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Selasa, 05 April 2011

Don’t Get Fooled by Generic Windows XP Product Keys from Microsoft

There is a page from Microsoft TechNet containing a list of 7 generic product keys for Windows XP and Whistler. Windows_XP_Product_Keys_from_Micros.jpg
Lots of websites and software sellers cheat people by telling them that these are genuine XP product keys and can be used to activate Windows without any problem.
They even ask for money to provide these keys but the worst thing is the keys are blacklisted at Microsoft and you'll not be able to use them to activate your Windows. Although you can use the keys to install Windows for approx. 14 days.
So don't believe anyone who claims to provide these keys. Purchase a genuine license and enjoy it.
Microsoft provided these keys to teach how to deploy Windows XP using Windows Product Activation (WPA):
Link

In our daily computer tasks, we use Desktop Properties quite often. Sometimes to change Desktop wallpaper, sometimes to change Windows theme and sometimes to change Display settings like screen resolution, monitor settings, etc. For each change, we need to go through various steps: right-click on Desktop and select "Properties / Personalize" and then go to the desired tab and make required changes. Will not it be easier if we could create direct shortcuts to these tabs so that we can launch the desired tab just by double-clicking on the shortcut?
So in this tutorial, I'm going to tell some useful commands to open various Desktop Properties tabs. You can use them to create shortcuts, to create programs or you can directly run them from RUN dialog box or Windows Explorer.
So here are the various commands to launch Desktop Properties tabs directly:
Command to open "Themes" page:

control desk.cpl,,@themes
Command to open "Desktop Background" page:
DesktopBackground.jpg
control desk.cpl,,@desktop
OR
control desk.cpl,,@background
Command to open "Screen Saver" page:
ScreenSaverSettings.jpg
control desk.cpl,,1
OR
control desk.cpl,,@screensaver
Command to open "Appearance" page:
AppearanceSettings.jpg
control desk.cpl,,2
OR
control desk.cpl,,@appearance
Command to open "Display Settings" page:
DisplaySettings.jpg
control desk.cpl,,3
OR
control desk.cpl,,@display
NOTE: You can use any integer from 3-9 in the first shortcut command for creating shortcut for Display Properties.
Command to open "Desktop Icon Settings" page:
DesktopIconSettings.jpg
control desk.cpl,,0
OR
control desk.cpl,,@web
Command to open "DPI Scaling" page:
DPI.jpg
dpiscaling
Command to open "Window Colorization" page:
Colorization.jpg
explorer shell:::{26EE0668-A00A-44D7-9371-BEB064C98683}\1\::{ED834ED6-4B5A-4bfe-8F11-A626DCB6A921}\pageColorization
PS: The command for "DPI Scaling" and "Window Colorization" will only work in Windows Vista. Rest commands will work in other Windows versions as well.
You can run these command directly from RUN dialog box or if you want to create shortcuts, then right-click on desktop and select "New -> Shortcut", it'll open a wizard:
CreatingNewShortcut.jpg
Enter the desired shortcut command and click on "Next" button. It'll ask for name of shortcut, provide a meaningful name:
SavingNewShortcut.jpg
And click on "Finish" button. That's it. It'll create the shortcut.
I'm also attaching a ZIP file containing all the above mentioned shortcuts, just download it, extract it and you'll get the ready-made shortcuts:
Download Ready-Made Desktop Properties Tabs Shortcuts

Hidden Trick to Exit Windows Explorer Using Shutdown Dialog Box in Windows XP

Many times we install a software, shell extension which requires a restart. Sometimes logging off or end task of Explorer does the job and we don't need to restart the whole system. We usually End task of Explorer using Task Manager but Windows XP provides a lot easier way to Exit Explorer which is better than using Task Manager to forcefully End task of Explorer. Its a hidden option in Windows XP. Do as following to close Explorer cleanly and safely:
1. Click on Startmenu and then click on Shutdown button. It'll show shutdown dialog box as following:

Now press "Ctrl", "Alt" and "Shift" keys and click on "Cancel" button. It'll close the Explorer.
2. To get the Explorer back, press "Ctrl+Shift+Esc" keys and it'll open Task Manager. Now click on "File -> New Task (Run...)" option.
Creating_New_Task_in_Task_Manager_i.jpg
3. Type explorer in the text box and click on OK button:
Starting_Explorer_using_Task_Man-1.jpg
4. That's it. Windows Explorer will be back.
This method is much safe and has been recommended by Microsoft itself.
If you are using Windows Vista or Server 2008, then you can use following tutorial to safely and cleanly close Windows Explorer:
Hidden Trick to Exit Windows Explorer Using Start Menu in Windows Vista and 7

How to Fix “Windows NT Setup Files Detected” Error Message While Running UXTheme Patcher in Windows XP

As you all know that Windows by default doesnt allow 3rd party themes to be used. But you can patch system files to use them without any problem. In Windows XP, you need to patch "UXTheme.dll" file to be able to use 3rd party themes. As you might be aware of my "VistaVG" and "SevenVG" theme series:
Theme for Windows XP
Although I have included all required steps to use these themes in the description as well as in Readme file but sometimes people face problem while patching the "UXTheme.dll" file using UXTheme Patcher.
One of our site visitor "Red" asked following query related to UXTheme Patcher:
i have downloaded the UXTheme Patcher and an error occurred. it said that it has detected that there’s any windows NT steup file in C:\i386. it also said that i must reject the windows NT CD or move that folder to somewhere else. what do i do?
Actually this UXTheme Patcher error is quite common. It mostly occurs in branded computers. Most companies put a folder "i386" in their systems which contains Windows setup files for system recovery.
When you run UXTheme Patcher, it detects this folder and shows following error message:
UXTheme_Patcher_i386_Error.jpg
In the above picture the path mentioned is "C:\i386", that means "Windows" folder in C: drive contains "i386" folder and UXTheme patcher will not run unless you rename this folder. This path might differ for different computers.
So the solution for this problem is, just rename the "i386" folder to any other name, e.g. "i386 Backup", and then run UXTheme Patcher again. Now it'll run without any problem.
After patching successfully, you can again rename the folder to its original name.

How to Install and Apply Styler Toolbar Skin in Windows XP Explorer?

NOTE: If Styler toolbar entry is not available or greyed out in Explorer toolbar context menu, enable "Enable third-party browser extensions" option in Internet Explorer's Options window. Log off or restart your system and now you should be able to enable Styler toolbar in Explorer. Thanks to our reader "Royan" for this info.
In this tutorial, we'll tell you how to install a Styler toolbar skin in Windows XP explorer? Many times we download a styler skin but can't find a way to install and use it. As you all know about "VistaVG Ultimate" theme for Windows XP which can make Windows XP look-a-like Vista:
Download VistaVG Ultimate Theme for Windows XP
In this theme pack, we have included a styler skin "VistaVG" which adds a toolbar similar to Vista explorer toolbar having back, forward buttons along with addressbar and searchbar in XP explorer.
Many visitors don't find themselves comfortable in installing and applying this styler skin, so we are posting a detailed tutorial with screenshots which will help you in applying Styler toolbar skins:
1. First of all install "Styler" if you have not installed it yet. You can download it from following link:
Download Styler Free Version
2. Install it and log off.
3. Now open Explorer window and right-click on toolbar. Now enable "Styler Toolbar" option and disable other options like Standard Buttons, Address Bar, Links:
Adding_Styler_Toolbar_in_Explorer.jpg
4. Now copy the styler skin folder to following directory:
C:\Program Files\Styler\TB\skins\Styler's
Here C: is the drive where Windows is installed. Change it if your Windows is installed in some other partition.
5. Now click on the "Floppy" icon in Styler toolbar and select "Skin -> Styler's -> skin_name" (In our case the skin name will be VistaVG). It'll apply the new skin.
6. If you want to remove Menubar also, then double-click on Styler's icon in System Tray. It'll open Styler Options window. Go to "Toolbar" tab and enable "Hide Menubar" option.
7. That's it. Now you'll get your desired styler toolbar in Windows Explorer.

The Best and The Easiest Way to Slipstream Service Pack 3 (SP3) into Windows XP Setup

We all know Microsoft has released the third and last service pack for Windows XP. So here I'm posting a simple and detailed guide for slipstreaming this SP3 into your Windows XP Setup, so that whenever you do a fresh Windows installation, you'll not need to wait for hours to download and install Windows updates or to manually install SP3. If you are wondering why should I slipstream SP3 into my Windows setup, then following are a few points which will satisfy you:
1. By slipstreaming SP3 into Windows setup, you'll get an up-to-date Windows setup which will install an already updated Windows. So you'll not need to update it over Internet to download 100+ updates.
2. You'll not need to install SP3 manually after installing Windows as it'll already contain it. So it'll save your time.
3. You'll not need to enter Serial key at the installation time because SP3 includes this new feature which allows you to install Windows without entering serial key. You can enter it after the installation completes.
So here we start our slipstreaming tutorial:
Prerequisites:
Getting Started:
1. Create a new folder in your system e.g. "Windows XP Setup" and copy Windows setup from CD in this new folder.
2. Now open nLite and it'll show the welcome screen where you can select the language that will be used throughout the setup wizard.
3. Click on "Next" button.
4. Now it'll ask for the folder location where Windows XP setup is stored. Click on "Browse" button and locate the recently created folder. You can also type the folder location in the given textbox.
5. Once you tell the folder location, the wizard will automatically detect the Windows version, language, size and other details. Now click on "Next" button.
6. Now it'll show "Presets" page. We are not covering it in this tutorial as its not required. So just click on "Next" button again.
7. Now the wizard will show you a number of tasks which can be performed on the Windows setup like Service pack integration, drivers integration, removing unwanted components from setup, a few Windows tweaks and creating bootable ISO.
Since this tutorial is for slipstreaming SP3 into Windows Setup, we'll recommend you to select following 2 tasks:
  • Service Pack
  • Bootable ISO
8. Now click on "Next" button. The wizard will ask you to tell the SP3 file location.
Click on "Select" button and locate the SP3 EXE file. Once you tell the file location, setup will automatically start slipstreaming it into Windows Setup.
9. Click on "OK" button and then click on "Next" button.
10. Now the wizard will show "Bootable ISO" page. Where you can change the CD label.
11. Now click on "Make ISO" button and the wizard will start creating bootable ISO image.
12. When it'll complete the ISO image creation, it'll show a message at bottom.
13. Now click on "Next" button and it'll show the final completion message.
14. That's all. Click on "Finish" button.
15. Now you can burn the bootable ISO using Nero or any other CD burning software.
That's the end of this guide. Now you can enjoy your new Windows XP installation.
NOTE: You can also choose other tasks mentioned in Step 7, like Tweaks, Options which will allow you to enter Product key, owner name, organization name, timezone, etc to make the whole setup unattended.

How to Enable / Disable Changing Themes, Wallpapers, Screen Savers and Other Desktop Settings?

Windows you can change desktop wallpaper, screen saver, themes and other appearance settings by right-click on Desktop and select "Properties". Sometimes you might want to disable all or a few options in Desktop Properties to restrict users or you might want to enable those options in case they are disabled by your system administrator or a virus infection.
Following tutorial will help you in enabling or disabling all or a particular option in Desktop Properties:
NOTE: This tutorial will work for almost all Windows versions.
A. Disable Themes Tab in Desktop Properties:
Open regedit and goto:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\ Explorer
If "Explorer" key is not present, then create it. Now in right-side pane, create a new DWORD value NoThemesTab and set its value to 1 to disable it.
Restricted_XP_Themes.jpg
B. Disable Desktop Tab in Desktop Properties:
Open regedit and goto:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\ System
If "System" key is not present, then create it. Now in right-side pane, create a new DWORD value NoDispBackgroundPage and set its value to 1 to disable it.
Restricted_XP_Desktop.jpg
C. Disable Screen Saver Tab in Desktop Properties:
Open regedit and goto:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\ System
If "System" key is not present, then create it. Now in right-side pane, create a new DWORD value NoDispScrSavPage and set its value to 1 to disable it.
Restricted_XP_Screen_Saver.jpg
D. Disable both Themes and Appearance Tabs in Desktop Properties:
Open regedit and goto:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\ System
If "System" key is not present, then create it. Now in right-side pane, create a new DWORD value NoDispAppearancePage and set its value to 1 to disable it.
Restricted_XP_Appearance.jpg
E. Disable Settings Tab in Desktop Properties:
Open regedit and goto:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\ System
If "System" key is not present, then create it. Now in right-side pane, create a new DWORD value NoDispSettingsPage and set its value to 1 to disable it.
Restricted_XP_Settings.jpg
BONUS TIP: In case you want to enable a restricted tab in Desktop Properties, just delete the required DWORD value as mentioned above or change its value to 0 instead of 1.

How to Enable / Disable New XP Style Welcome Screen, Log Off and Shutdown Dialog Box in Windows XP?

If you are a Windows XP user, you can see the new XP welcome screen at Windows startup. Also when you click on "Log Off" or "Shutdown" options in Startmenu, it shows new XP Style dialog boxes as shown in following screenshots: New XP Style Log Off Dialog Box:
New_Log_Off.jpg
New XP Style Shutdown Dialog Box:
New_Shutdown.jpg
There are also Classic dialog boxes available in Windows XP. If you don't want the new XP Style dialog boxes, you can enable the old Classic dialog boxes as shown in following screenshots:
Classic Log Off Dialog Box:
Old_Logoff.jpg
Classic Shutdown Dialog Box:
Old_Shutdown.jpg
Following tutorial will help you in enabling/disabling the new XP Style dialog boxes and Welcome Screen:
1. Open User Accounts applet in Control Panel.
2. Click on "Change the way users log on or off" link as shown in following screenshot:
Change_Way.jpg
3. It'll show a new page containing 2 options:
  • Use the Welcome screen
  • Use Fast User Switching
Enable_Welcome_Screen.jpg
Now if you want to disable new Welcome screen and XP style dialog boxes, then disable both options. Or if you want to enable welcome screen and new XP style dialog boxes, then enable both options.
NOTE: You might get following error message while enabling "Use Fast User Switching" option:
Fast User Switching cannot be used because Offline Files is currently enabled. To make changes to Offline Files, click OK.
If you get this error message, click on OK button and it'll show a new dialog box. Now disable "Enable offline files" option in this dialog box and click on OK button. Now you'll be able to enable "Use Fast User Switching" option.

Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) Setup Error: Access is denied.

As we all know Microsoft has released the final version of Windows XP SP3 to public and its available via Automatic Updates, Windows Updates and Downloads Center. Earlier we posted about it at following link:
Windows XP SP3 RTM Available on Windows Update, Automatic Update and Download Center
You can download the SP3 from the above mentioned link.
A few people are facing a problem while installing SP3. Whenever they try to install it, Windows shows following error message:
Service Pack 3 setup error. Access is denied.
OR
Service Pack 3 setup error. Service Pack installation did not complete.
If you are also facing the same problem, then follow these simple steps and your problem should be solved:
1. Download and install the Subinacl.exe file from here.
2. Open Notepad and paste following code:
cd /d "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Resource Kits\Tools"
subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CURRENT_USER /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
subinacl /subdirectories %SystemDrive% /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
subinacl /subdirectories %windir%\*.* /grant=administrators=f /grant=system=f
secedit /configure /cfg %windir%\inf\defltbase.inf /db defltbase.sdb /verbose
3. Save the file with name "SP3.bat".
4. Now right-click on the file and select "Run as administrator". It might take some time to complete.
5. After completion, restart your system and now you should be able to install SP3.

How to Change Default Wallpaper Directory in Desktop Properties in Windows XP?

his tip is for Windows XP users. When you want to change the desktop wallpaper, you right-click on desktop, select Properties and goto "Desktop" tab. Now you see a few wallpapers in the given list:
DefaultWallpaperList.jpg
You can select any of them but if your wallpapers are somewhere else, you'll need to click on "Browse" button and then goto that folder and select the desired wallpaper.
Its not a big deal but what if you are a wallpaper freak and change the wallpaper every day or hour?It might get irritating for you to click on Browse and goto the directory each time.
Now here I'll show you a way to change the default wallpaper directory in Desktop Properties, so that whenever you'll open it, it'll show the wallpapers present in your desired folder:
1. Open regedit and goto:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
2. In right-side pane, you'll see a string value "WallPaperDir". Its default value will be:
%SystemRoot%\Web\Wallpaper
You have to change it to your desired wallpaper directory path. Suppose your wallpapers are stored in "E:\Wallpapers" directory, then set the value to "E:\Wallpapers".
3. Exit registry editor and open Desktop Properties again. Now it'll show all wallpapers present in the folder which you set in registry:
ChangedWallpaperDirectory.jpg
4. Thats it. Now you'll no longer need to browse through varioud folders each time you want to change the wallpaper.

How to Add / Remove Items from New Menu in Windows?

In Windows, whenever we right-click on Desktop or Explorer, we get "New" menu which contains shortcuts for various known file types. We can easily create new files using this handy "New" menu.
Sometimes we may want to remove a few unwanted items from "New" menu or we may want to add a few necessary items to "New" menu which are not present. So in this tutorial, I'll tell you how can you add / remove items to / from "New" menu:
A. To Add an Item in "New" menu:
1. Open regedit and expand "HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT" key.
2. Now look for the file type which you want to add in "New" menu, e.g. for adding MP3 file type look for .MP3 key.
3. Right-click on it and select "New -> Key" and give it name "ShellNew".
4. In right-side pane, right-click and select "New -> String Value". Give it name "NullFile" and press Enter.
5. Thats it. You'll immediately get the file type entry in "New" menu.
B. To Remove an Item from "New" menu:
1. Open regedit and expand "HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT" key.
2. Now look for the file type which you want to remove from "New" menu, e.g. for removing MP3 file type look for .MP3 key.
3. Expand it and delete the "ShellNew" key.
4. Thats it. The file type will be removed from "New" menu.

How to Add Your Name in Desktop Context Menu in Windows XP?

NOTE: If you are facing problems while saving a file after editing in resource hacker, then make sure you have disabled WFP (Windows File Protection) service using WFP Patcher, it can be found in our "Download" section.
Also if you are getting error "Can't create file...", that means you have edited and saved the same file in past and there is a backup file which need to be deleted before saving this file again. Go to the folder containing this file and you'll see a similar file having "_original" in its name. Delete it and try to save the file in resource hacker.
As you all know about my "How to enable “VIEW” Menu on Desktop in Windows XP" tutorial which teaches you how to enable View menu in Windows XP Desktop context menu just like Windows Vista:

Many people have asked me how did I add my name on top in Desktop context menu as shown in above screenshot? So today I decided to write a small tutorial about it.
So here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to add any desired string in Desktop context menu:
1. Open “%windir%\System32\Shell32.dll” file in resource hacker and go to:
Menu -> 215 -> 1033
2. Now add following line:
MENUITEM "xyz", 33333, MFT_STRING, MFS_GRAYED | MFS_DEFAULT
Just after the:
215 MENUEX
LANGUAGE LANG_ENGLISH, SUBLANG_ENGLISH_US
{
POPUP "", 0, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED, 0
{
3. Replace "xyz" with any string which you want to add, e.g.
MENUITEM "!*~.VISHAL.~*!", 33333, MFT_STRING, MFS_GRAYED | MFS_DEFAULT
4. Click on "Compile Script" button.
5. Save the file and restart your Windows to see the affect.
BONUS TIP: You can remove "MFS_GRAYED" or "MFS_DEFAULT" or both to have some different look. "MFS_GRAYED" is used to disable the text, if you'll remove it, your name will look like an enabled item. "MFS_DEFAULT" is used to show the text in Bold, if you'll remove it, your name will be shown as normal text instead of Bold.

Download Windows 7 Boot Screen for XP and Vista

As we all know that Windows 7 contains a new animated boot screen which shows animated items/balls that come together to form Windows logo. If you want to enjoy the same boot screen in Windows XP or Vista, then here is a good news for you. Windows 7 look-like boot screens are available for Windows XP and Vista:

You can download the boot screens using following links:
Download Windows 7 Boot Screen for Windows XP
Download Windows 7 Boot Screen for Windows Vista
You'll need "Tuneup Utilities" to apply these boot screens.
NOTE: The above boot screens are not animated.

Start Killer: Remove Start Button from Windows Taskbar

Do you also think that the Start button in taskbar should be removed to gain some extra free space? Actually many people use WIN key in keyboard to access the startmenu and find the start button useless for them. If you also want to remove the start button, here is a good app for you. "Start Killer" is a very small program which can remove the start button from the taskbar.
Before:
Default_Start_Button.png
After:
Start_Button_Killer.png
As you can see in the above screenshot, start button is not present in the taskbar. You can access the start menu by pressing WIN key or Ctrl+Esc keys.
To show the start button again, simply close the app by right-clicking on its icon in system tray and select Exit.
You can download it using following link:
Download Start Killer

How to Disable Annoying Caps Lock Key in Windows?

So what was the last time when you used "Caps Lock" key in your keyboard? Can't remember? Actually Caps Lock key is one of the most unused keys in the keyboard. Its also one of the most annoying keys. Tell us honestly how many times did you face that annoying situation when you pressed this key accidentally and typed a line or full paragraph without even knowing that Caps Lock is ON? Your answer would be many times.
So here is a simple solution for this annoying problem. You can either permanently disable "Caps Lock" key or change it to some other useful keys like "Shift" or "Control" using the built-in "Keyboard Scancode Mapping" feature of Windows.
To use this keyboard scancode mapping feature, we'll need to edit Windows registry and add a new Binary value "Scancode Map" in following key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout
Then we'll need to set the value of "Scancode Map" to disable Caps Lock key or change it to some other key.
Doing this task manually will be a bit complicated, that's why we have created a ZIP file which contains ready-made registry scripts for:
  • Disable Caps Lock key
  • Change Caps Lock to Control
  • Change Caps Lock to Shift
  • Restore Caps Lock key
So download following ZIP file, extract it and run the desired REG file. It'll ask for confirmation, accept it and restart your system to take affect.
Download Registry Script

Customize or Disable Any Key in Your Keyboard Using SharpKeys

Recently I got my new laptop "Dell XPS M1530". Its great but I faced one problem. My previous laptop was a Toshiba one and it had the "Delete" key placed between right Ctrl key and left arrow key. This new Dell laptop has the Delete key at top-right corner. I found it very uncomfortable and pressed a wrong key quite frequently. Have you faced such kind of problem? Do you also want to change one or more keys in your keboard? Or do you want to completely disable any key in your keyboard like Caps Lock? If yes, then "SharpKeys" will definitely help you.
"SharpKeys" is a very small application which does an excellent job in remapping the keys. You can disable any unwanted key or you can convert any key into any other key. The bottomline is you can customize almost all keys in your keyboard according to your requirement.
You can download this application using following link:
MSI | ZIP
Run it and you'll see following interface:
SharpKeys_Interface.png
Now click on "Add" button to change any key's function or disable it. You'll get following window:
SharpKeys_New_Key_mapping.png
You can either select the key from the given list or can manually type the key using "Type Key" button. Using "Type Key" button is the best and easiest way. First click on "Type Key" button in "From Key" section and press the key which you want to change. Then click on "Type Key" button in "To Key" section and now press the key which you want to assign to the previous key. If you want to disable a key, simply select "Turn Key Off" option present at top in the "To Key" section.
Once you complete, click on "OK" button and it'll show the conversion in the list:
SharpKeys_Setting_New_Key_mapping.png
At last click on "Write to Registry" button. It'll show a message that you'll need to restart or log off your system to take affect. Once you restart the system, your desired key will be changed or disabled as per your requirements.
Its a very easy to use application and works in almost all Windows versions.
Download Link (MSI)
Download Link (ZIP)

Get Windows 7 Look-Like Desktop Context Menu in XP, Add “View”, “Screen Resolution”, “Gadgets” & “Personalize” Options

Windows 7 Desktop context menu is much different than XP one. Following are a few things which are new in Windows 7 menu and we are going to have them in XP:
  • "View" menu visible in Desktop context menu
  • "Arrange Icons By" renamed to "Sort by"
  • "Properties" renamed to "Personalize"
  • "Auto arrange icons" and "Align icons to grid" options moved from "Sort by" menu to "View" menu
  • 2 new options "Screen resolution" and "Gadgets" added to the menu
So above are a few changes which are new in Windows 7 but we can get them in XP using our favorite tool "Resource Hacker".
Prerequisites:
To modify Desktop context menu, we'll need to edit "%windir%\System32\Shell32.dll" file in Resource Hacker. If you are new to Resource Hacker, we'll advise you to go through following tutorial to learn about it:
All About Resource Hacker in a brief Tutorial
Once you become familiar with Resource Hacker, make sure you have run WFP Patcher in Windows. WFP Patcher disables WFP (Windows File Protection) service. WFP service protects editing of system files and you'll not be able to edit "Shell32.dll" file until you disable it using WFP patcher. You can find it in our "Downloads" section.
If you don't want to disable WFP, you can save the modified file at some other location and then replace default Shell32.dll file with your new modified one using Replacer. This tool can also be found in our "Downloads" section.
Getting Started:
1. Open "%windir%\System32\Shell32.dll" file in Resource Hacker and go to:
Menu -> 215
2. Select the whole code given in right-side pane and replace it with the following code:
215 MENUEX
LANGUAGE LANG_ENGLISH, SUBLANG_ENGLISH_US
{
POPUP "", 0, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED, 0
{
POPUP "&View", 0, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED, 0
{
MENUITEM "Filmstri&p", 28719, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "T&humbnails", 28717, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "Tile&s", 28718, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "Ico&ns", 28713, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "&List", 28715, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "&Details", 28716, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "", 30208, MFT_SEPARATOR, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "Show in &groups", 30209, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "&Auto arrange icons", 28753, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "A&lign icons to grid", 28756, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "", 30208, MFT_SEPARATOR, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "Show &desktop icons", 29698, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
}
POPUP "S&ort by", 28673, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED, 0
{
MENUITEM "", 30208, MFT_SEPARATOR, MFS_ENABLED
}
MENUITEM "R&efresh", 28931, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "", 65535, MFT_SEPARATOR, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "Customize this &folder...", 28722, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "", 65535, MFT_SEPARATOR, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "&Paste", 28698, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "Paste &shortcut", 28700, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "&Undo", 28699, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
}
}
3. Click on "Compile Script" button.
4. Now go to:
Menu -> 220
5. Again select the whole code given in right-side pane and replace it with the following code:
220 MENUEX
LANGUAGE LANG_ENGLISH, SUBLANG_ENGLISH_US
{
POPUP "", 0, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED, 0
{
MENUITEM "Screen resolution", 0, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "Gadgets", 0, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "P&ersonalize", 0, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
}
}
6. Click on "Compile Script" button.
7. That's it. Now save the file. Restart your system and get ready to have the Windows 7 Desktop context menu in your XP.

PS: "Screen Resolution" and "Gadgets" options will open Desktop Properties. Its a limitation in XP. We can't do anything.
NOTE: If you get "Can't create file…" error message when you try to save the file, it means you have edited and saved the file recently and there is a backup file which needs to be deleted before saving the file again. Go to the "System32" folder and look for a file "Shell32_original.dll". Delete it and try to save the file again.

Microsoft Adds Support for exFAT File System Format in Windows XP

Windows XP doesn't support exFAT file system format but now Microsoft has released a small update for Windows XP which adds the support for exFAT file system. The update number is "KB955704" and can be downloaded from following link:
Download Update
The update can be installed in XP SP2 and SP3.
The exFAT system offers following advantages:
  • Enables the file system to handle growing capacities in media, increasing capacity to 32 GB and larger.
  • Handles more than 1000 files in a single directory.
  • Speeds up storage allocation processes.
  • Removes the previous file size limit of 4 GB.
  • Supports interoperability with future desktop OSs.
  • Provides an extensible format, including OEM-definable parameters to customize the file system for specific device characteristics.
For more information about exFAT file system, visit following links:
More Info 1
More Info 2

Organize Your Windows Desktop Icons in a New Way Using Stardock Fences

Do you have lots of unused icons on your Desktop but can't get sufficient time to organize them? Do you want to make your Desktop clutter-free? If your answer is YES, here is a new great tool for you to make your task easier. "Stardock Fences" is a new free utility from Stardock which allows you to draw labeled shaded areas on your desktop, which become movable & resizable containers for your desktop icons. These groups can help bring organization and consistency to your computer's desktop, solving the "constant mess" problem that has plagued the desktop since its inception.
Fences also helps you finally appreciate the wallpaper you have hiding behind all that clutter. In addition to its organizing features, Fences offers a novel quick-hide feature (in-patenting-process). Double click your desktop, and all your icons will fade out. Double click again, and they'll return.

This tool is available for Windows XP, Vista and 7. You can download it using following link:
Download Stardock Fences
Homepage

Stopper: How to Prevent / Restrict Users from Cut, Copy, Paste and Delete Operations in Windows?

Ever faced a situation when someone used your system and copied some data which you didn't want to share with him? Your answer would be "YES". Almost all of us face this situation. We all have some private data or some software which we don't want to share with others. But we can't do anything when our friends or relatives copy them from our system. If you say we can hide the data, then how much data will we hide? We can't hide everything and many power users know ways to access the hidden data.
Above situation is only a single example. Sometimes someone can also delete a file from your system which was required by some program or someone can delete your important documents. What will you do in that situation?
Don't you want to have some kind of program which can restrict "Cut, Copy, Paste and Delete" operations in Windows, so that no one can copy, delete your data?
Stopper.png
Here we are going to share a very small and portable application which does the job perfectly. This application has been made by our friend "Ritesh" who is also an active reader of AskVG.
Its a standalone EXE file. You just need to run the file and it'll disable the Cut, Copy, Paste and Delete functions.
Now whenever someone will try to cut, copy or delete a file/folder, nothing will happen. No keyboard shortcut will work. So your data would be safe.
To enable the operations again, open "Task Manager" and select the "Stopper.exe" file from the list. Right-click on it and select End task or End process option.
You can change the EXE name to something else like "kernel.exe", etc to confuse the users if they look into Task Manager.
If you want Windows to automatically start the application at each startup, then create its shortcut and paste in "Startup" folder in Programs menu.
Oh yeah, It works in all Windows versions.
You can download the file using following link:
Download Link

Force CapsLock, NumLock and ScrollLock Keys Behavior Using Windows Registry

Its a very common problem among Windows users. Whenever Windows starts, it automatically turns "CapsLock", "NumLock" or "ScrollLock" keys On at login screen even if you turned the keys off before the login or boot screen. If you want to permanently change their behavior, then you can use following steps to do so:
1. Type regedit in RUN dialog box and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor.
2. Now go to following key:
To change the behavior for currently logged in user:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Keyboard
To change the behavior for all users:
HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Keyboard
3. Now in right-side pane, change value of "InitialKeyboardIndicators" string value to any of following:
0 - Turn all indicators Off (NumLock, CapsLock, ScrollLock)
1 - Turn CapsLock On
2 - Turn NumLock On
3 - Turn CapsLock and NumLock On
4 - Turn ScrollLock On
5 - Turn CapsLock and ScrollLock On
6 - Turn NumLock and ScrollLock On
7 - Turn all indicators On (NumLock, CapsLock, ScrollLock)
Num_Lock_on_Login_Screen.png
4. That's it. Exit registry editor and restart your system to take effect.
Thanks to our active reader "Nitin Agarwal" for sharing this trick...

Get Windows 7 Volume Control Box in Windows XP

Windows 7 contains a redesigned Volume Control window which shows better details and graphics for device volumes. Now you can get a similar window in your XP. Thanks to fediaFedia for creating this mod.
Download the required file from following link:
Download Windows 7 Volume Control for XP
Alternative Link
After downloading the ZIP file, extract it and you'll get an EXE file "sndvol32.exe". Now you just need to replace existing "sndvol32.exe" file present in "%windir%\System32" folder (here %windir% represents "Windows" folder present in the system drive where Windows is installed in your system) with this new one.
Make sure you have run WFP Patcher in Windows. WFP Patcher disables WFP (Windows File Protection) service which protects editing/replacing of system files and you'll not be able to replace the file until you disable it using WFP patcher. You can find it in our "Downloads" section.
If you don't want to disable WFP, you can still replace the file using Replacer. This tool can also be found in our "Downloads" section.

Nimi Visuals: Add Various Eye Candy Effects to Windows

Nimi (formerly known as Tophaz) is a small program that adds various window effects that can be adjusted by user. Currently, those are: Transparency effects, with fading
  • Desktop shadows - turn all windows transparent and click-through when desktop is selected. Holding mouse with button pressed over transparent window activates it again.
  • Window fading in on creation - fade in window on it's creation
  • Contrast screen - creates contrast between active and non-active windows
  • Taskbar and start menu transparency(no fading)
  • Ttransparency on window move and resize
Jelly effects
  • Window kinetics - window will its momentum during move
  • Jelly windows - deform window shape depending on direction of its move in wobbly style
  • Jelly bounce - Makes window bounce on activation
Illusion effects
  • Creation sparkle - creates sparkle on titlebar at window creation
  • Contrastful windows - decrease saturation of non-active windows.
Other
  • Window quiver - minimizes or restore non-active windows on active window quiver movement
  • Window snap - maximizes window to half-width of screen when it's left more than half outside screen
  • Picture wallpaper-board - generate wallpaper filled with random images from User picture folder or Nimi folder in application data folder
  • Picture highlight - generate wallpaper containing one image from User picture folder, highlighted on adapted background
  • Screen frost - cover wallpaper under ice.
It supports Windows XP and Vista and should also work in Windows 2000.
Download Link
More Info

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