Jan 28, 2009

Enable dropshadow behind icons

In Windows xp and its successive operating systems, the icon labels blend with the wallpaper on the desktop i.e.you don’t see any background color behind the icon text but a drop shadow behind the text. This blending effect or drop shadow effect gives a pleasant visual appearance. But sometimes, after changing the background color of desktop, your icon labels show a background color behind them as if your background is all patched up at different places. To get rid of this,

Right click on My Computer and select Properties.

Click settings under the performance tab and click on visual effects tab. Here you can play with all the available appearance effects. All you have to do is check the ‘use drop shadows for icon labels on desktop’. Click OK to finish the job.

If this does not solve the problem, you can right click on desktop select ‘arrange icons by’ option and check if ‘lock web items on desktop’ option is checked. If it is checked, uncheck it. This should solve the issue.

Jan 27, 2009

Prevent Firefox from saving url in history

Firefox places a list of your visited urls in the history menu by default. You can prevent Firefox from saving your visited websites' names in the history drop down box by following these steps:

Go to the partition where Firefox is installed (e.g. Local Disk C or Local Disk D). Browse to Document and Settings \ !user name! \ Application Data \ Mozilla \ Firefox \ Profiles \ 0e0oiola.default. There should be a file named History.dat. All you have to do is right click on it, select Properties and check the read only check box. If done flawlessly, this will enable you to surf the net without leaving behind any tracks!

Reduce size or Word Documents

Working with large files is a problem especially if you have to transfer them frequently over the internet using a slow internet connection. In MS Word XP, document files sometimes become too large in size. There is a simple and quick way to prevent this from happening. But first, let us try to understand why does this happen. Whenever you save a file in MS Word XP by pressing Ctrl+S, the program does not overwrite the entire file from scratch but incrementally saves the changes made and appends it to the original file i.e. it is simply adding more and more data to the file and making it larger and larger every time you save it. To turn off this incremental saving, follow these steps:

Click on Tools button

Select General Options

From the box that pops uncheck the ‘allow fast saves’ option

From now on, Word will rewrite the whole file from scratch each time you save it. This will take some time though to save, but file size will be reduced considerably.

Jan 25, 2009

When Windows is unable to identify your hardware

Windows xp has a very sophisticated hardware driver management system. Whenever you plug in any new hardware device, it automatically detects it and proceeds with the driver installation. But sometimes, it fails to identify some devices. In such a case, you have to manually install the drivers for that particular hardware device.

Go to Start > Control Panel > Add Hardware, to start the add hardware wizard.

Click next and wait for wizard to search for any newly connected hardware.

If it fails to detect the hardware, select the option, ‘Yes, I have already connected the hardware’ and click on next.

Select your hardware device from the list in the next screen. If you don’t find your hardware there, select, ‘Add a new hardware device’ given as the last option in the list.

In the next screen, the wizard wants to know whether you want to search for and install the hardware automatically or install the driver manually. As windows did not find any attached hardware previously, select the second option.

In the next screen, the wizard comes up with a list of various hardware categories. Select the type of hardware you are trying to install and click next.

The wizard then shows a list of different manufacturers and models whose drivers are present in Windows xp driver database.

Select the exact model and click next to install the drivers.

If the model is not present in the list then you might consider downloading the drivers from the internet by visiting the manufacturer’s website. When you are done with that select the have disk option to install the downloaded drivers.

Get rid of dialup modem noise

If you use an external dialup modem to connect to internet, you would have probably experienced a noise coming out of the modem while it tries to connect to internet. This noise can be very annoying at times. Usually, the default volume of this sound is set to maximum. If you want to disable or reduce the sound, follow these steps.

Go to ‘start’ and open ‘control panel’.

Click on ‘network and internet connections’.

Click on ‘phone and modem’ option and then on ‘modems’ tab.

Select your modem and click on properties.

Drag the speaker volume to your desired level.

Click ok and close the network and internet connections window.

Make taskbar display day and date

By default, the clock residing in the taskbar at the bottom of the screen in windows shows only time. But if you want it to show date and day as well, follow these steps:

1. Right click on the taskbar and uncheck the ‘lock the taskbar’ option. This will enable you to extend the taskbar vertically.

2. Keep the cursor at the upper edge of the taskbar and drag it vertically upwards so that it extends in the same direction.

3. You will find day and date being shown below the time.

This extended taskbar consumes a bit of screen size but it is good for those who keep asking “what day/date is it?”!

Jan 21, 2009

Use headphone jack in optical drive

Almost all of the optical drives come with a 3.5mm headphone jack. It is used to get analog audio output. What we get from the audio card is digital output. Windows xp sets digital music playback as default playback option, that is why you do not get the audio output when you insert the headphone cable in the optical drive jack as it is meant for analog output only. If you want to hear the analog audio directly from your CD-ROM drive, you will have to manually set the audio output as analog. To do this,

1. Right click on My Computer icon and click on properties.

2. Select the hardware tab and click on device manager.

3. In the device manager window, under 'DVD/CD-ROM Drives' locate your optical drive and double click it.

4. Go to properties and under the 'Digital CD Playback', deselect the 'enable digital audio from this cdrom drive' checkbox.

5. Restart your machine and you should be able to hear the audio through your headphones.

Jan 20, 2009

Extend the cable length of headphones and speakers

Headphones or Speakers usually come with a cable length of about 1m to 1.5m depending upon the brand. But for a lot of people, this length is not enough. It gets stretched whenever it is connected to pc. This ultimately leads to breaking of the cable and you have to buy a new one. You can prevent this by using a stereo audio extension cable. This cable has a 3.5mm stereo pin at one end and a 3.5mm jack at the other. All you have to do is plug your headphone to one end and the cable to your pc. These cables come in different lenghts. 

These links may help you:




Disable Scandisk when Windows starts

When Windows xp does not shut down correctly due to sudden power failure or forceful shutdown by the user, it performs a check to make sure your hard disk is alright. This can be a bit annoying at times. Fortunately, there is a way to disable this autocheck.

1.Go to start and click run. Type 'regedit' and hit enter.

2.Go to 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE>SYSTEM>CurrentControlSet>Control>SessionManager'

3.Create a new DWORD value or modify the existing value, called 'AutoChkTimeOut' and set it according to the value data as follows:

Value Name : AutoChkTimeOut

Data Type : REG_DWORD(DWORD value)

Value Data : Time in seconds(put 0 to disable)

Using iPod as a hard disk

For those who were unaware of this, you can use your iPod as an external hard disk. In disk mode, you can transfer your data and use your iPod as a portable hard disk! By pressing a special combination of buttons you can activate disk mode without using iTunes. To do this,

1. First of all, reset your ipod.

2. When you see the apple logo, press back and forward(for first to third generation) until the disk mode is displayed or press select and play(for fourth generation).

3. To get out of disk mode, perform a reset

Jan 14, 2009

Why Doesn't Windows Remember My Folder View Settings?

Does Windows forget the view settings of certain folders specified by you? Do your folders reset to some other view setting after you close  and reopen them?  this is a very annoying problem which can eat up a lot of time. This is caused  because Windows can remember the view settings of 200 local folders and network folders by default. If you increase this value, you can get rid of the problem. To do this, you need to do some adjustments in the registry editor:

Follow these steps, and then quit Registry Editor:

1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
2. Locate and then click the following key in the registry:
3. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
4. Type BagMRU Size, and then press ENTER.
5. On the Edit menu, click Modify.
6. Type 5000, and then click OK.


1. Locate and then click the following key in the registry:
2. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
3. Type BagMRU Size, and then press ENTER.
4. On the Edit menu, click Modify.
5. Type 5000, and then click OK.

Jan 13, 2009

Make free calls anywhere in the world

So you thought nothing in this world is free? Wrong! You can actually make free calls or send free text anywhere in the world by registering a free account at tabrio.com. You are allowed to call for free for some initial 30 minutes (depending upon your location) until your balance runs out. After that you have to recharge your account to continue using the service. When you create an account at tabrio.com you get a balance of $0.33. You can view the calling rates for the for and from the location you are calling on the site itself. There are some other features also such as 

Tabrio Mobile which lets you start calls and send international texts to anyone at low costs without being near a computer.

Tabrio Desktop allows you to add, edit and delete contacts, add more calling locations, make calls, and send and receive text messages!

Tabrio Outlook Sync to Sync all your MS Outlook 2007 contacts to Tabrio in one easy step. Have the numbers that you need, when and where you 
need them.

Audio, Video files playing improperly

If your audio or videos files are playing as though the fast forwarding is on, causing improper audio or video output, there is a very good chance that your drivers are not properly installed. Such problems usually arise when the audio or video drivers are installed before the chipset the driver. So, to fix this problem, you need to uninstall all the drivers and reinstall them in the correct order. The correct method is to install the chipset driver first and any other driver such as audio or video later on.

When you are done with all this, reboot your system and check the audio/video files. They should play properly.

Unmountable Boot Volume error message

The unmountable boot error message during booting windows xp occurs when your boot.ini file gets corrupt. To fix this problem, boot your pc with the windows xp installation CD and while the pc is booting, press the R key when your see the ‘welcome to setup’ screen to repair the windows xp installation. Type “chkdsk /f” in the dos prompt that appears and press enter. Now, windows will start checking the system drive for errors and automatically remove them.
Next, type “fixboot” and hit enter. This will write a new boot sector to the system partition. Type exit and press enter to reboot into windows.

Enable Registry Editor

Open notepad and type [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System]“DisableRegistryTools”=dword:00000001
Save the file and change its extension from .txt to .reg. Now double click the file and click yes to the dialog box. Restart windows, and the registry editor should be enabled.