Windows XP.

Published Date
01 - May - 2007
| Last Updated
01 - May - 2007
 
Windows XP.
Scheduling Connecting And Disconnecting From Your ISP
With many ISPs using PPPoE-based connections, and many ISPs having awkward schemes such as night-unlimited starting at 2 AM, it's a good idea to schedule your dialling process rather than staying up late at night. Once connected, your downloads can start. You can also schedule to connect to VPNs.

First we create a batch file. Start Notepad (or any other text editor). Enter the following:
RASDIAL <Connection Name>

<Connection Name> should be your exact connection name. Save the file using a suitable name such as "DIALNET.BAT".
Now create a schedule by clicking on Scheduled Tasks in the Control Panel. Double-click on Add Scheduled Task. Click Next. Browse and choose the path of the BAT file. Choose the type of frequency you want the task to run at. Next set the time and date. Finally enter the password for the account running the dialler. You can further make changes to the schedule by right-clicking on the newly-created scheduled task and clicking on Properties.

So why would you want to make changes? Well, many more settings can be applied, and multiple schedules can be allotted. Say you connect between 12 and 8 AM, and then you want it to connect at 1 PM again. Such options are available only once you're done adding the schedule through the Wizard.

Similar to scheduling a connection, disconnection can be done in the same manner. Some alterations in the batch file creation are needed. First, create a new text file and enter
RASDIAL <Connection Name> /disconnect
Save the file as a BAT file, for example, "DISC-NET.BAT". Be sure to enter your exact connection name in place of <Connection Name>. Once again, like the connection schedule, create a schedule in the same manner only this time choose the Disconnecting BAT file.

Disable Expiring Of Windows Passwords
Windows XP Professional's password expires after 42 days. You can disable expiring of Windows passwords if this is a bother. In the Control Panel, double-click on Administrative Tools, then Computer Management. Expand Local Users and Groups. Under Users, right-click on the account of your choice and click Properties. Check the box for "Password never expires".

Passwords will never expire again.

Enable "Pin to Start menu" For Folders
As it stands, it is only possible to pin programs or shortcuts to the Start Menu, but no folders. To add this, in the Registry Editor, browse to HKEY_ CLASSES_ROOTFoldershellexContextMenuHandlers. Create a new key by right-clicking in the right pane and selecting New > Key. Enter "{a2a9545d-a0c2-42b4-9708-a0b2badd77c8}" as the key name. Now that that's done, right-click on any folder in Windows Explorer, and you will see a "Pin to Start menu" option.

Change The Internet Key's Functionality
Almost all keyboards, cheap or costly, come with special keys including an Internet key. You can choose to make that key load another application instead of the browser. (The keyboard drivers often provide this capability, but sometimes they don't.)

To change this, in the Registry Editor, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerAppkey7. Create a new String Value by right-clicking in the right pane and selecting New > String Value. Enter the name as "ShellExecute". Double-click on the newly-created String Value and enter the Value as the path of the file you want to run when you press the Internet Key. Click OK.
Now you can pin folders to the start menu

Enable The Windows ZIP tool
Windows XP comes built in with a compression tool that reads ZIP files as folders. When you install Windows, you can open ZIP files using that tool. Then, say you install WinZip or WinRAR, and then uninstall it. You'll then need to re-enable the inbuilt ZIP file reader.

To enable Windows ZIP files as a folder feature again, you can use a simple command. At a command prompt, enter "regsvr32 %windir% system32zipfldr.dll". Press [Enter].
 
Adding Safe Mode To Your Boot List
At times you might need to switch to Safe Mode to fix a problem such as a virus infection or uninstalling drivers. You can add an entry to the boot list. To do this, go to Control Panel > System (or simply press [Windows] [Pause/Break]). Click on the Advanced tab. Then, click on the Settings button under the Startup and Recovery section. Click on Edit under System Startup to indirectly edit the boot.ini file. Add the following entry: multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP - Safe Mode" /fastdetect /safeboot:minimal /sos /bootlog
You can add more entries if needed to boot any Windows installations on other disks or partitions.



A Prettier Volume Control
Few people know that the Volume Control has a hidden, compact-looking profile. You can create a shortcut with the command as "sndvol32 /s" or by pressing [Ctrl] [S] with the Windows Volume Control running. Press [Ctrl] [S] again to revert to the original size.
To open a minimal volume control with only the single slider, you can create a shortcut by first right-clicking at the location you want to add the shortcut, then click New > Shortcut, and type in "sndvol32 /t".


Remove Default Shared Folders
Windows XP comes with a shared folder called Shared Documents which is visible when you open My Computer. You can remove the folder by removing a key in the Registry. (You might want to do this because, for example, viruses can end up there through an infected network.) Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerMyComputerNameSpaceDelegateFolders. Here, delete the key with the name "{59031a47-3f72-44a7-89c5-5595fe6b30ee}". The shared folder will disappear.

Access Desktop From Taskbar
One of the easiest ways to access programs is to use Quick Launch. In the cases of My Documents or Desktop icons, it's not possible to copy all these into the Quick Launch: instead, right-click on the taskbar, click on Toolbars, and choose Desktop. Your Desktop will appear on the taskbar. Now you no longer have to minimise all your windows to access items on the desktop.
Access the Desktop from the Taskbar

Similarly, you can also first create a folder with a suitable name with shortcuts for your favourite programs. Next, right-click on the taskbar and then on Toolbars > New Toolbar. Point to the folder containing your shortcuts and click OK.
Automatically Terminate Hung Programs
When programs lock up or stop responding, you are forced to [Ctrl] [Alt] [Delete] > End Process. This tweak lets Windows automatically shut down hung programs. In the Registry Editor, browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USERControl PanelDesktop. You will find a String Value called AutoEndTasks. Double-click on it and change the value to "1". You can also set the timeout value by double-clicking on the WaitToKillAppTimeout String Value and changing its value to the time in milliseconds before Windows kills the task.

Disable The Windows CD Writing Function
Windows XP comes with CD writing software which can be used if you don't have any third-party program to do that. If you do use the third-party software, you can disable the inbuilt writing feature. Go to My Computer. Right-click on your CD or DVD writer and click Properties. There, click on the Recording tab, and uncheck the box "Enable CD/DVD Recording on this drive".


Disable Sending Of Windows Error Reports
When a program crashes, it gives you an error, then asks you to send a error report to Microsoft-which you usually abort or ignore. You can disable the popping up of the option altogether: [Windows] [Pause/Break], click on the Advanced tab and then on the Error Reporting button. Here, you can click the Disable Error Reporting radio button, or choose the programs you want to exclude from getting the error reporting option. Click on Choose Programs to do this.

Add Additional Time Servers
Windows lets you synchronise your system clock with a server on the Internet. If you didn't know about it, double-click on the time and click on the Internet time tab. Check "Automatically synchronize with an Internet time server" to enable it. At times, the servers may be down. To add servers, in the Registry Editor, browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionDateTimeServers. Here, create new String Values with names like 3 , 4, and so on. Double-click on them to enter the Value(s), and enter the server address(es).


Windows Hard Drive Optimisation
Windows has a system idle process that optimizes your hard drive using when you're away from the PC. In the Registry Editor, browse to HKEY_LOCAL_ MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionOptimalLayout. Add a new key by right-clicking in the right pane and clicking New > DWORD Value. Name it "EnableAutoLayout", and give it the value "1".

Set Windows To Use Memory
Windows often spills data over into the page file even when there's free memory available, which can cause a drop in performance. You can't entirely rectify this, but you can do the following to reduce the number of accesses to the page file. In the Registry Editor, browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEM CurrentControlSetControlSession ManagerMemory Management. Double-click on the DWORD "DisablePagingExecutive" and change its value to 1.

Unload DLLs From System Memory
After a certain amount of time, Windows starts caching DLLs into memory, which can be a waste. You can get Windows to automatically unload the DLLs. Start the Registry Editor and browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorer. Create a new key called "AlwaysUnloadDLL". Change the (default) string value to "1".
Hide And Show Accounts
Every account created on Windows XP will show up on the logon screen. If certain accounts are inactive, you can hide them from just the logon screen. In the Registry Editor, browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersion WinlogonSpecialAccountsUserList. Here, for every account you want to hide, right-click in the right pane and select New > DWORD. Give it the exact name of the account. Double-click on it and set a value of "1" to show it or "0" to hide it. Administrator accounts are usually hidden; you can enable the Administrator account in a similar manner.

Limit Logon Hours For Users
Parents might want to limit their children's computer usage, so they can set a time limit only between which they will be automatically allowed to log into their Windows account. Limited usage for particular users for certain time periods can be set through commands. The command for doing this is:
net user <Username> /time:
.
For example, "net user DIGIT /time:M-F,08:00-17:00" will only let the user DIGIT log in between 8 and 5 from Monday to Friday.

Remove Windows Messenger
Most people use Windows Live Messenger (MSN) instead of Windows Messenger, and the latter can often be an annoyance. You can remove Windows Messenger by typing the following command at a command prompt:
rundll32 setupapi,InstallHinfSection BLC.Remove 128 %SystemRoot%INF msmsgs.inf


Assign A Shortcut Key To Any Program
Any program can be launched using the keyboard by assigning a shortcut key to it.
Right click the program's shortcut (the program to which you want to assign a shortcut key). In Properties, under the Shortcut tab, "Shortcut key" is, by default, "none". Just click in the box and chose an alphanumeric key to be assigned as the shortcut key. Windows will assign [Ctrl] [Alt] [(Alphanumeric Key)] as the shortcut key.
Shutdown, Restart, And Logoff Icons On The Desktop 
You might want to have shortcuts on the Desktop for shutdown, hibernation, etc.
Right-click on the Desktop and make a new shortcut by selecting New > Shortcut.
Then in the Type the location of the item: box, enter "shutdown.exe -s -t 00", where "00" is the delay in seconds. (You can increase it.) You will then be asked to select a name (call it "Shutdown", for example).
After creating the shortcut, you can change the icon assigned to it by right-clicking on the shortcut and selecting Properties. The window that comes up next has a "Change Icon" option, which is easy to use.
For a Restart shortcut, use "shutdown.exe -r -t 00". Replacing -r by -l gives the code for logging off: "shutdown.exe -l -t 00". Fast user switching is also possible; the code for that is "Rundll32.exe User32.dll, LockWorkStation". Similarly one can also make a shortcut for Standby/Hibernation. If Hibernation is enabled, the computer will hibernate, else it will go into Standby. For this, use "%windir%system32 rundll32.exe PowrProf.dll, SetSuspendState".

Get Rid Of The Windows Update "Restart Later"
To get rid of that nag screen, run the command "gpedit.msc" to launch the Group Policy Editor. Navigate to Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update. Select "Re-prompt for restart with scheduled installations", right-click on it, and choose Properties. Check the enable option, and select the restart interval (in minutes) to be long enough not to bother you.

Restore The Show Desktop Icon
Did you know you can "Show Desktop" by using [Windows] [D]? That apart, sometimes, the Show Desktop icon in the Quick Launch bar goes missing. The following is the manual method to re-create the Show Desktop icon. Copy the following into Notepad:
[Shell]
Command=2
IconFile=explorer.exe,3
[Taskbar]
Command=ToggleDesktop
Save this file as "Show Desktop.scf", and then drag it to the Quick Launch bar. You can even use the Regsvr32 command for the same thing. At a command prompt, type in the following:
regsvr32 /n /i:U shell32.dll
The Show Desktop icon should now be visible in the Quick Launch bar.

Adobe Lightroom
Adobe's Lightroom is an amazing new tool for pretty much anyone with a digital camera, and needs to do post-processing tasks. It acts like your own little photo studio and helps handle large collections of images. It has many of Photoshop's features put into an easier-to-use, smaller package. Here are some tips that can help unleash its features.

Add/Remove From Quick Collection
The first step is to import images into the Lightroom library by clicking on
File > Import Photos. There's also a special library called Quick Collection, where you access your set of important or favourite photos from. You can access Quick Collection by starting the Library module and then clicking on Quick Collection in the drop-down. To add photos to your Quick Collection, you can right-click on a particular photo in the Library module, or click on "Add to Quick Collection". Alternatively, you can move the mouse to the top right of the thumbnail or image until a small circle appears. It acts as a toggle to Add or Remove images from Quick Collection.

Disable / Enable Panels
To quickly hide and unhide panels on the screen, click on the arrows at the edge of the screen. Once they're hidden, you can unhide them by clicking on the same arrow again. Moving the mouse pointer over the same arrow will temporarily display the panel. 

Hide All Panels
To completely hide all the panels in a single move, press [Shift] [Tab]. It acts as a toggle, so pressing it again will show all the panels. Similarly, to hide all the side panels, press [Tab]. Press [Tab] again to toggle the hide. The same commands are accessible by selecting Windows > Panel.

Easily Export Presets
Once you've started processing a certain image under the Develop module and want to apply the same values to other images in the future, you can save the preset by clicking on the Presets panel on the left. Clicking on the " " sign will open up a window asking you to enter a name for the preset. This newly-saved preset and all other presets will be saved in Documents and Settings YourUsernameApplication Data AdobeLightroomDevelop Presets. Similarly, the settings for some of the other features are saved in Documents and SettingsAdministratorApplication DataAdobeLightroom. You can move these to another machine for later use.

Remove Red-eye
You can fix red-eye in photos by using the red eye tool in the Develop module. Zoom into the area of the eye. Simply click on the Remove Red Eye button, and click and draw a box around the eye. Lightroom will remove the red-eye effect. You can further alter the size of the effect and the darkness by using the sliders for pupil size and darkness.

Create Web Gallery Using HTML / Flash
One of Adobe Lightroom's features is to allow users to export your images as  Web galleries to the Internet. To do this, click on the Web module button. Choose from one of the Web templates available in the templates browser at the left. Any customisations to the web template such as colours can be done to it. Click on "Preview in browser" to get a preview, and then on Export to export the gallery to a folder on your hard drive.
Export To FTP Servers
Exporting of image galleries to an FTP server can be done directly through Lightroom. Click on the Web module button. Scroll down the right panel to the Out section. Click on the drop-down for "FTP server" and click Edit. Here you can specify the address for the FTP server and the authentication information. Click the Upload button to upload the Web gallery to the FTP server.

Quick Switch To Modules
Lightroom is split into modules-Library, Develop, Print, Slideshow, and Web. You can click on the buttons on the module selection panel on the top, but there are keyboard shortcuts: [Ctrl] [Alt] [1/2/3/4/5] to access the modules.

Set Up Auto Import
The Auto import feature makes Lightroom watch a particular folder for any new images, so you don't have to manually keep adding images to your gallery. To set up Auto Import, go to File > Auto Import > Auto Import Settings. Choose a folder to watch, and a destination for the imported photos. You can choose to set some effect presets to the imported images as well. Click OK. Then select File > Auto Import > Enable Auto Import to make Lightroom monitor the specified location.

Rejecting And Deleting Images
You'll often find several bad photos in your collection that you want to remove. You can set flags to photos, one of them being "Rejected". To reject a photo, right-click on the thumbnail in the panel at the bottom or in the library mode, and select Set Flag > Rejected. The shortcut is [X]. To delete the rejected images, you can either go to the Photo menu and click on Delete Rejected Photos, or simply use the shortcut [Ctrl] [Backspace].

Image Filter
Picked images are images you would like to access at a different time. A filter for the flags as mentioned above is available in Lightroom so you can easily view all the rejected photos or the picked ones. ("Picked" is one of the flags.) This can be accessed by clicking on the buttons on the bottom panel under the Filter section. The same filter can be used to display only images above a certain rating.

Full-Screen Mode
You can switch to full-screen mode to hide the title-bar and taskbar, thus increasing your workspace. Press [F] once to hide the title bar. Pressing [F] again hides the taskbar; pressing it again brings you back to the normal mode.

Quick Develop
Quick Develop is a feature in the Library module. It lets you quickly set the optimum parameters for a particular image. Click on the Library button. Scroll down to the Quick Develop section in the right panel. You can select one of the available presets, or click on Auto Tone. Auto Tone will use the best parameters for your image. The presets are where you can directly click to make an image greyscale or sepia, for example.
Keeping Track Of Edited Images
While making changes to multiple images, without saving them, you can lose track of which images have been edited. It's quite easy: on the thumbnails of the images which have had modifications done to them, there's a small box at the bottom right of the thumbnail. You can reset the modification by right-clicking on the thumbnail, clicking on Develop settings, and clicking Reset.

Apply A Preset On All Images
Once you've applied a set of filters for a single image, you might want to apply the same effects to a batch of images. The Synchronize tool can be used for this. First, in the Develop module, you select the image you want to modify. Add effects and filters to it. You then press [Ctrl] [A] to select all the images, or use [Ctrl] to manually select the images. Next, click on the Sync button in the right panel. You will then be prompted to choose-from a window with checkboxes for all the parameters-which effects you want to replicate on the other images. Unselect the ones you don't need and click Synchronize.

Metadata Browser
The Metadata browser lets you easily browse through photos in a better-sorted manner. To access the Metadata browser, enable the Library mode, then on the left panel, scroll down till you come across "Metadata browser". Here you can choose to access images by categories such as camera, lens, date, location, etc. Such information typically comes from the "EXIF" information that digicams embed into images.

Assign And Remove Keywords
Keywords will help improve the functionality of the Metadata browser. Most people enter keywords for an image through the "Keywording" section in the right panel in Library mode.

An easier and more efficient way
is to click on the Grid View button in the Library mode. Enable the keystamping tool by right-clicking on the arrow pointing down, which is on the same bar as the Grid View button. Enable Keyword. A keyword stamper will appear on the bar. Click on the text entry box next to the stamper
and enter the keywords. Click the keyword stamper tool and click the thumbnails of the images you want to apply the keyword to. Click on the keyword tags section in the left panel, and you can now choose from the list of keywords to show the corresponding images.

Virtual Copies
Creating duplicates of an image-so you can try out variations-can take up a lot of space. Virtual copies store the parameter information and effects that you add and apply it to the original image thus acting as a proxy. This can save a lot of disk space. To create a virtual copy, right-click on an image or thumbnail and click on Create Virtual Copy. A new image with a little paper-fold tag at the bottom left of it will appear. Make as many modifications to it as you like, and finally, when you're satisfied, you can convert the virtual copy into a real image by exporting it to a file.

Fix Crooked Pictures
Photos sometimes end up a little tilted. Lightroom helps you fix this problem very quickly. Switch to the Develop module by clicking on the button in the module selection panel. Click on the Crop Overlay button and draw a box around the selection you want to straighten. Use the Straighten slider to the right to rotate the image. An even easier method is to use the Straighten tool and draw a line between two points on the photo, for example, the feet of a person,
assuming he's standing on a flat surface, and Lightroom will straighten the image for you.

Compare Results
It's a good idea to compare the images you're working on with the original to get a clearer idea of progress. Click on the Before and After View button to have a real time preview while in the Develop module.

Lights On, Lights Off!
Lightroom has a feature that lets you temporarily mask off the toolbars so the images being worked on are prominent. Do this by clicking on the Window menu and then on Lights Out. Press [L] will cycle through the various light modes such as Dim Lights, Lights On, Lights Off.

Open An Image In Third-party Applications
In cases where Lightroom isn't doing enough for you, or you need a feature available in a different application such as Adobe Photoshop, you can open the file in Photoshop by pressing [Ctrl] [E].
To open a file in a third-party application, press [Ctrl] [Alt] [E]. You first specify the application by clicking on the Edit menu and then on Preferences. Click on the External Applications tab. Under Additional External Editor, you can choose the path of the third-party application.

Lightroom Shortcuts
To get a complete listing of all the shortcuts, press [Ctrl] [/] in a particular module. 

Yahoo! Music Jukebox (MusicMatch Jukebox)
Musicmatch Jukebox, or Yahoo! Music Jukebox as it is better known now, was known as an alternative to Winamp a long while ago. Yahoo! has breathed fresh life into Music Jukebox; we speak about ways to make the best of its capabilities.
      
Set Ratings For Tracks, Albums, And Artists
To enter ratings, just move your mouse to the number of stars you want to assign in the ratings panel at the top. You can also set ratings by clicking on the stars next to each track in the playlists.

Tag Your Music
Often, a lot of our music is never tagged properly because we are too lazy to enter information manually for each of the tracks. Yahoo! Music Jukebox, like most other media players, has a built-in feature which first analyses the track and then looks up a database on the Internet called Gracenote.
Click on the Playlists tab and then on one of the playlists. Click on a particular song, artist, or All, and click Edit Track Info or Edit > Song Information. Click on Suggest, and a suggestion for the track will be displayed. Click on an appropriate one and click Accept Selected Tags if it's right, or else choose Skip.

Create And Share Playlists
You have the choice of creating multiple playlists in Yahoo! Music Jukebox. It can be for the purpose of separating various genres of music, or for organising your music. To create a new playlist, right-click on the Playlists tab to the left and choose New Playlist (or press [Ctrl] [N]). Sharing playlists is an easy way to tell your friends what you're playing, and if they've got the same songs, they'll be in sync with you… you get the idea.
Sharing a playlist is simple. Click on a newly-created playlist, and the upper panel will display options to share the playlist with others through e-mail, instant messenger, or a Web link that can be mailed to your friends or posted on your blog. You can also enter a description for the playlist.

Enabling Visualisations
Visualisations in Music Jukebox are disabled by default. You can enable them by clicking on the View menu and then on Show Visualizations. The main playlist region of the player will be replaced with the visualisation. It can be disabled by using the same menu, or by clicking on another tab. You can switch visualisations by double-clicking on the current one.

Encode And Compress Your Music Collection
Music Jukebox provides you a selection of four formats to select from. Other than MP3, you can choose Ogg Vorbis for good compression, or FLAC for lossless compression and highest quality. You can set your preferences for encoding by clicking on the Edit menu and then on Preferences. Click on CD, and the settings can be found under the Import Options.


Monitor Your Music Database
You have the option to let Music Jukebox scan your music collection for any new entries. Select Edit > Preferences. Click on My Music, then on Add, and choose the paths you wish to add. You can then choose the frequency of scans or manually scan the folder.


Find Similar Music
Yahoo! Music Jukebox uses an online feature that lets it suggest songs and artists similar to your taste. Click on Y! Unlimited, and enter an artist or song name. Next, right-click on one of the results and click Create Similar Song Playlist. Here, you can hear a sample of the song, or buy the complete track or album.


Share Specific Music Over A Network
Yahoo! Music Jukebox can act as a music server on a network. Here you can choose to only share a couple of playlists instead of your entire collection. Select Edit > Preferences. Scroll down to the Network Music section. Uncheck "Share my entire music collection", and click on "Let
me Choose". Here you can choose specific playlists to be shared for network access.

Compact Mode
You can quickly switch to the Mini mode by clicking [Alt] [N], or by going to View > Mini mode. While in the mini mode, you can select from one of the mini skins by right-clicking on the interface, then clicking on Change Skin and selecting the skin of your choice.



Quick Shortcuts
Here are some tips to make manoeuvring around Yahoo! Music Jukebox a lot easier. 




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