Windows XP A to Z - http://www.softwaretipsandtricks.com/windowsxp
Windows XP FAQ H
http://www.softwaretipsandtricks.com/windowsxp/articles/564/1/Windows-XP-FAQ-H
Super Admin
 
By Super Admin
Published on 02/27/2005
 
starting with letter "H"

Windows XP FAQ H Page 1

This information courtesy of Kellys Korner XP

HAL - Hardware Abstraction Layer

HAL is Microsoft's abbreviation for the Hardware Abstraction Layer, the technology and drivers that let the Windows NT, 2000, and XP operating systems communicate with your PC's hardware. HAL is one of several features--along with the NT file system (NTFS) that replaced the much less secure MS-DOS--that make NT-based operating systems more secure and reliable than Windows 95, 98, and Me.

HAL prevents applications from directly accessing your PC's system memory, CPU, or hardware devices (such as video and sound cards)--a method that can prevent many device conflicts and crashes. Unfortunately, HAL sometimes also slows or stops DOS games and programs, which need to load their own memory managers or control hardware directly for better performance.

With HAL in the way, developers must rewrite or even abandon their older software in favor of newer, HAL-compatible versions. Microsoft has pressured hardware makers to provide or support technologies such as MMX, DirectX, and 3D graphics language OpenGL, all of which allow fast but indirect access to the advanced high-performance features of video, sound, and CPU hardware. Such access also makes for a better visual experience when using Windows for Web and productivity applications; improved graphics performance is evident all over Windows XP's new user interface.

XP also offers some new compatibility-mode features that let you run programs meant to run under earlier operating systems, but, frankly, most DOS-based and even some Windows-based games simply won't work with the new OS.

     Tip: 
To see which HAL is currently installed, open Device Manager, and expand the Computer branch. The entry that
              appears in this branch corresponds to the currently installed HAL.

Situations in Which Windows May Not Start in Safe Mode
How to Troubleshoot Hardware Abstraction Layer Issues
How to Move a Windows XP Installation to Different Hardware

Setup Error Msg: Cannot find file: \Windows\System32\hal.dll

HAL.DLL is Missing

Boot from your CD and follow the directions below to start Recovery Console.

Insert the Setup compact disc (CD) and restart the computer. If prompted, select any options required to boot from the CD.
When the text-based part of Setup begins, follow the prompts; choose the repair or recover option by pressing R.

If you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot system, choose the installation that you need to access from the Recovery Console.
When prompted, type the Administrator password. (if you didn't create one try pressing enter).

At the system prompt, type Recovery Console commands; type help for a list of commands, or help commandname for help on a specific command.

Most likely you will need to expand the file from the CD. The command would be expand d:\i386\hal.dl_ c:\windows\system32\hal.dll. Substitute d: for the drive letter of your CD. Once you have expanded the file type "exit" to exit the Recovery Console and restart the computer.
 
Error Message: Cannot Find \Windows\System32\hal.dll

Hard Disk - Activity

Run the Task Manager, go to the Processes tab, and turn on the following columns: "I/O Read Bytes" and "I/O Write Bytes." This will give you details as to which process is accessing the disk. Although many processes will be accessing the disk a lot, look for one with a high total or a fast rate of increase, especially when you hear the drive being accessed.

Hard Disk Performance Is Slower Than You Expect
OFFXP: Hard Disk Runs Continuously After You Install Office XP

Hard Disk - Cleaning

Hard disks keep getting bigger and bigger, but somehow we still run out of space. MP3s and other media files are immensely popular–and simply immense. Programs are bigger, and data files are bigger. Windows Explorer isn't much help. It will tell you the size of all selected files in a folder, but nothing about the files in that folder's subfolders.

Enter DiskPie2 a utility to identify the biggest consumers of disk space. Pie charts let you see at a glance which folders and file types are taking up the most space. The charts are highly customizable, and can be printed.

An Explorer view lets you navigate to the folder you want to chart, and as a bonus displays the number of bytes in and below the selected folder. DiskPie2 also can display and print a report of the largest files in the selected folder. Armed with the information that DiskPie provides, you can decide how best to allocate the space on your disk.

TreeSize:  Every hard disk is too small if you just wait long enough. TreeSize tells you where precious space has gone to. TreeSize can be started from the context menu of a folder or drive and shows you the size of this folder, including its subfolders. You can expand this folder in Explorer-like style and you will see the size of every subfolder. Scanning is done in a thread, so you can already see results while TreeSize is working. The space, which is wasted by the file system can be displayed and the results can be printed in a report. TreeSize is Mailware for Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP.  Download.

Hard Disk - Heavy Load

HeavyLoad simulates heavy activity on a PC, it allows you to test if a workstation or server PC is working stable under heavy load. It stresses processor, memory and hard disks, operating system, etc.  Download.

Harddrive Repair

Title: Harddrive Repair
URL: http://www.my-hard-drive-repair.com
Description: Data recovery, hard drive repair,
recover files, tools, information and guide.

Title: Data Recovery
URL: http://www.my-data-recovery.com
Description: Hard drive recovery tools and tips,
guide for data recovery and repair.

Title: Quick Data Recovery
URL: http://www.quick-data-recovery.com
Description: Info on data recovery and tools for
repairing your hard drive.

Hardware Detection

Troubleshooting Device Manager Issues

Hardware Profiles in Windows XP

To create a hardware profile

You must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group in order to complete this procedure. If your computer is connected to a network, network policy settings may also prevent you from completing this procedure.

  1. Open System in Control Panel.
  2. On the Hardware tab, click Hardware Profiles.
  3. Under Available hardware profiles, click Profile 1 (Current), and then click Copy.
  4. Type a name for the new hardware profile, and then click OK.
  5. You can customize your new profile by enabling or disabling devices for that profile in Device Manager.

 Notes

  • To open System, click Start, click Control Panel, click Performance and Maintenance, and then click System.
  • The profile named Profile 1 (Current) provides a model for you to create new hardware profiles. It will not appear in the list of available hardware profiles shown during startup.

To specify the default hardware profile for startup

You must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group in order to complete this procedure. If your computer is connected to a network, network policy settings may also prevent you from completing this procedure.

  1. Open System in Control Panel.
  2. On the Hardware tab, click Hardware Profiles.
  3. Under Available hardware profiles, use the arrow buttons to move the hardware profile you want to use as the default into the top position in the list. During startup, Windows will load only the device drivers for hardware devices that are enabled in the profile you select.
  4. Under Hardware profiles selection, click one of the options that specifies how long Windows waits before automatically loading the default hardware profile.

 Notes

  • To open System, click Start, click Control Panel, click Performance and Maintenance, and then click System.
  • If you want the default hardware profile to load automatically without showing you the list during startup, enter a 0 in seconds under Hardware profiles selection. If you decide later to select a different hardware profile, press the SPACEBAR during startup and choose a profile from the list.

To copy, rename, or delete a hardware profile

You must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group in order to complete this procedure. If your computer is connected to a network, network policy settings may also prevent you from completing this procedure.

  1. Open System in Control Panel.
  2. On the Hardware tab, click Hardware Profiles.
  3. Under Available hardware profiles, click the existing hardware profile you want, and do one of the following. Click:
    • Copy to open the Copy Profile dialog box, and type a new name for the copy.
    • Rename to open the Rename Profile dialog box, and type a new name for the selected profile.
    • Delete to remove the selected profile.

 Note

  • To open System, click Start, click Control Panel, click Performance and Maintenance, and then click System.

Hardware and Software Detection

The Belarc Advisor builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware. Download here. In the Software Versions section you'll see all of your installed software. At the end of each entry is a clickable asterisk that will take you to the folder the software is installed in.

Hardware Malfunction - Call your hardware vendor for support - The system has halted Error Message

Hardware Malfunction Results in System Error Message

Hayes

Windows XP Drivers & INF Files

HCL - Hardware Compatibility List

Microsoft Windows Hardware Compatibility List
Microsoft Support Policy on Hardware Not On Windows HCL

Help - Annotate

There is a nice feature in most software Help menus that will allow you to add your own notes for reference. Right click on
the open topic and choose Annotate if that option is allowed. A box will open and you can type your notes there, then select Save. Thereafter, when you open the topic a paper clip will display in the upper left corner.  Clicking there will open your notes and you can delete these any time by selecting the Delete option.

Help - Internet Help Versus Local Help

If the help file has a '?' marking the file's icon, it's on your hard drive. If it's a blue 'e,' then get ready, you're Internet bound!

Help and Support

Update: 

This issue can occur if one or more of the PCHealth components in your
computer are damaged.

To resolve this issue:

1. It is important to note if you have recently made alterations to your
computer before this problem occurred, or if the Help and Support Center
ever worked correctly. If you have recently made alterations to your
computer before this problem occurred, try to undo the changes you made or
uninstall the hardware or software that could have caused the issue. After
you do so, test to determine if the issue is resolved, and if it is, skip
the remaining steps. If the issue is not resolved, continue to the next
step.

2. Remove the .cab files from the Packagestore folder, and then rebuild the
original Help and Support Center:

a. Click Start, click Run, type "cmd" (without the quotation marks), and
then click OK to open a command prompt. Type "net stop helpsvc" (without
the quotation marks), and then press ENTER.

b. Type "cd /d windir\pchealth\helpctr" (without the quotation marks),
where windir is the Windows folder, and then press ENTER.

c. Type "rd packagestore /s /q" (without the quotation marks), and then
press ENTER.

d. Type "cd binaries" (without the quotation marks), and then press
ENTER.

e. Type "start /w helpsvc /svchost netsvcs /regserver /install" (without
the quotation marks), and then press ENTER.

f. If any of the following processes are running, stop them:

helpsvc.exe
helphost.exe
helpctr.exe

To stop a process, right-click the taskbar, and then click Task
Manager. Click the Processes tab, click the process you want to stop, and
then click End Process.

g. At the command prompt, type "net start helpsvc" (without the
quotation marks), and then press ENTER.

3. If the Help and Support Center has not been customized by an OEM, skip
to the next step. If the Help and Support Center has been customized by an
OEM, completely refresh the Help and Support Center:

a. Click Start, click Run, type "cmd" (without the quotation marks), and
then click OK to open a command prompt. Type "net stop helpsvc" (without
the quotation marks), and then press ENTER.

b. Type "cd /d windir\pchealth\helpctr" (without the quotation marks),
where windir is the Windows folder, and then press ENTER.

c. Type "rd packagestore /s /q" (without the quotation marks), and then
press ENTER.

d. Type "rd installedskus /s /q" (without the quotation marks), and then
press ENTER.

e. Type "cd binaries" (without the quotation marks), and then press
ENTER.

f. Type "start /w helpsvc /svchost netsvcs /regserver /install" (without
the quotation marks), and then press ENTER.

g. Type "start /w helpsvc /register" (without the quotation marks), and
then press ENTER.

h. If any of the following processes are running, stop them:

helpsvc.exe
helphost.exe
helpctr.exe

To stop a process, right-click the taskbar, and then click Task
Manager. Click the Processes tab, click the process you want to stop, and
then click End Process.

i. At the command prompt, type "net start helpsvc" (without the
quotation marks), and then press ENTER.

NOTE: The preceding procedure should not negatively affect an
OEM-customized Help and Support Center. However, it does remove any other
.cab files from the Packstorage folder, such as the Windows XP support
tools (which adds their table of contents into the Help and Support
Center).

4. If the preceding steps do not resolve the issue, use the Windows XP
CD-ROM to start your computer, and then run a repair (in-place upgrade)
installation.

Steven Liu

Repairs Windows® XP Help and Support after running Easy Cleaner

Note: If you have used Easy Cleaner, there is a workaround that prevents Help and Support from becoming corrupt:  In the options, add Help to the Skip List.
http://personal.inet.fi/business/toniarts

Start Menu/Help and Support doesn't work:  Go to Start/Run and type in: helpctr -regserver

To reinstall Help and Support: Go to C:\Windows\inf\pchealth.inf.  Right click and choose install. Have your CD handy.

Note: The folder is hidden by default. Go to Start/Run and type in: control folders. View: Show hidden files and folders and uncheck Hide extensions for known file types.

"Could not start the Help and Support Service on Local Computer. Error 126: The specified module could not be found"  Restore Help and Support Service.  Restore Help and Support Service Keys.

Also, make sure that the Help and Support Service is running.  Go to Start/Run and type in: services.msc.  From there scroll down to Help and Support and make sure the service is set to Automatic and is Started. 

If the option is greyed out or Help and Support Service is not listed trying running these two edits. 
Restore Help and Support Service.  Restore Help and Support Service Keys.

You may also opt to running the System File Checker.  To do so, go to Start/Run/CMD and type in:  SFC /Scannow.  This option forces Windows to scan all protected system files immediately. 

Restore winhlp32.exe for XP or XPSP1 (Line 57)
http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_tweaks.htm

After installing SP1 for some users the correct version of win32hlp.exe is not properly placed in the System32 folder. If this is the case replace the older version with the version found in windows\ServicePackFiles\i386.

Another option to the above:

1. Insert the Windows XP installation CD into your CD-ROM.
2. Browse to your CD-ROM and change the folder to \I386
3. Copy the following files into a temporary folder on your hard disk:

Winhlp32.cn_
Winhlp32.ex_
Winhlp32.hl_

4. Click Start->Run, type CMD and then press Enter.
5. Change to the temporary folder where you stored the Winhlp32 files.
6. Type the following commands:

EXPAND WINHLP32.CN_ WINHLP32.CNT
EXPAND WINHLP32.EX_ WINHLP32.EXE
EXPAND WINHLP32.HL_ WINHLP32.HLP

 7.  Copy Winhlp32.exe to your \%SYSTEMROOT%\ folder.
 8.  Copy the Winhlp32.cnt, and Winhlp32.hlp to the \%SYSTEMROOT%\Help\folder.
 9.  Typically this folder is C:\Windows.
10. Delete the contents of your temporary folder.

 


Windows XP FAQ H Page 2

Checkpoint:  Help and Support Won't Expand

Go to Start/Run/Regedit and navigate to this key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment.  In the right pane, verify that the windir value is REG_EXPAND_SZ and not a REG_SZ type.  If not, change it.

Tip:  If you want to view only the locally stored Windows XP Help documentation in the Classic View: Go to Start/Run and type in: hh windows.chm

Check the default values for these registry keys to make sure that they match.  Registry keys and values to fix XP's Help and Support after running Toni Arts EasyCleaner. 

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\CLASSES\TypeLib\{FC7D9E00-3F9E-11D3-93C0-00C04F72DAF7}\1.0\0\win32
Default value: C:\WINDOWS\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Binaries\HelpCtr.exe\1

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\CLASSES\TypeLib\{FC7D9E00-3F9E-11D3-93C0-00C04F72DAF7}\1.0\HELPDIR
Default value: C:\WINDOWS\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Binaries\HelpCtr.exe\

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\CLASSES\TypeLib\{FC7D9000-3F9E-11D3-93C0-00C04F72DAF7}\1.0\0\win32
Default Value: C:\WINDOWS\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Binaries\HelpCtr.exe\2

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\CLASSES\TypeLib\{FC7D9000-3F9E-11D3-93C0-00C04F72DAF7}\1.0\HELPDIR
Default value: C:\WINDOWS\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Binaries\HelpCtr.exe\

Help and Support - Did you know not working...

Delete the following file. C:\WINDOWS\PCHEALTH\HELPCTR\Config\News\newsver.xml

Help and Support - Start Menu Doesn't Work

Go to Start/Run and type in: helpctr -regserver

Help and Support - Text is missing

Some themes can knock out the text in help and switching to another custom theme may not correct it. Switching back to an original XP theme - so far - will set things right again.

Windows XP Security Patch: Flaw in Windows XP Help and Support Center Could Enable File Deletion
http://www.microsoft.com/Downloads/Release.asp?ReleaseID=43681

The above patch resolves the "Flaw in Windows XP Help and Support Center Could Enable File Deletion" vulnerability in Windows XP. Download now to prevent an attacker from deleting files on another user’s computer, via either a Web site or an e-mail.

Restore winhlp32.exe for XP or XPSP1 (Line 57)
http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_tweaks.htm

Help and Support - Connection

Windows XP Internet Programs Cannot Connect to the Internet Through Broadband Connection

To resolve this behavior, edit the connection settings for the broadband connection to enable automatic detection:
Start Internet Explorer. Click the Tools menu, and then click Internet Options. Click the Connections tab.

Under Dial-up and VPN Settings, click the broadband connection, click Settings, and then click Automatically detect settings .
Click OK .

Hyperlinks Open in Internet Explorer Instead of in Default Browser or Help and Support Center

Help and Support - Remove History (Curt Mueller)

Navigate to: (modify the drive letter accordingly) 

C:\Documents and Settings\Curt\Local Settings\ApplicationData\Microsoft\HelpCtr\HelpSessionHistory.dat

Delete the DAT file and the history is gone. Note:  Once done, a new once will be created. 

Help and Support Center - hcp:// links 

Note: 
Some come up as undefined, but are still functional (click the word undefined).

Help and Support: hcp://system/HomePage.htm Windows Update: hcp://system/updatectr/updatecenter.htm
Help and Support Adv: hcp://system/panels/AdvSearch.htm Group Policies: hcp://system/sysinfo/RSoP.htm
msconfig: hcp://system/sysinfo/sysConfigLaunch.htm Install and Share:  hcp://system/panels/sharehelp.htm
msinfo32: hcp://system/sysinfo/sysInfoLaunch.htm Compatibility Wiz: hcp://system/compatctr/compatmode.htm
System Info: hcp://system/sysinfo/sysInfoSum.htm Network Diag: hcp://system/netdiag/dglogs.htm
Remote Assistance: Click here. Hardware/Software: hcp://system/sysinfo/sysHealthInfo.htm

For XP Home:

Go to Start/Run and type in: %windir%\hh.exe ms-its:%windir%\Help\ntcmds.chm::/ntcmds.htm

ms-its:C:\WINDOWS\Help\ntcmds.chm::/ntcmds.htm
For Tools:
ms-its:C:\WINDOWS\Help\ntcmds.chm::/ntcmds_new_tools.htm
For Tasks:
ms-its:C:\WINDOWS\Help\ntcmds.chm::/dos_diffs.htm

HH.Exe

Its possible your CHM file association is corrupt.  Click Start/Run/Regedit and navigate to this key:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\chm.file\shell\open\command

The Default value for this entry should be: "C:\WINDOWS\hh.exe" %1

Next, go to:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.chm

The Default value for this entry should be: chm.file.  To modify a value, double click on the Default entry and enter the values as shown.

Hiberfil - Remove Hibernation File

If you do not use hibernation, make sure you do not have it enabled, which reserves disk space equal to your RAM. If you have a hidden file on the root directory of your C-drive called hiberfil.sys, hibernation is enabled. To remove that file, go to Control Panel, select Performance and Maintenance, Power Options, Hibernate tab, and uncheck the Enable hibernation box.

Hibernate

To hibernate manually, select Start, Turn Off Computer, then click the Hibernate button. To set your system to hibernate after it has been idle for a certain amount of time, select Power Options inside the Control Panel (in Category view, select Performance and Maintenance, then select Power Options). On the Power Schemes tab, choose a time next to "System hibernates," then click OK.

Hibernate - Differences Between Hibernate and Standby

Hibernation

Hibernation, which reduces the start time, saves the complete state of the computer and turns off the power. When you resume from hibernation the BIOS performs the typical Power On Self Test (POST), and then reads the hibernation file, Hiberfil.sys, to restore the state of the computer. Everything that was running when you put the computer in hibernation is restored.

Standby

In standby, the computer slows down and uses less electrical power. Programs continue to run in the background although the computer may appears to be off. The computer "wakes up" when it detects user input. With some computers, you can
press the power button to wake up the computer.

Note: If your computer experiences a power outage during standby, all work that you have not saved is lost because the computer is still running in the background.

Hibernate Setting Missing

Click on the start button and select turn off computer. Then hold down the shift key and the hibernate button will be shown. Click it and your computer will enter into hibernation.

Cannot Shut Down, Restart, Log Off, Stand By, or Hibernate
Troubleshooting Hibernate & Standby Issues for Windows XP
Computer Does Not Resume When You Press a Key on Your USB Keyboard
Returning from Hibernation Sets the Inactivity Timer to Five Minutes

     Tip:  When you try to put your computer into Hibernate or Suspend mode while the system is writing data to a compact
              disc (CD), the computer may not enter Hibernate or Suspend mode. You may receive the following error message
              (or a similar one):

The device driver for the '%device name%' device is preventing the machine from entering hibernation/suspend. Please close all applications and try again. If the problem persists, you may need to update this driver.

You receive neither an informational message that the system is writing to a CD nor an error message that offers you the choice of stopping the CD write process or waiting until the process is complete.

This behavior occurs because you cannot put a computer into Hibernate or Suspend mode while the system is writing to a CD.  To work around this behavior, wait until the CD write operation is complete before you try to put the computer into Hibernate or Suspend mode.

Because the computer has already started to enter Hibernate or Suspend mode, some devices may already be turned off. For example, a USB mouse or scanner may be offline until you complete the Hibernate or Suspend process.

Hidden Files Message:  These files are hidden or system files

Start/Run/Regedit

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\WebView\BarricadedFolders
Once there locate the folder that you want to turn the protection back on. Right click on them and select Modify
Change the value to 1.  Reboot your computer.

Hidden Folders

Windows Explorer/Tools/Folder Options/View/Show Hidden Files and Folders. Right click the folder to be hidden/Sharing and Security/General Tab/Hidden/Apply Changes to.../

History - Clear

IE/Tools/Internet Options/General Tab/Clear History
IE/Tools/Internet Options/Content/AutoComplete

Under Use AutoComplete for, click to clear the Web Addresses check box, and then click OK. Click the Advanced tab, click to clear the Use inline AutoComplete check box in the Browsing section (if this check box has been selected). Click OK

Clear Recent Files (Typed URL's, Recent Documents, Common Dialog, Search Assistant and Media Player)

How to Prevent the MRU List of File Names from Appearing (Pro Version)

NOTE : After you complete this procedure, the MRU list does not appear in Windows Explorer-style dialog boxes; however, this list is not removed from the registry.

Log on as the user. Click Start, and then click Run. Type gpedit.msc, and then click OK. In the left pane under User Configuration, expand Administrative Templates, expand Windows Components , expand Windows Explorer, and then click Common Open File Dialog. In the right pane, double-click Hide the dropdown list of recent files. Click Enabled, and then click OK. Click File, and then click Exit.

How to Prevent the MRU List of File Names from Appearing (Home Version)

Log on as the user. Click Start, and then click Run. Type regedit, and then click OK. Locate and then click the following key in the registry:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Comdlg32

NOTE : If the Comdlg32 key does not exist, follow these steps:

Click the Policies key. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click Key. Type comdlg32, and then press ENTER.
On the Edit menu, point to New , and then click DWORD Value. Type nofilemru, and then press ENTER. On the Edit menu, click Modify. Type 1, and then click OK. On the File menu, click Exit.

The MRU lists for Windows Explorer-style dialog boxes are stored by file type for each user in the following registry key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\ComDlg32\OpenSaveMRU

History - Not Being Saved

McAfee gave this solution to the bug where VirusScan 6 stops your Internet Explorer History file working. Hope it is of some help:

Open VirusScan console
Select "Pick a task..."
Select "Change my VirusScan settings"
Select "Configure VShield background scanning"
Select "Customise your VShield settings"

Select the "Internet Filter" icon from the icons down the left hand side On the "Detection" tab, in the 'Applet filters' section, remove the tick next to "ActiveX Controls".

Home and Pro - Differences

Windows XP Professional include unlike Home Edition the follow features: SMP support, Roaming user profiles, Remote desktop, Access control, Encrypting file system, Offline files and folders, Remote installation service, Windows server domain support, Group policy, Software installation and maintenance, and Multi-lingual user interface support (add-on).

Differences Between Home and Pro
What is the difference between Home Edition and Professional?

Home Page - Change

If the feature is disabled (greyed out), go to Doug Knox's site and download this script:  http://www.dougknox.com/security/scripts_desc/nosethomepage.htm.  Usage: Download nosethomepage.vbs and save this file to your hard drive. Navigate to where you saved it and double click the file. The VB Script file will check for the appropriate value and if not found will create it. You will be notified whether the option is enabled or disabled.

To manually make the change:  Start/Run/Regedit

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Control Panel\HomePage
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main] "Start Page"

Home Page Hijacking

If the Tabs have been removed from Internet Explorer/Tools/Internet Options and/or you receive a restriction warning message, run this edit (or from line 268 here).  It will restore all tabs and lift the restriction.

Check your settings here:  Start/Run/Regedit

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Control Panel\HomePage
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\Start Page

IE/Tools/Internet Options/General/Home Page/Address.  If the feature is disabled (greyed out), download this script.  Lock Home Page:  reg file  Unlock Home Page:  reg file

Ever downloaded a 'Free' program only to find out it was Spyware?  (Banner Advertiser Supported)  Or even worse, many will hide the Spyware functions and not tell you.  At the time of this release there were 762 known Spyware programs and Spy Chaser lists them and lets you enter a program name to see if it's on this list. 

Many of those programs don't uninstall the Spyware even after uninstalling the main program leaving files on your system and entries in the registry you might never get rid of.  For the list:  http://camtech2000.net/Pages/SpyChaser.html

Browser Hijacking


Browser Hijacker Blaster [recommended]
Guard-IE
IE-Spyad
Spyware Blaster
Settings Sentry [From the maker of Spyblocker]

Fixing a hijack

Any of the products below will completely remove most hijackers, unless it is one which has just started spreading.

Spybot S&D [recommended]
Ad-aware
Aluria Spyware Eliminator
HijackThis

StartPage Guard 1.3
http://www.pjwalczak.com/spguard/index.php
 

How to Block Comet Cursor in Internet Explorer 5 and 6
http://tech.tln.lib.mi.us/blockcc.htm
 
Spyware
 
Restrict Web Sites from Installing Software
 
These restrictions allow you to block unwanted web sites from downloading software onto your system. This can be useful in disabling the installation of some common "cursor" programs. 
 
Open your registry and find the key below. Start/Run/Regedit
 
Create a new sub-key for each site you want to block, naming it based on the top-level domain for the site. For example to block nameofsite.com you would create a new sub-key called:
 
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\InternetSettings\ZoneMap\Domains\
nameofsite.com.  Under the sub-key create a new DWORD value called "*" and set it to equal "4".
 
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\ZoneMap\Domains

Value Name: *
Data Type: REG_DWORD (DWORD Value)
Value Data: (4 = restricted)

Restart Internet Explorer for the change to take effect.
 
Note: This setting can also be applied on a user-by-user basis by modifying the same key under the HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive.

Home Page Hijacking - "Has your Browser Been Hijacked?"

Spybot searches your system for so-called spyware, adware and similar threats to your privacy and security.

Prevent Spyware from Being Installed (Line 116)
http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_tweaks.htm

You can accidentally pick up objectionable PC files from the Internet! ContentAudit provides a way to safely detect unwanted files. Content Audit is free, safely scans for unwanted content and has an online checker that works in minutes.

Pornography - Clear unwanted files by Content Audit
http://www.contentwatch.com/audit/index.php?cid=260;9;0

IE-SPYAD: Restricted Sites List for Internet Explorer
http://www.staff.uiuc.edu/~ehowes/resource.htm#IESPYAD

Net Nanny, the world's leading parental control software, provides responsible adults with the broadest set of Internet safety tools available today. http://www.netnanny.com/index.html

With Kids Passport, you can choose whether a participating Kids Passport Web site can collect, use, or disclose your child's personal information. http://kids.passport.net/?lc=1033

To learn more about the Kids Passport service, please read the .NET Passport Kids Privacy Statement.
http://www.passport.net/consumer/kidsprivacypolicy.asp?lc=1033

Hot Fixes - View Which Hot Fix Patches Have Been Installed

Start/Run/Regedit
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\ CurrentVersion\Hotfix. Periodically Microsoft releases Hot Fix's to patch bugs in Windows and other products, this key contains information about which Hot fix's have been installed.

Some of the Hotfixes (Mostly security updates) do not have an uninstall feature, these will not appear in the Add and Remove list. If a Hotfix does appear in the Add and Remove list then it can be uninstalled just like any other program. If you uninstall the Hotfix, you will lose the benefits of that patch. This should only be done if you can determine that you are experiencing negative effects from the particular Hotfix.

If you simply do not want them to appear in the Add and Remove list and you are sure that you will not need the uninstall option, you can remove items from that list by using a registry tweak.

Go to Start, Run, type in REGEDIT and press OK. This will open the registry editor. Navigate to the following key.

HKEY CURRENT USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall

Expand this branch and look at the list. The Hotfixes are all listed by a "Q" number that corresponds to the entry in the Add and Remove list. Make sure that you back up each Key before deleting it. Select the key and then select File/Export and include the Q number in the name of the file. Right click the entries you want to remove and select Delete.

Hotmail - Create Shortcut

This tweak can be used to create a shortcut directly to your Hotmail e-mail account on your desktop.

Right-click on your desktop and create a new shortcut. Set the target to:

%windir%\System32\rundll32.exe
"%ProgramFiles%\Internet Explorer\hmmapi.dll",OpenInboxHandler

Hotmail - Slow after Disabling/Removing Messenger

This will prevent Messenger from loading when you access your account via the Hotmail web page, it will also prevent the delay when Messenger has been removed or disabled. 

Start/Run/Regedit
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Messenger.MsgrObject.  Right click on the Messenger.MsgrObject key and select rename. Rename it to Messenger.MsgrObjectold.

How To

How To Articles for Windows XP

HTTP, FTP and Other Web Prefixes

Click Start, Run and enter REGEDIT   Go to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\URL\Prefixes

In the right pane, you will see values named www, ftp, gopher, mosaic and others.  This is where Windows interprets addresses such as www.msn.com, ftp.microsoft.com and adds the appropriate http:// or ftp:// portion of the URL.  You can add your own definitions. An example would be your personal web site. 

Say the URL is http://johnsmith.freewebsites.com.  You wouldn't be able to type in johnsmith.freewebsites.com in the address bar of IE, as IE wouldn't know how to translate johnsmith.  Add a new String value to the above key, named johnsmith and set the value to http://   Now, IE will be able to translate johnsmith.freewebsites.com and add the http:// portion automatically.