XP Tips & Tweaks

Also see FREE Programs to Boost your Computer's Performance


These tips and tweaks have come from hundreds of individuals across the internet.  I have included some of web sites links (below) that cover this popular topic.

I have not tried all of these tips, so let me know if some don't work or have mistakes.  WEBMASTER


Tips & Tweaks Links

TipsDr
Paul Thurrott's Supersite for Windows - XP Tips & Tricks
Microsoft WinXP Support Center 
Microsoft WinXP Professional 
Microsoft WinXP Home

Microsoft WinXP Knowledge Base Articles
Microsoft Power Toys for Windows XP
Microsoft Windows XP Tips
Microsoft Windows XP User Tips Archive
Microsoft Windows XP Professional Tips
Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Tips
Microsoft Tips & Tricks for Windows XP Professional
Microsoft Tips for Techies


Stop Jerky Graphics

If you are connected to a LAN and have problems with jerky graphics, this might be the solution:

  • Right-click "My Computer".
  • Select "Manage".
  • Click on "Device Manager".
  • Double-click on your NIC under "Network Adapters".
  • In the new window, select the "Advanced" tab.
  • Select "Connection Type" and manually set the value of your NIC. (Not "Auto Sense" which is default.).
  • You should reboot.

Shutdown XP Faster

Like previous versions of windows, it takes long time to restart or shutdown windows XP when the "Exit Windows" sound is enabled.  To solve this problem you must disable this useless sound.  

  • Click Start button.
  • Go to settings > Control Panel > Sound, Speech and Audio devices > Sounds and Audio Devices > Sounds.
  • Then under program events and windows menu click on "Exit Windows" sub-menu and highlight it.  Now from sounds you can select, choose "none" and then click Apply and OK.

Now you should see some improvements when shutting down your system.


Speeding Up Your Pentium 2 by 50%

We all know that you really shouldn't try to run Windows XP on anything less that about a Pentium 3 of some sort if you are out for speedy operations and amazing reaction times, but for those of us with the good old Pentium 2's who want to see just how well we can run XP, we have to tweak as much as we can where-ever we can.  A real killer to the system's performance is Windows Media Player.  Although it may look desirable and fancy with it's rounded off edges and 3rd-Dimensional appearance, the truth is, it takes up a large amount of that precious processing power.  All of these troubles however, lead to one thing in particular with this 'new-look' over-rated music and video player...the Visualizations.  The look-great I'll admit but like a lot of software these days, it has no purpose.  If you run the task manager, and click the Performance tab along the top, you'll see that when Windows Media Player is running and nothing else is active, it takes up around 50% of the processors power.  Once these visualizations are turned off, it barely takes up 2-3% of the processors power, which leaves much more room for other applications to work efficiently. 

Here's how to disable the feature:

  • Open Media Player.
  • Make sure the Now Playing tab on the left is selected.
  • Click the View menu along the top.
  • Go down to Now Playing Tools.
  • In the sub-menu that has just 'popped-out', uncheck Show Visualization.

Speed Up Detailed View in Explorer

If you like to view your files in Windows Explorer using the "Details" view here is a tweak to speed up the listing of file attributes:

Viewing files in Windows Explorer using the "Details" mode shows various attributes associated with each file shown. Some of these must be retrieved from the individual files when you click on the directory for viewing.  For a directory with numerous and relatively large files (such as a folder in which one stores media, eg: *.mp3's, *.avi's etc.), Windows Explorer lags as it reads through each one.  Here's how to disable viewing of unwanted attributes and speed up file browsing:

  • Open Windows Explorer.
  • Navigate to the folder which you wish to optimize.
  • In "Details" mode right-click the bar at the top which displays the names of the attribute columns.
  • Uncheck any that are unwanted/unneeded.

Explorer will apply your preferences immediately, and longs lists of unnecessary attributes will not be displayed.
Likewise, one may choose to display any information which is regarded as needed, getting more out of Explorer.


Easily Disable Messenger

Go into: C:/Program Files/Messenger.  Rename the Messenger folder to "MessengerOFF".
This does not slow down Outlook Express or hinder system performance.


Turn Off System Restore to Save Space

By default, Windows XP keeps a backup of system files in the System Volume Information folder.  This can eat up valuable space on your hard drive.  If you don't want Windows to back up your system files:

  • Open the Control Panel.

  • Double-click on System.

  • Click the System Restore tab.

  • Check "Turn off System Restore on all drives".

  • Hit Apply.

  • You may now delete the System Volume Information folder.

Warning!  If you turn this off you will not be able to use Windows System Restore to restore your system in case of failure.


Very Slow Boot When Networking

On some XP Pro installations, when connected to a network (peer-peer in this case), the computer boot time is over 1:40.  The system seems to freeze after logging in and the desktop may not appear or will freeze for a minute.  As timed with the utility, Bootvis.exe, the problem was with the driver mrxsmb.dll, adding over 67 seconds to the boot time.  Turning off and restoring file and printer sharing eliminated 65 seconds from the boot time.

  • Alt-click (or right-click) on Network Places > Properties.
  • Alt-click on Ethernet Adapter connection > Properties.
  • Un-check "File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks" > OK.
  • Reboot.
  • If you need file or printer sharing, repeat the above, re-check the box and re-boot again.

Easy Way to Adjust LargeSystemCache

Normally, the tweak I've seen asks you to go into HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management and change the value to either O or 1 to the adjustment the LargeSystemCache.

However, in Windows XP, all you have to do is:

  • Right-click My Computer.
  • Select Properties.
  • Click Advanced.
  • Choose Performance.
  • Click Advanced again.
  • Select either Programs or System Cache under Memory Usage.
    Programs = 0 for the registry tweak equivalent
    System Cache = 1 for the registry tweak equivalent
  • On NT Server (in this case XP), the Large System Cache option is enabled, but disabled on Workstation.  The two different settings effect how the cache manager allocates free memory.  If the Large Cache option is on, the manager marks all the free memory, which isn't being used by the system and/or applications, as freely available for disk caching.
  • On the flip-side (with a small cache), the manager instead only sets aside 4MB of memory for disk caching in an attempt to accelerate the launch of applications.  Or in a more technical approach, if enabled the system will favor system-cache working sets over process working sets (with a working set basically being the memory used by components of a process).

Slow Start-up When Using Norton Internet Security 2002

If you are using Norton Internet Security 2002, and are experiencing slow start-up of XP, (i.e. you can see the desktop with icons etc. but it takes 30-60sec before you can start using the computer), this fix might help:

  • Click on Start button.
  • Select Control Panel.
  • Open "Network Connections".
  • Under "LAN and High-Speed Internet", right-click on your "Local Area Connection" and select "Properties".
  • Under "General" tab, select "Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)" and select "Properties".
  • Select "Use the following IP address:".
  • Under "IP address" enter following : 192.168.0.1
  • Under "Subnet Mask:" enter following : 255.255.255.0
  • Click "Ok".

Correcting System Hang at Startup

If your system hangs about 2 or 3 minutes at startup, where you can't access the Start button or the Taskbar, it may be due to one specific service (Background Intelligent Transfer) running in the background.  Microsoft put out a patch for this but it didn't work for me.  Here's what you do:

  • Click on Start/Run, type 'msconfig', then click 'OK'.
  • Go to the 'Services' tab, find the 'Background Intelligent Transfer' service.
  • Disable it, apply the changes & reboot.

Disable XP Boot Logo

It is possible to disable the XP splash screen, which will slightly speed up the overall boot process.  Be aware that removing the splash screen will also cause you not to see any boot-up messages that might come up (chkdsk, convert ... ), but if your system runs without any problems then it should not matter.

  • Edit boot.ini.
  • Add " /noguiboot" right after "/fastdetect".

Upon restarting, the splash screen will be gone.  It can be re-enabled by removing the new switch.


Slow Network Access Not Always Due to Scheduled Tasks Check

If you have very slow access to your network computers through "My Network Places" and have already deleted the Registry entry calling for a check of Scheduled Tasks on the other network computers (documented elsewhere on this site) AND you have multiple network adaptors (i.e. a cable or DSL connection through one NIC and an internal network using a second NIC) check the following:

  • Right-click on "My Network Places", go to Properties.
  • Right-click on the NIC that your cable/DSL connects to, and choose Properties.
  • Select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), and click on Properties.
  • Click on "Advanced", go to "WINS" tab, and chose Disable NetBios over TCP/IP.
  • When you are back at your Network Connections page, right-click on the Broadband selection.
  • Choose "Properties", click on the Networking tab.  
  • Again, choose TCP/IP, Properties, Advanced, WINS, and select "disable NetBios over TCP/IP".

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 you may want to turn this feature off:

  • Open My Computer.
  • Right-click your hard drive icon and select Properties.
  • At the bottom of the window you'll see "Allow indexing service to index this disk for faster searches," uncheck this and click ok.
  • A new window will pop up and select Apply to all folders and subfolders.

It will take a minute or two for the changes  to take affect but then you should enjoy slightly faster performance.


Clean Your Prefetch to Improve Performance

This is a unique technique for WinXP.  We know that it is necessary to scrub registry and TEMP files for Win9X/ME/2000 periodically.  Prefetch is a new and very useful technique in Windows XP.  However, after using XP some time, the prefetch directory can get full of junk and obsolete links in the Prefetch catalog, which can slow down your computer noticeably.

  • Open C(system drive):/windows/prefetch, delete those junk and obsolete files, reboot.  It is recommended that you do this every month.

Remove Hibernation File

If you do not use hibernation, make sure you do not have it enabled, which reserves disk space equal to your RAM.  If you have a hidden file on the root directory of your C-drive called hiberfil.sys, hibernation is enabled.  To remove that file:

  • Go to Control Panel, select Performance and Maintenance, Power Options, Hibernate tab, and uncheck the Enable hibernation box.

Performance Increase Through My Computer

Easy enough tweak to usually find out about it on your own, but still, some of us still don't find it right away.  So here it is:

  • Start > right-click on My Computer and select Properties.
  • Click on the "Advanced" tab.
  • See the "Performance" section? Click "Settings".
  • Disable the following:

    Fade or slide menus into view
    Fade or slide ToolTips 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
    Use common tasks in folders

There, now Windows will still look nice and perform faster.


Reduce 10 Second Scandisk Wait Time

  • Start MS Dos Prompt (Start run CMD), and type:  CHKNTFS /T:4
    where 4 is the amount of wait time.

    CHKNTFS /?
    for more info.

DMA Mode on IDE Devices

Just like Windows 2000, Windows XP still fails to set the DMA mode correctly for the IDE device designated as the slaves on the primary IDE and secondary IDE channels.  Most CD-ROMS are capable of supporting DMA mode, but the default in XP is still PIO.  Setting it to DMA won't make your CD-ROM faster, but it will consume less CPU cycles.  Here's how:

  • Open the Device Manager.  One way to do that is to right-click on "My Computer", select the Hardware tab, and select Device Manager.
  • Expand "IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers" and double-click on "Primary IDE Channel".
  • Under the "Advanced Settings" tab, check the "Device 1" setting.  More than likely, your current transfer mode is set to PIO.
  • Set it to "DMA if available".
  • Repeat the step for the "Secondary IDE Channel" if you have devices attached to it.  Reboot.

Load Internet Explorer the Fastest Way Possible

  • Edit your link to start Internet Explorer to have -nohome after it.  For Example:  "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE" -nohome

This will load internet explorer very fast because it does not load a web page while it is loading.  If you want to go to your homepage after it is loaded, just click on the home button.


Remove Messenger

  • Go to Start/Run, and type: "rundll32 setupapi,InstallHinfSection BLC.Remove 128 %SystemRoot%\INF\msmsgs.inf"

Auto Login

  • Go to Start/Run, and type 'control userpasswords2'.
  • From Users Tab, Uncheck "Users must enter ...."
  • A dialog will allow setting a user and password to be used automatically.

Turn Off Autoplay for Program CDs

How can you stop Windows XP from launching program CDs?

  • Click Start, click Run, type GPEDIT.MSC to open Group Policy in the Microsoft Management Console.
  • Double-click Computer Configuration, double-click Administrative templates, double-click System, and then click Turn off autoplay.
  • The instructions on your screen describe how to configure this setting.  Click Properties to display the setting dialog. 
  • Click Enabled, and choose CD-ROM drives, then click OK, to stop CD autoplay.

This setting does not prevent Autoplay for music CDs.


Change Drive Letters in Windows XP

When you add drives to your computer, such as an extra hard drive, a CD drive, or a storage device that corresponds to a drive, Windows automatically assigns letters to the drives.  However, this assignment might not suit your system; for example, you might have mapped a network drive to the same letter that Windows assigns to a new drive.  When you want to change drive letters, follow these steps:

  • Right-click My Computer, and then click Manage.
  • Under Computer Management, click Disk Management.  In the right pane, you’ll see your drives listed.  CD-ROM drives are listed at the bottom of the pane.
  • Right-click the drive or device you want to change, and then click Change Drive Letter and Paths.
  • Click Change, click Assign the following drive letter, click the drive letter you want to assign, and then click OK.

Synchronize Your Computer Clock with an Internet Time Server

Does your computer have the right time?  If your computer is not part of a domain, you can synchronize your computer clock with an Internet time server.  To do so:

  • Double–click the time on your task bar.
  • Click the Internet Time tab.
  • Select the time server you want to use and make sure to select the Automatically synchronize with an Internet time 
    server check box.

Do Not Highlight Newly Installed Programs

Tired of that annoying little window that pops up to tell you that new software is installed?  If it gets in the way when you’re logging off, turn it off completely.  To do this:

  • Click Start, right-click at the top of the Start menu where your name is displayed, and then click Properties.
  • In the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box, on the Start Menu tab, click Customize.
  • Click the Advanced tab, and then clear the Highlight newly installed programs check box.
  • Click OK, and then click OK again.

Change the Default Opening Folder in Windows Explorer

By default, Windows Explorer opens showing the My Documents folder.  To change the default setting so that all top–level drives and folders are shown, follow these steps:

  • Click Start > Programs > Accessories, then right–click Windows Explorer, and click Properties.
  • Under Target field, which reads %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe, add to make the line read:

    %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /n, /e, /select, C:\
  • Click OK.

You Can Bypass the Recycle Bin On the Fly.

To bypass the Recycle Bin on a one-time basis, when you are deleting a file (or a group of selected files):

  • Press and hold down the shift-key while you press the del-key (or use the delete command).  You receive the following confirmation-request message:

    Are you sure you want to send <filename> to the Recycle Bin?

Identify a 16-bit Program

  • Use Windows Explorer to open the folder that contains the program's executable (.exe) file.
  • Right-click the .exe file, and then click Properties.
  • A 16-bit program does not have a Version tab in this dialog box.

Use the Desktop Cleanup Wizard in Windows XP

To start the Desktop Cleanup Wizard:

  • Click Start , and then click Control Panel.
  • In Control Panel, click Appearance and Themes under Pick a category.
  • Under or pick a Control Panel icon , click Display.  The Display Properties dialog box is displayed.
  • In the Display Properties dialog box, click the Desktop tab, and then click Customize Desktop.  The Desktop Items dialog box is displayed.
  • Under Desktop cleanup , click to clear the Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard every 60 days check box if you do not want the Desktop Cleanup Wizard to automatically start every 60 days.
  • Click Clean Desktop Now.  The Desktop Cleanup Wizard starts.

Remove Unwanted Shortcuts

  • In the Welcome to the Desktop Cleanup Wizard dialog box, click Next.
  • In the Shortcuts dialog box, a list of shortcuts are displayed in the Shortcut to Clean Up list.  The shortcuts that you click are removed from the desktop and placed in the Unused Desktop Shortcuts folder on the Windows desktop.
  • If you do not want a shortcut to be removed from the desktop, click to clear the check box for that shortcut, and then click Next when you are finished.
  • In the Completing the Desktop Cleanup Wizard dialog box, view the items in the Shortcuts box to confirm that you want them removed from the desktop, and then click Finish.

The Desktop Cleanup Wizard moves the selected shortcuts to the Unused Desktop Shortcuts folder and then quits.


Restore Shortcuts

If a shortcut that you want is removed, follow these steps to restore the shortcut:

  • On the Desktop, double-click the Unused Desktop Shortcuts folder.  The Unused Desktop Shortcuts dialog box is displayed.  Note:  If the Unused Desktop Shortcuts dialog box is maximized, click the Restore Down button (appears to the left of the red Close button).
  • Drag the shortcut that you want to the Windows desktop.
  • Close the Unused Desktop Shortcuts dialog box.

How to Turn On Automatic Updates

  • Click Start , click Control Panel , and then double-click System.
  • Click the Automatic Updates tab, and then click one of the following options:

    - Download the updates automatically and notify me when they are ready to be installed.  (This is the default setting.)
    - Notify me before downloading any updates and notify me again before installing them on my computer.

How to Turn Off Automatic Updates

  • Click Start , click Control Panel , and then double-click System.
  • Click the Automatic Updates tab, and then click Turn off automatic updating.  I want to update my computer manually.

How to Update Your Files Manually by Using Windows Update

If you choose not to use automatic updating, you can still install specific updates from the Windows Update Web site. Windows Update is a catalog of items such as drivers, security fixes, critical updates, the latest Help files, and Internet products that you can download to keep your computer up-to-date.

  • Click Windows Update in Help and Support Center.
  • On the Windows Update home page, click Scan for updates.
  • Click Yes when you are prompted to install any required software or device drivers.

How to Have Windows Remind You About Pending Updates

  • Click Remind Me Later in the Automatic Updates dialog box before you download or install the update.
  • In the Reminder dialog box, you can specify the amount of time Windows should wait before reminding you.
  • If the reminder is for downloading, Windows reminds you only when you are connected to the Internet.
  • If the reminder is for installing, Windows reminds you according to the schedule that you specify.

How to Download Available Updates

If you configured automatic updating to notify you before downloading any updates, an icon is displayed in the notification area each time new updates are found. 

  • Double-click the icon in the notification area.
  • Do either of the following steps:

    If you want Windows to download an update, make sure that the check box beside it is selected.
    -or-
    If you do not want Windows to download an update, click to clear the check box beside it.

Your selected updates are downloaded in the background; this behavior allows you to continue working uninterrupted.  Downloading does not interfere with or slow down other network activity, such as Internet browsing.

When downloading is finished, the icon is displayed in the notification area to notify you that updates are ready to be installed.


How to Pause or Resume Downloading

After the download process has started, you can pause or resume downloading at any time.  If you close your Internet connection or restart your computer after pausing a download process, Windows automatically resumes the download process the next time you are connected to the Internet.

  • During the download process, click the icon that is displayed in the notification area, and then click Pause.
  • When you are ready for Windows to start downloading again, click the Automatic updating icon, and then click 
    Resume.

Restore an Update that You Previously Declined

If you decide not to download a specific update, you can prompt Windows Update to offer that update again.

  • Click Start , click Control Panel, and then double-click System.
  • Click the Automatic Updates tab, and then click Restore Declined Updates.

Change Out Your Pointer Scheme

Tired of seeing your pointer as an arrow or an hourglass all the time?  Windows XP offers a number of alternative pointer schemes, such as Dinosaur, Ocean and Sports:

  • Open the Control Panel, double-click Mouse, and select the Pointers tab.  (If you start in Category view, select Appearance and Themes, then click Mouse Pointers under "See Also").
  • Next to Schemes, click the down arrow and select a scheme to preview its pointers.
  • Click OK to apply the scheme to your desktop.

Use the Ultimate Configuration Tool (Professional Edition Only)

One of the most full featured Windows XP configuration tools available is hidden right there in your system, but most people don't even know it exists.  It's called the Local Group Policy Editor, or gpedit for short.

To invoke this editor:

  • Select Start and then Run, then type the following:

    gpedit.msc

After you hit Enter, you'll be greeted by gpedit, which lets you modify virtually every feature in Windows XP without having to resort to regedit.


Customize the Start menu

The Start menu gets more real estate in XP than in previous versions, and it's more customizable.  To make the Start menu display only the applications you want, rather than the default determined by Microsoft:

  • Right-click in an empty section of the Start menu's left column.
  • Select Properties > Start Menu > Customize.  Here you'll find a list of your most frequently used programs.  (XP keeps track of what you use and what you don't, then updates this list dynamically).

Don't want your boss to know that Pinball, Solitaire, and Quake all make your list?

  • Go to the General tab, click Clear List, and set the counter to zero.

Internet Connection Sharing

To enable Internet Connection Sharing on a network connection:

  • Open Network Connections.
  • Click the dial-up, local area network, PPPoE, or VPN connection you want to share.
  • Then, under Network Tasks, click Change settings of this connection.
  • 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.

Win XP Won’t Completely Shutdown

  • Go to Control Panel, then go to Power Options.
  • Click on the APM tab, then check the "Enable Advanced Power Management support."
  • Shut down your PC.  

It should now successfully complete the Shut Down process.


Adjust Various Visual Effects

  • Open up the Control Panel.
  • Go under System and click on the Advanced tab.
  • Click settings under Performance options.

You can now change various graphical effects (mainly animations and shadows).


Disable Error Reporting

  • Open Control Panel.
  • Click on Performance 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.  Click OK.

Close Multiple Windows

If you just opened a number of separate, related windows (a folder inside a folder, and so on), there's an easier way to close them all than one-at-a-time:

  • Hold down the shift-key as you click the X caption button in the upper-right corner of the last window opened.  Doing so closes that window and all windows that came before it.

Enable Clear Type

Easy way: Click on or cut and paste link below:
http://www.microsoft.com/typography/cleartype/cleartypeactivate.htm?fname=%20&fsize=  

or

  • Right-click on a blank area of the Desktop and choose Properties.
  • Click on the Appearance tab; click effects.
  • Check the box: Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts.
  • In the drop down box select: Clear Type.

Turn Off CD Auto Play

  • Open My Computer.
  • Right-click on your CD-ROM and choose Properties.
  • Click on the Auto Play tab.
  • In the drop down box you can choose the action for each choice shown in the drop down box.
  • or Go to Start > Run > type gpedit.msc
  • Go to Computer Config > Administrative Template > System.
  • Double-click Turn off Autoplay.
  • Enable it.

Increase BROADBAND

This is for broad band connections, though it might work for dial up.

  • Make sure your logged on as actually "Administrator".
  • Start->Run->type gpedit.msc
  • Expand the "Local Computer Policy" branch.
  • Expand the "Administrative Templates" branch.
  • Expand the "Network Branch".
  • Highlight the "QoS Packet Scheduler" in left window.
  • In right window double-click the "Limit Reservable Bandwidth" setting.
  • On setting tab check the "Enabled" item.
  • Where it says "Bandwidth limit %" change it to read 0.

Effect is immediate on some systems, some need to re-boot.  This is more of a "counter what XP does" thing.  In other words, programs can request up to 20% of the bandwidth be reserved for them, even with QoS disabled.


Increase Your Cable Modem or DSL Speed in XP

This tweak is for broad band cable connections on stand alone machines with WinXP professional version - might work on Home version also.  It may also work with networked machines as well.

This tweak assumes that you have let WinXP create a connection on install for your cable modem/NIC combination and that your connection has tcp/ip - QoS - file and print sharing - and client for Microsoft networks , only, installed.  It also assumes that WinXP will detect your NIC and has in-box drivers for it.  If it doesn't do not try this.

  • In the "My Network Places" properties (right-click on the desktop icon and choose properties), highlight the connection 
    then at the menu bar choose "Advanced" then "Advanced Settings".  Uncheck the two boxes in the lower half for the 
    bindings for File and Printer sharing and Client for MS networks.  Click OK.
  • From the Windows XP CD in the support directory from the support cab, extract the file netcap.exe and place it in a  
    directory on your hard drive or even in the root of your C:\ drive.
  • Next, open up a command prompt window and change directories to where you put netcap.exe. then type "netcap/?". 
    It will list some commands that are available for netcap and a netmon driver will be installed.  At the bottom you will 
    see your adapters.  You should see two of them if using a 3Com card.  One will be for LAN and the other will be for 
    WAN something or other.
  • Next type "netcap/Remove".  This will remove the netmon driver.
  • Open up Control Panel->System->Dev Man and look at your network adapters.  You should now see two of them and one will have a yellow ! on it.  Right-click on the one without the yellow ! and choose uninstall.  YES!  You are uninstalling your network adapter, continue with the uninstall.  Do not restart yet.
  • Check your connection properties to make sure that no connection exists.  If you get a wizard just cancel out of it.
    Now re-start the machine.
  • After re-start go to your connection properties again and you should have a new connection called "Local area connection 2".  Highlight the connection, then at the menu bar choose "Advanced" then "Advanced Settings".  Uncheck the two boxes in the lower half for the bindings for File and Printer sharing and Client for MS networks.  Click OK.
  • Choose connection properties and uncheck the "QOS" box.
  • Re-start the machine.

After restart enjoy the increased responsiveness of IE, faster page loading, and a connection speed boost.

Why it works, it seems that windows XP, in its zeal to make sure every base is covered installs two separate versions of the NIC card. One you do not normally see in any properties. Remember the "netcap/?" command above showing two different adapters? The LAN one is the one you see. The invisible one loads everything down and its like your running two separate cards together, sharing a connection among two cards, this method breaks this "bond" and allows the NIC to run un-hindered.


Use a Shortcut to Local Area Network Connection Information

Something new in Windows XP, instead of using the command line program and typing ipconfig to find local area network information, you can use the following shortcut:

  • Click Start, point to Connect to, and then click Show All Connections.
  • Right–click the connection you want information about, and then click Status.
  • In the Connection Properties dialog box, click the Support tab.  For even more information, click the Advanced tab.

To automatically enable the status monitor each time the connection is active, in the Connection Properties dialog box, select the Show icon in taskbar notification area when connected check box.


Change the Start Menu Style

Does the new Windows XP Start menu take up too much space on your desktop?  You can easily change the look back to the Windows Classic Start menu by following these steps:

  • Right–click the Start button, and then click Properties.
  • Click Classic Start menu.
  • Click the Customize button to select items to display on the Start menu.

By default, selecting the Classic Start menu also adds the My Documents, My Computer, My Network Places, and Internet Explorer icons to your desktop.


Add a Map Drive Button to the Toolbar

Do you want to quickly map a drive, but can’t find the toolbar button?  If you map drives often, use one of these options to add a Map Drive button to the folder toolbar.

Option One (Long Term Fix):
  • Click Start, click My Computer, right-click the toolbar, then unlock the toolbars, if necessary.
  • Right-click the toolbar again, and then click Customize.
  • Under Available toolbar buttons, locate Map Drive, and drag it into the position you want on the right under Current toolbar buttons.
  • Click Close, click OK, and then click OK again.

You now have drive mapping buttons on your toolbar, so you can map drives from any folder window.  To unmap drives, follow the above procedure, selecting Disconnect under Available toolbar buttons.  To quickly map a drive, try this option:

Option Two (Quick Fix):

  • Click Start, and right-click My Computer.
  • Click Map Network Drive.

If you place your My Computer icon directly on the desktop, you can make this move in only two clicks!


Do Not Highlight Newly Installed Programs

Tired of that annoying little window that pops up to tell you that new software is installed?  If it gets in the way when you’re logging off, turn it off completely.

To do this:
  • Click Start, right-click at the top of the Start menu where your name is displayed, and then click Properties.
  • In the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box, on the Start Menu tab, click Customize.
  • Click the Advanced tab, and then clear the Highlight newly installed programs check box.
  • Click OK, and then click OK again.

Now that message won’t be popping up when you least want to see it.


Display Your Quick Launch Toolbar

  • Right-click an empty area on the taskbar, click Toolbars, and then click Quick Launch.
  • Easy as that your Quick Launch bar appears.
  • To add items to your Quick Launch toolbar, click the icon for the program you want to add, and drag it to the Quick Launch portion of the taskbar.

Keep Your Favorite Programs Near the Top of the Start Menu

Do you have a favorite program that you frequently use?  Elevate its priority on the Start menu by putting it at the top of the list.  This ensures that the program will remain on the Start menu and cannot be bumped by other programs, even if you use the others more frequently. 

  • Right-click the link to your favorite program on the Start menu and select Pin to Start Menu.  Your program will be moved permanently to the top part of the list, just below your browser and e-mail programs.

Stop Password Expiration

After you have run Windows XP for a while, you may receive this message when you log on: "Your password will expire in 14 days.....".  By default, Windows XP is set up with passwords which will expire after 42 days.  And 14 days in advance, Windows will start warning you of this fact.

  • Go to Start > Run > type control userpasswords2
  • Select the Advanced tab in the User Accounts window.
  • Press the Advanced button below the Advanced user management header.
  • Select Users in the Local Users and Groups.
  • In the right pane, right-click the user name for which you want to change the setting, and select Properties.
  • On the General tab, check Password never expires.
  • Click Apply and OK (all the way out).

Display Hibernate Option on the Shut Down dialog

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!


My Computer Won't Shut Down Itself After Installing XP

There are a number of users who have been complaining that their PC will no longer automatically power down/shut off without pressing the power off button on the computers unlike in Windows Me/95/2000.  There could be a number of reasons for this, but the main one seems to be that ACPI is not enabled on the computer or in Windows XP:

  • Click Start > Control Panel > Performance and Maintenance > Power Options tab.
  • Then click APM > Enable Advanced Power Management Support.

Create a Password Reset Disk

Microsoft has enhanced security features in XP including the ability to create a floppy diskette to recover your password in case it is forgotten.

  • Click Start > Control Panel > User Accounts.
  • Click on the account which you want to create a password disk.
  • Click Prevent a forgotten password which starts the Forgotten Password Wizard .  This is found under Related Tasks.
  • Insert a blank, formatted disk into drive A, and click Next.
  • Enter the password in the Current user account password box.

To use the recovery disk, at the Welcome screen:

  • Click the user name whose password is on the recovery disk.
  • Click the question mark button, this causes the "Did you forget your password message" to appear.
  • Click use your password reset disk.  This will start the Password Reset Wizard.

From this point, just follow the wizard's instructions and you will be able to set a new password.


Modify Settings to Improve Performance

Windows XP uses processor time to handle system performance according to default settings, which can be adjusted for your computing needs.  Also, settings that govern visual effects enhance the appearance of the Windows XP interface, but can slow down performance.  You can fine–tune settings in Windows XP Professional to improve performance:

  • Right–click My Computer, and then click Properties.
  • Click the Advan