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Windows XP Home & Pro

Revised on

Get Started
Windows XP Tips Page >Microsoft
Multiboot with Windows XP >Microsoft
Transfer Files and Settings to Your New PC >Microsoft
Set Up Windows XP Professional >Microsoft
Make XP Boot Disks
How to Uninstall Windows XP and Revert to a Previous Operating System
Speed up Windows 2000 & XP
Increase your internet bandwidth by more than 20% in XP
Reinstall TCP/IP
Avoid reactivating XP after a reinstall
Windows Media Player Copy Protection
Removing Shared Documents
Rip to MP3 in Windows Media Player 8 in XP
Rev up your DSL/Cable Modem speed
CD-R Drive or CD-RW Drive Is Not Recognized As a Recordable Device
>Microsoft KB
Description of the Windows XP Recovery Console >Microsoft KB
HOW TO: Change the PPPoE MTU Size in Windows XP >Microsoft KB
Improve Performance in XP
Windows Logo Key Map
The Inside Scoop on Windows XP >Microsoft
Windows XP Bliss Screen Saver >Microsoft
How to Move a Windows XP Installation to Different Hardware >Microsoft
Change the Windows Logon Screen Saver in Windows XP >Microsoft
Hard Disk Performance Is Slower Than You Expect >Microsoft
How to Perform an In-Place Upgrade (Reinstallation) of Windows XP >Microsoft
To start Windows XP in Safe mode
Personalize Your Computer
Personalize Your Computer Settings >Microsoft
Microsoft ClearType Tuner: Customize Your Screen for Your Eyes >Microsoft
Expand Your Workspace with Multiple Monitors and Dualview >Microsoft
Communications and the Internet
Stay in Touch with Windows Messenger 4.5

Go Mobile
Enable Remote Desktop >Microsoft
Use Offline Files When You're off the Network
Make Web Pages Available for Offline Viewing >Microsoft
Transfer Internet Data Securely with Virtual Private Networks >Microsoft
Work with Multimedia
Get Started with Windows Movie Maker >Microsoft
Enjoy a World of Music >Microsoft
Create a Home or Small Office Network >Microsoft
Configure Broadband Connections Using PPPoE >Microsoft
Connect Computers and Devices with Infrared Data Transfer >Microsoft
Conserve Batteries with Hibernate and Standby >Microsoft

Use Backup to Protect Data >Microsoft
Copy Files and Folders to CDs >Microsoft
Repairing Internet Explorer and/or Outlook Express >MH
Restrict Who Can Use Files with Access Control >Microsoft
Use Security and Privacy Features in Internet Explorer 6 >Microsoft
Encrypt Your Data to Keep It Safe >Microsoft
Get Help and Support
Using the Help and Support Center in Windows XP >Microsoft
Roll Back a Device Driver >Microsoft
Take Advantage of Program Compatibility Mode >Microsoft
Get Help Anywhere with Remote Assistance >Microsoft
What's New in Security for Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home Edition >Microsoft
Securing Mobile Computers with Windows XP Professional
Wireless 802.11 Security with Windows XP
Reliability Improvements in Windows XP Professional
Frequently Asked Questions About the IPv6 Protocol for Windows XP
Windows XP Performance
Mobile Computing with Windows XP
Step-by-Step Guide to Migrating Files and Settings


Control Initial Keyboard State

You can use a Registry tweak to force NumLock on, but there's no equivalent for CapsLock. (In the Registry key HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Keyboard, find or create the String value InitialKeyboardIndicators and set its data to '0' for off, '2' for on.)

Link to Make XP Boot Disks

Windows XP Home Edition:

Windows XP Professional:

How to Uninstall Windows XP and Revert to a Previous Operating System (Q303661)

Jeff Haas, my close computer buddy and marketing genius was helping out a family member and ran into some problems installing Windows XPh. He called one night and asked if I knew if XP had a uninstall feature to revert back to the previous operating system. I said I don't think so, but Jeff obviously found the answer from billy's website at Microsoft.

Speed up Windows 2000 & XP

Here's a tip for speeding up Internet and LAN browsing on Windows 2000 and XP machines.
1. Open regedit.exe from Start->Run
2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/Explorer/RemoteComputer/NameSpace
3. Under that branch, select the key {D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF}
4. Delete it

This key instructs Windows to search for Scheduled Tasks on remote computers. Unless you use this feature, which most people don't (for remote machines), it is safe to delete this key.

Increase your internet bandwidth by more than 20% in XP

Works for both broadband and dialups:

1.make sure your logged on as actually "Administrator". do not log on with any account that just has administrator privileges.
to log in as an administrator:

click on start->logoff->logoff,

in the logon screen hold Ctrl+Alt+Del.

in the user field type 'Administrator' <-case sensitive.

in the password field type the password for the administrator (if you dont have any leave blank. click ok.

2. start - run - type gpedit.msc

3. expand the "local computer policy" branch

4. expand the "administrative templates" branch

5. expand the "network branch"

6. Highlight the "QoS Packet Scheduler" in left window

7. in right window double click the "limit reservable bandwidth" setting

8. on setting tab check the "enabled" item

9. where it says "Bandwidth limit %" change it to read 0

10. go to your Network connections (start->connect to->show all connections). right click on your internet connection then under the General or the Networking tab (where it lists your protocols) make sure QoS packet scheduler is enabled. If not, install it as a Service.

11. reboot if you want to but not necessary on some systems your all done. Effect is immediate on some systems. some need re-boot.

This is more of a "counter what XP does" thing. In other words, XP seems to want to reserve 20% of the bandwidth for its self. Even with QoS disabled, even when this item is disabled. So why not use it to your advantage. To demonstrate the problem with this on stand alone machines start up a big download from a server with an FTP client. Try to find a server that doesn't max out your bandwidth. In this case you want a slow to medium speed server to demonstrate this. Let it run for a couple of minutes to get stable. The start up another download from the same server with another instance of your FTP client. You will notice that the available bandwidth is now being fought over and one of the clients download will be very slow or both will slow down when they should both be using the available bandwidth. Using this "tweak" both clients will have a fair share of the bandwidth and will not fight over the bandwidth.

for example. now loads in less than 1 sec instead of 7 secs before changing the bandwidth limit.

Some other suggestions are to do Windows Updates and check the OS Updates guide at often. Be sure to check out the Windows XP Memory Tweak Guide at and to set the TCP Receive Window on your system for maximum
internet performance by going here:


Reinstall TCP/IP

Every experienced network guru knows that quite often the problem with a faulty network connectio is due to the TCP/IP stack being corrupted or not properly bound. Starting with WinXP Microsoft has disabled the ability to uninstall TCP/IP. So what are you to do if you suspect that all that is needed is a clean install of the TCP/IP stack? Luckily it is fairly easy to rebuild the stack to the prsitine conditions that it was in on a clean install using the NetShell utiltiy.

Here is how:

Go to your command prompt and type the following:

netsh int ip reset [ log_file_name ]

A log file name must be specified in order to succesfully execute the netsh command. This file will log all the actions taken by netsh.


netsh int ip reset resetlog.txt
netsh int ip reset c:\resetlog.txt


The only difference between these two is that the first will create the log in the current directory while the second specifies where tho log is to be created. After creating the log you can use notepad or any other text editor to see exactly what changes were made.

Avoid reactivating XP after a reinstall.

This article by Valerie Weiss

When you activate Windows XP, Microsoft stores the data in the Windows Product Activation database files wpa.dbl and Wpa.bak in the folder %systemroot%system32. If you change the motherboard or make significant hardware changes, XP will require you to reactive. But if you plan to reinstall XP on the same hardware, you can back up the activation status and then restore it after you reinstall and avoid the activation process. You can backup the Windows Product Activation database files to diskette. They are very small. A directory listing from my XP Pro workstation:

C:WINDOWSsystem32>dir wp*
Volume in drive C has no label.
Volume Serial Number is 8447-0571

Directory of C:WINDOWSsystem32

10/24/2001 08:28 PM 12,584 wpa.bak
01/14/2002 09:05 AM 12,642 wpa.dbl

After you reinstall XP, to restore the Windows Product Activation database files:
Start XP to Minimal Safe mode
Change directory to the %systemroot%system32 folder
Rename the newly created wpa.dbl to wpa.nonactivated and wpa.bak, if it exists, to wpabak.nonactivated.
Copy your backed up wpa.dbl and wpb.bak files to the system32 folder

Windows Media Player Copy Protection

Windows XP comes bundled with Windows Media Player 8.0. While Media Player plays just about any digital media file format--it supports 35, including MP3, it records music only in the Windows Media Audio, or WMA, format. The reason? Content protection.
When recording, or ripping, music from CDs, Media Player allows you to make protected recordings so that no one will be able to copy the recording from one computer to another. You can turn copy protection on or off on the Copy Music tab by checking or unchecking the box that says Protect Content.

Removing Shared Documents

Open Regedit (Start- Run- Regedit) and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWARE Microsoft Windows CurrentVersion Explorer My Computer NameSpace DelegateFolders There will see a key named {59031A47-3f72-44A7-89C5-5595FE6B30EE}. By Deleting this you can remove the 'Other Files stored on This Computer' group.

Rip to MP3 in Windows Media Player 8 in XP

Enter the following in the registry : [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWARE
MicrosoftMediaPlayerSettingsMP3Encoding] "LowRate"=dword:0000DAC0 "MediumRate"=dword:0000FA00 "MediumHighRate"=dword:0001F400 "HighRate"=dword:0002EE00 This corresponds to 56, 64, 128 and 192 Kbps. You can change this to your liking using the following dword hex values : 320 Kbps = dword:0004E200 256 Kbps = dword:0003E800 224 Kbps = dword:00036b00 192 Kbps = dword:0002EE00 160 Kbps = dword:00027100 128 Kbps = dword:0001F400 112 Kbps = dword:0001B580 64 Kbps = dword:0000FA00 56 Kbps = dword:0000DAC0

Rev up your DSL/Cable Modem speed

This tweak is for broad band cable connections on stand alone machines with Windows XP professional version - might work on Home version also.

In the "My Network Places" properties (right click on the desktop icon and choose properties), highlight the connection then at the menu bar choose "Advanced" then "Advanced Settings". Uncheck the two boxes in the lower half for the bindings for File and Printer sharing and Client for MS networks. Click OK

From the windows XP cd in the support directory from the support cab, extract the file netcap.exe and place it in a directory on your hard drive or even in the root of your C:\ drive.

next, open up a command prompt window and change directories to where you put netcap.exe. then type "netcap/?". It will list some commands that are available for netcap and a netmon driver will be installed. At the bottom you will see your adapters. One will be for LAN and the other will be for WAN something or other.

Next type "netcap/Remove". This will remove the netmon driver.

Open up control panel / system / dev man and look at your network adapters. You should now see two of them and one will have a yellow on it. Right click on the one without the yellow and choose uninstall. You are uninstalling your network adapter, continue with the uninstall. Do not restart your computer yet.

Check your connection properties to make sure that no connection exists. If you get a wizard just cancel out of it.
Now re-start the machine.

After re-start go to your connection properties again and you should have a new connection called "Local area connection 2". highlight the connection then at the menu bar choose "Advanced" then "Advanced Settings". Uncheck the two boxes in the lower half for the bindings for File and Printer sharing and Client for MS networks. Click OK.

Choose connection properties and uncheck the "QOS" box

Now, Re-start your computer...

These tweaks will make Internet Explorer load faster and increase your all around broadband connection. You can check your speed from the MH page here at

Appearantly, XP installs two separate NIC cards. Card A is installed and hidden away and Card B is the Lan connection you do see under the Properties page. By using this tweak, it removes the Card A and only uses Card B therefore improving your connection.

Improve Performance in XP

Windows XP uses processor time to handle system performance according to default settings, which can be changed. Visual effects enhance the appearance of the Windows XP interface, but can dramatically slow down system performance. You can fine–tune these settings in Windows XP Professional to improve performance:

Right–click My Computer, and then click Properties.

Click the Advanced tab, and in the Performance area, click Settings.

On the Visual Effects tab, click the Custom radio button, and then select which UI features to disable to improve performance.

Click the Advanced tab, and in the Processor scheduling area, click the Background services button. Selecting this option means that background tasks that you want to run while you work, such as backup utilities or print jobs, will share processor time equally with programs.

You may need to be logged on as an Administrator to make these changes. Note that applying these settings may change your current desktop theme.

Windows Logo Key Map

The Windows logo key or Win-Key as techie's call it, is located on the bottom row of most keyboards. Press it and the following keys listed below to execute the following commands:

Windows: Display the Start menu
Windows + D: Minimize or restore all windows
Windows + E: Display Windows Explorer
Windows + F: Display Search for files
Windows + Ctrl + F: Display Search for computer
Windows + F1: Display Help and Support Center
Windows + R: Display Run dialog box
Windows + break: Display System Properties dialog box
Windows + shift + M: Undo minimize all windows
Windows + L: Lock the workstation
Windows + U: Open Utility Manager

Here's a link to Microsoft's offical list of keyboard shortcuts and here's a link to a PDF of the page if you want a copy to put on your hard drive.

To start Windows XP in Safe mode

Use this method if XP is the only operating system installed on your computer.

1. Start Windows, or if it is running, shut Windows down and turn off the computer.
2. Restart the computer. The computer begins processing a set of instructions known as the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS). What is displayed depends on the BIOS manufacturer. Some computers display a progress bar that refers to the word BIOS, while others may not display any indication that this process is happening.
3. As soon as the BIOS has finished loading, begin tapping the F8 key on your keyboard. Continue to do so until the Windows Advanced Options menu appears.

NOTE: If you begin tapping the F8 key too soon, some computers will generate a "keyboard error" message. Please restart and try again.

4. Using the arrow keys on the keyboard, scroll to and select the Safe mode menu item, and then press Enter.

NOTE: On some computers, this can be quite difficult. If you are not successful and the computer starts in normal mode, follow the instructions in the Alternate method section.

Internet Explorer Download limits

Microsoft in its devine wisdom, decided that IE shuld have a download lomit or 2 to 4 downloads

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings]

Windows XP features that should be thrown back

System Restore
Microsoft included a system fixer that enables you to 'go back in time' to a point when your system was behaving normally making everything right with the world...
In my opinion, it's more trouble that it's worth. First, let's say your system starts acting funny after a few weeks after you got it and you've been a good user and did your restore point as described in the instructions. the day comes as it always does with computers when you need to give it the smelling salt to get you into productive mode again... you perform the restore and the immediate problem seems to go away but something else just isn't quite right... other things seems to be acting funny now, like funny screen flashes or slow performance in some programs but not all...
The reason is that the System Restore doesn't go back to restore all the drivers and software that was or wasn't there back in time. All it basically does is reset the registry to a point in the past. It really doesn't do what you think it does.
If you want a TRUE system restore tool look into Microsoft's own SYSPREP or better yet, get yourself a copy of Symantec's Ghost software to do REAL system restores.

Personal Firewall
I firewall for the masses, Yes? No. Microsoft was always hounded in the past for not doing this but as pressure grew I guess they snapped and decided to include one of the most lame duck firewall ever made. Without going into great detail please don't enable this. It's off by default and let's keep it that way.
If you are afraid of someone accessing your PC while you're online then get a real hardware router like a Linksys BEFSR41. If you are just a modem user then ZoneAlarm will do or Symantec's Norton Internet Security v2003. They have everything you need to keep safe.

Auto Update
This so-called handy feature seems great a first. All you have to do is wait for MS to flash a little icon in the taskbar of XP to notify you that system updates have been download and ready for you to just say Next? Well every now and then, Microsoft puts updates that are just not quite ready for prime time. I've had clients download new updates for their sound, modem, display or network drivers only to discover on the next bootup that the item it updated no longer works! This is a real pain in the rump cuz Microsoft will charge you a fee to call em to fix this.
ANSWER: If it ain't broke don't fix it. Only perform MANUAL updates. That's means turn off the Auto-Update feature and go directly to the Microsoft Update page and hand select each update that you think you need.
So far as the security updates go, those are pretty safe 98% of the time but beware of the driver updates of newly released updates. The number one thing to stay away from is anything with the word BETA near it.