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Windows XP Tips and Tricks

April 9, 2004

Published: July 28, 2004

Please note: Portions of this transcript have been edited for clarity

Introduction

Moderator: KenM (Microsoft)
Welcome to today's TechNet Chat. Our topic is "Windows XP Tips and Tricks " Questions, comments, and suggestions are welcome.

Moderator: KenM (Microsoft)
I'll now have the hosts introduce themselves.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Good Day! My name is Chris Avis! I am a TechNet presenter from the San Diego area. I welcome your XP Tip and Trick questions!

Host Shawn (Microsoft)
Hello everyone! We are back with this well-received tips and tricks chat. I am looking forward to answering your questions around performing common tasks in Windows XP. My name is Shawn Travers, and I am a TechNet Presenter, delivering free seminars across the country for Microsoft. Check out http://www.technetevents.com to sign up!.

Moderator: KenM (Microsoft)
Ken McGrath here, TechNet/MSN Web and Communities Producer.

Host Mhester (Microsoft)
Good morning from Dallas, I am also a TechNet presenter and we are glad you joined us today

Start of Chat

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
TOOL:
TWEAKUI will allow you to modify special folders location, shell functions and layout and many more items! Check it out at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
TIP:
If you would like to logon to your Windows XP (and all Windows Machines) WITHOUT the STARTUP group applications launching, do the following: at the CTRL-ALT-DEL prompt, enter your credentials, press and hold the SHIFT key and click OK to logon.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Hold the shift key down till you get a useable desktop.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
TIP:
To get lots of cool information about services, drivers, startup apps, etc. on your Windows XP machine, do the following: Start ---> Run ---> MSINFO32 ---> Ok

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
TIP:
If you would like to test out your sound/video/graphics for DIRECTX do the following on your Windows Machines: Start ---> Run ---> DXDIAG ---> Ok

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
How do you install the Recovery Console as a startup option if your system is SP1 & Cd is original XP Gold cont...
A: There is no separate Recovery Console for SP’s if you have the install media you can install the Recovery Console

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
TIP:
HOW TO: Add More Power to Recovery Console By Using Group Policy in Windows XP Professional -- http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;310497

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
Where can programs get RUN during startup (i.e. Startup folder, RUN in registry, SYSTEM.INI, AUTOEXEC.BAT...)
A: Are you asking where they can get the RIGHT to run during startup? You can check what is currently there using Start > Run > MSCONFIG. You can drag/drop items to the startup group to add/remove startup items.

Host Mhester (Microsoft)
Q:
As Windows XP professionals, which anti-virus program would you recommend for use with WXP?
A: Really there are a lot of great AV products out there. (CA, F-secure, McAfee Security, Panda Software, Symantec, Trend) Internally I use CA. The key with any AV product is making sure you keep it up to date. Does anyone else have any preferences on AV?

Host Shawn (Microsoft)
Q:
how do you change the default location for the command prompt?
A: The best way I know of to do this is just to open the prompt from within Windows Explorer. The following Reg changes will cause an open command prompt here message to appear in the right-click menu. REGEDIT[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\DosHere]. ...@="Command &Prompt Here" [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shell\DosHere\command] @="C:\\WINNT\\System32\\cmd.exe /k cd \"%1\""

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
How will MS improve the aging XP with OS X (and each iteration) being such a nice alternative for many users?
A: We have Windows XP SP2 rolling out soon that will improve the product. Beyond that I can’t comment until more Longhorn information is available.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
when with win update v5 go live?
A: Windows Update Services (the real name) should be live before the end of the year.

Host Mhester (Microsoft)
Q:
Does MS support XP when the concurrent sessions reg hack is used, or does this invalidate it?
A: Can you please post the specific registry key, so I can look it up. Thanks

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
As an official SP2 tester, and now it has been released, will it support more AV programs that it does at the moment (Café and Norton)
A: We do not limit the support of AV vendors. The API’s are exposed and ANYONE that wants to write and AV App is welcome to.

Host Shawn (Microsoft)
Q:
(Windows 2003 Terminal Services), When only allowing one user at a time to log in to TS, how do you configure it so that new users take over the session when they connect, and old users are disconnected?
A: This is not a configurable setting. The ability of a new user to take over a session is actually determined by the permissions of the new and old user. In other words, if the currently logged on user is a basic user only, and the new requesting. user is an administrator, Remote Desktop allows them to automatically kick the existing user after a prompt. If the reverse is true, the logged on user will be notified, but will not be forced to log off. If they are same level, the logged on user is prompted, but is given the choice.A Start->Run->Regedit HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINES->System->CurrentControlSet->Control->Terminal Server->Licensing Core Click Edit->New->DWORD Value Enter name "EnableConcurrentSessions" Change the value of the new key to 1

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
With the updates to XP Firewall in SP2, does MS envisage any more future updates for it?
A: If you are asking about SP3? I can’t say if there will even be an SP3 much less if it will roll out BEFORE Longhorn releases.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
Why doesn't the SP2 firewall block outgoing connections (i.e. to prevent trojan access)?
A: If we start blocking out bound connections we will start killing apps that are critical to businesses. *IF* the general public turns on the ICF, loads and AV app (and updates signatures) and uses Windows Update, 99% of what is heard of in the media will never affect them

Host Shawn (Microsoft)
Q:
Looking into the future, can we expect SP3 before Longhorn is released?
A: As Chris said, it is difficult to predict these things, but my guess would be that we would either have another SP either at or before the release of Longhorn. This is only a guess, and there are no official announcements confirming or denying this. But if past history is any indication, we usually have an SP near a release date of a future product.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
I know it's not really in this chats remit but will the Windows Update Services support old version of Office such as Office 2000 or will it be new ones only?
A: My understanding is we will support whatever products are still being supported as a part of our established support lifecycle - http://www.microsoft.com/windows/lifecycle/default.mspx

Host Mhester (Microsoft)
Q:
Is there any tools to create new themes from Microsoft?
A: The built in tools that comes with XP will help you create themes ( http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=KB;en-us;q307855)
Additionally check out this website for more information: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/setup/expert/moskowitz_03february17.mspx

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
when will XP 64bit (amd) be released?
A: I have not heard any word on the AMD 64 bit version. Please watch this site for more information -- http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/64bit/evaluation/faq.mspx

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
why will sp2 affect compatibility of some programs?
A: There should not be any compatibility issues, HOWEVER! In a corporate environment, you can use the application Compatibility Toolkit to find out for sure - http://support.microsoft.com/default.asp

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
When does MS expect to fix the PNG support in IE? i.e. for transparency, make it actually work w/o the blue background
A: With Longhorn? J I really don’t know the answer to this one.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
My system clock keeps straying forward by about 5 minutes. When I sync using Internet Time, it goes back 5 to the right time. Any ideas what could be causing this?
A: This is going to be a hardware issue in most cases. Although, you may wish to check what apps you have on your system and see what your CPU utilization normally is. High clock cycles may change clock time.

Host Shawn (Microsoft)
Q:
any suggestion on 3rd party firewall compatible with SP2 beside its own built-in firewall?
A: Yes, at this point, it appears that most existing third party firewalls will continue to function under SP2. You would be well-advised to turn off the ICF after install and before you turn on your 3rd party firewall. A quick review of the SP2. newsgroup shows people have used Zone Alarm, Sygate, Kerio, Symantec, McAfee, and others with SP2 installed.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
Is there anything you can comment on about Windows XP "reloaded"? Will it be a significant release or merely a SP?
A: XP Reloaded is a "process" NOT an application or interim release. Please watch the Windows XP Site for more information.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
What is the "correct" TCP/IP configuration for an XP machine connecting to Win Server 2003 with SBS? The XP is a Workgroup, the W2003 machine is a domain. I want to utilize "companyweb" of SharePoint Server w/o having to join that domain?
A: You should use the Computer Setup Wizard in SBS to join the domain. There is no "workgroup" configuration for use in SBS. You can use the companyweb but will be prompted for creds if you are not in the domain.

Host Mhester (Microsoft)
Q:
on neowin we have lots of peeps who have tried SP2 Public beta, they always ask will they be able to upgrade to final from it?
A: Yes they should be able to upgrade to SP2 that but the exact path will not be determined until the code is released. Most likely you will have to uninstall the beta version and then install the final bits.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
I find with my Linksys Wireless USB adapter (and with USB Wi-Fi adapters in general) that XP will drop the device fairly often (at least once a day) in which I will need to un/replug the device to get it working again. Will this be resolved with the
A: I have seen this as well, but it is not an XP issue. It is driver or USB Bandwidth related.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
Will sp2 become integrated into new Cd's or will it be a download/upgrade cd only?
A: It may get slipstreamed into a future retail release/ But we will not slipstream it for existing installs.

Host Shawn (Microsoft)
Q:
why are so many services turned on by a default installation for XP SP1, has MS thought of having a section of options to better suit end users needs?
A: It is quite likely that we will move to a solution similar to Windows Server 2003 in the future, where you can pick the type of installation you want in Windows XP and have services installed or uninstalled to meet your needs. However, at this. point, it is still considered preferable to have many services running by default on the desktop. This is still considered fairly secure since the desktop is not usually as demanding of high-security as a server usually is.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
Why doesn't Microsoft, by default support third party themes, at current the only way is to use a 3rd party app or the uxtheme.dll patch, which I highly doubt is not supported, or is it?
A: We support themes. Doesn’t matter who makes them. If someone wants the Theme to do something OTHER than what XP normally allows for (UXTHEME.DLL) then NO, we do not support changing the binaries that ships with the product other than through our own updates.

Host Shawn (Microsoft)
Q:
ty for the earlier chat time, good for us UK folks, will this trend continue or just a one off?
A: Yeah, thanks for noticing, Voodoo! I set many of the chat times, and I will be moving many of them earlier going forward to accommodate our friends overseas. :)

Host Mhester (Microsoft)
Q:
Can I disable changing of the desktop wallpaper without activating active desktop? I like the transparent text on my icons.
A: Yes you can just make sure you do not use desktop content that enables Active Desktop.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
Wow no fix for ping in IE for a few more years...no wonder everyone is ditching IE
A: I do not know if it will be "fixed" before Longhorn. I( do not know everything. J

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
I have six svchost.exe running in my processes list is this normal?
A: It is normal if you have that many apps that call that service. I currently have 7 iterations on the XP machine I am chatting with.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
What is bootvis.exe and how does it work?
A: BOOTVIS is no longer distributed. -- http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/sysperf/fastboot/BootVis.mspx

Host Mhester (Microsoft)
Q:
In a RichTextbox control, why does the header sometimes randomly change?
A:I do not know, this is more of activeX question, I was able to find this article, but I do not know if it will help: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;220844

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
With SP2 will the running services be pruned out of the box to make it more secure? Many people fault XP because it isn't locked down by default.
A: No. This is a perception issue. XP is more secure than 2000 which is more secure than NT. Longhorn will be the next step.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
what does bootvis do differently versus Perfect disk that optimizes system files?
A: See the following -- http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/sysperf/fastboot/BootVis.mspx

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
Will Windows XP ever include native support for biometric devices; not requiring their party software?
A: Possibly. Not as a Service Pack but as a Feature Pack. However, to be clear, I have not heard of ANY development around this. Possibly in Longhorn.

Host Shawn (Microsoft)
Q:
I installed SP2 RC v.2096 over the previous XP Tablet Edition on my TabletPC. They said that the "Tablet PC Edition" would be upgraded into "LoneStar" version after upgrading, but I didn't see any significant differences. Can you describe?
A: The Lonestar release of the Tablet PC operating system is composed of three pillars: improved ink to text, integration with Office 2003 and a newer, more advanced SDK for developers. The upgrade will ship mid-to-late 2004 free of cost to existing users, and will be preinstalled on new systems. If you don't see any changes, it's because many of the upgrades are simply improvements to existing features. There are some new things like built-in "ink blogs" that are new, but in general we continue to improve on the existing themes.

Host Mhester (Microsoft)
Q:
When I am using Internet Explorer; my text input or click randomly seems to freeze for a couple of seconds. I'll begin typing something in a text box and it will take a while to catch up for example; I have a latest release system; any ideas?
A: There were some issues pre SP1, have you downloaded: Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1. That is when the problem was fixed

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
Chris: what other things can the theme do? "If someone wants the Theme to do something OTHER
A: Such as, 3D moving Desktop, desktop interaction, "MobyDock" functionality. Those are all 3rd party additions.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
When I am using Internet Explorer; my text input or click randomly seems to freeze for a couple of seconds. I'll begin typing something in a text box and it will take a while to catch up for example; I have a latest release system; any ideas?
A: you could do a reinstall of IE and then SP’s to try to resolve. Otherwise it would take some additional TShooting which is not for this forum.

Host Mhester (Microsoft)
Q:
how fast is XP software raid compared to a hardware solution?
A: Any RAID software solution will be much slower than its hardware counterpart. The main decision there is cost.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
will ms ever make the KB library available offline for end users?
A: Simple Answer! - TECHNET - If you have a TechNet subscription the bulk of the recent KB (last 3+ years) is included. See the following for more info -- http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/subscriptions/default.aspx

Moderator: KenM (Microsoft)
Just a reminder that on Monday, 4/12, we'll be hosting Longhorn - The Future of Microsoft Windows at 10:30 AM PST

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
How do you disable those security blocks in SP2's IE. Like for this chat, it disallowed the ActiveX to load, where do I disable this?
A: Tools - Options - Advanced

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
how can I find the network path to enter so that I can set up a shared printer?
A: If you are a part of a domain you can search the domain for all printers published to AD. Otherwise you will have to at least know the name of the server to connect to and can derive the path from there.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
How can I password protect my shared folders for the network on windows XPA: Use NTFS permissions. The users will have to have a local or domain account for which they have credentials for. XP does not use shared passwords like Windows 9x.

Host Mhester (Microsoft)
Q:
Did the SP2 update the bluetooth driver stack? If so, how can I use it instead of using third party driver supplied by my USB bluetooth dongle (Billionton)?
A: I am not sure if it will update the stack, but you can go here and download the RC1 for sp2 http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/winxppro/maintain/winxpsp2.mspx

Host Shawn (Microsoft)
Q:
How can I re-install the Windows Zip extractor...because mine hangs upA: I assume you are talking about the default compression folder in Windows XP/2000. Since this is NTFS-based compression, it is not likely you will be able to correct this issue without a reinstall and reformatting of the disk. I took a look through some of the internal kb and cannot find any information to assist other than check your permissions and perhaps try a third party compression tool to see if that fixes the problem.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
Will MSN and Windows Messenger ever become one product?
A: Not in the foreseeable future. MSN is developing their own messaging strategy at this time. MAYBE sometime in the future.

Host Mhester (Microsoft)
Q:
Any info on my earlier question about changes in CCS 2 support in IE6 introduced with SP2?
A: Can you explain more about CCS 2, not sure what you are asking?

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
How do you disable those security blocks in SP2's IE. Like for this chat, it disallowed the ActiveX to load, where do I disable this?
A: This is a tech support question and since the product is STILL in beta any info I give here could change. I suggest the SP2 Newsgroups online.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
Anyway to get around Bidirectional printing so I can print from upstairs on the printer downstairs without the pc being on (downstairs)?
A: Bi-Di Printing is setup by the driver manufacturer not by Windows. You will need to contact the manufacturer.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
How can I password protect my shared folders for the network on windows XP?
A: Use NTFS permissions. The users will have to have a local or domain account for which they have credentials for. XP does not use shared passwords like Windows 9x.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
will ms ever make XP setup allow Raid drivers from CD instead of floppy using f6, instead of having to slipstream it in?
A: No. This is not a planned item for XP. Likely not planned for ANY O/S as this is a very small percentage of installs.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
Why do printers appear shared on the default XP installation? Is this being changed with SP2?
A: We do not share printers by default on Windows XP. This is a manual change.

Host Shawn (Microsoft)
Q:
On my desktop, if I select and then de-select an icon "say just click anywhere on the desktop, a dashed box outlines the text under the icon. My other computer does not do this, how can I get rid of this?
A: This is a GDI fractionalization issue, and is actually quite common. It could be caused by the video driver, in which case a reinstall or updated driver might help. It could also be caused by improper display settings or refresh rates, etc...so try playing with those as well to see if it helps. Worse comes to worse, I believe their is a tool in the resource kit that allows you to troubleshoot graphics problems.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
Any chance of additional dictionary language(e.g.: Indonesian) for the transcriber on XP TabletPC system?
A: Just have to watch the Tablet PC site to see what additions are being made.

Host Mhester (Microsoft)
Q:
Why does my taskbar randomly freeze when I use internet explorer, stopping me from opening new programs, but letting me use old ones?
A: I really do not have any set answers for that question, it could be lots of issues on your specific system. I would do a internet search on that issue and found lots of people that solved the problem in a variety of ways

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
I've uninstalled Windows Messenger from the Add/Remove program option in XP. Why is it that it continues to come back and startup when I reboot?
A: Check to see if there is "MSN Messenger" and "Windows Messenger" These are two separate apps and would have to be removed separately.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
Why cant you provide more than 3 people to answer tech support requests for an hour?
A: If we know in advance that we are going to be SlashDotted or NeoWined then WE WILL HAVE MORE PEOPLE. If we don’t know, then we can’t plan. Feel free to email me at chrisavi@microsoft.com if you plan on advertising these chats so we can have people available.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
How can I edit what shows on the right click dialog...because its very slowA:Q: RT Click where?

Host Mhester (Microsoft)
Q:
does partial background transparency exist in IE6, if so how do I get it?
A: There seems to be some 3rd party tools that will accomplish this, Here is one that I found http://www.webcolors.freeserve.co.uk/png/png-alpha-transparency.htm . Not sure if this helps.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Q:
If I have mapped drives set to reconnect at startup and the computer they connect to isn't on, why does My Computer always take ages to load?
A: XP will attempt to reconnect each drive you have mapped. There are timeouts involved with this. If you have 10 drives mapped and all 10 shares are down then it will take some time to try to connect and then fail.

Host Shawn (Microsoft)
Q:
Can you give me a list of services I can end safely to make my computer run faster?
A: No. Unfortunately, I cannot. A default installation these days does include just about the minimum number of services. As you install additional programs, additional services get turned on, and depending upon how you use your computer, you could turn off some of the default services, but it's impossible for me to know what you use and what you don't. Sorry. Check out http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/techinfo/howitworks/management/w2kservices.asp for a description of Windows 2000 services. It might help you decide which ones you can turn off on the desktop side as well.

Host: Chrisav (Microsoft)
Thank you all VERY MUCH for the questions! We love the questions and love answering! Please check out http://www.microsoft.com/technet/community/chats/default.mspx for upcoming chats!

Moderator: KenM (Microsoft)
Thanks for joining us today and thanks for the questions. It's time for us to go now.

Moderator: KenM (Microsoft)
You'll be able to find the transcript of this chat soon on the TechNet Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/community/chats/trans/default.mspx. Please see the chats schedule for upcoming topics.