Monday, May 21, 2007

16 Hidden Windows XP Goodies

1. Installer music: Start > Run > “C:\Windows\system32\oobe\images\title.wma” > Ok

2. Hibernate: Start > Turn Off Computer… > press Shift key to change the “Stand By” button to “Hibernate”

3. Hidden Devices: Control Panel > System > Hardware > Device Manager > select “View” and Show hidden devices

4. Character Map: Start > Run > “charmap.exe” > Ok

5. Clipboard Viewer: Start > Run > “clipbrd.exe” > Ok

6. Dr Watson: Start > Run > “drwtsn32.exe” > Ok

7. IExpress Wizard: Start > Run > “iexpress.exe” > Ok

8. Old Windows Media Player 5.1: Start > Run > “mplay32.exe” > Ok

9. ODBC Data Source Administrator: Start > Run > “odbcad32.exe” > Ok

10. Object Packager: Start > Run > “packager.exe” > Ok

11. System Monitor: Start > Run > “perfmon.exe” > Ok

12. Network shared folder wizard: Start > Run > “shrpubw.exe” > Ok

13. File siganture verification tool: Start > Run > “sigverif.exe” > Ok

14. System Configuration Editor: Start > Run > “sysedit.exe” > Ok

15. Driver Verifier Manager: Start > Run > “verifier.exe” > Ok

16. Windows for Workgroups Chat: Start > Run > “winchat.exe” > Ok

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List of the keyboard shortcuts that are available in Windows XP

General keyboard shortcuts

CTRL+C (Copy)
CTRL+X (Cut)
CTRL+V (Paste)
CTRL+Z (Undo)
DELETE (Delete)
SHIFT+DELETE (Delete the selected item permanently without
placing the item in the Recycle Bin)
CTRL while dragging an item (Copy the selected item)
CTRL+SHIFT while dragging an item (Create a shortcut to the
selected item)
F2 key (Rename the selected item)
CTRL+RIGHT ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning
of the next word)
CTRL+LEFT ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning
of the previous word)
CTRL+DOWN ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning
of the next paragraph)
CTRL+UP ARROW (Move the insertion point to the beginning of
the previous paragraph)
CTRL+SHIFT with any of the arrow keys (Highlight a block of
SHIFT with any of the arrow keys (Select more than one item
in a window or on the desktop, or select text in a document)
CTRL+A (Select all)
F3 key (Search for a file or a folder)
ALT+ENTER (View the properties for the selected item)
ALT+F4 (Close the active item, or quit the active program)
ALT+ENTER (Display the properties of the selected object)
ALT+SPACEBAR (Open the shortcut menu for the active window)
CTRL+F4 (Close the active document in programs that enable
you to have multiple documents open simultaneously)
ALT+TAB (Switch between the open items)
ALT+ESC (Cycle through items in the order that they had
been opened)
F6 key (Cycle through the screen elements in a window or on
the desktop)
F4 key (Display the Address bar list in My Computer or
Windows Explorer)
SHIFT+F10 (Display the shortcut menu for the selected item)
ALT+SPACEBAR (Display the System menu for the active
CTRL+ESC (Display the Start menu)
ALT+Underlined letter in a menu name (Display the
corresponding menu)
Underlined letter in a command name on an open menu
(Perform the corresponding command)
F10 key (Activate the menu bar in the active
RIGHT ARROW (Open the next menu to the right, or open a
LEFT ARROW (Open the next menu to the left, or close a
F5 key (Update the active window)
BACKSPACE (View the folder one level up in My Computer or
Windows Explorer)
ESC (Cancel the current task)
SHIFT when you insert a CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive
(Prevent the CD-ROM from automatically playing)
CTRL+SHIFT+ESC (Open Task Manager)

Dialog box keyboard shortcuts

If you press SHIFT+F8 in extended selection list boxes, you enable extended selection mode. In this mode, you can use an arrow key to move a cursor without changing the selection. You can press CTRL+SPACEBAR or SHIFT+SPACEBAR to adjust the selection. To cancel extended selection mode, press SHIFT+F8 again. Extended selection mode cancels itself when you move the focus to another control.
CTRL+TAB (Move forward through the tabs)
CTRL+SHIFT+TAB (Move backward through the tabs)
TAB (Move forward through the options)
SHIFT+TAB (Move backward through the options)
ALT+Underlined letter (Perform the corresponding command or
select the corresponding option)
ENTER (Perform the command for the active option or
SPACEBAR (Select or clear the check box if the active
option is a check box)
Arrow keys (Select a button if the active option is a group
of option buttons)
F1 key (Display Help)
F4 key (Display the items in the active list)
BACKSPACE (Open a folder one level up if a folder is
selected in the Save As or Open dialog box)

Microsoft natural keyboard shortcuts

Windows Logo (Display or hide the Start menu)
Windows Logo+BREAK (Display the System Properties dialog box)
Windows Logo+D (Display the desktop)
Windows Logo+M (Minimize all of the windows)
Windows Logo+SHIFT+M (Restore the minimized
Windows Logo+E (Open My Computer)
Windows Logo+F (Search for a file or a folder)
CTRL+Windows Logo+F (Search for computers)
Windows Logo+F1 (Display Windows Help)
Windows Logo+ L (Lock the keyboard)
Windows Logo+R (Open the Run dialog box)
Windows Logo+U (Open Utility Manager)

Accessibility keyboard shortcuts

Right SHIFT for eight seconds (Switch FilterKeys either on
or off)
Left ALT+left SHIFT+PRINT SCREEN (Switch High Contrast
either on or off)
Left ALT+left SHIFT+NUM LOCK (Switch the MouseKeys either
on or off)
SHIFT five times (Switch the StickyKeys either on or
NUM LOCK for five seconds (Switch the ToggleKeys either on
or off)
Windows Logo +U (Open Utility Manager)

Windows Explorer keyboard shortcuts

END (Display the bottom of the active window)
HOME (Display the top of the active window)
NUM LOCK+Asterisk sign (*) (Display all of the subfolders
that are under the selected folder)
NUM LOCK+Plus sign (+) (Display the contents of the
selected folder)
NUM LOCK+Minus sign (-) (Collapse the selected
LEFT ARROW (Collapse the current selection if it is
expanded, or select the parent folder)
RIGHT ARROW (Display the current selection if it is
collapsed, or select the first subfolder)

Shortcut keys for Character Map

After you double-click a character on the grid of characters, you
can move through the grid by using the keyboard shortcuts:
RIGHT ARROW (Move to the right or to the beginning of the
next line)
LEFT ARROW (Move to the left or to the end of the previous
UP ARROW (Move up one row)
DOWN ARROW (Move down one row)
PAGE UP (Move up one screen at a time)
PAGE DOWN (Move down one screen at a time)
HOME (Move to the beginning of the line)
END (Move to the end of the line)
CTRL+HOME (Move to the first character)
CTRL+END (Move to the last character)
SPACEBAR (Switch between Enlarged and Normal mode when a
character is selected)

Microsoft Management Console (MMC) main window keyboard shortcuts

CTRL+O (Open a saved console)
CTRL+N (Open a new console)
CTRL+S (Save the open console)
CTRL+M (Add or remove a console item)
CTRL+W (Open a new window)
F5 key (Update the content of all console
ALT+SPACEBAR (Display the MMC window menu)
ALT+F4 (Close the console)
ALT+A (Display the Action menu)
ALT+V (Display the View menu)
ALT+F (Display the File menu)
ALT+O (Display the Favorites menu)

MMC console window keyboard shortcuts

CTRL+P (Print the current page or active pane)
ALT+Minus sign (-) (Display the window menu for the active
console window)
SHIFT+F10 (Display the Action shortcut menu for the
selected item)
F1 key (Open the Help topic, if any, for the selected
F5 key (Update the content of all console
CTRL+F10 (Maximize the active console window)
CTRL+F5 (Restore the active console window)
ALT+ENTER (Display the Properties dialog box, if any, for the selected item)
F2 key (Rename the selected item)
CTRL+F4 (Close the active console window. When a console
has only one console window, this shortcut closes the console)

Remote desktop connection navigation

CTRL+ALT+END (Open the Microsoft Windows NT Security dialog box)
ALT+PAGE UP (Switch between programs from left to
ALT+PAGE DOWN (Switch between programs from right to
ALT+INSERT (Cycle through the programs in most recently
used order)
ALT+HOME (Display the Start menu)
CTRL+ALT+BREAK (Switch the client computer between a window
and a full screen)
ALT+DELETE (Display the Windows menu)
CTRL+ALT+Minus sign (-) (Place a snapshot of the entire
client window area on the Terminal server clipboard and provide the same
functionality as pressing ALT+PRINT SCREEN on a local computer.)
CTRL+ALT+Plus sign (+) (Place a snapshot of the active
window in the client on the Terminal server clipboard and provide the same
functionality as pressing PRINT SCREEN on a local computer.)

Microsoft Internet Explorer navigation

CTRL+B (Open the Organize Favorites dialog box)
CTRL+E (Open the Search bar)
CTRL+F (Start the Find utility)
CTRL+H (Open the History bar)
CTRL+I (Open the Favorites bar)
CTRL+L (Open the Open dialog box)
CTRL+N (Start another instance of the browser with the same
Web address)
CTRL+O (Open the Open dialog box, the same as CTRL+L)
CTRL+P (Open the Print dialog box)
CTRL+R (Update the current Web page)
CTRL+W (Close the current window)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

29 Useless Services are no longer required. (Windows XP SP2)

An operating system is made up of various components that work with each other. The OS isn't just one object - it's a collection of smaller objects, each of which performs a different task. Their conjunction is what makes an "operating system". Windows calls these components "services", Linux calls it "daemons" and so on. Each service in Windows is essentially, to put it in a simpler way, an application that stays running in the back doing its job when required. Now each service takes up some memory, which isn't good if your system has a low amount of memory (like 256MB or less). Fortunately, not all of the default services are required by all users, so you can turn some of them off to free up some memory.

In this guide, we'll take a look at the default set of services that come with a fresh installation of Windows XP with Service Pack 2. We'll tell you the ones that you don't need and try to tell you why, so you can disable them without any problems. Each service has three options: automatic, manual and disabled. Automatic is essentially "run at startup"; Manual is a service that is started only when required; Disabled is when a service doesn't start at all. Based on the type of a user you are, there are different settings to recommend, but we'll take the safe route and tell you to disable the services that won't cause important features of your Windows to stop working. If you're comfortable with trying out stunts, you can go ahead and disable some of the other services that aren't mentioned here. If something stops working, you can just turn the service back on - there's no permanent effect. Also, since this is a guide to unneeded services that can be disabled, we won't list the services that are already disabled after Service Pack 2 (like Alerter and Messenger) in an effort to keep the list as simple as possible.

One more thing you have to note is that this list is primarily aimed at home users, so we'll be taking out most of the intranet/network related services that don't affect Internet connectivity. If you're using an office workstation with a proper server and all that jazz, you shouldn't be reading this guide.

To enable or disable services, go to Start -> Run -> and type "services.msc" and hit Enter.

Computer Browser

"Maintains an updated list of computers on the network and supplies this list to computers designated as browsers."

Contrary to what it may sound like, disabling this service still allows you to browse a network in your office. And of course, you don't need this at home. Disable it.

Distributed Link Tracking Client

"Maintains links between NTFS files within a computer or across computers in a network domain."

This one sounds useful, but only if you often create files on one computer, shortcuts to those files on another computer, and then move the original files around the network. Not many people do so. In fact, not many people even have NTFS on their Windows for some orthodox reason. Not required on FAT32, at home or even at work if your scenario doesn't match with the description. Disable it.

Error Reporting Service

"Allows error reporting for services and applictions running in non-standard environments."

I.e. "Send system information to Microsoft." No thanks. Disable it.

Help and Support

"Enables Help and Support Center to run on this computer."

This is okay to leave as-is if you hit F1 a lot, but if you almost never need to use the built-in help features (as opposed to just Googling for the problem - always a better option), then disabling this service would be a good idea. Now the problem is that the service automatically gets turned back on when required even if its disabled, so keeping it disabled is actually a better option to keeping it on automatic.

Indexing Service

"Indexes contents and properties of files on local and remote computers; provides rapid access to files through flexible querying language."

Use AvaFind (link to review) and/or Google Desktop Search instead. Just disable it - no questions asked.

Net Logon

"Supports pass-through authentication of account logon events for computers in a domain."

Useless for single machines or even most networks out here that don't actually have a domain. Disable.

NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing

"Enables an authorized user to access this computer remotely by using NetMeeting over a corporate intranet."

As a general rule of thumb, avoid any combination of "remote" and "internet/intranet". If you don't want people to use NetMeeting to connect to your computer and see your desktop over the Internet/Intranet, disable this please.

Network Location Awareness (NLA)

"Collects and stores network configuration and location information, and notifies applications when this information changes."

And how is that going to help you? Disable it.

Network Provisioning Service

"Manages XML configuration files on a domain basis for automatic network provisioning."

Not necessary for home and/or simple networks. Disable.

Performance Logs and Alerts

"Collects performance data from local or remote computers based on preconfigured schedule parameters, then writes the data to a log or triggers an alert."

There are other, more efficient ways of tracking performance of your machine(s) than using this service, if at all you need to do so. Most home users will never need it. Disable it.

Portable Media Serial Number Service

"Retrieves the serial number of any portable media player connected to this computer."

Unless you use some 100% Windows Media based/compatible ("PlaysForSure") portable audio/video device and Windows Media Player, this service is useless. iPod and regular flash based MP3 player users don't need it. Disable it.


"Provides network signaling and local traffic control setup functionality for QoS-aware programs and control applets."

This is an interesting concept to give more bandwidth to applications that request it, unfortunately, not many actually do this QoS thing, so it doesn't make sense to enable it. You can use cFos Speed for better bandwidth prioritization that actually works.

Remote Desktop Help Session Manager

"Manages and controls Remote Assistance."

Remote Assistance should be avoided. Disable this service.

Remote Registry

"Enables remote users to modify registry settings on this computer."

We'll let you guess this one out...

Secondary Logon

"Enables starting processes under alternate credentials."

This offers the "Run As" option to limited user accounts to be able to temporarily run some applications as an administrator (after entering the password, of course). Standalone machines usually have just one account with administrator access and other accounts, if any, are also usually administrators. You should keep this service only if your limited users often need to run applications with admin access, otherwise disable it.

Security Center

"Monitors system security settings and configurations."

That thing that pops up and tells you when your firewall is down, your anti-virus is out of date, or automatic updates are turned off. Personally, I like the alerts because then I know my anti-virus was unable to download its updates. I don't really bother with the firewall and my automatic updates are always on. If you've never needed or received any alerts on these events, this service can be disabled. The feature doesn't offer any protection by itself - it is only a monitor. Not really required.


"Supports file, print, and named-pipe sharing over the network for this computer."

Only if you share files on a network would this be required. If you disable the Server service, you may still be able to access other shares, so you won't be entirely unconnected. Decide and disable if not required.

Smart Card

"Manages access to smart cards read by this computer."

How many of you actually use smart cards with your computer? Disable this.

SSDP Discovery Service

"Enables discovery of UPnP devices on your home network."

Most people don't have any UPnP devices on the network, so this service is useless. Do not confuse this with standard PnP (Plug-n-Play), which remains unaffected if this service is disabled.

System Restore Service

"Performs system restore functions."

I prefer trying to manually troubleshoot and fix, or reinstalling Windows in case of a fatal problem. I've never felt comfortable with using System Restore to "restore old versions of files" and all that, so I keep it disabled. It frees up memory and a good amount of disk space as well.


"Enables support for NetBIOS over TCP/IP (NetBT) service and NetBIOS name resolution."

Nobody uses NetBIOS anymore. Get over it. Disable this.


"Provides user experience theme management."

For performance reasons (or if you're just bored of all Blue), you may want to use the classic Windows 2000-style interface. You can switch to it from the Desktop Properties dialog, but there's no reason to have the service running if you're not using Luna / Default Blue, so disable it. Remember: if you're using the Luna / Default Blue interface, this service is necessary.

Uninterruptible Power Supply

"Manages an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) connected to the computer."

If you don't have a UPS, you don't need this service. If you have a UPS that you use independent of the computer (i.e. without automatic turn off etc.), you don't need this service. Even if you do have a UPS that requires installing its own software for power management, this service is not required. Use it only if your UPS connects to your PC via a COM port and automatically gets Windows to work with it (not many).

Universal Plug and Play Device Host

"Provides support to host Universal Plug and Play devices."

Works along with the SSDP service that we doubt you require. Don't know what UPnP is? Disable this.


"Enables Windows-based programs to create, access, and modify Internet-based files."

Not a very popular feature. Disable it. If some features in Internet Explorer don't work for you, then you may need it. But then, why are you using IE, again? Huh?

Windows Time

"Maintains date and time synchronization on all clients and servers in the network."

I've kept this on. In fact, I'm so particular about having the correct time on my system, I've actually increased the update frequency from weekly to daily. If you don't share the same enthusiasm as me, you can disable this service. You can use a freeware, third party, on-demand time sync utility that will not need this service to be running, saving you memory.

Wireless Zero Configuration

"Provides automatic configuration for the 802.11 adapters"

I don't have any WiFi devices or networks to get on to, so I've disabled it. If you don't have any WiFi, do the same.

WMI Performance Adapter

"Provides performance library information from WMI HiPerf providers."

Nobody is really sure what to do with this thing. I've never needed it, and it's unlikely that you ever will. Off with it.


"Creates and maintains client network connections to remote servers."

If your're sharing files and folders over a network, leave this on. If not, disable it. This is not needed or even utilized in a standalone PC. This doesn't affect Internet connectivity.

That's it. These are the 29 services that "are no longer required." You can get rid of on your Windows XP SP2 system to free up some memory and CPU and gain some performance out of it. We haven't thought about doing a similar guide for Windows 2000, but if you guys really want one, do post comments asking for it. Have a nice evening and a very happy new year!

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