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Frequently Asked Questions for Windows XP
Version 1.433

Introduction

This FAQ is created to address the frequently asked questions in the few XP newsgroups I frequent.

Windows Vista now comes pre-configured with Microsoft Communities once you launch Windows Mail. Unfortunately, XP does not. But, with just a mouse click, you can now access the popular newsgroups

There are more newsgroups than these. Check them here. Answers were obtained from the replies.

DISCLAIMER

Proceed at your own risk! The information here is accurate to the best of my knowledge. I will not be held responsible if this document causes your computer to explode or burst into flames.

In real serious terms, if any corruption of data, hardware damage or any other kind of damage/losses/etc. arises from the use of this document, I will not be responsible for it. If you don't like this, please don't read any further.

By the way, ever wondered what you fully agreed to when you install/use XP? Check out here.

Content Stealer - http://www.helpfromjoe.com/questions.php - everything copied from here without permission or even linking back.

Some Humor [US: Humor]

Computers churns out some ironic messages:

"Windows XP has no drivers for my modem, so it tries to use the Internet to find some" Irony being, Can't use Internet because it needs modem drivers to use it, which it does haven't & wants to look for. - Sweet Spin

"ERROR "Keyboard not found" press F1 to continue?" - Mhzjunkie

"Windows can not continue because the process has completed successfully." - Vern

"What's XP? Xpensive, Xpect, Xtra Pain, ......"- Many Sources

The Basics

These tips will get rid of about 75% of the problems out there

  • Know your OS well! It is one software that you have to know well to make use of your computer efficiently.
  • Get the latest drivers for your hardware, especially your video card and sound card, as games are dependant on these. Get the XP drivers if available. If XP drivers do not exist there, then try obtaining the Windows 2000 version.
  • Go to Windowsupdate.com and download the latest updates.
  • Avoid installing Windows XP by the upgrade method. Follow my guide here on how to preserve your previous settings and do a clean install of Windows XP. If you want to install Win9x (95,98, ME,2000) with XP together, you can also follow this guide here.
  • Log in on an administrator account if a program or feature refuses to work.

Many of the answers here should apply to Home Edition as well. However, things related to NTFS security and network will mostly likely won't be available in the Home Edition.

The FAQ Questions and Answers

TIP: Use your browser's find function, CTRL+F, to find a question/answer quickly

0) Where can I get Windows XP with Service Pack 2 online?
You can get the Windows XP Home Edition right here and Professional Edition here.
1)
I'm having problems shutting down my PC. My previous Win9x OS always shut off automatically, but here Windows XP shows me the "It is now safe..." message?
You need to get into Control Panel, Power Management, and turn on APM (Advanced Power Management). If that doesn't work, check out this website here.
2) I've enabled my taskbar to be hidden always but doesn't hide always!
There could be an application request which you have to attend to. Check the system tray, unhide all the "inactive" icons - clicking and opening each of them.
3) Is there any way to speed up the bootup process?
You can also try defragging your hard disk. If your computer seems to take a long time in the blue welcome screen, here are some things I did to speed things up:
  • Disable network drives which are "Reconnect at logon".
  • Question #20's Answer can also help
Will add more if I come across any.
4) How do I enable the good old search method?
This website has a search fix. Windows XP Search Fix
5) Do you have good utilities to recommend to customise my Windows XP environment?
Microsoft PowerToys, TweakXP and StylesXP are some popular ones.
6) How do I run an old DOS application/game that refuses to work under WinXP?
You can create a Windows 98 boot disk which boots to the DOS prompt using the utility here. Be aware that Sound Blaster Live! and new sound cards may not work in DOS. You will also need to load the mouse, sound and cdrom drivers if your game needs it. If your partition is a FAT32, your boot disk should allow you to access your C drive and you can configure the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files in the boot disk to access the files from the hard disk or you can copy them to the boot disk as well.

[Contributed by Michal]: DOSBox is an excellent utility that emulates DOS in Windows XP - It has been successful in many cases and I recommend it personally to try it first before jumping to other methods.
7) How do I do it such that Explorer opens up pointing to the C drive or some other location?
Changing the blue coloured text to the location, change the shortcut such that it looks like this:
%SystemRoot%\Explorer.Exe /e,C:\
8) How do I disable the built-in ZIP support?
Use the following command from the Run dialog:

regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll

If you ever want to re-enable the built-in zip support, use:

regsvr32 zipfldr.dll
9) How do I make the taskbar transparent?
Transbar allows this. It is third party software but free.
10) How do I get rid of the pop-up balloons(or bubbles) that appear near the system tray?
Involves registry editing. Navigate to "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced", create DWORD value called EnableBalloonTips with Hex value of 0 and restart your computer.
11) How much space does a Windows XP installation roughly takes up?
Taken from usenet by Kent W. England [MVP] <kwe@mvNoSPAMps.org>:
1.0 GB for Windows folder
0.5 GB for Program Files
50 MB for Documents and Settings
768 MB for pagefile.sys (varies on RAM size, assuming 512MB)
512 MB for hiberfil.sys (same size as RAM, assuming 512MB)
**Extras that start from zero and grow slowly (assuming 10GB hdd)**
2.0 GB (10%) for System Restore (default) in System Volume Info folder
2.0 GB (10%) for Recycle Bin (default)
1.0 GB (10%) for Temporary Files
Pure installation is around 2GB. The cycle of usage will need 8 GB in total, but in my personal knowledge, 3GB would be sufficient.
12) What is this file named HIBERFIL.SYS doing in my root folder?
This file is only used when hibernating - saving the state of the RAM to this file. To hibernate, press and hold Shift and the button should change to hibernate. You can remove this file by disabling hibernation, which is by Control Panel, Power Options, Hibernate tab.
13) I have the upgrade version of XP, can I perform a clean install using it?
Sure, but the setup program will ask for a qualifying media to be inserted as proof of ownership.
14) How do I stop folders from expanding when I click on a folder in Explorer?
Go to Folder Options, View and uncheck the box for "Simple Folder View in Explorer's Folder list."
15) How do I stop Windows Messenger from starting up every time I boot up my computer?
If you're running Pro, you can use GPEDIT.MSC to prevent Messenger from loading. Otherwise, even disabling it in startup won't cause it to "always" not run. Outlook, Outlook Express and some Microsoft web pages can still make it load.
  1. Start, Run and enter GPEDIT.MSC 
  2. Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Windows Messenger
  3. You can now modify whether it starts initially and/or whether it is to run at all.
If you don't have Pro, run Windows Messenger, Tools, Options and uncheck "Run this program when Windows starts". Run Outlook Express, go to Options and uncheck "Automatically logon to Windows Messenger". You can also try running this command (text may wrap):

RunDll32 advpack.dll,LaunchINFSection %windir%\INF\msmsgs.inf,BLC.Remove

This will remove Windows Messenger from your system.
16) Where's Scandisk gone?
Scandisk is replaced by the good ol' Chkdsk. To scan for bad sectors, right-click the drive, Properties, Tools, "Check Now..." and check "Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors". Hit Start and it is off. No surface scan diagrams, you should use the individual brand's diagnostic utility to perform a through scan.
17) What are the pros and cons of FAT32 and NTFS?
NTFS offers a smaller cluster size (0.5) compared to FAT32 (4). This means more space for you. NTFS also allows compression and additional security features. Many people recommend formatting to a NTFS partition rather than converting the drive for speed reasons. You can go to this Microsoft article for more information, which lists only the pros . Some cons I've heard:
  • Virtually no recovery tools for a faulty NTFS volume. If you backup this isn't a big deal. If you can't backup then it's a very big deal.
  • It's rumoured to have performance problems, but I'm not entirely sure about this.
  • If you're dual booting, that's running OS's in the same system (like Windows 98 and XP), only NT, 2000 or XP can access the NTFS partition, other Windows OS's (95,98,ME) will not be able to view nor access the drive.
  • Linux distributions have trouble reading (let alone writing) to NTFS drives
More cons will be added if I come across them.
18) The Command Prompt in Windows XP does not have DosKey installed?
Run CMD from the Run instead of command .
19) Can I install XP Home (or Professional) on more than 1 computer?
No. You're only allowed to install it on one computer. You will be unable to activate XP on the other computer. You have to purchase additional licenses to install it on more than 1 computer.
20) Every time my PC boots up, it takes about 2 minutes for the Network connections submenu in the Start, Settings menu to expand!
Disable "Obtain IP Address Automatically" for the local area network connection. If there's a DHCP server running on your network that assigns IP addresses dynamically, you have to enable Obtain IP Address Automatically.
21) The volume icon does not appear in the notification area (taskbar).
Make sure Hide Inactive is disabled in Taskbar Properties. In Sound and Audio Devices Properties, make sure "Place volume icon in the taskbar" is checked. If it still doesn't work, you are one of the few people infected with this bug. Workarounds:
  1. Go to Start, Log off, log off then log back on
  2. Right-click the taskbar & select Task Manager under Processes tab select Explorer.exe & End Task. Under Applications tab select New Task, type in "explorer" and click OK
Watch this section for updates for this bug fix.
22) All my games can't detect OpenGL [and, or] Glide for my video card?
Windows XP's drivers are basic ones that just allow you to manipulate the desktop (and possibly DirectX also). You have to get updated XP drivers from your card's manufacturer. Riva TNT, TNT2, Geforce cards can try nVidia's Forceware drivers.

3dfx has closed down. Fortunately, some geeks have hacked (or tweaked) 3dfx's original drivers to make it compatible with Windows XP. You can find a list at Voodoo Files, and I recommend downloading Goat's driver if you own a Voodoo 3000, it worked for me well particularly for Diablo II and Ultim@te Race Pro (both 3dfx games).
23) What's the best anti-virus software out there for XP?
Norton Internet Security 2006 in my humble opinion. Yes, it is a system hog - but prevention is better than cure.
24) Can I remove Outlook Express or Internet Explorer?
No, they are part of the operating system, and cannot be removed. You'll just have to ignore them.
25) What is SVCHOST.EXE doing in my Processes?
It represents all the services running in your computer. Type tasklist -svc in the command prompt to get a list of services running.
26) How do I install Windows XP in DOS mode [or from MS-DOS command prompt]?
First, start up SmartDrive to speed things up. Next, run WINNT from the I386 folder. Setup should launch, warn you if you don't have SmartDrive loaded, copy the cd to a temporarily to your hard disk and reboot your computer. A more detailed guide.
27) How do I remove programs such as Pinball, Wordpad and other accessories?
Delete all "HIDE" words in C:\Windows\inf\sysoc.inf file and you will be able add or remove more Windows components. The change can be noticed in the Add/Remove Programs.
28) In Outlook Express, the spell check doesn't work. It's checked in the tools options menu, but it still will not work!
Do a search for csapi3t1.dll and copy it over to the Outlook Express folder.
29) How do I get Internet Explorer to open new windows maximised?
There isn't such a way to do this so far, but a simple workaround is to open a window and manually drag the edges to fill the screen without using the maximise button. The next time you open it, it should remember that size.
30) Doing a "SFC /SCANNOW" always keeps asking for the CD, even after I've inserted it!
Hit Try Again every time the box comes up.
31) How do I make a boot disk in Windows XP?
Go to Explorer, insert a floppy disk, right-click on the A Drive, click Format, check Make System disk and click OK.
32) How do I uninstall Windows XP?
Note that doing any of the below will erase all data in your hard disk! You can boot from a Windows 9x boot disk, reformat the XP partition and install a previous version of Windows.

If XP is installed using NTFS file system, you'll first have to use FDISK to delete the partition, type FDISK at the prompt. Once you are at the menu, select "Delete Non-dos Partition." When complete, select create partition, be sure to set it active, exit FDISK, reboot from the Windows 9x boot disk, select "Boot with CD-ROM Support."

At the prompt type change to the C drive by typing C: and press enter. Type format and press enter, when complete, place the CD of the Windows OS you wish to install in the drive, change to your CD-ROM drive, note it may not be the same drive letter it was in Windows. Type setup, press enter and follow the prompts.
33) How do I change the Boot screen when Windows XP starts?
Take a look at BootXP. For the login screen, try this one.
34) My hard disk shows frequent activity, which is the application causing this?
Run the Task Manager, go to the Processes tab, and turn on the following columns: "I/O Read Bytes" and "I/O Write Bytes." This will give you details as to which process is accessing the disk. Although many processes will be accessing the disk a lot, look for one with a high total or a fast rate of increase, especially when you hear/see the drive LED being accessed.
35) Is there any measures I can take to protect myself from viruses using Outlook Express?
Update Outlook Express(OE) to the latest version from Windowsupdate.com. Use anti-virus software such as Norton Anti-virus to scan email. Personally, I never use the email scanning that NAV provides, because I use the latest OE and the following measures: Disable the Preview Pane when downloading messages from your ISP.
  1. A quick way to do this is to add a button to the toolbar. Right-Click on the toolbar (where the buttons Reply, "Create Mail" and other buttons are) and click "Customize".
  2. On the left,, find and click "Preview", click "Add ->" and click Close.
  3. You will have a button now that toggles the preview pane.
Setup a new message rule that redirects all mails with attachments to a special folder. Infected messages usually come with attachments
  1. Right-click "Inbox", click "New Folder" and specify a name, we'll use "WARNING" here.
  2. Next we have to tell OE to redirect the messages. Click "Tools" in the menu bar, "Message Rules" and "Mail".
  3. Click "New...", specify the condition as "Where the message has an attachment" and the action to "Move it to the specified folder".
  4. Specify the folder as "WARNING" and click "OK" all the way out.
Making sure a message is not infected.
  1. Before you click on the "WARNING" folder, make sure the Preview Pane is disabled.
  2. View the message subject, do not OPEN (double-click ) the message.
  3. View the message source, by RIGHT-clicking the message, clicking "Properties", "Details Tab" and "Message Source". Here you can read the message in the original form.
  4. Attachments will have a special heading, here is an example:
    Content-Type: image/jpeg;
    name="FILENAME"
    Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64
    Content-Disposition: attachment;
    filename="FILENAME"
    ..followed by some garbage
  5. The message will be ABOVE the attachments. Read it to check whether it is a message that the person intended to send to you. If the message is in HTML, it will be harder to decipher for those HTML inclined users. In this case, you just have to try to read the content.
36) I'm having some advertisements messages titled "Messenger Service" popping up in my screen! What is happening and how do I prevent this?
MSN Messenger or Windows Messenger is NOT the reason for the spam you're receiving. It is the Messenger service (used to send messages to another computer on a network) that loads everytime you start Windows. You can disable this by doing these
  1. Click Start, then Run,
  2. Enter "services.msc"and click OK.
  3. Scroll down to "Messenger", select it, right-click and then choose "Properties"
  4. Under startup type, check "disabled".
  5. Click the 'Stop' button
  6. Click OK when done.
Note that doing the above will not allow any person to message you, even in the internal network. Companies facing this problem should install a firewall in their gateway that blocks the messenger port 135, 137,138 UDP and TCP from the internet.
37) I've accidentally associated EXE files with another program! How do I revert it back to be executable?
Head over here and use the fix. (EXE Fix for Windows XP (Restores EXE association))
38) I always have to switch on my serial modem when my computer boots up or else I will not be able to use it in Windows XP. Is there any way to get Windows XP to detect the modem?
In my case, Windows XP will report a "Port not responding" error if I attempt to use the modem switched on after booting up. Go to the Add New Hardware program in the Control Panel, let it detect your hardware, answer "Yes" to "Have you connected your hardware.." and press "Cancel" in the next dialog.

Or you can also go to the Device Manager and clicking "Scan for hardware Changes" under the menu "Action".
39) How do I copy my Outlook Express messages from Windows to Windows XP? What files do I need to back up?
If you are using Windows 95/98/ME, the database files should be in C:\WINDOWS\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{SOME LONG STRING}\Microsoft\Outlook Express. For Windows 2000/XP, they are in C:\Documents and Settings\<USER NAME>\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{F3C7D6BE-9759-4725-86B9-461EAD018BF6}\Microsoft\Outlook Express. Run Outlook Express at least once before copying. Copy the DBX files, those are the message files to the Windows XP path specified just now.

The Address Book can be Imported and Exported from within Outlook Express. Click on File, Export and then Address Book. Similarly, when importing the WAB file into Outlook Express, click File > Import and then Address Book and select the file. Or in Windows 9x, you can access it directly at C:\WINDOWS\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book, in Windows 2000/XP at C:\Documents and Settings\<USER NAME>\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book.
40) What is the difference between COMMAND and CMD DOS Virtual Machine in Windows XP?
[Posted in Bootstrike Forums by wmccain] Windows XP includes TWO command-line processors, CMD.EXE and COMMAND.COM. The second one, COMMAND.COM, is a stripped-down version of the command processor from DOS. The Windows XP version of COMMAND.COM is severely restricted in its capabilities (lacks long filename support and many other features familiar from Windows 98SE), so it is all-but-unusable.

Furthermore, it turns out that there are TWO ways to run CMD.EXE in Windows XP, although this fact is not documented anywhere. CMD.EXE can be run from a shortcut (a .lnk file, which is the way that the Command Prompt window is set up "out-of-the-box" in Windows XP) or from a Program Information File (a .pif file). (COMMAND.COM, on the other hand, can ONLY be run from a .pif file, since it is a .com program and not a .exe program.)

I have found the .pif file method for running CMD.EXE to be superior in most respects. For one thing, the .pif file "Properties" dialog gives you control of a lot more of the "compatibility" options. More importantly, however, most of my DOS applications simply run better when CMD.EXE is invoked by a .pif file. The most visible difference is in the colors within the Command Prompt window. My favorite DOS-based source code editor, for example, displays with a hideous green background color when run under a CMD.EXE shortcut, but runs correctly (with a black background) when run under CMD.EXE invoked via a .pif file. The DOS full-screen "edit" command has similar problems with colors when run under a shortcut, but again runs correctly under a .pif file.

There are two minor annoyances, however, when running CMD.EXE from a .pif file:
  • Any switches that you specify in the "dir" command (such as "/w") are ignored. The "dir" command uses ONLY the options you have set in the environment via the "DIRCMD" variable.
  • If you are sitting at a command prompt, not running a command or application, and you try to terminate the window by clicking the "X" box in the upper right-hand corner of the window frame, you get a "nag" dialog. The "exit" command does work correctly, without the nag.
41) Why does my Diablo game have lots of scan lines (black lines) during the cut scenes / cinematics?
This is because the game is running at a higher resolution then it is originally been intended to run. Diablo runs best on 640 x 480. To solve this problem, right click on the Diablo shortcut, go to the Compatibility tab, and check "Run in 640 x 480..". Click OK and try running the game again,
42) I have forgotten my Windows XP Administrator password! Is there any way to recover/reset/change it?
This page has some links to utilities you can use. The "EBCD – Emergency Boot CD (v0.60)" sounds very promising, and you can try it.
43) How do I access pure DOS mode in Windows XP?
Windows XP does not have pure DOS mode, the only two ways are to execute "CMD"(preferred) or "COMMAND" from the run dialog box. If you want the real pure one, you can boot up from a DOS/Win95/98/ME boot disk or create one using Windows XP itself (insert a diskette, right click the drive in My Computer, Format, check Make System Disk) or you can install 2 OS's (like Windows 95/98/ME, which allows you to access pure DOS). You can follow this guide here on how to install Windows 95/98/ME along with XP.
44) How do I make Outlook Express to "Top-Post"?
There is no option in Outlook Express that allows this. However, Dominik Jain has come up with a solution. Not only does it position the cursor and colour the different levels of quoting, it converts emoticons such as :) to real images. Check out the website and download OE-Quotefix here.
45) How do I bypass the Simultaneous Connection Attempt limit in SP2?
Windows XP SP2 limits the number of simultaneous TCP connection tries to ten. Note that this doesn't limit the number of established TCP connections. You still can have 100s of it. If the "connection attempts" hits over the limit they will just be queued to be done later. A workaround is available. Check your Event log for indications to see whether the patch is necessary.
46) How do I perform a Repair of Windows XP?
Not recommended, rather, a format and clean installation is preferred but here's the guide anyway.
47) I'm having trouble deleting a file - Windows XP keeps saying that the file is in use? What process is using it and how can I delete it?
Use the Unlocker utility. This file will unlock all file handles on the file/folder and even offer to delete it for you before the program locks it again!
48) How do I capture screen shots from a video using Windows Media Player?
While the video is playing, press Ctrl+I (that's I for Ivory). Save as BMP to preserve the most quality. Another way is to reduce the Video Acceleration to None and using the good ol' Print Screen button. However, restore back the Video Acceleration once you're done as it could affect video performance.
49) Is there any way to prevent Internet Explorer links from opening up in a new window and instead open in the current window?
Click and drag the link to the address bar. This will force Internet Explorer to open the page in the current window. However, this will not work for JavaScript links.
50) How do I automatically compress an image if I want to send it using Outlook Express?
Right-Click the image in Explorer, Send To, Mail Receipent. Windows should automatically prompt you to make pictures smaller.
51) Can I remove these "$NtUninstallKBxxxxxx$" folders in my Windows folder?
Those files were created for uninstallation in case one of the Windows update that you (or Automatic Updates) installed created problems. If after a few days, your system is running well, it is safe to delete them to free up some space. You can use this utility to delete all the backup files and the registry entries to free up space.
52) How do I switch to the Classic Interface from the Luna Interface?
Right-click on your desktop, Properties, Appearance, Windows and Buttons to "Windows Classic Style". Right-click your taskbar, Properties, Start Menu and choose Classic Start Menu. Done!
53) How do I stop the Search function from searching inside of ZIP/CAB files?
Use Ramesh's utility to direct XP not to search in ZIP and/or CAB files.
54) Why won't Windows XP play my DVD movies or video?
First, make sure your drive is a DVD-ROM. Next, you need a DVD decoder software. Unfortunately, there are some licenses required to play a DVD movie which comes with DVD player software so most of them require purchases. There is one free open-source alternative to play DVDs VLC.
55) Why do I have a grey box around flash videos and movies?
This is due to a latest "fix" by Microsoft to work around paying a patent. Basically, a company has patented the process of which a browser automatically tells a movie to play. So to avoid paying the fees, you will now see grey boxes when you mouse over an interactive object with the text "Click to activate and use this control".

Simply click on it to activate the movie. There are also instances of "Click to run an ActiveX control on this webpage", clicking either the X or the OK button simply gets you through.
56) How do I rearrange the bars in the task bar?
Taskbar Shuffle to the rescue! No installation required, rearrange the programs on your Windows taskbar by simply... well, dragging and dropping them!  Neat concept, huh? (Line stolen from site)
57) How do I increase the max number of HTTP connections Windows can initiate?
Windows limits the number of connections to a HTTP server to 2 - 4, depending on the HTTP version. This is most noticeable when downloading files from a single server - initiating more than 2-4 downloads will time out the connection.

To increase the limit, using REGEDIT, go to "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings" and create DWORD names of "MaxConnectionsPerServer" and "MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server" with the value as 10 (Decimal), unless you want more than ten. Restart your computer.
58) Why do the tooltips on the system tray icons sometimes appear half-covered (behind) by the taskbar?
This is a confirmed bug in Windows XP. A workaround is to hover your mouse over the Start button and then to the system tray. Another workaround is to click on Start > Programs > (right-click) > Sort By Name. Yet another is to click on Start > Turn Off > Cancel. But these sometimes don't work. Microsoft recommends logging off or restarting the PC to fix this problem.
59) Why is Internet Explorer not showing the "Working in Background" cursor when loading web pages?
This is a confirmed bug (Q274315) in Internet Explorer 6 and 7. A workaround for IE6 is to hover your mouse over the title bar of Internet Explorer and it should change to the background busy cursor.
60) "Task Manager has been disabled by your administrator". How do I enable it back?
This is caused by malware programs modifying the registry to disable Task Manager. Using REGEDIT, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER, Software, Microsoft, Windows, CurrentVersion, Policies, System and set DisableTaskMgr to 0.
61) "NTLDR is missing - Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete to restart" error. Or "NTDETECT failed". Help!
NTLDR is a file located in the root folder. Windows looks for this file when it starts up so when it is damaged or deleted, the system is unable to boot up. To fix this problem,
  1. We need to boot from your Windows XP Setup CD.

    WARNING: Make sure your operating system CD has the label "Service Pack 2" and not anything else. Else, copy the files from a friend's computer (located in C:) to a floppy or CD.

    Insert the CD, access the Boot Menu and select to look in CD first. When you see the prompt "Press any key to boot from CD .", press a key. Windows Setup should start loading.
  2. Hit R to access to Recovery Console. Type 1 to select your XP operating system and hit Enter. Hit Enter for the administrator password.
  3. Copy the files NTDETECT.COM and NTLDR from your Windows XP Setup CD i386 folder to your C Drive by typing these commands and hitting Enter after each line

    copy d:\i386\ntldr c:\ 
    copy d:\i386\ntdetect.com c:\
    If it prompts to overwrite, type Y.
  4. Type the command below to reconstruct the BOOT.ini

    bootcfg /add
    Scanning starts and you should be given one choice. Type 1 and press Enter. Leave blank for Load Identifier. For OS Load Options, type
    /fastdetect
    Now type exit and restart your computer. Hopefully this fixes the problem. If you get HAL32.DLL errors, refer to the next FAQ.
62) "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: <Windows root>\system32\hal.dll Please reinstall a copy of the above file" error. Help!
HAL.DLL is a file located in the C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 folder. Windows looks for this file when it starts up so when it is damaged or deleted, the system is unable to boot up. To fix this problem,
  1. We need to boot from your Windows XP Setup CD.

    WARNING: Make sure your operating system CD has the label "Service Pack 2" and not anything else. Else, copy the files from a friend's computer (located in C:) to a floppy or CD.

    Insert the CD, access the Boot Menu and select to look in CD first. When you see the prompt "Press any key to boot from CD .", press a key. Windows Setup should start loading.
  2. Hit R to access to Recovery Console. Type 1 to select your XP operating system and hit Enter. Hit Enter for the administrator password as there should be none.
  3. Copy the files HAL.DLL from your Windows XP Setup CD i386 folder to your C Drive by typing these commands and hitting Enter after each line

    expand d:\i386\hal.dl_ c:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32
                        
    If it prompts to overwrite, type Y.
  4. Now type exit and restart your computer. Hopefully this fixes the problem.
63) One of my folders in explorer shows only the thumbnails without the filenames underneath. How do I switch it back on?
Go to the folder. View > List. View > (Press and Hold Shift) Thumbnails.
64) How do I get and install customized themes for Windows XP?
You will need to download a patcher/replacement for the UXTHEME.DLL located in the WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 folder as Microsoft only allows digitally signed themes. This patch will remove that restriction. You can find it by performing a Google Search.

As for themes, you can try ThemesXP (known to have adware) or DevianTart or ThemesWorld. Remember to use only .THEME files, not EXEs as those could be malicious. You might have some trouble as most downloads are meant to be used with Styles XP (a commercial program), and most websites don't reveal which method a theme uses - StylesXP or Windows Theme..

65) How can I check what network resources I am sharing in the network?
Start, Run and enter fsmgmt.msc.
66) Is there any way to tune the Microsoft ClearType font smoother?
There is. The Cleartype Tuner.
67) How do I take a screen shot of the display in Windows XP?
Locate the "Print Screen" key in your keyboard. Hit it. The image is copied to the Clipboard. Now go to Start > All Programs > Accessories and Paint. Go to Edit, Paste. Save the image as a JPG to conserve space (and visible quality loss). You can also capture the screen of a active window by pressing and holding Alt and hitting Print Screen together.
68) After installing Internet Explorer 7, printouts from Outlook Express are missing the headers?
This is a known bug. Switch to Plain Text view (by going to Tools > Options > Read > Read all messages in plain text). Another method is to set the margins to zero before printing. And yet another method is to perform a Forward of the message and switch to Plain Text (Format > Plain Text). Finally, there's also a hotfix (in beta).
69) I pressed some keys and now my screen is rotated! How do I get it back?
Try pressing Ctrl+Alt+<Up Arrow> or Ctrl+Alt+<Down Arrow>. Or right-click on the desktop, Properties, Settings (tab), Advanced and look for the rotate option in the video card tab (nVidia's one is called NVRotate).
70) Text gets right aligned in the text field for no reason! How do I fix it?
Press Ctrl and Shift together on the left side of the keyboard. The text should left align back. This is due to the multi language feature of XP.
71) When I minimize a window it does not appear in the taskbar?
Try running this fix (see line 240, column 1) or Taskbar Repair Plus to fix the problem.
72) I am receiving the error "The system DLL user32.dll was relocated in memory...". How do I fix it?
This is caused by security update 925902 (MS07-017) and security update 928843 (MS07-008) documented here. Download the fix here.
73) My mouse/touchpad cursor is very weird - jumpy and/or scrolls weirdly? How can I fix it?
Try changing the sensitivity settings at Start > Control Panel > Mouse. It is also possible to be due to a malfunctioning mouse. Try connecting another external mouse and see if it fixes the problem.
74) Outlook Express's spell check shows only French/German/Spanish as the only choice?
Outlook Express uses the Office/Works spell checker. Unfortunately, Office 2007's spell checker is not compatible with it as it uses a newer framework. You can use the Office 2003/XP spell checker by installing it separately, or use an alternative spell checker such as Vampireinfo or TinySpell.
75) SVCHOST.EXE takes up 100% of my CPU! What's wrong?
Disable Automatic Updates in Control Panel and see if it resolves the issue. If it does, install this update and this update, restart and then enable Automatic Updates back.
76) When I try to capture video using my nVidia capture card, I only get a video with a green background but the audio gets recorded correctly.
Instead of using the 2.x versions of the nVidia WDM capture drivers, use the 4.13 WDM Driver instead. Even if your card is a GeForce 4 or FX series, it fixes it for many people.
77) I am receiving malware pop-up bubble "Windows has detected spyware infection!"! There is a flashing yellow triangle icon in my system tray!
Install and run SuperAntiSpyware. It is free for home use.
78) I get a URLMON.dll error out of the blue when starting Internet Explorer 6?
This is due to a recent update. Download the fix here.
79) My Internet Explorer 6/7 is very slow. Sometimes I get weird crashes and Error Reporting dialog boxes. How do I speed it up?
In most of the cases, an add-on is the cause of the problem.
If you are running IE6:
  1. Start > Control Panel > Internet Options > Advanced (tab) > UNCHECK "Enable
    third-party browser extensions" > OK
  2. Run IE6 now and try reproducing the error.
  3. If it works now, one of your add-ons is causing the problem. Start Internet Explorer as normal, Tools, Manage Add-ons, Enable or Disable Add-ons.
  4. Disable all the add-ons.
  5. Go back to Internet Options (step 1) and enable (check) back the third-party browser extensions.
  6. Restart your browser and enable the add-ons one by one till the problem appears and you get the culprit.
If you are running IE7
  1. Go to Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Internet Explorer 7 (No Add-ons) to start IE7 without any add-ons.
  2. Try using the browser and see if the same problem arises.
  3. If the problem does not occur again, start IE7 normally. If you can't even start IE7 without an error, go to Start > Control Panel > Internet Options > Advanced (tab) > UNCHECK "Enable
    third-party browser extensions" > OK. Now try starting IE7 again.
  4. Go to Tools > Manage Add-ons and disable all the add-ons. If you had unchecked "Enable
    third-party browser extensions" in the previous step, go back to Internet Options and recheck it and restart IE7 again.
  5. Enable each add-on one at each time and see if the problem occurs again. Once it occurs again after enabling an add-on, you have nailed the culprit and should enable the rest and disable the culprit.
If the menu bar does not appear, hit the Alt key on the keyboard to show it. You can speed up IE6 / IE7 in this way by disabling all the unnecessary add-ons as well, as they tend to slow down the overall browsing experience. Personally, I leave only "Sun Java Console" enabled, as it is needed for Java Applets and bank authentication.
80) I need to print the list of files and folders in a particular folder/directory. How do I do this?
Microsoft has a KB article on this. A easier way is to use Karen's Directory Printer (free). For a HTML version, you can use DIR2HTML.
81) I am having trouble installing Adobe Flash in Internet Explorer. Is there any other way to install Flash?
Sure there is. Download the offline installation file and run.
82) I receive a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) PCI.SYS errro when I try to install Windows XP to my SATA hard disk?
You will need to activate F6 and insert the SATA drivers disk when Windows XP loads from the disc. If you have no floppy drive, you will need to change the SATA mode to emulate IDE mode in the BIOS.
83) When I resume from standby mode, the system hangs/freezes or sometimes gives a BSOD with a 0x000000F4 error?
Microsoft has a KB article on this. Also, try installing the RAID drivers that came with your system, even if you are not using RAID.
84) How do I get Windows Automatic Update to offer me updates that I unchecked and indicated not to remind me again?
Start > Control Panel > Automatic Updates > 'Offer updates again that I've previously hidden'
85) How do I remove the background color of the icons in the desktop?
Start > Control Panel > System > Advanced > Settings (Performance) > CHECK 'Use drop shadows for icon labels on the Desktop'. If you still have problems, refer to this link.
86) I recently installed a Security Update (KB951748) and now my internet is not working!
This is most likely caused by ZoneAlarm. Update ZoneAlarm to the latest version to fix this issue. Another solution is (also if you don't have ZoneAlarm), try uninstalling KB951748 in Start > Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs (check Show Windows Updates).

Errors? Omissions? Need Help? Know something? Post your queries in the Windows XP Discussion Forum.

You may be interested in our other Windows XP guides. including installing XP from DOS and how to dual boot with formatting.

This document is Copyright(©) 2001-2008 by G. Ganesh.

(Last Updated 14th July 2008)

20 comments RSS of last 10 posts

new post [ expand all ]


Unregistered Anonymous I am running Win xp sp3. when i open vlc to play a message appears and vlc does not open. "The system DLL user32.dll was relocated in memory. The application will not run properly. The relocation occured because the DLL C:\WINDOWS\system32\SHELL32.dll occupied an address range reserved for Windows system DLLs. The vendor supplying the DLL should be contacted for a new DLL." plz help
posted 18 Mar 2013 - Reply - Permanent Link
Unregistered Anonymous Thansk a ton dude | i got answers to all my questions...god bless you..
posted 23 Sep 2009 - Reply - Permanent Link
dembal2v Unregistered Anonymous even though I formatted my c drive, my xp os does not install when clicking f8. what and how can I repair this problem in dos-mode?
posted 1 May 2009 - show 1 replies - Reply - Permanent Link
Admin Administrator Admin what is the error message? did you set it to boot from CD?
see
http://www.bootstrike.com/WinXP/cleaninstallxp.html

please post in the forums if you have replies. thanks.
posted 1 May 2009 - Reply - Permanent Link
Doron Unregistered Anonymous I have windows xp, with sp2, and initially internet checkers used to run fine, but for the past few days once you run the program, this dialog box pops up "Checkers is unable to start. Close some other programs and try again, or try reinstalling Checkers using Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel."

Thanks for all your help
posted 16 Feb 2009 - show 2 replies - Reply - Permanent Link
charlotte Unregistered Anonymous i have set up a family computer so that my children cannot go on the computor for over an hour as they have recently been spending too much time on there but when they log on they cleverly switch the computor off and on again and the computer automaticaly signs on my account rather then asking for an account password and ,my account is not timed!! how can i make the computer ask for a password when i boot it up???

posted 30 Mar 2008 - show 1 replies - Reply - Permanent Link
Admin Administrator Admin This does not seem normal. You may want to post in the microsoft community support
http://www.microsoft.com/communities/newsgroups/default.mspx
posted 30 Mar 2008 - Reply - Permanent Link
Sunil Gautam Unregistered Anonymous Wonderful !!!
I have spent more than 12 Yrs with windows, but was amazed by the knowledge given in this article. Many tips were really new and superb. Appreciation from inside.. Hats off for you buddy...
posted 11 Mar 2008 - Reply - Permanent Link
David Ryans Unregistered Anonymous I stumbled on your site and found quite a few useful tips for some things that have been bugging me. Nice one mate.
posted 5 Mar 2008 - Reply - Permanent Link
worried Unregistered Anonymous i have a problem. My dad's is gonna disconnect my computer if i dont stop the msn window from popping up everytime i turn it on. can anyone help me??PLEASE..


hit me bk
maori_bootai69@hotmail.com
posted 1 Jul 2007 - show 1 replies - Reply - Permanent Link
Admin Administrator Admin tools > options > untick start messenger on windows logon
posted 1 Jul 2007 - Reply - Permanent Link
Sirius Unregistered Anonymous For question 9) How do I make the taskbar transparent, You can use Vitrite (which is free) if you click on the taskbar and press CTRL-SHIFT-(1-10).

Vitrite:http://home.insightbb.com/~ryanvm/tinyutilities/vitrite/
posted 16 Jun 2007 - Reply - Permanent Link
sm Unregistered Anonymous there is a product thay my work uses that stops usb products being used, now before it clicked on i was able to play sounds via windows media player (aka an o2 xda mini with the wm5storage tool "usb stick maker" ) what happens now is that trebble bell duh duh duh" instead of the quad, "duh duh DUH DIH"
i would like to know what "sanctuary device control did to windows that makes me not able to use my phone (as a usb stick)"? any ideas?
posted 26 May 2007 - show 1 replies - Reply - Permanent Link
Unregistered Anonymous Haha....it was put on your system for a reason.....ie blocking you from using your phone. There is nothing you can do unless you're an administrator of either the sanctuary system, or your windows system and know what to look for. But I'm not going to tell you that because your system has been locked down for a reason. Best just keep sucking on that sausage !!
posted 17 Aug 2010 - Reply - Permanent Link
allen Unregistered Anonymous every time i try to start cmd.exe i get a notification saying that command prompt has been disabled by your administrator,but im the administrator i did not do anything !!!!!!!
posted 9 Feb 2007 - show 1 replies - Reply - Permanent Link
Admin Administrator Admin check the solution here

http://windowsxp.mvps.org/disablecmd.htm
posted 9 Feb 2007 - Reply - Permanent Link
maraci david Unregistered Anonymous I have a question,how can i start command.com(32 bit version) with ntldr?
posted 1 Jan 2007 - show 1 replies - Reply - Permanent Link
Admin Administrator Admin Please rephrase your question - you can run from the RUN dialog > COMMAND or CMD .. if you mean during bootup, it is not possible, other than to enter safe mode and starting command prompt from there
posted 1 Jan 2007 - Reply - Permanent Link


new post [ expand all ]



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