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Is Winamp gonna die?

"If you had a PC and you listened to MP3s in the late 90s, chances are you managed your playlists with Winamp." This is how TechCrunch begins the news of AOL going to shut down Winamp website, community, services and upgrades on December 20th, 2013. Now, a few hours into the 21st, it appears Winamp can still be downloaded on the official website, but we don't know for how long.

winamp (40k)

So what happens now? On the still alive forum there's a good summary made by user Victhor; I copy and paste it here before the forum gets shut down.

See full post ...



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Posted by: Z24 | Sat, Dec 21 2013 | Category: /software/windows | Permanent link | home
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Cleaning Windows XP

A very few not obvious hints to clean Windows XP and get some free space:



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Posted by: Z24 | Wed, Nov 20 2013 | Category: /windows | Permanent link | home
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Create a VPN to connect from an Android client to a home Windows XP server

If you want to connect to your home computer using rdp when you are not home and are connected to the internet, you have to open a port on your firewall; changing the standard rdp port on both your server and your firewall increases your security (or decreases your unsecurity); configuring a Virtual Private Network (VPN) increases your security even more, and you can close the rdp port on your firewall: in fact, when you connect your remote client to your vpn, your remote client comes inside your LAN so that you can remote access your server from inside the LAN.

See full post ...



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Posted by: Z24 | Sun, Sep 22 2013 | Category: /windows | Permanent link | home
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CodeLobster

CodeLobster
License: Freeware (registration required); Professional version is shareware and it's included with the freeware version for a trial period, after that the professional version's features are disabled.
Author: CodeLobster Software
Install: yes, but in the setup process there's a check to choose between portable and classic setup.
Size: about 50 MBytes (about 17 MBytes setup)
Requirement: Windows ME or later

CodeLobster is an application to develop in PHP, HTML, CSS, Javascript languages (it's a free IDE -integrated development environment- supporting autocomplete, highlighting, and PHP debugging), but it has some features which need to be noted because they are so good, and rare to find all in just one program, that you don't need to be a developer to use CodeLobster.

See full post ...



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Posted by: Z24 | Mon, Aug 13 2012 | Category: /software/windows | Permanent link | home
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How to get rid of the message asking to restart the computer after installing Windows updates

If you use automatic updates, sometimes you get the tray icon which notifies you that some Windows updates are available, so you accept to download them first, and install them later; then, sometimes the installed updates require you to restart the computer, but you want to postpone the reboot, and every few minutes you get the same annoying popup message requesting you to reboot. How to get rid of this message?
Just run services.msc and stop Automatic Updates service. It's as simple as that.



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Posted by: Z24 | Thu, Mar 24 2011 | Category: /windows | Permanent link | home
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How to get rid of googleupdate.exe

Google Update is a tool that Google installs on a pc when some other Google software is installed, and runs each time Windows starts; it's supposed to update Google software, but a comprehensive description can be found on this blog.

I tagged this article as spyware, because Wikipedia defines it as

a computer software that is installed surreptitiously on a personal computer to collect information about a user, their computer or browsing habits without the user's informed consent.
Well, in my case I installed Google Earth, and during Google Earth installation there was no mention of Google Update. As most users do, I didn't read the License Agreement - I have something better to do than spend my time reading long, capitalized, boring and incomprehensible texts full of legal terms and obvious concepts.
Point 4 of Google Earth License Agreement recites:
The Software may communicate with Google servers from time to time to check for available updates to the Software, such as bug fixes, patches, enhanced functions, missing plug-ins and new versions (collectively, "Updates"). By installing the Software, you agree to automatically request and receive Updates.
It's vague at least, pretty different than "By installing this software you agree to also install a tool that will constantly run with your system and will periodically communicate with Google servers by itself, without the user intervention and knowledge" (that's what it really does).
So, Google Update is certainly installed surreptitiously because while regular software setups show the components that will be installed, the Google Update application is never mentioned during Google Earth setup, and the only mention of something vaguely resemblant to Google Update behaviour is in the License Agreement, that's a good place where to put information which you want that nobody reads: I firmly believe there is no informed consent about Google Update installation. Moreover, it appears that Google collects information about Google software usage through Google Update, still without informed consent (usage information collection is not mentioned in License Agreement either).
So, Google Update is a spyware.

How to get rid of Google Update

Once I disabled the scheduled task, the service and Firefox plugin, googleupdate.exe was never launched anymore, neither after launching Google Earth. I'll see if the Google spyware will reappear when I will update Google Earth manually (when a new version will be available).

I hope this helps, and if you still can't get rid of it using these methods, or if you find other places Google Update is hidden, please let me know. I'm curious how deep Google decided to fall.



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Posted by: Z24 | Sat, May 02 2009 | Category: /software/windows | Permanent link | home
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Setting ClearType when fonts are too much thin

With my LCD monitor, a LG 1718S, the characters appear too much narrow on the screen, especially using Excel sheets: I tried all OSD settings but the characters are so much thin that they're almost invisible. I got the best results setting the ClearType effect:
Control Panel, Display, Appearance, Effects, Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts: Clear Type
This way the characters appear a little fatter and they're better looking too.
Normal ClearType
Verdana without ClearType Verdana with ClearType
Spreadsheet without ClearType Spreadsheet with ClearType

Yes, I use light grey background color :)

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Posted by: Z24 | Tue, Jan 27 2009 | Category: /windows | Permanent link | home
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How to restore user profile

While I was logging on from a remote console through RDP I've got a message telling me that the user profile is damaged. I was able to log on and I lost all the settings: desktop, menu and all the settings of the various applications, as if my user had just been created; that means, the user registry was corrupted and it has been replaced with the default user registry.

Event Viewer reported these error messages:

DETAIL - The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process. for C:\Documents and Settings\Z24\ntuser.dat

Windows has backed up this user's profile. Windows will automatically try to use the backed up profile the next time this user logs on.

Windows cannot find the local profile and is logging you on with a temporary profile. Changes you make to this profile will be lost when you log off.

I don't know what would have happened logging off and on again (the original profile would have been restored automatically?), by the way I recovered it this way:
At the next logon my windows settings and my applications settings came back!

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Posted by: Z24 | Thu, Aug 21 2008 | Category: /windows | Permanent link | home
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How to associate username and SID

To know which is the username associated with a known SID (Security Identifier), open the registry (regedit.exe) at this location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList.

Registry editor with SID keys (62k)

Each SID key has a ProfileImagePath string whose value is the user path which contains the username.
To know which is the SID associated with a known username, select the ProfileList key and search the username.

There is also a SysInternals command-line utility which shows the SID associated with a known username:

C:\>psgetsid Z24

PsGetSid v1.43 - Translates SIDs to names and vice versa
Copyright (C) 1999-2006 Mark Russinovich
Sysinternals - www.sysinternals.com

SID for WAM2\Z24:
S-1-5-21-1993962763-2139871995-725345543-1003
or the username associated with a known SID:
C:\>psgetsid S-1-5-21-1993962763-2139871995-725345543-1003

PsGetSid v1.43 - Translates SIDs to names and vice versa
Copyright (C) 1999-2006 Mark Russinovich
Sysinternals - www.sysinternals.com

Account for WAM2\S-1-5-21-1993962763-2139871995-725345543-1003:
User: WAM2\Z24


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Posted by: Z24 | Thu, Aug 21 2008 | Category: /windows | Permanent link | home
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How to broadcast audio with Icecast

You need to install Icecast and Winamp with the Shoutcast plugin for Winamp.
In this howto I explain:

See full post ...



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Posted by: Z24 | Sun, May 04 2008 | Category: /software | Permanent link | home
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How to catalog audio files (MP3, OGG, etc.)

This is one of the many ways to keep order amongst audio files and to catalog them. The purpose of cataloging is to have an instrument to always know where a MP3 or OGG file is, if it has been backed up on cd or dvd, how many audio files or hours of music there are on disk, nonetheless to generate playlists by genre or author or by other criteria.

  1. I name the audio files using this schema: Author - Title.mp3. When they are many, a big help come from tools to rename multiple files at once, such as Total Commander Multiple rename function (Ctrl + M) (Total Commander is shareware)
  2. sometimes a MP3 editor to cut and paste pieces of MP3s can be useful, for instance when you bought a remix cd and you want to keep on the disk the single songs, or you want to cut a boring piece at the begin or end of a song (some techno remixes are long and boring at the begin, but great after the first 1 or 2 minutes). A fast and very small editor is mp3DirectCut.
  3. correct the ID3 tags of title and author to make them identical to those in the file name: this way all MP3s will be displayed in the same way in MP3 players such as Winamp (for Windows) or XMMS (for Linux) and in the car audio system display (if some MP3s miss the ID3 tags or have them all uppercase or all lowercase). To do that, a useful program is ID3-TagIT: select the files, then select the menu item ID3-Functions, Filename -> Tag ver. 2 and type <A> - <T> (artist, hyphen, title) or whatever you like, then ID3-Functions, Filename -> Tag ver. 1 and still <A> - <T>; finally File, Save to apply the changes
  4. I lower the bitrate to 128 kbps when it's too high, for instance 320 kps. Why? It would occupy too much space while having no hearable advantages (for my ears). The program I use is CDex: Convert, Re-encode Compressed Audio Files; the encoding options can be customized in Options, Settings (the encoder, the bitrate, etc.).
    To see the bitrate of many mp3s at the same time, Windows XP Explorer is very useful: View, Choose Details, Bitrate; the files can be ordered by bitrate, selected and moved in another folder, so that when you have to reencode them with CDex you can select all the files in the "wrong bitrate" folder instead of selecting the "wrong bitrate" files one by one.
  5. when some mp3s have a volume that's too high or too low compared with the average, with MP3 Gain the volume can be normalized to the dB specified (I use 96.0 dB): Track Analysis to see the current dB, then Track Gain.
  6. if I'm going to add a bunch of mp3s to my collection and I want them to have the same date and time (to know they came together), I touch * them in the temporary folder they stay before moving them to my collection folder: touch.exe is a command coming from unix which sets the current (or the specified) timestamp to the specified files.
  7. organize the audio files in folders as you wish, for instance by genre or author.
Now the audio files are well organized on the disk. I used to import mp3 data in a spreadsheet and with a few macros I got statistical data and created playlists:
  1. first I generate a list of mp3s with MP3 Lister, a tool which can be configured to export all the ID3 tags you want in the order you want, and it can create a txt, csv or html list
  2. then I import the text file in a spreadsheet (I wrote a macro to make the import automatic).
  3. I wrote other macros to automatically order the MP3 files, check for duplicates and generate playlists by genre.
    m3u files (Winamp playlists) are simply text files containing a mp3 path and file name on every row.
Currently I use foobar2000, a player which creates playlists, shows statistics and updates played songs to last.fm.

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Posted by: Z24 | Sun, Jan 20 2008 | Category: /software | Permanent link | home
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Running Windows XP in Xen from its own partition

Some months ago I made some experiments with Xen and I succeeded to install and run Windows XP as a guest using Xen 3.0. In that case Windows was located in a single file and was installed through Xen. My purpose now is to make Xen running an already installed Windows from its own partition. Just to be more specific, this is my machine configuration:

I want to log into linux and run my existing Windows XP from its own partition on the EIDE disk.

See full post ...



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Posted by: Z24 | Mon, Dec 03 2007 | Category: /linux | Permanent link | home
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Ubuntu Dapper Drake 6.06 amd64 and Windows XP in Xen 3.0

I am coming from a bloody week of wrestling against packages, bugs and "make world"s trying to run Xen in Ubuntu 6.06 amd64 on an AM2 3800+ and to make a Windows XP Pro domU.
I searched on the web some resources that would explain how to run Windows on Xen and I found some very good tutorial that unfortunately don't fit exactly my configuration and my purpose. These are the sites I took as a basis for my setup:


These are all the steps I did and the problems I encountered during this Calvary :-) (I come from Windows with a little linux/unix background):

See full post ...



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Posted by: Z24 | Mon, Nov 26 2007 | Category: /linux | Permanent link | home
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Launching control panel dialogs from command line

It is possible to directly open the control panel configuration dialogs writing commands in the Run dialog or in a dos prompt window:

control command in Run dialog (10k)
control admintools: open Administrative Tools
control date/time: open the Date and Time properties
control desktop: open the Display properties
control color: open the Display properties and go to Appearance tab
control folders: open Folder Options
control fonts: open the Fonts properties
control infrared: open the Infrared properties
control keyboard: open the Keyboard properties
control mouse: open the Mouse properties
control netconnections: open Network Connections
control telephony: open Phone and Modem Options
control printers: open the Printers properties
control international: open the Regional Settings
control schedtasks: open the Scheduled tasks
control userpasswords: open the User Accounts properties
control userpasswords2: open the Advanced User Accounts properties
control: open the control panel

If the "Safely Remove Hardware" icon disappears, the control command can help:
control hotplug.dll: open the "Safely Remove Hardware" window

Every *.cpl file in the Windows directory can be opened with the control cplfile command:
control vp7dec_settings.cpl: open the On2 VP7 Decompressor Settings, if VP7 codec is installed.

Moreover, some cpl files accept two arguments:
control cplfile[,[@first][,second]]: the first argument indicates the function (if a cpl file controls multiple functions), the second argument indicates the tab of the window to display.
control main.cpl,@0,2: show the 3rd tab of the mouse properties (main.cpl controls mouse and keyboard, @0 is for mouse properties, 2 is the 3rd tab)
control main.cpl,@1,0: show the 1st tab of the keyboard properties (@1 is for kbd properties, 0 is the 1st tab)



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Posted by: Z24 | Fri, Sep 21 2007 | Category: /windows | Permanent link | home
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Windows Remote Desktop (RDP)

Windows Remote Desktop allows to remotely get a Windows session on a Windows XP/2000/2003 machine on which it is enabled from any machine running the RDP client: the RDP client asks the name of the machine and the user and password and then the client opens a window showing the desktop of the server machine.
I'll show:

See full post ...



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Posted by: Z24 | Sat, Sep 15 2007 | Category: /windows | Permanent link | home
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Accessing and changing the registry from outside Windows

Problem: I got myself locked out of my pc
Solution: access the registry from outside Windows and change the account lockout settings

After enabling Remote Desktop access to access from my notebook to my pc through my wireless LAN, I was playing around with account locking settings to defend from possible brute force attacks coming through the WLAN (supposing the attacker cracked the WPA-PSK password): I set the lock so that after two failed attempts to login the account would be locked until the administrator (me) unlocks it manually.
I wanted to adopt such a security measure for RDP access only, but unfortunately the account lockout policy is valid for any login attempt, being it local or remote.
Then, as a slight security measure, I also disabled the administrator user (my user is already an administrator and an attacker should also find a valid username).
I mistyped the password twice and I got myself stuck: administrator and guest were disabled and my account was locked.
After rebooting, at the logon screen there were no more users, so that the "To begin, click your username" sentence on the left sounded like a joke, having absolutely nothing on the right.

The solution was obvious:

  1. try to access and change the registry from linux (I have dual boot)
  2. manually restore a previous version of the registry

I solved using Offline NTPassword & Registry Editor, an offline regitry editor on a boot disk; I made the floppy, rebooted and then I started looking in the registry the affecting keys, but it was not necessary: there's a feature to edit the accounts, and that allowed me to enable the administrator.

I also found dumphive, a useful program to dump the registry hives to text files.

Instead on www.beginningtoseethelight.org there's plenty of Windows NT, 2000 and XP low level settings and hacks, I would say "all about the registry": for instance, where and how users and passwords, including account statistics and policies, are stored and encoded in the SAM hive of the registry, and a schematic explanation of the registry structure; and don't miss the other sections of the site, they're enlightening too.
About the second option, there's a Microsoft article that explains how to manually restore the registry to a previous state.


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Posted by: Z24 | Fri, Apr 20 2007 | Category: /windows | Permanent link | home
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FileDate Changer

FileDate Changer
License: freeware
Author: NirSoft
Install: no
Size: 50 KBytes
Requirement: Windows 95 or later, comctl32.dll

With this very little tool you can change the Created/Modified/Accessed dates of one or more files at the same time.

See full post ...



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Posted by: Z24 | Fri, Mar 16 2007 | Category: /software/windows | Permanent link | home
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Convert

Convert
License: freeware
Author: Josh Madison
Install: no (optional installer available)
Size: 560 KBytes (153 KBytes compressed)
Requirement: Windows 95 or later

Convert is a compact and simple unit conversion program: it converts distance, speed, pressure, temperature, time, volume, angle, area, mass, power, and many more measure units, and it allows to create custom conversions.

See full post ...



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Posted by: Z24 | Fri, Mar 16 2007 | Category: /software/windows | Permanent link | home
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Panorado Flyer

Panorado Flyer
License: freeware for private use
Author: Karl Maloszek
Install: yes
Size: 250 KBytes (114 KBytes installer)
Requirement: Windows with COM support

Panorado Flyer is a compact program that gathers GPS coordinates from Google Earth and writes them into images EXIF information.

See full post ...



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Posted by: Z24 | Fri, Mar 16 2007 | Category: /software/windows | Permanent link | home
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CamStudio

CamStudio
License: freeware
Author: RenderSoft
Install: yes
Size: 8 MB (1.3 MB install), 33 KB codec
Requirement: Windows 95 or later, comctl32.dll

CamStudio is a free screen and audio recording tool and comes with a swf flash converter and a lossless codec.

See full post ...



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Posted by: Z24 | Fri, Mar 16 2007 | Category: /software/windows | Permanent link | home
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AMD Cool'n'Quiet

I'll try to answer these questions:

See full post ...



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Posted by: Z24 | Sat, Feb 17 2007 | Category: /configurations/both | Permanent link | home
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Remove XP Pro or Win Server 2003 bandwidth limit

Run Group Policy (gpedit.msc) and go to Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Network -> QoS Packet Scheduler and change "Limit reservable bandwidth" to "Enabled" with a value of 0%. By default it appears disabled but read the description and you'll discovered it's enabled with a value of 20%.

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Posted by: Z24 | Sat, Oct 28 2006 | Category: /configurations/windows | Permanent link | home
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Debian on Windows with VMWare, Linux applications in Windows using X server

With this little and very simple tutorial I will explain what I did to:

See full post ...



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Posted by: Z24 | Mon, Oct 09 2006 | Category: /windows | Permanent link | home
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Ubuntu 6.06 Dapper Drake 32 bit on Windows XP with Qemu, Qemu networking, Linux applications in Windows using X server

With this little tutorial I will explain what I did to:

See full post ...



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Posted by: Z24 | Sat, Sep 16 2006 | Category: /windows | Permanent link | home
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Install and boot Windows on a second hard disk

I have a SATA disk and a EIDE disk, I installed Linux on the SATA disk and now I want to install Windows on the EIDE disk.
Because Windows must be installed on the disk that boot first, I entered BIOS and changed the boot order as this:
cdrom
EIDE disk
SATA disk
Then I installed Windows on the EIDE disk.
I want to configure dual boot this way:

I changed BIOS boot order as it was previously (SATA disk before EIDE disk) and booted Linux, then I added these lines to /boot/grub/menu.list (on Ubuntu or Debian; if grub is not installed try apt-get install grub):
title WinXP
map (hd0,0) (hd1,0)
map (hd1,0) (hd0,0)
rootnoverify (hd1,0)
chainloader +1
That means Windows believes the EIDE disk is the first and SATA is the second, so it's happy and if I reboot and choose WinXP from grub menu it starts.

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Posted by: Z24 | Wed, Aug 30 2006 | Category: /windows | Permanent link | home
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