Articles in Category: Windows
Windows Live is the umbrella brand for several online services and desktop applications from Microsoft. I’ll examine the confusion surrounding the name.
Nothing happens when you insert a disc if autoplay is turned off. That’s good for security but bad for convenience. I’ll look at alternatives.
If you’ve added a hard drive to your system you can move pagefile.sys to free up space on your original drive and speed up your system.
A look at the add/remove list in Windows Control Panel presents a long list of sometimes confusing entries. I’ll look at how to evaluate what’s there.
A clean install of a operating system assumes the hard disk is empty. Some preparation is required to preserve and transfer data.
Sometimes the best approach to resolving an issue, be it a virus or simply software rot, is reformat and reinstall. We’ll review the steps.
Autorun is an increasingly used attack vector for malware. Common techniques to turn it off are incomplete. I’ll show you how to turn it off, and recommend you do so.
Process Explorer is Task Manager on steroids. A free utility that completely replaces Task Manager, there’s no reason not to have and use procexp.
There’s much confusion about what System Restore actually is and is not. In a nutshell, it’s safest not to rely on it to restore your system.
Windows includes screen capture by default, but if you use it often and rely on it alone, you don’t know what you’re missing.
I tried to activate Windows XP Home and it didn’t work. Thus began a phone saga with Microsoft support, ending in failure. Until I fixed it myself.
Depending on how you look at your disk, the amount of space used can appear quite different. We’ll look at some of the possible reasons.
Task manager can be disabled manually, but more commonly it’s disabled by a virus. It’s easy to re-enable once you’re virus-free.
Many people are experiencing high CPU usage, often 100%, in svchost. Svchost is not a virus, but many people think it acts like one.
Reformatting a machine is a major step that erases everything. Unless you really know what you’re doing, you’re going to want that Windows Setup CD.
There are times when the disk checking utility needs to run before you boot into Windows. Sometimes it seems to get stuck and does so every time.
When your system starts to slow down, programs using excessive memory are frequent culprits. It’s fairly easy to find out which programs they are.
Windows Explorer is a fine tool, but there are still a few things you can’t easily do with it. This calls for the Windows Command Prompt.
Folders with random and unreadable names will occasionally appear on your machine. They’re typically the side effect of an update that didn’t clean up.
Some folks like to run programs maximized; taking up the entire screen. If a program doesn’t do that automatically, here are some steps that may help.
The “Safely Remove Hardware” icon can occasionally disappear. It turns out there’s a simple workaround to safely remove hardware anyway.
Windows Explorer is everywhere – yet finding Windows Explorer on the Start Menu is actually fairly difficult. We look at where Windows Explorer is, and some of the many other ways you can get to it.
Yet another reason I so strongly recommend making sure that you get installation CDs for all the software that comes pre-installed on any new machine. There are just so many scenarios where no having that can be a really big pain. Like this one.
The Start Menu can grow over time to be exceptionally large. Armed with a little knowledge there are easy steps to control or organize its contents.
Apparently ‘bridge.inf’ is related to adware of some sort. Most of the anti-spyware programs should be able to handle it, but apparently not always. We can try to find it manually, which is a good example of searching for hidden files in general.
People are concerned about how much software is running on their machines, and when they look at the list of services, there’s a long list of things they don’t understand.
File associations tell Windows what program should operate on what file based on it’s filename extension. Sometimes these get lost or confused.
The whole validation and activation thing (WPA, or Windows Product Activation) is pretty confusing. Most folks were very concerned with it when QPA was first introduced, but we rarely hear much about it these days. In general it kinda, sorta works. We’re just not always sure why or how. The original question was actually several, … Read more
Well, I think I get what you’re asking about. But even if I’m a little off, what I’m about to explain actually covers several things. In fact, most people don’t realize that there’s a plethora of customization options related to the Start menu.
System Restore settings are in the properties of My Computer, but actually running the System Restore application is a little less obvious.
This is a classic case of “Theory” versus “Practice”. In theory everything should just work. In practice? Not so much. In fact, it’s one of the causes of something called “software rot”.
In Windows XP removing boot choices is as simple as editing a hidden configuration file. Fortunately finding that file is relatively easy.
We’ll look at where to find your Windows CD Key.
Svchost.exe is frequently spoofed by viruses attempting to hide. The official copy should be in your Windows\system32 folder, but there may be others.
Whoa … seems my answers around the I386 direectory have been generating lots of additional questions as well. Let’s see if we can clarify they “I386 mystery”. Let me start by answering a question you didn’t ask, because it’s related, incredibly important, and the reason that I386 appears in so many of my answers: In my … Read more
There are several places that items can get added to the startup list. This particular situation is most likely a malformed registry entry. MSConfig is a nice enough tool for simple situations, but to diagnose this one, I’d break out a bigger gun. I had to, in fact. I looked, and sure enough … I … Read more
The question others are asking is probably “OK, so what’s a C:\I386 directory?” In a nutshell, it’s a copy of Windows, and yes, you can move it, but I don’t recommend deleting it completely. It’s just too darned useful.
The answer is “yes”, but that may not help you, depending on what you’re attempting to do, and what computer you have. It’s not Windows you should be concerned about. It’s your PC.
Most people don’t realize that using “C:” as the primary drive on your computer is fairly arbitrary. It’s a good practice, if only to avoid the problems you’re running into, but as you’ve seen you don’t need to have it that way. You can build a system that boots from a drive of a different … Read more
To begin with, be careful. There may be other directories called “UserData” on your machine. It’s a common name for any number of different purposes, and used by several different applications. But these, at that specific location in your Documents and Settings, are fairly clear.
COMMAND.COM and CMD.EXE are versions of the command interpreter for MS-DOS and Windows. They’re both available, but you only really need one.
We’ll look at some ideas to try to stop a USB device from asking for a CD.
Well, first, let’s be clear: there is no version of SP2. It’s either there, or it’s not. There are several ways to find out, and find out what other patches post SP2 have been installed as well.
If you have the password for the administrator account, you can easily elevate any other login account to have administrator privileges.
The Linux readers are all shouting “cron!” at their computers. Windows has something similar, of course. And it’s very, very flexible. Just fairly well hidden.
Here’s what to do when you see appcompat.txt.
Adding shortcuts to your desktop for programs, documents or even specific web pages is very easy.
If you have speech recognition always enabled it can cause your computer to “go nuts” because of the different sounds it interprets as actual words.
Lsass.exe and svchost.exe are required system files for Windows. If you delete them without care, your system may become unbootable.
LSASS is a Windows component shown in error messages, often due to a virus infection such as Sasser. Learn about LSASS, LSASS.EXE and how to stay safe.