Collection of Windows Tricks (Part 2)

Every time I stumble upon a Windows tip or trick I keep it. Through time I have accumulated quite a number of Windows tricks. Note that these are not my own tricks, I owe them to different people who are good at discovering good tricks. I want to share them with you, so here they are, the second batch. (If you missed the first batch, just click here.)

Rename multiple files at once 

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

Show cover art in Media Player 

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

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!

Enable ClearType on the Welcome Screen! 

As laptop users and other LCD owners are quickly realizing, Microsoft's ClearType technology in Windows XP really makes a big difference for readability. But the this feature is enabled on a per-user basis in Windows XP, so you can't see the effect on the Welcome screen; it only appears after you logon.

But you can fix that. Fire up the Registry Editor and look for the following keys:

(default user) HKEY_USERS \ .Default \ Control Panel \ Desktop \
FontSmoothing (String Value)
HKEY_USERS \ .Default \ Control Panel \ Desktop \
FontSmoothingType (Hexadecimal DWORD Value)

Make sure both of these values are set to 2 and you'll have ClearType enabled on the Welcome screen and on each new user by default.

Change User Picture 

Click on the Icon at the top of the start menu. Select desired picture from resulting screen Windows 2000 style logon. To revert back to the Win2k style logon so you can log on as the administrator and other options, press ctrl+alt+delete twice at the logon screen. Change the location of the My Music or My Pictures folders:

In Windows 2000, Microsoft added the ability to right-click the My Documents folder and choose a new location for that folder in the shell. With Windows XP, Microsoft has elevated the My Music and My Pictures folders to the same "special shell folder" status of My Documents, but they never added a similar (and simple) method for changing those folder's locations. However, it is actually pretty easy to change the location of these folders, using the following method.

Open a My Computer window and navigate to the location where you'd like My Music (or My Pictures) to reside. Then, open the My Documents folder in a different window. Drag the My Music (or My Pictures) folder to the other window, and Windows XP will update all of the references to that folder to the new location, including the Start menu.

Protect Your Files From Unauthorized Users 

Other users with permission to delete a file (users with Modify or Full Control permission) can't use your encrypted files-but they can make them difficult for you to use. Any such user can rename your files, which can make them difficult to find, and can also delete your files. (Even if the user merely deletes them to the Recycle Bin and doesn't remove them altogether, the deleted files are unavailable to you because you don't have access to any other user's Recycle Bin.) Therefore, if you're concerned about protecting your files from other authorized users as well as from a thief who steals your computer, you should modify the NTFS permissions to prevent any type of modification by other users.

Shutdown Your System in a Hurry

If you need to shut down in a hurry-or if a frozen application prevents you from shutting down in the normal ways-you can use the following procedure. Be aware, however, that you won't get an opportunity to save open documents. To perform an emergency shutdown, press Ctrl+Alt+Del to display Task Manager. Open the Shut down menu and hold down the Ctrl key as you click the Turn Off command. Poof! If your computer is part of a domain, the procedure is similar. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del and then hold down Ctrl when you click Shut Down. In this situation, you'll get a warning message pointing out-quite correctly-that this should be used only as a last resort.

Provide Personal Support 

It never fails: when friends, co-workers, or family members discover that you're a Windows expert, you get pressed into service as an unpaid support technician. If the party asking for help is running any edition of Windows XP and has an active Internet connection, your job is much easier. Have the other person send you a Remote Assistance request; when you accept the request, you connect directly to their computer and can edit Registry settings, fix file associations, set System options, and perform just about any other troubleshooting or repair task, just as if you were sitting at the other person's desk.

Quickly Fix Connectivity Problems 

Are you having trouble connecting to other computers on your local area network? If your network uses a hardware firewall that assigns IP addresses to each machine and you're certain you've configured all other components correctly, check to see whether the Internet Connection Firewall is enabled. That component can effectively block communication between PCs on the network.

Hack IE Title Bar

This can be an impressive bit of personalization. Use your name or moniker to brand Internet Explorer. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\ and left-click on Main to change the string "Window Title" to whatever you wish.

Unload DLLs 

To prevent Windows from caching DLLs after the program using them has closed, follow this procedure: Navigate to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ then left-click on Explorer. Right-click (as above) and create the DWORD

AlwaysUnloadDLL with a value of 1. This requires a reboot to take effect. This will allow memory to be used more efficiently.

Registry Hacks 

Editing the Windows Registry, while much more common now than in years past, is still not to be entered into lightly. You can break Windows, cause boot failure. I know you're gonna do it anyway; why else would you be reading this. Just be careful, OK?

These are few because, for the most part WinXP can be customized through the interlace or with third-party freeware (as above).

All of the tips below require running regedit. To do so, hit 'Start/Run' then type 'regedit' and follow the instructions.

Naturally, I take no responsibility for any damage or loss of data incurred in the remote possibility that something goes terribly wrong.

Labels: