Windows XP Tips



What is an Administrator user?

By default windows is installed with one 'administrator' account and a guest account. An administrator account can change any settings on the computer, install drivers, install programs, change file/folder permissions, change entries in the registry and so on. When XP Home is installed, the user can specify additional accounts with administrator privileges, when then happens the original 'administrator' account is hidden. The only way to login as 'administrator' is to boot into Safe Mode.

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What is a Limited User?

A limited user can make changes in their own account such as desktop appearance, themes, create icons on their desktop, run programs and load and save files. They cannot install drivers or programs or make system wide changes.

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How do I set Folder Permissions in XP?

In XP Home, only files in C:\Documents and Settings\ can be set to Private in the Security and Sharing tab of the Properties of Folders on NTFS volumes. On other folders this is greyed out. To set permissions on other folders you need to use the Cacls.exe program, for example:

Cacls "C:\Documents and Settings" will display current rights for that folder. Cacls C:\Private /T /P user1:N /E will edit acl for C:\Private giving user1 no access (N) but leaving other rights alone (/E). Cacls C:\Private /T /P user3:R /E will update acl for C:\Private giving user3 Read (R) access. In XP Pro, you need to disable Use Simple File Sharing in Explorer, Folder Options under the View tab. This will give more advanced control over sharing, files and folders by setting Permissions for users or groups of users.

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How do I delete old user Profiles?

User profiles are stored in C:\Documents and Settings\. There are special folders called Administrator, All Users and Default User which must NOT be deleted as they contain the builtin Administrator account's profile, a shared profile for program shortcuts for Program menu and a Default user profile used to create new accounts. Profiles can be deleted via the System Control Panel, select the Advanced tab and then User Profiles. You can copy or delete profiles here.

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Don't Ignore the Windows Logo Key

The Windows 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
  • Windows + D: Minimize or restore all windows
  • Windows + E: Display Windows Explorer
  • Windows + F: Display Search for files
  • Windows + Ctrl + F: Display Search for computer
  • Windows + F1: Display Help and Support Center
  • Windows + R: Display Run dialog box
  • Windows + break: Display System Properties dialog box
  • Windows + shift + M: Undo minimize all windows
  • Windows + L: Lock the workstation
  • Windows + U: Open Utility Manager

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Use the On-Screen Keyboard

An on-screen keyboard is built into Windows XP. It can be useful if you have mobility impairments, if you are using a tablet PC, or if your keyboard goes down. To access the keyboard, go to Start, then click Run, and type osk. Now the keyboard opens on your computer screen, featuring three typing modes you can use to type data: ·

  • Clicking mode, you click the on-screen keys
  • Scanning mode, you press a hot key or use a switch-input device to type highlighted characters
  • Hovering mode, you use a mouse or joystick to point to a key, which is then typed
To make a shortcut icon on your desktop to the on-screen keyboard: ·

  • Right-click the desktop.
  • Point to New, and then click Shortcut.
  • Type osk, click Next.
  • Type a name for the shortcut, and then click Finish.
That's it! When you need it, the shortcut to the on-screen keyboard utility is right on your desktop.

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Create a Personal Screen Saver

For a great way to put your digital photos to work, try creating a slide show presentation for use as a screen saver. ·

  • Right-click an empty spot on your desktop, and then click Properties.
  • Click the Screen Saver tab. · In the Screen saver list, click My Pictures Slideshow.
  • Click Settings to make any adjustments, such as how often the pictures should change, what size they should be, and whether you'll use transition effects between pictures, and then click OK
Now your screen saver is a random display of the pictures taken from your My Pictures folder.

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Alphabetize your start menu

Don't you hate how Windows adds new programs to the end of the start menu? The fix is quick and simple, right click on the menu and select sort by name. Ah isn't that better?

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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. If this doesn't work for some reason, 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.

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Keep Your Favourite Programs Near the Top of the Start Menu

Do you have a favourite program that you frequently use? Elevate its priority on the Start menu by putting it at the top of the list. This ensures that the program will remain on the Start menu and cannot be bumped by other programs, even if you use the others more frequently. Right-click the link to your favourite program on the Start menu and select Pin to Start Menu. Your program will be moved permanently to the top part of the list, just below your browser and e-mail programs.

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Add Familiar Icons back to your desktop

It's the case of the missing icons. Many of you may be wondering where all the icons from your desktop are in Windows XP? Well if you're like me, you like to have at least My Computer, My Network Places, and My Documents on the desktop. To do this: ·
  • Right-click on the desktop, and then click Properties.
  • Click the Desktop tab and then click on Customize Desktop.
  • Put a check mark in the box next to My Document, My Computer, My Network Places, or Internet Explorer, to add those familiar icons to your desktop.

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Remove shortcut arrow from desktop icons

Here's how you can remove those shortcut arrows from your desktop icons in Windows XP. ·
  • Start regedit.
  • Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTlnkfile
  • Delete the IsShortcut registry value.
You may need to restart Windows XP.

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Win XP Won't Completely Shutdown

  • Goto Control Panel, Performance & Maintenance then goto Power Options.
  • Click on the APM Tab, then check the "Enable Advanced Power Management support."
  • Shut down your PC. It should now successfully complete the Shut Down process.

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