Tweak It and Freak It: A Killer Guide to Making Windows Run Your Way

Overview

Tweak It and Freak It

A Killer Guide to Making Windows Run Your Way

Hundreds of millions of people use Windows every day, and it’s a safe bet that some of them would not describe themselves as happy campers. Regardless of skill level, most people have something they dislike about Windows, and they often have a whole laundry list of Windows gripes. “Why can’t Windows do this rather than that?” “Why does Windows...

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Overview

Tweak It and Freak It

A Killer Guide to Making Windows Run Your Way

Hundreds of millions of people use Windows every day, and it’s a safe bet that some of them would not describe themselves as happy campers. Regardless of skill level, most people have something they dislike about Windows, and they often have a whole laundry list of Windows gripes. “Why can’t Windows do this rather than that?” “Why does Windows do X instead of Y?” “Wouldn’t it be great if Windows could do Z?”

Most people think Windows is set in stone, but it isn’t! Strip off that veneer and a whole world comes into view, one that’s hackable, moddable, tweakable, customizable, and personalizable. This book shows you the tools and technologies that anyone can use to hack almost every aspect of Windows, from startup to shutdown, from the interface to the Internet, from security to scripting.

• Speed up your tired PC with a fistful of easy-to-do, but oh so powerful tweaks!

• Tired of looking at the same old Windows day in and day out? So are we! That’s why we show you how to give Windows a makeover!

• Want to be more productive at work or home? This book is full of productivity tweaks that not only make Windows more fun to use, but also save you tons of time.

• Create custom backup routines that safeguard your precious data.

• Tighten the security of your PC and your network to stop would-be thieves in their tracks.

• Dual-boot Windows XP and Vista on the same machine, or dare we say it, run MacOS on your PC! We won’t tell.

Paul McFedries is a passionate computer tinkerer and Windows expert. He is the author of more than 60 computer books that have sold more than 3 million copies worldwide. His recent titles include the Sams Publishing books Windows Vista Unleashed, Second Edition, and Windows Home Server Unleashed, and the Que Publishing books Build It. Fix It. Own It. : Networking with Windows Vista, Formulas and Functions with Microsoft Excel 2007, Tricks of the Microsoft Office 2007 Gurus, and Microsoft Access 2007 Forms, Reports, and Queries. Paul is also the proprietor of Word Spy (www.wordspy.com), a website devoted to tracking new words and phrases as they enter the English language.

CATEGORY: Windows Operating System

COVERS: Windows Vista and XP

USER LEVEL: Beginning-Intermediate

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789738226
  • Publisher: Que
  • Publication date: 4/10/2009
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 9.12 (w) x 7.02 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul McFedries is a full-time technical author who has worked with computers in one form or another since 1975 and has used Windows since version 1. He is the author of more than 60 computer books that have sold more than 3 million copies worldwide. His recent titles include the Sams Publishing books Microsoft Windows Vista Unleashed, Second Edition, and Microsoft Windows Home Server Unleashed and the Que Publishing books Networking with Microsoft Windows Vista, and Build It. Fix It. Own It. A Beginner’s Guide to Building and Upgrading a PC. Paul is also the proprietor of Word Spy (www.wordspy.com) a website devoted to tracking new words and phrases as they enter the English language. Please feel free to drop by Paul’s personal website at www.mcfedries.com.

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Read an Excerpt

IntroductionIntroduction

In this Introduction

  • Who Should Read This Book?
  • Conventions Used in This Book

Hundreds of millions of people use Windows every day, and it’s a safe bet that some of them would not describe themselves as happy Windows campers. Regardless of skill level, most people have something they dislike about Windows, and they often have a whole laundry list of gripes. “Why can’t Windows do this rather than that?” “Why does Windows do X instead of Y?” “Wouldn’t it be great if Windows could do Z?” Scratch the surface of most Windows users and you’ll come upon a seething cauldron of unmet needs, unrequited desires, and unending frustration at being stuck with Windows the way it is.

However, a funny thing happens when you tell people that it doesn’t have to be this way, that they don’t have to put up with the out-of-the-box Windows experience: An initial skepticism soon gives way and their eyes light up with an almost forgotten feeling—hope. Specifically, the hope that they really can make Windows smarter, safer, faster, more flexible, and more aligned to their needs.

The secret behind this hope? Tweaks, tweaks, and more tweaks! Most people think that Windows is set in stone, but that apparently solid surface is really just a thin veneer that Microsoft slaps onto Windows to ensure that new and fumble-fingered users don’t get into trouble. Strip off that veneer and a whole world comes into view, one that’s eminently tweakable, moddable, hackable, customizable, and personalizable. Within this world lie tools and technologies that anyone can use to tweak and tune almost every aspect of Windows, from startup to shutdown, from the interface to the Internet, from security to scripting.

Tweak It and Freak It!

Tweak It and Freak It: A Killer Guide to Making Windows Run Your Way is your guide to this tweakable Windows landscape. With a lighthearted and lightly irreverent tone, and with a bare minimum of jargon and technical claptrap, this book takes you through hundreds of useful, unique, and easy tweaks designed to improve Windows Vista and Windows XP. The key words here are useful, unique, and easy:

  • Useful—Any monkey can, say, reverse the interface shadows, but what’s the point of doing that? In this book, if a hack doesn’t help you get your work done, solve a problem, or make Windows more secure or reliable, it didn’t make the cut.
  • Unique—There are lots of Windows tweaks available on the Internet and in other books, so you certainly don’t want another conglomeration of the same old Registry hacks. Instead, this book presents a fresh collection of tweaks that include many custom hacks that I’ve built over the years.
  • Easy—A tweak that takes you an hour to implement and yet saves only a few seconds a day isn’t much of a tweak. This book focuses on tweaks that you can implement with a few steps, or with easy-to-understand plug-and-play scripts.

My goal with this book is to empower you to take a hands-on, do-it-yourself approach to tweaking Windows. In the end, you’ll no longer have a version of Windows that Microsoft thinks you should have, but rather a tweaked and tuned version that suits the way you work and play.

Who Should Read This Book?

This book is aimed at Windows users who have a gripe, a beef, or an ax to grind and are looking for ways to overcome their Windows woes and shortcomings with targeted, easy-to-implement tweaks and tune-ups. This book will also appeal to curious users who want to travel down different Windows roads, rebellious users who want to thumb their noses at standard-issue Windows techniques, and power users who want to get the most of Windows.

To that end, this book includes the following features:

  • A focus on practical, useful tweaks rather than mere tricks.
  • Tweaks for both Windows Vista and Windows XP.
  • Icons that show you which operating systems the tweak works with and the difficulty level of each tweak.
  • Unique tweaks, many of which have never been seen before.
  • Explanations of key concepts for novice users.
  • In-depth coverage of the inner workings of each hack for more experienced users.
  • A friendly and lightly humorous tone that I trust will make you feel at home with the subject and keep boredom at bay.
Conventions Used in This Book

To make your life easier, this book includes various features and conventions that help you get the most out of this book:

Steps

Throughout the book, I’ve broken many building, upgrading, and repairing tasks into easy-to-follow step-by-step procedures.

Things you type

Whenever I suggest that you type something, what you type appears in a bold monospace font.

Filenames, folder names, and code

These things appear in a monospace font.

Commands

Commands and their syntax use the monospace font, too. Command placeholders (which stand for what you actually type) appear in an italic monospace font.

Pull-down menu commands

I use the following style for all application menu commands: Menu, Command, where Menu is the name of the menu you pull down and Command is the name of the command you select. Here’s an example: File, Open. This means that you pull down the File menu and select the Open command.

This book also uses the following boxes to draw your attention to important (or merely interesting) information:

Note - ?The Note box presents asides that give you more information about the current topic. These tidbits provide extra insights that offer a better understanding of the task.

Tip - The Tip box tells you about methods that are easier, faster, or more efficient than the standard methods.

Caution - The all-important Caution box tells you about potential accidents waiting to happen. There are always ways to mess things up when you're working with computers. These boxes help you avoid those traps and pitfalls.

Online Chapters

I had such a good time writing this book that I actually ended up writing too much! Way too much, in fact, but that’s not a problem in this day and age because what wouldn’t fit between the covers of the book can easily fit between the covers of my website. And that’s just what I’ve done: Six of this book’s chapters are available online at my site. Just point your favorite web browser to http://www.mcfedries.com/TweakItFreakIt.

These files are also freely available from Que Publishing at http://www.informit.com/title/0789738228. There, you’ll also find information on Que’s other products.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

Tweak It and Freak It!

Who Should Read This Book? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

Conventions Used in This Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

Part I: Two Dozen Easy and Essential Windows Tweaks

1 Vital Performance Tweaks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

Silence the Graphical Bells and Whistles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Tuning Graphics Performance Using Visual Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

Tuning Graphics Performance in Windows Vista . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

Boost Vista Performance Using a Flash Drive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

Ensure Windows Is Optimized for Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

Enable Your Hard Drive’s Advanced Performance Features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

2 Crucial Security Tweaks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17

Thwart Snoops by Locking Your Computer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

Start Your Computer More Securely . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20

Take Steps to Thwart Crackers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21

Take Steps to Thwart Viruses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

3 Indispensable Interface Tweaks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29

Add the Handy Run Command to Vista’s Start Menu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30

Make Files Make Sense by Showing Extensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31

Give Your Eyes a Rest by Turning on ClearType . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34

Activating ClearType in Vista . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34

Activating ClearType in XP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35

Automatically Move the Mouse to the Default Button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35

4 Terrific Web Tweaks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37

Load Multiple Home Pages at Startup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37

Become an Address Bar Guru . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39

Switch to New Tabs Right Away . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41

Disable Annoying Animated GIFs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43

5 Easy Email Tweaks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45

Stop Windows from Adding Recipients to Your Contacts List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46

Check Account Messages from Multiple Devices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47

Send Messages Through a Custom SMTP Port . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48

Configure Replies to Go to a Different Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51

6 Fundamental File Tweaks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53

Easily Select Files and Folders Using Check Boxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53

Save Time by Stopping Delete Confirmations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56

Search Smarter with Customized Start Menu Searching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59

Open a Document Using a Different Application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62

Part II: Even More Ways to Make Windows Safe and Secure

7 Keeping the Bad Guys at Bay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67

Sneakily Hide Usernames in the Logon Screen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .68

Rename Built-In Accounts for Better Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71

Sniff Out Logon Failures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72

Max Out Security by Encrypting Important Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79

8 Configuring Internet Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81

Make Sure Your Firewall Is Up to Snuff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .84

Create a Windows Firewall Exception . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85

Activating an Existing Exception . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .87

Adding a Program as a New Exception . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88

Adding a Port as a New Exception . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89

Example: Accessing Your Web Server Over the Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .90

Boost Email Security by Reading Messages in Plain Text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93

Reduce Spam by Blocking Messages from Certain Countries or Languages . . . . . . . . . .95

9 Maintaining Your Privacy on the Web . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . .101

Cover Your Tracks by Deleting Your Browsing History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .102

Clear the Address Bar List Without Also Clearing Your History List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .106

Cover Your Online Tracks by Deleting Your Google Web History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .108

Keep a Site’s Hands Off Your PC by Blocking Cookies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .110

Surf Anonymously with a Proxy Server . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . .112

Using a Web Proxy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . .112

Configuring Internet Explorer to Use a Proxy Server . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .114

Part III: Getting the Most Out of User Accounts

10 Tweaking Windows for Safe and Fun Family U se . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .115

Get Control by Turning on Parental Controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .115

Keep Your PC Safe with a List of Allowed Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .117

Maintain Balance by Enforcing Computer Time Limits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .118

Let Kids Surf Safely with a List of Allowed Websites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .120

Keep the Online World at Bay by Blocking File Downloads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .122

11 More User Account Tweaks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .125

Prevent Elevation for All Standard Users . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . .125

Close Off Your Computer by Disabling All Other Users . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .129

Use the Guest Account to Give Folks Temporary Access . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .130

Determine Who Is Logged On . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .131

12 Taking Advantage of the Administrator Account . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .135

Activate the Administrator Account . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .136

Make the Administrator Account More Secure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .139

Run Command Prompt as the Administrator Automatically . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .140

Run a Script as the Administrator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .141

Install and Run an Older Program as the Administrator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .143

13 Crucial Password Hacks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .145

Bulletproof Your Password . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .146

Set a Minimum Password Length and Strength . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .147

Require Users to Change Their Passwords . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . .150

Prevent People from Reusing Old Passwords . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .153

Recover from a Forgotten Password . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . .155

Part IV: Tuning Windows Performance

14 General Performance Tweaks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .159

Start Faster by Disabling the Windows Startup GUI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .160

Save Time by Logging On Automatically . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .161

Speed Up a Program by Changing Its Execution Priority . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .163

Open Files and Folders with a Click . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .164

Disable Services for Faster Performance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .166

Make Windows Shut Down Services Faster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .171

15 Streamlining the Start Menu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .173

Pin a Program to the Start Menu for Easy Access . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .173

Convert Start Menu Links to Menus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .175

Make the Start Menu Appear More Quickly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .176

Prevent the Start Menu from Highlighting New Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .177

Get Rid of Start Menu Icons You Don’t Use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .179

16 Speeding Up Your Web Surfing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .183

Use Any Search Engine from the Address Bar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .183

Create a Custom Search Provider . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .187

Make Tabs More Efficient . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .189

Speed Up Web Surfing with OpenDNS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .190

Access Common Sites Faster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .194

Part V: Customizing the Interface

17 Giving Windows a Makeover . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .197

Hide Some (or Even All) Notification Area Icons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .197

Get Control of Taskbar Grouping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .200

Turn Off Vista’s Aero Interface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .202

18 Useful Interface Tweaks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .205

Widen the Blinking Cursor to Make It Easier to See . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .205

Make Text Easier to Read by Adjusting the Font Size . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .207

Run Windows with Three or More Monitors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .209

19 Useful and Fun Interface Mods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .215

Give Windows a Custom Logo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .215

Give Windows XP a Custom Logo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .216

Give Windows Vista a Custom Logo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .220

Customize the Places Bar for Easier Navigation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .222

Customizing the Places Bar via Group Policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .223

Customizing the Places Bar via the Registry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .225

Display Multiple Clocks for Different Time Zones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .225

Part VI: Playing with Media

20 Modding Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .229

Rip It Your Way with Custom Rip Settings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .230

Selecting a Location and Filename Structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .230

Choosing the Recording File Format . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .231

Specifying the Quality of the Recording . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .233

Rip Music to a Network Location . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . .234

Share Media Over Your Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .234

21 Tweaking Photos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .239

Fix a Photo by Removing Red Eye . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .240

Crop a Photo to Get Rid of Unwanted Elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .241

Configure Custom Photo Import Names . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .243

Stitch Multiple Photos into a Panorama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .245

Publish Photos to Your Flickr Account . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .247

22 Customizing Video . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .249

Record TV Shows to a Network Location . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .250

Edit Ads from a Recorded TV Show . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . .252

Compress Video Files to Save Space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .254

Part VII: Hacking the File System

23 Handy File and Folder Tweaks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .257

Delete the Oldest Files in a Folder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .257

Rename Multiple Files in One Fell Swoop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .261

Open a Folder at the Command Prompt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . .262

Tweaking XP to Open a Folder at the Command Prompt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .262

Tweaking Vista to Open a Folder at the Command Prompt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .264

Fix Permission Problems by Taking Ownership of Your Files . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .265

24 Dealing with Disk Drives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . .269

Schedule Automatic Defrags in XP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .269

Divide Your Hard Drive into Two Partitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .273

Determine a Remote Computer’s Disk Drive Free Space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .276

Create an Instant Restore Point . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .280

Move the Paging File to a Faster Hard Drive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . .282

25 Super Searching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .285

Add Folders to the Search Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .286

Create Powerful Searches Using Properties and Filters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .287

Search for Files Using Natural Language Queries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .291

Make Searches More Targeted by Finding Only Exact Matches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .293

Save Searches to Save Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .294

26 Building Better Backups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .297

Back Up to a Network Location . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .297

Back Up to a Network in Windows Vista . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .298

Back Up to a Network in Windows XP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . .300

Create a Backup of Your Entire Computer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .302

Back Up Your Entire Computer in Windows Vista . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .302

Back Up Your Entire Computer in Windows XP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .303

Recover from Disaster Using Your Complete PC Backup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .304

Recover from Disaster in Windows Vista . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . .305

Recover from Disaster in Windows XP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .306

Restore an XP Backup to Vista . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .307

Use XP’s Backup Utility in Vista . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .309

27 Customizing the File System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .313

Customize the New Menu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .314

Customize the Open With List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .317

Removing an Application from a File Type’s Open With Menu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .318

Removing a Program from the Open With List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .319

Adding a Program to the Open With List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .319

Disabling the Open With Check Box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .319

Add Tabs to Windows Explorer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .320

Part VIII: Taking Networks to a New Level

28 Working with Network Computers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .323

Give a Computer a Static IP Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .324

Make XP Computers Appear in Vista’s Network Map . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .327

Access Mac Shares via Windows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .331

29 Tightening Network Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .335

Lock Down Network Shares with Advanced Security Permissions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .335

Easy and Flexible Network Sharing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .336

Easy and Secure Network Sharing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .337

Flexible and Secure Network Sharing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . .338

Creating User Accounts for Sharing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .338

Hide Your Shared Folders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .340

Hide a Shared Folder in Windows Vista . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . .340

Hide a Shared Folder in Windows XP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . .341

Viewing a Hidden Share . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .341

Disable the Hidden Administrative Shares . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .342

Remove Stored Remote Desktop Credentials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . .343

30 Making Remote Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .345

Configure Windows as a Remote Desktop Host . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .346

Configuring Vista to Act as a Remote Desktop Host . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .346

Configuring XP to Act as a Remote Desktop Host . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .349

Installing Remote Desktop on an XP Client Computer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .350

Connect to a Remote Desktop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .350

Connect to Your Desktop via the Internet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .354

Changing the Listening Port . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .355

Configuring Windows Firewall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .356

Determining the Host IP Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . .356

Setting Up Port Forwarding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . .357

Connecting Using the IP Address and New Port . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .358

Configure a Network Computer for Remote Administration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .358

Connect to a Remote Computer with a Script . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. .359

Determine a Remote Computer’s Windows Version . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .362

Determine a Remote Computer’s Service Pack Version . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .364

31 Tweaking Wireless Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .367

Ramp Up Wireless Network Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .368

Connect to a Hidden Wireless Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . .371

Connect to a Hidden Wireless Network in Windows Vista . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .371

Connect to a Hidden Wireless Network in Windows XP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .372

Create Your Own Ad Hoc Wireless Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . .374

Create an Ad Hoc Wireless Network in Windows Vista . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .374

Create an Ad Hoc Wireless Network in Windows XP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .376

Part IX: Modding Programs

32 Running Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . .379

Use the Windows Key to Start Quick Launch Programs in Vista . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .380

Make a Program Think It’s Running Under an Earlier Version of Windows . . . . . . . . . . . .381

Set Up a Program to Launch Automatically at Startup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .384

Using the Startup Folder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .384

Using the Registry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . .385

Using Group Policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .386

Prevent Programs from Starting Automatically . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .388

33 More Program Tweaks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .391

Restrict a Program to a Single CPU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .391

Remove Hidden Windows Components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . .393

Shut Down Hung Programs Automatically . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . .395

Write a Complete List of Installed Programs to a Text File . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .396

Reset a Broken Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. .398

Part X: Tools for Tweaking Windows

34 Tweaking Windows with the Registry Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .401

Firing Up the Registry Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . .. . . . . .402

Taking a Tour of the Registry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .403

Getting Around in the Keys Pane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .403

Understanding Registry Settings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .404

Keeping the Registry Safe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. .405

Preventing Other Folks from Messing with the Registry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .406

Backing Up the Registry in Vista . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .407

Backing Up the Registry in XP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .407

Saving the Current Registry State with System Restore . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .408

Protecting Keys by Exporting Them to Disk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . .409

Working with Registry Entries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .410

Changing the Value of a Registry Entry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . .410

Renaming a Key or Setting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .416

Creating a New Key or Setting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .416

Deleting a Key or Setting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .417

Finding Registry Entries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .417

35 Controlling Windows with the Group Policy Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .419

Understanding Group Policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .420

Group Policy Editor and Windows Versions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .420

Launching the Group Policy Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .421

Working with Group Policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .422

36 Running the Command Prompt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .425

Starting a Command Prompt Session . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . .426

Running Command Prompt as the Administrator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .427

Using CMD.EXE Switches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . .428

Running Commands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . .429

Running Internal and External Commands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .429

Adding Parameters and Switches to a Command Prompt Command . . . . . . . . . . . . .430

Working with Long Filenames . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .432

Starting Applications from Command Prompt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .433

Recalling and Editing Commands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .435

Recalling Command Lines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .435

Entering Multiple Commands on a Single Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .436

Editing Command Lines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .436

Sharing Data Between the Command Prompt and Windows Applications . . . . . . . . . .437

Copying Text from the Command Prompt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . .437

Pasting Text to the Command Prompt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . .438

37 Running Scripts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . .439

Understanding Windows Script Host . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .440

Introducing Script Files . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .441

Running Script Files Directly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .442

Using WScript for Windows-Based Scripts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . .442

Using CScript for Command-Line Scripts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .444

Script Properties and .wsh Files . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .445

Index

ONLINE CHAPTERS

XI Hacking Hardware

W1 Device Driver Tweaks

W2 Dealing with Devices

XII Customizing Windows Startup and Shutdown

W3 Creating Your Own Custom Startup

W4 Customizing Windows Restarts and Shutdowns

W5 Dual-Booting Windows with Other Operating Systems

W6 Running Mac OS X Under Windows

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Preface

IntroductionIntroduction

In this Introduction


  • Who Should Read This Book?

  • Conventions Used in This Book

Hundreds of millions of people use Windows every day, and it’s a safe bet that some of them would not describe themselves as happy Windows campers. Regardless of skill level, most people have something they dislike about Windows, and they often have a whole laundry list of gripes. “Why can’t Windows do this rather than that?” “Why does Windows do X instead of Y?” “Wouldn’t it be great if Windows could do Z?” Scratch the surface of most Windows users and you’ll come upon a seething cauldron of unmet needs, unrequited desires, and unending frustration at being stuck with Windows the way it is.

However, a funny thing happens when you tell people that it doesn’t have to be this way, that they don’t have to put up with the out-of-the-box Windows experience: An initial skepticism soon gives way and their eyes light up with an almost forgotten feeling—hope. Specifically, the hope that they really can make Windows smarter, safer, faster, more flexible, and more aligned to their needs.

The secret behind this hope? Tweaks, tweaks, and more tweaks! Most people think that Windows is set in stone, but that apparently solid surface is really just a thin veneer that Microsoft slaps onto Windows to ensure that new and fumble-fingered users don’t get into trouble. Strip off that veneer and a whole world comes into view, one that’s eminently tweakable, moddable, hackable, customizable, and personalizable. Within this world lie tools andtechnologies that anyone can use to tweak and tune almost every aspect of Windows, from startup to shutdown, from the interface to the Internet, from security to scripting.

Tweak It and Freak It!

Tweak It and Freak It: A Killer Guide to Making Windows Run Your Way is your guide to this tweakable Windows landscape. With a lighthearted and lightly irreverent tone, and with a bare minimum of jargon and technical claptrap, this book takes you through hundreds of useful, unique, and easy tweaks designed to improve Windows Vista and Windows XP. The key words here are useful, unique, and easy:


  • Useful—Any monkey can, say, reverse the interface shadows, but what’s the point of doing that? In this book, if a hack doesn’t help you get your work done, solve a problem, or make Windows more secure or reliable, it didn’t make the cut.

  • Unique—There are lots of Windows tweaks available on the Internet and in other books, so you certainly don’t want another conglomeration of the same old Registry hacks. Instead, this book presents a fresh collection of tweaks that include many custom hacks that I’ve built over the years.

  • Easy—A tweak that takes you an hour to implement and yet saves only a few seconds a day isn’t much of a tweak. This book focuses on tweaks that you can implement with a few steps, or with easy-to-understand plug-and-play scripts.

My goal with this book is to empower you to take a hands-on, do-it-yourself approach to tweaking Windows. In the end, you’ll no longer have a version of Windows that Microsoft thinks you should have, but rather a tweaked and tuned version that suits the way you work and play.

Who Should Read This Book?

This book is aimed at Windows users who have a gripe, a beef, or an ax to grind and are looking for ways to overcome their Windows woes and shortcomings with targeted, easy-to-implement tweaks and tune-ups. This book will also appeal to curious users who want to travel down different Windows roads, rebellious users who want to thumb their noses at standard-issue Windows techniques, and power users who want to get the most of Windows.

To that end, this book includes the following features:


  • A focus on practical, useful tweaks rather than mere tricks.

  • Tweaks for both Windows Vista and Windows XP.

  • Icons that show you which operating systems the tweak works with and the difficulty level of each tweak.

  • Unique tweaks, many of which have never been seen before.

  • Explanations of key concepts for novice users.

  • In-depth coverage of the inner workings of each hack for more experienced users.

  • A friendly and lightly humorous tone that I trust will make you feel at home with the subject and keep boredom at bay.
Conventions Used in This Book

To make your life easier, this book includes various features and conventions that help you get the most out of this book:

Steps

Throughout the book, I’ve broken many building, upgrading, and repairing tasks into easy-to-follow step-by-step procedures.

Things you type

Whenever I suggest that you type something, what you type appears in a bold monospace font.

Filenames, folder names, and code

These things appear in a monospace font.

Commands

Commands and their syntax use the monospace font, too. Command placeholders (which stand for what you actually type) appear in an italic monospace font.

Pull-down menu commands

I use the following style for all application menu commands: Menu, Command, where Menu is the name of the menu you pull down and Command is the name of the command you select. Here’s an example: File, Open. This means that you pull down the File menu and select the Open command.

This book also uses the following boxes to draw your attention to important (or merely interesting) information:

Note - ?The Note box presents asides that give you more information about the current topic. These tidbits provide extra insights that offer a better understanding of the task.

Tip - The Tip box tells you about methods that are easier, faster, or more efficient than the standard methods.

Caution - The all-important Caution box tells you about potential accidents waiting to happen. There are always ways to mess things up when you're working with computers. These boxes help you avoid those traps and pitfalls.

Online Chapters

I had such a good time writing this book that I actually ended up writing too much! Way too much, in fact, but that’s not a problem in this day and age because what wouldn’t fit between the covers of the book can easily fit between the covers of my website. And that’s just what I’ve done: Six of this book’s chapters are available online at my site. Just point your favorite web browser to http://www.mcfedries.com/TweakItFreakIt.

These files are also freely available from Que Publishing at http://www.informit.com/title/0789738228. There, you’ll also find information on Que’s other products.


© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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