The Byrds - I See You
I see you Under there behind your hair
Everywhere, I see you I see you Turned
on eyes can't tell lies Empathise, I see
you Warm sliding sun through the cave
of your hair Wind washing fields kind of
space living there I see you
The Outlaws - Green Grass and High Tides
Now if I let you see this place where stories all ring
true Then will you let me past your face to see what's really you
It's not for me I ask this question as though I were a king For you have to
  love, believe and feel, before the burst of tambourines take you there    
    Green grass and high tides forever Castles of stone, soul and glory
Lost faces say we adore you As kings and queens bow and play for you
Be sure to read the info on "Rootkits" at the bottom of the page!
Some good sites for first time builders and repairers
Putting it all together. Do it yourself tutorials
I know. Putting it all together wasn't that tough, but this
BIOS thing has got you mystified, right? The users guide
shows what settings are available, but what the heck are
those settings for? Here is a pair of links to different BIOS
entries that will tell you what almost any BIOS setting is
for, and what is the most common setting used.
Have questions about memory? CAS, ECC/non ECC,
SDRAM, DDR, and all. Check out these tutorials
OK. It's up and running, and you are ready to overclock
now, you think. Before I give you this link, let me mention
one thing. Overclocking done wrong can damage
equipment, and/or corrupt software programs. Since it
involves pushing devices beyond their stock settings,
and increasing voltages beyond those set by the
manufacturer, any changes you make should be made in
small increments, and with TLC. That said, here is a
general overview of the how to's of OCing. If you end up
blowing up your system, and want to blame me, don't
forget about the cat thing in my
Privacy Policy
Microsoft has a vast library to assist you with problems
concerning your operating system. It's called The
Microsoft Knowledge Base. Use the search engine to find
answers to your problems See below for some links to
common questions.
Do you need to replace a power supply, or buy one for a
new build? This little guide here will help you calculate
the wattage you need for your system. Before I go further
let me explain power supplies. A 400W power supply
doesn't deliver 400W constantly. It varies with the load.
When buying a new power supply look at the Amperage
as well as the wattage. A good power supply should have
at a minimum 20A on the +12V line. The amperage is what
drives the current so to speak, and next generation  
components will use more power.
Need a new video card, but can't figure out the difference
between an XT and a SE? Go here and all your questions
will be answered. Most of them anyway
Need to know what's in that computer you got from your
Uncle Bill? Download Everest Home Edition for free from
Major Geeks.
How much Thermal Paste do I need to apply to my CPU?
WARNING! Here comes the obligatory disclaimer. LOL
These tips and tweaks are widely reported all over the net. They do work. However if your computer takes a big dump, or
starts "prairie dogging" after using them, make sure you have read the cat thing in my
Privacy Policy page.
There. I hope that satisfies the powers that be. Now, onward and sideways.
*******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Installing the "Backup" Utility
This is one of the most important things you need to do for your computer. Microsoft includes a backup utility for XP Home and Pro. It installs
automatically in Pro, and most manufacturers (Dell Compaq, eMachines etc.) install it as well. However, for whatever reason XP Home doesn't install it
or even give you the option to install it when using a XP Home full install CD. How lame is that? But they do include it on the CD, hidden away. The best
time to install this is right after you have done a fresh install. That way you can back up your critical system files on one CD..

Put your installation CD into your drive. Go to my computer and right click on the drive with the CD. Hit open. Not autoplay, just open. You will see the
files on the disk. Open the "VALUEADD" file. Then the "MSFT" file. Now open the "NTBACKUP" file You will see the windows installer icon labeled
NTBACKUP. Double click on it and start the install of the backup utility. When it's finished installing, remove the CD and close the CDROM window.

Go to my documents and at the top hit file/new/folder. Name the folder Backup. Now go to start/all programs/accessories/system tools. You will see the
backup utility now listed.  Before I go farther let me explain that the default operation for backup is to load everything onto floppies, which is an
incredible pain in the ass IMO. This method will allow you to burn the backup file to CD. Much easier. Click on the backup icon and the Backup or
Restore Wizard will open. Click on Advanced Mode. Go to the backup tab. Select the files or programs you want to back up. You should be able to
backup the Windows folder, and program files, if it is a fresh install with nothing added. The system volume information files are your system restore
files. You can copy those as well. Now under backup media or file hit browse. It will prompt you to install a floppy in drive A. Hit "Cancel". The save as
window will open. Navigate to where the new folder named backup is located. Hit save. Then hit the "Start Backup" button. The wizard will create a file
called backup.bkf. You can then use the burner of choice to burn the file to CD. To use it, open the saved file and the wizard will reopen. Follow the
instructions to restore the system. If you want to save stuff, other than just the windows file, on a computer that has been running for awile, you can do
that as well. With the low cost of storage nowadays you can save a lot more data, either to burn to DVD, or to store the backup on a slave hard drive,
incase your master dies. For instance, my root drive (C) has 6.7GBs of data. That size backup file can easily be saved on my 2nd drive.
Tweaks and Things
Let's talk about some tweaks and things. These are for XP. You have a lot of stuff that starts up with Windows, that isn't necessary. It uses
resources and slows the computer down. You need to stop the unnecessary ones from running. First lets go to Control Panel (Classic
View) and click on the System. When system properties opens go to the Advanced tab and in the Performance box hit Settings. Disable
these by unchecking the box:
Fade or slide menus into view                                                         Fade or slide Tool Tips into view
Fade out menu items after clicking                                                Show shadows under menus
Slide open combo boxes                                                                  Slide Taskbar buttons
Use a background image for each folder type

See what I mean? It's faster already. This next one is about getting rid of the junk on your system. We're gonna clean out some files. First
we have to make them visible. Open Control Panel, then Folder Options. Go to the "View" tab. Under Hidden Files and Folders check
"Show Hidden Files and Folders. Hit Apply, OK. Now open the drive that has your operating system. I'll refer to it as "C" although yours
may be the "D" drive. Open the Windows folder, and go down to the "Temp" folder. Open it up and delete everything inside of it. That folder
holds temporary files used by programs when installing. Most programs delete their temp files after install, but many do not, and this folder
can start using a lot of disk space after awhile. When you go to delete the files you may get a "This file is a program, are you sure you want
to delete?" Say yes. EVERYTHING in this folder is junk and won't affect any programs you are running, by deleting it.

OK, on to the "Prefetch" folder near the Temp folder. This folder stores locations of files you use a lot and makes them more quickly
accessible. You may not want to clean out this folder, but some of the entries get stale after awhile, so I clean it about once a month. Close
the Windows folder and go back to the C Drive.

Open "Documents and Settings", then open the file with your user name on it. You will see a lot of files that weren't there before. Those are
the hidden files we made show up. Open the file "Local Settings". You will see another "Temp" folder. Go ahead and clean that one out
too. There will be some files here that won't delete. Usually 3 or 4. Those are currently in use by your anti virus programs, and some others.
That's OK, just leave them. Next to it is your temporary Internet Files. You can delete them from "Internet Options" in the Control Panel.

Another thing you can do is go to your Internet Properties and open the "Advanced" tab. Scroll down to the last group and you will see an
option that says, "Empty Temporary Internet Folders when Browser closes". Check that box and you won't have to worry about emptying
those files. However it doesn't delete the cookies, so you will still need to manually delete them when you want. I dump mine about once a
week.

On to "Services". Services start when you start windows, but some are useless. Go to Control Panel, and open "Administrative Tools".
While we are here do you see the "Event Log"? It keeps track of things going on with your computer. It will create entries every time you, or
someone else tries to sign on to your computer. Double click to open it. The "Security" section is a good place to look if you think you have
a virus or your system is being used by Crackers as a spam E-mail server. Also if your computer crashes, an event is written to the
Application, or System log. It is usually the first place you want to go to if your computer is freezing or crashing.

OK, back to Services. Double click to open it. What you do in here really depends a lot on how your computer is set up. If your computer is
a stand alone home computer, not running on a network, your options are different that if you are using a network. See the list, double click
on any entry. a window will open giving you options to start each service automatically, manually, or disable it. You can also stop or start the
service. Lets pick one. Double click on "Help and Support". It will be set to automatic. That means every time you start windows, Help and
Support starts up. That uses resources, and slows Boot times. Hit the "Dependencies" tab. You can see that no other services rely on H&S
to be running so they can start. Back to the General tab. We can change the startup type to manual. All we have really done is told Help and
Support not to start up until we need it. I have a Stand Alone system. I disable the following services that drag down performance.
Alerter                                   Automatic Updates
Computer Browser           Indexing
Messenger                          Workstation

For an explanation of all the services and options you can use, check out The Elder Geek,  Your operating system functions are stored
and run off the hard drive. Accessing hard drive data is much slower than accessing it from the memory. If you have a lot of memory
(512MBs or more) you may want to try this tweak. It will allow the OS kernel to run off the memory, and makes your system really perk up. A
couple of things to note here. This involves changing registry settings, and some people running ATI have had some issues with these. If
you feel comfortable with making registry changes, then come on.

Go to Start/Run, and type in
regedit. Hit OK and the registry editor opens. Navigate to the following entry

HKEY LOCAL MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management

Highlight Memory Management. Go to the top and hit File, then Export. You will get a save window. Name it memory management, and
save it where you can find it. I save to "My Documents". Now navigate to the saved file and you will see it is a registry file, with the tumbling
blue blocks. You have just backed up the registry where we are going to make the changes. NEVER make changes to the registry without
backing them up. If you were to do something wrong, you can double click on this file, say yes to the prompt, and the registry settings will
be changed back to their original settings. Now back to the editor. Look in the right window, you will see a long list of entries. Right click on
"DisablePagingExecutive" Hit modify. The "Edit Word" window opens. Change the hexadecimal value in the "Value Data" line to the
number 1. Hit OK, and move down to "LargeSystemCache" and do the exact same thing. Hit OK. Go back to the left window, and expand
the "Memory Management" tree. Highlight PrefetchParameters. In the right window you will see "EnablePrefetcher" Do exactly the same
here as well except change the ValueData to 3 if it isn't set to that already. The Prefetcher settings were already saved in the memory
Management back up so not to worry. Close the Editor.

Lets defragment our hard drives. When we load files, they sometimes get broken into pieces. When you access the program, the OS has
to search all over the hard drive to find the pieces, which can slow your computer performance from boot up to surfing. Go to Start/All
Programs/Accessories/System Tools/ Disk Defragmenter. Open the defragger. Hit 'Analyze". Hit "Show Report". You can see all the files
that are fragmented. Hit "Close" The bars will show the drive contents. Defragmented files are Blue, fragmented files are red, and system
files (XP) are green and can't be defragmented. Hit the Defragment button and get a cup of coffee. When it is done, do it again, and again,
until the window that says it is done defragging pops up instantly. If you defrag regularly, like once a week or bi-weekly, it defrags fairly
quick and should look something like this when done.







Here are a few things you can try when your system isn't behaving nice. The first one is the "System File Checker" It looks at all your
system files, and if any are damaged or corrupted, it attempts to repair or replace them. You need your XP CD unless you have a Dell
Dude, or other branded system. They usually include it on the system, so the CD isn't necessary. To start it, go to Start/Run and type in
sfc /scannow and hit OK. Then just let it run. That's it.

This one is for reinstalling Internet Explorer if it gets corrupted. Go to Start/Run again, and type in
REGSVR32 URLMON.DLL Hit "Enter" first, then OK in the run box. Reboot. Then open IE, go to Tools/Internet Options/Program tab, and
click on "Reset Web Settings" and click "Apply", then OK. A better solution is to get a different browser. Check out the Deepnet Explorer
link on my System page.

If your system gets corrupted and won't boot, and you get a message saying your NTLDR file is bad or missing, it's nice to have an XP
start up floppy, and not just a Windows98 boot disk. You need a floppy disk. Put in the floppy, go to "My Computer" right click on the A
drive and hit format. When the format window opens hit quick format. You can also put in the floppy, open Command Prompt from the
accessories menu, type in
format a: and hit Enter. Next I want you to copy this from this page

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect

Now go to Start/All Programs/Accessories/Notepad and paste that in. Hit File, then Save As, and name it boot.ini Navigate to where you
saved it and load it onto the floppy. Next I want you to put your XP CD in your CDROM. Go to My Computer and right click on the CD and
hit open, NOT autoplay.  Open it up. Go to the i386 file and open it up. Scroll down, find, and copy these two files to the floppy.
NTLDR and Ntdetect You may also have depending on your version one or both of these two files Ntbootdd.sys or Bootsect.dos If
you have either or both load them on the floppy too. Now when you get stuck, just set your computer to boot from floppy and use that to boot
up.

Whoops! Your computer just freaked out, and you had to restart it. What was up with that. A quick way to check. Go to Start/Run and type
Msinfo32.exe and hit OK. The "System Information" window will open. Go to "Software Environment" expand it, and click on
"Windows Error Reporting". On the right pane you should see the error, and the name of the program or module that is creating this
problem.

This one is a little complicated so I am going to go slow with numbered steps. If you have a lot of folders, sometimes Windows can't
remember the view you want. You set it to "Thumbnails" but every time you open it again, the view has changed back to "Details". That's
because it can't remember that many folders to set the view on. Here's the registry fix for that. Remember to save your Registry settings
before making any changes.

1. Launch REGEDIT from the Start menu's Run dialog.
2. Navigate to the Registry key
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell. If this key is not present, skip to step 8.
3. If a subkey named
BagMRU is present, delete the entire subkey.
4. If a subkey named
Bags is present, delete the entire subkey.
5. Look for a value named
BagMRU Size (with a space between BagMRU and Size).
6. If this value is not present, select New DWORD Value from the Edit menu and name the new value
BagMRU Size.
7. Double-click on the
BagMRU Size value, choose Decimal, and enter the desired number of folder settings for Win XP to remember. I
have mine set to 5000.
8. Navigate to the Registry key
HKEY_ CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\ShellNoRoam. If present, repeat steps 3
through 7. After you do this Windows will have forgotten all your folder views, but after you reset them, you won't have to worry anymore
about them changing.

System Restore is a valuable tool. If you install some hardware or software and your computer gets weird or won't start, you can use
System Restore to restore it to how it was, before the installation. If you can't get into windows try booting into safe mode. You can access
it there. If you can't get into safe mode, try going to safe mode with command prompt. At the prompt you will see
C:\Documents and
Settings\your user name>
Type in c:\windows\system32\restore\rstrui.exe and hit enter. The System Restore window should open. If
you can't get into any of the safe modes, try using the
BartPE CD I link to on my Hot Links page. That is a full XP installation on the CD. It's
separate from the one on your system, but creates an interface to allow you to access your systems XP OS. Set the system to boot from
CD, and when it starts, navigate to start/run, and type in
cmd and hit OK. The command prompt window will open and you can use the
same entries as above to access the System Restore files.

What happens if the System Restore program itself won't open? Then you may have to repair System Restore. Go to Start/Run and type in
rundll32.exe advpack.dll,LaunchINFSection C:\Windows\Inf\sr.inf  then hit OK.

Messing around with the trash bin is fun. It's just so generic. Mine is a toilet that flushes. Copy this and paste it into notepad. Save it to the hard drive
and name it
rename bin.reg

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}\ShellFolder]
"Attributes"=hex:50,01,00,20
"CallForAttributes"=dword:00000000

Now navigate to the file click on it and add it to the registry. Go to the recycle bin, right click on it and you will now see the option to rename it. Call it
what you want.

Do you do a lot of messing with the registry? Try this. Copy this as above and name it regeditmycomp.reg
REGEDIT4

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}]
"LocalizedString"=hex(2):25,55,53,45,52,4e,41,4d,45,25,27,73,20,43,6f,6d,70,75,74,65,72,00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}\shell\regedit]
@="Registry"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}\shell\regedit\command]
@="C:\\Windows\\Regedit.exe"

Double click on it and add it to the registry. Now you can access regedit from the right click menu of My Computer.

Download
TweakUi from MS. Open it up. Expand Explorer and open Shortcuts. On shortcut overlay check the box that says None. That will make those
dumb shortcut arrows on your desktop icons go away. Click on Mouse. Set the slider further to the left to make windows open faster. All the way is too
fast. I use the next to the last setting. While still in TweakUi open Desktop. Uncheck the recycle bin, if you don't want it on your desktop.

Make yourself a nice long complicated password for your user account. Now click on the picture next to your name atop the start menu. In Users
Accounts click on Change an account. Click on your user account. Click change password (or keep the one you have). On the left side, click on
Prevent a Forgotten Password. The forgotten Password wizard will open. Get a fresh floppy and make a disk so if you forget your password you can
use the floppy to get in. My password looks like this 398jegvo#&%$#f0@$5. Never use anything logical for a password. And treat all your passwords
like toothbrushes. Replace them at least twice a year. OK Now go back and open TweakUi and go to the logon tab. Check the box that says log on
automatically at system start-up. Click on the set password button and enter your new long password. Now the password is encrypted and you will
automatically be taken to the desktop without having to use the password.

Right click on an empty spot on your desktop and hit properties. Go to the desktop tab and click on Customize Desktop. Scroll the icons and you will
see the full and empty trash bins. Just change the icons to whatever you want. A different one for full and a different one for empty.

Want to learn how to make an icon. Got a picture of a loved one or anything for that matter? OK Open Paint. Click on Edit, then paste from. Navigate
to your photo and open it in Paint. Go to Image hit stretch/skew and reduce the image till it's around 50x50 pixels or so. Now go to File and hit save as.
Make sure you are saving it as a 24-bit Bitmap. Enter the name you want and .ico at the end. Like this  
newicon.ico Now guess what? You just
created a new icon. Go to the desktop and right click on an icon and hit properties. Find the change icon button click on it. Now navigate to the icon
you just made and follow the direction. Now your sweetie is a desk top icon. Show them how much you love them, and wait till later tonight for your
reward. LOL Use the instructions above for changing the recycle bin icons to make yourself a flushable recycle bin. Click on the thumbnail to enlarge
them and remember to save as with the .ico on the end. Now right click on an empty spot on your desktop and hit properties. Go to the Desktop tab
and hit the Customize Desktop button. You will see instructions for replacing the two recycle bin icons. Follow the prompts




That reminds me of something else. (I guess you figured out I'm making this as I go along. I hate planning things out). You can force a file type when
saving a file. Let's say you want to save something as a MS Works word processor document, but it doesn't give you that option in the "save as type"
box. Name your file with the file type appended to the end. Enclose the name and file type in quotation marks and that will force the system to save it
that way. It would look like "name of file.wps" Of course there are some things that won't work, but generally if the doc is in a standard format it should
work.

Want to put My Computer into the Internet Options Security Setting tab. That allows you to set security for anything that isn't included in the four
internet site zones that are listed by default, or increase or decrease security for specific sites. If you want you can add My Computer to the group with
an easy registry change. Start/Run/regedit, and go to
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet
Settings\Zones\0
Look in the right side and find the value named Flags. Right click on it and hit modify.  In the "edit Dword Value" box change the
value in Hexadecimal from 21 to 47, hit OK and close the editor. Go to Control Panel Internet Options, Security tab, and you will now see My Computer
listed. Set your security settings to the level you want. Now click on sites. You can add specific sites to use this zones security settings. For instance
there is a site that your kid goes to that has a lower security setting than you would want for him, you can add this site to the My Computer zone and
set it for a higher security level. If you decide you've changed your mind, and you don't want this there, tough luck. Just kidding. Go back and change
the value to 21 again and it will go away.

Let's deal with some serious trauma. Your computer has crashed, and XP is totally unaccessible, but reinstalling the XP will mean all your data is lost
on your hard drive. Don't fret. Here is what you can do. This is called an in place upgrade or repair install. This doesn't work if you are using a Dell or
Compaq or any branded recovery or restore disk. This only works if the operating system was installed from a full install XP CD. If you do have a
branded OS use the
sfc /scannow technique I described earlier. OK You aren't really installing a new operating system, you are installing on top of
the bad install. This way none of your data is lost. We aren't talking about using the recovery console. This is different. Reboot your computer, go into
the BIOS and set the boot order to boot from CD first. Insert the XP CD hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete and let it reboot. When you see the hit any key to boot from
CD prompt, do it. Your CD will begin the install. You receive the following message on the Welcome to Setup screen that appears:
This portion of the Setup program prepares Microsoft Windows XP to run on your computer:
To setup Windows XP now, press ENTER.
To repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, press R.
To quit Setup without installing Windows XP, press F3.
Press ENTER to set up Windows XP. DON'T press R for repair, press enter. On the Windows XP Licensing Agreement screen, press F8 to agree to
the license agreement. Make sure that your current installation of Windows XP is selected in the box, and then press R to repair Windows XP.
Follow the instructions that appear on the screen to reinstall Windows XP. After you repair Windows XP, you may have to reactivate your copy of
Windows XP. You will also have to reinstall any updates and service packs again as well. You can find more detailed instructions in the Hot Links
section under "Repair Install"

Denied permission to access My Documents? You did a repair install of XP and changed the user name. Now your folders like My Documents say you
aren't authorized to access them. The folder says it's empty when you pause on it but you know you had a gig of letters or whatever in there. Here is
how to get it back. When you reinstall the operating system, all the old user accounts are wiped out. Even if you create new accounts with the same
name as the old ones or even if you're using the built in Administrator account, these accounts are recognized by XP as different accounts. So you are
no longer the owner of the My Documents folder and its files. Even though there is no way to get the old accounts back, you can take ownership of a
file or folder. Log on with an account that has administrative privileges. In XP Home, you need to start in safe mode. In XP Pro, simple file sharing
needs to be disabled. In Windows Explorer, go to Start/My Computer/Documents and Settings/The old users name folder/My Documents folder and
right click it. Select Properties. In the Properties dialog box, click the Security tab (it won't appear in Home if you're not in safe mode or in Pro if simple
file sharing is enabled). Click the Advanced button. Click the Owner tab. Under "Change ownership to" select the user account you want to use to
access the folder. Check the box that says "Replace owner on subcontainers and objects." Click OK twice to exit the dialog boxes. Sorry but if you're
using XP Pro and you had encrypted the files in My Documents with EFS, you will not be able to open them even if you own them, unless you saved
the EFS encryption certificate to a different location (such as a floppy or USB drive or a separate partition) before you reinstalled XP.

Your computer is running slow, and you've tried all the tweaks, defragging, and stuff, and done the virus and spyware scans, but it still is running really
slow. Lets take a trip to the Device Manager. Go to Start/My Computer. Right click on my computer,hit Properties, and the System Properties windows
opens. Go to the Hardware tab and hit the Device Manager button. In Device Manager, go down to IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers and double click it. Now
double click the Primary IDE Channel, and go to the Advanced Settings tab. Look at the two windows. They have the data transfer rates settings for
your hard drives. Unless you have a REALLY old hard drive, your transfer mode for device 0 and 1 should both be set at "DMA if Available". "Current
Transfer rate" should be set to Ultra DMA 5 or Ultra DMA 6. The 5 equates to an ATA/100 drive and the 6 is ATA/133. Some chipsets don't have
ATA/133 available (like my INTEL i875P). So even though I am running Maxtor ATA/133 drives, they will only run at ATA/100. now if yours are running
at UDMA2 or 3 or are running in PIO mode, then that will be your problem. Try to change the settings and reboot. Go back and see if that worked. If it
didn't, or you can't reset them, then either your chipset drivers are corrupted and need to be reinstalled, your IDE cable is bad, or you are running the
wrong kind of cable. There are 2 types of IDE cables. They are both 40 pin cables, but the ones that are for the UDMA are 80 wire, 40 pin cables. The
other ones, the 40 wire, 40 pin cables are OK for CD or DVD ROMs, but not hard drives. If you know your cables are both ATA/100 rated, you may
want to take the cables off your ROMs and use them on the hard drive channel, to see if it comes up to the correct mode.

While we are in the Device Manager, when you first enter, always look for big yellow question marks, or red X's. That's a sign that there is a driver
problem or a problem with the hardwares installation. You would want to double click on it, go to the drivers tab and reinstall the driver. If you need to
reinstall a new driver, or you are having problems, try this. On the driver tab hit uninstall. It will say you are about to uninstall this device. Do you want
to go ahead? Say yes, now shut up and get on with it, you stupid machine! That last part doesn't help but it makes you feel a bit better. When the
device has been uninstalled, reboot. When the desktop comes up, don't do anything, but watch the lower right corner. You should see the "Found new
hardware" message. Just keep watching till it says "Your new hardware is installed and ready to use". The system has installed the default XP drivers
for you. If those work for you, you can keep them, or if you have drivers like for a video card or company specific drivers you can reinstall those as well.
See nVidia Driver Installation in the Hot Links section

Did you see my desktop in the Looking Good section. Pretty cool with the icons without labels. There is a way to print special characters with the Alt
key, and the number pad. For instance if I hold Alt and hit 0167 I get §. The number for inserting a space is 0160. So take an icon, right click on it and
hit rename. Then hold down Alt and hit 0160, then enter. Your icon now shows no name, but actually you have named it space. Since you can't give
two icons the same name, you have to name the next one space, space. So do the Alt 0160 thing twice. Cool eh? But if you have 20 icons on your
desk top that gets old quick. So go back to the first icon, right click on it and hit Ctrl+c. That copies the space. now go to the third icon, hit rename, and
do Ctrl+v 3 times. Do that right down the line, and soon you have a nice clean looking desktop. If you are a space case or have a bad memory, this
tweak may not be a good idea for you. <g> I got this tweak off of
sarah.word. Sarah is Sarah Lane from the G4TechTV show Screen Savers. This is a
great web site and you definitely need to spend some time with her on her site. Especially check out the Tweak Archive.

Pissed off about that new hard drive you just bought and installed? Are you looking at the specs and thinking WTF? I just bought a 200GB hard drive
and it only shows up as 187GB! Where did my frigging 13GB's go? Man I hear this one a lot. Let me help you with finding those missing GB's. It
happens like this. In Windows Explorer and other software applications, terms like megabyte and gigabyte refer to powers of 2, while in the hardware
industry they tend to refer to powers of 10. One kilobyte in software is 2 to the 10th power, or 1,024 bytes. In hardware it's 10 to the 3rd power, or
1,000 bytes. The discrepancy mounts as sizes go up. So the hardware people tell you the drive has 200,000 MBs which equals 200,000 divided by
1000MBs (which they consider 1GB) equals 200GBs. Your software says 187,000

I like this one. It adds "Move To" and "Copy To" functions to the right click menu. This one works on Vista too. Open regedit and go to
HKEY_CLASSES_ ROOT\AllFilesystemObjects\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers Right Click on ContextMenuHandler go to new/key and name the
new key Copy To.  Highlight Copy to and in the right window you will see "Default". Right click on that and hit modify. In the blank value data space type
in
{C2FBB630-2971-11d1-A18C-00C04FD75D13} including the brackets. Right click on ContextMenuHandler and type in Move To. Do exactly the
same thing you did to Copy to, except in the value data space type in
{C2FBB631-2971-11d1-A18C-00C04FD75D13} Close the editor. Now when you
right click on a folder or file, you will see "Move Folder To", and "Copy Folder To"

Got a slow shutdown? When you start to shut down Windows XP, it has to stop any live applications or processes that are currently running. So close
all applications first. However, some applications and processes are always running in the background. You can reduce the amount of time that
Windows XP waits for those applications and processes to close before Windows XP kills them. Edit three different Registry settings to change this.
Open the Registry Editor. Navigate to
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop. Select WaitToKillAppTimeout and set the value to 1000.
Select the
HungAppTimeout value and set it to 1000 as well. Navigate to HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop. Set the
WaitToKillAppTimeout and set the value to 1000. Select the HungAppTimeout \newline value and set it to 1000 as well. Navigate to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control. Select the WaitToKillServiceTimeout value and set it to 1000. If you choose to
automatically kill all running applications, Navigate to
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop. Highlight the value AutoEndTasks and
change the value to 1. Close the Registry Editor.

Defragging your hard drives doesn't defrag your paging file or your registry hives. Doing those as well can have an increase of performance especially
if you, like me, load and delete a lot of programs. I use
PageDefrag from sysinternals. Check it out. In fact check all of sysinternals freeware programs.
They're great!
As if there wasn't enough crap out there to deal with, now we have
Rootkits!
Sky photo Cassiopeia A Supernova Remnant by NASA. They combined 3 different images. Hubble Visible Light, Chandra X-Ray, and Spitzer
Infrared Telescopes. Foreground is Tithonium Chasma on Mars photographed with ESA's Mars Express Orbiter Hires Camera
Click on image to enlarge
Rootkits. New Tools For New Threats!
A lot of attention is being directed toward the increased use of Root Kits to install spyware undetectably on computers. The newest
spyware to make the move into Root Kits is Cool Web Search. One of the most insidious and difficult to remove programs out there.

CWShredder which was specifically designed to detect and remove Cool Web and it's hundreds of variants, was recently sold to
InterMute. The program designer Merijn.org, said they could no longer keep up with the ever increasing difficulty of finding and removing
this f.ing crap. Intermute was just recently acquired by Trend Micro. It can be downloaded from their House Call site. Their online scanner.
Along with offering the download for CWShredder, Trend is also offering a Spyware Scanner that can be run as a stand alone scan or
simultaneously with the House Call Virus Scanner. Hopefully Trend will be able to keep up with Cool Webs chameleon like skills at finding
new ways to hide itself.
(This just in! Check out the latest news about a connection between Cool Web Search, and a major
identity theft ring! in my
Rants 'n Stuff page)

Unfortunately this does little to help if Cool Web has indeed gone to root kits. As this is the next big thing in Spyware, I would advise
everyone to start reading up on it.

Defininition of Rootkits  The official wikipedia definition. <g>

Let me try to explain this so you can understand it better. Rootkit is a program that has a cute little trick up it's sleeve. It installs or embeds
itself inside a file that is already on your computer. Then it procedes to make itself invisible. Think of it as a looter in New Orleans. It's
running out and looting, but when it sees the police coming it runs into the abandoned building and hides. The police, or in this case your
anti-virus and/or anti-spyware programs sweep the area and declare it clean. As soon as they are gone, it sneaks back out and starts
looting again. Since it is hidden, doing a scan for it is pretty much a big waste of time. A few companies (which I'll talk about later) have
taken the rootkits design and use it against the rootkit. Basically, they start to run on your system and then hide themselves, while the rest
of the program starts to do activities that the rootkit, thinking that Elvis has left the building, comes out of hiding to check out, and gets
nailed. The rootkit writers come up with something to counter the anti-rootkit (A-R) program, and the A-R developers have to rewrite their
program. It's basically the same as an anti-virus program, so in as much as the rootkit detection programs aren't offered as a subscription
service like A-V, where you can regularly update, you have to make sure you are using the very latest version, and not continue running the
one you downloaded before.

The first place to start would be Sysinternals. They already have a program called RootkitRevealer. Read up on whats
what with rootkits and download their free scanner. You will have to read carefully as all that shows up on the scan
may not be malware, but legitimate programs. For most though, including myself (I just ran the scan for the first time) you
should get a clean scan. Posted on their page are links to other articles on rootkits that goes into what they are how they work,
and why they are such bad news. By the way some rootkits can be installed on Linux or Unix systems as well without
administrative priveleges.  Also be aware that some legitimate programs will be detected by these programs, such as the a347scsi driver
for the virtual CDROM installed by Alcohol 120%.

Sysinternals RootkitRevealer  Sysinternals has many other great programs many for free. Check them out. Also,
a list of links to rootkit info at the bottom of the page

GhostBuster is another Rootkit Detector that was developed by Microsoft. It has been integrated into it's monthly
Malicious Software Removal Tool  Eventually they have plans to integrate it into their anti-spyware program.

F-Secure also has a rootkit detection program called Black Light. You can download a free BETA trial, but you'll have to
buy it later. They also have a nice selection of free virus removal tools.

Windows Defender I recently started using Windows Defender from Microsoft It detects rootkits as well as other
spyware programs. Recently it detected and removed some items missed by both Spybot S&D and Ad Aware SE.
Still in Beta, check it out.

Spyware Danger Meets Rootkit Stealth  A good article to get more facts about Rootkits

CWShredder can be found at it's new home Trend Micro.

Understanding Rootkits from the Linux DevCenter for those not running Windows.

Scanning For Rootkits in Linux.

jIf you are having trouble deciphering the results of RootKitRevealer, you might want to check out the Rootkit section
on the
Sysinternal Rootkit Forum

Sophos Anti Rootkit A free Rootkit detection and removal tool  from Sophos