Thursday, June 21, 2007

Give More Time for Processes to Close at Shutdown

When you shut down Windows, XP gives each process, service, or application 20 seconds to close before the operating system turns off the computer. If the process, service, or application doesn't shut down within 20 seconds, a dialog box appears, prompting you to either wait 20 more seconds, immediately end the process, service, or application, or cancel shutdown.

If this dialog box appears frequently, you might be running an application, service, or process that often takes more than 20 seconds to close. To solve the problem, you can increase the amount of time that XP waits to display the dialog box so that the dialog box will no longer appear. To do so, run the Registry Editor and go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop. Look for the String value WaitToKillAppTimeout. Edit the value by entering the amount of time you want XP to wait before displaying the dialog box, in milliseconds. The default is 20000, or 20 seconds. If you want XP to wait 25 seconds, enter the value 25000. Exit the Registry and reboot.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Stop Error Messages from Displaying on Startup

If you constantly see an error message that you can't get rid offor example, from a piece of software that didn't uninstall properly and continues to give errors on startupyou can disable it from displaying on startup. Run the Registry Editor and go to HKEY_LOCAL MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Windows. (This key holds a variety of Windows system settings, such as the location of your system directory.) Create a new DWORD called NoPopupsOnBoot and give it a value of 1. Exit the Registry and reboot for the setting to take effect. To disable it, either delete the DWORD value or give it a value of 0.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Automatically Turn On Num Lock, Scroll Lock, and Caps Lock

When you start your PC, Num Lock, Scroll Lock, and Caps Lock don't automatically toggle on. You can automatically turn each of them on or off whenever your PC starts, for all accounts on the PC. As a practical matter, most people probably want to have only Num Lock automatically turned on, but this Registry hack allows you to force any combination of keys on or off. Run the Registry Editor and go to HKEY_USERS\.Default\Control Panel\Keyboard. Find the String value InitialKeyboardIndicators. By default, it is set to 0, which means that Num Lock, Scroll Lock, and Caps Lock are all turned off. Set it to any of the following values, depending on the combination of keys you want turned on or off:


Turns off Num Lock, Caps Lock, and Scroll Lock


Turns on Caps Lock


Turns on Num Lock


Turns on Caps Lock and Num Lock


Turns on Scroll Lock


Turns on Caps Lock and Scroll Lock


Turns on Num Lock and Scroll Lock


Turns on Caps Lock, Num Lock, and Scroll Lock

Exit the Registry. When you restart, the new setting will take effect

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Create One-Click Shutdown and Reboot Shortcuts

Turning off or rebooting XP involves a several-step process: click the Start menu, choose Shut Down, and then select Shut Down or Restart. If you want, however, you can exit or reboot much more quickly, by creating a shortcut that enables one-click shutdowns. You can also use the shortcut to customize the shutdown or rebootfor example, by displaying a specific message or automatically shutting down any programs that are running.

First, create a shortcut on your desktop by right-clicking the desktop, choosing New, and then choosing Shortcut. The Create Shortcut Wizard appears. In the box asking for the location of the shortcut, type shutdown. After you create the shortcut, double-clicking it will shut down your PC.

But you can do much more with a shutdown shortcut than merely shut down your PC. You can add any combination of several switches to do extra duty, like this:

shutdown -r -t 01 -c "Rebooting your PC"

Double-clicking that shortcut will reboot your PC after a one-second delay and display the message "Rebooting your PC." The shutdown command includes a variety of switches you can use to customize it. Table 1-3 lists all of them and describes their use.

Table 1-3. Switches you can use with shutdown Switch
What it does

Shuts down the PC.

Logs off the current user.

-t nn
Indicates the duration of delay, in seconds, before performing the action.

-c "messagetext"
Displays a message in the System Shutdown window. A maximum of 127 characters can be used. The message must be enclosed in quotation marks.

Forces any running applications to shut down.

Reboots the PC.

I use this technique to create two shutdown shortcuts on my desktopone for turning off my PC, and one for rebooting. Here are the ones I use:

-s -t 03 -c "See you later!" shutdown -r -t 03 -c "You can't get rid
of me that quickly!"

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hide Components You Don't Want to Be Uninstalled

You can use this same technique in reverse to hide components you don't want to be uninstalled accidentally. Simply put the word HIDE in the proper place in the entry that you don't want to show up in the Windows Components Wizard. For example, if you want to hide the uninstall entry for the fax utility, edit its entry by changing:




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Friday, June 1, 2007

Organize the All Programs Menu with Explorer

If you're using the default Windows XP Start Menu view and you're not happy with the way your All Programs menu is organized, you can use Windows Explorer to modify it. The All Programs menu is nothing more than a collection of shortcuts found in two folders: the C:\Documents and Settings\\Start Menu folder (where is your account name), and the C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu folder. Items you want to appear at the very top of the All Programs menu should be put in one of the \Start Menu folders (depending upon whether you want the item to appear on only your All Programs menu, or on the All Programs menu of all users). Items you want to appear on the lower part of the All Programs menu should be put into the \Start Menu\Programs folder, again, depending on whether you want the item to appear on only your All Programs menu, or on the All Programs menu of all users.

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