Prefetch is a new and very useful technique in Windows XP. However, after using XP some time, the Prefetch directory can get full and have obsolete links in the Prefetch catalog, which can slow down your computer significantly.
The Prefetcher component in Windows XP is part of the Memory Manager, and helps to shorten the amount of time it takes to start Windows and programs.
Windows XP "monitors" itself and notices which applications are launched frequently. It gathers information about these applications and what they access with the launch and stores this information in the prefetch folder. It then uses this information to "optimize" access to these files so that they launch faster.
Once every three days, by default, Windows XP will perform a partial defragmentation and adjust the layout of the disk based upon current use. The files to be moved are written in the file Layout.ini (found in the Prefetch directory under the System Root directory).
Suggestion: Open C:\Windows\Prefetch and delete the obsolete files, reboot. However, if you don't have a real good
reason to delete these files, just leave them be. Let the system handle this folder.
If system performance is an issue:
XP automatically optimizes itself every three days, bootvis forces the optimization to happen now rather than having to wait three days. Fast Boot /Fast Resume Design: A performance trace visualization tool for use with Windows XP systems.
Bootvis can be downloaded here. For more information click here.
: Go to Start/Run/Regedit and navigate to this key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters
Create a new DWORD value, or modify the existing value, called "EnablePrefetcher" and set it according to
(0 = disabled, 1 = Application launch prefetching, 2 = Boot prefetching, 3 = Both prefetching). To clear the Prefetcher cache, delete all the files in the Prefetch sub-directory (e.g. "C:\Windows\Prefetch").
Prefetch Defined: This directory is used by the defrag utility to help organize the files on your PC for more efficient
"I/O performance is strongly influenced by the layout of files on disk. Files and directories that are heavily fragmented or dispersed across the disk will hurt performance. While Windows XP will automatically reposition some files to improve performance, this will generally be done infrequently and will usually include only a small fraction of the files on the disk.
Therefore, it is a good idea to defragment the disk following an installation.
Once every three days, by default, Windows XP will perform a partial defragmentation and adjust the layout of the disk based upon current use. The files to be moved are written in the file Layout.ini (found in the Prefetch directory under the System Root directory)." Windows XP Performance
Windows XP speeds up system boot by observing the code and data needed each time the system is booted and prefetching the necessary file contents early in the boot process. This prefetching is not done until the third boot of the system, when sufficient information is available to make the prefetching most effective. The files observed during system boot will be used in the disk layout process mentioned above. Additional information on the prefetcher and the Windows XP boot process can be found at Fast Boot/Fast Resume for the Windows Platform.
Windows XP also uses prefetching when launching applications. The files and the contents of the files accessed by each new process are observed and recorded. No prefetching can be done for the first launch of an application, so first launches are often considerably slower than subsequent launches. About 85% to 90% of the improvement is realized after just one launch of an application, with the remaining speed improvement coming after the system has had an opportunity to adjust the disk layout with information specific to this application. Benchmarking on Windows XP.
Preview Image File
Scouring around a folder for a particular image file? Even if you aren’t viewing that folder’s contents in Thumbnails view, you can steal a sneak peek at any image. Right-click the file, select Preview and the image appears inside the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer.
Preview Image File Replaced by Common Tasks
In Explorer go to Tools, Folder Options, General and select Use Common Tasks in Folders. Now go to any folder with images in it, and go to the Explorer Toolbar and click the Folders button. The folder tree will be replaced by a new pane, Common Tasks. At the bottom you'll be able to see the preview of the image.
Print Job Notification
By default Windows notifies a user with a popup message that their print job has been completed on the printer. This setting controls that behavior. Open your registry (Start/Run/Regedit) and find the key below.
Value Name: NetPopup
Data Type: REG_DWORD (DWORD Value)
Value Data: (0 = disabled, 1 = enabled)
Create a new DWORD value, or modify the existing value, named "NetPopup" and set it to equal "0" to disable notification or "1" to enable it. Restart the printer spooler service or restart Windows for the change to take effect.
Print Key Pro
PrintKey-Pro is a system tray-based program that can capture your screen or any part of it with the press of the PrintScrn key (or any other key you configure). You can adjust the captured picture's brightness, contrast,
color balance, size, color invert, or convert to grayscale or black and white.
Pictures can be edited, using an image editor of your choice, printed or saved in multiple formats such as JPG, JPEG, BMP, PNG, GIF, TIF and PCX. You can capture the full screen or just the active window, the client area, or any rectangular or circular area with or without the cursor.
You can also insert text and free hand draw on the picture.You can preview the picture, add the date, user info, and any text you choose before printing on the selected printer. Download here.
Print Out - Directory
Print the names, and other information, of all folders and files on your computer. http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptdirprn.html
HOW TO: Add a "Print Directory" Feature for Folders in Windows XP
Add "Log Folder Contents" to the SendTo Menu (Line 112)
Print Out a Directory Listing
For your convenience, the BAT file and a REG file to add this feature can be downloaded here. Open the ZIP file and extract the files. Copy PRIN.BAT to the Windows folder and double click the REG file to add the menu option. Either file can be viewed in Notepad by right clicking on it and selecting Edit.
Printer - Always Found after Reboot
This problem can occur when the printer driver is initially installed. The printer installation program from the manufacturer does not enable the New Hardware Wizard to finish its detection of the newly installed printer.
To work around this problem, enable the New Hardware Wizard to finish, even though the wizard cannot detect a new printer. New Hardware Wizard Detects Printer Device After Every Restart
Workaround for HP Printers:
1. When the Found New Hardware Wizard starts at startup of the computer, click <next>.
2. When it asks you for the HP disk, (the next thing that will require a response from you probably), click <ok>. However, do NOT insert the disk into your CD-ROM drive.
3. On the next screen that comes up, there will be a button that is already highlighted telling the wizard where to find the printer driver (which is what it is looking for). This button will be pointing it at "other media, CD-ROM,
The trick is to DESELECT this button. At that point, the button for your C: drive will become active and you can select the C: drive. It will also probably be prompting you with the location for the already installed HP printer driver that is somewhere on your C: drive. (If not, you need to click browse and locate the driver).
4. After you have deselected the CD-ROM and selected the C: drive, click <ok> (or <next> or whatever.) The Wizard then makes a second copy of your printer driver (and, by the way, creates a second "installed printer" in your Control Panel/Printers). And then, the wizard finally completes and tells you that you have successfully installed the new hardware.
5. On subsequent startup, the Wizard should then NOT run.
Windows XP KB Articles About Printing and Fax
Troubleshooting Printer Issues
How to Add Printers with No User Interaction in Windows
Managing Network Printing in a Windows Environment
How to Troubleshoot Windows Printing Problems
Windows Printer Driver Support
HOW TO: Install a Printer Driver Locally for a Remote Printer
100 Percent CPU Usage Occurs When You Print on an LPT Printer Port
"Operation Could Not Be Completed" Error Message When You Use the Add Printer Wizard
HOW TO: Make a Local Printer Available During a Connection to a Remote Desktop in Windows XP Professional
IntelliPoint 4.0: "HPVLS60" or "HPFVLS06" Error Message or Printer Problem After You Install IntelliPoint 4.0 Software
Problems with Canon MultiPass Printer and Windows XP
Printing Detailed Documents
If you want to print detailed documents, such as a map off of the Web, then the default Windows settings for your printer are probably insufficient. The easiest way to change the printer is within the application from which you wish to print. Click the Print or Print setup button to load the Print Screen. On this screen you should see a Properties or Settings button. Click this button.
Another way to get to this location is to open the Control Panel, click the Printer icon, right-click the printer you want to use, and select Properties. Click the graphics tab and click the arrow in the drop-down box labeled 'Resolution.' Increasing this number increases the number of dots printed per inch. This will increase the printer's graphics resolution. However, this will also cause your printer to take more time while printing pages.
Priority Programs - Setting
Task Manager/Processes Tab/Right click Program/Set Priority/Select accordingly.
Windows XP Problems and Solutions
PrcView is a process viewer utility that displays detailed information about processes running under Windows. For each process it displays memory, threads and module usage. For each DLL it shows full path and version information. PrcView comes with a command line version that allows you to write scripts to check if a process is running, kill it, etc.
Processors (number of) Supported in XP
Windows XP Home : 1 processor (Normal and HT)
Windows XP Pro: 2 processors (Normal and HT)
Windows Server 2003 Standard: 4 processors
Windows server 2003 Enterprise: 8 processors
Windows server 2003 Datacenter: 32 processors
Q: I am reinstalling Windows XP and I am using the product
key off the bottom of the laptop but it says it is no good, what can I do?
A: Are you using the same OEM installation CD that came with the laptop?
If so, you need to examine the Product Key very carefully. It's
awfully easy to mistake a "B" for an "8," a "G" for a "6," an "S" for
a "5," or a "Q" for a "0" or "O." Fortunately, Microsoft had the good
sense to leave the "1's," "I's," "O's," and "0's" out of the equation.
Also, be sure that your <CapsLock> is _off_ while entering the
Product Key -- this isn't supposed to make a difference, but I've seen
it do so.
Troubleshooting Invalid CD Key Error Message During Windows XP Setup
If not, you'll need to use either the original or another OEM CD, at
the very least. Product Keys are bound to the specific type and language
of CD/license (OEM, Volume, retail, full, or Upgrade) with which they are
For example, a WinXP Home OEM Product Key won't work for any
retail version of WinXP Home, or for any version of WinXP Pro, and vice
versa. An upgrade's Product Key cannot be used with a full version CD,
and vice versa.
An OEM Product Key will not work to install a retail
product. An Italian Product Key will not work with an English CD. Bottom
line: Product Keys and CD types cannot be mixed & matched.
The Windows 25-character Product Key (required to perform the
installation) is stored on the CD packaging on a bright orange sticker
that says "Do not lose this number." It is not on the installation CD
in any way, shape, or form. If it was an OEM (factory installed)
license, it's stored on a label that the PC manufacturer affixed to
the exterior of the PC case, or on the bottom of a laptop.
To recover a lost Product Key:
If your system still runs, you should be able to use Belarc
Advisor from http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html to find the
Product Key. (If you have a factory-installed OEM license, and
haven't since reinstalled the OS, the revealed Product Key is probably
of the drive image used at the factory and not your specific Product
Key; therefore, it probably cannot be -- and definitely should not
be -- used for a re-installation.)
If it was a retail license and you have proof of purchase:
How to Replace Lost, Broken, or Missing Microsoft Software or Hardware
If it was an OEM license, you should contact the computer's
manufacturer; although very few manufacturers/vendors keep records of
the Product Keys they've sold, it's worth a try before you have to buy
a new license.
MS-MVP Bruce Chambers
Profiles - Understanding User Profiles
A user profile defines customized desktop environments, which include individual display settings, network and printer connections, and other specified settings. You or your system administrator may define your desktop environment.
Types of user profiles include:
A local user profile, which is created the first time you log on to a computer and is stored on a computer's local hard disk. Any changes made to your local user profile will be specific to the computer in which you made the changes.
A roaming user profile, which is created by your system administrator and is stored on a server. This profile is available every time you log on to any computer on the network. Any changes made to your roaming user profile will be updated on the server.
A mandatory user profile, which is a roaming profiles that can be used to specify particular settings for individuals or an entire group of users. Only system administrators can make changes to mandatory user profiles.
Copy a User Profile:
Open System in Control Panel. On the User Profiles tab, and under Profiles stored on this computer, click the user profile you want to copy, and then click Copy To.
In the Copy To dialog box, under Copy profile to, type the location for the new profile, or click Browse to select the path.
Click Change to open the Choose User dialog box, click a new user from the Names list, and then click Add. The new user name will appear in Add Name. Click OK to add the user as a new user profile on your computer.
Note: You must be logged on as an administrator to the local computer to copy user profiles. To open a Control Panel item, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click the appropriate icon.
Note 2: You cannot copy the account you are currently logged in on. You must log into another account.
Note 3: If you create a new account, you must logon once before you copy another account over top of it. Windows creates the user profile at logon, not at account creation, and it will not use the copy you created before that first logon, it will create a user.COMPUTERNAME folder instead.
Note 4: To resolve this issue, verify that the user account is not logged on before you try to copy its profile. If you are currently logged on as this user, log off, log on again by using a different user account, and then copy the profile. If
you are not logged on as the user account that you are trying to copy, that account may be logged on in a different session (using Fast User Switching).
To force that account to be logged off, start Task Manager, click the Users tab, click the user account, and then click Logoff.
To work around this behavior, you can also create a user who has administrative privileges, log on as that user, and then copy the profile of the first user.
Delete a User Profile:
Open System in Control Panel. On the User Profiles tab, under Profiles stored on this computer, click the user profile you want to delete, and then click Delete.
Note: You must be logged on as an administrator to the local computer to delete user profiles. To open a Control Panel item, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click the appropriate icon.
Switching between a Roaming and Local User Profile:
Open System in Control Panel. On the User Profiles tab, under Profiles stored on this computer, click the user profile you want to change, and then click Change Type. In the Change Type dialog box, click Local profile or Roaming profile.
Note: To open a Control Panel item, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click the appropriate icon. If Roaming profile is unavailable, this indicates that the profile is a local user profile See your system administrator to create a roaming user profile.
To avoid downloading the roaming profile when you have a slow network connection, select the Use cached profile on slow connections check box after you click Roaming profile. If you use a roaming profile on more than one computer simultaneously, it will preserve the settings from the last computer that logs off.
Disable Roaming Profiles and Cache
Local Computer Policy/Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/System/User Profiles/Only Allow Local User Profiles.
If you enable both the "Prevent Roaming Profile changes from propogating to the server" setting and the "Only allow local user profiles" setting, roaming profiles are disabled.
Delete Cached Copies of Roaming Profiles
If this setting is enabled, when users with roaming profiles log off, the system will delete the cached copy of their roaming profile. This will help to save disk space where that are lots of roaming users.
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Group Policy Objects\LocalMachine\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System
Create a new DWORD value, or modify the existing value, called 'DeleteRoamingCache' and edit the value according to the settings above.
Value Name: DeleteRoamingCache
Data Type: REG_DWORD (DWORD Value)
Value Data: (0 = disabled, 1 = enabled)
Exit your registry, you may need to restart or log out of Windows for the change to take effect.
Windows XP User Profiles
Program - Getting an Older Program to Run on Windows XP
If an older application gives you trouble when running Windows XP, you can set the compatibility properties manually so that the program runs in a different mode, such as Windows 95, or in a different display or resolution setting. To set the compatibility properties for a program:
Right–click the executable or the program shortcut to the executable, and then click Properties. Select the Run this program in compatibility mode check box. From the list, select an operating system that the program runs in comfortably. If necessary, also change the display settings and/or resolution, or disable the Windows XP visual themes.
Run the program again when you’re finished changing the settings. Adjust the compatibility settings again if the program is still not running smoothly: a program that’s unhappy on Windows 2000 may flourish on Windows 98.
Limits the Windows programs that users have permission to run on the computer. If you enable this setting, users can only run programs that you add to the List of Allowed Applications. NOTE: This setting only prevents users from running programs that are started by the Windows Explorer process.
Start/Run/Gpedit.msc/User configuration/Administrative Templates/System/Run Only Allowed Windows Applications/Right click/Properties/Enable/Find Application/Ok/Reboot.
Programs - Restrict
Restrict Users from Running Specific Applications
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer.Value Name: DisallowRun
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion \Policies\Explorer. Create a new DWORD value and name it "DisallowRun" set the value to "1" to enable application restrictions or "0" to allow all applications to run.
Then create a new sub-key called HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ Policies\Explorer\DisallowRun and define the applications the are to be restricted. Creating a new string value for each application, named as consecutive numbers, and setting the value to the filename to be restriced (e.g. "regedit.exe"). Restart Windows for the changes to take effect.
Restrict Applications Users Can Run
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer. Value Name: RestrictRun Open your registry and find the key [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion \Policies\Explorer] Create a new DWORD value and name it "RestrictRun" set the value to "1" to enable application restrictions or "0" to allow all applications to run.
Then create a new sub-key called [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion \Policies\Explorer\RestrictRun] and define the applications that are allowed. Creating a new string value for each application, named as consecutive numbers, and setting the value to the filename to be allowed (e.g. "regedit.exe"). Restart Windows for the changes to take effect.
Note: If you are the person who applies Group Policy, do not apply this policy to yourself. If applied too broadly, this policy can prevent administrators from running Group Policy or the registry editors. As a result, once applied, you cannot change this policy except by reinstalling Windows.
Processor - Manage Native Processor Performance Control
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\P3\ Parameters. Value Name: HackFlags, Data Type: REG_DWORD (DWORD Value). Create a new DWORD value, or modify the existing value, called 'HackFlags' and edit the value according to the settings below.
0 = disable native XP support 1 = use settings inherited from Intel software during XP upgrade 5 = system can support all modes when running on battery Restart Windows for the change to take effect. Note: This tweak only applies to processors with either Intel SpeedStep or AMD PowerNow! processor performance control technologies.
Proxy Server - Automatically set the Proxy Server to an Address
Go to Start/Run/Gpedit.msc
Computer Configuration/Admin Templates/Windows Components/Internet
Explorer/Make Proxy Settings Per Machine (rather than per-user).
Dword Value: ProxySettingsPerUser
0 = per machine, 1= per user
Then set the Proxy Server addresses:
1 = Enabled, 0 = Disabled
Bypass Proxy for local addresses:
1 should enable, 0 should disable