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Windows XP Part III

Albion | Freeware | Freeware From A-Z | Security | Virus Information | Updated 04/07/05
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Windows XP - EXpect Pain Those who value safety say freedom is worthless if you're not alive to enjoy it.  Those who value freedom say life is worthless if you're not free to enjoy it.
God Bless America

Windows XP a 64 bit upgrade to a 32-bit patch for a 16-bit GUI shell running on top of an 8-bit operating system written for a 4-bit processor by a 2-bit company who cannot stand 1 bit of competition (but it's better than a Mac)!

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Keeping Time on Networked PC's

This tip is for PC that are networked.

W e can't help you with resetting your bedside clock but updating your networked or stand alone computers can be painless and automatic.

For a group of networked computers, time synchronization is simple and requires no extra software.  Choose one computer to be your master timekeeper, that computer is the one that all other machines will take their time from.  Any computer that is accessible to the entire network is OK, normally that means a file or mail server.  If possible, make it a computer that has a direct link to the Internet (for reasons that will be apparent later).

On each computer / workstation a single command line will change the computer clock to match up with the timekeeper computer.

NET TIME \\(timekeeper computer name) /SET /YES

The NET program is usually in the /Windows folder for Windows 95 and 98 computers and /Windows/System32 for Windows NT.  So if you're using an Windows 95/98 computer and the timekeeper computer is called NEDDY the full command line looks like this

c:\windows\NET TIME \\NEDDY /SET /YES

You can put that command in one of two places depending on how the machine is used.  For most cases it can go in the Startup group so that the time is updated each time the computer is started.  You can create a new shortcut in the Startup group with the command line as shown above and the 'Close on exit' option on.  If the computer is run continuously then put the same shortcut in the Task Scheduler (it comes with Windows 98 and/or Internet Explorer 4 and 5) set to run once per day.

On Windows NT Server you can use the AT command line utility to schedule programs (even better use WinAT in the NT Resource Kit for a better interface).

Tip: when scheduling the time synchronization choose a time at around 3/4 am so that any daylight savings change is picked up soon thereafter.

Once that's done all you have to do is keep the timekeeper computer set to the correct time.  You can do this manually by just changing the clock settings on the timekeeper computer.  The automatic alternative is to use one of several utilities that work across the Internet to reset the time automatically.  One of the most popular is AtomTime which will check with one of many atomic clocks across the world and update your computer regularly. 

If you have a single computer connected to the Internet then AtomTime will do the job nicely.

MSN users have the option to time synchronize as part of their MSN login. 

Pocket PC users can have their handheld device time updated from the desktop (in ActiveSyync  Tools | Options | Synchronise mobile clock upon connecting.

Unless you need split second accuracy, checking and updating the time once a day is more than enough (AtomTime lets you check every 12 hours but will wait until you connect to the Internet to do the time check ).  You can do it more often, but it's normally overkill.  Even if you don't have daylight savings in your area, time synchronization is helpful in keeping your computer clocks exactly correct.  Like most timepieces, a computer clock will gradually get out of alignment.

For Windows XP
Fixing the time setting on your computer
+Configuring your Time Service

If you have Windows XP Home addition, and your not connected to a network, the time update is a simple matter. Here is what you need to do to have Windows update the time when your connected to the Internet.

  1. Double click the system tray clock
  2. Switch to the Internet Time tab
  3. Be sure your connected to the Internet
  4. Click the update button and your done.

The computer clock will gradually get out of line with reality since it's not a very accurate beast.  Some software can check the time with an outside source on the network or Internet and regularly adjust your computer by a few seconds so it never drifts so far off that you would notice.

Above we told you how to automatically update the time for earlier versions of Windows – here we'll tell you how to do it for Windows XP – Home or Professional.

I can hear some of you already: "This is the 21st century, this should all be done automatically and easily".  You'd be absolutely right but the majority of computers in the world run Microsoft Windows where nothing is ever done properly of completely the first time around.

Worse still, you actually have to use a DOS command prompt to change the time synchronization settings!  Talk about primitive.


If your computer is part of a domain (eg large business network) then Windows XP should set itself up automatically to update from a domain controller.  You should not need to do anything.

But for everyone else … read on …

To automatically update your computer time you need to run a background program all the time in Windows XP – these special programs are called Services and you already have many running on your computer.  Time synchronization is done using a service called W32TM or Windows Time

Configuring your Time Service

This is the part we find amazingly arcane, given all Microsoft's talk about making computing easy and accessible, to do this you have to use the DOS prompt and even poke around in the registry.  Don't worry, it's not difficult at all but if you think it's ridiculously obtuse then get in line.

Click on the Start button then Programs, Accessories and then Command Prompt.   This opens a DOS like black box the likes of which you'd thought were long buried.

Then type in the following line

W32tm /config /syncfromflags:MANUAL /manualpeerlist:<server list, separated by commas>

tick.usno.navy.mil  and tock.usno.navy.mil are examples of public time servers that you can put in the manualpeerlist. These are special computers on the Internet that keep very exact time by various means.  Your computer can check time settings against one or more of these computers and gradually adjust accordingly.  Normally you list several servers in case one is unavailable at any time.

It doesn't matter from a technical point which time servers you use but normally you'd use ones near to you geographically.  This has nothing to do with time zones but just efficient use of the Internet.  Why reach across the world for a time check when a server in your own city is just as good? 

Many time servers have access rules, they are only available to people in a particular area or other organizational affiliations.  The primary time servers (Stratum 1) are not intended for private use since they generally could not cope with millions of computers linking to it.   Best to stick with the Stratum 2 servers from this list using the following guidelines:

Curiously, the Microsoft Knowledge Base doesn't talk about a time server especially for Windows XP users to put in their list:  time.windows.com   we suggest North American users put it first on your list of servers and use others as fallback positions.

Use the windows.com one and finally a public one in the USA as a last resort:

W32tm /config /syncfromflags:MANUAL

 Once you have entered your list of servers you need to enter the following at the command prompt:

W32tm /config /update

This tells the time sync service that there's configuration changes and to use the changed settings.

If you are a network administrator you might want to consider the effect of each computer connecting to the Internet for time checks.  While it is not a big load you might want to nominate a computer / server in the office as the time source.  That computer can do time checks to the Internet while all the other computers in the office check off it using the NET TIME command.

Starting it up

You need to make sure the Windows Time service is running and will run whenever you start the computer.

Go to Start | Settings | Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Services – scroll down the list of services to Windows Time.  Right-click on it and choose Properties.   You need to have administrative access to do this.


When you start reading about time synchronization you'll hear a lot about accuracy.   You need to keep in mind that what the experts call accurate is far more precise than anything most of us will ever need.

If you are in some scientific or engineering setup then you need accuracy to thousandths of a second or even more and you'll have specialist equipment for the job.

Speaking personally I'm more than happy if my computer is kept accurate to within 10 seconds.  As long as it doesn't drift to far off and I'm late for lunch!

You can see if the Windows Time service is running by going to Start | Settings | Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Event Viewer.  Under the System list click on the heading Source to sort the list by that column.  Then look for entries listed as W32Time -- you'll see if the service has been unable to connect to a time server. 

There'll be warning message if the service has been unable to sync for 15 or 30 minutes with the dire statement that there's 'no source of accurate time'.  This means your computer may be out by fractions of a second - big deal.  Us carbon based life forms only need to worry if the service was unable to connect for days or weeks.

Checking your time server list

Microsoft makes is unreasonably difficult to revise your list of time servers, you have to re-enter the entire list at the command prompt using the line shown above.

Usually you want to change something on the existing list so it would be better to get that list to start with.

To do that open the Registry using Regedit then find the following key:


This has the list of time servers you entered at the command prompt.  You can copy that list as a base for a new command.  The braver among you can simply edit the registry list, but you'll still have to go to the command prompt to run w32tm /config /update

More Cookie Shenanigans

Everybody’s worried about cookies, but few understand how they work, and why they even exist.

Cookies don’t have anything to do with spam – you’ll get the same junk email even if you tell your computer to reject every cookie that darkens your door. Cookies don’t spy on your PC, go sniffing for bank accounts, or keep a log of those, ahem, artistic Web sites you visit. They do serve a useful purpose but, like so many other concepts in the computer industry, a few companies exploit their usefulness in questionable ways.

A cookie is just a text file that a Web site stores on your PC. There’s no cross-linking allowed: the Web site that creates a cookie is the only site that’s allowed to look at it. A very large percentage of the major commercial Web sites use cookies. For example, the CNN news site stores a cookie on your computer that contains information about which news service you like to see – Asia, Europe, or the US. Whenever you log on to CNN, the big CNN computer asks your little computer if it has a CNN cookie. If there’s a CNN cookie on your PC, it gets sent to the big CNN computer, and you’re magically transported to the news service that you like. 

Web sites use cookies to keep a history of what you’ve done on a particular site. For example, if you go shopping on a Web site, there’s a good chance that a cookie on your computer identifies you with a specific customer number. The cookie might even include information about what products you’ve looked at, what you’ve ordered, where you stand in the check-out process, and so on. All of that information can be stored on the Web site, of course: as soon as you “log in” or provide an account number, the information can be retrieved. Cookies just make the process a little simpler, because they identify you without requiring a “log in.”

Cookies aren’t totally innocuous. Companies such as Doubleclick can correlate Web site visits – they can keep track of the fact that you ordered a CD from WindowsMedia, and that you used the Yahoo search engine a few minutes later – and that makes many people (including me) uncomfortable. Everything you type into one Web site can, at least in theory, be shared with another Web site, if both sites use an advertising service such as Doubleclick. Web privacy maven Richard Smith has an eye-opening discussion of Doubleclick's fancy footwork on his ComputerBytesMan Web site.  

On June 25, a company I'd never heard of, called PivX Solutions, posted a security advisory detailing a new security hole in Internet Explorer that allows "bad" Web sites unlimited access to cookies, and can even run arbitrary programs. At the bottom of that security advisory there are several demo's of the security holes and how they can be used. 

The problem affects all users of Internet Explorer 5.5 and 6 - which means Windows XP users are automatically at risk. According to the Web site, Outlook and Outlook Express (both of which use IE to preview and "render" formatted email messages) have the same problem.

As soon as I hear of a patch for this new bug, I'll post it on Bohunky0's Microsoft Bug of the Month page.

The Mysterious Guest

I've bumped into Windows XP's Guest Account several times in recent weeks, and figured that I would try to explain what's involved. 

The concept of a Guest Account dates back to the dawn of interactive computing. The basic idea is pretty simple: it's often convenient to have an account on a computer that anybody can use. Of course, if you want to keep your computer secure, you need to make sure that "guests" can't hop onto your machine and steel the silverware - and therein lies a problem.

Windows XP - particularly XP/Home - uses the Guest Account in an unexpected way. Everybody who gets onto a networked XP/Home computer is automatically authenticated as a "Guest". Doesn't matter who they are, or what kind of privileges they have on their home computer, if they're connected to an XP/Home computer, they're a Guest, pure and simple.

In the XP/Pro world, the situation's a bit more complicated. If the XP/Pro computer is connected to a Big Corporate Network (in Microsoft's parlance, a domain), anybody who gets onto the computer has to go through the Big Corporate Network's security restrictions - and most Big Corporate Networks don't have Guest Accounts floating around willy-nilly. On the other hand, if the XP/Pro computer is connected to a simple peer-to-peer network (in Softie-speak a workgroup), it may or may not have a Guest Account.

Confused? Yeah. I don't blame you. But wait. It gets worse.

People who grew up in the world of domains kinda expect that turning off the Guest account on a PC will restrict access to that PC. With the Guest Account turned off, the theory goes, only people who are authorized to use that machine will be able to get onto it. Unfortunately, in XP/Home, it doesn't work that way.

Microsoft's Web site has a tips page that tells XP/Home users how to turn off the Guest Account. Presumably, if you turn off the Guest Account, and force all users to log on with passwords (Start | Control Panel | User Accounts | pick the account | Create a password), only people who have bonafide user names and passwords will be able to get on the computer. Right?

Well, no. It doesn't work that way.

If you follow the instructions on the tips page noted above and turn off the Guest Account on a Windows XP/Home system, you don't turn really turn off the Guest Account at all. In a bit of XP smoke 'n mirrors, what you turn off is the "Guest Account" icon on the Welcome screen. That's all. So people who walk up to the computer in question can't click Guest Account and immediately start using the computer. Even if you've followed the instructions and turned off the Guest Account, people who connect to the computer over the peer-to-peer network are still authenticated as Guests. 

I've heard from several WOWsers who thought they could isolate their XP/Home computers by turning off the Guest Account. 'Tain't so, folks. If you could turn off the Guest Account on an XP/Home (I'm told it's possible but very difficult), you'd screw up everything - file sharing, printer sharing, Internet connection sharing, you name it. So XP/Home leads you to believe that the Guest Account is gone, when in fact it's still alive and well, but just not visible on the Welcome screen.

If you figured you could stop Klez from sniffing out networked PCs and infecting them, by disabling the Guest Account - think again! To get rid of the Guest Account for real, without crippling your PC, you'll have to install XP/Pro, and switch to Advanced File Sharing

And if you thought the new Service Pack-1 "disabling" of Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, and other Department of Justice-contested applications was a bit disingenuous, you now know that Microsoft has at least one precedent. SP-1's approach to "disabling" those applications simply removes them from the Desktop and the Start Menu - the applications are still there, just buried a bit beneath the surface. "Disabling" the Guest Account in XP/Home works the same way.


Q. I've just got a notebook with XP  (probably not a good move) and that has outlook express etc. ready and is ver 6.0 of course.  Works OK but I just cannot find the taskbar icon (that was on 5.5) so I don't know how long I've been online.  It must be somewhere but I really cannot find it.  Your guidance would be much appreciated.

A. On a machine which was specially designed for Win XP there shouldn't be that much problems.

I think what you are referring to is the Quick Launch Bar? If so:

To display Quick Launch on the taskbar

  1. If the Quick Launch bar is not displayed, right-click an empty area on the taskbar and click Properties.
  2. On the Taskbar tab, under Taskbar appearance, select the Show Quick Launch check box and click OK.

If on the other hand, and as I now see it is (Sorry!) you wish to show the connection icon in the System Tray:

This issue can occur if the function that displays the network connection icon in the system tray has been turned off. (By default, this function is turned on.) The code for the network connection icon generates "balloon" notifications, including requests for user action, as part of the network connection process. Without the icon, no notifications appear and the authentication process continues to wait for user input.

Show Connection Icon In System Tray

To resolve this issue do this:

  1. Click Start , click Control Panel , and then click Network and Internet Connections .
  2. Click Network Connections , right-click Wireless Connection , and then click Properties .
  3. On the General tab, click to select the Show icon in notification area when connected check box.

Dual Booting

Q. I have Windows XP Home Edition. On drive C: I have a logical Windows 98 DOS partition I would like to use for running older DOS games. I would like to know if there is a way to boot to drve E: (the logical DOS partition) without using my Windows 98 floppy.

A: If you'd insalled 98 first, then XP on another partition, you'd get the choice after a restart. Now, you might be able to go to UltraTech's guidelines on boot.ini and make it work for you.

* BootPart ............... http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/gvollant/bootpart.htm
* Boot Partition ......... http://www.pcworld.com/fileworld/file_description/0,1458,6461,00.html
* XOSL ................... http://www.xosl.org/

Q. I'd like to convert the file system on my hard drives to NTFS. I'm using Windows XP Home. Are there any disadvantages to doing that and how should it be done?

I've heard you can't use files with other versions of Windows that use FAT and that you can't use floppy disks, i've heard mixed things about these issues, could you clear that up for me?

A: See this article from About.com by Douglas Ludens:
Choosing FAT or NTFS
Part 1: What's the difference?

Or, see these articles by UltraTech:

WinXP Service Pack 1 Coming
Bo note: Win XP SP-1 is here. Be warned, there are a ton of bugs in this release. Bo's advise? Skip this one and wait for Win XP SPMU-1 (Service Pack Matainance Update 1)

Microsoft has been patching Windows XP (particularly Internet Explorer) with all the fervor of a diuretic-dosed dog at a fire hydrant convention. As those patches continue to trickle through, the mammoth stream sits dammed, waiting in the wings.

The Mother of All Windows Patches, Windows XP Service Pack 1, should roll into beta test sometime in the next few weeks. If all goes according to plan, WinXP SP-1 will be available late this summer.

To place SP-1 in perspective, it's important to understand most of all what the Service Pack isn't. WinXP SP-1 isn't a half-baked upgrade posing as a marketing opportunity - in other words, it isn't WinME all over again. It looks like Microsoft is going to soft-peddle SP-1: no rock concerts or massive advertising campaigns; no new packaging or promises of divine revelation. Instead, SP-1 will appear quietly on the scene, first as the version of Windows XP that will ship with new PCs, and soon after as the version of Windows XP widely available on store shelves. 

Microsoft promises that current (legitimate) Windows XP users will be able to download SP-1 for free - it'll be available on the Windows Update site - or buy the upgrade on CD at nominal cost. (I say "legitimate" because MS will diable at least one widely-available pirate activation code - so if you're running a bootleg copy of WinXP, you probably won't be able to get the SP-1 installer to work.)

Here's what you can expect in SP-1:

SP-1 will also include support for three new technologies: Tablet PCs (full-fledged PCs that love to be written on), Mira (which lets you haul a touch-sensitive screen around the house) and Freestyle (think Windows on a TV - er, Media Center - run with a TV remote). But you won't be able to get at those technologies directly - the new support will only be available bundled with machines designed to use them. (In Microsoft parlance, they're OEM only.) Like most Microsoft version 1.0 features, I expect they'll "demo" real well but, uh, leave lots of room for improvement.  

The massive .NET Framework that MS has had available for download for the past couple of months will be an optional part of SP-1. Thank heaven. I'm still very skeptical about the current implementation.

What's next? Bluetooth support can't be too far off: Microsoft will be releasing a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse before the Christmas shopping season, and you can bet WinXP will support them. Microsoft is still dealing with the non-settling states, and they may well scoff at SP-1's middleware hiding. And everyone is expecting a new version of Windows Media Player before Christmas.

Microsoft is making one very good move with SP-1, however: it's going to release beta test versions of the upgrade to tens of thousands of WinXP users worldwide. My guess is that SP-1 will be solid and reliable - but a bit of a ho-hum patch that won't set the world on fire.

See Also:

CNET First Take: Windows XP Service Pack 1
Microsoft just released details of its anxiously awaited major upgrade to Windows XP. You won't find Bluetooth in there after all, but you will find a host of new changes designed to appease the Justice Department, plus there are more security updates than you can shake a stick at. We take a sneak peek at this whopping download that's expected later this year.

Windows XP SP-1 roomer mill
Microsoft, it is rumored, is going to make activation tougher for businesses-Taint So!

There is a rumor that is circulating about Windows XP Service Pack 1 and changing activation codes. According to the rumor, Microsoft was going to make life very miserable for a lot of big companies by over-zealously applying some rather sophisticated anti-piracy technology.

I've heard from Microsoft, and they've denied the rumor. Much to the 'Softie's credit, they've come out with a complete description of all the changes in product activation that will take place when WinXP SP-1 hits the stands (probably later this week around August 28 or 29, 2002). 

In a nutshell, here's what's changing:

It's gettin' harder and harder to be a pirate, eh?

How to Format your C:\> drive with Win XP

Q. If you want to format your c drive how do you do this as XP will not let you boot to DOS?

A1. The installation cd does give you the option to format the drive before installing. You can also create a DOS Bootdisk but your better off using the CD.

Q. But how do I boot to DOS if I can't use a Windows 9x/Me floppy?

A. That's precisely the point; you can't, so don't even try.
If you need to access a DOS program that won't run from within Windows XP/2000, you have a few options:

A2. How do I boot into Windows XP or Windows 2000 with a floppy?
Intended For Windows XP Windows 2000
The short answer is you can't. Here's the long answer:

If you attempt to boot off a floppy and then start Windows XP or Windows 2000, you're assuming that these operating systems run on top of DOS like Windows 95, 98, and Me did. This is not the case; Windows XP and Windows 2000 are both based on the Windows NT kernel, which is independent of DOS.

You will not be able to boot off a floppy and then start Windows XP or Windows 2000. Furthermore, you will not be able to boot into DOS using Windows XP or Windows 2000 startup disks, because DOS isn't there. But, it is still possible to do most of the things you might need to do with a floppy:

If Windows won't boot; how do I repair the operating system?
You need to boot off the Windows XP/2000 CD. If your computer won't boot off the CD, you'll need to enter your system BIOS setup and make your CD drive a higher boot priority than your hard disk.

Then, you'll need to start the Recovery Console. The Recovery Console looks like DOS, but it isn't DOS. You can copy, delete, and rename files, but you won't be able to start any programs. Type HELP at the prompt to see all your options. See the Microsoft Knowledgebase articles below on Windows XP and the Recovery Console and some emergency recovery procedures.
What is the Recovery Console?
Recovery Console overview
Description of the Windows 2000 Recovery Console (Q229716)
Recovery Console commands
HOW TO: Install the Windows Recovery Console (Q216417)
HOW TO: Install and Use the Recovery Console in Windows XP (Q307654)
Description of the Windows XP Recovery Console (Q314058)
Install the Recovery Console as a startup option Here
Windows 2000 Safe-Mode Boot and Recovery Console here
            Microsoft Word Version Read DocumentSafeMode.doc | 149 KB Microsoft Word file | 1 min @ 28.8 Kbps
               Compressed Word Document: Download FileSafeMode.exe | 124 KB file | 1 min @ 28.8 Kbps | Get Office file viewers

If that doesn't work, you'll have to reinstall Windows.

What is the Recovery Console?
recovery console -
A command-line interface that provides a limited set of administrative commands that are useful for repairing a computer. For example, you can use the Recovery Console to start and stop services, read and write data on a local drive (including drives formatted to use the NTFS file system), repair a master boot record (MBR), and format drives. You can start the Recovery Console from the Windows 2000 Setup disks or by using the Winnt32.exe command with the /cmdcons switch.

The Recovery Console:

Recovery Console You can use Recovery Console to perform many tasks without starting Windows XP, including: starting and stopping services, reading and writing information on a local disk drive, and formatting drives. However, you must install Recovery Console while your computer is still functioning. The Recovery Console feature should be used only by advanced users. Before using Recovery Console, it is recommended that you back up your information on a tape drive, because your local hard disks might be reformatted—thus erased—as part of the recovery. You can also run Recovery Console from the Windows XP CD.

To install Recovery Console as a Startup option

  1. Log on to Windows XP Professional as an administrator or as a user with administrator rights.

    If your computer is connected to a network, network policy settings may prevent you from completing this procedure. Contact your network administrator for assistance.
  2. Insert the Windows XP Professional CD into your CD ROM drive. If you’re prompted to upgrade to Windows XP, click No.
  3. From the command prompt—or from the Run command in the Start menu–type the path to the appropriate Winnt32.exe file (on your Windows XP Professional CD), followed by a space and /cmdcons to reference this switch. For example:
  4. e:\1386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons
  5. Follow the instructions that appear To run Recovery Console on a computer if Windows XP Professional does not start
  6. Restart your computer, and then choose Windows Recovery Console from the list of operating systems.
  7. Follow the instructions that appear.
  8. Recovery Console displays a command prompt.
  9. Make the required changes to your system.

To learn more about using Recovery Console, see Help and Support Center.

Recovery Console overview

The Windows 2000 Recovery Console is a command-line console that you can start from the Windows 2000 Setup program. Using the Recovery Console, you can start and stop services , format drives, read and write data on a local drive (including drives formatted to use NTFS ), and perform many other administrative tasks. The Recovery Console is particularly useful if you need to repair your system by copying a file from a floppy disk or CD-ROM to your hard drive, or if you need to reconfigure a service that is preventing your computer from starting properly. Because the Recovery Console is quite powerful, it should only be used by advanced users who have a thorough knowledge of Windows 2000. In addition, you must be an administrator to use the Recovery Console.

There are two ways to start the Recovery Console:

After you start the Recovery Console you will have to choose which drive you want to log on to (if you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot system) and you will have to log on with your administrator password.

For information on starting and using the Recovery Console, see Related Topics. In addition, if you are using Windows 2000 Professional, see the Windows 2000 Professional Getting Started online book, or the Windows 2000 Professional Getting Started book that came with your Windows 2000 CD. If you are using Windows 2000 Server, see the Disaster Recovery How to section.

Once you are running the Recovery Console, you can get help on the available commands by typing help at the command prompt.

Repair overview
Use emergency repair on a system that will not start
Create an Emergency Repair Disk
Recovery Console overview
Recovery Console commands
Using Backup
Safe mode startup options
Run the Recovery Console on a system that will not start
Install the Recovery Console as a startup option
Delete the Recovery Console
Set up a flash memory disk as a fail-safe startup device

Recovery Console commands

The following commands can be used with the Windows 2000 Recovery Console :

To install the Recovery Console as a startup option

  1. With Windows running, insert the Windows 2000 Professional CD into your CD-ROM drive.
  2. Click No when prompted to upgrade to Windows 2000.
  3. At the command prompt, switch to your CD-ROM drive, and then type the following:

    \i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons

  4. Follow the instructions on the screen.

note Note

Using Backup
Recovery Console commands
Recovery Console overview
Delete the Recovery Console
Run the Recovery Console on a system that will not start
Set up a flash memory disk as a fail-safe startup device
Working with MMC console files

WinXP Photo Printing Wizard

Some Windows XP features still leave me breathless, long after the novelty has worn off. The Photo Printing Wizard certainly deserves mention as one of Windows XP's little-known gems.  

You might not have noticed it because you mistakenly thought the Print option just gave you a tired old print dialog.  In fact there's a lot more to it .. give it a try and you'll see why.

At first blush that's cool, but it doesn't really seem to do much. Look deeper, though, and you'll find some very good features. 

My favorite is the ability to specify the layout for the prints - with one click. If you're accustomed to clicking and stretching and cropping and dragging, it's a wonderful relief. WinXP gives you one-click options to:

And you can print many copies of the same image, or different images on the same page. Liberal use of the < Back button makes many alterations easy.

TIP: if you want more than one separate image on the same page, make sure you select the same number of images as there are on that page. So for a layout of 4 pictures on a page, select 4 images before starting the Print wizard.

Yes, there are some oddities. The Wizard has a spinner that lets you choose how many times you want each image to appear on the printed page. The spinner runs up to 15, and that's it - a pain if you want to print 35 copies of a picture ("Contact Page" size) on a single sheet.

TIP: for a full printout of all the images in a folder with file names press Ctrl+A to select all the images before starting the Print Wizard. This is handy if you want to show thumbnail versions to friends or family for them to request larger copies of their favorites.

You're stuck with the templates that WinXP has built-in. But those are nits. By and large, it's very well done - and in most simple cases, it beats the heck outta opening the pictures in some other program, or cutting and pasting.

Those of you with recent HP scanners might find their bundled picture printing program has a wider set of templates and options but for a quick and easy solution the Windows XP printing wizard ain't bad at all.

Windows XP Power Toys Re-(Appear)

After an unexplained hiatus of a couple of months, Microsoft has re-released the Windows XP PowerToys. At least one of the PowerToys, as you'll see, is well worth a download.

In case you're new to the PowerToys shtick I know of two good ways to describe them. 

If you're the cynical sort, the PowerToys are a collection of Windows utilities, written by Microsoft <wink, wink>, distributed by Microsoft <nudge, nudge>, but absolutely unsupported by Microsoft <nod, nod>. Microsoft says "PowerToys are additional programs that developers work on after a product has been released to manufacturing." Makes you wonder why they didn't work on them before the product was released to manufacturing. Use 'em at your own risk.

If you're inclined to give MS the benefit of the doubt, you'll probably think of the PowerToys as a nifty, eccentric assortment of programs that make it easier to modify and use Windows. Since Microsoft was under no obligation to create or distribute them - although they've been doing so since Windows 95 - you could just as easily think of them as a delightful bit of lagniappe. And since they're freebies, why would anybody expect the 'Softies to support 'em?

In fact, the support question is a bit of a tempest in a teapot anyway. Microsoft does provide some support for TweakUI, particularly when it's been shown to have side effects with other Microsoft components. See, for example, this Knowledge Base article.

Regardless of where you stand on the 'Softie cynicism scale, at least one of the PowerToys is well worth a gander: TweakUI. Note that each of the PowerToys has to be downloaded and installed individually. And if you already have one or more of the PowerToys installed - the older versions, from around the beginning of the year - you'll have to uninstall them before proceeding. Here's what you'll find in the new crop: This statement is somewhat of a misnomer. Tweak UI version 1.33, originally designed for Windows 9.x will work perfectly well in Windows XP and the plus is you may already have it installed if you upgraded your system from, say Windows Me to XP. In fact, I prefer Tweak UI 1.33 over the Windows XP Tweak UI, but that's just me.


Long a geek's delight, TweakUI lets you adjust a gazillion settings that Windows XP has tucked away - and the latest version is better than any of its predecessors.

I used to spend weeks (months!) pushing and prodding, pouring over and writing about tricks for making Windows jump through extraordinary hoops. Usually those tricks involved slight changes to the Windows Registry. Although there are a few exceptions, I don't write about Registry tweaks much any more. 

I've found that, by and large, the really obscure Registry tweaks don't do much, really - I defy you to find a Registry setting that'll make most machines run perceptibly faster or more reliably. And the more accessible tweaks are already handled, neatly and succinctly, by TweakUI. 

With TweakUI version you adjust hundreds of settings, from mouse sensitivity to the image quality of Explorer thumbnails, to the precedence of "grouping" Taskbar buttons (See my article: Nix Grouped Taskbar Buttons), through a bunch of privacy settings, to the location of special folders such as your CD burning folder, to autoplaying CDs. It's all here, it's easy to use, and it beats the living daylights out of editing the Registry by hand.

Image Re-sizing

Ever want to convert a big picture - say, a 1024 x 768-pixel pic - down to something a bit smaller, like 640 x 480? This is the easy way.

The PowerToys Image Resizer lets you re-size images by right-clicking on them. Select one or many images. Right-click and choose from Small (640 x 480), Medium (800x 600), Large (1024 x 768) or WinCE (240 x 320). Unless you specifically tell the re-sizer otherwise, it'll make a copy of the image at the resolution you've chosen, leaving the original intact. Slick.

CD Slideshow Generator

If you frequently burn CDs with pictures on your Windows XP machine, then take the pics to a non-Windows XP machine, and you really want to run a Windows XP-style slideshow, this PowerToy is worth the effort. The CD Slideshow Generator inserts itself into the CD burning wizard, adding a step that asks if you want to put a slideshow viewer on the CD. If you're using WinXP exclusively, there's no need. But if you want to be able to flash those graduation pics on a Windows 98 PC without clicking your finger off, this is a great tool.

The Others

I didn't find much else that's worth having, but maybe I'm just jaded. The Task Switcher (also known as the Alt-Tab replacement) shows you a thumbnail of all the running applications when you hit Alt+Tab. I didn't find the thumbnails very enlightening - and they are slow, slow, slow, even on an otherwise fast PC. The Open Command Windows Here PowerToy lets you right-click inside a Windows Explorer folder and gives you a DOS-like command line. The Power Calculator mimics a typical graphical calculator - which can come in handy if you need to draw graphs, but for most of us it's overkill. The Virtual Desktop Manager lets you switch among four full-fledged desktops by clicking on the Windows Taskbar (I'd just as soon set up four different users and fast-switch between them - yeah, I know it's different, but it's easier for me to keep track). The Taskbar Magnifier magnifies the screen, but the magnified image appears in the Windows Taskbar. Far better to use Start | All Programs | Accessories | Accessbility | Magnifier. The HTML Slide Show Wizard creates a Web-based slide show from a set of pictures, but if you have PowerPoint, you already have everything you need. The Webcam Timershot PowerToy sets up your Web camera to take and save shots at specified intervals. (Hint: look at Webcam32.) 

Three definite hits and a handful of "maybes". Not bad, considering the price..

These questions sent in by reader Artie:

Q. Here's a question I'd like to ask you, first of all it would be a good idea to let you know what system I'm running. WINDOWS XP Home Edition
is what I have.

Within my sub categories folders, under My Documents File, I have folders for my photographs. Please explain what this option does, what is it's functionality, and once the adjustment to the setting has been made, how long is this setting in affect?

A. The hype for Win XP Home has been easier use of multimedia applications. These include video, audio, animations, digital camera image transfers and the whole gamete of such things which most people find entertaining.

Organize, print, view, and share your photos
Click to see a larger image

The My Pictures folder provides new ways to organize, print, view, and share your photos. Use the handy preview option to see thumbnails of your images more quickly, and then file the pictures into folders that you create and name. Use the slideshow view to see full-screen versions of your pictures displayed one at a time on your desktop. Managing your photos requires so little effort that you can keep your mind on your pictures as you work on them, rather than waiting for your computer to finish saving or moving images.

This was first seen in Windows Me, but of course did not go quite as far. Like Windows Me, the settings remain in effect until you choose to change them.
        You've probably spent more than a few minutes waiting for a photo to arrive in e-mail, and then appear on your screen. With Windows XP those days are over, because you can compress your files when you e-mail them or post them to the Web, so they load faster than ever. If you want to put your photos on a CD, you can even ‘burn’ one as easily as you would save files to a floppy disk. From the My Pictures folder you can do it all

You can to print photos yourself or have them printed professionally. Use the new layout tool to ensure that you maximize the available space on your sheet of photographic paper. You and others can also order prints over the Internet

Q. Inside one of my photograph folders, along the left side of the screen, under the heading of "file and folder tasks" there is a clickable link that says, "e-mail this folder's files"  when you click onto that link another window pops up with other options that say, "make all my pictures smaller" and "keep the original sizes" under show more options, I have these settings: SMALL MEDIUM and LARGE.

Please explain what these setting do.

A. This is meant as a way for you to send the quality of pictures to post them to the internet or to email. The small setting applies the maximum compression for your images. Medium is slightly compressed, and the large settings is for the photo without any compression at all. The pixel resolution will change as well. For example, the image above is sent via e-mail as a compressed file image. Clicking on the image will take you to the Microsoft website which shows the full size of that image. See the Power Toys Article under Image Re-Sizer

Will these setting affect how the images are stored and displayed in my photograph files or are these settings limited to functionality photographs attached to email letters?

A. For more information on this issue see the Microsoft XP tutorial which should answer most of your general questions; Click here to go there.

Q. When the settings are adjusted, how long do these settings remain in affect?

A. Folder options stay current until you change them. E-Mail and other sending options should be applied only to the image you plan to be working with.

Q. One more thing, also explain the functionality of the "Share This Folder" feature. Under the "sharing this folder" option, do I need to put a check mark into the box to "make this folder private" from hackers? What is this feature used for?

A. Remember, Windows XP is based on the Win 2K kernel not the Win 9.K kernel. In this respect both the home and Pro versions are meant to be used under an administrator, or in a networked enviroment. The share folder option is a direct link to the original Win 2K OS design.

To share a drive or folder on the network

  1. Open Windows Explorer, and then locate the drive or folder you want to share.
  2. Right-click the drive or folder, and then click Sharing and Security.
    • If you are sharing a drive, on the Sharing tab, click If you understand the risk but still want to share the root of the drive, click here.
    • If you are sharing a folder, go to the next step.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • If the Share this folder on the network check box is available, select the check box.
    • If the Share this folder on the network check box is unavailable, this computer is not on a network. If you would like to set up a home or small office network, click the Network Setup Wizard link and follow the instructions to turn on file sharing. Once file sharing is enabled, begin this procedure again.

note Note

See the Microsoft Knowledgebase article below to aid in researching your question.

Microsoft Windows graphic
Sharing files and folders overview

You can share the files and folders stored on your computer, on a network , and on the Web. The method you choose depends on whom you want to share files with, and what computer they will use to access the files.

If you both use the same computer

You can put the files you want to share in the Shared Documents folder. Files stored in the Shared Documents folder or its subfolders are always available to other users on your computer.

Step-by-step procedure

If both computers are on the same network

You can share a folder that is stored on your computer with others on the network. You can also control whether the files in the shared folder can be modified by other users.

Step-by-step procedure

If you want to share your files online

You can publish pictures and documents on the Web using the Web Publishing Wizard. The files will be stored in a private, online folder that you manage.

Step-by-step procedure

If you don't want others to access your files

You can make any folder in your user profile private. When you make a folder private, all of the files and folders it contains are private as well. Folders in your user profile include My Documents and its subfolders, Desktop, Start Menu, and Favorites.

Step-by-step procedure

note Note

File and folder management overview
File properties overview
Other Places overview
Managing Web documents overview
Using Internet Explorer
Using MSN Explorer

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Windows XP -

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Version Dec 7 Copyright 2001 Larry Blaisdell