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Please add here any good suggestions or tricks about PC or OS matter.


Only legal stuff must be allowed in this section

These posts are informative only and not engage the authors.Use these infos at your own risks.



Displaying UR Company Logo Before DA Windows XP Login Screen

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

It's very simple it's a Three-step Process

01. Design an appropriate bitmap and save it in the “C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data” directory as
LogoName.BMP.
Use the 8.3 naming convention. Since the Application Data directory is a hidden directory, you may need to unhide it by
opening Windows Explorer and going to Tools > Folder Options, click on the View tab and check the 'Show hidden files and folders' option. Click on Apply and then on OK.

02. Open the registry editor by going to Start > Run, typing “regedit” and pressing [Enter]. Navigate to the key
“HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop”. In the right pane, double-click on the string called “Wallpaper”. Under ‘Value Data’ enter the full path to your bitmap image—for example, “C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\ Application Data \LogoName. BMP”. Now double-click on the string called “TileWallpaper”, and change the value according to your preference— the value ‘0’ will not tile the image, while the value ‘1’ will tile it. Next, double- click on the string called “Wallpaper Style” and change the value according to your choice; here the value ‘0’ is normal, while the value ‘2’ will stretch the image to fit the screen. If you don't want to tile or stretch your wallpaper, and would rather choose its position on the screen, you willneed to create two new data strings in this same registry directory. When at “HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\ Desktop”,
right-click on the right pane and select New > String Value. Name the string “WallpaperOriginX” and set the value to the
number of pixels from the left edge of the screen that you want the picture to be located. Now, create another String Value, call it “WallpaperOriginY” and set its value to the number of pixels from the top of the screen.

03. Close the Registry Editor, and reboot your machine to see your handiwork.



Mastering The Windows XP Registry

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

The Recovery Console
The Windows XP Recovery Console is a tool that allows recovery from a number of failures. Previously, all you could do was boot another copy of Windows XP and hack your way around, replacing files, even registry components, in the blind hope that you would somehow fix the problem.
With Windows XP, you have two tools to use: the Recovery Console and the Safe Mode feature.
The Recovery Console is a powerful, simple (no, that's not an oxymoron!) feature that is supplied with Windows XP, but it is not installed by default. The Windows XP Safe Mode works in the same manner as the Safe Mode found in other versions of Windows. You can modify a number of system settings using Safe Mode (such as video modes). Installing the Recovery Console after the system has failed is quite like locking the barn door
after the horse has been stolen—it really won't work that well.

Installing the Recovery Console
The Recovery Console must be installed before disaster strikes. It will be difficult (maybe even impossible) to install it after a disaster has reared its ugly head. So, let's install the Recovery Console right now.

First, you must use the Windows XP distribution CD (or share containing the appropriate files, if installing from a network device). The Recovery Console is installed using the winnt32.exe program. The winnt32.exe program is the same program that is used to install Windows XP; however, by selecting the correct option, you are able to tell winnt32.exe to not install Windows XP, but to install the Recovery Console instead.

Note It is not possible to install the Recovery Console at the same time as Windows XP. You must first install Windows XP, then install the Recovery Console. If you have multiple copies of Windows XP installed, it is only necessary to install the Recovery Console one time—the Recovery Console will work with as many copies of Windows XP as are
installed.

Follow these steps to install the Recovery Console from the Windows XP distribution CD:
1. Insert the distribution CD and change into the i386 directory.
2. Run winnt32.exe using the /cmdcons option. Typically, no other options are needed, though some users may wish to specify source options, especially if installing from a network share rather than a hard drive.
3. The installation program contacts Microsoft to check for updates to this Windows XP component.

Figure 2.3: Windows XP's Dynamic Update uses the Internet to retrieve the latest files directly from Microsoft.
4. The winnt32.exe program opens the dialog box shown in Figure 2.4. This dialog box allows you to cancel the installation if you need to. Note that multiple installations of the Recovery Console will simply overwrite previous installations; in such cases, no error is generated.

Figure 2.4: Setting up the Recovery Console using winnt32/cmdcons by passes all other setup options.
5. If there are no errors, the dialog box shown in Figure 2.5 is displayed. The Recovery Console is ready for use at this point.

Figure 2.5: The Recovery console has been successfully installed.

What's in the Recovery Console?

The Recovery Console consists of a minor modification to the boot.ini file, and the addition of a hidden directory on the boot drive. The added directory's name is cmdcons. The change to the boot.ini file is simply the addition of another line providing for a new boot option:
C:\cmdcons\bootsect.dat="Microsoft Windows Recovery console" /cmdcons
This option consists of a fully qualified file name (C:\cmdcons\bootsect.dat), a text description (Microsoft Windows Recovery Console), and a boot option (/cmdcons).
As everyone should be well aware, the Windows XP Boot Manager is able to boot virtually any operating system (assuming that the operating system is compatible with the currently installed file system).

How Windows XP Supports Booting other Operating Systems
Windows XP can be told to "boot" any directory or file location. For example, the Recovery Console is saved in the cmdcons directory. In the cmdcons directory is a 512-byte file named bootsect.dat. Windows XP will treat a file named bootsect.dat exactly as if it were a hard disk's boot sector. In fact, one could, theoretically, copy the bootsect.dat file to a drive's boot sector location and cause that operating system to be booted directly.

One use for this technology is in a multiple-boot configuration where the other operating system or systems are not compatible with Windows NT (such as Windows 95/98/Me).
The Recovery Console does qualify as an operating system, though it is very simple—and limited.
A major question will always be this: is the Recovery Console secure? In most situations, the
Recovery Console is actually quite secure. The user, at startup of the Recovery Console, is prompted for two pieces of information:
• Which Windows XP installation is to be repaired (assuming that there is more than one Windows XP installation!).
• The Administrator's password for that installation. The Recovery Console then uses the installation's SAM to validate this password to ensure the user has the necessary permission to use the system.
A situation comes to mind: if the Administrator's password is lost or otherwise compromised, not only may it be impossible to use the Recovery Console, but anyone with access to the compromised password could modify the system with the Recovery Console. This is not really an issue, though. If the Administrator's password is lost, that's life. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to recover the password. If the security of the Administrator's password is compromised, then it will be necessary to repair the damage—changing the password is mandatory in this case. In either case, the Recovery Console is no less secure than Windows XP is.
The cmdcons directory holds over 100 files.



Missing admin account in winxp

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

Once you have created regular user accounts, the default Administrator account vanishes from the Welcome screen, which you see when the computer starts up. Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete twice at the Welcome screen to retrieve the standard logon dialog. You can log on as Administrator from here. To switch among accounts, just click the Log Off button on the Start menu. You'll then see the Log Off Windows dialog box. Click the Switch User button, and you'll be taken to the Welcome screen where you can select and log on to other accounts.



Ntfs cluster size, better hdd performance!!!!

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

Cluster is an allocation unit. If you create file lets say 1 byte in size, at least one cluster should be allocated on FAT file system. On NTFS if file is small enough, it can be stored in MFT record itself without using additional clusters. When file grows beyond the cluster boundary, another cluster is allocated. It means that the bigger the cluster size, the more disk space is wasted, however, the performance is better.

So if you have a large hard drive & dont mind wasteing some space, format it with a larger cluster size to gain added performance.

The following table shows the default values that Windows NT/2000/XP uses for NTFS formatting:

Drive size
(logical volume) Cluster size Sectors



512 MB or less 512 bytes 1
513 MB - 1,024 MB (1 GB) 1,024 bytes (1 KB) 2
1,025 MB - 2,048 MB (2 GB) 2,048 bytes (2 KB) 4
2,049 MB and larger 4,096 bytes (4 KB) 8
However, when you format the partition manually, you can specify cluster size 512 bytes, 1 KB, 2 KB, 4 KB, 8 KB, 16 KB, 32 KB, 64 KB in the format dialog box or as a parameter to the command line FORMAT utility.

The performance comes thew the bursts from the hard drive. by having a larger cluster size you affectivly have a larger chunk of data sent to ram rather than having to read multiple smaller chunks of the same data.



How to safely edit the registry!

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

Windows XP has a vast number of configuration dialogs, but some adjustments can be performed only by directly editing the Registry. Frequently, tips involving Registry tweaks include stern warnings to back up the Registry before making any change. The Windows XP Backup applet can back up the Registry along with other elements of the System State, but the resulting data file can occupy hundreds of megabytes. You're better off saving a system restore point each time you're about to edit the Registry. Better still, you can use Regedit to back up only the Registry keys that will be changed.

Click on Start | Run and enter Regedit to launch the Registry editor. To back up an individual key you plan to edit, navigate to the key and right-click on it. Choose Export from the menu, and save the key to a REG file. Open the REG file in Notepad and insert a few comment lines that describe the source and purpose of the tweak. (To create a comment line, simply put a semicolon at the start of the line.)

Now go ahead and make all the changes to Registry keys and values specified by the tip you're applying. Any time you add a new key or value, make a note of it with another comment line in the REG file. When you're done, save the REG file and close Notepad.

If later you want to undo this Registry tweak, just double-click on the REG file and confirm that you want to add it to the Registry. This will restore any deleted keys or values and will restore the original data for any values whose data was changed. Note that this will not remove new keys or values that were added; that's why you need to make comments about such changes.

Right-click on the REG file and choose Edit, which will open it in Notepad. Check for comments about keys or values that were added, and if you find any, use Regedit to delete them. You can delete the REG file itself once you've completed this process.



How to edit the right clik menu

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

A lot of programs you install will add themselves to the right-click menu of your files and/or folders. And most times, you have no choice in the matter and, as a result, your right-click menu can get very long with added items you don't even use. The last person I was helping with this had a right context menu so long that the Rename option was no longer visible!
Fortunately, you can easily remove those unwanted menu items, if you know the registry values to edit. And it's not at all difficult once you know the keys responsible for the additions.

For Files, the secret lies in the "context menu handlers" under the shellex subkey for "All Files" which, in the registry, is nothing but an asterisk - like a dos wildcard, which means the values entered apply to all files. It is at the very top of the Root key, right here:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers

Click the the + sign next to the ContextMenuHandlers key, to expand it.
Now you will see some of the programs that have added items to your right-click menu. Simply delete the program keys you don't want.
Yup! It's that simple. If deleting makes you uneasy, just export the key before deleting it. Or, instead of deleting the values, disable them. Simply double click the default value for the program on the right hand pane and rename the clsid value by placing a period or dash in front of it.
ie; - {b5eedee0-c06e-11cf-8c56-444553540000}
Then exit the registry, refresh, and right click a file to see if the item was removed from the menu.
Some programs - like WinZip or WinRar - will add several items to your right click menu but all of them will be removed by deleting or disabling their one context menu handler.

Note that the above key only applies to the right click menu of files.
To remove entries from the right click context menu of folders, you need to navigate to the Folder and Drive keys:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Drive\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers

All you have to do is follow the same procedure as for Files - either disable or delete items you wish to remove.
Adding Items
Adding Items to the right click menu of Files and Folders is also fairly simple using the Registry. It just involves the creation of a few new keys for each item you wish to add. You edit the same keys used for removing items. Let's use Notepad as an example of an item you'd like to add to the right click menu of all your files or folders.

For folders, go to this key:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder
Click the + sign next to Folder and expand it so that the Shell key is visible. Right click the Shell key and choose New>Key and name the key Notepad or whatever else you'd prefer (whatever the key is named is what will appear in the right-click menu). Now right click the new key you made and create another key named Command. Then, in the right hand pane, double click "Default" and enter Notepad.exe as the value.
Exit the registry, refresh, and right click any folder. Notepad should now be on the context menu.

For files, go here again:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*
Expand the * key and see if a Shell key exists. If it does exist, follow the same procedure as for folders. If it does not exist, you'll have to create a new Shell first. Just right click the * key and choose New>Key and name it Shell. Then right click the Shell key and continue on the same way you did for adding items to the right click menu of folders.
Once done, Notepad should appear as an option in the right click menu of all your files.
Vic Ferri owns the very popular WinTips and Tricks <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WinTips-Tricks> email group. He is also in charge of the Printing Tips <http://personal-computer-tutor.com/printing.htm> and Registry Tips <http://personal-computer-tutor.com/abc1/v4/vic4.htm> pages at Linda's Computer Stop.



23 ways 2 speed up winxp for a technician

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

Since defragging the disk won't do much to improve Windows XP performance, here are 23 suggestions that will. Each can enhance the performance and reliability of your customers' PCs. Best of all, most of them will cost you nothing.
1.) To decrease a system's boot time and increase system performance, use the money you save by not buying defragmentation software -- the built-in Windows defragmenter works just fine -- and instead equip the computer with an Ultra-133 or $erial ATA hard drive with 8-MB cache buffer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Following any of these suggestions should result in noticeable improvements to the performance and reliability of your customers' computers. If you still want to defrag a disk, remember that the main benefit will be to make your data more retrievable in the event of a crashed drive.



Making a bootable floppy 2 boot in windows

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

Tutorial Objective

In this tutorial, it will guide the user on how he/she is able to make a bootable floppy disc that can boot into Windows.

Tutorial Introduction & Background & Facts

Many people are able to boot into an Operating System without any problems. But in one day, what if the boot files that include NTLDR, Boot.ini, and Ntdetect.com[/] file are corrupted due to virus infected, you are not able to boot into the OS. You will end up with reinstalling and repairing the OS in order to be able to boot into the OS again. Doing so will take you a lot of time. Therefore, in this tutorial, it will teach the user how to make the bootable floppy disc that can boot into Windows. So, when the user encounter the OS booting in the future due to boot files corruption, they are still able to boot into the OS and repair the OS bootup in less than a minute.

Pre-requites Tools

  • A blank floppy disc
  • A PC with running Windows 2000 series, Windows XP series, or 2003 series

Terminology & Explanation

(None)

Implementation

This tutorial and its procedure will guide the user on how he/she make the bootable floppy disc that can boot into Windows so that he/she is able to boot into Windows eventhough the Windows bootup is corrupted. All you have to do,

1-1) Go to [i]My Computer

1-2) Make sure that you unhide hidden system file in order for you to see the OS boot file

If you know how to unhide the hidden system, you can skip the following procedures to procedure # 2-1. Otherwise continue on with the following procedure.

1-3) Go to Tools menu, and choose Folder Options...

1-4) Go to the View tab

1-5) Under the Hidden files and folders, choose the option that says, "Show hidden files and folders"

1-6) Uncheck the checkbox that says, "Hide extensions for known file types"

1-7) Uncheck the checkbox that says, "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)"

When the message box appears on the screen, just click the OK button to continue.

1-8 ) Click the OK button to continue

Now you should be able to see all the hidden files and the hidden system files.

2-1) Insert the blank floppy disc into the floppy drive

In order to be able to make the bootable floppy disc, you will have to first format it.

2-2) Go to Command Prompt (In Windows mode, that means Start -> Run -> cmd)

2-3) Change to A Drive (Floppy Drive) by typing the following in the Command Prompt and hit [Enter] key:

CODE
a:

2-4) After you change to A Drive in Command Prompt, format the floppy disc by typing the following in the Command Prompt and then press [Enter] key and follow the prompt:

CODE
format a:

Now the formatting floppy disc begins. When the formatting process completed,

2-5) Go back to My Computer

2-6) Go to the primary partition of the primary HDD (that means C Drive)

2-7) Copy all the following files from C Drive into A Drive (Floppy drive)

NTLDR
Boot.ini
Ntdetect.com

NTLDR, Boot.ini, and Ntdetect.com file are the boot files that are required to boot into the OS.

Once you copied those boot files into the A Drive (Floppy Drive), you just created the bootable floppy disc that can boot into Windows. Now you will have to verify it to see if booting from floppy disc works. Before you do that, it is recommended that you take the floppy disc out and set it to write-protected; therefore, your floppy disc is set to read-only. Doing that can prevent that any virus goes onto the floppy disc. After you do that, put that floppy back in.

3-1) Reboot the PC and enter the mobo BIOS setting

3-2) Verify the Boot Sequence to make sure that the Floppy Drive is set to first boot.

3-3) Save and exit the BIOS setting to reboot the system.

Once the system reboots, after the POST process, the system will boot from the floppy drive. If the system is able to boot from the floppy disc and enter to Windows, that means your bootable floppy disc for booting into Windows is working. Be sure that you label the floppy disc and put it in the safe place just for in case of that you need that to troubleshoot the Windows bootup in the future.

Benefical

  • So that the user can enjoy the new method for troubleshooting the Windows bootup
  • The user is able to boot into the OS by using that bootable floppy disc in case of that the Windows cannot bootup anymore due to the NTLDR is missing or corrupted error message.
  • Users can spend their less time to troubleshoot and repair the Windows bootup. To repair the Windows bootup, boot from that bootable floppy drive, and then go to the C Drive (Active Partition from primary partition of primary HDD from My Computer applet. Then copy all bootup files from Floppy Disc into C Drive.



How to get top ranking 4 ur sites on search engines!!!

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

The tutorial is all about getting your site listed on top in Search Engines i.e Search Engine Optimization.

First thing you need to do is find the keywords you want to optimize for.

There is great tool by Overture (/http://inventory.overture.com/d/sea...ory/suggestion/)

But I would suggest using this free tool called GoodKeywords (/http://www.goodkeywords.com/products/gkw/)

This one does the same job as Overture does but it also supports other Search Engines (Lycos and Teoma etc..)

For example if you want to optimize for the keyword "tech news", just search for the keyword in any of the tools specified above... It would show you keywords related to that and not of the searches..

Pick the keywords which are related to your site.

For example when you search for "Tech News" you'll see the following results:

Count Search Term
11770 tech news
351 itt news tech
191 high tech news
60 news tech texas
49 computer tech news
42 bio news tech
34 in itt news tech
30 news tech virginia
29 asia news tech
25 hi tech news
25 sci tech news

Now see what other terms are related to your keyword technology news

Do couple of searches like that and note down around 15-20 keywords.
Then, keep the keywords which are searched most on the top.

Now you need Title Tag for the page.

Title tag should include top 3 keywords, like for "tech news" it can be like :

"Latest Tech News, Information Technology News and Other computer raleted news here."

Remember that characters should not be more than 95 and should not have more than 3 "," commas - some search engines might cosider more than 3 commas as spam

Now move on to Meta Tags

You need following Meta Tags in web page

<META http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">
<META name="keywords" content="keyword1,keyword2,keyword3">
<META name="description" content="brief description about the site">
<META name="robots" Content="Index,Follow">

No need to have other meta tags like abstract, re-visit and all, most people dont read it.

Now...

<META http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">

This tag is tells content type is html and character set used it iso-8859-1 there are other character sets also but this is the one mosty used..

<META name="keywords" content="keyword1,keyword2,keyword3">

This one should have all your keywords inside starting from keyword with most counts...

keyword tag for our example would be something like :

<META name="keywords" content="tech news,technology news, computer technology news,information technology,software news">

Remember to put around 15-20 keywords max not more than that. Dont repeat keywords or dont put keywords like, "tech news", "info tech news", "latest tech news" and so on...

<META name="description" content="brief description about the site">

Provide short decription about your site and include all the keywords mentioned in the title tag.

Decription tag should be:

<META name="description" content="One Stop for Latest Tech News, Information Technology News, Computer Related and Software news.">

It can be upto 255 characters and avoid using more than 3 "," commas

<META name="robots" Content="Index,Follow">

This is used for search robots..following explanation will help you :

index,follow = index the page as well as follow the links
noindex,follow = dont index the page but follow the links
index,nofollow = index the page but dont follow the links
noindex,nofollow = dont index page, dont follow the links
all = same as index,follow
none = same as noindex,nofollow

Now move on to body part of the page

Include all top 3 keywords here,
I would suggest to break the keyword and use it...

For example

YourSiteName.com one stop for all kind of Latest Tech News and Computer Related information and reviews.................

Include main keywords in <h#> tags <h1><h2> etc..
and start with <h1> and then move to <h2> <h3> etc..

<h1> tag will be too big but CSS can help you there, define small font size in css for H1,H2,... tags

When done with page copy, then you need to provide title and alt tags for images and links.

Use some keywords in the tags but dont add all the keywords and if not neccessary then dont use keywords in it, basically it should explain what is image all about.

Remember to add Top keyword atleast 4 times in the body and other 2 keywords thrice and twice respectively.

Now move on to Footer Part
Try to include top keywords here and see the effect, use site keywords as links i.e.

<a href="news.php">Tech News</a> <a href="software-news.php">Software News</a> etc..

Now finally, you need to read some more stuff..may be you can all it as bottom lines...

Site Map - This is page where you need to put all the links present in your site, this is will help Search Engines to find the links easily and also provide link for site map in footer, as search engines start scanning the page from bottom.

Robots.txt - This file contains address of directories which should not be scanned by search engines.. more info can be found here : /http://www.robotstxt.org/wc/exclusion.html search engines line google, yahoo ask for robots.txt file.

Valid HTML - Your code should have valid html and doc type, Its kind of diffucult to follow all the standards but you can atleast open and close all the tags properly, you can check your page's html online here : /http://validator.w3.org/ or you can use this free software called HTML Tidy : /http://tidy.sourceforge.net/

All done now, you just need to check your site with this script, its called SEO Doctor : /http://www.instantposition.com/seo_doctor.cfm

It'll show you the report of your site with solution.

Now, correct the errors and start submitting the site :

Start with google : /http://google.com/addurl.html
then yahoo : /http://submit.search.yahoo.com/free/request
then move to altavista,alltheweb and other search engies..

Also submit your site to direcories like /http://dmoz.org , /http://jayde.com etc...
Dmoz is must, as google, yahoo and may more search engines uses same directory

And remember, dont try to SPAM with keywords in these directories, dmoz is handled by Human Editors

Submitted the sites, but still i cant see you site on top?

Wait for sometime may be a month or so but keep an eye on your search term, use /http://GoogleAlert.com - this will show whenever google updates for your keywords, it will mail you the new results.

And also check whether your site is listed on google..
use this tool called Google Monitor, it can be downloaded for free from : /http://www.cleverstat.com/google-monitor.htm



How To optimize DSL-CABLE connection speed

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

First, u need to goto Start, then run. Type in regedit in the box. Next, goto the folder HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\VxD\MSTCP
Now, find the string DefaultRcvWindow . Now, edit the number to 64240 then restart your computer. There you go. High speed cable modem now with out dloading a program. Original value is 373360



10 reasons why pcs crash

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

10 reasons why PCs crash U must Know

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

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

1 Hardware conflict

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 Bad Ram

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

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

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

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

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

3 BIOS settings

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

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

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

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

4 Hard disk drives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-ScanDisk

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

5 Fatal OE exceptions and VXD errors

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

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

  • Start-Settings-Control Panel-Display-Settings

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another useful way to resolve video problems is to go to

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

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

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

6 Viruses

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

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

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

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

An excellent antivirus programme is McAfee VirusScan by Network Associates ( www.nai.com). Another is Norton AntiVirus 2000, made by Symantec ( www.symantec.com).

7 Printers

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

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

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

8 Software

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

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

Read the instructions and use it carefully so you don't do permanent damage to the Registry. If the Registry is damaged you will have to reinstall your operating system. Reg Cleaner can be obtained from www.jv16.org

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

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

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

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

9 Overheating

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

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

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

10 Power supply problems

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

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

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



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Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

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*Update*

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Micro$ofts really hidden files revealed


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

Microsoft's Really Hidden Files: A New Look At Forensics. (v2.5b)
By The Riddler
October 14, 2001 (v2.0 finished May 16, 2001; v1.0 finished June 11, 2000)

Written with Windows 9x in mind, but not limited to.

DISCLAIMER:

I will not be liable for any damage or lost information, whether due to
reader's error, or any other reason.

SUMMARY:

There are folders on your computer that Microsoft has tried hard to keep
secret. Within these folders you will find two major things: Microsoft
Internet Explorer has been logging all of the sites you have ever visited --
even after you've cleared your history, and Microsoft's Outlook Express has
been logging all of your e-mail correspondence -- even after you've erased
them from your Deleted Items bin. (This also includes all incoming and
outgoing file attachments.) And believe me, that's not even the half of it.

When I say these files are hidden well, I really mean it. If you don't have
any knowledge of DOS then don't plan on finding these files on your own. I
say this because these files/folders won't be displayed in Windows Explorer at
all -- only DOS. (Even after you have enabled Windows Explorer to "view all
files.") And to top it off, the only way to find them in DOS is if you knew
the exact location of them. Basically, what I'm saying is if you didn't know
the files existed then the chances of you running across them is slim to
slimmer.

It's interesting to note that Microsoft does not explain this behavior
adequately at all. Just try searching on microsoft.com.

FORWARD:

I know there are some people out there that are already aware of some of the
things I mention. I also know that most people are not. The purpose of this
tutorial is teach people what is really going on with Microsoft's products and
how to take control of their privacy again. This tutorial was written by me,
so if you see a mistake somewhere then it is my mistake, and I apologize.

Thanks for reading.

INDEX:

1) DEFINITIONS AND ACRONYMS
2) WHY YOU SHOULD ERASE THESE FILES
3) HOW TO ERASE THE FILES ASAP
3.1) If You Own Microsoft Internet Explorer
3.2) Clearing Your Registry
3.3) If You Own Outlook Express
3.4) Slack files
3.5) Keeping Microsoft's Products
4) STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE THROUGH YOUR HIDDEN FILES (For the savvy.)
5) A LOOK AT OUTLOOK
6) HOW MICROSOFT DOES IT
7) +S MEANS [S]ECRET NOT [S]YSTEM.
8) THE TRUTH ABOUT FIND FAST
8.1) Removing Find Fast
9) CONTACT INFORMATION AND PGP BLOCKS
9.1) Recommended reading
10) SPECIAL THANKS
11) REFERENCES

Coming Soon:

ù pstores.exe
ù Related Windows Tricks.
ù The NSA-Key.
ù Researching the [Microsoft Update] button.
ù Why the temp folders aren't intended to be temporary at all.
ù What's with Outlook Express's .dbx database files?
ù Win2k support.

1. DEFINITIONS AND ACRONYMS

Well, the best definition I have been able to come up with is the following:

I) A "really hidden" file/folder is one that cannot be seen in Windows
Explorer after enabling it to "view all files," and cannot be seen in MS-DOS
after receiving a proper directory listing from root.

a) There is at least one loophole to enabling Windows Explorer to see them.
B) There is at least one loophole to enabling MS-DOS to see them.

(Interesting to note that the "Find: Files or Folders" utility cannot even
search through one of these folders. It doesn't even exist on the [Browse]
menu.)

II) Distinguishes "really hidden" file/folders from just plain +h[idden] ones,
such as your "MSDOS.SYS" or "Sysbckup" folder.

III) Distinguishes from certain "other" intended hidden files, such as a file
with a name with high ascii characters (eg, "?ëï¨?").

DOS = Disk Operating System
MSIE = Microsoft Internet Explorer
TIF = Temporary Internet Files (folder)
HD = Hard Drive
OS = Operating System

2. WHY SHOULD I ERASE THESE FILES?

Just from one of these files I would be able to tell you which web sites you
previously visited, what types of things you search for in search engines, and
probably gather your ethnicity, religion, and sexual preference. Needless to
say, one can build quite a profile on you from these files. It has the
potential to expose and humiliate -- putting your marriage, friendship, and
corporation at risk. Here's one good example of the forensic capabilities...



"I've been reading your article as I have a problem with an employee of mine.
He has been using the works pc for the internet and using it to chat and look
at porn sites. He was then deleting the cookies and history in order to cover
his tracks. A friend of mine pointed me in the direction of this site and
your article. I have found it to be incredibly useful,..."

--Concerned Boss, 8/24/01



3. HOW TO ERASE THE FILES ASAP

Step by step information on how to erase these files as soon as possible.
This section is recommended for the non-savvy. Further explanation can be
found in Section 4.0. Please note that following these next steps will erase
all your cache files and cookies files. If you use the offline content
feature with MSIE, it will remove this as well. It will not erase your
bookmarks.

3.1. IF YOU OWN A COPY OF MICROSOFT INTERNET EXPLORER

1) Shut your computer down, and turn it back on.
2) While your computer is booting keep pressing the [F8] key until you are
given an option screen.
3) Choose "Command Prompt Only" This will take you to real DOS mode. ME
users must use a bootdisk to get into real DOS mode.
4) When your computer is done booting, you will have a C:\> followed by a
blinking cursor. Type in this hitting enter after each line (sans
parenthesis):

C:\WINDOWS\SMARTDRV (Loads smartdrive to speed things up.)
CDDELTREE/Y TEMP (this line removes temporary files.)
CD WINDOWS
DELTREE/Y COOKIES (This line removes cookies.)
DELTREE/Y TEMP (This removes temporary files.)
DELTREE/Y HISTORY (This line removes your browsing history.)
DELTREE/Y TEMPOR~1

(If this last line doesn't work then type this:)

CD\WINDOWS\APPLIC~1
DELTREE/Y TEMPOR~1

(If this doesn't work then type this:)

CD\WINDOWS\LOCALS~1
DELTREE/Y TEMPOR~1

(If this still does not work, and you are sure you are using MSIE5.x, then
please e-mail me. Finding the location of these may be difficult and I'd
certainly like to know where else MSIE likes to hide its cache. I believe
older versions of MSIE keep them under "\windows\content\".)

This last one will take a ridiculous amount of time to process. The reason it
takes so incredibly long is because there is a ton of semi-useless cache
stored on your HD.

3.2. CLEARING YOUR REGISTRY

It was once believed that the registry is the central database of Windows that
stores and maintains the OS configuration information. Well, this is wrong.
Apparently it also maintains a bunch of other doo-dah that has absolutely
nothing to do with the configuration. I won't get into the other stuff, but
for one, your Typed URLs are stored in the registry.

HKEY_USERS/Default/Software/Microsoft/Internet Explorer/TypedURLs/
HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Internet Explorer/TypedURLs/

These "Typed URLs" come from MSIE's autocomplete feature. It records all URLs
that you've typed in manually in order to save you some time filling out the
address field. By typing "ama" the autocomplete feature might bring up
"amazon.com" for you. Although, I find it annoying, some people prefer this
feature. One thing is for sure, however -- it's an obvious privacy risk. You
wouldn't want a guest to type "ama" and have it autocomplete
"amaturemudwrestlers.com" now would you?

You can clear your Typed URLs out of your registry by doing going to Tools >
Internet Options > Content > [AutoComplete] > and finally [Clear Forms] under
MSIE. If you do not like the AutoComplete feature then uncheck the
appropriate boxes here.

3.3. IF YOU HAVE OUTLOOK OR OUTLOOK EXPRESS INSTALLED

Microsoft's e-mail clients DO NOT delete your messages until a) you really
know how, and B) you go through the redundant process. And besides this,
there's the glaring e-mail virus problems (in which virtually all other e-mail
client's are immune to.) This, alone, should be enough to want to strangle
Slick Willy -- as I like to call him.

My suggestion?

1) Install another e-mail program like Eudora or Pegasus Mail. Make sure
everything is setup correctly. (www.eudora.com / www.pmail.com)
2) Backup any e-mail and address books that you wish to save by making use of
the export/import features.
3) Uninstall Outlook.

Warning: Simply uninstalling Outlook does not erase any of your e-mail
correspondence. The database files are still there on your hard drive. To
find them open up a DOS window and type this:

dir *.mbx /s/p
The files you are looking for are:

INBOX.MBX
OUTBOX.MBX
SENTIT~1.MBX
DELETE~1.MBX
DRAFTS.MBX

If these files come up they should be listed in either of these folders:

C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook Express\MailC:\Program Files\internet mail and news\%USER%\mail
Now type either of the following (depending on the location of your .mbx
files...)

*Remember, this will erase all your e-mail correspondence so backup what you
want to keep. By now you should have already imported your mail into Eudora,
or Pegasus Mail.

CD\WINDOWS\APPLIC~1\MICROS~1\OUTLOO~1
DELTREE/Y MAIL

or

CD\PROGRA~1\INTERN~1\%USER%

(replace "%user%" with the proper name.)

DELTREE/Y MAIL

If you have newer versions of Outlook or Outlook Express the databases are
*.dbx, or *.pst files. Five times as creepy as the *.mbx files. I recommend
that you take a look at them yourself.)

3.4. SLACK FILES

As you may already know, deleting files only deletes the references to them.
They are in fact still sitting there on your HD and can still be recovered by
a very motivated person.

ù BCWipe is a nice program that will clear these files. (www.bcwipe.com).
ù For you DOS buffs, there's a freeware file wiper on simtel.net that I use.
(www.simtel.net/pub/dl/45631.shtml).
ù If you are using PGP then there is a "Freespace Wipe" option under PGPtools.
ù The latest version of Norton Utilities has a nice filewiping utility.
ù You might want to check out Evidence Eliminator's 30 day trial. This is
probably the best program as far as your privacy goes.
(www.evidence-eliminator.com)

3.5. KEEPING MICROSOFT'S PRODUCTS

If you insist on using Microsoft Internet Explorer then I strongly recommend
that you check out at least one of these programs:

ù PurgeIE (www.aandrc.com/purgeie)
ù Cache and Cookie Cleaner for IE (www.webroot.com/washie.htm)
ù Anonymizer Window Washer (www.anonymizer.com/anonwash)

Other programs that claim to clear your history don't seem to work, although
I haven't run any tests in a while.

And if you insist on using Outlook or Outlook Express then you should get in
the habit of compacting your mailboxes.

You can do this by going to File > Folder > Compact All if you have Outlook
Express.

or

Tools > Options > Other tab > [Auto Archive] if you have Outlook. Make sure
to set things up here.

4. STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE THROUGH YOUR HIDDEN FILES

This next section is for those of you who are more interested in learning the
ins and outs of your computer. This section is intended for the savvy user.

The most important files to be paying attention to are your "index.dat" files.
These are database files that reference your history, cache and cookies. The
first thing you should know is that the index.dat files is that they don't
exist in less you know they do. They second thing you should know about them
is that some will *not* get cleared after deleting your history and cache.

The result:

A log of your browsing history hidden away on your computer after you thought
you cleared it.

To view these files, follow these steps:

In MSIE 5.x, you can skip this first step by opening MSIE and going to Tools >
Internet Options > [Settings] > [View Files]. Now write down the names of
your alphanumeric folders on a peice of paper. If you can't see any
alphanumeric folder names then start with step 1 here:

1) First, drop to a DOS box and type this at prompt (in all lower-case) to
bring up Windows Explorer under the correct directory...

c:\windows\explorer /e,c:\windows\tempor~1\content.ie5
You see all those alphanumeric names listed under "content.ie5?" (left-hand
side.) That's Microsoft's idea of making this project as hard as possible.
Actually, these are your alphanumeric folders that was created to keep your
cache. Write these names down on a peice of paper. (They should look
something like this: 6YQ2GSWF, QRM7KL3F, U7YHQKI4, 7YMZ516U, etc...) If you
click on any of the alphanumeric folders then nothing will be displayed. Not
because there aren't any files here, but because Windows Explorer has lied to
you. If you want to view the contents of these alphanumeric folders you will
have to do so in DOS. (Actually, this is not always true. *Sometimes*
Windows Explorer will display the contents of the alphanumeric folders -- but
mostly it won't. I can't explain this.)

2) Then you must restart in MS-DOS mode. (Start > Shutdown > Restart in
MS-DOS mode. ME users use a bootdisk.)

Note that you must restart to DOS because windows has locked down some of the
files and they can only be accessed in real DOS mode.

3) Type this in at prompt:

CD\WINDOWS\TEMPOR~1\CONTENT.IE5
CD %alphanumeric%
(replace the "%alphanumeric%" with the first name that you just wrote down.)

DIR/P

The cache files you are now looking at are directly responsible for the
mysterious erosion of HD space you may have been noticing. One thing
particularly interesting is the ability to view some your old e-mail if you
happen to have a hotmail account. (Oddly, I've only been able to retreive
hotmail e-mail, and not e-mail from my other web-based e-mail accounts. Send
me your experiences with this.) To see them for yourself you must first copy
them into another directory and then open them with your browser. Don't ask
me why this works.

A note about these files: These are your cache files that help speed up
your internet browsing. It is quite normal to use this cache system, as every
major browser does. On the other hand. It isn't normal for some cache files
to be left behined after you have instructed your browser to erase it.

5) Type this in:

CD\WINDOWS\TEMPOR~1\CONTENT.IE5
EDIT /75 INDEX.DAT

You will be brought to a blue screen with a bunch of binary.

6) Press and hold the [Page Down] button until you start seeing lists of URLs.
These are all the sites that you've ever visited as well as a brief
description of each. You'll notice it records everything you've searched for
in a search engine in plain text, in addition to the URL.

7) When you get done searching around you can go to File > Exit.

8) Next you'll probably want to erase these files by typing this:

C:\WINDOWS\SMARTDRV
CD\WINDOWS
DELTREE/Y TEMPOR~1

(replace "cd\windows" with the location of your TIF folder if different.)

This will take a seriously long time to process. Even with smartdrive loaded.

9) Then check out the contents of your History folder by typing this:

CD\WINDOWS\HISTORY\HISTORY.IE5
EDIT /75 INDEX.DAT

You will be brought to a blue screen with more binary.

10) Press and hold the [Page Down] button until you start seeing lists of URLS
again.

This is another database of the sites you've visited.

11) And if you're still with me type this:

CD\WINDOWS\HISTORY

12) If you see any mmXXXX.dat files here, then check them out (and delete
them.) Then...

CD\WINDOWS\HISTORY\HISTORY.IE5
CD MSHIST~1
EDIT /75 INDEX.DAT

More URLs from your internet history. Note, there are probably other mshist~x
folders here.

3) You can repeat these steps for every occurrence of a mshist~x folder.

4) By now you'll probably want to type in this:

CD\WINDOWS
DELTREE/Y HISTORY

This is about it as far as I know. You may also want to take a look at your
*.mbx files if you own Outlook. (dir *.mbx/s) All your e-mail correspondence
and file attachments are located within these database files. More detailed
information is covered in the next section.

5. A LOOK AT OUTLOOK EXPRESS

Would you think twice about what you said if you knew it was being recorded?
E-mail correspondence leaves a permanent record of everything you've said --
even after you've told Outlook Express to erase it. You are given a false
sense of security sense you've erased it twice, so surely it must be gone.
The first time Outlook simply moves it to your "Deleted Items" folder. The
second time you erase it Outlook simply "pretends" it is gone. The truth is
your messages are still being retained in the database files on your hard
drive. (Same with your e-mail attachments.)

For earlier versions of Outlook Express, they will be located in either of
the following folder:

c:\program files\internet mail and news\%user%\mail\*.mbx

(replace %user% with the name you use.)

or if your lucky, it will be located here:

c:\windows\application data\microsoft\outlook\mail\*.mbx

At this point you have two choices.

a) Get in the habit of compacting your folders all the time.
B) Import the data into another e-mail client such as Pegasus Mail or Eudora
and then delete the mbx files (and thus all your e-mail correspondence) by
typing this:

cd\windows\intern~1\%user%\mail
deltree/y mail

or

cd\windows\applic~1\micros~1\outloo~1deltree/y mail

*Typing in the above commands will kill all your e-mail correspondence. Do
not follow those steps in less you have already exported your e-mail and
address book!

6. HOW MICROSOFT DOES IT

TIP: Study this section if you would like to learn how to obscure your files
using Windows' own built-in mechanisms.

How does Microsoft make these folders/files invisible to DOS?

The only thing Microsoft had to do to make the folders/files invisible to a
directory listing is to set them +s[ystem]. That's it. As soon as the dir/s
command hits a system folder, it renders the command useless (unlike normal
folders.) A more detailed explanation is given in Section 7.

So how does Microsoft make these folders/files invisible to Windows Explorer?

The "desktop.ini" is a standard text file that can be added to any folder to
customize certain aspects of the folder's behavior. In these cases, Microsoft
utilized the desktop.ini file to make these files invisible. Invisible to
Windows Explorer and even to the "Find: Files or Folders" utility (so you
wouldn't be able to perform searches in these folders!) All that Microsoft
had to do was create a desktop.ini file with certain CLSID tags and the
folders would disappear like magic.

To show you exactly what's going on:

Found in the c:\windows\temporary internet files\desktop.ini and the
c:\windows\temporary internet files\content.ie5\desktop.ini contains this
text:

[.ShellClassInfo]
UICLSID={7BD29E00-76C1-11CF-9DD0-00A0C9034933}

Found in the c:\windows\history\desktop.ini and the
c:\windows\history\history.ie5\desktop.ini contains this text:

[.ShellClassInfo]
UICLSID={7BD29E00-76C1-11CF-9DD0-00A0C9034933}
CLSID={FF393560-C2A7-11CF-BFF4-444553540000}

The UICLSID line cloaks the folder in Windows Explorer. The CLSID line
disables the "Find" utility from searching through the folder. (Additionally,
it gives a folder the appearance of the "History" folder.)

To see for yourself, you can simply erase the desktop.ini files. You'll see
that it will instantly give Windows Explorer proper viewing functionality
again, and the "Find" utility proper searching capabilities again. Problem
solved right? Actually, no. As it turns out, the desktop.ini files get
reconstructed every single time you restart your computer. Nice one, Slick.

Luckily there is a workaround which will keep Windows from hiding these
folders. You can manually edit the desktop.ini's and remove everything except
for the "[.ShellClassInfo]" line. This will trick windows into thinking they
have still covered their tracks, and wininet won't think to reconstruct them.

I can't stress how rediculous it is that Windows actually makes sure the files
are hidden and in place on every single boot. No other files or folders get
this kind of special treatment. What's the agenda, here?

7. +S MEANS [S]ECRET NOT [S]YSTEM

Executing the "dir/a/s" command from root *should* be the correct command to
display all files in all subdirectories in DOS. However, doing so will not
display the index.dat files. This is because when DOS tries to get a list of
the subdirectories of any +s[ystem] folder it hits a brick wall. No files or
folders will be listed within any system folder. Not only does this defeat
the whole purpose of the "/s" switch in the first place, but I'd say it looks
like Microsoft took extra precautions to keep people from finding the files.
Remember. The only thing you need to do to obscure a file in DOS is to mark
the parent directory +s[ystem].

I was told by a few people that this was due to a very old DOS bug that dates
back many years. Fine. I can accept that. A bug it is.

But, would you consider your Temporary Internet Files to be "system files?"
It would seem that your TIF folder appears to be marked +s[ystem] for no good
reason at all. Just because. Same with your history folder. Just because.
You may not agree, but I tend to think that Microsoft marked the folders as
+s[ystem] solely to hide any directory recursal from DOS.

In case you didn't understand, here's a small experiment that will show you
what I mean...

Since the content.ie5 and history.ie5 subfolders are both located within a
+s[ystem] folder, we will run the experiment with them. The proper command to
locate them *should* be this:

CDDIR *.IE5 /as/s

The problem is that you will receive a "No files found" error message.

Since we already know there is a content.ie5 subfolder located here, why is
it giving me the "no files found" message?

But there is a way to get around this brick wall. That is, once you are
inside the system directory, then it no longer has an effect on the dir
listings. For example, if you enter the system folder first, and THEN try to
find any +s[ystem] directories you can see them just fine:

CD\WINDOWS\TEMPOR~1
DIR *.IE5 /as/s

1 folder(s) found.

Now you will get a "1 folder(s) found." message. (But only after you knew the
exact location.)

In other words, if you didn't know the files existed then finding them would
be almost impossible.

And, by the way. To see the "bug" in progress...

CDDIR *.IE5 /as/s

It will echo "no files found."

Now, just take away the system attributes from the parent directory...

CD\WINDOWS
ATTRIB -S TEMPOR~1

And retry the test...

CDDIR *.IE5 /as/s

It will echo "1 folder(s) found."

8. THE TRUTH ABOUT FIND FAST

Have you ever wondered what that "Find Fast" program was under your control
panel? Here's a hint: It has NOTHING to do with the "Find: Files or Folders"
utility located under the [Start] menu. Up until last month I honestly
thought it was completely useless, but it was finally adequately explained to
me...



"In any version of Word after 95, choose File Open and you'll get the Office
App Open dialog. Instead of just a space for the file name, there are text
boxes for file name, files of type, text or property & last modified. These
are search criteria you can use to find one or more files. There is also an
"Advanced" button that opens a dedicated search dialog with more options.
When you use either of these dialogs to perform a search, that search process
uses the indexes built by Find Fast."

--Oblivion



That sure answered a lot. Now instead of a "completely useless resource hog,"
I realize Find Fast actually does serve some purpose.

But what would you say if I told you that Find Fast was scanning every single
file on your hard drive? Did you know that in Office 95, the Find Fast
Indexer had an "exclusion list" comprised of .exe, .swp, .dll and other
extensions, but the feature was eliminated? If you were a programmer would
you program Find Fast to index every single file, or just the ones with Office
extensions?

FYI: If you have ever had problems with scandisk or defrag restarting due to
disk writes, it is because Find Fast was indexing your hard drive in the
background. It loads every time you start your computer up.

Now here is a good example of the lengths Microsoft has gone through to keep
people from finding out Find Fast is constantly scanning and indexing their
hard drives. (Always good to have an alibi.) Here's a snippet taken from
microsoft.com:

"When you specify the type of documents to index in the Create Index dialog
box, Find Fast includes the document types that are listed in the following
table.

Document type File name extension





MS Office and Web Documents All the Microsoft Excel, Microsoft
PowerPoint, Microsoft
Project, and Microsoft Word document types
listed in this table. Microsoft Binder
(.odb, .obt) and Microsoft Access (.mdb)
files. Note that in .mdb files, only
document properties are indexed.

Word documents .doc (document),
.dot (template), .ht* (Hypertext Markup
Language document), .txt (text file), .rtf
(Rich Text Format) files, Excel workbooks
.xl* files

PowerPoint .ppt (presentation), .pot (template), .pps
(auto-running presentation) files

Microsoft Project files .mpp, .mpw, .mpt, .mpx, .mpd files

All files *.* files"

Did you get that last part? "All files?" Find Fast indexes Office Documents,
Web documents, Word Documents, Power Point files, Project files, and (oh I
forgot) EVERY SINGLE other file on your computer.

Actually, the good news is that this isn't neccessarily true. In another
statement, Microsoft claims that if Find Fast deems the file "unreadable" then
the file will not be included in the index. For example, your command.com
probably wouldn't get indexed because it doesn't have a lot of plain text --
mostly binary.

But, back to the bad news. Every single file that has legible text is going
to be included in the Find Fast database. Do you understand the implication
here? Well, if you don't, then maybe you should check out those Find Fast
database files -- because acording to Microsoft, ALL TEXT SAVED TO YOUR HARD
DRIVE IS INDEXED. Do you see the forensic capabilities now? And don't forget
"all text" also means previously visited webpages from your cache. See for
yourself...

1) Open up a DOS window and type...
2) CD3) DIR FF*.* /AH (This will bring up a list of the find fast databases.)
4) EDIT /75 %ff% (insert %ff% with any of the names that were listed.)

Notice the incredible amount of disk accesses to your cache and history
folders? Why do we need two indexes?

8.1. REMOVING THE FIND FAST PROGRAM

You can remove Find Fast using your Office CD, but I recommend you do it
manually...

1) Reboot your computer in MS-DOS Mode.
2) Delete the findfast.cpl file from c:\windows\system3) Delete the shortcut (.lnk) under c:\windows\start menu\programs\startup4) Delete the findfast.exe file from c:\progra~1\micros~1\office5) Delete the find fast databases in your root, by typing this:

cddeltree ff*.*

6) You can also safely delete FFNT.exe, FFSetup.dll, FFService.dll, and
FFast_bb.dll if you have them.

Feel free to check out the ffastlog.txt (which is the Find Fast error log).
It's a +h[idden] file under c:\windows\system\.

9. CONTACT INFO AND PGP BLOCKS

This tutorial is being updated all the time. If you have any useful input, or
if you see a mistake somewhere, then please e-mail me so I can compile it into
future versions. You will be able to find the most recent version of this
tutorial at fuckmicrosoft.com

My e-mail address is located at the end of this note. Please let me know
where you heard about this tutorial in your message. If you have something
important to say to me, then please use encryption. My public key blocks are
located below.

Thanks for reading,

-- The Riddler
Contact: theriddler@fuckmicrosoft.com

My PGP 2.6.2 Block:



BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK



Version: 2.6.2

mQCNAzu4wRAAAAEEAJnvaDDA9PydmZnnAmo80XZL57OycoCndppYyMv6CBMh+U35
NYtOxFfQiH8JhUN8uF3FgGBxckG0vBJ+RsYBIBXaP/JdxLX4qQnTsByyPEkoIomW
QCDfWXBMbFXxEKc1mrVTRmXpANpIjsj557qzW7dXxuvd5/E/bhviYkNfEe49AAUR
tAt0aGUgcmlkZGxlcg==
=B7ib



END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK



My GPG 1.0.6 Block:



BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK



Version: GnuPG v1.0.6 (MingW32)
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=pFTK



END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK



9.1. RECOMMENDED READING

And if you aren't already paranoid enough here's some sites/articles that I
definitely recommend:

[URL=http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/18002.html]http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/18002.html[/URL]
[URL=http://www.findarticles.com/m0CGN/3741/55695355/p1/article.jhtml]http://www.findarticles.com/m0CGN/3741/556...1/article.jhtml[/URL]
[URL=http://www.mobtown.org/news/archive/msg00492.html]http://www.mobtown.org/news/archive/msg00492.html[/URL]
[URL=http://194.159.40.109/05069801.htm]http://194.159.40.109/05069801.htm[/URL]
[URL=http://www.yarbles.demon.co.uk/mssniff.html]http://www.yarbles.demon.co.uk/mssniff.html[/URL]
[URL=http://www.macintouch.com/o98security.html]http://www.macintouch.com/o98security.html[/URL]
[URL=http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/3079.html]http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/archive/3079.html[/URL]
[URL=http://www.fsm.nl/ward/]http://www.fsm.nl/ward/[/URL]
[URL=http://slashdot.org]http://slashdot.org[/URL]
[URL=http://www.peacefire.org]http://www.peacefire.org[/URL]
[URL=http://stopcarnivore.org]http://stopcarnivore.org[/URL]
[URL=http://nomorefakenews.com]http://nomorefakenews.com[/URL]
[URL=http://grc.com/steve.htm#project-x]http://grc.com/steve.htm#project-x[/URL]



How to make winxp go faster

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

Services You Can Disable

There are quite a few services you can disable from starting automatically.
This would be to speed up your boot time and free resources.
They are only suggestions so I suggestion you read the description of each one when you run Services
and that you turn them off one at a time.

Some possibilities are:
Alerter
Application Management
Clipbook
Fast UserSwitching
Human Interface Devices
Indexing Service
Messenger
Net Logon
NetMeeting
QOS RSVP
Remote Desktop Help Session Manager
Remote Registry
Routing & Remote Access
SSDP Discovery Service
Universal Plug and Play Device Host
Web Client



Cleaning the Prefetch Directory

WindowsXP has a new feature called Prefetch. This keeps a shortcut to recently used programs.
However it can fill up with old and obsolete programs.

To clean this periodically go to:

Star / Run / Prefetch
Press Ctrl-A to highlight all the shorcuts
Delete them



Not Displaying Logon, Logoff, Startup and Shutdown Status Messages

To turn these off:

Start Regedit
Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionpoliciessystem
If it is not already there, create a DWORD value named DisableStatusMessages
Give it a value of 1



Clearing the Page File on Shutdown

Click on the Start button
Go to the Control Panel
Administrative Tools
Local Security Policy
Local Policies
Click on Security Options
Right hand menu - right click on "Shutdown: Clear Virtual Memory Pagefile"
Select "Enable"
Reboot

For regedit users.....
If you want to clear the page file on each shutdown:

Start Regedit
Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlSession ManagerMemory ManagementClearPageFileAtShutdown
Set the value to 1



No GUI Boot

If you don't need to see the XP boot logo,

Run MSCONFIG
Click on the BOOT.INI tab
Check the box for /NOGUIBOOT



Speeding the Startup of Some CD Burner Programs

If you use program other than the native WindowsXP CD Burner software,
you might be able to increase the speed that it loads.

Go to Control Panel / Administrative Tools / Services
Double-click on IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service
For the Startup Type, select Disabled
Click on the OK button and then close the Services window
If you dont You should notice



Getting Rid of Unread Email Messages

To remove the Unread Email message by user's login names:

Start Regedit
For a single user: Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionUnreadMail
For all users: Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionUnreadMail
Create a DWORD key called MessageExpiryDays
Give it a value of 0



Decreasing Boot Time

Microsoft has made available a program to analyze and decrease the time it takes to boot to WindowsXP
The program is called BootVis

Uncompress the file.
Run BOOTVIS.EXE
For a starting point, run Trace / Next Boot + Driver Delays
This will reboot your computer and provide a benchmark
After the reboot, BootVis will take a minute or two to show graphs of your system startup.
Note how much time it takes for your system to load (click on the red vertical line)
Then run Trace / Optimize System
Re-Run the Next Boot + Drive Delays
Note how much the time has decreased
Mine went from approximately 33 to 25 seconds.



Increasing Graphics Performance

By default, WindowsXP turns on a lot of shadows, fades, slides etc to menu items.
Most simply slow down their display.

To turn these off selectively:

Right click on the My Computer icon
Select Properties
Click on the Advanced tab
Under Performance, click on the Settings button
To turn them all of, select Adjust for best performance
My preference is to leave them all off except for Show shadows under mouse pointer and Show window contents while dragging



Increasing System Performance

If you have 512 megs or more of memory, you can increase system performance
by having the core system kept in memory.

Start Regedit
Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlSession ManagerMemory ManagementDisablePagingExecutive
Set the value to be 1
Reboot the computer



Increasing File System Caching

To increase the amount of memory Windows will locked for I/O operations:

Start Regedit
Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlSession ManagerMemory Management
Edit the key IoPageLockLimit



Resolving Inability to Add or Remove Programs

If a particular user cannot add or remove programs, there might be a simple registry edit neeed.

Go to HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesUninstall
Change the DWORD NoAddRemovePrograms to 0 disable it

4096 - 32megs of memory or less
8192 - 32+ megs of memory
16384 - 64+ megs of memory
32768 - 128+ megs of memory
65536 - 256+ megs of memory

happy speeding up!!!



Maximize dial up modem settings

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

Did you know that by changing a few settings you can make your dial-up modem run better? That's right—you might have a fast modem and a good connection, but you're not getting the best performance. With a few adjustments, you can get faster connection speeds.

NOTE: Since every PC configuration is different, these adjustments might not work for everyone.

With Windows 95, 98 & ME you'll need to open your Control Panel ( Start / Control Panel ). Click "System" then choose "Device Manager". Open up "Ports", highlight your modem port (should be COM2), and choose "Properties" near the bottom. When you click "Port Settings", you will see the modem speed listed under "Bits per second".

With Win XP , just hold down the Alt key and double-click "My Computer" to bring up System Properties. Click the "Hardware" tab, then choose the "Device Manager" button. Scroll down to "Modems" and click the little (—) to show your modem, then double click it.

Selecting the "Modem" tab will allow you to adjust the port speed.

Usually, the Maximum Port Speed is on the highest setting (115,000 bps), but sometimes you will find it on a slower default of 9600 bps. If you have a 56k modem, you can crank it up to the maximum setting without any trouble (in most cases). If you live in a cave and have a 28k modem, then the fastest you can do is 57,600 bps.

Win 9x users should also adjust the "Flow Control" near the bottom. The default for this is usually Xon/Xoff which is the software control—change this to "Hardware" if you want to get the most from your modem. Next, click the "Advanced" button to adjust the Receiver Buffer to its highest setting (all the way to the right). If you run into any problems, just turn this one back to the 2/3 setting.

To check/adjust the Receive-Transmit buffers in XP, click the "Advanced" tab of your modem properties then choose the "Advanced Port Settings" button. Make sure that both are set to their highest settings.

There are many more tweaks that can be done in the registry, but the potential for disaster is too high for the average user. Some folks install dial-up accelerators, which basically tweak these registry settings for you and perform other routines to optimize performance.

You can't assume that just because you connected at a speed like 48.3KBps that you will stay there. Today's modems automatically fall back to a lower speed if the line noise is too high to maintain a faster connection, but sometimes they fall back too soon or too far.

Here's how to do it:

Click Start the button.
Select Settings.
Click Control Panel.
Double-click on the Modems icon.
Select your modem.
Click the Properties button.
Click the Connections tab.
Click the Advanced button.
In the "Extra settings" field, type S36=7
Click OK to save your settings.

This will force your modem to try to stay connected at high speeds in two different ways before dropping back to an asynchronous mode with auto speed buffering.

Just by changing these few settings, though, you should see better performance.



How to rename extensions with ease!!!

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

You all downloaded some game or app once that was 50 parts big, and you had to rename them all from .bmp to .rar to extract them.

You can easily create a batch file that does that for you.

Open Notepad

fill in the notepad:

CODE

ren *.bmp *.rar

Of course, you have to edit these two extensions to fit the files you want to convert. Save this file as renamer.bat and run it in the directory where you want to rename your downloads.



HOW TO OVERBURN A CD WITH NERO

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

Start Nero
From the action-bar select File and select Preferences.
In the Preferences window, select Expert Features(1) and check the Enable overburn disc-at-once(2).
Choose a Maximum CD Length(3) and click OK(4) (*82:59:59 is the maximum value I suggest, but as you can see from the screen capture above I have set mine significantly higher. The reason is because I frequently use 99min 850 MB CD media).
For a more accurate test you can use a nero tool called nero speed test to see how much a specific CD is capable of being overburned . get it here
From the action-bar select File and select Write CD.
A window will appear when you have exceeded expected length, click OK to start the overburn copy.
Remember to set disk to burn Disc at Once, you cannot overburn in Track at Once Mode.



HARDWARE FIREWALL - THE BEST 1

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

The best firewall is a hardware firewall that is completely separate from your operating system. It need not be a dedicated router, could be an old pentium box running Linux. Below I have found some sites that have How To's on setting up an outside hardware router using an old computer and using a little linux program that fits on a single floppy disk.

Brief Description:
floppyfw is a router with the advanced firewall-capabilities in Linux that fits on one single floppy disc.
Features:
Access lists, IP-masquerading (Network Address Translation), connection tracked packet filtering and (quite) advanced routing. Package for traffic shaping is also available.
Requires only a 386sx or better with two network interface cards, a 1.44MB floppy drive and 12MByte of RAM ( for less than 12M and no FPU, use the 1.0 series, which will stay maintained. )
Very simple packaging system. Is used for editors, PPP, VPN, traffic shaping and whatever comes up. (now this is looking even more like LRP (may it rest in peace) but floppyfw is not a fork.)
Logging through klogd/syslogd, both local and remote.
serial support for console over serial port.
DHCP server and DNS cache for internal networks.
floppyfw
http://www.zelow.no/floppyfw/

Sentry Firewall CD-ROM is a Linux-based bootable CDROM suitable for use as an inexpensive and easy to maintain firewall, server, or IDS(Intrusion Detection System) Node. The system is designed to be immediately configurable for a variety of different operating environments via a configuration file located on a floppy disk, a local hard drive, and/or a network via HTTP(S), FTP, SFTP, or SCP.
The Sentry Firewall CD is a complete Linux system that runs off of an initial ramdisk, much like a floppy-based system, and a CD. The default kernel is a current 2.4.x series kernel with various Netfilter patches applied. An OpenWall-patched current 2.2.x kernel is also available on the CD.
Booting from the CDROM is a fairly familiar process. The BIOS execs the bootloader(Syslinux) - which then displays a bootprompt and loads the kernel and ramdisk into memory. Once the kernel is running, the ramdisk is then mounted as root(/). At this point our configuration scripts are run(written in perl) that configure the rest of the system. It is the job of these configure scripts to put the various startup and system files into the proper location using either what is declared in the configuration file(sentry.conf) or the system defaults located in the /etc/default directory.
Most of the critical files used at boot time can be replaced with your own copy when declared in the configuration file. This is essentially how we allow the user to configure the system using his/her own configuration and init files.
All of the binaries, files, scripts, etc, used to create the CD-ROM are also available on the CD-ROM. So, with a little practice, you can easily build and customize your own bootable Sentry Firewall CD. Please see the HOWTO for more details.
Sentry Firewall

http://www.sentryfirewall.com/docs.html#overview



Firefox speed tweaks

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin//

yes i no firefox is damn fast but did u no that u can make it even more faster. heres how u du it-
That's the beauty of this program being open source.
Here's what you do:
In the URL bar, type “about:config” and press enter. This will bring up the configuration “menu” where you can change the parameters of Firefox.

Note that these are what I’ve found to REALLY speed up my Firefox significantly - and these settings seem to be common among everybody else as well. But these settings are optimized for broadband connections - I mean with as much concurrent requests we’re going to open up with pipelining… lol… you’d better have a big connection.

Double Click on the following settins and put in the numbers below - for the true / false booleans - they’ll change when you double click.

Code:
browser.tabs.showSingleWindowModePrefs – true
network.http.max-connections – 48
network.http.max-connections-per-server – 16
network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-proxy – 8
network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-server – 4
network.http.pipelining – true
network.http.pipelining.maxrequests – 100
network.http.proxy.pipelining – true
network.http.request.timeout – 300

One more thing… Right-click somewhere on that screen and add a 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. Since you’re broadband - it shouldn’t have to wait.

Now you should notice you’re loading pages MUCH faster now!
http://www.theforumz.com/forumz/showthread.php?postid=251495#post251495

http://brilliantcorners.org/2004/02/12/make-a-great-browser-even-better

http://www.hicksdesign.co.uk/journal/545/

http://www.tweakfactor.com/articles/tweaks/firefoxtweak/



How to know that your comp is infected


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

Infected by a Virus?

If you've let your guard down--or even if you haven't--it can be hard to tell if your PC is infected. Here's what to do if you suspect the worst.

Heard this one before? You must run antivirus software and keep it up to date or else your PC will get infected, you'll lose all your data, and you'll incur the wrath of every e-mail buddy you unknowingly infect because of your carelessness.

You know they're right. Yet for one reason or another, you're not running antivirus software, or you are but it's not up to date. Maybe you turned off your virus scanner because it conflicted with another program. Maybe you got tired of upgrading after you bought Norton Antivirus 2001, 2002, and 2003. Or maybe your annual subscription of virus definitions recently expired, and you've put off renewing.

It happens. It's nothing to be ashamed of. But chances are, either you're infected right now, as we speak, or you will be very soon.

For a few days in late January, the Netsky.p worm was infecting about 2,500 PCs a day. Meanwhile the MySQL bot infected approximately 100 systems a minute (albeit not necessarily desktop PCs). As David Perry, global director of education for security software provider Trend Micro, puts it, "an unprotected [Windows] computer will become owned by a bot within 14 minutes."

Today's viruses, worms, and so-called bots--which turn your PC into a zombie that does the hacker's bidding (such as mass-mailing spam)--aren't going to announce their presence. Real viruses aren't like the ones in Hollywood movies that melt down whole networks in seconds and destroy alien spacecraft. They operate in the background, quietly altering data, stealing private operations, or using your PC for their own illegal ends. This makes them hard to spot if you're not well protected.

Is Your PC "Owned?"

I should start by saying that not every system oddity is due to a virus, worm, or bot. Is your system slowing down? Is your hard drive filling up rapidly? Are programs crashing without warning? These symptoms are more likely caused by Windows, or badly written legitimate programs, rather than malware. After all, people who write malware want to hide their program's presence. People who write commercial software put icons all over your desktop. Who's going to work harder to go unnoticed?

Other indicators that may, in fact, indicate that there's nothing that you need to worry about, include:

  • An automated e-mail telling you that you're sending out infected mail. E-mail viruses and worms typically come from faked addresses.
  • A frantic note from a friend saying they've been infected, and therefore so have you. This is likely a hoax. It's especially suspicious if the note tells you the virus can't be detected but you can get rid of it by deleting one simple file. Don't be fooled--and don't delete that file.

I'm not saying that you should ignore such warnings. Copy the subject line or a snippet from the body of the e-mail and plug it into your favorite search engine to see if other people have received the same note. A security site may have already pegged it as a hoax.

Sniffing Out an Infection

There are signs that indicate that your PC is actually infected. A lot of network activity coming from your system (when you're not actually using Internet) can be a good indicator that something is amiss. A good software firewall, such as ZoneAlarm, will ask your permission before letting anything leave your PC, and will give you enough information to help you judge if the outgoing data is legitimate. By the way, the firewall that comes with Windows, even the improved version in XP Service Pack 2, lacks this capability.

To put a network status light in your system tray, follow these steps: In Windows XP, choose Start, Control Panel, Network Connections, right-click the network connection you want to monitor, choose Properties, check "Show icon in notification area when connected," and click OK.

If you're interested in being a PC detective, you can sniff around further for malware. By hitting Ctrl-Alt-Delete in Windows, you'll bring up the Task Manager, which will show you the various processes your system is running. Most, if not all, are legit, but if you see a file name that looks suspicious, type it into a search engine and find out what it is.

Want another place to look? In Windows XP, click Start, Run, type "services.msc" in the box, and press Enter. You'll see detailed descriptions of the services Windows is running. Something look weird? Check with your search engine.

Finally, you can do more detective work by selecting Start, Run, and typing "msconfig" in the box. With this tool you not only see the services running, but also the programs that your system is launching at startup. Again, check for anything weird.

If any of these tools won't run--or if your security software won't run--that in itself is a good sign your computer is infected. Some viruses intentionally disable such programs as a way to protect themselves.

What to Do Next

Once you're fairly sure your system is infected, don't panic. There are steps you can take to assess the damage, depending on your current level of protection.

  • If you don't have any antivirus software on your system (shame on you), or if the software has stopped working, stay online and go for a free scan at one of several Web sites. There's McAfee FreeScan, Symantec Security Check, and Trend Micro's HouseCall. If one doesn't find anything, try two. In fact, running a free online virus scan is a good way to double-check the work of your own local antivirus program. When you're done, buy or download a real antivirus program.
  • If you have antivirus software, but it isn't active, get offline, unplug wires-- whatever it takes to stop your computer from communicating via the Internet. Then, promptly perform a scan with the installed software.
  • If nothing seems to be working, do more research on the Web. There are several online virus libraries where you can find out about known viruses. These sites often provide instructions for removing viruses--if manual removal is possible--or a free removal tool if it isn't. Check out GriSOFT's Virus Encyclopedia, Eset's Virus Descriptions, McAffee's Virus Glossary, Symantec's Virus Encyclopedia, or Trend Micro's Virus Encyclopedia.

A Microgram of Prevention

Assuming your system is now clean, you need to make sure it stays that way. Preventing a breach of your computer's security is far more effective than cleaning up the mess afterwards. Start with a good security program, such Trend Micro's PC-Cillin, which you can buy for $50.

Don't want to shell out any money? You can cobble together security through free downloads, such as AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition, ZoneAlarm (a personal firewall), and Ad-Aware SE (an antispyware tool).

Just make sure you keep all security software up to date. The bad guys constantly try out new ways to fool security programs. Any security tool without regular, easy (if not automatic) updates isn't worth your money or your time.

Speaking of updating, the same goes for Windows. Use Windows Update (it's right there on your Start Menu) to make sure you're getting all of the high priority updates. If you run Windows XP, make sure to get the Service Pack 2 update. To find out if you already have it, right-click My Computer, and select Properties. Under the General tab, under System, it should say "Service Pack 2."

Here are a few more pointers for a virus-free life:

  • Be careful with e-mail. Set your e-mail software security settings to high. Don't open messages with generic-sounding subjects that don't apply specifically to you from people you don't know. Don't open an attachment unless you're expecting it.
  • If you have broadband Internet access, such as DSL or cable, get a router, even if you only have one PC. A router adds an extra layer of protection because your PC is not connecting directly with the Internet.
  • Check your Internet ports. These doorways between your computer and the Internet can be open, in which case your PC is very vulnerable; closed, but still somewhat vulnerable; or stealthed (or hidden), which is safest. Visit Gibson Research's Web site and run the free ShieldsUP test to see your ports' status. If some ports show up as closed--or worse yet, open--check your router's documentation to find out how to hide them.



Boot winxp faster


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

Boot Winxp Fast

Follow the following steps

1. Open notepad.exe, type "del c:\windows\prefetch\ntosboot-*.* /q" (without the quotes) & save as "ntosboot.bat" in c:2. From the Start menu, select "Run..." & type "gpedit.msc".
3. Double click "Windows Settings" under "Computer Configuration" and double click again on "Shutdown" in the right window.
4. In the new window, click "add", "Browse", locate your "ntosboot.bat" file & click "Open".
5. Click "OK", "Apply" & "OK" once again to exit.
6. From the Start menu, select "Run..." & type "devmgmt.msc".
7. Double click on "IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers"
8. Right click on "Primary IDE Channel" and select "Properties".
9. Select the "Advanced Settings" tab then on the device or 1 that doesn't have 'device type' greyed out select 'none' instead of 'autodetect' & click "OK".
10. Right click on "Secondary IDE channel", select "Properties" and repeat step 9.
11. Reboot your computer.



20% of your bandwith is used by windows. Get it back


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

Here's how to get it back:

Click Start-->Run-->type "gpedit.msc" without the "

This opens the group policy editor. Then go to:

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. This will allow the system to reserve nothing, rather than the default 20%.
works on XP Pro, and 2000
other OS not tested.



How Good are Free Security Programs?


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

A multi-part series that examines the effectiveness of free security software

This article originally appeared in Issue 118 of my free monthly newsletter Support Alert newsletter.

Part 1: How Good are Free AV Scanners

Many folks protect their computers with free security utilities like AVG anti-virus, SpyBot Search and Destroy and Ad-aware. These are all excellent programs but are they good enough to provide the protection you need against the current internet plague of viruses, worms, trojans, spyware and worse?

It's a fair question. The current security threat is so great that you can argue that PC users should be protecting their machines with the very best products available regardless of whether those products are free or commercial.

In this multi-part series we'll look at the best free anti-virus scanners, anti-trojan products, spyware detectors and see how they stack up.

How Much Protection do you get from Your Anti Virus Scanner?

Anti-virus scanners are on the whole quite effective in detecting viruses and worms but they still have problems. In particular, they are totally reliant on the quality and currency of their signature file updates. Some products are only updated weekly or on a needs basis and are consequently vulnerable in the interim.

Anti- virus scanners also differ greatly in their sophistication. The better products will pick up polymorphic, auto-patching and encrypted viruses and are capable of looking inside many different kinds of archives and binding schemes as well as email attachments.

Put these two factors together and you have to accept that not all virus scanners perform equally. There are stars and there are ordinary performers and all else in between.

AV Performance Tests

The folks over at Virus Bulletin regularly test the ability of the major AV products to detect currently circulating viruses - their "100 Top Viruses in the Wild." They award their VB100 rating to AV products that detect all 100 in any given month.

Over a period of time it's possible to tabulate how often individual AV products receive the VB100 award. Here are the results for some major AV products from 2003 onwards:
Nod32 10/10 100%
Norton 9/9 100%
F-Secure 9/9 100%
Trend

8/8
100%
Kaspersky 9/11 82%
McAfee 8/10 80%
AVG 6/8 75%
Norman 7/10 70%
F-Prot 6/9 67%
Avast 6/9 67%

At first take this is not comforting news for users of the free Avast and AVG products nor indeed for any user of the lower ranked products. More so when you consider that we are talking about the ability of these products to detect viruses and worms that were in mass circulation at the time of the tests.

However the results are deceptive.

First a product "fails" the monthly VB100 test if doesn't detect every single trojan in the test set of 100 trojans. A product that gets 99 right out of 100 is flunked. That's tough.

It's not only tough, it's misleading. It suggests that products are capable of detecting 100% of viruses. This is simply not true; no product can detect all malware.

Secondly, I strongly suspect that the major vendors put a highly targeted effort into ensuring that their products pass the VB100 test. That's because they have come to realize the marketing significance of these tests.

Now there's nothing wrong with that. However the effort they put into their products to pass the VB100 tests may not reflect the effort they put into detecting other viruses outside of those in the VB100 test set.

Put another way, it's quite possible for an AV product to pass all the VB100 tests yet have mediocre virus detection for malware products other than those in the VB100 tests.

That's why I treat the VB100 tests as a useful guide but no more.

It's also why I like to run my own tests; tests which I know have not been rigged by any security vendor.

I'm in the happy position of being able to easily run such tests. In my role as Editor over at http://www.anti-trojan-software-reviews.com I regularly test out the performance of anti-trojan scanners. When I run these tests I usually test out the major anti-virus products on the same data set.

In August 2004 I downloaded 1023 executable files from the KaZaa P2P network. Of these over 38% were infected with one or more malware products. Of the 394 infected files, 208 were infected with viruses, worms or trojans.

Here are the test results for some popular AV products:
Product Detected %

Kaspersky V4.
188 90

NOD32
187 90

Norton AV 2004
182 88

F-Secure
182 88

AVG V6 - free
175 84

Avast! - free
171 82

Panda
165 79

F-Prot
161 77

These results show that the best commercial AV products do indeed out-perform the best free products but the margin is not huge.

They also show that the free AV products out-performed some of the commercial products.

Most importantly, they illustrate well the idea that no product is perfect, indeed the best only detected 90%. Moreover the best free product detected 84% so the difference between the best product overall and the best free product is just 6%.

Many of the products that were missed by the AV products in these tests were trojans. Despite the AV vendors claims, I have never found AV products to be as effective in picking up trojans as they are in picking up viruses and worms. When it comes to polymorphic trojans, they are even less effective.

Improving Performance Through Layering

Once you embrace the idea that no computer security product can provide you with perfect protection you need to consider using multiple products if you want to improve your detection rates.

In my 2004 tests I looked at the effect of combining an AV scanner with an anti-trojan scanner. This made perfect sense as many of the malware products missed by the AV scanners were polymorphic trojans. The anti-trojan program I used was the commercial product TDS-3, widely regarded as the best product of its kind. Here are the results:

Product+TDS-3 Detected %

Kaspersky V4.
190 91

NOD32
191 92

Norton AV 2004
191 92

F-Secure
189 91

AVG V6 - free
187 90

Avast! - free
180 87

Panda
174 84

F-Prot
170 82

The effect of adding the anti-trojan scanner is clear. First it improved the overall detection rates second it reduced the difference between AV products.

When combined with TDS-3 anti trojan there was now only a very small difference between AVG, the best performing free AV scanner and NOD32 the top commercial product.

This makes perfect sense as layering reduces dependence on any single product.

Suddenly the prospect for free security products was brightening so I decided to run a new series of tests using a free AV product combined with a free anti-trojan rather than the expensive TDS-3.

The 2005 AV Tests Show Layering Works

My approach to these tests was similar to the one I used in 2004. The test data set was downloaded from the KaZaa P2P network though in this instance I used a sample of 104 files rather than the much larger set used in 2004.

I scanned this dataset with the top performing commercial scanner NOD32 together with the free AVG V7 anti-virus and Ewido anti-trojan. You can see the full results here

NOD32 found 53 malware products while AVG V7 found 51. This confirms the earlier finding that the best commercial AV scanners do detect more malware products than the best free scanners, though not a great deal more.

But here's the really interesting finding. When combined, the two free products AVG and Ewido between them detected 55 malware products.

That betters the figure detected by the commercial product NOD32. Yes, layering works. Better still, layering free products can end up giving better results than using expensive commercial products alone.

Conclusions

1. No computer security product is perfect; all products have less than 100% detection. The choice between products commercial and free products is thus not a choice between perfection and something less rather it is a choice between differing levels of imperfection.

2. In absolute terms the best commercial AV products such as NOD32 do have higher detection rates than the best freeware versions. However the difference between the rates is relatively small.

3. By combining two or more freeware products it is possible to get better detection rates than the best commercial AV programs used alone.

4. Layering is an attractive option for improving malware detection rates and may well offer greater opportunities than concentrating on looking for a near-perfect single product.

In the next part of this series I'll look at the effect of adding even more layers of protection.

Gizmo, March 2005.

Ian "Gizmo" Richards
Editor
Support Alert Newsletter

Other parts in this series of articles:

Part 1 How Good are Free AV Scanners

Part 2 Adding more layers for increased protection.

Part 3 Comparing our multi-layered free solution to commercial solutions

Part 4 Adding a fourth layer; Free Intrusion Detection programs

Part 5 Using Intrusion Detection Software

Did you like this article?

This article is one of many informative articles provided to subscribers to Gizmo's free monthly "Support Alert" newsletter, rated as one of the "three best tech newsletters on the web."

Each issue features practical PC advice, handy tips, the best free software, top tech utilities and useful web sites.

Subscription is free and when you subscribe now you'll immediately receive Gizmo's famous

"The 46 Best Ever Freeware Utilities" report packed with free programs that work just as well as expensive commercial programs.



Security links and few other things Wanna share A big list but it worth to read.........


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

http://www.dyingsun.net/hardening.htm

Windows, by default, comes vulnerable to many exploits that can allow a hacker full access to your system. Many worms, adware, and spyware use these security leaks to infect your system without any action required by you. Although system hardening is something commonly done by users of UNIX and Linux, most Windows users are unaware of their ability to disable the multitude of components that they will never use, and leave them open to attack. Subsequently many users will install many security applications in an effort to stop or reverse the effects of these attacks after they have already occured. By simply removing the commonly exploited "features" of Windows, you can secure your system against worms, spyware, adware, and mobile code in a way that no security software can hope to. It is a proactive measure that will prevent this kind of malware from forcing it's way into your system in the first place.

You can do the most amount of hardening with the least amount of time and effort by using a few free tools. You may also want to consider the paid apps below this section as they can provide even greater protection than what is available in the free tools.

Windows Worms Door Cleaner (Windows 2000, XP, & 2003 server)
Freeware

CODE
http://www.firewallleaktester.com/wwdc.htm
(WWDC does not install or need to run in the background)
This small utility will close all system ports for you. This is the most common way for worms to invade your system. In the event that your firewall malfunctions, is improperly configured, or becomes disabled, your system will still be that much less vulnerable to attack.

For further information on why closing these ports is important, you are encouraged to read this report from the Honeynet Project from November 2000 (worm activity has since greatly increased)

CODE
http://cerberus.sourcefire.com/~jef..._Spitzner/worm/

SafeXP (Windows 98, Me, 2000, & XP)
Freeware

CODE
http://www.theorica.net/safexp.htm

(SafeXP does not install or need to run in the background)
SafeXP configures Windows, Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, Windows Media Player, and MSN Messenger for much greater security. It covers too much to give any specific examples, but is very highly recommended for all Windows versions. If the choices overwhelm you, you can easily press the "Recommended Settings" button for a good selection of options that should work in most settings. Some items do overlap with other tools listed here, but should pose no problems.

SecureIt (Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP, & 2003)
Freeware

CODE
http://www.sniff-em.com/secureit.shtml
(SecureIt runs as an install wizard to configure your system, then leaves a copy of the file that you can run again later and an uninstall to reverse all changes made. It does not "install" in the traditional sense, however, and does not run in the background.)
SecureIt configures your system in a more advanced way than SafeXP, covering different ground. It also has a few tricks not offered by other hardening tools, such as the ability to run IE and Outlook/Outlook Express with reduced security privlileges that can render malware powerless should they happen to gain access to your system by an unknown vulnerability. Please note that this may change your Internet Explorer settings in a way that may make some websites display improperly. The security is worth the inconvenience, however, and is still recommended. You should also consider using an alternate internet browser that is not based on Internet Explorer, such as Mozilla Firefox or Opera. If you do not use Internet Explorer, you should not see any difference.

HardenIt (Windows 2000, XP, & 2003)
Freeware

CODE
http://www.sniff-em.com/hardenit.shtml
(See install notes for SecureIt, HardenIt works the same way)
HardenIt configures your TCP/IP and network settings to leave you less vulnerable to exploits in the way your computer communicates across the internet. Hackers can send specially crafted packets of information that may "confuse", or otherwise bypass, your firewall, allowing them to "slip through" This is especially important if you run servers of any kind, peer-to-peer, or IRC applications. This should not adversly affect any normal internet usage, and all "recommended" settings work fine.

For instructions on configuring your system manually, visit:

CODE
http://www.markusjansson.net/exp.html
2 sections you should definitely follow, not completely covered by the tools above, are the Services and Secure Settings sections. You are strongly encouraged, however, to read through the rest of the page as well

If you insist on using your computer in an administrator account, you should also consider using
DropMyRights
(Windows 2000, XP, & 2003)
Freeware

CODE
http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/d...ure11152004.asp
This is a small application that launches any other application with reduced security privileges. Simply install to an easy to remember folder, then create a shortcut to DropMyRights.exe "c:\<path to whatever program>" Then whenever you use that shortcut, that program will be running as if you were in a more limited user account, rendering a lot of malware powerless. This same tool is available in SecureIt, however SecureIt does not give you any options to make shortcuts to programs of your choosing. It does, however, add it to your context (right-click) menu.

The next time you reinstall Windows, consider making a customized, pre-hardened, install CD with
nLite
(Windows 2000, XP, & 2003)
Freeware

CODE
http://www.nliteos.com/

(requires the .NET Framework, available through Windows Update as an optional component)
nLite is a fantastic utility to create a customized Windows install CD with integrated service pack, hotfixes, drivers (of your choosing), tweaks, and allows you to completely remove components for security and performance. Very highly recommended for the next time you plan to format and reinstall Windows.

Qwik-Fix Pro

CODE
http://www.pivx.com/

Qwik-Fix is an excellent commercial hardening tool that gives you the benefit of auto-updates deployed by a full-time team of researchers actively seeking Windows exploits. This program offers hardening options not offered by free tools, including protection for third party applications (not just Windows.) This program works on all versions of Windows and costs only $25, with a 15-day trial available. With the above free tools, this can help you achieve very strong proactive security without the need for monitoring. Qwik-Fix works very transparently and with the greatest compatibility, making it a viable option for users of all skill levels.

Pivx also makes a tool called PreView that can show you the currently level of security of your system by examining the software and Windows Updates installed as well as how well your system is hardened against specific malware. This tool is free and can be downloaded from the main site.

Computer Security Tool

CODE
http://www.computersecuritytool.com/
Another excellent commercial tool. This mainly configures standard Windows components for maximum security, establishing a baseline that covers the SANS Top 10 Vulnerabilities in Windows and more. It makes an excellent companion to Qwik-Fix, and the two can replace most of the free tools. They are also both under active development, and promise to include some fantastic features in the future. Computer Security Tool includes some extra nicities including a well organized interface, HOSTS file scanning, security tips, portability (burn the program to disk with a security template and easily secure other computers), backup and restore of the settings it changes, templates of security settings for easy securing, and more. It also includes some group policy settings that can not be found in other hardening tools but which are essential (and basic) to maintaining your system security. Future versions of CST promise to include even more of this functionality, along with the ability to harden IE.

This program has both a beginner and advanced user modes. The beginner mode will ask you a few questions and configure your system according to your circumstances. CST, too, is a viable option for users of all skill levels, but has some very attractive options for those that work on other's computers.

You can also visit the website for more information on what each setting does. Even if you decide not to use this tool, it provides some good resources..

Yesterday, 08:29 #2
Apocalpse
Becoming One With
The MauiSun
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: _
Posts: 215
Security Software & Links part two
Security Software & Links

E s s e n t i a l . R e a d i n g
"How much protection is enough?" Article by Fred Langa

CODE
http://www.informationweek.com/840/langa.htm

"How To Ensure Remote-Control Security With XP" Article by Fred Langa

CODE
http://www.informationweek.com/stor...cleID=164300008
See
CODE
http://www.langalist.com/
for a free newsletter with lots of good information on a variety of computer related subjects, including security. It's a great newsletter for users of all skill levels. Updated regularly.

Essential security tips by various users (including myself), courtesy GetData software. Also see the "Security Resources" links on the bottom left-hand side of the page for even more great resources.

CODE
http://www.computersecuritytool.com...eness_home.html

Security Glossary, definitions of common terms courtesy of Prevx software

CODE
http://www.prevx.com/glossary.asp

A n t i - V i r u s

NOD32 (the best detection of unknown threats)

CODE
http://www.nod32.com

Kaspersky (KAV) (the best detection of known threats)

CODE
http://www.kaspersky.com

BitDefender (free on-demand only scanner available)

CODE
http://www.bitdefender.com

eScan Anti-Virus Toolkit (on-demand only, does not clean) (free)
[

CODE
http://www.mwti.net/antivirus/mwav.asp

Dr. Web CureIT (on-demand only) (free)

CODE
http://download.drweb.com/win/

AntiVir (free)

CODE
http://www.free-av.com/
(See the "Links" section for discounted/free antivirus software)

A n t i - T r o j a n

TDS-3, PortExplorer, and WormGuard

CODE
http://www.diamondcs.com.au
a-squared (free and paid versions)

CODE
http://www.emsisoft.com[code/]Ewido (free and paid versions)
[code]http://www.ewido.net
BOClean

CODE
http://www.nsclean.com/
TrojanHunter

CODE
http://www.trojanhunter.com/
F i r e w a l l s

Look n Stop

CODE
http://www.looknstop.com
beta drivers and background service available at the top of THIS thread in the official support forum

Outpost (free and paid versions)

CODE
http://www.agnitum.com

XP Firewall Control & x-Wall (free and paid versions available)
http://www.sphinx-soft.com/

Jetico (free)

CODE
http://www.jetico.com/
Sygate Personal Firewall (free, paid version available)
(note: should not be used if you use a content filter proxy like Proxomitron)

CODE
http://smb.sygate.com/products/spf_standard.htm

FileSecLab Personal Firewall (free)

CODE
http://www.filseclab.com/eng/products/firewall.htm

Kerio Personal Firewall (free, paid version available)

CODE
http://www.kerio.com/us/kpf_download.html

NetVeda Safety.Net (free)

CODE
http://www.netveda.com/
Tiny Personal Firewall
(note: also includes comprehensive generic protection, but not recommended for beginners)

CODE
http://www.tinysoftware.com/]
CXH-I (free for home use. No application filtering, not suitable for beginners)

CODE
http://www.idrci.net/
Information and downloads of firewall leak-tests, and comparisons of different firewall's abilities to stop them, can be found at
CODE
http://www.firewallleaktester.com/

G e n e r i c . P r o t e c t i o n
(behavior blocking and system monitoring)

ProcessGuard (anti-keylogger/rootkit/firewall bypass, more) (free and paid versions)

CODE
http://www.diamondcs.com.au
More info on this program HERE

Prevx (blocks most malware) (scroll to very bottom of front page for free version)

CODE
http://www.prevx.com
Qwik-Fix Pro (hardening tool)

CODE
http://www.pivx.com
RegRun (registry monitor & tools, disinfection tools, and more)

CODE
http://www.regrun.com
RegDefend (registry protection)

CODE
http://www.ghostsecurity.com
WinPatrol (registry monitor and more) (free)

CODE
http://www.winpatrol.com
MJ Registry Watcher (regisry monitor) (free)

CODE
http://www.jacobsm.com/index.htm#sft

Safe n Sec (registry monitor and more)

CODE
http://www.star-force.com/computer_security/

Attack Shield Worm Supression (stops attacks against core system processes) (free)
Info - Download

SnoopFree Privacy Shield (anti-keylogger and more) (free)
http://www.snoopfree.com/

Anti-Hook (anti-keylogger/firewall bypass, more) (free)
http://www.infoprocess.biz/

OSSecurity (application control, heuristic protection, more) (complimentary license available at time of writing)
http://www.ossecurity.ca/

ScriptDefender (script blocker)
http://www.analogx.com/

ScripTrap (script blocker)
http://keir.net/scriptrap.html

System Safety Monitor (application control, registry monitor, much more)
http://maxcomputing.narod.ru/

Mike Lin's StartupMonitor & Startup Control Panel
http://www.mlin.net/StartupMonitor.shtml

A n t i - S p y w a r e
Before downloading any Anti-Spyware product not listed here,
be sure to check the Suspect/Rogue Anti-Spyware list by Eric Howes first!
(be sure to read all notes accompanying any entry)

Also see the article "Anti-adware misses most malware" to understand why multiple adware/spyware scanners are recommended.

Spyware Blocklist (free) and lots of information on spyware
http://www.spywareguide.com/

CounterSpy
http://www.sunbelt-software.com

SpySweeper
http://www.webroot.com

Ad-Aware
http://www.lavasoftusa.com

Spybot Search & Destroy
http://www.safer-networking.org

Spyware Doctor
http://www.pctools.com
Free edition (scanner only) available HERE

Hitman Pro (now in english!) (free)
http://www.hitmanpro.nl

SpywareBlaster and SpywareGuard (free)
http://www.javacoolsoftware.com

Bazooka Spware Scanner (and information) (free)
http://www.kephyr.com/

Microsoft Anti-Spyware (free)
http://www.microsoft.com/athome/sec...re/default.mspx

CWShredder & Trend-Micro Spyware Scanner (free)
http://housecall.trendmicro.com/

Yahoo! Toolbar (comes with free Anti-Spy, based on PestPatrol)
http://toolbar.yahoo.com/

O t h e r . S e c u r i t y . T o o l s

Proxomitron (internet content filter) (free)
http://www.proxomitron.info
Kye-U's browser security pack for Proxomitron

Firetrust Benign (removes malicious content from email) & MailWasher (SPAM filter)
http://www.firetrust.com/

Email Sentinel Pro (removes malicious content from email)
http://www.emailaddressmanager.com/

STMD Desktop (scans IE for spy DLLs) (free)
http://www.ossecurity.ca/

QuickSecurityCenter (quickly turn on/off Windows Updates and firewall) (free)
http://www.QuickSecurityCenter.com/

Security Task Manger (task manager that gives security ratings for running processes)
http://www.neuber.com/taskmanager/

PreView (basic security audit program for home users, suitable for beginners) (free)
http://www.pivx.com/

For applications that can configure your system for maximum security (and improve performance at the same time) Click here to visit my "system hardening" page.

P r i v a c y . T o o l s

AxCrypt (encryption) (free)
http://axcrypt.sourceforge.net/

CryptoSuite (encryption)
http://www.ghostsecurity.com/

jv16 PowerTools (registry, hisotry, & file cleaners and more)
http://www.macecraft.com/
Last free version available here.

Inexpensive, reliable, and fast anonymizing proxy (no software required)
http://www.hqhost.net/en/index.html

Java Anonymous Proxy (JAP) (free)
http://anon.inf.tu-dresden.de/index_en.html

TOR (anonymizing proxy) (free)
http://tor.eff.org/

SyncBack, InstallSpy, FingerPrint, more.. (free)
http://www.2brightsparks.com/

Eraser (secure file deletion) (free)
http://www.heidi.ie/eraser

CrapCleaner (history cleaner) (free)
http://www.ccleaner.com/

Easy Cleaner (history & temp file cleaner, much like jv16 PowerTools) (free)
http://personal.inet.fi/business/toniarts/ecleane.htm

Index.dat Suite (index.dat viewer & cleaner) (free)
http://support.it-mate.co.uk/

KeePass (secure password manager) (free)
http://keepass.sourceforge.net/

IE Privacy Keeper (automatic history cleaner, also works with Firefox) (free)
http://browsertools.net/IE-Privacy-Keeper/

S y s t e m . T o o l s
& . O t h e r . S o f t w a r e

Moox Firefox builds - optimized for security & performance (free)
http://www.moox.ws/tech/mozilla/firefox.htm

SysInternals tools (many quality system tools, also RootkitRevealer) (free)
http://www.sysinternals.com/

Acronis True Image (drive imaging)
http://www.acronis.com

RegSupreme / RegSupreme Pro (registry cleaners)
http://www.macecraft.com/

Process Info (find out what those processes in task manager are) (free)
http://www.gomiller.com/

PocoMail (email client with many security options)
http://www.pocosystems.com/

Mozilla Thunderbird (email client)
http://www.mozilla.org/

Erunt and NTRegOpt (registry backup and defragmenter) (free)
http://www.larshederer.homepage.t-online.de/erunt/

PC Inspector File Recovery (recover deleted files) (free)
http://www.pcinspector.de/file_recovery/uk/welcome.htm

ZipGenius (archive program, like WinZip, with security & privacy options) (free)
http://www.zipgenius.it/

KeyNote (notes program with encryption) (free)
http://www.tranglos.com/free/index.html

ProcessTamer (lowers priority of processes using high CPU)
http://www.donationcoder.com/

mst IsUsedBy (shows you what process is currently using a file you may be trying to delete)
http://mstsoftware.com/

O n l i n e . S c a n s . & . T e s t s

Fred Langa wrote an article "Good And Bad Online Security Check-Ups" that you should read first.

Jotti's Malware Scan - online virus scan by 13+ scanners, scans one file at a time
BitDefender online virus scan
F-Secure online virus scan
TrendMicro online virus scan (also free spyware tool downloads)
Panda Antivirus online virus scan
Norton online virus scan
Reliable AntiVirus (RAV) online virus scan
AhnLab online virus scan
McAfee online virus scan
Kaspersky online virus scan (currently beta, requires registration)

WindowsSecurity.com online trojan scan (uses a-squared)
Sygate online trojan scan (scans for open trojan ports, not files)

PestPatrol online spyware scan (click the "Are there spies on your computer?" graphic)
SpywareGuide online spyware scan (uses X-Cleaner)
ZoneLabs online spyware scan (uses Anonymizer)
Tenebril online spyware scan

ScanIt Browser Security Test - Probably the quickest and easiest test to run.

GFI Email Security Test

PCFlank - Firewall, trojan, and browser/privacy tests

PCPitstop - Variety of online scans, including virus, malware, and full system health check-ups

Audit My Pc - Firewall, spyware, privacy, pop-up, and patch managment tests

GRC Shields Up! - Online firewall test

a-squared - Firewall, security, exploit, and browser checks. Very lengthy.

Compendum of Browser exploit tests (thread at Wilders Security Forums)

L i n k s

Eric Howes (malware expert) has a website similar to the page you are looking at now.
(my page hopes only to compliment his and other sites around the web, not mimic or replace it.)
https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/ehowes/www/

Spyware Warrior - Home of the "Rogue/Suspect Anti-Spyware Products & Websites" & tons of other info on the war against spyware (by Eric Howes and Suzi)

SpywareGuide - Another good site for spyware info

A.S.A.P - Find a website for assistance with removing malware by volunteer experts

Microsoft MVP's - Most Valuable Professionals in the area of security. Most of these folks have great webpages with excellent tips/guides for securing and/or disinfecting your computer, some even have their own freeware for download. Very much worth looking through.

Wilders Security Forums - By Microsoft MVP Paul Wilders

CastleCops - Security forums, resources (including Windows startup, LSP, and CLSID lookup), software reviews, news, and more

CounterExploitation (cexx.org)- Privacy resource

VersionTracker - Stay up to date with virtually all your software)

Tech Support Alert - Excellent source of software recommendations & reviews (security & otherwise)

Windows starup online repository - List of files commonly found in the Windows startup, what they do, and if they're needed, useless, or harmful.

VMyths - "The truth about computer security hysteria" - a must read for anyone interested in security

TechWeb - Security and Privacy news & articles

Infosyssec - Security news

Security Pipeline - More news

ComputerWorld - Major computer/IT site, this link goes directly to their security section

IT Observer - Network security portal

SANS Top 20 Internet Security Vulnerabilites

Secunia - stay up to date with software vulnerabilities

SecurityTracker - Similar to Secunia. Tends to get more advisories than Secunia, but not as well organized.

Hideaway.net - Security resources for all skill levels

CERT Coordination Center
In-depth reading:
(many of the certification sites have documents for free download that are worth checking out even if you aren't interested in becoming certified)

The Honeynet Project - White Papers. See the rest of the site for lots of good information. This site is very much worth acquainting yourself with.

SecurityFocus - major security website with tons of articles and security mailing lists worth checking out, including the famous BugTraq mailing list, for all skill levels.

The CISSP and SSCP Open Study Guides website - Free resources for these security certifications

SANS Institute - Computer security education and information security training

Information System Audit and Control Association - CISA and CISM certifications

The Open CSO Project - "The ultimate resource for aspiring security professionals"
Spyware free downloads:

Snapfiles
Softpedia
MajorGeeks
Download.com
Kool Lite Tools - Best freeware site on the web
NoNags - freeware without nag screens
Last Freeware - last freeware versions of freeware that later became shareware
Discount software (reliable sources) :

NewEgg (BOClean $25, Acronis True Image $33, SpySweeper $20, more, subject to change)

Software Shop at Calander of Updates (many programs 5%-20%)

F-Secure anti-virus 6 months free and/or 50% off
http://www.f-secure.com/protectyourpc/

FREE eTrust AntiVirus and PestPatrol, courtesy PCFormat Magazine (http://www.pcformat.co.uk/)
http://www.excid.com/futurenet/download/

FREE Panda AntiVirus
http://www.pandasecurity.com/survey/

I n f e c t i o n
R e p a i r . T o o l s
Blackspear's General Cleaning Instructions (virus & trojan removal) at Wilders Secuirty Forums.

For additional help by volunteer experts, visit the link to A.S.A.P in the "Links" section above.

Also see links above for free on-demand virus & trojan scanners, and CWShredder

McAfee Stinger (removes the ~50 most common malware infections) (free)
http://vil.nai.com/vil/stinger/

a-squared Hijack-Free (included in a-squared) (free)
http://www.hijackfree.com/en/

ADSSpy, Hijack This! (free)
http://www.merijn.org

SpyHolesList (free analysis by developer) (free)
http://www.greatis.com/security/spyholeslist.htm

Pocket Killbox (free)
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/files/killbox.php

ProcX (free)
http://www.ghostsecurity.com/

XP TCP/IP Repair (free)
http://www.xp-smoker.com/freeware.html

IEFix (free)
http://windowsxp.mvps.org/IEFIX.htm

Infiltration Recovery Tool (free)
www.excessive-software.eu.tt

Advanced Process Termination, Advanced Process Manipulation, more (free)
http://www.diamondcs.com.au/

Remove Toolbar Buddy, Remove Startup Programs Buddy, Remove about:Blank Buddy (free)
http://www.scosoft.com/

about:buster (free)
http://www.malwarebytes.biz/

Should you find that you are infected with a remote access trojan (RAT), backdoor, keylogger, or rootkit, it is very highly recommended that you reformat your computer, after disinfecting, to ensure all traces are removed. Any detections of these types of malware should be verified by the vendor of the program that detected them to ensure that it is indeed what it detected it as, and not a harmless file mis-identified by the scanner. If it is, you will also need to change all account numbers and passwords, and contact the program vendor for further advice. Treat these kinds of infections as if you came home to find that someone had broken into your house and stolen your computer and all personal documents. Take no chances with this type of infection.



Tutorial on Defragmentation


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

In the context of administering computer systems, defragmentation (or defragging) is a process that eliminates fragmentation in file systems. It does this by physically reorganizing the contents of the disk in order to store the pieces of each file close together and in order (contiguously). It also attempts to create large regions of free space using compaction, to impede the return of fragmentation.

Aims of defragmentation
Reading and writing data on a heavily fragmented hard drive is slowed down as the time for the heads to move between fragments on the disk surface can be substantial. The disk operates at speeds millions of times slower than the CPU; thus the desire to process more efficiently encourages defragmentation. Operating system manufacturers often recommend periodic defragmentation in order to keep hard drive access as fast as possible.

Fragmented data also spreads over more disk than it needs. Thus one may defragment in order to compact data storage before splitting a single partition into two or more partitions (for example, with FIPS, or PartitionMagic).

Defragmentation: Causes and cures
Fragmentation occurs when the operating system cannot or will not allocate enough contiguous space to store a complete file as a unit, but instead puts parts of it in gaps between other files (usually those gaps exist because they formerly held a file that the operating system has subsequently deleted or because the operating system allocated excess space for the file in the first place). As advances in technology bring us larger disk drives, the performance loss due to fragmentation squares with each doubling of the size of the drive. Larger files and greater numbers of files also contribute to fragmentation and consequent performance loss. Defragmentation restores a drive to its original speed.

A defragmentation program must move files around within the free space available in order to undo fragmentation. This is a memory intensive operation and cannot be performed on a file system with no free space. The reorganization involved in defragmentation does not change logical location of the files (defined as their location within the directory structure).

Defragmentation issues
The presence of immovable system files (or of files that the defragmenter will not move in order to simplify its task), especially a swap file, can impede defragmentation. NTFSresize can safely move these files in order to resize an NTFS partition.

Certain file systems exhibit a greater susceptibility to fragmentation than others, for example, a FAT file system becomes fragmented much more quickly than NTFS. Many file systems on Unix-like platforms do not require defragmentation at all. These systems attempt to keep fragmentation below a certain point so defragmenting is not necessary. This fragmentation resistance works well as long as the file system has a fairly large amount of space free.

On systems without fragmentation resistance, fragmentation builds upon itself when left unhandled, so daily defragmentation is necessary to keep disk performance at peak and avoid the excess overhead of less frequent defragmentation.

Utilities MickeyMouseS@ft Winbl@ws XP Disk Defragmenter.
Defragmentation programs often come bundled with an operating system (although Winbl@ws NT 4 notably did not include one). Third party applications such as Diskeeper and Ashampoo Magic Defrag have an option of defragmenting automatically.

Perhaps the best-known defragmentation utility is the MS-DOS and Winbl@ws program DEFRAG. It can be accessed in modern versions of Winbl@ws as "Disk Defragmenter", found on the Accessories -> System Tools folder of the Start Menu



10 things you should do to a new PC before surfing the Web by Mark Kaelin


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

A Note: Some of these points should be checked even if you are an old user!

Takeaway:
A Micr0$0ft W1ind0ws PC that has not been updated for security vulnerabilities will be compromised by some from of malware within minutes of connecting to the Internet. Take steps to protect yourself before you start Web surfing.

It is only natural, when you get a brand new PC, especially one with broadband capabilities built-in, you want to connect to the Internet and see it action. For many, the browser and the World Wide Web are the "killer-apps" of the modern PC—the Internet is what you have a PC for, everything else is just extra fluff.

However, connecting to the Internet with a new unprotected and unpatched PC is practically inviting the nefarious and malicious to infect your PC. According to research published by Sophos in July 2005, there is about a 50 percent chance that an unpatched PC will be infected with malicious software within 12 minutes of connecting to the Internet. Once infected, it is almost impossible to get a PC clean again without completely re-installing the operating system. (We are restricting this conversation to Winbl@ws PCs for the moment.)

To prevent the frustration that comes with re-installing Winbl@ws, you should take the necessary steps to update, configure, and patch your new PC. Keep in mind that no matter how new your PC is, it will most likely need patching and it will definitely need to be properly configured. Here are 10 basic things you should do before attaching the Internet to a new PC.

1. Make a starter CD-ROM
Before you disconnect your old computer, take a few minutes to burn a starter CD-ROM that contains the latest version of your favorite anti-virus software. I prefer to keep this simple and inexpensive by using AVG from Grisoft, but if you like Norton or McAfee those will work just as well.

To save time later, you should put other security applications on this disk like Spybot Search & Destroy, AdAware, etc. It would also be a good idea to include any updated drivers you might need—drivers for your video card for example. Just like Winbl@ws, your video card drivers are likely to be a little old also. You should also put drivers on this disk for peripherals that you will be connecting to your new PC, like cameras, scanners, printers, and game interface devices. Having all of these device drivers residing on a single CD-ROM means you will not have to go to the Internet to retrieve them as you set up your new PC.

2. Remove the promotional apps
After going through the initial setup process where Winbl@ws identifies devices you may be asked to register and/or activate your copy of the Winbl@ws operating system—hold off on that for now, you can always do that later. This first thing to do is to clean up the mess that shipped in your PC. You should remove all of the promotional and trial software that you do not intend to use from your new PC. This is usually the first thing I do, because invariably one of those apps will ask if I want to activate it or register it—a process that usually involves accessing the Internet. (Some times they don't ask—they just assume I want them on my pristine PC). At this point you should have no connection to the Internet at all, wireless or not.

The applications to be deleted are usually ISPs advertisements like AOL and Earthlink, an antivirus app from a competitor of your current application (something you should already have ready on your CD-ROM), trial versions of Money or Quickbooks, etc. If you are not going to use these, go to the Add/Remove Programs applet in the Control Panel and remove them completely.

3. Install antivirus software
Install the antivirus software that you burned onto a CD-ROM in step 1. The assumption is that any PC purchased after this document is published will have Winbl@ws XP SP2 installed, but if SP2 is not installed, you could have that update ready on your disk too. In fact, if you know how, you could have some of the more important Winbl@ws patches and updates on your disk also. This would be a good time to install anti-spyware software too.

4. Turn on a software firewall
Winbl@ws XP SP2 comes with a modest but still useful software firewall. Before you start surfing the Internet you should turn it on—or you can install an alternative third-party software firewall like Zone Alarm. Any alternative firewalls should have been included on the startup CD-ROM you made in Step 1.

5. Install printers and other peripherals
Before you connect to the Internet it is a good idea to install your other peripherals to your new PC. Performing this step means that when you do connect to the Winbl@ws update page, it will see your devices and make suggestions for new Microsoft-tested (WHQL) drivers if they are available.

6. Establish a password for the administrator account
One of the most glaring security vulnerabilities in any new Windows-based PC is that it ships with a wide open administrator access to the root directory. You never want anyone but you to have unfettered access to the admin settings on your PC. And while a password could easily be bypassed by a skilled cracker, it will deter the less determined intruder.

7. Create a new user account with password
This is almost as equally important as password protecting your administrator account. For general day-to-day activities, you do not want to be using your admin account. Instead, you should be using a user account that is also password protected (a password that is different than the one you are using for the admin account, please). This adds another layer of protection for your new PC because a user account does not have the same all-access permissions as an admin account. In some cases, malicious software will be thwarted by this level of permissions restriction alone.

8. Turn off unnecessary Winbl@ws services
MickeyMouseS@ft has been doing a better job of this with the release of SP2, but there are still numerous unnecessary Winbl@ws services and processes running by default on most PCs. If you'd like to see how many there are just perform the three finger salute (CTRL-ALT-Delete) click Task Manager and then the Processes tab. All of those applications, services, processes, etc. are operating in the background on your PC. The problem is that many can actually open access to your PC to the outside world without your knowledge or active consent. That access is usually justified for what the process is supposed to be doing, it is just that many times your PC doesn't need that process at all—Web servers, network messengers, debuggers—are all processes you probably don't need on your personal PC. (Check out this TechRepublic download for an in-depth examination of these services and for some suggestions for which can be deactivated.)

9. Establish a system restore point
Now that you have performed the first eight steps you should take a moment to establish a system restore point. To manually create a Restore Point, you launch the System Restore utility by clicking Start | All Programs | Accessories | System Tools | System Restore and then follow the steps in the wizard. This step will establish a fall back point if something happens to go haywire later.

10. Install and configure a router
This last step may seem like an unnecessary added expense to some, but in this age of viruses, worms, and other nasty Internet infections, a router standing between you and the outside world coming at you at broadband speeds offers another significant layer of protection. Connecting a PC directly to the Internet means that PC gets its own IP address, which means it can be seen by every sleazebag with malicious intent. By adding a router to your broadband setup, the router gets the visible IP address and gives your new PC an internal address. In addition, routers have hardware firewalls and other features that help block the bad guys before they get to your new PC.

This is especially helpful because the first thing you should do when you do actually connect to the Internet is head directly for Winbl@ws Update. This is the most important tip in this guide—the only place you should be heading on the Web when you first connect your PC to the Internet is the Winbl@ws Update page. You will not have time to check movie times or football scores. The 12 minute countdown to possible infection starts as soon as connect.



Flashget Tweak


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

Open up your regedit....

start menu - run - regedit

go to string....

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\JetCar\JetCar\General

right click on right box
click "new string value"...

type... Max Parallel Num
now right click on the new string and click modify
type 100

now, rt click again on right box...
click "new string value"...
type... MaxSimJobs
now right click on the new string and click modify
add the value 100

close registry editor...
open your flashget, now start a download.. right click on the jet.. and add new jet.. do it again, do it again.. continue this or go to default download properties and increase the jets up to a value of 100 split parts... you dont really need that many. I use 30 parts and my speed is increased up to 12-30 kb/s per split part.. amazing difference in d/l speed. If you use default settings to integrate, the program will only allow 23 split parts.. addition parts have to be manually added.



Tweak DNS Settings for Faster Internet Access


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

You use the Web by typing in hostnames such as www.oreilly.com, but web servers and Internet routers can't understand plain English words, so they need those letters translated into numeric IP addresses. Whenever you type in a hostname, such as www.oreilly.com, it needs to be resolved to its IP address, such as 208.201.239.37. DNS servers provide that name resolution automatically and behind the scenes as you surf the Web.

There are several ways you can hack your DNS settings so that you can get faster web access.

Speed Up Web Access with a HOSTS File

It takes time to send your request to a DNS server, have the server look up the proper IP address to resolve the name, and then send the IP address back to your PC. You can eliminate that delay by creating or editing a local HOSTS file on your own PC that contains hostnames and their corresponding IP addresses. When you create one, XP will first look into the HOSTS file to see if there's an entry for the hostname, and, if it finds it, it will resolve the address itself. That way, you won't have to go out to a DNS server and wait for the response before visiting a web site. The HOSTS file is a plain text file you can create or edit with a text editor like Notepad.

You'll find an existing HOSTS file in C:\System32\Drivers\Etc\HOSTS. The file has no extension; it is named only HOSTS. Open it in Notepad and enter the IP addresses and hostnames of your commonly visited web sites, like this:

208.201.239.37 oreilly.com
216.92131.107 simtel.net

Each entry in the file should be on one line. The IP address should be in the first column, and the corresponding hostname in the next column. At least one space should separate the two columns. You can add comments to the file by preceding the line with a #, in which case the entire line will be ignored by the file, or by putting a # after the hostname, in which case only the comment after will be ignored. You might want to comment on individual entries-for example:

130.94.155.164 gralla.com #still in beta

When you're finished editing the file, save it to its existing location.

WARNING: Make sure to check your HOSTS file regularly and keep it up to date, or else you may deny yourself access to certain web sites. For example, if the http://www.gralla.com/ web site were to change its IP address, but your HOSTS file kept the old, incorrect address, your browser would not be able to find the site, because it would be given the wrong addressing information.
Adjust XP's DNS Cache Settings

As a way of speeding up DNS, when you visit a site, XP puts the DNS information into a local DNS cache on your PC. So, when you want to go to a site, XP first looks in its local DNS cache, called the resolve cache, to see whether the DNS information is contained there. That way, if it finds the information locally, it doesn't have to query a remote DNS server to find IP information. The cache is made up of recently queried names and entries taken from your HOSTS file.

The cache contains both negative and positive entries. Positive entries are those in which the DNS lookup succeeded, and you were able to connect to the web site. When XP looks in the cache, if it finds a positive entry, it immediately uses that DNS information and sends you to the requested web site.

Negative entries are those in which no match was found, and you end up getting a "Cannot find server or DNS Error" in your browser. Similarly, when XP looks in the cache and finds a negative entry, it gives you the error message without bothering to go out to the site.

Negative entries can lead to problems. When you try to make a connection to a site that has a negative entry in your cache, you'll get an error message, even if the site's problems have been resolved and it's now reachable.

You can solve this problem, though, using a Registry hack. By default, XP caches negative entries for five minutes. After five minutes, they're cleared from your cache. But if you'd like, you can force XP not to cache these negative entries, so that you'll never run into this problem. Run the Registry Editor and go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Dnscache\Parameters. Create a new DWORD value with the name NegativeCacheTime and give it a value of 0. (The value may already exist. If it does, edit its value to 0.) The DWORD determines how much time, in seconds, to keep negative entries in the DNS cache. If you like, you can have the entries stay alive for one second by giving it a value of 1.

After you're done editing, exit the Registry. To make the change take effect, restart your computer, or flush your cache by issuing the command ipconfig /flushdns at a command prompt.

That command will flush your DNS cache-all the entries, both positive and negative, will be flushed, and it will be empty until you start visiting web sites. Negative entries, however, will not be added to the cache if you've given the DWORD a value of 0.

You can also use the Registry to control the amount of time that positive entries are kept in the DNS cache. By default, they are kept for 24 hours. To change the default, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Dnscache\Parameters again and create a DWORD value called MaxCacheEntryTtlLimit. (If it's already present, just edit the value.) For the value, enter the amount of time you want the entry to remain, in seconds, making sure to use Decimal as the base.
Fix DNS Problems

Sometimes when you can't connect to a web site, the cause is a DNS problem. There are things you can do to solve these problems, though. If you're having trouble connecting, to find out if DNS is a potential culprit first ping the site to which you can't connect, by issuing the ping command like this at the command prompt or Run box, like this:

ping www.zdnet.com

If the site is live, you'll get an answer like this:

Pinging www.zdnet.com [206.16.6.252] with 32 bytes of data:

Reply from 206.16.6.252: bytes=32 time=119ms TTL=242
Reply from 206.16.6.252: bytes=32 time=79ms TTL=242
Reply from 206.16.6.252: bytes=32 time=80ms TTL=242
Reply from 206.16.6.252: bytes=32 time=101ms TTL=242

Ping statistics for 206.16.6.252:
Packets: Sent

4, Received

4, Lost =
0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum

79ms, Maximum

119ms, Average =
94ms

If it's not, you'll get a response like this:

Ping request could not find host. Please check the name and try again.

If you ping a site and it's live, but you can't connect to it with your browser, a DNS problem might be the reason. If you suspect you're having a DNS problem, take the following actions:

Check your HOSTS file. If your HOSTS file contains an incorrect or outdated listing, you won't be able to connect. Even if you don't recall adding listings to a HOSTS file, it still may contain listings, because some Internet accelerator utilities edit them without telling you. Open your HOSTS file with Notepad and see if the site you can't connect to is listed there. If it is, delete the entry, and you should be able to connect.

Check your DNS settings. Make sure your DNS settings are correct for your ISP or network. Find out from your ISP or network administrator what yours are supposed to be. Then, to find out your current DNS settings, double-click on the problem connection in the Network Connections folder, choose Support ’ Details, look at the bottom of the tab to find your DNS servers. If they don't match what they're supposed to be, right-click on the problem connection and choose Properties. Then, highlight Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and choose Properties. Change the DNS servers to the proper ones, or choose "Obtain DNS server address automatically" if your ISP or network administrator tells you to.

Flush your DNS cache. The problem may be related to your DNS cache, so flush it out. To flush the cache, type ipconfig /flushdns at a command prompt.

Find out if your ISP is having DNS problems. The cause may be your ISP. One possibility is that one of its DNS servers is down, and you're trying to access the down server. Ping each of your ISP's DNS servers and, if any of them don't respond, remove them from your DNS list, as outlined earlier in this hack.



MS Update - An Alternative To Window's Update


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

MS Update is a new service that is very similar to Window's Update. It provides all the same features of Window's Update with the major difference being that it provides updates for other products such as Office. The obvious benefit of MS Update over that of Window's Update is that you do not need to search for and download updates for Win OS and other MS applications installed on your computer. Instead you can get all the updates for all the products from one location.

The MS Update service is not installed by default. You can install the service in Win XP by completing the steps that are described below.

Go to update of MS site. Can find it on index page.
Click the Start Now button.
Click Continue after reading the licensing agreement.
If necessary, follow the on-screen instructions to install the ActiveX control.
Click the Install button when the Security Warning dialog box.
Once the installation is complete, a MS Update option will be added to the Start Menu. The new service also works with the Automatic Updates settings configured through the System Properties dialog box

I've gone through all these steps and it really works. Just have downloaded without problem MS Office 11's SP2. Offered me also some Outlook 2003 stuff but I don't use it.



Untold Windows Tips kept secret by Microsoft


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

These are a few collection of Tips and Tricks which no body normally knows, the secrets which MickeyMouseS@ft is afraid to tell the people

Note: Please backup your registry before starting

Exiting Winbl@ws the Cool and Quick Way

Normally it takes a hell lot of time just Shutting down Winbl@ws, you have to move your mouse to the Start Button, click on it, move it again over Shut Down, click, then move it over the necessary option and click, then move the cursor over the OK button and once again (you guessed it) click.This whole process can be shortened by creating shortcuts on the Desktop which will shut down Winbl@ws at the click of a button. Start by creating a new shortcut( right click and select New> Shortcut). Then in the command line box, type (without the quotes.)

Code:
'C:\windows\rundll.exe user.exe,exitwindowsexec'
.

This Shortcut on clicking will restart Winbl@ws immediately without any Warning. To create a Shortcut to Restarting Winbl@ws, type the following in the Command Line box:

Code:
'c:\windows\rundll.exe user.exe,exitwindows'

This Shortcut on clicking will shut down Winbl@ws immediately without any Warning.

Ban Shutdowns : A trick to Play on Lamers
This is a neat trick you can play on that lamer that has a huge ego.This
section teaches you how to disable the Shut Down option in the Shut Down Dialog Box. This trick involves editing the registry, so please make backups. Launch regedit.exe and go to :

Code:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explor
er
.

In the right pane look for the NoClose Key. If it is not already there then create it by right clicking in the right pane and selecting Code:
New > String Value.(Name it NoCloseKey )
.Now once you see the NoCloseKey in the right pane, right click on it and select Modify. Then Type 1 in the Value Data Box. Doing the above on a Win98 system disables the Shut Down option in the Shut Down Dialog Box. But on a Win95 machine if the value of NoCloseKey is set to 1 then click on the Code:
Start > Shut Down
button displays the following error message:

Code:
This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator.

Quote:
You can enable the shut down option by changing the value of NoCloseKey to 0 or simply deleting the particular entry i.e. deleting NoCloseKey.

Instead of performing the above difficult to remember process, simply save the following with an extension of .reg and add it's contents to the registry by double clicking on it.

Code:
REGEDIT4
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explo
rer]

"NoClose"="1"

Disabling Display of Drives in My Computer

This is yet another trick you can play on your geek friend. To disable the display of local or networked drives when you click My Computer go to :

Code:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explor
er

Quote:
Now in the right pane create a new DWORD item and name it NoDrives. Now modify it's value and set it to 3FFFFFF (Hexadecimal) Now press F5 to refresh. When you click on My Computer, no drives will be shown. To enable display of drives in My Computer, simply delete this DWORD item.

It's .reg file is as follows:

Code:
REGEDIT4
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explo
rer]

"NoDrives"=dword:03ffffff

Take Over the Screen Saver: To activate and deactivate the screen saver whenever you want, goto the following registry key:

Code:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ScreenSavers

Now add a new string value and name it Mouse Corners. Edit this new value to -Y-N. Press F5 to refresh the registry. Voila! Now you can activate your screensaver by simply placing the mouse cursor at the top right corner of the screen and if you take the mouse to the bottom left corner of the screen, the screensaver will deactivate.

Pop a banner each time Winbl@ws Boots: To pop a banner which can contain any message you want to display just before a user is going to log on, go to the key: Code:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WinLogon

Now create a new string Value in the right pane named LegalNoticeCaption and enter the value that you want to see in the Menu Bar. Now create yet another new string value and name it: LegalNoticeText. Modify it and insert the message you want to display each time Winbl@ws boots. This can be effectively used to display the company's private policy each time the user logs on to his NT box. It's .reg file would be:

Code:
REGEDIT4
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]

"LegalNoticeCaption"="Caption here."

Delete the Tips of the Day to save 5KB

Winbl@ws 95 had these tips of the day which appeared on a system running a newly installed Winbl@ws OS. These tips of the day are stored in the Winbl@ws Registry and consume 5K of space. For those of you who are really concerned about how much free space your hard disk has, this is the perfect trick. To save 5K go to the following key in Regedit:

Code:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Tips

Now simply delete these tricks by selecting and pressing the DEL key.

Change the Default Locations To change the default drive or path where Winbl@ws will look for it's installation files, go to the key:

Code:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\SourcePa
th

Now you can edit as you wish.

Secure your Desktop Icons and Settings: You can save your desktop settings and secure it from your nerdy friend by playing with the registry. Simply launch the Registry Editor go to:

Code:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explor
er

In the right pane create a new DWORD Value named NoSaveSettings and modify it's value to 1. Refresh and restart for the settings to get saved.

Customizing the Right Click Context Menu of the Start Menu

When you right click on the start menu, only 3 options pop up: Open, Explore, and Find. You can add your own programs to this pop up menu
( which comes up when we right click on it.) Open Regedit and go to the following registry key:

Code:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\Shell

Right click on the shell and create a new Sub Key (You can create a new SubKey by right clicking on the Shell Key and selecting New > Key.). Type in the name of the application you want to add to the start menu. Now right click on the new registry key that you just created and create yet another new key named Command.

Enter the full path of the application and modify the value of the default string value and enter the full pathname of the software.
Now press F5 to refresh. Now if you right click on the Start Button you will find a new addition to the Pop Up Menu called Notepad. Clicking on it will launch Notepad. We can not only add but also remove the existing options in this pop up box. To delete the Find option, go to the following registry key:

Code:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\Shell\Find

Delete Find. DO NOT delete Open else you will not be able to open any folders in the Start Menu like Programs, Accessories etc.

Making the Internet Explorer & the Explorer Toolbars Fancy

The Internet Explorer toolbar looks pretty simple. Want to make it fancy and kewl? Why not add a background image to it. To do this kewl hack launch the Winbl@ws Registry Editor and go to the following key:

Code:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\ Internet Explorer\Toolbar\.

Now in the right pane create a new String Value and name it BackBitmap and modify it's value to the path of the Bitmap you want to dress it up with by rightclicking on it and choosing Modify.
When you reboot the Internet Explorer and the Winbl@ws Explorer toolbars will have a new look.

Change Internet Explorer's Caption

Don't like the caption of Internet Explorer caption? Want to change it? Open the registry editor and go to Code:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main

In the right pane create a new String Value named Window Title (Note the space between Window and Title). Right click on this newly created String Value and select Modify. Type in the new caption you want to be displayed. Restart for the settings to take place.

ONE MORE THING; SOME OF THESE ARE BASED ON WIN 95 BUT THESE CERTAINLY ARE INTERESTING.



XP Tweaks, Part 1


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

Found this on a Russian site, so the English may not be the greatest.

Unlocking WinXP's setupp.ini
================

WinXP's setupp.ini controls how the CD acts. IE is it an OEM version or retail? First, find your setupp.ini file in the i386 directory on your WinXP CD. Open it up, it'll look something like this:

ExtraData=707A667567736F696F697911AE7E05
Pid=55034000

The Pid value is what we're interested in. What's there now looks like a standard default. There are special numbers that determine if it's a retail, oem, or volume license edition. First, we break down that number into two parts. The first five digits determines how the CD will behave, ie is it a retail cd that lets you clean install or upgrade, or an oem cd that only lets you perform a clean install? The last three digits determines what CD key it will accept. You are able to mix and match these values. For example you could make a WinXP cd that acted like a retail cd, yet accepted OEM keys.

Now, for the actual values. Remember the first and last values are interchangable, but usually you'd keep them as a pair:

Retail = 51882 335
Volume License = 51883 270
OEM = 82503 OEM

So if you wanted a retail CD that took retail keys, the last line of your setupp.ini file would read:

Pid=51882335

And if you wanted a retail CD that took OEM keys, you'd use:

Pid=51882OEM

How do I get the "Administrator" name on Welcome Screen?
============================================

To get Admin account on the "Welcome Screen" as well as the other usernames, make sure that there are no accounts logged in.

Press "ctrl-alt-del" twice and you should be able to login as administrator!

finally worked for me after i found out that all accounts have to be logged out first

Fix Movie Inteferance in AVI files
======================

If you have any AVI files that you saved in Winbl@ws 9x, which have interference when opened in Winbl@ws XP, there is an easy fix to get rid of the interference:

Open Winbl@ws Movie Maker.
Click View and then click Options.
Click in the box to remove the check mark beside Automatically create clips.

Now, import the movie file that has interference and drag it onto the timeline. Then save the movie, and during the rerendering, the interference will be removed.

Create a Password Reset Disk
================

If you’re running Winbl@ws XP Professional as a local user in a workgroup environment, you can create a password reset disk to log onto your computer when you forget your password. To create the disk:

Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click User Accounts.
Click 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

Change Web Page Font Size on the Fly
========================

If your mouse contains a wheel for scrolling, you can change font size on the fly when viewing a Web page. To do so:

Press and hold Ctrl. Scroll down (or towards yourself) to enlarge the font size. Scroll up (or away from yourself) to reduce the font size.

You might find it useful to reduce font size when printing a Web page, so that you can fit more content on the page.

WinXP Clear Page file on shutdown
=====================

WINXPCPS.REG (WinXP Clear Page file on shutdown)

This Registration (.REG) file clears the Page file when you power off the computer.
Restart Winbl@ws for these changes to take effect!
ALWAYS BACKUP YOUR SYSTEM BEFORE MAKING ANY CHANGES!

Browse to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ System \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ Session Manager \ Memory Management

and add the DWORD variable "ClearPageFileAtShutdown"=dword:00000001

You can also do this without reg hacking.
Go to Control panel Administartative tools, local security policy. then goto local policies ---> security options.
Then change the option for "Shutdown: Clear Virtual Memory Pagefile"

Group Policy for Winbl@ws XP
===============

One of the most full featured Winbl@ws XP configuration tools available is hidden right there in your system, but most people don't even know it exists. It's called the Local Group Policy Editor, or gpedit for short. To invoke this editor, select Start and then Run, then type the following:

gpedit.msc

After you hit ENTER, you'll be greeted by gpedit, which lets you modify virtually every feature in Winbl@ws XP without having to resort to regedit. Dig around and enjoy!

Forgetting What Your Files Are?
===================

This procedure works under NTFS.

As times goes along you have a lot files on your computer. You are going to forget what they are. Well here is way to identify them as you scroll through Winbl@ws Explorer in the future.

This procedure works under NTFS.

1.. Open up a folder on your system that you want to keep track of the different files you might one to identify in the future.

2.. Under View make certain that you set it to the Details.

3.. Highlight the file you want to keep more information on. Right click the file and you will get a pop up menu. Click on properties.

4.. Click on the Summary Tab (make sure it says simple not advanced on the button in the box), You should now get the following fields,

Title,Subject, Author, Category, Keywords, Comments

You will see advanced also if you have changed it to simple, Here will be other fields you can fill in.

5.. Next you can fill in what ever field you want.

6.. After you finished click the apply button then OK.

7.. Next right click the bar above your files, under the address barand you should get a drop down menu. Here you can click the fields you want to display.

8.. You should now see a list with the new fields and any comments you have done.

9.. Now if you want to sort these just right click a blank spot and then you sort the information to your liking.

Temporarily Assign Yourself Administrative Permissions
==========================================

Many programs require you to have Administrative permissions to be able to install them. Here is an easy way to temporarily assign yourself Administrative permissions while you remain logged in as a normal user.

Hold down the Shift key as you right-click on the program’s setup file.

Click Run as.

Type in a username and password that have Administrative permissions.

This will also work on applications in the Start menu.

Create a Shortcut to Lock Your Computer
===========================

Leaving your computer in a hurry but you don’t want to log off? You can double-click a shortcut on your desktop to quickly lock the keyboard and display without using CTRL+ALT+DEL or a screensaver.

To create a shortcut on your desktop to lock your computer:

Right-click the desktop.
Point to New, and then click Shortcut.

The Create Shortcut Wizard opens. In the text box, type the following:
rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation

Click Next.

Enter a name for the shortcut. You can call it "Lock Workstation" or choose any name you like.

Click Finish.

You can also change the shortcut's icon (my personal favorite is the padlock icon in shell32.dll).

To change the icon:

Right click the shortcut and then select Properties.
Click the Shortcut tab, and then click the Change Icon button.

In the Look for icons in this file text box, type:
Shell32.dll.

Click OK.

Select one of the icons from the list and then click OK

You could also give it a shortcut keystroke such CTRL+ALT+L. This would save you only one keystroke from the normal command, but it could be more convenient.

Create a Shortcut to Start Remote Desktop
=============================

Tip: You can add a shortcut to the desktop of your home computer to quickly start Remote Desktop and connect to your office computer.

To create a shortcut icon to start Remote Desktop

Click Start, point to More Programs, point to Accessories, point to Communications, and then click on Remote Desktop Connection.

Click Options.

Configure settings for the connection to your office computer.

Click Save As, and enter a name, such as Office Computer. Click Save.

Open the Remote Desktops folder.

Right-click on the file named Office Computer, and then click Create Shortcut.

Drag the shortcut onto the desktop of your home computer.

To start Remote Desktop and connect to your office computer, double-click on the shortcut

Instantly Activate a Screensaver
====================

Turn on a screensaver without having to wait by adding a shortcut to your desktop:

Click the Start button, and then click Search.
In the Search Companion window, click All file types.

In the file name box, type *.scr

In the Look in box, choose Local Hard Drives (C or the drive where you have system files stored on your computer.

Click Search.

You will see a list of screensavers in the results. Pick a screensaver you want. You can preview it by double-clicking it.

Right click on the file, choose Send To, and then click Desktop (create shortcut).

To activate the screensaver, double-click the icon on your desktop

Add a Map Drive Button to the Toolbar
=========================

Do you want to quickly map a drive, but can’t find the toolbar button? If you map drives often, use one of these options to add a Map Drive button to the folder toolbar.

Option One (Long Term Fix)

Click Start, click My Computer, right-click the toolbar, then unlock the toolbars, if necessary.

Right-click the toolbar again, and then click Customize.

Under Available toolbar buttons, locate Map Drive, and drag it into the position you want on the right under Current toolbar buttons.

Click Close, click OK, and then click OK again.

You now have drive mapping buttons on your toolbar, so you can map drives from any folder window. To unmap drives, follow the above procedure, selecting Disconnect under Available toolbar buttons. To quickly map a drive, try this option.

Option Two (Quick Fix)

Click Start, and right-click My Computer.
Click Map Network Drive.

If you place your My Computer icon directly on the desktop, you can make this move in only two clicks!

Software not installing?
============

If you have a piece of software that refuses to install because it says that you are not running Winbl@ws 2000 (such as the Win2K drivers for a Mustek scanner!!) you can simply edit HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/ProductName to say MickeyMouseS@ft Winbl@ws 2000 instead of XP and it will install. You may also have to edit the version number or build number, depending on how hard the program tries to verify that you are installing on the correct OS. I had to do this for my Mustek 600 CP scanner (compatibility mode didn''t help!!!) and it worked great, so I now have my scanner working with XP (and a tech at Mustek can now eat his words).

BTW, don''t forget to restore any changes you make after you get your software installed

You do this at your own risk.

Use your Winbl@ws Key
========

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

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



XP Tweaks, Part 2


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

Remove the Shared Documents folders from My Computer
========================================

One of the most annoying things about the new Winbl@ws XP user interface is that MickeyMouseS@ft saw fit to provide links to all of the Shared Documents folders on your system, right at the top of the My Computer window. I can't imagine why this would be the default, even in a shared PC environment at home, but what's even more annoying is that you cannot change this behavior through the sh*ll
: Those icons are stuck there and you have to live with it.
Until now, that is.

Simply fire up the Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ MickeyMouseS@ft \ Winbl@ws \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ My Computer \ NameSpace \ DelegateFolders

You'll see a sub-key named {59031a47-3f72-44a7-89c5-5595fe6b30ee}. If you delete this, all of the Shared Documents folders (which are normally under the group called "Other Files Stored on This Computer" will be gone.

You do not need to reboot your system to see the change.

Before: A cluttered mess with icons no one will ever use (especially that orpaned one). After: Simplicity itself, and the way it should be by default.

This tip For older XP builds
=======

Edit or remove the "Comments" link in window title bars

During the Winbl@ws XP beta, MickeyMouseS@ft has added a "Comments?" hyperlink to the title bar of each window in the system so that beta testers can more easily send in a problem report about the user interface. But for most of us, this isn't an issue, and the Comments link is simply a visual distraction. And for many programs that alter the title bar, the Comments link renders the Minimize, Maximize, and Close window buttons unusable, so it's actually a problem.
Let's get rid of it. Or, if you're into this kind of thing, you can edit it too.

Open the Registry Editor and navigate to the following keys:
My Computer \ HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Control Panel \ Desktop \ LameButtonEnabled
My Computer \ HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Control Panel \ Desktop \ LameButtonText

The first key determines whether the link appears at all; change its value to 0 to turn it off. The second key lets you have a little fun with the hyperlink; you can change the text to anything you'd like, such as "Paul Thurrott" or whatever.

Editing either value requires a restart before the changes take effect.

Before: An unnecessary hyperlink. Have some fun with it! Or just remove it entirely. It's up to you.

Rip high-quality MP3s in Winbl@ws Media Player 8
====================================

The relationship between Winbl@ws Media Player 8 and the MP3 audio format is widely misunderstood. Basically, WMP8 will be able to playback MP3 files, but encoding (or "ripping" CD audio into MP3 format will require an MP3 plug-in. So during the Winbl@ws XP beta, MickeyMouseS@ft is supplying a sample MP3 plug-in for testing purposes, but it's limited to 56 Kbps rips, which is pretty useless. However, if you have an externally installed MP3 codec, you can use WMP8 to rip at higher bit rates. But you'll have to edit the Registry to make this work.
Fire up the Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ MickeyMouseS@ft \ MediaPlayer \ Settings \ MP3Encoding

Here, you'll see sub-keys for LowRate and LowRateSample, which of course equates to the single 56 Kbps sample rate you see in WMP8. To get better sampling rates, try adding the following keys (Using New then DWORD value):

"LowRate" = DWORD value of 0000dac0
"MediumRate" = DWORD value of 0000fa00
"MediumHighRate" = DWORD value of 0001f400
"HighRate" = DWORD value of 0002ee00

Now, when you launch WMP8 and go into Tools, then Options, then Copy Music, you will have four encoding choices for MP3: 56 Kbps, 64 Kbps, 128 Kbps, and 192 Kbps. Note that you will not get higher bit rate encoding unless you have installed an MP3 codec separately; the version in Winbl@ws Media Player 8 is limited to 56 Kbps only.

Find the appropriate location in the Registry... ...add a few DWORD values... ...And then you'll be ripping CDs in higher-quality MP3 format!

Speed up the Start Menu
===========

The default speed of the Start Menu is pretty slow, but you can fix that by editing a Registry Key. Fire up the Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Control Panel \ Desktop \ MenuShowDelay

By default, the value is 400. Change this to a smaller value, such as 0, to speed it up.

Speed up the Start Menu (Part two)
======================

If your confounded by the slow speed of the Start Menu, even after using the tip above, then you might try the following: Navigate to Display Properties then Appearance then Advanced and turn off the option titled Show menu shadow . You will get much better overall performance.

Speed up Internet Explorer 6 Favorites
==========================

For some reason, the Favorites menu in IE 6 seems to slow down dramatically sometimes--I've noticed this happens when you install Tweak UI 1.33, for example, and when you use the preview tip to speed up the Start menu. But here's a fix for the problem that does work, though it's unclear why:
Just open a command line window (Start button -> Run -> cmd) and type sfc, then hit ENTER. This command line runs the System File Checker, which performs a number of services, all of which are completely unrelated to IE 6. But there you go: It works.

Do an unattended installation
=================

The Winbl@ws XP Setup routine is much nicer than that in Winbl@ws 2000 or Winbl@ws Me, but it's still an hour-long process that forces you to sit in front of your computer for an hour, answering dialog boxes and typing in product keys. But Winbl@ws XP picks up one of the more useful features from Winbl@ws 2000, the ability to do an unattended installation, so you can simply prepare a script that will answer all those dialogs for you and let you spend some quality time with your family.
I've written about Winbl@ws 2000 unattended installations and the process is pretty much identical on Winbl@ws XP, so please read that article carefully before proceeding. And you need to be aware that this feature is designed for a standalone Winbl@ws XP system: If you want to dual-boot Winbl@ws XP with another OS, you're going to have to go through the interactive Setup just like everyone else: An unattended install will wipe out your hard drive and install only Winbl@ws XP, usually.

To perform an unattended installation, you just need to work with the Setup Manager, which is located on the Winbl@ws XP CD-ROM in D:\SupportTools\DEPLOY.CAB by default: Extract the contents of this file and you'll find a number of useful tools and help files; the one we're interested in is named setupmgr.exe. This is a very simple wizard application that will walk you through the process of creating an answer file called winnt.sif that can be used to guide Winbl@ws XP Setup through the unattended installation.

One final tip: There's one thing that Setup Manager doesn't add: Your product key. However, you can add this to the unattend.txt file manually. Simply open the file in Notepad and add the following line under the [UserData] section:

ProductID=RK7J8-2PGYQ-P47VV-V6PMB-F6XPQ

(This is a 60 day cd key)

Then, just copy winnt.sif to a floppy, put your Winbl@ws XP CD-ROM in the CD drive, and reboot: When the CD auto-boots, it will look for the unattend.txt file in A: automatically, and use it to answer the Setup questions if it's there.

Finally, please remember that this will wipe out your system! Back up first, and spend some time with the help files in DEPLOY.CAB before proceeding.

For Older builds or not using setupreg.hiv file
===================================

Remove the Desktop version text

During the Winbl@ws XP beta, you will see text in the lower right corner of the screen that says Winbl@ws XP Professional, Evaluation Copy. Build 2462 or similar. A lot of people would like to remove this text for some reason, and while it's possible to do so, the cure is more damaging than the problem, in my opinion. So the following step will remove this text, but you'll lose a lot of the nice graphical effects that come in Winbl@ws XP, such as the see-through icon text.

To remove the desktop version text, open Display Properties (right-click the desktop, then choose Properties) and navigate to the Desktop page. Click Customize Desktop and then choose the Web page in the resulting dialog. On this page, check the option titled Lock desktop items. Click OK to close the dialog, and then OK to close Display Properties. The text disappears. But now the rest of your system is really ugly. You can reverse the process by unchecking Lock desktop items.

There's also a shortcut for this process: Just right-click the desktop and choose Arrange by then Lock Web Icons on the Desktop.





Enable ClearType on the Welcome Screen!
===========================

As laptop users and other LCD owners are quickly realizing, MickeyMouseS@ft ClearType technology in Winbl@ws XP really makes a big difference for readability. But the this feature is enabled on a per-user basis in Winbl@ws 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.

Stop Winbl@ws Messenger from Auto-Starting
=============================

If you're not a big fan of Winbl@ws Messenger simply delete the following Registry Key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\MSMSGS

Display Hibernate Option on the Shut Down dialog
====================================

For some reason, Hibernate may not be 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!

Add album art to any music folder
=====================

One of the coolest new features in Winbl@ws XP is its album thumbnail generator, which automatically places the appropriate album cover art on the folder to which you are copying music (generally in WMA format). But what about those people that have already copied their CDs to the hard drive using MP3 format? You can download album cover art from sites such as cdnow.com or amguide.com, and then use the new Winbl@ws XP folder customize feature to display the proper image for each folder. But this takes time--you have to manually edit the folder properties for every single folder--and you will lose customizations if you have to reinstall the OS. There's an excellent fix, however.

When you download the album cover art from the Web, just save the images as folder.jpg each time and place them in the appropriate folder. Then, Winbl@ws XP will automatically use that image as the thumbnail for that folder and, best of all, will use that image in Winbl@ws Media Player for Winbl@ws XP (MPXP) if you choose to display album cover art instead of a visualization. And the folder customization is automatic, so it survives an OS reinstallation as well. Your music folders never looked so good!

Album cover art makes music folder thumbnails look better than ever!

Change the location of the My Music or My Pictures folders
==============================================

In Winbl@ws 2000, MickeyMouseS@ft added the ability to right-click the My Documents folder and choose a new location for that folder in the sh*ll
. With Winbl@ws XP, MickeyMouseS@ft has elevated the My Music and My Pictures folders to the same "special sh*ll
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 Winbl@ws XP will update all of the references to that folder to the new location, including the Start menu.

Or use Tweak UI

Add/Remove optional features of Winbl@ws XP
==============================

To dramatically expand the list of applications you can remove from Winbl@ws XP after installation, navigate to C:\WINDOWS\inf (substituting the correct drive letter for your version of Windows) and open the sysoc.inf file. Under Winbl@ws XP Professional Edition RC1, this file will resemble the following by default:

[Version] Signature = "$Windows NT$"
DriverVer=06/26/2001,5.1.2505.0

[Components]
NtComponents=ntoc.dll,NtOcSetupProc,,4
WBEM=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,wbemoc.inf,hide,7
Display=desk.cpl,DisplayOcSetupProc,,7
Fax=fxsocm.dll,FaxOcmSetupProc,fxsocm.inf,,7
NetOC=netoc.dll,NetOcSetupProc,netoc.inf,,7
iis=iis.dll,OcEntry,iis.inf,,7
com=comsetup.dll,OcEntry,comnt5.inf,hide,7
dtc=msdtcstp.dll,OcEntry,dtcnt5.inf,hide,7
IndexSrv_System = setupqry.dll,IndexSrv,setupqry.inf,,7
TerminalServer=TsOc.dll, HydraOc, TsOc.inf,hide,2
msmq=msmqocm.dll,MsmqOcm,msmqocm.inf,,6
ims=imsinsnt.dll,OcEntry,ims.inf,,7
fp_extensions=fp40ext.dll,FrontPage4Extensions,fp40ext.inf,,7
AutoUpdate=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,au.inf,hide,7
msmsgs=msgrocm.dll,OcEntry,msmsgs.inf,hide,7
msnexplr=ocmsn.dll,OcEntry,msnmsn.inf,,7
smarttgs=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,msnsl.inf,,7
RootAutoUpdate=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,rootau.inf,,7
Games=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,games.inf,,7
AccessUtil=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,accessor.inf,,7
CommApps=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,communic.inf,HIDE,7
MultiM=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,multimed.inf,HIDE,7
AccessOpt=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,optional.inf,HIDE,7
Pinball=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,pinball.inf,HIDE,7
MSWordPad=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,wordpad.inf,HIDE,7
ZoneGames=zoneoc.dll,ZoneSetupProc,igames.inf,,7

[Global]
WindowTitle=%WindowTitle%
WindowTitle.StandAlone="*"

The entries that include the text hide or HIDE will not show up in Add/Remove Winbl@ws Components by default. To fix this, do a global search and replace for ,hide and change each instance of this to , (a comma). Then, save the file, relaunch Add/Remove Winbl@ws Components, and tweak the installed applications to your heart's content.

Cool, eh? There are even more new options now under "Accessories and Utilities" too.

Remove Winbl@ws Messenger
============

It seems that a lot of people are interested in removing Winbl@ws Messenger for some reason, though I strongly recommend against this: In Winbl@ws XP, Winbl@ws Messenger will be the hub of your connection to the .NET world, and now that this feature is part of Winbl@ws, I think we're going to see a lot of .NET Passport-enabled Web sites appearing as well. But if you can't stand the little app, there are a couple of ways to get rid of it, and ensure that it doesn't pop up every time you boot into XP. The best way simply utilizes the previous tip:

If you'd like Winbl@ws Messenger to show up in the list of programs you can add and remove from Winbl@ws, navigate to C:\WINDOWS\inf (substituting the correct drive letter for your version of Windows) and open sysoc.inf (see the previous tip for more information about this file). You'll see a line that reads:

msmsgs=msgrocm.dll,OcEntry,msmsgs.inf,hide,7

Change this to the following and Winbl@ws Messenger will appear in Add or Remove Programs, then Add/Remove Winbl@ws Components, then , and you can remove it for good:

msmsgs=msgrocm.dll,OcEntry,msmsgs.inf,7



XP Registry Hacks


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

Backup Registry Before Trying................or else ????

Winbl@ws Prefetcher

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


Under this key there is a setting called EnablePrefetcher, the default setting of which is 3. Increasing this number to 5 gives the prefetcher system more system resources to prefetch application data for faster load times. Depending on the number of boot processes you run on your computer, you may get benefits from settings up to 9. However, I do not have any substantive research data on settings above 5 so I cannot verify the benefits of a higher setting. This setting also may effect the loading times of your most frequently launched applications. This setting will not take effect until after you reboot your system.

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

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

Optimize Boot Files
*
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ MickeyMouseS@ft \ Dfrg \ BootOptimizeFunction]


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

Optimizing Startup Programs [msconfig]

MSConfig, similar to the application included in Win9x of the same name, allows the user to fine tune the applications that are launched at startup without forcing the user to delve deep into the registry. To disable some of the applications launched, load msconfig.exe from the run command line, and go to the Startup tab. From there, un-ticking the checkbox next to a startup item will stop it from launching. There are a few application that you will never want to disable (ctfmon comes to mind), but for the most part the best settings vary greatly from system to system.

As a good rule of thumb, though, it is unlikely that you will want to disable anything in the Winbl@ws directory (unless it's a third-party program that was incorrectly installed into the Winbl@ws directory), nor will you want to disable anything directly relating to your system hardware. The only exception to this is when you are dealing with software, which does not give you any added benefits (some OEM dealers load your system up with software you do not need). The nice part of msconfig is that it does not delete any of the settings, it simply disables them, and so you can go back and restart a startup application if you find that you need it. This optimization won't take effect until after a reboot.

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


Before attempting to use Bootvis to analyze or optimize the boot performance of your system, make sure that the task scheduler service has been enabled – the program requires the service to run properly. Also, close all open programs as well – using the software requires a reboot.

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

The standard defragmenter included with Winbl@ws XP will not undo the boot optimizations performed by this application.

General Performance Tweaks

IRQ Priority Tweak
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ System \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ PriorityControl]

You will need to create a new DWORD: IRQ#Priority (where # is the number of the IRQ you want to prioritize) and give it a setting of 1. This setting gives the requisite IRQ channel priority over the other IRQs on a software level. This can be extremely important for functions and hardware subsystems that need real-time access to other parts of the system. There are several different subsystems that might benefit from this tweak. Generally, I recommend giving either the System CMOS or the video card priority. The System CMOS generally has an IRQ setting of 8, and giving it priority enhances the I/O performance of the system. Giving priority to the video card can increase frame rates and make AGP more effective.

You can give several IRQs priority, but I am not entirely certain how the system interacts when several IRQs are given priority – it may cause random instabilities in the system, although it is more likely that there's a parsing system built into Winbl@ws XP to handle such an occurrence. Either way, I would not recommend it.

QoS tweak
*

QoS (Quality of Service) is a networking subsystem which is supposed to insure that the network runs properly. The problem with the system is that it eats up 20% of the total bandwidth of any networking service on the computer (including your internet connection). If you are running XP Professional, you can disable the bandwidth quota reserved for the system using the Group Policy Editor [gpedit.msc].

You can run the group policy editor from the Run command line. To find the setting, expand "Local Computer Policy" and go to "Administrative Templates" under "Computer Configuration." Then find the "Network" branch and select "QoS Packet Scheduler." In the right hand box, double click on the "Limit Reservable Bandwidth." From within the Settings tab, enable the setting and then go into the "Bandwidth Limit %" and set it to 0%. The reason for this is that if you disable this setting, the computer defaults to 20%. This is true even when you aren't using QoS.

Free Idle Tasks Tweak
*

This tweak will free up processing time from any idle processes and allow it to be used by the foreground application. It is useful particularly if you are running a game or other 3D application. Create a new shortcut to "Rundll32.exe advapi32.dll,ProcessIdleTasks" and place it on your desktop. Double-click on it anytime you need all of your processing power, before opening the application.

Winbl@ws Indexing Services
Winbl@ws Indexing Services creates a searchable database that makes system searches for words and files progress much faster – however, it takes an enormous amount of hard drive space as well as a significant amount of extra CPU cycles to maintain the system. Most users will want to disable this service to release the resources for use by the system. To turn off indexing, open My Computer and right click on the drive on which you wish to disable the Indexing Service. Enter the drive's properties and under the general tab, untick the box for "Allow the Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching."

Priority Tweak

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ PriorityControl]


This setting effectively runs each instance of an application in its own process for significantly faster application performance and greater stability. This is extremely useful for users with stability problems, as it can isolate specific instances of a program so as not to bring down the entire application. And, it is particularly useful for users of Internet Explorer, for if a rogue web page crashes your browser window, it does not bring the other browser Winbl@ws down with it. It has a similar effect on any software package where multiple instances might be running at once, such as MickeyMouseS@ft Word. The only problem is that this takes up significantly more memory, because such instances of a program cannot share information that is in active memory (many DLLs and such will have to be loaded into memory multiple times). Because of this, it is not recommended for anyone with less than 512 MB of RAM, unless they are running beta software (or have some other reason for needing the added stability).

There are two parts to this tweak. First is to optimize XP's priority control for the processes. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ PriorityControl and set the "Win32PrioritySeparation" DWORD to 38. Next, go into My Computer and under Tools, open the Folder Options menu. Select the View tab and check the "Launch folder Winbl@ws in separate process" box. This setting actually forces each window into its own memory tread and gives it a separate process priority.

Powertweak application
xxx.powertweak.com

Powertweak is an application, which acts much like a driver for our chipsets. It optimizes the communication between the chipset and the CPU, and unlocks several "hidden" features of the chipset that can increase the speed of the system. Specifically, it tweaks the internal registers of the chipset and processor that the BIOS does not for better communication performance between subsystems. Supported CPUs and chipsets can see a significant increase in I/O bandwidth, increasing the speed of the entire system. Currently the application supports most popular CPUs and chipsets, although you will need to check the website for your specific processor/chipset combo – the programmer is working on integrating even more chipsets and CPUs into the software.

Offload Network Task Processing onto the Network Card
*

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Services \ Tcpip \ Parameters]

Many newer network cards have the ability of taking some of the network processing load off of the processor and performing it right on the card (much like Hardware T&L on most new video cards). This can significantly lower the CPU processes needed to maintain a network connection, freeing up that processor time for other tasks. This does not work on all cards, and it can cause network connectivity problems on systems where the service is enabled but unsupported, so please check with your NIC manufacturer prior to enabling this tweak. Find the DWORD "DisableTaskOffload" and set the value to 0 (the default value is 1). If the key is not already available, create it.

Force XP to Unload DLLs
*
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ MickeyMouseS@ft \ Winbl@ws \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer]
"AlwaysUnloadDLL"=dword:00000001


XP has a bad habit of keeping dynamic link libraries that are no longer in use resident in memory. Not only do the DLLs use up precious memory space, but they also tend to cause stability problems in some systems. To force XP to unload any DLLs in memory when the application that called them is no longer in memory, browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ MickeyMouseS@ft \ Winbl@ws \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer and find the DWORD "AlwaysUnloadDLL". You may need to create this key. Set the value to 1 to force the operating system to unload DLLs.

Give 16-bit apps their own separate processes
*
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ WOW]
"DefaultSeparateVDM"="Yes"


By default, Winbl@ws XP will only open one 16-bit process and cram all 16-bit apps running on the system at a given time into that process. This simulates how MS-DOS based systems viewed systems and is necessary for some older applications that run together and share resources. However, most 16-bit applications work perfectly well by themselves and would benefit from the added performance and stability of their own dedicated resources. To force Winbl@ws XP to give each 16-bit application it's own resources, browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ WOW and find the String "DefaultSeparateVDM". If it is not there, you may need to create it. Set the value of this to Yes to give each 16-bit application its own process, and No to have the 16-bit application all run in the same memory space.

Disable User Tracking
*
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ MickeyMouseS@ft \ Winbl@ws \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ Explorer]
"NoInstrumentation"=dword:00000001


The user tracking system built into Winbl@ws XP is useless to 99% of users (there are very few uses for the information collected other than for a very nosy system admin), and it uses up precious resources to boot, so it makes sense to disable this "feature" of Winbl@ws XP. To do so, browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ MickeyMouseS@ft \ Winbl@ws \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ Explorer and find the DWORD "NoInstrumentation". You may need to create this key if it is not there. The default setting is 0, but setting it to 1 will disable most of the user tracking features of the system.

Thumbnail Cache
*

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ MickeyMouseS@ft \ Winbl@ws \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ Advanced]
"DisableThumbnailCache"=dword:00000001

Winbl@ws XP has a neat feature for graphic and video files that creates a "thumbnail" of the image or first frame of the video and makes it into an oversized icon for the file. There are two ways that Explorer can do this, it can create them fresh each time you access the folder or it can load them from a thumbnail cache. The thumbnail caches on systems with a large number of image and video files can become staggeringly large. To disable the Thumbnail Cache, browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ MickeyMouseS@ft \ Winbl@ws \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ Advanced and find the DWORD "DisableThumbnailCache". You may need to create this key. A setting of 1 is recommended for systems where the number of graphic and video files is large, and a setting of 0 is recommended for systems not concerned about hard drive space, as loading the files from the cache is significantly quicker than creating them from scratch each time a folder is accessed.



Low Virtual Memory


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

Virtual memory is used by Winbl@ws to simulate working memory and act as a staging area for the physical memory (commonly referred to as RAM - Random Access Memory).

Whenever you load more programs than will fit in RAM, it uses empty space on the hard drive to simulate additional memory.

Items that are not needed for the current task are sent "backstage" to the virtual memory until needed.

The less RAM you have, the more your system must use the slower virtual memory to juggle all of the applications that you invoke. This is why adding RAM is the "best-bang-for-the-buck" upgrade for increasing the performance of most systems.

When you get a "system low on virtual memory" you are exhausting both the RAM and virtual memory that has been allocated by the operating system.

Under normal circumstances this would only occur if you had actually opened too many programs, but in reality the most common causes for getting this message have less to do with the number of programs the user is opening and more to do with issues that have impacted the operating system.

One possibility that is easy to check is the available free hard drive space used for virtual memory. Open "My Computer" and locate the primary hard drive (usually C and right-click on it then choose "Properties."

A pie chart representing your hard drive will appear with the blue section representing the used space and the purple representing the free space. If the purple is a sliver, it's time to get the "urge to purge!"

Uninstall any unneeded programs and run the Disk Cleanup utility (Programs/Accessories/System Tools) then check the pie chart again. If you still have very little free space, it may be time to get a bigger hard drive.

If you have plenty of drive space, it may be severely fragmented which reduces the amount of "contiguous" space available for virtual memory. A disk utility included in Winbl@ws called Disk Defragmenter or Defrag located in the Programs/Accessories/System Tools folder may help.

Hidden programs that are running in the background (adware, spyware, viruses, worms, and Trojans) is a very common occurrence for Internet connected computers and could be loading down the operating system before you even begin.

Winbl@ws XP users can open the Task Manager (Ctrl-Alt-Del) to see how many "Processes" are running in the background. With all other programs closed, click on the Performance tab in the Task Manager to see a graph that shows CPU Usage History and Page File Usage History.

If the CPU Usage History graph is spiking up and down and no programs are open, you likely have some pests running around in your system.

At the bottom left corner look for the number of Processes running; the lower the better. While there is no exact number that is right for all systems, if you have more than 25 or 30 running with no programs open and your CPU meter is spiking, you may want to have a technical person do a thorough examination of your operating system.

Advanced users can try altering the way virtual memory is allocated by manually setting the minimum and maximum virtual memory settings at 2.5 times the amount of RAM installed on the system. (If you have to ask how, you should not try!)

This will grab a chunk of free drive space to create a permanent paging file that will always be the same size instead of fluctuating as Winbl@ws needs it but make sure you have plenty of free drive space first



Two nice links about get rid of malwares - trojans


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

http://forums.majorgeeks.com/showthread.php?t=35407

http://www.redneckrepairs.com/mallware/



XP light


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin.


Welcome to a new way of configuring Windows! You now have the power! The power to set up YOUR machine the way YOU want to. The power to remove upgrades that go bad. The power to strip potential security and privacy threats out by the roots.
This page contains some basic principles to help you get the most from this amazingly powerful application.

·
Windows File Protection XPlite disables Windows File Protection (WFP) so that you can remove any unwanted Windows operating system components. After your system is set up the way you like it, you can safely re-activate WFP.

·
What goes out, goes back in! What if you change your mind and want to reinstall one of the system components that you previously uninstalled using XPlite? No problem! Each uninstaller is coupled with an equally powerful installer so you can recover uninstalled components.

·
XP System Restore XPlite sets a system restore point before adding or removing features to guarantee you can 'roll-back' changes.

·
Add/Remove is not symmetrical! Please remember that when you re-install from your CDROM you will get whichever version of the software component that is on your CDROM. With relentless upgrades you may not get the same version that you removed previously! XPlite allows you to 'roll-back' to older versions of software when Microsoft say you can not! In some cases the older version may suit YOU better, so we give you the choice.

·
Upgrading Components Everybody loves a clean install. Sometimes, however, you will need to put back the original Windows component before you install the latest upgrade. This is because some installer packages look to find the original version files before proceeding.

·
Setup and Uninstalling XPlite This program is entirely self-contained. There is no bulky installation program and no un-installation program. They are not needed. Just place the program where YOU want it. Please do keep your purchase information SAFE. You will need your activation key again if you ever reinstall windows or upgrade to a new operating system.

·
Your license Please don't forget this is your private copy for your personal use only. If you require a site license or want to use our technology to distribute pre-configured systems then you need to obtain the appropriate license from http://www.litepc.com

·
http://www.litepc.com. Our web site has resources for you. Don't forget to check out our expanding knowledge base and FAQ's If you need more .......please email me...... Dumo.



How 2 know that your comp is infected


Infected by a Virus?


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

If you've let your guard down--or even if you haven't--it can be hard to tell if your PC is infected. Here's what to do if you suspect the worst.

Heard this one before? You must run antivirus software and keep it up to date or else your PC will get infected, you'll lose all your data, and you'll incur the wrath of every e-mail buddy you unknowingly infect because of your carelessness.

You know they're right. Yet for one reason or another, you're not running antivirus software, or you are but it's not up to date. Maybe you turned off your virus scanner because it conflicted with another program. Maybe you got tired of upgrading after you bought Norton Antivirus 2001, 2002, and 2003. Or maybe your annual subscription of virus definitions recently expired, and you've put off renewing.

It happens. It's nothing to be ashamed of. But chances are, either you're infected right now, as we speak, or you will be very soon.

For a few days in late January, the Netsky.p worm was infecting about 2,500 PCs a day. Meanwhile the MySQL bot infected approximately 100 systems a minute (albeit not necessarily desktop PCs). As David Perry, global director of education for security software provider Trend Micro, puts it, "an unprotected [Windows] computer will become owned by a bot within 14 minutes."

Today's viruses, worms, and so-called bots--which turn your PC into a zombie that does the hacker's bidding (such as mass-mailing spam)--aren't going to announce their presence. Real viruses aren't like the ones in Hollywood movies that melt down whole networks in seconds and destroy alien spacecraft. They operate in the background, quietly altering data, stealing private operations, or using your PC for their own illegal ends. This makes them hard to spot if you're not well protected.

Is Your PC "Owned?"

I should start by saying that not every system oddity is due to a virus, worm, or bot. Is your system slowing down? Is your hard drive filling up rapidly? Are programs crashing without warning? These symptoms are more likely caused by Windows, or badly written legitimate programs, rather than malware. After all, people who write malware want to hide their program's presence. People who write commercial software put icons all over your desktop. Who's going to work harder to go unnoticed?

Other indicators that may, in fact, indicate that there's nothing that you need to worry about, include:

  • An automated e-mail telling you that you're sending out infected mail. E-mail viruses and worms typically come from faked addresses.
  • A frantic note from a friend saying they've been infected, and therefore so have you. This is likely a hoax. It's especially suspicious if the note tells you the virus can't be detected but you can get rid of it by deleting one simple file. Don't be fooled--and don't delete that file.

I'm not saying that you should ignore such warnings. Copy the subject line or a snippet from the body of the e-mail and plug it into your favorite search engine to see if other people have received the same note. A security site may have already pegged it as a hoax.

Sniffing Out an Infection

There are signs that indicate that your PC is actually infected. A lot of network activity coming from your system (when you're not actually using Internet) can be a good indicator that something is amiss. A good software firewall, such as ZoneAlarm, will ask your permission before letting anything leave your PC, and will give you enough information to help you judge if the outgoing data is legitimate. By the way, the firewall that comes with Windows, even the improved version in XP Service Pack 2, lacks this capability.

To put a network status light in your system tray, follow these steps: In Windows XP, choose Start, Control Panel, Network Connections, right-click the network connection you want to monitor, choose Properties, check "Show icon in notification area when connected," and click OK.

If you're interested in being a PC detective, you can sniff around further for malware. By hitting Ctrl-Alt-Delete in Windows, you'll bring up the Task Manager, which will show you the various processes your system is running. Most, if not all, are legit, but if you see a file name that looks suspicious, type it into a search engine and find out what it is.

Want another place to look? In Windows XP, click Start, Run, type "services.msc" in the box, and press Enter. You'll see detailed descriptions of the services Windows is running. Something look weird? Check with your search engine.

Finally, you can do more detective work by selecting Start, Run, and typing "msconfig" in the box. With this tool you not only see the services running, but also the programs that your system is launching at startup. Again, check for anything weird.

If any of these tools won't run--or if your security software won't run--that in itself is a good sign your computer is infected. Some viruses intentionally disable such programs as a way to protect themselves.

What to Do Next

Once you're fairly sure your system is infected, don't panic. There are steps you can take to assess the damage, depending on your current level of protection.

  • If you don't have any antivirus software on your system (shame on you), or if the software has stopped working, stay online and go for a free scan at one of several Web sites. There's McAfee FreeScan, Symantec Security Check, and Trend Micro's HouseCall. If one doesn't find anything, try two. In fact, running a free online virus scan is a good way to double-check the work of your own local antivirus program. When you're done, buy or download a real antivirus program.
  • If you have antivirus software, but it isn't active, get offline, unplug wires-- whatever it takes to stop your computer from communicating via the Internet. Then, promptly perform a scan with the installed software.
  • If nothing seems to be working, do more research on the Web. There are several online virus libraries where you can find out about known viruses. These sites often provide instructions for removing viruses--if manual removal is possible--or a free removal tool if it isn't. Check out GriSOFT's Virus Encyclopedia, Eset's Virus Descriptions, McAffee's Virus Glossary, Symantec's Virus Encyclopedia, or Trend Micro's Virus Encyclopedia.

A Microgram of Prevention

Assuming your system is now clean, you need to make sure it stays that way. Preventing a breach of your computer's security is far more effective than cleaning up the mess afterwards. Start with a good security program, such Trend Micro's PC-Cillin, which you can buy for $50.

Don't want to shell out any money? You can cobble together security through free downloads, such as AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition, ZoneAlarm (a personal firewall), and Ad-Aware SE (an antispyware tool).

Just make sure you keep all security software up to date. The bad guys constantly try out new ways to fool security programs. Any security tool without regular, easy (if not automatic) updates isn't worth your money or your time.

Speaking of updating, the same goes for Windows. Use Windows Update (it's right there on your Start Menu) to make sure you're getting all of the high priority updates. If you run Windows XP, make sure to get the Service Pack 2 update. To find out if you already have it, right-click My Computer, and select Properties. Under the General tab, under System, it should say "Service Pack 2."

Here are a few more pointers for a virus-free life:

  • Be careful with e-mail. Set your e-mail software security settings to high. Don't open messages with generic-sounding subjects that don't apply specifically to you from people you don't know. Don't open an attachment unless you're expecting it.
  • If you have broadband Internet access, such as DSL or cable, get a router, even if you only have one PC. A router adds an extra layer of protection because your PC is not connecting directly with the Internet.
  • Check your Internet ports. These doorways between your computer and the Internet can be open, in which case your PC is very vulnerable; closed, but still somewhat vulnerable; or stealthed (or hidden), which is safest. Visit Gibson Research's Web site and run the free ShieldsUP test to see your ports' status. If some ports show up as closed--or worse yet, open--check your router's documentation to find out how to hide them.



Unmountable Boot Drive - possible solution

Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin

Some of you may already know this, but:

Yesterday when restarting my computer I suddenly got a blue screen with the message "unmountable boot drive" and some yada about windows being shut down to protect my system. Restarting in failsafe mode didn't work, and I couldn't access the system at all so I got out my old computer and searched the net for a solution. Every damn place I found told me to start the recovery console (with the Windows XP cd), type "chkdsk /p" and then "fixboot". Well, this didn't work so I fiddled around a bit and found out that you could also do "chkdsk /r" which, if I understand it correctly, forces chkdsk to check the drive AND repair errors in the filestructure, something that /p doesn't.

So "chkdsk /r"and then "fixboot" should work unless your hard drive is broken.

So now I'm back and the computer works fine again. What caused the problem? I'm not sure but I think the fact that Defrag crashed about 5 minutes before my attempted restart had something to do with it...



HOW TO EDIT RIGHT-CLICK MENU

Submiited by RAF_Dumoulin

A lot of programs you install will add themselves to the right-click menu of your files and/or folders. And most times, you have no choice in the matter and, as a result, your right-click menu can get very long with added items you don't even use. The last person I was helping with this had a right context menu so long that the Rename option was no longer visible!
Fortunately, you can easily remove those unwanted menu items, if you know the registry values to edit. And it's not at all difficult once you know the keys responsible for the additions.

For Files, the secret lies in the "context menu handlers" under the shellex subkey for "All Files" which, in the registry, is nothing but an asterisk - like a dos wildcard, which means the values entered apply to all files. It is at the very top of the Root key, right here:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT*shellexContextMenuHandlers

Click the the + sign next to the ContextMenuHandlers key, to expand it.
Now you will see some of the programs that have added items to your right-click menu. Simply delete the program keys you don't want.
Yup! It's that simple. If deleting makes you uneasy, just export the key before deleting it. Or, instead of deleting the values, disable them. Simply double click the default value for the program on the right hand pane and rename the clsid value by placing a period or dash in front of it.
ie; - {b5eedee0-c06e-11cf-8c56-444553540000}
Then exit the registry, refresh, and right click a file to see if the item was removed from the menu.
Some programs - like WinZip or WinRar - will add several items to your right click menu but all of them will be removed by deleting or disabling their one context menu handler.

Note that the above key only applies to the right click menu of files.
To remove entries from the right click context menu of folders, you need to navigate to the Folder and Drive keys:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTFoldershellexContextMenuHandlers
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTDriveshellexContextMenuHandlers

All you have to do is follow the same procedure as for Files - either disable or delete items you wish to remove.
Adding Items
Adding Items to the right click menu of Files and Folders is also fairly simple using the Registry. It just involves the creation of a few new keys for each item you wish to add. You edit the same keys used for removing items. Let's use Notepad as an example of an item you'd like to add to the right click menu of all your files or folders.

For folders, go to this key:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTFolder
Click the + sign next to Folder and expand it so that the Shell key is visible. Right click the Shell key and choose New>Key and name the key Notepad or whatever else you'd prefer (whatever the key is named is what will appear in the right-click menu). Now right click the new key you made and create another key named Command. Then, in the right hand pane, double click "Default" and enter Notepad.exe as the value.
Exit the registry, refresh, and right click any folder. Notepad should now be on the context menu.

For files, go here again:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT*
Expand the * key and see if a Shell key exists. If it does exist, follow the same procedure as for folders. If it does not exist, you'll have to create a new Shell first. Just right click the * key and choose New>Key and name it Shell. Then right click the Shell key and continue on the same way you did for adding items to the right click menu of folders.
Once done, Notepad should appear as an option in the right click menu of all your files.
Vic Ferri owns the very popular WinTips and Tricks <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WinTips-Tricks> email group. He is also in charge of the Printing Tips <http://personal-computer-tutor.com/printing.htm> and Registry Tips <http://personal-computer-tutor.com/abc1/v4/vic4.htm> pages at Linda's Computer Stop.



Adware: How to Beat the Sneakiest Software


Submitted by RAF_Dumoulin.

Promoters of adware, software that shows advertising on a user's computer, use some cunning tricks to get you to install their software on your machine. Here's what to look out for.

Adware is, by definition, something reasonable people don't want on their computers. That's why adware can't just come out and ask people to install it. Often, the computer owner is completely unaware of it being installed. But not always.

When adware doesn't want to sneak in through an open window, it will try to trick you into letting it in through the front door. Don't think you could be tricked? Don't be so sure until you've checked out these most common ways people have been tricked into allowing malware to be installed on their machines.

Adware Installation Trick 1: Piggybacking

§ How it works: malware may come bundled with a legitimate piece of software the user actually wants, such as a game or emoticon. The malware is merely labeled "companion software," without any indication of what it will do.
§ How to fight it: be very suspicious of any software that comes bundled with other software. Don't installed software that comes bundled with other software unless you know everything that the bundled software does. After all, if the bundled program has anything to do with the program you actually want, why couldn't the software developer just get both programs' functionalities into a single piece of software? Software developers are now very sensitive to malware concerns and will provide a lengthy explanation of just why the bundled software is necessary, in the cases when they actually do need to use bundled software.

Adware Installation Trick 2: Bait and Switch

§ How it works: since people are getting more and more suspicious of bundled software, the malware's developers may simply label it as valuable software, for instance, a browser plugin that supposedly accelerates web browsing (but in reality only shows ads).
§ How to fight it: again, a suspicious mind is useful in avoiding malware. Ask yourself some questions:
§ What will this software actually do? Malware often comes with very fuzzy claims attached. Sure, it says it will improve your browsing experience, but how? Often, this improved browsing experience just means a browsing experience with more advertising.
§ If the software is so great, why is it being given away free? Most commonly, software is only given out free in two cases: if it's OpenSource (designed by a community of developers and not proprietary–OpenSource software is always clearly labeled as such); or simply a come-on for a fuller-featured version of the software. If neither case is true, there's a real chance the software is financed by adware.

Adware Installation Trick 3: Outright Lying

§ How it works: malware may even be labeled as something else entirely, such as a well-known piece of software or a crucial component of the computer operating system.
§ How to fight it: this is the trickiest malware of all, and requires extreme caution. You don't want to start deleting any of your program files, much less your system registry entries, unless you're absolutely sure it's malware. Plenty of overzealous parasite hunters have shot their own machines to bits this way. This is one case where you want to be using an anti-spyware program, and preferably a second anti-spyware program to provide a second opinion.

Getting Rid of Adware

Adware is so tricky that trying to uninstall it by yourself could be like a trip into the Matrix. Luckily, there are good anti-spyware programs that tackle adware as well–after all many adware programs are also spyware since they monitor your internet usage.

True, it may feel like adding insult to injury to have to install more software to get rid of software you never meant to install in the first place. But sometimes you just have to fight fire with fire.