Windows XP Hacks

Book description

Windows XP is the latest, most reliable, and best-looking version of the Windows operating system to emerge yet. As the result of the unification of Microsoft's corporate series (Windows NT and 200) with the home series (Windows 95, 98, and Me), Windows XP offers much that is pleasing to its users: rock-solid stability and a fresh new look. But power users who want to take command of their operating systems will find the same old frustrations: it's never been easy to get under the hood of a Windows system and Windows XP is no exception. Now power users can rejoice! Windows XP Hacks offers tips, tools, and know-how to bend Windows XP to your will. The book delves into XP topics such as controlling the control panel, changing unchangeable icons, removing uninstallable XP components, stopping pop-up ads, taking a bite out of cookies, speeding up file downloads, protecting yourself with firewalls and proxy servers, and more. Users of both Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Pro Edition will find smart, timesaving, fun, and useful hacks for virtually every feature in their operating system. Even if you're not a power user yet, this book will have you well on your way. Each Hack in the book can be read easily in a few minutes, saving countless hours of searching for the right answer. Windows XP Hacks provides direct, hands-on solutions that can be applied to the challenges facing both those meeting Windows XP for the first time as well as long-time users who know what they want from their operating system and just wants tips on how to get it. Windows XP Hacks is the latest in O'Reilly's new Hacks Series which aims to begin reclaiming the term "hacking" for the good guys. In recent years, the term has come to be associated with those nefarious black hats who break into computers to snoop, steal information or disrupt Internet traffic. But the term originally had a more benign meaning, and you'll still hear it used this way whenever developers get together. Our new Hacks books are written in the spirit of the true hackers -- the people who drive innovation.

Table of contents

  1. Windows XP Hacks
    1. Credits
      1. About the Author
      2. Contributors
      3. Acknowledgments
    2. Preface
      1. How to Use This Book
      2. How This Book Is Organized
      3. Conventions Used in This Book
      4. How to Contact Us
    3. 1. Startup and Shutdown
      1. Hacks #1-7
      2. Customize Multiboot Startup Options
        1. Editing Files
        2. Create a Startup Menu Even if You Have Only One Operating System
        3. See Also
      3. Change the Picture that Appears on the XP Startup Screen
        1. Choose from Multiple Splash Screens on Startup
        2. Build a Startup Screen from Any Graphic
        3. See Also
      4. Speed Up Boot and Shutdown Times
        1. Enable Quicker Startups with a Boot Defragment
        2. Speed Up Shutdown Times
      5. Halt Startup Programs and Services
        1. Eliminating Programs that Run at Startup
          1. Cleaning out the Startup folder
          2. Using the System Configuration Utility
          3. Using the Registry to halt programs running on startup
        2. Disabling Services that Run at Startup
      6. Create Multiple Startup Profiles with Advanced Startup Manager
        1. See Also
      7. Miscellaneous Startup and Shutdown Hacks
        1. Create One-Click Shutdown and Reboot Shortcuts
        2. Automatically Turn On Num Lock, Scroll Lock, and Caps Lock
        3. Stop Error Messages from Displaying on Startup
        4. Give More Time for Processes to Close at Shutdown
      8. Control User Logins by Hacking the Registry
    4. 2. The User Interface
      1. Hacks #8-20
      2. Customize the GUI with TweakUI
        1. Create a Speedy, Stripped-Down Interface with Tweak UI
      3. Control the Control Panel
        1. Hide Unused Applets with the Registry
        2. Hide Unused Applets with XP Pro’s Group Policy Editor
        3. Recategorize Control Panel Applets
        4. Display Control Panel Applets in a Cascading Menu
        5. Build Customized Control Panels
      4. Hack the Start Menu and Taskbar
        1. Hack the Taskbar with TweakUI
      5. Clean Up the Most Frequently Used Programs List
        1. Banning Programs from the List
          1. Another use for HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications
          2. Ban programs from the Most Frequently Used Programs List with TweakUI
        2. Change the Number of Programs that Appear on the List
        3. Make Room for the Pinned Programs List
      6. Rename and Change “Unchangeable” Desktop Icons and System Objects
        1. The Registry to the Rescue
        2. Change the Desktop Icons of System Objects
      7. Remove “Unremovable” Desktop Icons
      8. Create Your Own XP Themes and Find Thousands Online
        1. Roll Your Own Themes
        2. Get XP Themes Online
          1. These are a few of my favorite themes
        3. See Also
      9. Give XP a Makeover with WindowBlinds
        1. Downloading Skins from the Internet
        2. Creating Your Own WindowBlinds Skins
      10. Hacking Your Way Through the Interface
        1. Hide All Icons in the Notification Area
        2. Hide Only Certain Icons in the Notification Area
        3. Add Specific Folders to the Open Dialog Box
        4. Turn Off System Beeps
        5. Use Your Own Graphic for Your User Account
      11. Remove “Uninstallable” XP Utilities
        1. Hide Components You Don’t Want to Be Uninstalled
      12. Create Transparent Windows
      13. Make Your Own Cursors and Icons
        1. See Also
      14. Windows XP to Windows 2000: Retro is Cool
    5. 3. Windows Explorer
      1. Hacks #21-32
      2. Generating Folder and File Listingsfor Printing or Editing
        1. Alternative Method for Users of Outlook XP
      3. Control Windows Explorer with Command-Line Shortcuts
        1. Create Desktop Shortcuts for Explorer
        2. Using Global Unique Identifiers (GUIDs) with Command-Line Switches
      4. Empower Windows Explorer with PowerDesk
      5. Better File Rename
      6. Find Files Faster by Mastering the Indexing Service’s Query Language
        1. Using the Indexing Service’s Query Language
        2. Searching Using Properties
        3. Searching Using Operators and Expressions
        4. Ranking the Order of Search Results
        5. Editing the Indexing Service’s “Noise” Filter
      7. Hiding Folders and Files with the Encrypting File System
        1. Encrypting Files and Folders
        2. Decrypting Files and Folders
        3. Letting Others Use Your Encrypted Files
        4. Encrypting and Decrypting from the Command Line
      8. Forcing Windows Explorer Into True Usefulness
        1. Add Shortcut Menu Items to Specific File Types
        2. Add Global Shortcut Menu Items to All File Types
        3. Edit File Association Actions
        4. Remove Context Menu Items from Explorer
        5. Organize the All Programs Menu with Explorer
      9. Customize Folder Icons and Balloon Text
      10. A Power User’s Hidden Weapon: Improve the Context Menu
        1. Add “Copy To Folder” and “Move To Folder” Context Menu Options
        2. Add and Remove Destinations for the “Send To” Option
        3. Open the Command Prompt from the Right-Click Menu
        4. Clean Up the “Open With” Option
      11. Take Your Work on the Go with Offline Files and the Briefcase
        1. On-Demand and Scheduled Synchronizations
        2. Use the Briefcase for Mobile File Transfers
        3. A Closer Look at the Briefcase
        4. See Also
      12. Get More Hard Disk Space by Using NTFS Compression
        1. How Compressing Folders Affects Underlying Files
        2. Checking How Much Disk Space NTFS Compression Saves
        3. When to Use ZIP Files and When to Use NTFS Compression
        4. Convert Your Hard Disk to NTFS
        5. Hacking the Hack
      13. Put a Command-Line Prompt on Your Desktop
        1. See Also
    6. 4. The Web
      1. Hacks #33-41
      2. Stop Pop Ups, Spyware, and Web Bugs
        1. IE: Download Software to Stop Pop Ups
        2. Ditch IE: Use Opera or Mozilla to Stop Pop Ups
        3. Stop Messenger Service Popups
        4. Watch Out for Web Bugs
        5. Protect Yourself Against Spyware
        6. See Also
      3. Take a Bite Out of Cookies
        1. Customizing IE Cookie Handling
        2. Export, Import, or Back Up Your Cookies
        3. Examine and Delete Cookies Manually
        4. Get a Third-Party Cookie Manager
        5. Opt Out of Cookie-Based Ad Networks
        6. See Also
      4. Read Web Pages Offline
        1. Reading Web Pages Offline Using IE
        2. Save Web Pages in an Offline Database with SurfSaver
      5. Better Internet Searching from Your Desktop
        1. Google Toolbar
        2. Mastering the Search Companion
        3. See Also
      6. Hack Internet Explorer with the Group Policy Editor
        1. Browser User Interface
        2. Connection
        3. URLs
        4. Security
        5. Programs
      7. Speed Up File Downloads
      8. Surf Anonymously Without a Trace
        1. Web-Based Anonymizer
        2. Get Software for Anonymous Surfing
        3. See Also
      9. Secrets of Web Site Hosting with Internet Information Services (IIS)
        1. Change the Directory and Do a Redirect
        2. Redirect Incorrect Incoming URLs
        3. Use Caching for Better Performance
        4. See Also
      10. Run Java Applets Without Crashes or Problems
        1. Make Sure You Have a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) Installed
        2. Uninstall Older JVM Versions
          1. Uninstalling an Old Sun JVM
          2. Uninstalling the Microsoft VM
        3. Change Your Display Settings
    7. 5. Networking
      1. Hacks #42-62
      2. War Driving for WiFi Access
        1. Mapping Wireless Networks
        2. Build a Homemade Wireless Cantenna for War Driving
        3. See Also
      3. Test Your Security with Shields Up!
      4. Tweak DNS Settings for Faster Internet Access
        1. Speed Up Web Access with a HOSTS File
        2. Adjust XP’s DNS Cache Settings
        3. Fix DNS Problems
      5. Fix Windows Media Player’s Privacy Problems
        1. See Also
      6. Protect Your Computer with the Internet Connection Firewall
        1. Track Firewall Activity with an ICF Log
        2. Watch Out for Problems with Email and the ICF
        3. See Also
      7. Use a Proxy Server to Protect Your PC
        1. Hacking the Hack
        2. See Also
      8. ZoneAlarm: The World’s Best Free Firewall
        1. Configuring ZoneAlarm to Block Trojans
        2. See Also
      9. Optimize Your Residential Gateway
        1. Special Hub/Router Settings for DSL Access
        2. Settings for Using a VPN
        3. Enable Specific Internet Services: Port Forwarding
        4. Cloning a MAC Address for Your Gateway
      10. Punch an Escape Hole Through Your Firewall
        1. Fix ICF’s Disabling of File Sharing
        2. Allow Diagnostic Services to Bypass the Firewall
        3. Punch a Hole Through ZoneAlarm
        4. See Also
      11. Close Down Open Ports and Block Protocols
      12. Troubleshooting Network Connections with ping, tracert, and pathping
        1. Troubleshoot TCP/IP Problems with ping
        2. Trace Your Network and Internet Data Path with tracert
        3. Troubleshoot Network Problems with pathping
        4. See Also
      13. Troubleshooting Network Connections with netsh, netstat, and ipconfig
        1. Use netsh to Troubleshoot Network and Internet Connections
        2. Use netstat to Get Information About Open Network Connections
        3. Use IPConfig to Troubleshoot TCP/IP
      14. Speed Up Network Browsing
      15. Extend the Range of Your Wireless Network
        1. See Also
      16. Install NetBEUI for Better Peer-to-Peer Networking
        1. See Also
      17. Check WiFi Network Performance with QCheck to Help Improve Throughput
        1. See Also
      18. Control Another PC with Remote Access
        1. Configuring the Windows XP Remote Server
        2. Setting Up the Remote Client
      19. Make Servers Always Available by Mapping a Hostname to a Dynamic IP Address
        1. See Also
      20. Renewing Your DHCP-Assigned IP Address
      21. Repair a Broken TCP/IP Connection
      22. Set Up a Virtual Private Network
    8. 6. Email
      1. Hacks #63-67
      2. Slam That Spam
        1. Peer-to-Peer Technology Fights Spam
        2. Slam Spam Before It Starts
        3. Viewing Mail Header Information in Outlook and Outlook Express
        4. Handling Spam in Outlook Express
        5. Handling Spam in Outlook
        6. See Also
      3. Open Blocked File Attachments in Outlook and Outlook Express
        1. Force Outlook to Let You Open Blocked File Attachments
        2. Force Outlook Express to Let you Open Blocked File Attachments
      4. Back Up and Restore Outlook and Outlook Express Data Files
        1. Backing Up Outlook Manually
        2. Backing Up Outlook Express Manually
        3. Backing Up Outlook and Outlook Express Using Add-In Software
        4. See Also
      5. Fire Outlook and Outlook Express
        1. Check Your Mood with Eudora
        2. Move Forward to the Past with Pegasus
        3. See Also
      6. Retrieve Web-Based Email with Your Email Software
        1. Getting Yahoo! Mail with YahooPOPs!
        2. Getting Hotmail Mail with Hotmail Popper
    9. 7. The Registry
      1. Hacks #68-72
      2. Don’t Fear the Registry
        1. The Five Logical Registry Hives
        2. Using Keys and Values
        3. Launching the Registry Editor
        4. Adding and Deleting Keys and Values
        5. See Also
      3. Hacking Away at the Registry
        1. Automatically Close Programs at Shutdown
        2. Disable XP Shutdown
        3. Change the Names of the Registered User and Company
        4. Change the Amount of Time Before Programs Time Out
        5. Disable the Disk Cleanup Warning
        6. Change the Default Location for Installing Programs
        7. Allow Laptops to Enter Power-Saving State (Increase the USB Polling Interval)
        8. Change the Size of Your Mouse and Keyboard Buffer
      4. Safely Edit the Registry Using .reg Files
        1. Delete Registry Keys and Values Using .reg Files
        2. Protect the Registry by Changing the Default Action for Double-Clicking a .reg File
        3. Change the Default Editor for .reg Files
      5. Better Registry Backups
      6. Track and Restore Registry Changes with RegSpy
        1. See Also
    10. 8. Basic Utilities
      1. Hacks #73-79
      2. Store Multiple Clips and Boilerplate Text with a Better Clipboard
        1. See Also
      3. Speed Up Your Hard Disk by Improving Defragging
        1. Defragment Boot Files
        2. Run Disk Defragmenter from the Command Line
        3. What to Do if the Disk Defragmenter Won’t Defragment Your Drive
        4. Get a Better Disk Defragmenter
      4. Build a Better Backup Strategy
        1. Map Out a Backup Plan
        2. System Organization Aids the Backup Process
        3. The Backup Utilities in Windows XP
          1. I Want My CDs!
          2. Restoring a backup
          3. XP Home, NTBackup, and Automated System Recovery (ASR)
        4. Get a Better Backup Program
      5. Extending Your Screen Real Estate with Virtual Desktops
        1. See Also
      6. Top Screenshot Tips
        1. Built-In Screen Capture
        2. SnagIt
        3. See Also
      7. Going Beyond Messaging with Windows Messenger
        1. Using .NET Alerts with Messenger
        2. Collaborate Long-Distance with the Whiteboard
        3. Share Applications with Messenger
      8. Universal Messaging: Trillian Unites AIM, MSN, Yahoo!, and ICQ
        1. See Also
    11. 9. Applications
      1. Hacks #80-85
      2. Remove Unruly Applications and Uninstall Entries
        1. Remove Stubborn Uninstall Entries from Already Uninstalled Programs
        2. Remove Access to Certain Microsoft Programs
        3. See Also
      3. Force XP-Incompatible Applications to Run
        1. Use the Compatibility Wizard
        2. Use the Application Compatibility Toolkit
        3. See Also
      4. Force Older Programs to Use XP Common Controls
        1. See Also
      5. Launch Applications with Command-Line Shortcuts
        1. Create Keyboard Shortcuts for Running Applications
        2. Customizing Shortcuts with Switches and Parameters
        3. See Also
      6. Open and Create Microsoft Documents without Microsoft Office
        1. See Also
      7. Stop Hidden Fields in Word from Stealing Your Files and Information
        1. See Also
    12. 10. Graphics and Multimedia
      1. Hacks #86-90
      2. Image Conversion in a Pinch
        1. IrfanView
        2. ImageConverter .EXE
        3. See Also
      3. Problem-Free CD Burning
        1. What to Do if Your Digital Music Files Skip and Pop
          1. Cleaning up .wav files
          2. Other advice for reducing skips and pops
        2. What to Do If Your Burned Music CDs Skip
        3. What to Do if Long Selections Are Interrupted by Skips
        4. See Also
      4. Save Streaming Music to Your PC
        1. See Also
      5. File Sharing without the Spyware
        1. Kazaa Lite
        2. Shareaza
      6. Tips for Making Videos with Windows Movie Maker
        1. Capture the Video Properly
        2. Capturing Video with a Digital Video Camera
        3. Best Settings for Recording Video
        4. Tips for Making Your Own DVDs
        5. See Also
    13. 11. System Performance
      1. Hacks #91-94
      2. Track System Performance with the Performance Console
        1. Setting Up Your Logs
        2. What to Watch
        3. Viewing Performance Logs
        4. Performance Alerts
      3. Getting the Most Out of Your RAM
        1. Make Better Use of Your Memory with the Task Manager
        2. General Advice for Making Better Use of RAM
      4. More Power: Registry Hacks to Speed Up XP
        1. Menu Speed
        2. Place Windows Kernel into RAM
        3. Alter Prefetch Parameters
        4. Disable 8.3 Name Creation in NTFS
      5. Repair and Recovery with the Recovery Console
        1. Starting the Recovery Console
        2. Looking Around
        3. Fixing the MBR, Boot Sector, or Boot Menu
        4. Fixing Windows
        5. Hacking the Hack
    14. 12. Hardware
      1. Hacks #95-100
      2. Troubleshoot Hardware by Decoding Device Manager Error Messages
        1. See Also
      3. Uncover Hidden Hardware with the Device Manager
        1. Hacking the Hack
      4. Check Your PC’s Pulse and Tweak It for Better Performance
        1. See Also
      5. Remap Your Keyboard
      6. Use ClearType for Better Laptop and LCD Resolution
        1. Hacking the Hack
      7. Networking on the Cheap: Set Up a Direct Cable Connection
        1. Remember the Boy Scout Creed: “Be Prepared”
        2. Cheap Networking with a Serial or Parallel Cable
        3. Cheap Networking with an Ethernet Cable
    15. Index
    16. Colophon

Product information

  • Title: Windows XP Hacks
  • Author(s): Preston Gralla
  • Release date: August 2003
  • Publisher(s): O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  • ISBN: 9780596005115