Windows XP : Modified

By: -=LRK=-  
Web Site:
Date: Pre-2005

Topics Covered
Generic Changes - Freeing Memory - Freeing Space - System Services - Security - Speed Boost

Introduction - I had searched the internet high and low for every valid tweak and tip that could possibly make Windows XP actually usable. I say this, because I have found XP to be slow, lacking driver support, and filled with all kinds of useless garbage that noone in their right mind uses. So, until Microsoft realizes that the computer used by NASA personel is not the same computer I use at work, which is not the same computer I use at home, we all have to resort to manually re-coding everything ourselves. Why they don't offer a Light, Medium and Advanced installation is beyond me.

Disclaimer - I take no credit at all for anything contained within this article. I freely admit to have ripped this information from various web sites. In some cases, word for word. The purpose of this article is to contain all this information in one place as a standing reference for myself. If you find it useful, then super, it served it's purpose. Again, this is to collect useful information in one place, nothing more. This is a personal reference for myself, noone else. I collected the information in this article because we got all new PC's at work, and I had to learn XP inside and out, this reference was extremely helpful as I updated machine after machine....

Generic Changes

Num Lock ON

1. Type REGEDIT and press <Enter>.
2. Locate the key HKEY_USERS/.DEFAULT/Control Panel/Keyboard
3. In the left pane you will see the key InitialKeyboardIndicators. Change the value of this key to 2; it is 0 by default.

Change the Windows Logon Screen Saver in Windows XP

When you start Windows, you may be presented with the Windows XP welcome screen, which prompts you click your user name to begin, or you may be presented with a Welcome to Windows dialog box that prompts you to press CTRL+ALT+DEL to log on. By default, if you do not press a key for 10 minutes, the Windows logon screen saver (Logon.scr) starts.

1. Click Start , and then click Run .
2. In the Open box, type regedt32 , and then click OK .
3. In the Registry Editor window, locate the following registry key:
HKEY_USERS\DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop
4. In the right pane, double-click SCRNSAVE.EXE .
5. In the Edit String dialog box, type the name of the screen saver that you want in the Value data box, and then click OK . For example, if you want to use the Mystify screen saver as your logon screen saver, type ssmyst.scr .

IMPORTANT : Make sure that you correctly specify the path to the screen saver. If the screen saver is located in %SystemRoot%\System32, the explicit path is not required.

6. Click Exit on the File menu to quit Registry Editor.

>>Default User

If you take the time to setup one account, you can then logon as Administrator and copy all the information from "C:\Documents and Settings\UserName" to "C:\Documents and Settings\Default User". Now, everytime you create a new user, they will have the exact same profile. This is also useful to know if you reinstall WinXP and want to keep all your settings. This comes in ultra handy if you are an administrator of many machines. You can set things up just the way you want them, then every account generated will have all the same base settings.

Relocate My Documents Folder

Simply right-click on the desktop icon and select properties. Now you can change the location to another drive, or out onto a server for nightly backups. If you are using a server, you may also want to disable Offline Files, otherwise it will work from dummy copies and replace the originals when you shutdown. This is painfully slow when you just want to turn off the computer and go home.

Remove E-Books, My Pictures and My Music from My Documents

Goto START then RUN. Type "Regsvr32 /u mydocs.dll" and hit enter. They won't come back.

Replace Outlook Email

In Win9x, all your email used to be located in c:\windows\application data\microsoft\outlook but now you can find it at "C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook"

Fix Your Address Book in Outlook

Periodically, you may wish you make a backup copy of your address book. I prefer to do it this way: In Outlook, Go to File - Import and Export - Export to a File - Comma Separated Values (Windows) and if you ever need to bring it back, just Re-Import the .CSV file.

Getting rid of unwanted items in "open with..." shell extension

When rightclicking any file you´re likely to see an option called "open with", which lists any available program on you computer to open the file with. To simply clear up this list of unwanted items, or to remove useless associations, like opening an mp3 file with a paint program, follow these steps:

- Click on the start button, click on Run... and type the word "regedit" (without the quotes) in the box that appears to open the registry editor, Navigate to "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts"
- Find the extention you wish to edit and click on the "+"-sign to locate the key that says "OpenWithList"
- In the right pane of the registry editor you´ll see a list with the programs in the list, like "paint.exe" or "notepad.exe"
- Simple click on the one you wish to delete and press the delete button on your keyboard

Don´t worry if you´ve removed an entry you rather hadn´t removed. When rightclicking a file there will be another option in the "open with" extension where you can choose any program on your computer. Once used, it will reappear in the list of associated programs.

Disabling Balloon Tips

To turn off balloon tips in applications that support XP Themes
Start Regedit
Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
Change the value of EnableBalloonTips from 1 to 0

Folder views not being saved

Sometimes you'll change a folder view, its position, or one of the folder's display options and upon rebooting the changes haven't been saved. The first thing to do is go to Control Panel>Folder Options and under the View tab make sure that 'Remember each folder's view settings' is ticked.

However even with this setting ticked you'll wind up with unsaved settings – I know from personal experience. Before using this tweak, every time I opened Control Panel it would show Details view and not Icons view, no matter how many times I changed it back to Icon view. The way to fix this problem is to open Regedit and go to the following sub-folders:


Right-click on each one (i.e. BagMRU and Bags) and select Delete to get rid of both of them. Reboot your PC and set up each of your folders as you like it. These settings should now be saved and restored on the next reboot. By deleting the registry entries above Windows is forced to recreate them and in doing so get rid of corruption and bad entries, typically caused by third-party programs.

>>Remove the Link folder in Favorites

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Toolbar]

LinksFolderName=Links If you want to get rid of the annoying Links folder in Favorites for good (and not just hide it), edit this string so that it equals a blank value. Now go into Favorites and delete the Links folder and it won't reappear again.

Make WinXP a registered copy without going through registration

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion]
RegDone=1 This is not to be confused with Activation – it's MS product registration.
RegisteredOrganization="" Fill in organization name or leave blank.
RegisteredOwner=User1 Fill in a name – I suggest one which is not uniquely identifiable.

Remove the 'shortcut' arrow that appears in the corner of desktop icons

Start regedit.
Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\lnkfile
Delete the IsShortcut registry value.

How to display any message you want when Windows starts

If you would like to display a legal message or any other message in a pop-up window when windows starts read below:
Start regedit, if you are unfamiliar with regedit please see our FAQ.
Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
Modify the key legalnoticecaption with what you want to name the window.
Modify the key legalnoticetext with what you want the window to say.

>>Remove Shared Documents In My Computer

By default, when you open My Computer in Windows XP, you see some folders above your hard drives. These are 'Shared Folders' (see the highlighted section in the above image), and basically provide folders for all users to share things. Personally, having these folders is annoying and unecessary. The solution is to remove these folders from My Computer, and the method is simple; simply navigate to

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MyComputer\NameSpace\DelegateFolders in the registry and then delete the key {59031a47-3f72-44a7-89c5-5595fe6b30ee}. Next time you open My Computer, the folders will not be there.

Disable CD autoplay In Windows XP Home

To disable the CD autoplay feature, use the following Windows XP registry hack:
Key: SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\Explorer
Name: NoDriveTypeAutoRun
Value: 181 hex 0x0b5

How to Change Office XP Product Key

  1. How to change the CD Registry Key of my Office XP installation?
    You can do it by editing the Registry. Apply this procedure:
  2. Locate your valid product CD Key, which is located on the back of the original CD case.
  3. On the Start menu, click Run.
  4. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.
  5. In Registry Editor, find the following subkey:
  6. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Registration
  7. Click the plus sign (+) next to this folder. If you see only one subkey in this folder that has a 32-character {GUID} (globally unique identifier), select that subkey and go to step 5.
  8. If you see more than one subkey that has a 32-character {GUID}, select each one until you find the one whose DisplayName value (in the right pane) matches your version of Office.
  9. For the selected {GUID} subkey, select the ProductID string value in the right pane.
  10. On the Edit menu, click Rename.
  11. Type ( you wanna back it up just in case )
  12. OldProductID
  13. and then press ENTER.
  14. On the Registry menu, click Exit.
  15. Start any Office program.
  16. When the Microsoft Office XP User Information dialog box appears, type your valid product CD Key (located on the back of the CD case). Follow the instructions on your screen.

>>Disable error reporting

One feature that I can do without is error reporting. Every time a program crashes I do not want to send a report to Microsoft. Read below to find out how to disable this stupid feature.
Open Control Panel
Click on System.
Then click on the Advanced tab
Click on the error reporting button at the bottom.
Select Disable error reporting.
Click OK

Event Viewer

Quickly access the computer management console, where you can see event logs (to see what's causing a problem, for example), right-click My Computer and choose Manage.

Then, select the Event viewer and double-click highlighted events in the Applications or System areas to view detailed explanations of what went wrong.

Event Viewer #2

You will need to run gpedit.msc from the run command and drill down to: Computer Configuration - Windows Settings - Security Settings - Local Policies - Audit Policy and chenge them all (if wanted). This will enable the event viewer's Security tab so you can see who logged on when and where.

Media Player 8 High encoder

Allows MP3 ripping at a higher Rate.
Download - Here

Speed up Nero in XP

Go to "administrative tools" in the control panel, and in the "services" list, disable the IMAPI CD-Burning COM service.
(Note: manual setting is not enough it must be disabled) It is the built-in CD-burning capability for windowsXP (incidentally, written by Roxio).
Once it is disabled, Nero will start up much quicker.

Remove Built in CD burning

Run gpedit.msc
User Configuration --> Administrative Templates --> Windows Explorer
Look for Remove CD Burning Features and double click on it
Choose enabled and apply

To rename a series of files

1.Open the My Pictures folder. (Click Start, and then click My Pictures.) Or open another folder containing files that you want to rename.
2.Select the files you want to rename. If the files you want are not adjacent in the file list, press and hold CTRL, and then click each item to select it.
3.On the File menu, click Rename.
4.Type the new name, and then press ENTER.

All of the files in the series will be named in sequence using the new name you type. For example, if you type Birthday, the first will be named Birthday and subsequent files in the series will be named Birthday (1), Birthday (2), and so on. To specify the starting number for the series, type the starting number in parentheses after the new file name. The files in the series will be numbered in sequence starting with the number you type. For example, if you type Birthday (10), the other files will be named Birthday (11), Birthday (12), and so on.

Set Priority option

1.Go to the second tab called Processes, right click on one of the active processes, you will see the Set Priority option
2.For example, your Run your CDwriter program , set the priority higher, and guess what, no crashed CD’s

>>To change drive letters

To change drive letters (useful if you have two drives and have partitioned the boot drive, but the secondary drive shows up as "D")
Go to Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management, Disk Management, then right-click the partition whose name you want to change (click in the white area just below the word "Volume") and select "change drive letter and paths."
From here you can add, remove or change drive letters and paths to the partition.

>>ZIP Folders

A really quick tweak... Windows XP has built-in support for .ZIP files, so that you can view them as normal folders. However, the system uses a sizeable portion of resources doing this, so disabling this feature can increase performance. It's easy to do, you just have to un-register the zipfldr.dll, by going to Start -> Run... and typing

regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll

then pressing Enter.

>>See all files in Device Manager

Microsoft have decided in XP both Home and Professional Edition that we shouldnt see all our Devices in Device Manager by default.... especially the Non-Plug & Play devices. !

This is really useful if your XP machine is on or running a network.

Right click on My Computer
Device Manager.

Now In Device Manager, select "View" from the toolbar and choose
Show Hidden Devices. And see all the new stuff appear .....

Hacking the XP Boot Screen

This is a very simple trick to do if you have done the same for the logon screen and the start button. There are 2 ways to do this trick that I know about one is doing it manually and the other is using a program called bootxp. I am going to tell you the manual way to do it, but if you want to know the other way just let me know, so I can do an update to the guide. Now once you have downloaded your ntoskrnl.exe file save it a general location so that you will have easy access to it, like my folder.

Once you have ntoskrnl.exe file in an easy access folder, restart your pc into safe mode. Once into safe mode go to the folder where your files are located.

Now that you are there copy the file that you want to change your boot screen too. Once you have copied that file, hit the window key + r or type %windir%\system32 in the run command, so that folder as follows.

Once there paste your new file into the folder and overwrite the existing folder.

Now that you have your new file in the folder restart your pc as you normally would and your new boot screen should appear. You can download this bootscreen here.

Disable Auto reboot

1. Right Click My computer and hit properties
2. Go to Advanced
3. Under the Startup and Recovery section, click Settings...
4. Under System Failure un-check "Automatically restart"

>>Turn off System Restore

Go to your Control Panel
Click System
Go to the System Restore tab
Check the box Turn off System Restore for all drives

Turn off Automatic Updates

Go to your Control Panel
Click System
Go to the Automatic Updates tab
Click the turn off updates box

>>Turn off user tracking

Run gpedit.msc
User Configuration --> Administrative Templates --> Start Menu and taskbar
Look for Turn off user tracking and double click on it
Select Enable
This setting prevents the system from tracking the programs users run, the paths they navigate, and the documents they open. The system uses this information to customize Windows features, such as personalized menus.

If you enable this setting, the system does not track these user actions. The system disables customized features that require user tracking information, including personalized menus.

The Default start menu relies on this. If you're using the classic start menu like I am then make sure you turn this off cause it doesn't do any good for you.


XP also includes elements from the Win9x, ME family line. Msconfig, the System Configuration Utility is one of the most important of these tools. Start -> Run -> msconfig to access. For background, see Where do things load from? How to you stop them? . Want to view and or control the programs and elements of XP's startup process, study the information delivered by msconfig which is a menu of locations that control startup loading of programs. :
General tab : select from
Normal startup : load all device drivers and services
Diagnostic startup : load basic devices and services only
Selective startup : role your own
Launch System Restore : create a restore point or restore back to a restore point
System.ini tab
Win.ini tab
Boot.ini tab
Services tab : another method to disable services
Startup tab : which programs are automatically loaded
disable / enable all or selectively

Put Admin tools on Start Menu

To access the local administrative utilities, you need to:
Click Start
Click Control Panel
You can switch from the new XP view to the classic NT view using left panel Switch to category view
Click Administrative Tools
If you access Admin tools often, you can make the tools available from the Start Menu directly:
Right-Click Start
Click Properties
Click Customize selection box in the Start Menu tab
Click Advanced Tab
Click down Start Menu items pulldown to System Administrative Tools section
Select Display on the All Programs and the Start menu radio button

Enable ClearType font rendering

Click Start
Click Control Panel
Click Display applet
Click the Appearance tab
Click the Effects box
Click Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts:
Select ClearType

Disable CD autoplay In Windows XP Pro

It is safest to disable CD autoplay in XP using either local group policy or, for an enterprise, an Active Directory group policy. The local group policy editor method:

Click Start
Click Run
Group Policy mmc will popup. On left panel:
Double-click Computer Configuration to open submenu
Double-click Administrative Templates to open submenu
Double-click System to open submenu
Double-click Turn autoplay off option which will be near the bottom of the list in the right panel.
The default is the Not configured . Set it to Disabled.

Move the Spool Folder in Windows XP

The spool folder is the area on the hard disk that Windows uses to store print jobs as they are being printed. This allows Windows to quickly return control to a program after a document is printed. By default, Windows stores this file on the same partition as the Windows system files. You can increase the performance of Windows, and increase free space on this partition, by moving this folder to a different partition.

How to Move the Windows XP Spool Folder
Log on to the computer as Administrator.
Click Start , and then click My Computer .
Open the driver or folder in which you want to store the spool folder.
Under File and Folder Tasks , click Make a new folder . In the Name box, type the name that you want.
Click Start , and then click Printers and Faxes .
On the File menu, click Server Properties .
Click the Advanced tab.
In the Spool folder box, type the complete path to the new folder that you created.
Click Apply . The following message appears:

The changes to the spool folder will occur immediately and any currently active documents will not print. It is recommended to allow all documents to complete printing before changing the spool folder. Are you sure you want to change the spool folder?
Ensure that all documents have finished being printed, and then click Yes .
Click OK , and then close the Printers and Faxes folder.

Remove MSN

To this:
They say that you can now go to Add/Remove Windows Componants and remove it, but this never worked for me.

Create Desktop icon to lock the computer

1. Right click on an empty area on your desktop.
2. Select New>Shortcut.
3. In the first box of the Create Shortcut Wizard, type "Rundll32.exe User32.dll,LockWorkStation" (without quotes). Note there is no space between the comma and LockWorkStation, which is also one word. Click Next.
4. Call the shortcut something like "Lock PC" (without quotes) and click Finish.
5. To add the finishing touch, right click on the new icon, select Properties, click the Change Icon button and select an appropriate icon.

Now whenever you click this icon your PC will instantly be locked, and can only be accessed by the user entering a correct password in the Login box. Note you can also lock the computer at any time by press WINDOWS + L. Also note that if you have an account with no password, locking the desktop is a little pointless as anyone can login by just leaving the password field blank and clicking OK to log back in.

Set Explorer's default startup folder

If you open Explorer from an icon, this tweak allows you to set which directory it will display by default upon opening:

1. Right click on the icon you use to launch Explorer and select Properties.
2. In the Target box of Properties type (or replace the existing text with) the following (without quotes):

"%SystemRoot%\Explorer.exe /e, path"

Where in place of path above you should enter the actual path to the directory you want open by default. For example C:\Windows, or C:\Documents and Settings, etc. The path also doesn't require quotes around it.

>>Clean Up Context Menus

Have messy Right Click Menus? Here are all the places you should look in:





Dos Prompt

Here are a few useful commands:

  • shutdown
    You can shut down or restart your own computer, or an administrator can shut down or restart a remote computer. Type "shutdown" into your command prompt to see a list of possible arguments.
  • systeminfo
    Basic system configuration information, such as the system type, the processor type, your time zone, your virtual memory settings, and much more.
  • tasklist
    Want to know what's going on behind the scenes? Type "tasklist" into the command prompt, and get a list of current processes.
  • taskkill
    Now that you know what's going on behind the scenes, maybe you want to shut a few of these extraneous tasks down. That's where taskkill comes in. Type "taskkill /?" for a quick lesson in the syntax of the command, then shut down all those random processes. I just killed my MS messenger by typing "taskkill /PID 1680." I got the PID from running tasklist, above.


If you found this article helpful, you can find plenty more back on the main page.