1. Create a Shortcut to Lock Your Computer
Leaving your computer in a hurry but you don’t want to log off? You can double-click a shortcut on your desktop to quickly lock the keyboard and display without using CTRL+ALT+DEL or a screensaver. To create a shortcut on your desktop to lock your computer:
- Right-click the desktop.
- Point to New, and then click Shortcut.
- The Create Shortcut Wizard opens. In the text box, type the following:
- rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation
- Click Next.
- Enter a name for the shortcut. You can call it “Lock Workstation” or choose any name you like.
- Click Finish.
You can also change the shortcut’s icon (my personal favorite is the padlock icon in shell32.dll). To change the icon:
- Right click the shortcut and then select Properties.
- Click the Shortcut tab, and then click the Change Icon button.
- In the Look for icons in this file text box, type:
- Click OK.
- Select one of the icons from the list and then click OK
You could also give it a shortcut keystroke such CTRL+ALT+L. This would save you only one keystroke from the normal command, but it could be more convenient.
2. Create a Shortcut to Start Remote Desktop
To create a shortcut icon to start Remote Desktop
- Click Start, point to More Programs, point to Accessories, point to Communications, and then click on Remote Desktop Connection.
- Click Options.
- Configure settings for the connection to your office computer.
- Click Save As, and enter a name, such as Office Computer. Click Save.
- Open the Remote Desktops folder.
- Right-click on the file named Office Computer, and then click Create Shortcut.
- Drag the shortcut onto the desktop of your home computer.
3. Instantly Activate a Screensaver
Turn on a screensaver without having to wait by adding a shortcut to your desktop:
- Click the Start button, and then click Search.
- In the Search Companion window, click All file types.
- In the file name box, type *.scr
- In the Look in box, choose Local Hard Drives (C or the drive where you have system files stored on your computer.
- Click Search.
- You will see a list of screensavers in the results. Pick a screensaver you want. You can preview it by double-clicking it.
- Right click on the file, choose Send To, and then click Desktop (create shortcut).
To activate the screensaver, double-click the icon on your desktop.
4. Get the “Administrator” name on Welcome Screen
To get Admin account on the “Welcome Screen” as well as the other usernames, make sure that there are no accounts logged in. Press “ctrl-alt-del” twice and you should be able to login as administrator!
Or for Windows XP Professional only, go to:
- HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWARE Microsoft Windows NT CurrentVersion Winlogon SpecialAccounts UserList
- Right-click an empty space in the right pane and select New > DWORD Value Name the new value Administrator. Double-click this new value, and enter 1 as it’s Value data.
- Close the registry editor and restart.
5. Create a Password Reset Disk
If you’re running Windows XP Professional as a local user in a workgroup environment, you can create a password reset disk to log onto your computer when you forget your password. To create the disk:
- Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click User Accounts.
- Click your account name.
- Under Related Tasks, click Prevent a forgotten password.
- Follow the directions in the Forgotten Password Wizard to create a password reset disk.
- Store the disk in a secure location, because anyone using it can access your local user account
6. Change Web Page Font Size on the Fly
If your mouse contains a wheel for scrolling, you can change font size on the fly when viewing a Web page. To do so press and hold Ctrl. Scroll down (or towards yourself) to enlarge the font size. Scroll up (or away from yourself) to reduce the font size. You might find it useful to reduce font size when printing a Web page, so that you can fit more content on the page. This tip also works for other programs such as Adobe Reader, Microsoft Word, etc.
7. WinXP Clear Page file on shutdown
Browse to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE System CurrentControlSet Control Session Manager Memory Management and add the DWORD variable “ClearPageFileAtShutdown”=dword:00000001
You can also do this without reg hacking: go to Control panel Administartative tools, local security policy. then goto local policies —-> security options. then change the option for “Shutdown: Clear Virtual Memory Pagefile”
8. Speed up the Start Menu
The default speed of the Start Menu is pretty slow, but you can fix that by editing a Registry Key. Fire up the Registry Editor and navigate to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER Control Panel Desktop MenuShowDelay. By default, the value is 400. Change this to a smaller value, such as 0, to speed it up.
If your confounded by the slow speed of the Start Menu, even after using the tip above, then you might try the following: Navigate to Display Properties then Appearance then Advanced and turn off the option titled Show menu shadow . You will get much better overall performance.
9. Temporarily Assign Yourself Administrative Permissions
Many programs require you to have Administrative permissions to be able to install them. Here is an easy way to temporarily assign yourself Administrative permissions while you remain logged in as a normal user.
- Hold down the Shift key as you right-click on the program’s setup file.
- Click Run as.
- Type in a username and password that have Administrative permissions.
- This will also work on applications in the Start menu.
10. Use your Windows Key
The Windows logo key, located in the bottom row of most computer keyboards is a little-used treasure. Don’‘t ignore it. It is the shortcut anchor for the following commands:
- Windows: Display the Start menu
- Windows + D: Minimize or restore all windows
- Windows + E: Display Windows Explorer
- Windows + F: Display Search for files
- Windows + Ctrl + F: Display Search for computer
- Windows + F1: Display Help and Support Center
- Windows + R: Display Run dialog box
- Windows + break: Display System Properties dialog box
- Windows + shift + M: Undo minimize all windows
- Windows + L: Lock the workstation
- Windows + U: Open Utility Manager
- Windows + Q: Quick switching of users (Powertoys only)
- Windows + Q: Hold Windows Key, then tap Q to scroll thru the different users on your pc
11. Add album art to any music folder
One of the coolest new features in Windows XP is its album thumbnail generator, which automatically places the appropriate album cover art on the folder to which you are copying music (generally in WMA format). But what about those people that have already copied their CDs to the hard drive using MP3 format? You can download album cover art from sites such as cdnow.com or amguide.com, and then use the new Windows XP folder customize feature to display the proper image for each folder. But this takes time—you have to manually edit the folder properties for every single folder—and you will lose customizations if you have to reinstall the OS. There’s an excellent fix, however. When you download the album cover art from the Web, just save the images as folder.jpg each time and place them in the appropriate folder. Then, Windows XP will automatically use that image as the thumbnail for that folder and, best of all, will use that image in Windows Media Player for Windows XP (MPXP) if you choose to display album cover art instead of a visualization. And the folder customization is automatic, so it survives an OS reinstallation as well. Your music folders never looked so good! Album cover art makes music folder thumbnails look better than ever!
12. Massive file renamer
You can now rename multiple files at once in WinXP. Its real simple: Select several files in Explorer, press F2 and rename one of those files to something else. All the selected files get renamed to the new file name (plus a number added to the end).
13. DNS caching
When you connect to a web site your computer sends information back and forth, this is obvious. Some of this information deals with resolving the site name to an IP address, the stuff that tcp/ip really deals with, not words. This is DNS information and is used so that you will not need to ask for the site location each and every time you visit the site. Although WinXP and Win2000 has a pretty efficient DNS cache, you can increase its overall performance by increasing its size. You can do this with the registry entries below:
************begin copy and paste***********
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
************end copy and paste***********
Make a new text file and rename it to dnscache.reg. The copy and paste the above into it and save it. Then execute it by dbl-click.
14. Disable Error Reporting
As many of you would have noticed – every time a Microsoft program crashes in Windows XP – and Error Report comes up allowing you to send some information on the crash to Microsoft. Well this can get quite annoying, so here is how you disable it.
- Open Control Panel
- Click on Preformance and Maintenance.
- Click on System.
- Then click on the Advanced tab
- Click on the error reporting button on the bottom of the windows.
- Select Disable error reporting.
- Click OK
15. Allow more than 2 simultaneous downloads on Internet Explorer 6
This is to increase the the number of max downloads to 10.
- Start Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe).
- Locate the following key in the registry: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current\Version\Internet Settings
- On the Edit menu, click Add Value , and then add the following registry values:
- Quit Registry Editor.
16. Remove programs from uninstall list
Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall. Delete the folder of the program.
17. Turn off indexing to speed up XP
Windows XP keeps a record of all files on the hard disk so when you do a search on the hard drive it is faster. There is a downside to this and because the computer has to index all files, it will slow down normal file commands like open, close, etc. If you do not do a whole lot of searches on your hard drive then I suggest turnning this feature off:
- Control Panel
- Administrative Tools
- Disable Indexing Services
You can turn indexing off for each drive by right-click on the drive in Explorer > Properties and uncheck “Allow Indexing Service to …”
This article is a follow-up for 16 Hidden Windows XP Goodies