Friday, December 26, 2008

How to Make System Tray Based Application in .NET

How to Make System Tray Based Application in .NET

Creating an application that lives in the system tray is easy, but it is not entirely obvious how to do so in Visual Studio. This recipe will show you the steps.

1) First, create a new Windows Application project in Visual Studio.NET. This can be either Visual Basic or C#

2) Drag a Notifyicon control and a ContextMenu control from the toolbox onto the form.

3) Click on the NotifyIcon control that you just added, and set the Icon property to whatever icon you want your application to have.

4) Set the ContextMenu property of the Notifyicon to the context menu that you added to your project.

5) Right click on the Context Menu control, and select Edit. Since this menu will be the right-click menu for your tray icon, you will want to add the items that the user will see. Make sure to add an Exit menu item.

6) Double click the Exit menu item, and add the following code:

7) Now for the important settings. Click on the form, and go to the Properties window. Set the following settings:

FormBorderSize: Fixed Tool Window
WindowState: Minimized
Opacity: 0%
ShowInTaskbar: False

The key thing to remember is that the default form is not to be used for application functionality, it is only used as the hidden background window. If you want to create a new window, you can just add another form to your application.

How to Keep Users from Clearing IE’s History of Their Browsing in Windows Vista

How to Keep Users from Clearing IE’s History of Their Browsing in Windows Vista

Internet Explorer keeps a history of cookies, sites that have been visited, and form data. This history can be quite useful in tracking the browsing practices of an employee or your child (or even spouse). Many people are aware of the fact that they can delete this history from the browser, but you can take away this ability in situations that call for such action.

1. Click the Windows Orb and input gpedit.msc into the Start Search text box. Select gpedit.msc when it appears in the listing. Click Continue when the UAC prompt appears.

2. When the Group Policy Object Editor appears, go to the left pane and expand either Computer Configuration or User Configuration (depending on whether you wish to apply this to any user on the computer or just a specific user).

3. Expand Administrative Templates.

4. Expand Windows Components.

5. Expand Internet Explorer.

6. Select Delete Browsing History.

7. In the right pane, you will see the following listed:

Prevent Deleting Cookies

Prevent Deleting Web sites that the User has Visited

Prevent Deleting Temporary Internet Files

Prevent Deleting Favorites Site Data

Turn off "Delete Browsing History" funtionality

Prevent Deleting Form Data

Prevent Deleting of Passwords

Disable "Configuring History"

Prevent the deletion of temporary Internet files and cookies

8. Double click the desired setting. When the Properties window appears, select the Enabled radio button.

9. Click OK.

10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 until you have enabled all of the desired settings.

11. Close the Group Policy Object Editor.

How To Restore a Database from a Backup in SQL Server 2005

How To Restore a Database from a Backup in SQL Server 2005

Your database is down, your users are in a panic, what do you do?. If you have been performing routine backups of your database, you can restore it to the point of the most recent backup. To restore your database, follow these steps:

1. Open SQL Server 2005 Management Studio.

2. Connect to the appropriate server.

3. Expand Databases.

4. Right-click the desired database, mouseover Tasks, mouseover Restore and select Database.

5. The Restore Database window will appear.

6. Ensure that the correct database name appears in the To database field. If not, select it from the dropdown.

7. Under Source for restore, select the From device radio button.

8. Click the button next to the textbox to select the device to restore from.

9. The Specify Backup window will appear.

10. Click Add and locate and select the backup file from the Locate Backup File Window. Click OK.

11. Under Select the backup sets to restore, select all three backups (full, transaction log, and differential).

12. In the left pane, select Options.

13. Under Recovery state, ensure that the Restore with Recovery radio button is selected.

14. Click OK to begin restoring the database.

15. Once the restore is complete, a notification box will appear. Click OK to close the box. You have now restored your database to the most recent state.

How To Disable a Trigger SQL Server 2005

How To Disable a Trigger SQL Server 2005

A trigger allows for the execution of SQL code anytime an UPDATE, INSERT, or DELETE command is performed on a certain table. If you are having to perform manual modifications to the table, you may not want the trigger to fire off. Here’s how to disable the trigger so that you can perform your administrative tasks:

To disable the trigger, open a query window and use the following command (inserting the proper Table Name and Trigger Name into the statement):

To enable the trigger, use the following command (inserting the proper Table Name and Trigger Name into the statement):
ALTER TABLE "Table Name" ENABLE TRIGGER "Trigger Name"

How To How to Reset a Forgotten Password for the sa Account in SQL Server 2005

How To How to Reset a Forgotten Password for the sa Account in SQL Server 2005

If you’ve forgotten the sa password for your SQL server, you are probably in a panic. Fear not, for you can reset the password and once again have access to the powers of the sa account by using the query window in the Management Studio.

1. Open the SQL Server Management Studio.

2. Open a New Query.

3. Copy, paste, and execute the following:

USE [master]

where NewPassword is the password you wish to use for the sa account.

You can now breathe easier, and once again access the sa account. Whew!

How To Viewing Two Documents, Side by Side in Word 2007

How To Viewing Two Documents, Side by Side in Word 2007

When you are comparing two Word documents, having them next to each other is a necessity. You could take the time to carefully adjust the two documents so that they appear next to each other, but this takes up valuable time. Word 2007 makes it easy to place your two documents side by side on your screen without the fuss.

1. Open both of the documents in Word 2007.

2. Pick one of the open files to be the open document.

3. Go to the Ribbon and select the View tab.

4. In the Window section, select View Side by Side

Both documents will appear next to each other on your screen.

How To Print a Phone Directory of Your Contacts in Outlook 2007

How To Print a Phone Directory of Your Contacts in Outlook 2007

While it can be advantageous to have your contacts’ phone numbers in your email client, there are times when a hard copy is necessary. Outlook makes it easy to print out a phone directory of any or all of your contacts.

1. Open Outlook and go to your Contacts.

2. If you wish to only include certain contacts, hold down the ctrl key and left click the desired contacts. When finished, release the ctrl key. If you wish to print all of your contacts, don’t select anything.

3. Go to the menu, click File and select Print.

4. In the Print dialog box, go to the Print style section. Scroll down and select Phone Directory Style. In the Print range section, select All items to print out all of your contacts or Only selected items if you selected specific contacts in step 2.

5. Click OK to print the document or click Preview to see how it will look.

How To Use a Batch File for Quickly Restarting explorer.exe in Windows XP/Vista

How To Use a Batch File for Quickly Restarting explorer.exe in Windows XP/Vista

Explorer.exe is the user shell on your Windows system (taskbar, desktop, etc.) and periodically it requires a restart to resume proper functionality. Additionally, if you do a lot of tweaking to your system registry like I do, it’s much easier to restart explorer.exe to reload the registry instead of restarting the entire system. By creating a .bat file, you will have a quick 2 step solution that will restart explorer.exe and get you back to computing in just a few seconds.

1. Open Notepad.

2. Copy and paste the following into the new document:
@echo off
taskkill /f /IM explorer.exe

3. Save your document with a descriptive name such as restart_explorer.bat. Make sure to save the file with the .bat extension and not .txt.

The next time you need to restart explorer.exe, simply run the newly created .bat file and close the command window that appears.

How To Use Descriptions in Complex Formulas Excel 2007

How To Use Descriptions in Complex Formulas Excel 2007

If you are troubleshooting a spreadsheet with complex formulas, it can sometimes be a very time consuming task to figure out what the formula is supposed to be calculating. A good practice to follow is to include a description in the formula itself so the user can more easily understand the purpose of the formula.

1. Go to the Excel worksheet containing the formula(s) to be described.

2. Select the cell containing the formula.

3. You will see the formula in the Formula Bar above the spreadsheet. Click at the end of the displayed formula and input the following:
+N("your description")

where your description is replaced with the desired comment you wish to use to describe the equation.

For example:
A1+A2+N("simple formula for getting the sum of two cells")

4. Press Enter.

The formula results will not be affected by the description. In fact, the description will go unnoticed unless you click in the cell that the formula is in and review it in the Formula Bar.

How To Keep Your Color Scheme from Being Changed in Windows Vista

How To Keep Your Color Scheme from Being Changed in Windows Vista

You finally get the color scheme looking just the way you want it, but the next time you use your computer, someone has changed the colors to something else. If your computer is used by other people (such as your children) besides yourself, you can keep them from changing your color scheme so that it stays the way you want it.

To keep the color scheme from being changed:

1. Open Notepad.

2. Copy and paste the following into the new text document:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


3. Save the document as lock_color_scheme.reg.

4. Merge the new file into the registry by right-clicking it, selecting Open With, and finally clicking Registry Editor.

5. Continue through the UAC prompt and confirm that you wish to perform the action.

If you need to restore the functionality, follow these steps:

1. Open Notepad.

2. Copy and paste the following into the new text document:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


3. Save the document as unlock_color_scheme.reg.

4. Merge the new file into the registry by right-clicking it, selecting Open With, and finally clicking Registry Editor.

5. Continue through the UAC prompt and confirm that you wish to perform the action.

How To Hide All Desktop Icons in Windows XP

How To Hide All Desktop Icons in Windows XP

For whatever purpose you can hide all the icons on your desktop without having to delete them.

This is a very simple way to show you how to temporarily hide all desktop icons (including My Computer and Recycle Bin)

1. Right-click on your desktop.
2. Select Arrange Icons By.

3. You will see a Show Desktop Icons with a check on it; click that.

4. To return the appearance of your desktop items, repeat steps one through three.

How To Clear the Values while Keeping Formulas in Excel 2007

How To Clear the Values while Keeping Formulas in Excel 2007

If you are constantly using a spreadsheet that requires you clear the values but retain the formulas, it can be painful to go through and select each field individually for deletion. Excel makes it easy to do this in just a few steps.

1. Open the Excel worksheet containing the values and formulas.

2. Press Ctrl+G to bring up the Go To dialog box.

3. Click the Special button in the bottom-left corner of the box.

4. In the Go To Special dialog box, select the Constants radio button. Now check the Numbers checkbox underneath Formulas. Make sure that the Text, Logicals, and Errors checkboxes are unchecked.

5. Click the OK button.

6. All fields containing values and not formulas will be highlighted. Press the Delete key on your keyboard to clear out the values.

How To Increase the Number of Months Displayed in the To-Do Bar in Outlook 2007

How To Increase the Number of Months Displayed in the To-Do Bar in Outlook 2007

By default, Outlook’s To-Do Bar only displays the current month’s calendar. While this is helpful, it does little for providing a quick reference for looking at future months. You can configure the To-Do Bar to display multiple months and have a quick view of not only the current month, but the next few months as well.

1. Open Outlook.

2. Go to the Menu.

3. Click View, mouseover To-Do Bar and select Options.

4. Beneath the Show Date Navigator checkbox, use the designated textbox to input the number of month rows you wish to display in your To-Do Bar (1-9, maximum viewable number will depend on your screen size).

5. Click OK.

How To Open Office 2007 Documents in Earlier Versions of Office

How To Open Office 2007 Documents in Earlier Versions of Office

Every time a new version of Office is released, new updated file formats are released as well. Older versions of Office have a difficult time reading and editing these new files formats. Here is how to do it.

It’s a painful time around the ole office the first time somebody updates to the latest version of Word. Before long, nobody understands why they can’t open up these new types of documents. Gesh, what is the Open XML File Format anyway?

This new file format was included as the default file type in the latest versions of Office for windows and macs. This file format can contains all the default office documents including presentations, spreadsheets, charts, and documents.

So how can you open these new files in your older version of Office? Here are the updates needed on your apple or windows machine:

Open XML File Format Converter for Mac 1.0.1

Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats

Installing these respective updates will allow your older versions of the Office suite to read these new file formats.

Monday, December 22, 2008

How To Remove Unwanted Components in Windows Vista with iLite

How To Remove Unwanted Components in Windows Vista with iLite

Windows Vista can be considered as the first Microsoft operating system that requires specific requirements to run. Unlike its predecessor, Vista users generally need a high spec computer to run Vista smoothly. While running Windows Vista, users should have noticed Vista actually takes up a lot of resources. Due to this, it is good to remove those unwanted or rubbish components in order to speed up the Operating System. vLite is a useful tool designed particularly for users to remove the unnecessary or unwanted Windows Vista components and thus help to speed up the operating system. Besides, it can also create the bootable ISO and apply the tweaks directly.

vLite is a free Vista compatible application which can customize the operating system before installing it. It will configure the installation directly before installation, meaning users have to remake the ISO and reinstall it. This method is much cleaner, not to mention easier and more logical than doing it after installation. Technically, vLite is not a hacking tool and it is not functioning on any kind of hacking. All files and registry entries are protected as they would be if users install the unedited version only with the changes they select.

The latest version recently released was vLite v1.2.0 Beta. vLite needs Framework 2.0 and above to run smoothly. Users can download vLite 1.2.0 Beta via the link here.

The summary of the key features are
• hotfix, language pack and driver integration
• component removal
• unattended setup
• tweaks
• split/merge Vista installation CDs
• create ISO and burn bootable CD/DVD

How To Hack to Enable Opening Command Prompt as Adminstrator in Vista

How To Hack to Enable Opening Command Prompt as Adminstrator in Vista

Lazy to type “CMD” or pressing any keyboard keys just to elevate the opened command prompt window with full administrator credentials and privileges mode? The following registry hack for Windows Vista will allow you to open an elevated command window by simply right click on Computer (formerly known as My Computer in Windows XP) icon at Start Menu or Desktop, and select Run Command Prompt as Administrator from the contextual menu.

To add and place a new menu item to right click context menu for Computer so that whenever you right click on the icon, a contextual menu item of Run Command Prompt as Administrator will be shown, and then you can straight away click on the entry to immediately open the elevated command prompt, copy and paste the following code to a text editor such as Notepad, and save it to a file with filename with .reg extension. Double click on the file or right click on registry file and then choose “Merge”.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

@=”Run Command Prompt as Administrator”


Shortcut Keys for Windows XP

Shortcut Keys for Windows XP

* CTRL+C Copy.
* CTRL+X Cut.
* CTRL+V Paste.
* CTRL+Z Undo.
* DELETE Delete.
* SHIFT+DELETE Delete selected item permanently without placing the item in the Recycle Bin.
* CTRL while dragging an item Copy selected item.
* CTRL+SHIFT while dragging an item Create shortcut to selected item.
* F2 Rename selected item.
* CTRL+RIGHT ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next word.
* CTRL+LEFT ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous word.
* CTRL+DOWN ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of the next paragraph.
* CTRL+UP ARROW Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous paragraph.
* CTRL+SHIFT with any of the arrow keys Highlight a block of text.
* SHIFT with any of the arrow keysSelect more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or select text within a document.
* CTRL+A Select all.
* F3 Search for a file or folder.
* ALT+ENTER View properties for the selected item.
* ALT+F4 Close the active item, or quit the active program.
* ALT+Enter Displays the properties of the selected object.
* ALT+SPACEBAR Opens the shortcut menu for the active window.
* CTRL+F4 Close the active document in programs that allow you to have multiple documents open simultaneously.
* ALT+TAB Switch between open items.
* ALT+ESC Cycle through items in the order they were opened.
* F6 Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop.
* F4 Display the Address bar list in My Computer or Windows Explorer.
* SHIFT+F10 Display the shortcut menu for the selected item.
* ALT+SPACEBAR Display the System menu for the active window.
* CTRL+ESC Display the Start menu.
* ALT+Underlined letter in a menu name Display the corresponding menu. Underlined letter in a command name on an open menu Carry out the corresponding command.
* F10 Activate the menu bar in the active program.
* RIGHT ARROW Open the next menu to the right, or open a submenu.
* LEFT ARROW Open the next menu to the left, or close a submenu.
* F5 Refresh the active window.
* BACKSPACE View the folder one level up in My Computer or Windows Explorer.
* ESC Cancel the current task.
* SHIFT when you insert a CD into the CD-ROM drive Prevent the CD from automatically playing.

How To Restart or Shutdown Windows in one line Command

How To Restart or Shutdown Windows in one line Command

If you getting tired of everytime have to clicking Start menu, and then click on Turn Off Computer, and then still have to click on Turn Off or Restart or Log Off in order to log off, restart or shut down your computer, and feel that it’s time wasting, you can create a one-click shortcut that allows the user to shutdown or restart Windows, or go into standby or hibernate mode, with just a single click on the shortcut itself. Best of all, the shortcut can be put at any place - desktop, Quick Launch bar, or Start Menu, and can even launch the shutdown or restart process from command line or command prompt.

In order to shutdown or restart the Windows with just one click shortcut or from command prompt or command line, users can use shutdown command line utility/command that comes with Windows 2000 (with the Resource Kit installed) and Windows XP or Windows Vista (native). To access shutdown command, simply go to DOS command prompt by clicking on Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Command Prompt or Start -> Run and then type in Cmd to launch a command prompt window.

To create a one-click shortcut to shutdown the Windows computer, right click on your desktop or any folder (or click at File at toolbar), and then select New, and then click on Shortcut. A New Shortcut wizard will ask for location of this item. In the textbox, type “shutdown -s -t 01″ (without quotation marks). Click on Next when done. When ask for a name for the shortcut, give any descriptive name you prefer, such as Shutdown. Then click on Finish, and you can now use the shortcut created to shut down PC immediately after click.

If you want to create a shortcut that quick restart the Windows instead of shutting down the computer, follow the above instruction, but “shutdown -s -t 01″, key in “shutdown -r -t 01″ for location of this item. Again, give a proper descriptive name to the shortcut, such as Restart, and the shortcut is ready to be used to restart the Windows right after click.

As in the shutdown command above, -s parameter will shutdown the computer, while -r will shutdown and restart the computer. -t 01 set the timeout or time to lapse in seconds for a shut down or restart to begin. By default, if no -t argument is specified, shutdown command will wait for 30 seconds countdown before shutdown or restart. The best part for shutdown command is that it can abort a system shutdown, by using -a as the option for shutdown, i.e. “shutdown -a”. There are other options or parameters that available, and users can view all of the flags with “shutdown /?” command at command prompt.

The options available for shutdown are:

No arguments : Display this message (same as -?)
-i : Display GUI interface, must be the first option
-l : Log off (cannot be used with -m option)
-s : Shutdown the computer
-r : Shutdown and restart the computer
-a : Abort a system shutdown
-m \\computername : Remote computer to shutdown/restart/abort
-t xx : Set timeout for shutdown to xx seconds
-c “comment” : Shutdown comment (maximum of 127 characters)
-f : Forces running applications to close without warning
-d [u][p]:xx:yy : The reason code for the shutdown

Windows XP reinstallation tips

Windows XP reinstallation tips

Here are Windows XP reinstallation tips that will save your bacon.

1. Download and save any hardware drivers you might need on a USB key or blank CD beforehand, so you can install them quickly when Windows XP has finished installing itself.

2. Make sure you've got any other driver discs and program CDs to hand before starting; there's nothing more frustrating than running around looking for that missing Microsoft Office CD.

3. Avoid using the quick NTFS formatting option as it doesn't thoroughly wipe the hard drive. The full length format results in a far cleaner drive and much improved performance.

4. Make sure you're got all the requisite logon details for your ISP before reinstalling Windows XP, so you can quickly get connected and use Windows Update later.

5. If you use Office 2003, you can back up your emails and contacts and save them on CD by clicking File And Backup. You can then import them into your new Windows XP installation once you're ready for them.

How To Hide all Desktop icons (9x/XP)

How To Hide all Desktop icons (9x/XP)

NoDesktop (DWORD value):
Set to 1 to hide all icons.
Delete NoDesktop to undo.
Hit F5 to refresh the desktop.
Hide Network Neighborhood, My Network Places (9x)
Run Poledit.exe (You may have to install it: It is on your Windows CD in\tools\reskit\netadmin\poledit).
File > Open Registry > (double click) Local User > Shell > Restrictions
Check Hide Network Neighborhood or/and My Network Places
OK > File > Save

How to Show Volume Icon in Taskbar

How to Show Volume Icon in Taskbar

It's really handy to have access to the Volume Control panel in the event you quickly need to move the volume slider up or down. In its default state, XP ships with almost a clean slate for both the desktop and taskbar. So, if you'd like to place the volume control icon in the taskbar, you're going to need to make a little adjustment.

To place the volume control icon in the taskbar, follow these steps:

Single-click the Start menu.
Single-click Control Panel.
Single-click Sound, Speech, and Audio Devices.
Single-click Sounds and Audio Devices to launch the Sound and Audio Devices properties.
On the Volume tab, locate the text labeled "Device Volume" and place a check mark next to the text labeled "Place volume icon in the taskbar."
Single-click Apply.

You should now have the volume icon in the taskbar. Now all you need to do is double-click this icon to bring up your Volume Control panel.

How To Change thumbnail size

How To Change thumbnail size

By default, thumbnails are 96x96 pixels in size.
You can change this value for the current user or all users. Current user:

All users: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer

Go to either key, select Explorer, then create a DWORD value called ThumbnailSize. Double-click it, select Decimal in the Base section, and enter a value between 32 and 256. Restart Windows Explorer.

How To Display Hibernate Option on the Shut Down dialog

How To Display Hibernate Option on the Shut Down dialog

Firstly go to Settings --> Control Panel --> Power Options and click on Hibernate tab and check the Enable Hibernate Option

For some reason, Hibernate isn't available from the default Shut Down dialog. But you can enable it simply enough, by holding down the SHIFT key while the dialog is visible. Now you see it, now you don't!

How To Disable Drives in My Computer

How To Disable Drives in My Computer

To turn off the display of local or networked drives when you click on My Computer:

1.Open RegEdit
2.Go toHKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ Microsoft\ Windows\ CurrentVersion\ Policies\ Explorer
3.Add a New DWORD item and name it NoDrives
4.Give it a value of 3FFFFFF
5.Now when you click on My Computer, none of your drives will show.

How To Enable and disable Windows support for ZIP files (XP)

How To Enable and disable Windows support for ZIP files (XP)

Click Start, then Run and type:
Enable: regsvr32 zipfldr.dll
Disable: regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll
You may have to reboot.

How to enjoy Windows Media Player using shortcuts keys?

How to enjoy Windows Media Player using shortcuts keys?

In Windows Media Player, you can use the combination of different keyboard keys to accomplish routine task. By using these keys, you can increase the working speed in media player, otherwise require a conventional mouse to select menus and buttons options. Basically keyboard shortcuts keys help you to save time and you can perform any tasks without leaving the keyboard keys.
Shortcut keys Action

ALT+1 Adjust zoom to 50 percent

ALT+2 Adjust zoom to 100 percent

ALT+3 Adjust zoom to 200 percent

ALT+ENTER Display the video in full mode

ALT+F Go to media player File Menu

ALT+T Go to media player Tools Menu

ALT+V Go to media player View Menu

ALT+P Go to media player Play Menu

ALT+F4 Use to close media player

CTRL+1 Display media player in full mode

CTRL+2 Display media player in skin mode

CTRL+B Use to play the previous item in media player

CTRL+F Use to play the next item in media player

CTRL+E Use to Eject CD or DVD from CD or DVD drive

CTRL+P Use to Play or Pause the item in media player

CTRL+T Use to Repeat the items in media player

CTRL+SHIFT+B Use to Rewind a file in media player

CTRL+SHIFT+F Use to Fast Forward a file in media player

CTRL+SHIFT+S Use to play items slower than a normal speed

CTRL+SHIFT+ G Use to play items faster than a normal speed

CTRL+SHIFT+ N Use to play items at normal speed in media player

F8 Use to mute the volume in media player

F9 Use to decrease the volume in media player

F10 Use to increase the volume in media player

ENTER or SPACEBAR Use to play an item

How To Set up and Use Internet Connection Sharing

How To Set up and Use Internet Connection Sharing

To enable Internet Connection Sharing on a network connection You must be logged on to your computer with an owner account in order to complete this procedure. Open Network Connections. (

1. Click Start, click Control Panel, and then double–click Network Connections.)
2. Click the dial–up, local area network, PPPoE, or VPN connection you want to share, and then, under Network Tasks, click Change settings of this connection.
3. On the Advanced tab, select the Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection check box. If you want this connection to dial automatically when another computer on your home or small office network attempts to access external resources, select the Establish a dial–up connection whenever a computer on my network attempts to access the Internet check box.
If you want other network users to enable or disable the shared Internet connection, select the Allow other network users to control or disable the shared Internet connection check box.
Under Internet Connection Sharing, in Home networking connection, select any adapter that connects the computer sharing its Internet connection to the other computers on your network. The Home networking connection is only present when two or more network adapters are installed on the computer.
To configure Internet options on your client computers for Internet Connection Sharing Open Internet Explorer. Click Start, point to All Programs, and then click Internet Explorer.)

On the Tools menu, click Internet Options.
On the Connections tab, click Never dial a connection, and then click LAN Settings. In Automatic configuration, clear the Automatically detect settings and Use automatic configuration script check boxes.

In Proxy Server, clear the Use a proxy server check box.

How to Lock a Folder Using Notepad

How to Lock a Folder Using Notepad

1) Consider you want to lock a folder named caclub in your f:\, whose path is f:\caclub
2) Now open the Notepad and type the followingren caclub caclub.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30 309D}
3) Where caclub is your folder name. Save the text file as loc.bat in the same drive.
4) Open another new notepad text file and type the followingren caclub.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30 309D} caclub
5) Save the text file as unloc.bat in the same drive.---------Usage:---------
6) To lock the caclub folder, simply click the loc.bat and it will transform into control panel icon which is inaccessible.
7) To unlock the folder click the unloc.bat file. Thus the folder will be unlocked and the contents are accessible.

How to make your Desktop Icons Transparent

How to make your Desktop Icons Transparent

Go to Control Panel > System, > Advanced > Performance area > Settings button Visual Effects tab "Use drop shadows for icon labels on the Desktop"

How to Make "Show/Hidden files and folders" option not working

How to Make "Show/Hidden files and folders" option not working

press windows+R >> type "regedit"(without quotes) & press enter >> then go to>>

Now u can see two keys CheckedValue and DefaultValue

Double Click on CheckedValue and set the value 1 from 0

Double Click on DefaultValue and set the value 2 from 1

How to Disable USB Drives

How to Disable USB Drives

customer that needs to keep people from using the USB ports to copy data off of a system.It is easy to lock a machine down, disable the floppy, and cdrom in the bios. Many times when you try to disable USB - it disables it entirely.This can be a real pain on newer laptops or systems that don't even have a PS2 interface for the mouse or keyboard.There is a simple registry change that will keep the USB storage drivers from starting when the system boots. Keeps people from walking up to a PC and copying data off with a USB key, but allows you to keep your scanner, keyboard, and mouse working.As always - back your system up before messing around in the registry.

Just open regedit and browse to this key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\UsbStorNotice the value 'Start'Switch this value to 4, and USB storage devices are disabled.Switch this value to 3, and USB storage devices are enabled.

How to Brand Windows With Your Name

How to Brand Windows With Your Name

open notepad dump the following lines into it and save it with the name OEMINFO.INI in the c:\windows\system32 directory:

Manufacturer=Your Name Here
Model=Your Model Here
[Support Information]
Line1=Your Name Here
Line2=Your Address Here
Line3=Your Email Address Here

How to Disable My Computer

How to Disable My Computer

In areas where you are trying to restrict what users can do on the computer, it might be beneficial to disable the ability to click on My Computer and have access to the drives, control panel etc.To disable this:

1.Open RegEdit
2.Search for 20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D
3.This should bring you to the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID section
4.Delete the entire section.Now when you click on My Computer, nothing will happen.

You might want to export this section to a Registry file before deleting it just in case you want to enable it again.
Or you can rename it to 20D0HideMyComputer4FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D. You can also hide all the Desktop Icons, see Change/Add restrictions.

How to Hide All Icons from the Desktop

How to Hide All Icons from the Desktop

Start Regedit
Go to HKey_Current_User \ Software\ Microsoft \Windows \ Current Version \ Policies \ Explorer
Right click on the right panel and add a New / DWORD
Name it NoDesktop
Give it a value of 1
Logoff or Reboot the computer
Now all icons are hidden on the desktop.

How to Hide Hard Drive Partitions In Windows

How to Hide Hard Drive Partitions In Windows

If you want to hide any partition of your hard disk just follow these simple steps.

1. Goto Start > Run and type diskpart

A DOS window will appear with following description


2. Then type list volume

All partitions will be listed, there will be also a volume number for each partitions

3. Suppose you want to hide drive E:, type select volume 3 (Here 3 is the volume number of E:, in your pc it may vary). A message will now appear in the window saing "Volume 3 is the selected volume".

4. Now type remove letter E . You may have to reboot the computer. Diskpart will remove the letter. Since Windows XP doesn't have the capability to identify the unknown volume, it won't display or show results from it. To access the content of the hidden drive, repeat the process, but in the foruth step, replace remove to assign, ie., assign letter E.

How to enable or disable System Restore

How to enable or disable System Restore


1. Click Start button, then go to Settings, Control Panel.
2. Click on System, then select the System Restore tab.
3. Uncheck the Turn off System Restore on all drives checkbox.
4. Click Apply and then OK.


1. Click Start button, then go to Settings, Control Panel.
2. Click on System, then select the System Restore tab.
3. Click the Turn off System Restore on all drives checkbox.
4. Click Apply and then OK.

How to backup your registry

How to backup your registry

Before you try to edit your PC's registry, make sure that your first export the keys in the registry that you plan to edit, or back up the whole registry. It is a very good practice to always backup your registry because if a problem occurs, you can just restore your registry to its previous state.

These are the easy steps on how you can export your registry keys

► Click Start, and then click Run.

► In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.

► On the File menu, click Export.

► In the Save in box, select the box at the bottom the bottom according to weather you want to export all or only selected branches of the registry.

► Next select a location in which to save the backup .reg file. In the File name box, type a file name, and then click Save.

Follow these steps to restore your registry to it's previous state

► To restore registry keys that you exported, double-click the .reg file that you saved.

How to Set Permissions for Shared Files and Folders

How to Set Permissions for Shared Files and Folders

Sharing of files and folders can be managed in two ways. If you chose simplified file sharing, your folders can be shared with everyone on your network or workgroup, or you can make your folders private. (This is how folders are shared in Windows 2000.) However, in Windows XP Professional, you can also set folder permissions for specific users or groups. To do this, you must first change the default setting, which is simple file sharing. To change this setting, follow these steps:
•Open Control Panel, click Tools, and then click Folder Options.
•Click the View tab, and scroll to the bottom of the Advanced Settings list.
•Clear the Use simple file sharing (Recommended) check box.
•To manage folder permissions, browse to the folder in Windows Explorer, right–click the folder, and then click Properties. Click the Security tab, and assign permissions, such as Full Control, Modify, Read, and/or Write, to specific users.

You can set file and folder permissions only on drives formatted to use NTFS, and you must be the owner or have been granted permission to do so by the owner.

How to Convert a FAT Partition to NTFS

How to Convert a FAT Partition to NTFS

To convert a FAT partition to NTFS, perform the following steps.

Click Start, click Programs, and then click Command Prompt.

In Windows XP, click Start, and then click Run.

At the command prompt, type CONVERT [driveletter]: /FS:NTFS.

Convert.exe will attempt to convert the partition to NTFS.

How to Change title of windows media player

How to Change title of windows media player

You can change the title bar for the Windows Media Player

1.Start Regedit

2.Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft
\WindowsMediaPlayer (create a new key named WindowsMediaPlayer if its not there)

3.Create a string value of TitleBar

4.Give it a value of whatever you want to appear in the title bar

How to boot to Windows Vista Safe Mode

How to boot to Windows Vista Safe Mode

1. If the system is turned off, turn it on. If it is on, restart it.

2. Begin tapping the F8 key until the screen offering the Vista Advanced Boot Options menu appears. If you tap the F8 key too soon, some systems may display a "keyboard error". If you tap it too late and Windows launches, restart your computer and try again.

3. Make sure to select the Safe Mode option and press Enter.

4. The system will now boot into Safe Mode. After you are done, restart the computer and in Normal Mode.

Safe mode is a diagnostic mode that Windows Vista can start in, with minimal configuration
and generic drivers so that system errors can possibly be corrected.

Once entering Safe Mode, the user can execute commands and load devices one at a time. Safe Mode is also used to remove or delete files which are otherwise "locked" or "in use" during normal operation.

While an operating system is in safe mode, it will have reduced functionality,
but it is easier to isolate problems because many non-core components are disabled.

How to create Shortcut to Safely Remove Hardware

How to create Shortcut to Safely Remove Hardware

To create a new shortcut

1.Right click on your desktop and select New->Shortcut
2.In the location of the item paste RunDll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL hotplug.dll. and click next and then give a Name to your shortcut and click finish.You are done with a new shortcut in your desktop now

How To Repair Recycle Bin

How To Repair Recycle Bin


Sometimes, a virus infection or a badly performed removal procedure can affect the way Recycle Bin works, removing the Desktop icon associated to this feature and the options used for its management.


1. Download the archive containing the registry fix for this issue from here

2. Save the file on your harddisk and extract it to a new folder

3. Run the removal tool (fix.reg) and click Yes in the prompt that asks you: Are you sure you want to add the information in \\fix.reg to the registry?

4. Another dialog will appear, displaying the following message: Information in \\fix.reg has been successfully entered into the registry

5. Click OK. Go to your Desktop, right-click and select Refresh. Recycle Bin should now be back into place

How To Add "copy to" and "move to" options in right click(XP)

How To Add "copy to" and "move to" options in right click(XP)

It is hard to move or copy a file/s or folder/s to specific location. There is a option called "Send to" on context menu but it has some limitation. You can send content through it just few locations like.. My Documents, Floppy Disk etc. If You can add "Copy to" and "Move to" options on Right click(context menu) then it will increase your file/folder transfer facility. You can Copy and Move your content anywhere on your machine through Right click(context menu). I have described a registry trick following here.

Copy-paste following text in notepad and save it with .reg extension. Then just merge/run it. You will get 2 new options on your Right click(context menu).

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AllFilesystemObjects\shellex \ContextMenuHandlers]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AllFilesystemObjects\shellex \ContextMenuHandlers\Copy To] @="{C2FBB630-2971-11D1-A18C-00C04FD75D13}"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AllFilesystemObjects\shellex \ContextMenuHandlers\Move To] @="{C2FBB631-2971-11D1-A18C-00C04FD75D13}"
Download Enable 'Copy/Move To' Registry File:http://rapidshare.com/files/111539592/Enable_CopyTo_MoveTo.reg
Download Disable 'Copy/Move To' Registry File:http://rapidshare.com/files/111539517/Disable_CopyTo_MoveTo.reg



This tweak reduces the time XP waits before automatically closing any running programs when you give it the command to shutdown.

Go to Start then select Run
Type 'Regedit' and click ok
Find 'HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\'
Select 'WaitToKillAppTimeout'
Right click and select 'Modify'
Change the value to '1000'
Click 'OK'
Now select 'HungAppTimeout'
Right click and select 'Modify'
Change the value to '1000' Click 'OK'

How to get Folder Options Missing back

How to get Folder Options Missing back

Open Run and then type "gpedit.msc".
Now goto User Configuration > Administrative templates > Windows Component > Windows Explorer.Click on Windows Explorer
you will find the 3rd option on the right side of screen "Removes the Folder Option menu item from the Tools menu"
Just check it, if it is not configured then change it to enable by double clicking on it and after applying again set it to not configured.

You will find the option after restarting windows.

How to Create a desktop shortcut for locking your computer

How to Create a desktop shortcut for locking your computer

If you use your computer in an area where others may have access to it, and there are things on your system you would rather have kept confidential, locking your desktop when you leave the computer is an essential task. Here's a recipe for a desktop shortcut that will lock your computer in two easy clicks:

Right click on an empty area of the desktop and choose 'new' then 'shortcut.' The create shortcut wizard will open; in the first text box, type '%windir%\System32\rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation' and then give your shortcut an appropriate name on the next page, and hit 'finish.'

You will notice that the shortcut you created has a blank icon. To select a more appropriate one, right click on the shortcut and hit 'properties.' In the 'shortcut' tab, click the 'change icon' button.

In the 'look for icons in this file' box, type '%SystemRoot%\system32\SHELL32.dll' then click 'ok' to see a range of icons for your new shortcut. Choose an appropriate icon. Your desktop locking shortcut is now ready for use. Test it out.

How To View Admin At welcome Screen

How To View Admin At welcome Screen

By default windows XP doesn't show the Administrator in the user list at the welcome screen. Here's a way to get around it.
Now head up to
create a new DWORD entry and name it as Administrator and change its value to 1.
exit and reboot for the changes to take effect.To change it back change its value to 0 or simply delete the key.

Friday, September 12, 2008

How to LOCK a Folder without using any software in Windows XP ...

How to LOCK a Folder without using any software in Windows XP ...

*Copy the following codes (Marked in blue colour) :

title Folder Locker
if EXIST "Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}" goto UNLOCK
echo Are you sure u want to Lock the folder(Y/N)
set/p "cho=>"
if %cho%==Y goto LOCK
if %cho%==y goto LOCK
if %cho%==n goto END
if %cho%==N goto END
echo Invalid choice.
ren Locker "Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}"
attrib +h +s "Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}"
echo Folder locked
goto End
echo Enter password to Unlock folder
set/p "pass=>"
if NOT %pass%==type your password here goto FAIL
attrib -h -s "Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}"
ren "Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}" Locker
echo Folder Unlocked successfully
goto End
echo Invalid password
goto end
md Locker
echo Locker created successfully
goto End

* Now paste it in notepad.
* Change the "type your password here" with your password (Marked as bold in the above posted matter).
* Save it as batch file(with extension .bat).Any name will do.
* Now you see a batch file. Double click it to create a folder locker.
* A new folder named Locker would be formed at the same location.
* Now brings all the files you want to hide in the locker folder.
* Now double click the batch file to lock the folder namely Locker.
* If you want to unlock your files,double click the batch file again and you would be prompted for password.Enter the password and enjoy access to the folder.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sample Code to send html mail in php

Sample Code to send html mail in php

The following code can be used to send html emails using php:

/** define email fields **/
$email_text = "Dear Friend

I am sending you HTML based email using PHP .";
$subject = "Your Subject";
$from_name = "Your Name";
$from_email = "yourEmail@sender-email-address.com";
$to_email = "receiver@receiver-email-address.com";

/** construct headers **/
$headers = "From: $from_name <$from_email>\r\n";
$headers .= "Content-type: text/html\r\n";

/** send the email **/
if (mail($to_email, $subject, $email_text, $headers)) {
echo "Html mail sent successfully.";
} else {
echo "Error";

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How to keep Backup of Windows XP

Learn how to backup your Windows XP computer quickly. This is a down and dirty full system backup. This will allow you to restore everything on your system if you had a system crash.

Click Start -> Run -> type in, with out the quotes, "ntbackup.exe" .
Click on Backup Wizard and then "Next".
Select the radio button "Backup everything on this computer" and click "Next".
Choose a location where you will save your backup.
Type in a name of your backup that you will recognize and click "Next".
Click "Finish" and your backup will begin.
It will complete and provide you a report of the backup.
Click "Close" and your backup is complete.

Make sure the location you are backing up to has enough storage space to backup your entire computer.
You will have to be certain you won't have to turn off your computer during the backup.
Full System backups can take extended amounts of time depending on how much data you have to backup so be prepared.

Monday, June 16, 2008

How to Back Up the Windows Registry

How to Back Up the Windows Registry

Before you edit the registry, export the keys in the registry that you plan to edit, or back up the whole registry. If a problem occurs, you can then follow the steps how-to restore the registry to its previous state.

How to Export Registry Keys

Click Start, and then click Run.

In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.

On the File menu, click Export.

In the Save in box, select the boxs at the bottom the bottom according to weather you want to export all or only selected branches of the registry.

Next select a location in which to save the backup .reg file. In the File name box, type a file name, and then click Save.

How to Restore the Registry

To restore registry keys that you exported, double-click the .reg file that you saved.

Windows 2000 Tips and Tricks

Windows 2000 Tips & Tricks

Speed up the Boot Menu (#1)

Tired of waiting thirty seconds to boot Windows 2000 if you don't select from the boot menu? Speed up the booting process by only showing the available operating systems for just a couple of seconds.

Right-click "My Computer" on the desktop and choose "Properties". On the "System Properties" multi-tabbed dialog box that follows, click "Advanced". Click the "Startup and Recovery..." button. Then, on the "Startup and Recovery" dialog box that follows, next to "Display list of operating systems for ... seconds", select the number of seconds that you want the computer to wait before continuing with the default OS. When you're done, press "OK" to close the dialog box.

Desktop Disappearing? (#2)

Although Windows 2000 is more stable than previous versions of NT, in some situations, strange things can happen. If, for example, Explorer crashes, most of your desktop, including the "Start" button, disappears. To bring back Explorer without rebooting your machine, press CONTROL-ALT-DELETE. When the "Windows Security" dialog box appears, click the "Task Manager" button. If the "Windows Task Manager' dialog box appears as it should, select the "File" menu and then "New Task (Run)". When the "Create New Task" dialog box appears, just type in "Explorer" and press the "OK" button. Windows Explorer should then reappear, complete with the "Start" button.

Change Process Priority (#3)

Is a particular program or process running too fast or too slow? Is a program or process taking too much of your CPU time or can you allow a process or program to take more of your computing power? To change these settings for a particular process, just right-click on an empty area of your taskbar and choose "Task Manager..." On the "Windows Task Manager" dialog box that follows, select a process and right-click it. On the popup menu that appears, select "Set Priority" and choose one of the following priorities: "Realtime", "High", "Above Normal", "Normal", "Below Normal", or "Low". The lower the priority is on the popup menu, the lower percentage of CPU time will be delegated to said priority.

Note that depending on the process and your administrative rights to your machine, you may not be able to change a particular process's priority.

Put the Desktop in your Taskbar (#4)

Do you frequently multitask? If so, all of the windows created by running applications can quickly cover your desktop. If you'd like, you can make the desktop icons immediately accessible from your taskbar. Just right-click an empty area of your taskbar, choose "Toolbars", and check "Desktop". Your desktop icons will then be immediately accessible without having to minimize your current windows. If you have a lot of desktop icons, click on the two greater-than arrows (">>") to the right of your desktop icons and a popup menu will appear allowing you to select from any of the available desktop icons not immediately visible on your taskbar.

Changing DOS Window Titles (#5)

If you use DOS a lot, you may frequently have more than one DOS window open at once. Perhaps you'll have one a window for FTP, one for debugging a batch file, one for doing basic tasks such as displaying directories, etc. If so, it can get very confusing navigating between the different DOS windows since each of their titles just say "Command Prompt". If you'd like, you can change the titles of a DOS window so you can easily see what tasks you are performing in each window.

To change the title of a Windows 2000 command prompt window, just enter in the TITLE command, followed by your desired window title. For example, to name a DOS window "Debugging Window", just enter the following command at a DOS prompt:

TITLE Debugging Window

Save the Current Directory Name (#6)

Windows 2000 lets you temporarily store the name of the current directory that you are in, letting you recall the directory name later after you are doing other processing. This may be useful if you are jumping around DOS directories a lot, either manually or through a batch file.

To store the name of the current directory, or rather, to PUSH the name of the current directory onto the stack, enter the PUSHD command followed by the name of a directory that you would like to access next. For example, if you are in the "C:\Program Files" directory and want to push that directory name onto the stack, jumping to the C:\WINNT" directory, enter:


After you are done working in the "C:\WINNT" directory and ready to go back to the "C:\Program Files" directory, don't type in "CD C:\Program Files", just POP the old directory from the stack by entering

What is the Windows Registry?

The Registry is a database used to store settings and options for the 32 bit versions of Microsoft Windows including Windows 95, 98, ME and NT/2000. It contains information and settings for all the hardware, software, users, and preferences of the PC. Whenever a user makes changes to a Control Panel settings, or File Associations, System Policies, or installed software, the changes are reflected and stored in the Registry.

The physical files that make up the registry are stored differently depending on your version of Windows; under Windows 95 & 98 it is contained in two hidden files in your Windows directory, called USER.DAT and SYSTEM.DAT, for Windows Me there is an additional CLASSES.DAT file, while under Windows NT/2000 the files are contained seperately in the %SystemRoot%\System32\Config directory. You can not edit these files directly, you must use a tool commonly known as a "Registry Editor" to make any changes (using registry editors will be discussed later in the article).

The Structure of The Registry
The Registry has a hierarchal structure, although it looks complicated the structure is similar to the directory structure on your hard disk, with Regedit being similar to Windows Explorer.

Each main branch (denoted by a folder icon in the Registry Editor, see left) is called a Hive, and Hives contains Keys. Each key can contain other keys (sometimes referred to as sub-keys), as well as Values. The values contain the actual information stored in the Registry. There are three types of values; String, Binary, and DWORD - the use of these depends upon the context.

There are six main branches, each containing a specific portion of the information stored in the Registry. They are as follows:

* HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT - This branch contains all of your file association mappings to support the drag-and-drop feature, OLE information, Windows shortcuts, and core aspects of the Windows user interface.
* HKEY_CURRENT_USER - This branch links to the section of HKEY_USERS appropriate for the user currently logged onto the PC and contains information such as logon names, desktop settings, and Start menu settings.
* HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE - This branch contains computer specific information about the type of hardware, software, and other preferences on a given PC, this information is used for all users who log onto this computer.
* HKEY_USERS - This branch contains individual preferences for each user of the computer, each user is represented by a SID sub-key located under the main branch.
* HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG - This branch links to the section of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE appropriate for the current hardware configuration.
* HKEY_DYN_DATA - This branch points to the part of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, for use with the Plug-&-Play features of Windows, this section is dymanic and will change as devices are added and removed from the system.

Each registry value is stored as one of five main data types:

* REG_BINARY - This type stores the value as raw binary data. Most hardware component information is stored as binary data, and can be displayed in an editor in hexadecimal format.
* REG_DWORD - This type represents the data by a four byte number and is commonly used for boolean values, such as "0" is disabled and "1" is enabled. Additionally many parameters for device driver and services are this type, and can be displayed in REGEDT32 in binary, hexadecimal and decimal format, or in REGEDIT in hexadecimal and decimal format.
* REG_EXPAND_SZ - This type is an expandable data string that is string containing a variable to be replaced when called by an application. For example, for the following value, the string "%SystemRoot%" will replaced by the actual location of the directory containing the Windows NT system files. (This type is only available using an advanced registry editor such as REGEDT32)
* REG_MULTI_SZ - This type is a multiple string used to represent values that contain lists or multiple values, each entry is separated by a NULL character. (This type is only available using an advanced registry editor such as REGEDT32)
* REG_SZ - This type is a standard string, used to represent human readable text values.

Other data types not available through the standard registry editors include:

* REG_DWORD_LITTLE_ENDIAN - A 32-bit number in little-endian format.
* REG_DWORD_BIG_ENDIAN - A 32-bit number in big-endian format.
* REG_LINK - A Unicode symbolic link. Used internally; applications should not use this type.
* REG_NONE - No defined value type.
* REG_QWORD - A 64-bit number.
* REG_QWORD_LITTLE_ENDIAN - A 64-bit number in little-endian format.
* REG_RESOURCE_LIST - A device-driver resource list.

Editing The Registry

The Registry Editor (REGEDIT.EXE) is included with most version of Windows (although you won't find it on the Start Menu) it enables you to view, search and edit the data within the Registry. There are several methods for starting the Registry Editor, the simplest is to click on the Start button, then select Run, and in the Open box type "regedit", and if the Registry Editor is installed it should now open and look like the image below.

An alternative Registry Editor (REGEDT32.EXE) is available for use with Windows NT/2000, it includes some additional features not found in the standard version, including; the ability to view and modify security permissions, and being able to create and modify the extended string values REG_EXPAND_SZ & REG_MULTI_SZ.

Create a Shortcut to Regedit
This can be done by simply right-clicking on a blank area of your desktop, selecting New, then Shortcut, then in the Command line box enter "regedit.exe" and click Next, enter a friendly name (e.g. 'Registry Editor') then click Finish and now you can double click on the new icon to launch the Registry Editor.

Using Regedit to modify your Registry
Once you have started the Regedit you will notice that on the left side there is a tree with folders, and on the right the contents (values) of the currently selected folder.

Like Windows explorer, to expand a certain branch (see the structure of the registry section), click on the plus sign [+] to the left of any folder, or just double-click on the folder. To display the contents of a key (folder), just click the desired key, and look at the values listed on the right side. You can add a new key or value by selecting New from the Edit menu, or by right-clicking your mouse. And you can rename any value and almost any key with the same method used to rename files; right-click on an object and click rename, or click on it twice (slowly), or just press F2 on the keyboard. Lastly, you can delete a key or value by clicking on it, and pressing Delete on the keyboard, or by right-clicking on it, and choosing Delete.

Note: it is always a good idea to backup your registry before making any changes to it. It can be intimidating to a new user, and there is always the possibility of changing or deleting a critical setting causing you to have to reinstall the whole operating system. It's much better to be safe than sorry!

Importing and Exporting Registry Settings

A great feature of the Registry Editor is it's ability to import and export registry settings to a text file, this text file, identified by the .REG extension, can then be saved or shared with other people to easily modify local registry settings. You can see the layout of these text files by simply exporting a key to a file and opening it in Notepad, to do this using the Registry Editor select a key, then from the "Registry" menu choose "Export Registry File...", choose a filename and save. If you open this file in notepad you will see a file similar to the example below:



"CmdLine"="setup -newsetup"

The layout is quite simple, REGEDIT4 indicated the file type and version, [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup] indicated the key the values are from, "SetupType"=dword:00000000 are the values themselves the portion after the "=" will vary depending on the type of value they are; DWORD, String or Binary.

So by simply editing this file to make the changes you want, it can then be easily distributed and all that need to be done is to double-click, or choose "Import" from the Registry menu, for the settings to be added to the system Registry.

Deleting keys or values using a REG file
It is also possible to delete keys and values using REG files. To delete a key start by using the same format as the the REG file above, but place a "-" symbol in front of the key name you want to delete. For example to delete the [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup] key the reg file would look like this:




The format used to delete individual values is similar, but instead of a minus sign in front of the whole key, place it after the equal sign of the value. For example, to delete the value "SetupType" the file would look like:




Use this feature with care, as deleting the wrong key or value could cause major problems within the registry, so remember to always make a backup first.

Regedit Command Line Options
Regedit has a number of command line options to help automate it's use in either batch files or from the command prompt. Listed below are some of the options, please note the some of the functions are operating system specific.

* regedit.exe [options] [filename] [regpath]
* [filename] Import .reg file into the registry
* /s [filename] Silent import, i.e. hide confirmation box when importing files
* /e [filename] [regpath] Export the registry to [filename] starting at [regpath]
e.g. regedit /e file.reg HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT
* /L:system Specify the location of the system.dat to use
* /R:user Specify the location of the user.dat to use
* /C [filename] Compress (Windows 98)
* /D [regpath] Delete the specified key (Windows 98)

Maintaining the Registry

How can you backup and restore the Registry?

Windows 95
Microsoft included a utility on the Windows 95 CD-ROM that lets you create backups of the Registry on your computer. The Microsoft Configuration Backup program, CFGBACK.EXE, can be found in the \Other\Misc\Cfgback directory on the Windows 95 CD-ROM. This utility lets you create up to nine different backup copies of the Registry, which it stores, with the extension RBK, in your \Windows directory. If your system is set up for multiple users, CFGBACK.EXE won't back up the USER.DAT file.

After you have backed up your Registry, you can copy the RBK file onto a floppy disk for safekeeping. However, to restore from a backup, the RBK file must reside in the \Windows directory. Windows 95 stores the backups in compressed form, which you can then restore only by using the CFGBACK.EXE utility.

Windows 98
Microsoft Windows 98 automatically creates a backup copy of the registry every time Windows starts, in addition to this you can manually create a backup using the Registry Checker utility by running SCANREGW.EXE from Start | Run menu.

What to do if you get a Corrupted Registry
Windows 95, 98 and NT all have a simple registry backup mechanism that is quite reliable, although you should never simply rely on it, remember to always make a backup first!

Windows 95
In the Windows directory there are several hidden files, four of these will be SYSTEM.DAT & USER.DAT, your current registry, and SYSTEM.DA0 & USER.DA0, a backup of your registry. Windows 9x has a nice reature in that every time it appears to start successfully it will copy the registry over these backup files, so just in case something goes wrong can can restore it to a known good state. To restore the registry follow these instruction:
* Click the Start button, and then click Shut Down.

* Click Restart The Computer In MS-DOS Mode, then click Yes.

* Change to your Windows directory. For example, if your Windows directory is c:\windows, you would type the following:

cd c:\windows

* Type the following commands, pressing ENTER after each one. (Note that SYSTEM.DA0 and USER.DA0 contain the number zero.)

attrib -h -r -s system.dat
attrib -h -r -s system.da0
copy system.da0 system.dat
attrib -h -r -s user.dat
attrib -h -r -s user.da0
copy user.da0 user.dat

* Restart your computer.

Following this procedure will restore your registry to its state when you last successfully started your computer.

If all else fails, there is a file on your hard disk named SYSTEM.1ST that was created when Windows 95 was first successfully installed. If necessary you could also change the file attributes of this file from read-only and hidden to archive to copy the file to C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM.DAT.

Windows NT
On Windows NT you can use either the "Last Known Good" option or RDISK to restore to registry to a stable working configuration.

How can I clean out old data from the Registry?
Although it's possible to manually go through the Registry and delete unwanted entries, Microsoft provides a tool to automate the process, the program is called RegClean. RegClean analyzes Windows Registry keys stored in a common location in the Windows Registry. It finds keys that contain erroneous values, it removes them from the Windows Registry after having recording those entries in the Undo.Reg file.

Converting to NTFS

Converting to NTFS

Your hard drive must be formatted with a file system such as FAT, FAT32 or NTFS so that Windows can be installed on to it. This system determines how files are named, organised and stored on the drive. If you’re not using it already, NTFS (New Technology File System) is recommended for Windows XP because of the additional functionality it offers. If your PC came with Windows XP pre-installed then there’s a chance that you’re already using NTFS. If you’ve upgraded from Windows 98 or Windows Me you may still be using FAT or FAT 32. The option to change over to NTFS would have been available during the upgrade process. Don’t worry if you skipped this as it’s possible to convert at any time from within Windows XP without losing any data.

The recommended option
There are a number of features in Windows XP that will only work if the NTFS file system is present, which is why it’s suggested you make use of it. File and folder permissions, encryption and privacy options are just some of those you’ll be able to access. In particular, those of you who have set up user accounts will find NTFS invaluable. For instance, if you continue to use FAT or FAT32 anyone with physical access to the drive will be able to access the files and folders that are stored there. However, with NTFS you’ll be able to use a level of encryption (Professional Edition only) that will enable you to protect your data.

You’ll also find NTFS more reliable in that it’s more able to recover from disk errors than its FAT or FAT32 counterparts. A log of all disk activity is kept so should a crash occur, Windows XP can use this information to repair the file system when your PC boots up again. To find out what file system you’re using, open My Computer, right-click your main hard drive and choose Properties. Take a look at the General tab to see confirmation of the file system that’s in use.

Convert now
You can use the convert tool in Windows XP to change the file system on your hard disk from FAT or FAT32 to NTFS. The whole process is safe and your existing data won’t be destroyed. To begin, click Start -> Run, type cmd and press [Return]. At the command prompt type convert c: /fs:ntfs and press [Return] (where ‘c’ is the letter of the drive you’re converting). When you try and run the convert utility, it’s likely that Windows XP will be using your paging file so the process won’t be completed immediately. Therefore, you’ll see a brief message on screen informing you that the conversion will take place instead the next time Windows starts up. Having restarted, the Check Disk utility will run, the conversion will be performed automatically and you may find that your PC will reboot twice more.

The benefits
With your drive now running NTFS, it’s time to take advantage of the new options that are available. Having created a number of different user accounts you can now control the level of access that’s granted to individual users. For example, there are going to be certain files and folders that you’ll want some users to be able to access but not others. If you have Windows XP Professional Edition you can do this immediately.

Right-click any file or folder, choose Properties and select the Security tab. A dialog will be displayed showing the names of all your users. Alongside will be two columns which enable you to select levels of access for each of them, the permissions include Full Control, Modify, Read and Write. You can then check the appropriate box to determine whether or not to Allow or Deny a particular permission. For Windows XP Home Edition users, the Security tab won’t be immediately available. To access this option you’ll need to restart your PC, pressing [F8] until a menu appears. Next select Safe Mode and wait for Windows XP to start up. You can then set your options in the same way.

Another feature is NTFS compression. It’s quick and seamless as your file or folder is decompressed automatically when you access it. (Don’t confuse this with a Zip compression utility where the files need to be extracted before they can be accessed.) Although you may have used NTFS compression on a file or folder, there’s no way of telling just by looking at it. To remedy this, open My Computer, click Tools -> Folder Options and select the View tab. Under Advanced settings, scroll down and check the option ‘Show encrypted or compressed NTFS files in color’, then click Apply and OK. Take a look at your compressed items in My Computer and you’ll see the text label has changed from black to blue. Something else that’s exclusive to Professional Edition users is the Encrypting File System (EFS). You can use this to protect your important data so that no one else can read it. Your encrypted files and folders will only be accessible when you have logged into your user account successfully.

Beep Codes and Error Codes

Beep Codes Error Codes

After repeated requests for beep codes i have decided to post them here maybe they could be pinned

Standard Original IBM POST Error Codes
Code Description

1 short beep System is OK
2 short beeps POST Error - error code shown on screen No beep Power supply or system board problem Continuous beep Power supply, system board, or keyboard problem Repeating short beeps Power supply or system board problem
1 long, 1 short beep System board problem
1 long, 2 short beeps Display adapter problem (MDA, CGA)
1 long, 3 short beeps Display adapter problem (EGA)
3 long beeps 3270 keyboard card
IBM POST Diagnostic Code Descriptions
Code Description
100 - 199 System Board
200 - 299 Memory
300 - 399 Keyboard
400 - 499 Monochrome Display
500 - 599 Colour/Graphics Display
600 - 699 Floppy-disk drive and/or Adapter
700 - 799 Math Coprocessor
900 - 999 Parallel Printer Port
1000 - 1099 Alternate Printer Adapter
1100 - 1299 Asynchronous Communication Device, Adapter, or Port
1300 - 1399 Game Port
1400 - 1499 Colour/Graphics Printer
1500 - 1599 Synchronous Communication Device, Adapter, or Port
1700 - 1799 Hard Drive and/or Adapter
1800 - 1899 Expansion Unit (XT)
2000 - 2199 Bisynchronous Communication Adapter
2400 - 2599 EGA system-board Video (MCA)
3000 - 3199 LAN Adapter
4800 - 4999 Internal Modem
7000 - 7099 Phoenix BIOS Chips
7300 - 7399 3.5" Disk Drive
8900 - 8999 MIDI Adapter
11200 - 11299 SCSI Adapter
21000 - 21099 SCSI Fixed Disk and Controller
21500 - 21599 SCSI CD-ROM System

AMI BIOS Beep Codes
Code Description

1 Short Beep System OK
2 Short Beeps Parity error in the first 64 KB of memory
3 Short Beeps Memory failure in the first 64 KB
4 Short Beeps Memory failure in the first 64 KB Operational of memory
or Timer 1 on the motherboard is not functioning
5 Short Beeps The CPU on the motherboard generated an error
6 Short Beeps The keyboard controller may be bad. The BIOS cannot switch to protected mode
7 Short Beeps The CPU generated an exception interrupt
8 Short Beeps The system video adapter is either missing, or its memory is faulty
9 Short Beeps The ROM checksum value does not match the value encoded in the BIOS
10 Short Beeps The shutdown register for CMOS RAM failed
11 Short Beeps The external cache is faulty
1 Long, 3 Short Beeps Memory Problems
1 Long, 8 Short Beeps Video Card Problems

Phoenix BIOS Beep Codes
Note - Phoenix BIOS emits three sets of beeps, separated by a brief pause.

Code Description
1-1-3 CMOS read/write failure
1-1-4 ROM BIOS checksum error
1-2-1 Programmable interval timer failure
1-2-2 DMA initialisation failure
1-2-3 DMA page register read/write failure
1-3-1 RAM refresh verification failure
1-3-3 First 64k RAM chip or data line failure
1-3-4 First 64k RAM odd/even logic failure
1-4-1 Address line failure first 64k RAM
1-4-2 Parity failure first 64k RAM
2-_-_ Faulty Memory
3-1-_ Faulty Motherboard
3-2-4 Keyboard controller Test failure
3-3-4 Screen initialisation failure
3-4-1 Screen retrace test failure
3-4-2 Search for video ROM in progress
4-2-1 Timer tick interrupt in progress or failure
4-2-2 Shutdown test in progress or failure
4-2-3 Gate A20 failure
4-2-4 Unexpected interrupt in protected mode
4-3-1 RAM test in progress or failure>ffffh
4-3-2 Faulty Motherboard
4-3-3 Interval timer channel 2 test or failure
4-3-4 Time of Day clock test failure
4-4-1 Serial port test or failure
4-4-2 Parallel port test or failure
4-4-3 Math coprocessor test or failure
Low 1-1-2 System Board select failure
Low 1-1-3 Extended CMOS RAM failure

A Basic Guide to the Internet

A Basic Guide to the Internet

The Internet is a computer network made up of thousands of networks worldwide. No one knows exactly how many computers are connected to the Internet. It is certain, however, that these number in the millions.

No one is in charge of the Internet. There are organizations which develop technical aspects of this network and set standards for creating applications on it, but no governing body is in control. The Internet backbone, through which Internet traffic flows, is owned by private companies.

All computers on the Internet communicate with one another using the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol suite, abbreviated to TCP/IP. Computers on the Internet use a client/server architecture. This means that the remote server machine provides files and services to the user's local client machine. Software can be installed on a client computer to take advantage of the latest access technology.

An Internet user has access to a wide variety of services: electronic mail, file transfer, vast information resources, interest group membership, interactive collaboration, multimedia displays, real-time broadcasting, shopping opportunities, breaking news, and much more.

The Internet consists primarily of a variety of access protocols. Many of these protocols feature programs that allow users to search for and retrieve material made available by the protocol.


The World Wide Web (abbreviated as the Web or WWW) is a system of Internet servers that supports hypertext to access several Internet protocols on a single interface. Almost every protocol type available on the Internet is accessible on the Web. This includes e-mail, FTP, Telnet, and Usenet News. In addition to these, the World Wide Web has its own protocol: HyperText Transfer Protocol, or HTTP. These protocols will be explained later in this document.

The World Wide Web provides a single interface for accessing all these protocols. This creates a convenient and user-friendly environment. It is no longer necessary to be conversant in these protocols within separate, command-level environments. The Web gathers together these protocols into a single system. Because of this feature, and because of the Web's ability to work with multimedia and advanced programming languages, the Web is the fastest-growing component of the Internet.

The operation of the Web relies primarily on hypertext as its means of information retrieval. HyperText is a document containing words that connect to other documents. These words are called links and are selectable by the user. A single hypertext document can contain links to many documents. In the context of the Web, words or graphics may serve as links to other documents, images, video, and sound. Links may or may not follow a logical path, as each connection is programmed by the creator of the source document. Overall, the Web contains a complex virtual web of connections among a vast number of documents, graphics, videos, and sounds.

Producing hypertext for the Web is accomplished by creating documents with a language called HyperText Markup Language, or HTML. With HTML, tags are placed within the text to accomplish document formatting, visual features such as font size, italics and bold, and the creation of hypertext links. Graphics and multimedia may also be incorporated into an HTML document. HTML is an evolving language, with new tags being added as each upgrade of the language is developed and released. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), led by Web founder Tim Berners-Lee, coordinates the efforts of standardizing HTML. The W3C now calls the language XHTML and considers it to be an application of the XML language standard.

The World Wide Web consists of files, called pages or home pages, containing links to documents and resources throughout the Internet.

The Web provides a vast array of experiences including multimedia presentations, real-time collaboration, interactive pages, radio and television broadcasts, and the automatic "push" of information to a client computer. Programming languages such as Java, JavaScript, Visual Basic, Cold Fusion and XML are extending the capabilities of the Web. A growing amount of information on the Web is served dynamically from content stored in databases. The Web is therefore not a fixed entity, but one that is in a constant state of development and flux.

For more complete information about the World Wide Web, see Understanding The World Wide Web.

Electronic mail, or e-mail, allows computer users locally and worldwide to exchange messages. Each user of e-mail has a mailbox address to which messages are sent. Messages sent through e-mail can arrive within a matter of seconds.

A powerful aspect of e-mail is the option to send electronic files to a person's e-mail address. Non-ASCII files, known as binary files, may be attached to e-mail messages. These files are referred to as MIME attachments.MIME stands for Multimedia Internet Mail Extension, and was developed to help e-mail software handle a variety of file types. For example, a document created in Microsoft Word can be attached to an e-mail message and retrieved by the recipient with the appropriate e-mail program. Many e-mail programs, including Eudora, Netscape Messenger, and Microsoft Outlook, offer the ability to read files written in HTML, which is itself a MIME type.

Telnet is a program that allows you to log into computers on the Internet and use online databases, library catalogs, chat services, and more. There are no graphics in Telnet sessions, just text. To Telnet to a computer, you must know its address. This can consist of words (locis.loc.gov) or numbers ( Some services require you to connect to a specific port on the remote computer. In this case, type the port number after the Internet address. Example: telnet nri.reston.va.us 185.

Telnet is available on the World Wide Web. Probably the most common Web-based resources available through Telnet have been library catalogs, though most catalogs have since migrated to the Web. A link to a Telnet resource may look like any other link, but it will launch a Telnet session to make the connection. A Telnet program must be installed on your local computer and configured to your Web browser in order to work.

With the increasing popularity of the Web, Telnet has become less frequently used as a means of access to information on the Internet.

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. This is both a program and the method used to transfer files between computers. Anonymous FTP is an option that allows users to transfer files from thousands of host computers on the Internet to their personal computer account. FTP sites contain books, articles, software, games, images, sounds, multimedia, course work, data sets, and more.

If your computer is directly connected to the Internet via an Ethernet cable, you can use one of several PC software programs, such as WS_FTP for Windows, to conduct a file transfer.

FTP transfers can be performed on the World Wide Web without the need for special software. In this case, the Web browser will suffice. Whenever you download software from a Web site to your local machine, you are using FTP. You can also retrieve FTP files via search engines such as FtpFind, located at /http://www.ftpfind.com/. This option is easiest because you do not need to know FTP program commands.

One of the benefits of the Internet is the opportunity it offers to people worldwide to communicate via e-mail. The Internet is home to a large community of individuals who carry out active discussions organized around topic-oriented forums distributed by e-mail. These are administered by software programs. Probably the most common program is the listserv.

A great variety of topics are covered by listservs, many of them academic in nature. When you subscribe to a listserv, messages from other subscribers are automatically sent to your electronic mailbox. You subscribe to a listserv by sending an e-mail message to a computer program called a listserver. Listservers are located on computer networks throughout the world. This program handles subscription information and distributes messages to and from subscribers. You must have a e-mail account to participate in a listserv discussion group. Visit Tile.net at /http://tile.net/ to see an example of a site that offers a searchablecollection of e-mail discussion groups.

Majordomo and Listproc are two other programs that administer e-mail discussion groups. The commands for subscribing to and managing your list memberships are similar to those of listserv.

Usenet News is a global electronic bulletin board system in which millions of computer users exchange information on a vast range of topics. The major difference between Usenet News and e-mail discussion groups is the fact that Usenet messages are stored on central computers, and users must connect to these computers to read or download the messages posted to these groups. This is distinct from e-mail distribution, in which messages arrive in the electronic mailboxes of each list member.

Usenet itself is a set of machines that exchanges messages, or articles, from Usenet discussion forums, called newsgroups. Usenet administrators control their own sites, and decide which (if any) newsgroups to sponsor and which remote newsgroups to allow into the system.

There are thousands of Usenet newsgroups in existence. While many are academic in nature, numerous newsgroups are organized around recreational topics. Much serious computer-related work takes place in Usenet discussions. A small number of e-mail discussion groups also exist as Usenet newsgroups.

The Usenet newsfeed can be read by a variety of newsreader software programs. For example, the Netscape suite comes with a newsreader program called Messenger. Newsreaders are also available as standalone products.

FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions. These are periodic postings to Usenet newsgroups that contain a wealth of information related to the topic of the newsgroup. Many FAQs are quite extensive. FAQs are available by subscribing to individual Usenet newsgroups. A Web-based collection of FAQ resources has been collected by The Internet FAQ Consortium and is available at /http://www.faqs.org/.

RFC stands for Request for Comments. These are documents created by and distributed to the Internet community to help define the nuts and bolts of the Internet. They contain both technical specifications and general information.

FYI stands for For Your Information. These notes are a subset of RFCs and contain information of interest to new Internet users.

Links to indexes of all three of these information resources are available on the University Libraries Web site at /http://library.albany.edu/reference/faqs.html.

Chat programs allow users on the Internet to communicate with each other by typing in real time. They are sometimes included as a feature of a Web site, where users can log into the "chat room" to exchange comments and information about the topics addressed on the site. Chat may take other, more wide-ranging forms. For example, America Online is well known for sponsoring a number of topical chat rooms.

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a service through which participants can communicate to each other on hundreds of channels. These channels are usually based on specific topics. While many topics are frivolous, substantive conversations are also taking place. To access IRC, you must use an IRC software program.

A variation of chat is the phenomenon of instant messenging. With instant messenging, a user on the Web can contact another user currently logged in and type a conversation. Most famous is America Online's Instant Messenger. ICQ, MSN and Yahoo are other commonly-used chat programs.

Other types of real-time communication are addressed in the tutorial Understanding the World Wide Web.

MUD stands for Multi User Dimension. MUDs, and their variations listed above, are multi-user virtual reality games based on simulated worlds. Traditionally text based, graphical MUDs now exist. There are MUDs of all kinds on the Internet, and many can be joined free of charge. For more information, read one of the FAQs devoted to MUDs available at the FAQ site at

10 reasons why PCs crash U must Know

Fatal error: the system has become unstable or is busy," it says. "Enter to return to Windows or press Control-Alt-Delete to restart your computer. If you do this you will lose any unsaved information in all open applications."

You have just been struck by the Blue Screen of Death. Anyone who uses Mcft Windows will be familiar with this. What can you do? More importantly, how can you prevent it happening?

1 Hardware conflict

The number one reason why Windows crashes is hardware conflict. Each hardware device communicates to other devices through an interrupt request channel (IRQ). These are supposed to be unique for each device.

For example, a printer usually connects internally on IRQ 7. The keyboard usually uses IRQ 1 and the floppy disk drive IRQ 6. Each device will try to hog a single IRQ for itself.

If there are a lot of devices, or if they are not installed properly, two of them may end up sharing the same IRQ number. When the user tries to use both devices at the same time, a crash can happen. The way to check if your computer has a hardware conflict is through the following route:

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-System-Device Manager.

Often if a device has a problem a yellow '!' appears next to its description in the Device Manager. Highlight Computer (in the Device Manager) and press Properties to see the IRQ numbers used by your computer. If the IRQ number appears twice, two devices may be using it.

Sometimes a device might share an IRQ with something described as 'IRQ holder for PCI steering'. This can be ignored. The best way to fix this problem is to remove the problem device and reinstall it.

Sometimes you may have to find more recent drivers on the internet to make the device function properly. A good resource is www.driverguide.com. If the device is a soundcard, or a modem, it can often be fixed by moving it to a different slot on the motherboard (be careful about opening your computer, as you may void the warranty).

When working inside a computer you should switch it off, unplug the mains lead and touch an unpainted metal surface to discharge any static electricity.

To be fair to Mcft, the problem with IRQ numbers is not of its making. It is a legacy problem going back to the first PC designs using the IBM 8086 chip. Initially there were only eight IRQs. Today there are 16 IRQs in a PC. It is easy to run out of them. There are plans to increase the number of IRQs in future designs.

2 Bad Ram

Ram (random-access memory) problems might bring on the blue screen of death with a message saying Fatal Exception Error. A fatal error indicates a serious hardware problem. Sometimes it may mean a part is damaged and will need replacing.

But a fatal error caused by Ram might be caused by a mismatch of chips. For example, mixing 70-nanosecond (70ns) Ram with 60ns Ram will usually force the computer to run all the Ram at the slower speed. This will often crash the machine if the Ram is overworked.

One way around this problem is to enter the BIOS settings and increase the wait state of the Ram. This can make it more stable. Another way to troubleshoot a suspected Ram problem is to rearrange the Ram chips on the motherboard, or take some of them out. Then try to repeat the circumstances that caused the crash. When handling Ram try not to touch the gold connections, as they can be easily damaged.

Parity error messages also refer to Ram. Modern Ram chips are either parity (ECC) or non parity (non-ECC). It is best not to mix the two types, as this can be a cause of trouble.

EMM386 error messages refer to memory problems but may not be connected to bad Ram. This may be due to free memory problems often linked to old Dos-based programmes.

3 BIOS settings

Every motherboard is supplied with a range of chipset settings that are decided in the factory. A common way to access these settings is to press the F2 or delete button during the first few seconds of a boot-up.

Once inside the BIOS, great care should be taken. It is a good idea to write down on a piece of paper all the settings that appear on the screen. That way, if you change something and the computer becomes more unstable, you will know what settings to revert to.

A common BIOS error concerns the CAS latency. This refers to the Ram. Older EDO (extended data out) Ram has a CAS latency of 3. Newer SDRam has a CAS latency of 2. Setting the wrong figure can cause the Ram to lock up and freeze the computer's display.

Mcft Windows is better at allocating IRQ numbers than any BIOS. If possible set the IRQ numbers to Auto in the BIOS. This will allow Windows to allocate the IRQ numbers (make sure the BIOS setting for Plug and Play OS is switched to 'yes' to allow Windows to do this.).

4 Hard disk drives

After a few weeks, the information on a hard disk drive starts to become piecemeal or fragmented. It is a good idea to defragment the hard disk every week or so, to prevent the disk from causing a screen freeze. Go to

* Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-Disk Defragmenter

This will start the procedure. You will be unable to write data to the hard drive (to save it) while the disk is defragmenting, so it is a good idea to schedule the procedure for a period of inactivity using the Task Scheduler.

The Task Scheduler should be one of the small icons on the bottom right of the Windows opening page (the desktop).

Some lockups and screen freezes caused by hard disk problems can be solved by reducing the read-ahead optimisation. This can be adjusted by going to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-System Icon-Performance-File System-Hard Disk.

Hard disks will slow down and crash if they are too full. Do some housekeeping on your hard drive every few months and free some space on it. Open the Windows folder on the C drive and find the Temporary Internet Files folder. Deleting the contents (not the folder) can free a lot of space.

Empty the Recycle Bin every week to free more space. Hard disk drives should be scanned every week for errors or bad sectors. Go to

* Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-ScanDisk

Otherwise assign the Task Scheduler to perform this operation at night when the computer is not in use.

5 Fatal OE exceptions and VXD errors

Fatal OE exception errors and VXD errors are often caused by video card problems.

These can often be resolved easily by reducing the resolution of the video display. Go to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-Display-Settings

Here you should slide the screen area bar to the left. Take a look at the colour settings on the left of that window. For most desktops, high colour 16-bit depth is adequate.

If the screen freezes or you experience system lockups it might be due to the video card. Make sure it does not have a hardware conflict. Go to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-System-Device Manager

Here, select the + beside Display Adapter. A line of text describing your video card should appear. Select it (make it blue) and press properties. Then select Resources and select each line in the window. Look for a message that says No Conflicts.

If you have video card hardware conflict, you will see it here. Be careful at this point and make a note of everything you do in case you make things worse.

The way to resolve a hardware conflict is to uncheck the Use Automatic Settings box and hit the Change Settings button. You are searching for a setting that will display a No Conflicts message.

Another useful way to resolve video problems is to go to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-System-Performance-Graphics

Here you should move the Hardware Acceleration slider to the left. As ever, the most common cause of problems relating to graphics cards is old or faulty drivers (a driver is a small piece of software used by a computer to communicate with a device).

Look up your video card's manufacturer on the internet and search for the most recent drivers for it.

6 Viruses

Often the first sign of a virus infection is instability. Some viruses erase the boot sector of a hard drive, making it impossible to start. This is why it is a good idea to create a Windows start-up disk. Go to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-Add/Remove Programs

Here, look for the Start Up Disk tab. Virus protection requires constant vigilance.

A virus scanner requires a list of virus signatures in order to be able to identify viruses. These signatures are stored in a DAT file. DAT files should be updated weekly from the website of your antivirus software manufacturer.

An excellent antivirus programme is McAfee VirusScan by Network Associates ( www.nai.com). Another is Norton AntiVirus 2000, made by Symantec ( www.symantec.com).

7 Printers

The action of sending a document to print creates a bigger file, often called a postscript file.

Printers have only a small amount of memory, called a buffer. This can be easily overloaded. Printing a document also uses a considerable amount of CPU power. This will also slow down the computer's performance.

If the printer is trying to print unusual characters, these might not be recognised, and can crash the computer. Sometimes printers will not recover from a crash because of confusion in the buffer. A good way to clear the buffer is to unplug the printer for ten seconds. Booting up from a powerless state, also called a cold boot, will restore the printer's default settings and you may be able to carry on.

8 Software

A common cause of computer crash is faulty or badly-installed software. Often the problem can be cured by uninstalling the software and then reinstalling it. Use Norton Uninstall or Uninstall Shield to remove an application from your system properly. This will also remove references to the programme in the System Registry and leaves the way clear for a completely fresh copy.

The System Registry can be corrupted by old references to obsolete software that you thought was uninstalled. Use Reg Cleaner by Jouni Vuorio to clean up the System Registry and remove obsolete entries. It works on Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 SE (Second Edition), Windows Millennium Edition (ME), NT4 and Windows 2000.

Read the instructions and use it carefully so you don't do permanent damage to the Registry. If the Registry is damaged you will have to reinstall your operating system. Reg Cleaner can be obtained from www.jv16.org

Often a Windows problem can be resolved by entering Safe Mode. This can be done during start-up. When you see the message "Starting Windows" press F4. This should take you into Safe Mode.

Safe Mode loads a minimum of drivers. It allows you to find and fix problems that prevent Windows from loading properly.

Sometimes installing Windows is difficult because of unsuitable BIOS settings. If you keep getting SUWIN error messages (Windows setup) during the Windows installation, then try entering the BIOS and disabling the CPU internal cache. Try to disable the Level 2 (L2) cache if that doesn't work.

Remember to restore all the BIOS settings back to their former settings following installation.

9 Overheating

Central processing units (CPUs) are usually equipped with fans to keep them cool. If the fan fails or if the CPU gets old it may start to overheat and generate a particular kind of error called a kernel error. This is a common problem in chips that have been overclocked to operate at higher speeds than they are supposed to.

One remedy is to get a bigger better fan and install it on top of the CPU. Specialist cooling fans/heatsinks are available from www.computernerd.com or www.coolit.com

CPU problems can often be fixed by disabling the CPU internal cache in the BIOS. This will make the machine run more slowly, but it should also be more stable.

10 Power supply problems

With all the new construction going on around the country the steady supply of electricity has become disrupted. A power surge or spike can crash a computer as easily as a power cut.

If this has become a nuisance for you then consider buying a uninterrupted power supply (UPS). This will give you a clean power supply when there is electricity, and it will give you a few minutes to perform a controlled shutdown in case of a power cut.

It is a good investment if your data are critical, because a power cut will cause any unsaved data to be lost.