data and it's lost forever.
But if it is loosed try anyway. Whith this tip 80% of the small scratched CD's coud be
recovered.
Second Step - testing the CD
With Alcohol 120% make an ISO - image making wizard - and lets see if the app can
read the loosed surface. In my case Alcohol 120% had recovered 60% of the data.
This is not enough. Have tryed other appz, they do not recover all the data. But the
CD/DVD driver laser CAN recover all data in this case. the data is still there, what we do?
third step - making the new CD
With the main copy system of windows explorer you can do it. Just create one folder
with the same name of the CD label for future burn reference, and copy the CD content
to the folder. When the CD copy process find the scratch, in majority of the cases, it's
slow down the reading and will recover ALL loosed data.If not, it just tell you there's
an unreadable sector. In this case your CD is lost. But it's not my case, finally
windows explorer got all the data from the scratch and made a copy in the folder.
with the ultraISO, wrote the original CD label, drop the content of the folder and
save as Iso. You can Test the new CD just mounting the iso in the Alcohol 120%. In my
case i did ISO of the two discs from MAX PAYNE 2 and tested installing from the mounted
ISO. Works like a charm. I got the 4 mb lost again. So, I have burned the CD and now i
have a working copy from the scratched one.
Sounds too bizzarre, but works. Course you can jump the cleaning process and try to copy
the content with Windows explorer. But in my case did not work without oil...