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Windows XP Tips & Tricks Part 14


Open Your System Drive Quickly

If you're like me and prefer to use the keyboard as much as possible (rather than using the mouse), then this tip might appeal to you.

To quickly open your main system drive (typically the C drive), follow these simple steps:

1) While holding down the Windows Key, press the R key
2) This will make a new window, titled Run, appear
3) Press the " \ " (above Enter) and then click Enter
4) A new window, titled Local Disk, should now open


Cool My Computer Toolbar

Are you sick of having to open My Computer and then choose the drive you desire to view? If so, this tip might be able to help you. To create a really cool My Computer Toolbar on your desktop, follow these simple steps.

1) While viewing your Desktop, click on the My Computer icon and continue holding down your mouse button
2) Drag the My Computer icon to the top, left, or right hand sides of your desktop
3) A re-sizable, mobile, My Computer Toolbar should appear which can be put anywhere on the desktop

By holding down the CTRL key and clicking on a drive or folder within the My Computer toolbar, a pop up menu will appear which allows you to quickly browse through the sub folders and files of the selected drive / folder. This is not only a huge time saver, but it also looks really cool.


Remove Old Restore Points

Windows periodically creates restore points, such as before a driver installation or new software installs, in case something goes wrong and the user has to 'restore' their PC to a previous time. For many users, the restore points are never used and do nothing more than take up hard drive space. This tip will show you how to clean out all but the most recent restore point by using the system's Disk Cleanup Utility.

1) Click on Start and then on All Programs.
2) Start the Disk Cleanup Utility by browsing through - Accessories | System tools | and clicking on Disk Cleanup.
3) If needed, select the appropriate drive with your Operating System installed on it. Else, skip to the next step.
4) Allow the program to completely finish analyzing, then click on the More Options Tab.
5) At the bottom you will see a System Restore frame. Within this frame, click on the button which says 
“Clean up...”.
6) Lastly, click Yes (saying you agreed to delete all but the most recent restore point) and wait until it finishes.

Congratulation, you have now successfully cleaned out many unnecessary and old system restore points.


CD-Rom or DVD Disappeared

The below will require a System Registry Edit. If you have never used the System Registry Editor before, please see:

Bo's Tweaky Clean Windows

WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Blaisdell's Little Corner of the Web, Bohunky0, nor any of it's affiliates can guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk. Bo's Tweaky Clean Windows

Remove the Upperfilters and Lowerfilters values completely from the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}

Click Start, Run and enter REGEDIT Go to the branch indicated above, locate the Upperfilters and Lowerfilters values. Right click each and select Delete.

If you desire, you can right click on the {4D36E965..........} branch and select Export. This will create a REG file that can be re-imported should you find a need to.

You may also want to delete the following 4 Registry keys, as per the instructions above:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Cdr4_2K
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Cdralw2k
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Cdudf
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\UdfReadr


Quick Access to Programs

Under Windows XP, if you use a particular program very often and ALWAYS want it to appear on the top of your start menu even if Windows doesn't include it in the list of commonly used programs, you can use the "Pin To" feature to put it there. A shortcut which is "pinned" in the menu will appear at the very top, left side of the start menu. To put a program there, find it in the Start menu, then right-click on it and choose "Pin to Start Menu".

This provides quick access all the time to this program.


Slow network browsing in Windows XP
From our Same Thing Only Different Department

There’s a common problem in Windows XP that can make network browsing very slow.

If the 'My Network Places' folder contains a shortcut to a network share, then each refresh of the explorer window will attempt to read icon information from every file in the remote location, causing the system to slow to a crawl.

Removing all shortcuts from 'My Network Places' will return the system response to normal.

Every time you open a file via a UNC name, Windows XP will automatically add another shortcut to the 'My Network Places' folder - so the issue tends to get worse over time.

You can prevent the automatic addition of shortcuts by setting HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer\NoRecentDocsNetHood 

to 1.

If the DWORD value doesn't exist, create it by right clicking in the right hand pane and choosing DWORD Value.

See this Microsoft Knowledgebase article:

Q841978 - Explorer.exe stops responding when you use network shortcuts (XP)


Similar issues affect the Start menu and Desktop - placing a shortcut to a network resource in either location can drastically slow down system response, particularly when the network resource is unavailable. Shortcuts to Domains or Machines don't suffer from these problems as they always have the same icon.

There are methods of accessing the network that will avoid this performance problem:

Method 1
Create a drive map and use this to browse the network files.

Method 2
Create a shortcut to explorer.exe and pass the UNC name of the resource.
e.g.
explorer /e, \\Server\FileShare

desktop.ini

A second issue that will also slow down browsing is the desktop.ini feature. This affects Windows XP Sp1 clients using mapped drives or UNC connections.

When listing a directory Windows XP will search for and parse Desktop.ini files. This will noticably affect performance when a large number of subfolders are involved - it does this for the current folder and one level down the directory tree.

Desktop.ini can be used to provide a custom icon, thumbnail view, pop up description and background pattern.
In additions to this 'eye candy' desktop.ini can make normal file folders into 'Special Folders' (eg Fonts, History, Temporary Internet Files, "My Music", "My Pictures", and "My Documents").

Desktop.ini files are only visible in Windows Explorer if you first un-check "Hide protected operating system files" (under Tools, Options, View)

To see the file locks created by this process run the following command on the file server, while an XP client is (slowly) listing a large directory:

NET FILE | Find "desktop.ini"
or
OPENFILES /s MyServer |Find "desktop.ini"

This issue is discussed in Q840309 (included in XP sp2)

A quick solution to this performance problem is to delete the non-essential .ini files:

attrib desktop.ini -h -s
del desktop.ini

Before doing this in bulk you should compare your existing folders with some empty folders that don't have any desktop.ini files to see if this improves browsing response time:

Create a separate (testing) file share,
then create 1000 sub folders - from the command line:

FOR /L %G in (1,1,1000) do md test%G

To delete all desktop.ini files one level below the current directory run the following from the command line:

FOR /f %G in ('dir /b') do attrib %G\desktop.ini -h -s

FOR /f %G in ('dir /b') do del %G\desktop.ini

Related:

SysInternals - Mark Russinovich traces the same issue (it's fixed in Vista)
Q904160 - File sharing on the network is slower than expected (WinServer 2003 SP1)
Q841978 - Explorer.exe stops responding when you use network shortcuts (XP)
Q834350 - Access to network resources is slower
Q823372 - Word documents take a long time to open
Q822219 - Slow File Server Performance
Q816375 - XP Explorer pane flickers
Q814112 - Network shares open slowly SMB/AntiVirus scanning
Q320138 - Disable automatic search for network printers and folders (XP)
Q320829 - Increase the Request Size Buffer on the file server - (try between 32 and 64 Kb)
Q315237 - 100-Megabit network packets
Q321281 - Desktop.ini does not work correctly when you customise the Default Profile
Q312403 - Distributed Link Tracking
Q245800 - Delay viewing shares (Windows 98/2000)
MFT Zone - Tune NTFS for small files
CleanMgr - Automated cleanup of Temp files, recycle bin
Max Cached Icons - Resize the icon cache


Windows Explorer Sloooooooooooooooooooooooow

See also: Slow network browsing in Windows XP
From our Same Thing Only Different Department

Question: Hey Bo, love your site. I am having a problem with Windows Explorer starting and running very slowly. Sometimes it feels like it takes forever to launch. Any ideas how to repair it or get it back to the way it used to be? Thanks, Leny

We hope that you continue to find some use for us and thanks for high five, it is more appreciated then you can know.

Now for the problem and, hopefully the cure:

Answer: Repairing Internet Explorer is more than likely what you need to do. Yeah, I know, your problem has to do with Windows Explorer but not with Internet Explorer. Well, big surprise here, they are almost one in the same despite Redmond's claims to the contrary.

First check that no-one has been playing with the settings! Launch Internet Explorer and select 
Tools | Internet Options | Advanced | Restore Defaults. 

Then close and reopen internet explorer. If its still playing up try each one of these steps in turn...

  1. (Leny This will not work on windows 2000) Click start | run | type or copy and paste the below command and switch and click OK:

    sfc /scannow 

    have your Windows Installation CD handy.

    Allow the scan to run its course. It will first look for and install any newer system files from your DllCache Folder. If it doesn't find what it is looking for here it will revert back to the installation CD and take the original file from there. Yes, the scan is going to take a fair amount of time but if the Windows Installation CD is in the CD-ROM t5ay, no further input from you will be necessary until the scan completes. This will give you a chance to bond with those little people in your house that are always bugging you. You remember? You used to call them your kids?

    Once the scan completes, reboot the system rather you're prompted to or not.

    See if the issue is resolved. If not, keep reading.
  2. Search your hard drive for the "ie.inf" file (Usually in windows\inf\ or winnt\inf in Win 2K) When you have found it right click it and select install. Then reboot. [Running this from command line does the same 
    "rundll32.exe setupapi,InstallHinfSection DefaultInstall 132 %windir%\Inf\ie.inf"]
  3. Still not working? 
    Click Start | Run | type or copy and paste the following and press OK

    regedit 

    Navigate to the following key, 
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Active Setup \ Installed Components \{89820200-ECBD-11cf-8B85-00AA005B4383} 
    In the right hand pane find the value "IsInstalled" right click it, select modify, then change it to 0 (that's a Zero!). You can now download and reinstall Internet Explorer (Links below). If you want to reinstall Outlook Express at the same time perform the same action on this registry key. 
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Active Setup \ Installed Components \ {44BBA840-CC51-11CF-AAFA-00AA00B6015C}

    The Links:
  4. Indexing or running Services may be the culprit. Check here for services you don't need running: http://www.blackviper.com/WinXP/servicecfg.htm
  5. Also, running a defrag of your system can't hurt. 
    Open My Computer | Right-click the drive | Properties | Tools Tab| Defragmentation
  6. Check to see if this MSKB article applies: 
    Long Delay Before Files Appear in My Computer in Windows XP
  7. Try CHKDSK /R 
    from a command prompt Start | Run | CMD 
  8. See Bo's Tweaky Clean Windows for:
  9. Making the View Settings stick in Explorer 

    Backup these regkeys (just in case anything goes wrong):    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ShellNoRoam\BagMRU] [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ShellNoRoam\Bags]   Then delete them and restart windows to take effect.   Now you can change each folder’s setting and it will stick.


Decrease The Timeout Value For Non-Responsive Applications (XP)

When you shut down XP, it attempts to end all tasks that are currently running. If a task does not respond nor shuts down, XP will wait a specific amount of time before forcing the task to end. This time frame is referred to as the timeout. If you do not want XP to wait as long to end a non-responsive task, you can decrease the timeout value.

This tweak requires that you open and edit the System Registry Editor. Be sure you know what you are doing to perform this task safely. For more on the System Registry please see Bo's Tweaky Clean Windows

WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Blaisdell's Little Corner of the Web, Bohunky0, nor any of it's affiliates can guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

To accomplish this:

  1. Open the Registry Editor.
  2. Expand the following key:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER | Control Panel | Desktop.
  3. In the details pane, double click the WaitToKillAppTimeout. The default value is 20000 milliseconds or 20 seconds.
  4. Set the value lower than the default. The minimum value is 1 millisecond.
  5. Close the Registry Editor.
  6. Restart XP.

Regedit stays expanded

If you're a Reghead like me you work in the System Registry all of the time, tweaking this, eliminating that, coaxing this to be more efficient and just generally Geeking up everything under the hood of your system. 

This how to article utlizes the editing of a very important system file. If you are unsure of the Registry Editor and its uses, please see: Bo's Tweaky Clean Windows

The problem:

When you enter regedit and expand a folders and open regedit later the folder stays expanded. This get real old, real fast so how can you disable this?

Geeks of the world unite, here is how:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Applets\Regedit


Prevent Tasks From Consuming All Your CPU

Often times, for me at least, I have to launch a process which consumes a lot of processing power, such as archiving a large database or compressing a large file. These processes use so much of your CPU that your computer is practically unusable until it is done (if you have a single core processor). Simply change the priority this process has by doing the following:

1. Enter "taskmgr" in your Run dialog (Shortcut keys Ctrl+Alt+Del) or right click any empty part of your taskbar and choose Task Manager from the right click context menu.
2. Select Processes
3. Right click on the greedy process
4. Set Priority to BelowNormal or Low

Since pretty much any process you launch normally will run will with normal priority, they will get the CPU first and your greedy applications will get what is left over.


Command Line Switches for Windows Explorer

A reader asks: I have a problem. Sense installing Internet Explorer 7.0 Beta 2 my Windows Explorer views default to thumbnail view for all files and folders. I like to use the List view. I have been unable to change the folder views using the standard 

Tools | Folder | View Tab, Options and pressing Apply to all folders will not work any longer.

Answer: there are several reasons for this problem and not the least of which is an install of a beta product. Lets face it, it is in beta testing so that those who are attempting to see how the program will work in the real world. You may be expecting to much from a beta product. 

On a side note, we too have seen this problems with our test machine and we have already sent a beta error report to Microsoft concerning this issue so they are now aware of it. Another problem we found is that Outlook Express 6.x is not going to allow a default browser different from MSIE 7.0 Beta 2. This is troubling to us as the DOJ as well as many users have complained about the need to run only Microsoft Products on the Windows brand operating systems.

To work a round this problem for Windows Explorer, add the /E switch to a shortcut of Windows Explorer then launch the program. Here is how:

  1. Right click on a copy of Windows Explorer and choose properties
  2. In the target command line, type or copy and paste the following:

    %System Root%\explorer.exe /e
  3. Open Windows Explorer
  4. Set the views the way you want them to appear
  5. Hold down on the Ctrl key on your keyboard
  6. Click the X in the upper right hand corner of the window while holding down on your Ctrl Key.
  7. The next time you open Windows Explorer the view should have stuck and the program will open at the root folder of your operating system. If you have more then one drive, and Windows XP is not on the C:\> drive, this will get you right into the command folder root.

The switches which will work with Windows XP's Windows Explorer are as follows:

/n:  Opens a new window in single-paned (My Computer) view for each item
     selected, even if the new window duplicates a window that is
     already open.

/e:  Uses Windows Explorer view. Windows Explorer view is most similar
     to File Manager in Windows version 3.x. Note that the default view
     is Open view.

/root,<object>:  Specifies the root level of the specified view. The
                 default is to use the normal namespace root (the
                 desktop). Whatever is specified is the root for the
                 display.

/select,<sub object>:  Specifies the folder to receive the initial
                       focus. If "/select" is used, the parent folder
                       is opened and the specified object is selected.

Say No to All

Let's say you need to copy a bunch of files from one folder into another and the destination folder has older versions of some of the files. For example, say you've written a book and have revised several of the chapters, and now you want to copy those chapters to a backup folder in which you store duplicate copies of everything you're working on. If you don't care about keeping the old versions of your chapters, you can select Yes to All when asked whether to overwrite the older files in your backup folder:

Figure 3
Figure 3: How do you say No to All?

But what if you don't want to overwrite the older versions? In that case, you could click on the No button each time the above dialog box appears. But if you're copying a number of files and there are lots of potential overwrites, then you'll be sitting there clicking on No for quite some time and muttering, "Why didn't they include a No to All button on this thing?" Fortunately, there's a way around this problem: hold down the Shift key when you click on No. This prevents Windows Explorer from overwriting any files that have the same name in the destination folder, which essentially achieves the same effect as if a No to All button were included.

Take Command of Windows Explorer
Don't be a slave to menus when there are very good shortcuts.

When you first got Windows out of the shrink wrapped box it came in (This a problem in itself) you probably created a Shortcut to Start | All Programs | Accessories | Windows Explorer and right clicked it and sent it directly to the Desktop. Lets face it, Windows Explorer is a very important tool for all users who keep track of what is going on at any one time with the rot folders of the file manager tree. Drilling down through a ton of menus to get to the program or file you want is tedious and oft times unnecessary.

If you are like me most likely the first thing you wanted was the Quick Launch bar but Windows XP doesn't have that feature as a default. Why? Such is the wonder of the Redmond juggernaut. You got Quick Launch up and running as one of the first things you did right?

Lets review. To Set Quick Launch do this:

  1. Right click on any empty portion of the Task Bar
  2. Choose Toolbars | Quick Launch
  3. Bada Bing Bada Boom its back.

Most likely you dropped the Windows Explorer icon somewhere near the Outlook Express icon and made it visible so you could click on it any time you needed it.

Is there a shortcut to this very important file manager? Well, yes there is and it is this:

Press and hold down on the Windows Key (The key between the Ctrl and alt keys) and press E.


Using the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility in Windows XP

Can't uninstall an application using Windows XP? The Windows Installer CleanUp Utility may be able to help you wash your Windows clean.

Not able to remove or uninstall an application in Windows XP using either the Uninstall option or the Add/Remove Programs tool? Try using the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility. As long as you installed the application using the Windows Installer, this utility will remove all the folders, files, registry keys, and entries from your system and allow you to start over with a clean slate.

Here's how:

  1. Download the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility from the Microsoft Download Center.
  2. Locate and run msicuu2.exe to install the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility.
  3. Locate and launch the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility on the Start menu.
  4. From the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility window, locate the application in the list and click the Remove button.
  5. Once the application has been removed, click the Exit button to close the utility.

You may now reinstall the application.


Do Your Network Folder Sharing Quickly and Easily

If you only want to share a single folder on a network, you can just right click on it, go to “Sharing and Security”, and check the “Share this folder on the network box”. If you want to share numerous folders and set them up easily, do as follows:

1.) Go to “Start | Run” and in the command prompt, enter 

shrpubw.exe

Hit enter.

2.) When the new Window pops up, click “Next”.
3.) Now you will be given many options as to how you want your folder set up. Go through all of the options and choose the settings you want.

Do this for all of the folders you want to share and you will be done in no time!


Obtain More Start Menu Space

If you're like me and have tons of programs you use on your PC on a daily basis, you may want to have a little extra room in your start menu for quick access. To do this, you can remove the "Frequently Used Programs" list from the start menu completely. This will open up that big white space on the left that you see when you click your start menu. Not sure how to use the System Registry Editor? See Bo's Tweaky Clean Windows

Here is how:

1.) Go to "Start-->Run" and in the command prompt, enter "Regedit" and hit "OK".
2.) When this opens, navigate to "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer"
3.) Create a new DWORD value by right-clicking in the window to the right and call it "NoStartMenuMFUprogramsList".
4.) Right-click on this new DWORD and click "Modify". In the "Value" box, change the 0 to a 1 and hit Enter.
5.) Reboot the computer and you're all set.

After doing this, you can add your own shortcuts to the list by dragging and dropping them into the Start Menu where you please.


Boot Defragging

If you want to allow faster booting by having Windows XP, enable boot defrag. This will put all of the boot files together on the hard drive for faster access. To do this:

1.) Click "Start | Run" and enter 
"Regedit" 
in the box. Click OK. 
2.) Navigate to 

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Dfrg\BootOptimizerFunction. 


3.) Select "Enable" from the list on the right. 
4.) Right click on it and select "Modify" 
5.) Change the value in the box to "Y" to enable it; "N" of course means it's disabled. 
6.) Reboot the computer and you're all set.


“Cannot Install This Hardware” Error

When you replace a defective network adapter in your computer with a later version of the same model network adapter, and then try to install the driver files for the new network adapter, you receive an error message similar to the following:

Cannot install this hardware. There was a problem installing this hardware. Network_Adapter_Model_Name… An error occurred in the installation of this device. The name is already in use as either a service name or a service display name.

This behavior may occur if the defective network adapter leaves entries in the registry when you remove it from your computer.

WARNING: If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

Not to sure about the uses and benifits of using the System Registry Editor? See Bo's Tweaky Clean Windows

Continue reading: {Microsoft Knowledge Base article 823771]


Disable Error Reporting

This is an annoying but easy to fix issue. As you may have noticed, every time a Microsoft program crashes in Windows XP, an Error Report dialog appears asking you if you would like to send the information to Microsoft. If you would like to disable these messages, then do the following:

1. Open the Control Panel
2. Click on “System”
3. Then click on the “Advanced” tab
4. Click on the “Error Reporting” button at the bottom of the window.
5. Select “Disable error reporting” in the new window.

After this, you will no longer have to worry about a message window popping up every time a program shuts down incorrectly! That's the plus side, the down side that Microsoft claims they use this as a tool to better understand real world problems and prepare a fix for these types of problems.

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Logging on as Administrator
A Simple But Useful Tip

Have you ever needed to login as an administrator but didn't see an option to at the Windows login screen? Unless and until you have run into issues and fixing XP (underwhich case you have to go to Safe Mode to login as Administrator), you can get to the administrator screen by simply pressing CTRL+ALT+DELETE twice at the main screen. Even if you're not currently experiencing problems, why not give this a test run to see what you can do?

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New Connection Wizard is Greyed Out (Two Methods)

Check the rasapi32.dll file.

The "rasapi32.dll" file is located in the 

"C:\Windows\System32

folder by default. If this file is also located in the 

"C:\Windows

folder and this file is an old version, similar issues will occur. 

Check to see if "rasapi32.dll" file is only located in the "C:\Windows\System32" folder. If not, rename any other instance of the "rasapi32.dll" files to the "rasapi32.old" files. 

Reboot the computer and check to see if this issue still occurs. If this issue still occurs, try the following method to overwrite the current "rasapi32.dll" file:

1. Insert the Windows XP CD (I will assume that the drive letter of CD-ROM is E. If you have installed more then one drive substitute your drive letter for E:.).
2. Click the Start Menu and choose the "Run…" command (Shortcut is Windows Key plus R). Input the following command:

    expand e:\i386\rasapi32.dl_ c:\windows\system32\rasapi32.dll


3. Restart the computer and check to see if this issue still occurs.

Method 2:

1. From Start, go to Run, type 

    Regedit 

    in the Open box, and then press Enter.
2. Make a backup copy of the following registry key:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Telephony
3. Delete the following value:

  HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Telephony\Cards\NexxtID


4. Quit and then restart the Make a Connection Wizard. All of the network connection options should now be        available.

See Also these MSKB Knowledgebase Articles:

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When Windows Tries To Download Updates, An Access Violation Error May Occur

Windows Automatic Updates tries to download updates on a Microsoft Windows Server 2003-based or Microsoft Windows XP-based computer, an access violation error may occur in the Esent.dll file.

This problem occurs when Windows Automatic Updates tries to start the storage engine to update the Extensible Storage Engine (ESE) database. When Windows Automatic Updates tries to start the storage engine, the storage engine encounters a problem in the transaction logs that belong to the database.

Off Site Content: Microsoft Knowledge Base KB 910437

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Check Your DVD Codec

For those of you who have DVD players on your computer and are having trouble playing them, you may find that there is a problem with your DVD decoder. If it is out of date or incompatible with your DVD Drive, you may be experiencing difficulty. In order to find out what codec you have, if any at all, you should try these easy steps:

1.) Go to “Start-->Run” and then type “cmd” in the box that opens.
2.) Click “Ok” and you should see a new command prompt window open.
3.) In this new prompt, type the following: “dvdupgrd /detect” (with a space between “dvdupgrd” and the “/”)
4.) Hit enter and a new window should pop up providing the name and version of your DVD codec.

Now you can go on Google or any other search engine and type in your codec name to find information on common problems with it. Note that this has only been tested on Windows XP and may not work on 98 or 2000.

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