Toggling autoplay.

Autoplay is very useful, but can also be a security risk.

To turn it on or off:
1. Open gpedit.msc from the run box from the start menu.
2. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System
3. Find Turn off autoplay

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How to show "Hibernate" on the shutdown menu

For some reason, this isn't enabled by default.
To be able to view the hibernate option, just press shift in the shutdown menu and Standby will be replaced by hibernate. To switch back to standby, release shift.

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How to make your XP look like Vista: Transformation packs (update)

If you are not satisfied with just a Vista theme, installing a transformation pack will completely transform the computer. Your startup will look like vista, logon will look like vista and all the icons will be transformed into vista too.

Of course you will want the Vista theme as well, because the transformation pack doesn't change the theme.

A free Vista transformation pack for Windows XP

The original article covering themes and icon sets

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Windows XP Shortcut of the Week: Alt+Tab - Switching between open windows

Alt+Tab - Switching between open windows.

Hold down Alt and press tab repeatedly to select any open window.

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How to rename the Recycle bin.

If you want a totally customized Windows XP, then renaming the Recycle Bin can be quite useful. You could rename it to trash, garbage [or pretty much anything you can imagine ;) ].

Follow these steps to rename the Recycle Bin:

1. Open up the Registry editor by typing regedit into the run box from the Start Menu.

2. Locate HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/CLSID/{645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}

3. Change the registry value "Recycle Bin" To anything. (Remember to exclude the quotes!)

And you're done!
You may have to restart your pc to see the changes...

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Cool Windows XP tips & tricks: How to enable fast user switching.

User switching is the fastest way to switch to a different user account.
This lets you have several accounts logged in at the same time, but only one of them interacts with the keyboard, mouse, etc. and is open, while the rest continue to run open programs.

To enable fast user switching:

1. Go to Control Panel and click on user accounts.

2. Click the User accounts icon in the Control Panel icons section to open the User accounts window.

3. Click "change the way users log on and off"

4. Check the box "Use Fast User Switching"

And you're done! To Switch users, open log off from the start menu and click "switch user" or just press Windows Key + L.

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Cool XP tips & tricks: Disabling the Welcome screen

This feature is very useful if you have only one user account on your computer. The bad thing is that you can't have it ask for a password.

To disable the welcome screen:

Open the Start Menu and select run. Type "control userpasswords2" into the box.
In the user accounts window choose the users tab and clear the box "Users must enter a name and password to use this computer".
Click OK and type your user name and password in the dialog box.

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Cool Xp tips & tricks: Set sound to events

It's fun to have a customized sound scheme. You can change the sounds that xp plays when you start your computer, log on, receive an error, etc. You can even record your own sounds.

To change the sound scheme:
Go to Control panel from the Start menu and click on Sounds, speech and audio devices.
Click on change the sound scheme.
Save your previous scheme if you want to and click on any event in the Program Events box to choose its sound.

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Cool Windows XP tips & tricks: How to find out which XP service pack you have

A service pack (SP), a term used by IBM and Microsoft, is basically a collection of updates, bug fixes and improvements. The latest service pack for Windows XP is SP. You can update to SP2 here: Service pack 2 for Windows XP.

Finding out which Service Pack you have is very easy.
Press the Windows key and Pause|Break at the same time and look in the System part of the System Properties Window.

Updating to Service Pack 2 has many advantages: several fixed security issues, better operation and various bug fixes.

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Cool XP Software Reviews: Firefox vs. Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer has started to lose its popularity to Mozilla Firefox, as so many security holes and risks have been discovered. Mozilla makes an effort to update often solving new security issues. Firefox's vast amount of plug-ins as an open source program is also useful.
Firefox is much safer and more user-friendly and it is recommended by most experts.
More info about Mozilla Firefox

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Cool XP tips & tricks: 20 things you didn't know about your XP

You've read the reviews and digested the key feature enhancements and operational changes. Now it's time to delve a bit deeper and uncover some of Windows XP's secrets.

1. It boasts how long it can stay up. Whereas previous versions of Windows were coy about how long they went between boots, XP is positively proud of its stamina. Go to the Command Prompt in the Accessories menu from the All Programs start button option, and then type 'systeminfo'. The computer will produce a lot of useful info, including the uptime. If you want to keep these, type 'systeminfo > info.txt'. This creates a file called info.txt you can look at later with Notepad. (Professional Edition only).

2. You can delete files immediately, without having them move to the Recycle Bin first. Go to the Start menu, select Run... and type 'gpedit.msc'; then select User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Windows Explorer and find the Do not move deleted files to the Recycle Bin setting. Set it. Poking around in gpedit will reveal a great many interface and system options, but take care -- some may stop your computer behaving as you wish. (Professional Edition only).

3. You can lock your XP workstation with two clicks of the mouse. Create a new shortcut on your desktop using a right mouse click, and enter 'rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation' in the location field. Give the shortcut a name you like. That's it -- just double click on it and your computer will be locked. And if that's not easy enough, Windows key + L will do the same.

4. XP hides some system software you might want to remove, such as Windows Messenger, but you can tickle it and make it disgorge everything. Using Notepad or Edit, edit the text file /windows/inf/sysoc.inf, search for the word 'hide' and remove it. You can then go to the Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel, select Add/Remove Windows Components and there will be your prey, exposed and vulnerable.

5. For those skilled in the art of DOS batch files, XP has a number of interesting new commands. These include 'eventcreate' and 'eventtriggers' for creating and watching system events, 'typeperf' for monitoring performance of various subsystems, and 'schtasks' for handling scheduled tasks. As usual, typing the command name followed by /? will give a list of options -- they're all far too baroque to go into here.

6. XP has IP version 6 support -- the next generation of IP. Unfortunately this is more than your ISP has, so you can only experiment with this on your LAN. Type 'ipv6 install' into Run... (it's OK, it won't ruin your existing network setup) and then 'ipv6 /?' at the command line to find out more. If you don't know what IPv6 is, don't worry and don't bother.

7. You can at last get rid of tasks on the computer from the command line by using 'taskkill /pid' and the task number, or just 'tskill' and the process number. Find that out by typing 'tasklist', which will also tell you a lot about what's going on in your system.

8. XP will treat Zip files like folders, which is nice if you've got a fast machine. On slower machines, you can make XP leave zip files well alone by typing 'regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll' at the command line. If you change your mind later, you can put things back as they were by typing 'regsvr32 zipfldr.dll'.

9. XP has ClearType -- Microsoft's anti-aliasing font display technology -- but doesn't have it enabled by default. It's well worth trying, especially if you were there for DOS and all those years of staring at a screen have given you the eyes of an astigmatic bat. To enable ClearType, right click on the desktop, select Properties, Appearance, Effects, select ClearType from the second drop-down menu and enable the selection. Expect best results on laptop displays. If you want to use ClearType on the Welcome login screen as well, set the registry entry HKEY_USERS/.DEFAULT/Control Panel/Desktop/FontSmoothingType to 2.

10. You can use Remote Assistance to help a friend who's using network address translation (NAT) on a home network, but not automatically. Get your pal to email you a Remote Assistance invitation and edit the file. Under the RCTICKET attribute will be a NAT IP address, like Replace this with your chum's real IP address -- they can find this out by going to -- and get them to make sure that they've got port 3389 open on their firewall and forwarded to the errant computer.

11. You can run a program as a different user without logging out and back in again. Right click the icon, select Run As... and enter the user name and password you want to use. This only applies for that run. The trick is particularly useful if you need to have administrative permissions to install a program, which many require. Note that you can have some fun by running programs multiple times on the same system as different users, but this can have unforeseen effects.

12. Windows XP can be very insistent about you checking for auto updates, registering a Passport, using Windows Messenger and so on. After a while, the nagging goes away, but if you feel you might slip the bonds of sanity before that point, run Regedit, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/Explorer/Advanced and create a DWORD value called EnableBalloonTips with a value of 0.

13. You can start up without needing to enter a user name or password. Select Run... from the start menu and type 'control userpasswords2', which will open the user accounts application. On the Users tab, clear the box for Users Must Enter A User Name And Password To Use This Computer, and click on OK. An Automatically Log On dialog box will appear; enter the user name and password for the account you want to use.

14. Internet Explorer 6 will automatically delete temporary files, but only if you tell it to. Start the browser, select Tools / Internet Options... and Advanced, go down to the Security area and check the box to Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed.

15. XP comes with a free Network Activity Light, just in case you can't see the LEDs twinkle on your network card. Right click on My Network Places on the desktop, then select Properties. Right click on the description for your LAN or dial-up connection, select Properties, then check the Show icon in notification area when connected box. You'll now see a tiny network icon on the right of your task bar that glimmers nicely during network traffic.

16. The Start Menu can be leisurely when it decides to appear, but you can speed things along by changing the registry entry HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Control Panel/Desktop/MenuShowDelay from the default 400 to something a little snappier. Like 0.

17. You can rename loads of files at once in Windows Explorer. Highlight a set of files in a window, then right click on one and rename it. All the other files will be renamed to that name, with individual numbers in brackets to distinguish them. Also, in a folder you can arrange icons in alphabetised groups by View, Arrange Icon By... Show In Groups.

18. Windows Media Player will display the cover art for albums as it plays the tracks -- if it found the picture on the Internet when you copied the tracks from the CD. If it didn't, or if you have lots of pre-WMP music files, you can put your own copy of the cover art in the same directory as the tracks. Just call it folder.jpg and Windows Media Player will pick it up and display it.

19. Windows key + Break brings up the System Properties dialogue box; Windows key + D brings up the desktop; Windows key + Tab moves through the taskbar buttons.

20. The next release of Windows XP, codenamed Longhorn, is due out late next year or early 2003 and won't be much to write home about. The next big release is codenamed Blackcomb and will be out in 2003/2004.

Original article

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Cool XP tips & tricks: What to do when your desktop freezes.

Often when your desktop freezes, or the taskbar disappears when you close a program, you don't normally have to restart your computer, as often this just the case of explorer not responding. To fix this, open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete. Click on the Processes tab and look for explorer.exe. End it if it's there and go back to Applications. Click on New Task and type explorer in the box and run it. Your desktop should reappear in a few seconds.

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