Even More XP Secrets

By Asfaq Tapia Published Date
01 - Jan - 2008
| Last Updated
01 - Jan - 2008
Even More XP Secrets

Here are some things you thought you couldn’t do in XP

We won’t waste much time with this introduction, so here it is—another round of tips and tricks that will improve performance, stability and sort little annoyances in XP, among other things.
Statutory warning: Playing with your Registry can be injurious to your PC’s health.

System Volume Information

If you use System Restore, you must have noticed the System Volume Information folders in the root of each of your drives. This folder stores the files used by System Restore. Their sizes can sometime balloon to gigabytes, because System Restore doesn’t delete your older restore points when creating a new one. Moreover, every time you try to access the folder, you get the Access Denied error. Oh, and you can’t delete the folder, either. So what do you do when you want to view its contents?

In an Explorer Window, go to Tools > Folder Options > View. Here, choose Show Hidden Files and Folders. Uncheck Hide Protected Operating System Files and Use Simple File Sharing.

You should now be able to access the System Volume Information folder; if not, you’ll have to add yourself to the list of users allowed to access the folder. Right-click on System Volume Information and go to Properties > Security. Click Add under Groups or User names and enter your username in the dialog that appears. Click OK, and in the bottom half of the Security tab, grant yourself all the permissions.

Sort Menus Alphabetically

Start the Registry editor: Start > Run > regedit > [Enter]. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MenuOrder
Right click on the MenuOrder folder, choose Permissions; go to Advanced in the new window that pops up, and uncheck the entry Inherit from parent the permission entries that apply to child objects. Include these with entries explicitly defined here. A security dialog box will open up; choose Copy. This will take you back to the Advanced Security Settings for MenuOrder dialog. Click OK here. In the Permissions dialog, uncheck Full Control in your account and security groups. Don’t change the Read permission. Reboot the computer and all your menus will be alphabetically sorted.

Increasing Internet Bandwidth

Windows XP reserves 20 per cent of your Internet bandwidth for Quality of Service. This is unnecessary, and can be disabled:

  • Open the Group Policy Editor: Start > Run > gpedit.msc > [Enter]
  • In the left-hand column in the window, navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Network > QoS Packet Scheduler.
  • In the right column, double-click Limit rese-rvable bandwidth and select Enabled.
  • Change the Bandwidth Limit to 0 and click OK.

Getting Rid Of The “Unread Email Messages” Message...
...on the Welcome Screen, that is. Here’s how to do it:

  • Start the Registry Editor: Start > Run > regedit > [Enter]
  • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
  • Right-click on the CurrentVersion key and select New > Key. Name this UnreadMail.
  • Right-click on the blank area on the right side, and select New > DWORD Value. Call it MessageExpiryDays and give it a value of 0.
  • You may need to log off or restart for the changes to take effect.

Modifying the “Internet” Key On Internet Keyboards
You can change what programs you want to launch with the Internet key:

  • Open the Registry Editor and navigate to KEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\AppKey\7
  • Right-click in the right column and create a new String called ShellExecute
  • Set the value as the application path, for example, C:\Program Files\Opera\Opera.exe. If you want to disable the key, delete the value from ShellExecute and leave it blank.

Open Explorer With A Single Pane

When you use [Windows] [E] to open a Windows Explorer window, it opens in the two-pane layout. To have it open with a single pane by default, do
the following.

  • In the Registry Editor, navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\explore\ddeexec
  • Double-click on (Default) and change the string to [ViewFolder(“%l”, %I, %S)] (including the brackets)
  • To revert to the double-pane window, set (Default) to [ExploreFolder(“%l”, %I, %S)]

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