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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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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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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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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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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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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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