Hidden Windows XP Tricks

by on June 10th, 2009

Windows XP is a much better experience it you customize it according to your personal usage needs. There are many Tips and Tricks involving registry edits or tweaking some options a bit to get Windows work smarter and faster in an efficient manner. Here are very essential tips every Windows user should know to get the best from Windows and spending time in other creative stuff.

Delete Files Without Sending to Recycle Bin

You can delete files immediately, without moving these to the Recycle Bin.
Go to the Start menu
select Run
Type ‘gpedit.msc’
Select User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Explorer
Find the “Do not move deleted files to the Recycle Bin” setting.
Select enabled option

You can also right click at the Recycle Bin to have this option to use.

Lock Windows XP with Two Clicks

You can lock your Windows XP with two clicks of the mouse.

Create a new shortcut on your desktop using a right mouse click
Enter ‘rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation’ in the location field
Give the shortcut a name you like
That’s it
just double click on it and your computer will be locked.
Windows key + L does the same

Enable Windows XP ClearType Fonts

Windows XP has ClearType (Microsoft’s anti-aliasing font display technology) but doesn’t have it enabled by default.
To enable ClearType, right click on the desktop, select Properties, Appearance, Effects, select ClearType from the second drop-down menu and enable the selection.
Expect best results on laptop displays.
If you want to use ClearType on the Welcome login screen as well, set the registry entry HKEY_USERS/.DEFAULT/Control Panel/Desktop/FontSmoothingType to 2.

User Task Management

You can run a program as a different user without logging out and back in again.
Right click the program icon
Select Run As
Enter the user name and password you want to use.

Disable Default Notifications

Windows XP can be very insistent about you checking for auto updates, registering a Passport, using Windows Messenger and so on.
After a while, the nagging goes away, but if you feel you might go insane before that point, run Regedit,
Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/Explorer/Advanced and create a DWORD value called EnableBalloonTips with a value of 0.

Network Activity Light

Windows XP comes with a free Network Activity Light, just in case you can’t see the LEDs twinkle on your network card.
Right click on My Network Places on the desktop
Select Properties
Right click on the description for your LAN or dial-up connection
Select Properties
Check the Show icon in notification area when connected box
You’ll now see a tiny network icon on the right of your task bar that glimmers nicely during network traffic.

Speed-Up Your Start Menu

The Start Menu can be slow when it decides to appear, but you can speed things along by changing the registry entry
HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Control Panel/Desktop/MenuShowDelay from the default 400 to something a little snappier. Like 0.

Batch Rename Files

You can rename loads of files at once in Windows Explorer. Highlight a set of files in a window, then right click on one and rename it. All the other files will be renamed to that name, with individual numbers in brackets to distinguish them. Also, in a folder you can arrange icons in alphabetised groups by View, Arrange Icon By — Show In Groups.

Remove Useless System Software

Windows XP hides some system software you might want to remove from Add or Remove Programs, e.g. Default Windows Messenger.

Using Notepad, edit the text file /windows/inf/sysoc.inf, search for the word ‘hide’ and remove it.
Go to the Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel, select Add/Remove Windows Components and there will be the hidden software which you can now uninstall it.

Interesting DOS Commands

For those skilled in the art of DOS batch files, Windows XP has a number of interesting new commands.

‘eventcreate’ and ‘eventtriggers’ for creating and watching system events
‘typeperf’ for monitoring performance of various subsystems
‘schtasks’ for handling scheduled tasks.

Typing the command name followed by /? will give a list of options.

IP Version 6 Support

Windows XP has IP version 6 support. the next generation of IP.

Type ‘ipv6 install’ into Run. (It won’t ruin your existing network setup)
Type ‘ipv6 /?’ at the command line to find out more.

Task Termination at Command Line

You can get rid of tasks on the computer from the command line by using ‘taskkill /pid’ and the task number, or just ‘tskill’ and the process number. Find that out by typing ‘tasklist’, which will also tell you a lot about what’s going on in your system.

Make ZIP Files like Regular Folders

Windows XP will treat Zip files like folders, which is nice if you’ve got a fast machine.
On slower machines, you can make XP leave zip files alone by typing ‘regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll’ at the command line.
If you change your mind later, you can change things back by typing ‘regsvr32 zipfldr.dll’

WMP Album Cover Arts

Windows Media Player will display the cover art for albums as it plays the tracks, if it found the picture on the Internet when you copied the tracks from the CD.
If it didn’t, or if you have lots of pre-WMP music files, you can put your own copy of the cover art in the same directory as the tracks.
Just call it folder.jpg and Windows Media Player will pick it up and display it.

Handy Shortcut Keys

Windows key + Break: brings up the System Properties dialogue box
Windows key + D: brings up the desktop
Windows key + Tab: moves through the taskbar buttons.

Windows XP Faster Startup

You can start up without needing to enter a user name or password.
Select Run from the start menu and type ‘control userpasswords2’, which will open the user accounts application.
On the Users tab, clear the box for Users Must Enter A User Name And Password To Use This Computer and click on OK.
An Automatically Log On dialog box will appear; enter the user name and password for the account you want to use.

Delete Temp Internet Files Automatically

Internet Explorer will automatically delete temporary files, but only if you tell it to.
Start the browser, select Tools > Internet Options > Advanced
Go down to the Security area and check the box to Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed.