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Rabu, 06 April 2011

How to Fix “Task Manager has been Disabled by Your Administrator”?

That's a very common problem for Windows users. Many times when you try to open Task Manager, you find that "Task Manager" option has been grayed out: Task_Manager_Disabled_1.jpg
Also when you try to run it by typing "taskmgr" in RUN dialog box, Windows shows following error message:
Task Manager has been disabled by your administrator.
Task_Manager_Disabled_2.jpg
There might be 2 possible reasons behind this problem:
  • Your system administrator applied the restriction using Registry Editor or Group Policy Editor.
  • Your system has been infected with virus and it has disabled the Task Manager.
If you are already the Administrator of the system, then your system is most probably infected. You should follow the instructions given in following topic first:
Is Your System Infected with a Virus / Spyware / Adware / Trojan?
Now if your system in not infected or you have successfully removed the virus, then you can follow these simple steps to enable Task Manager again:
1. Type regedit in RUN dialog box or Startmenu Search box and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor. If Registry editor is also disabled, then follow instructions given in following tutorial:
How to Enable Tools -> Folder Options and Registry Editor in Windows
2. Now go to following keys one by one:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System
HKEY_USERS\.default\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System
and look for a DWORD value "DisableTaskMgr" in right-side pane. If you find it, delete it.
Enable_Task_Manager.jpg
3. That's it. Now Task Manager will be enabled.
PS: If you are not familiar with editing the registry, then you can use ready-made registry script to do the task automatically. Download following ZIP file, extract it and then run the extracted .REG file. It'll ask for confirmation, accept it:
Enable Task Manager

[Fix] Links from Yahoo! Messenger, FDM and avast! Open in IE Even When Firefox is Default Browser

If you use Yahoo! Messenger or avast! or Free Download Manager (FDM), you might have noticed that whenever you click on any link in these software, it opens in Internet Explorer even when Mozilla Firefox is set as Default browser in your system. Most of the times this problem occurs in Windows Vista. If you are facing this problem, then follow these simple steps to fix this problem:
1. Click on "Default Programs" shortcut in Start menu. Now click on the last option in the list "Set program access and computer defaults":
Choose_Default_Program.png
2. Now click on "Custom" section and select "Mozilla Firefox" in "Choose a default web browser" section:
Select_Firefox_as_default_browser.png
3. That's it. Click on OK button and now all links will open in Firefox instead of IE.

How to Remove An Item from RUN Dialog Box History / MRU List?

All of us use Start menu RUN dialog box to enter frequent commands in Windows. It stores the entered commands in its history and suggests them whenever we enter them next time. RUN_Dialog_Box_History.jpg
Although its a good feature but sometimes we might want to remove a particular item from the history list because of some obvious reasons.
Here is a simple and safe method to remove any desired item from RUN history / MRU (Most Recently Used) list:
1. Type regedit in RUN dialog box and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor.
2. Now go to following key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\RunMRU
In right-side pane, you'll see various String values with the name a, b, c, etc and their value will be set to the command which you entered in RUN dialog box:
RunMRU_List_in_Registry.jpg
3. You just need to delete the String value which contains the command which you want to remove from RUN history list. e.g. if you want to remove "msconfig" command from RUN history, then delete the "b" String value.
4. That's it. Now the deleted command will no longer appear in RUN MRU list.

[Fix] Start Menu Recent Items List and RUN MRU List is Always Empty When User Logs On

If you are a Windows user, you might have noticed the "Recent Items" list in Start menu which contains a list of recently opened documents. RUN dialog box also stores a list of recently entered commands list in its history. Sometimes a strange problem starts happening. Whenever you log off or restart your system, the "Recent Items" list in Start menu as well as RUN dialog box MRU list get deleted. You find them absolutely empty when you log on.
Its a very common problem and it happens mostly when you use a tweaking software which adds an entry in Windows Registry to clear history of recently opened documents on log off.
If you are facing this problem, then follow these simple steps to fix it:
1. Type regedit in RUN dialog box and press Enter. It’ll open Registry Editor.
2. Now go to following keys one by one:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
HKEY_USERS\.default\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer
In right-side pane, look for a DWORD value "ClearRecentDocsOnExit". Its value would be set to 1. Either set its value to 0 or completely delete it.
Clear_Recent_docs_on_exit.jpg
3. That's it. Now restart or log off your system and your problem will be solved.
PS: You can also use this tutorial to intentionally delete recently opened documents list upon log off for security reasons. Simply create the DWORD value "ClearRecentDocsOnExit" in any of the above mentioned registry locations and set its value to 1

Download Emergency Security Patch for Windows NOW

Microsoft has released an emergency security patch for almost all Windows versions from Windows 2000 to Windows Server 2008. This security update resolves a privately reported vulnerability in the Server service. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if an affected system received a specially crafted RPC request.
On Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 systems, an attacker could exploit this vulnerability without authentication to run arbitrary code. It is possible that this vulnerability could be used in the crafting of a wormable exploit. Firewall best practices and standard default firewall configurations can help protect network resources from attacks that originate outside the enterprise perimeter.
This security update is rated Critical for all supported editions of Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and rated Important for all supported editions of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.
The security update addresses the vulnerability by correcting the way that the Server service handles RPC requests.
This patch is available via Automatic Updates but if you have missed it by any chance then you can manually download and install it using following link:
Vulnerability in Server Service Could Allow Remote Code Execution (958644)

Download Windows 7 Login Screen for Windows XP

Windows 7 contains a new login screen which looks awesome. Now you can get the same login screen in Windows XP.
Our friend "PeterRollar" @ DA has created a login screen for Windows XP which looks exact same as Windows 7 login screen.
Download the login screen from following link:
Download Windows 7 Login Screen for Windows XP
More Info
Now extract the RAR file using WinRAR or 7-zip and you'll get "LogonUI.exe" file. That's the file which contains the login screen. You'll need to replace existing "logonui.exe" file present in "%windir%\System32" folder with this downloaded one. Use "Replacer" to replace the file which you can find in our "Downloads" section.
Or you can use Tuneup Utilities to easily apply the login screen which is very safe.
NOTE: If you are a Windows Vista user, you can get this new login screen using following link:
Download Windows 7 Login Screen for Windows Vista

Add “Open in New Window” Option in Folders and Drives Context Menu in Windows

Recently one of our readers "CytoxX" asked us how can he add an option "Open in New Window" in folders context menu, so that whenever he right-clicks on a folder, he can get the option in the list. In this tutorial, I'll tell you how to add "Open in New Window" option in folders as well as Drives context menu.
Open_in_New_Window_Option.jpg
Although you can open a folder or drive in new window by pressing "Ctrl" or "Shift" key while double-clicking on it but this trick no longer works in Windows Vista, Server 2008 and Seven.
In Windows Vista, Server 2008 and Seven, you can open a folder or drive in new window by right-clicking on it and selecting "Open" option. "Explore" option opens the folder or drive in same window but "Open" option opens them in a new window.
Now to add a separate option "Open in New Window" in folders and drives context menu, follow these simple steps:
1. Type regedit in RUN or Startmenu Search box and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor.
2. Now go to following key:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell
3. We'll need to create a new key under "Shell" key. Right-click on "Shell" key and select "New -> Key". Give the new key name of "Open in New Window" (without quotes). You can give any other name, the name you set here will be shown as the option label in context menu.
4. Now we'll need to create another new key. Right-click on the new key which we created in the last step e.g. Open in New Window and select "New -> Key". Give the new key name of command.
5. Now select "command" key and in right-side pane, you'll see "Default" String value. Change its value to:
explorer %1
6. Now go to following key:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Drive\shell
and follow steps 3-5 again for this key.
7. That's it. Once you set the value of "Default", you have done. Now right-click on any folder or drive and you'll get a new option "Open in New Window" which will open the selected folder or drive in a new window.
PS: If you want a ready-made script to do the task automatically, then download following ZIP file, extract it and then run the extracted REG file. It'll ask for confirmation, accept it:
Download Registry Script

Get Windows 7 Iconized (Icon Only) Taskbar Feature in Windows XP and Vista

Windows 7 taskbar doesn't show text in application buttons, it only show their icons. On the other hand previous Windows versions used to show icon as well as text in all application's taskbar buttons. Actually Windows 7 new iconized taskbar feature looks good and it also saves space in taskbar area. If you want to have the same feature in Windows XP, Vista, Server 2003, 2008, etc, then you can get it after following a few simple and easy steps.
Before applying this tutorial:
Default_Taskbar.jpg
After applying this tutorial:
Iconized_Taskbar.jpg
So here are the steps to follow:
1. Type regedit in RUN dialog box and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor. Now go to following key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics
2. In right-side pane, create a new String value MinWidth and set its value to -255
Adding_MinWidth_Value_in_Registry.jpg
3. That's it. Log off or restart your system and get ready to have iconized taskbar in your system.
4. To restore default taskbar behavior, delete the MinWidth String value and log off or restart your system.
PS: If you want a ready-made registry script which can do the task automatically, then download following ZIP file, extract it and then run the Install.reg file. It'll ask for confirmation, accept it:
Download Registry Script

Get Windows 7 “Aero Snap” Feature in Windows XP and Vista

Windows 7 provides a new feature which is called "Aero Snap". You can minimize, maximize, resize window by just dragging-dropping it to the screen corners. Its a very useful and interesting feature in Windows 7. Now you can enjoy this feature in Windows XP and Vista as well.
"AeroSnap" is a simple but powerful tool that provides the same functionality in XP and Vista.
Simple drag a window to a side of your desktop to snap it or drag it to the top to maximize. When you drag it back to the last position, the last window size will be restored.
It also works with multiple monitors.
Please keep in mind, that this software is still in beta process. It's stable enough to use, but it's possible that you'll get some errors.
Download Link

Get Windows 7 “Aero Shake” Feature in Windows XP and Vista

NOTE: Check AquaSnap, AeroSnap, Aero Shake, Acer Gridvista, WinShake, TrueTransparency, WinSplit Revolution and WindowSpace.
To continue our Windows 7 features coming to pre-7 computers tour, here we are sharing a very small and great utility which provides the "Aero Shake" feature of Windows 7 in Windows XP, Vista and other pre-7 versions.
"Aero Shake" is a new feature in Windows 7 which is quite useful. Suppose you have more than one windows opened and you want to minimize all other windows except the window which you are working on, then you have to simply shake the current window with your mouse and all other windows will be minimized automatically. Shake it again and all minimized windows will be maximized again.
To get this feature in Windows XP and Vista, download following EXE file:
Download Aero Shake for Windows XP and Vista
Run it and enjoy the new feature.

Windows Sysinternals Updated with ZoomIt v2.2 and AccessChk v4.22

Windows Sysinternals team has updated 2 of its components: ZoomIt v2.2: This ZoomIt update makes it easier to see the drawing cursor when it's small relative to the zoomed region by representing it as a cross hair, allows you to position the text cursor when you enter text mode, supports changing the text color for the break timer and while you're placing the text cursor, and includes a number of other minor improvements.
Download ZoomIt v2.2
AccessChk v4.22: This update fixes a bug that sometimes caused AccessChk to not show the full list of rights and privileges assigned to a user account.
Download AccessChk v4.22
[via]

ViSplore: Get Windows Vista Explorer with Glass in Windows XP

The most impressive thing in Windows Vista is the new revamped Windows Explorer. It has glassy interface, addressbar with breadcrumb, integrated search box and many other interesting features. Since when Vista is released, lots of its Explorer alternatives have been made to be used in XP. Following this tradition, "Lee-Soft" has developed a new program "ViSplore".
Its a Vista Explorer alternative for XP. It provides similar Glassy Explorer with breadcrumbs in addressbar and integrated search box at right.

So if you are a customization freak, then you can use this nice alternative in XP.
Currently its under beta testing.
Download Link

Download Windows 7 WindowBlinds (WB) Skin for XP

As you know that Windows 7 M3 build has been released. It got lots of new features and improved interface. You can take a look at all new features and GUI changes in following topic: Windows 7 Review
Windows 7 theme is a bit different from Vista theme. It contains a redesigned start menu, taskbar and also totally revamped Shellstyle in Windows Explorer.
Our friend “fediaFedia” has created a WB skin for Windows XP which completely mimic Windows 7 interface.
Following is a preview of this theme:

As you can see it provides the same Windows 7 look in XP which looks excellent.
You can download the theme using following link:
Download Link
You'll need WindowBlinds 6.0 or newer version to use this skin.

[Solution] “Play All” Option Opens “Copy Items” and “Move Items” Dialog Box in Windows XP

I have received many mails from several AskVG readers regarding this common problem. If you use Windows XP then you might also have faced this problem.
Problem Description:
The problem occurs when you select a media file (it might be an audio or video file) and click on "Play All" link given in common tasks section (the sidebar present on the left in Windows Explorer):
Play_All_Media_Files.jpg
It opens 2 annoying dialog boxes. First a "Copy Items" dialog box appears.
Copy_To.jpg
When you close it another "Move Items" dialog box appears.
Move_To.jpg
After closing this second dialog box, your media file starts playing in Media player.
Solution:
Actually this problem occurs when "Copy To" and "Move To" options are added in file/folder context menu. It might be done by a tweaking software or you added it intentionally.
You just need to remove these 2 options from context menu to solve this problem.
Follow these simple steps:
1. Type regedit in RUN dialog box and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor.
2. Now go to following key:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AllFilesystemObjects\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\
3. Remove Copy To and Move To keys under it.
Removing_Copy_to_Move_to_Options.jpg
4. That's it. Now you'll not see those 2 annoying dialog boxes any more.
NOTE: If you want a ready-made registry script which can do the task automatically, then download following ZIP file, extract it and then run the extracted REG file. It'll ask for confirmation, accept it:
Download Registry Script

Update Your Windows Using Mozilla Firefox, Opera or Any Other Web Browser

If you use Microsoft Windows, you might know about its "Automatic Updates" feature. It automatically downloads and installs (based upon its settings) Microsoft updates which fix many security and compatibility issues and sometimes add new functionality. You can also manually update Windows using Microsoft Updates website. But the website only works in Internet Explorer. If you try to open the website in any other web browser like Firefox, Opera, you get following message:
Thank you for your interest in obtaining updates from our site.
To use this site, you must be running Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 or later.
To upgrade to the latest version of the browser, go to the Internet Explorer Downloads website.
If you prefer to use a different web browser, you can obtain updates from the Microsoft Download Center or you can stay up to date with the latest critical and security updates by using Automatic Updates. To turn on Automatic Updates:
  1. Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Security.
  2. Click Security Center, and then make sure Automatic updating is turned on.
To enhance the security and performance of your computer, make sure Windows automatic updating is not turned off.
So you need to use IE in case of manually updating Windows. But now you can download and install updates using any other web browser like Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Netscape or K-Meleon.
"WindizUpdate" is a plugin which allows users of Mozilla Firefox, Firebird, Opera, Netscape and K-Meleon to update their Windows using Microsoft Updates. You simply need to install the plug-in and then open "WindizUpdate.com" in your browser. Now you can scan for new updates and install them without IE.
It lists just the updates you need. If an update has been superseded by a newer one, it will not ask you to install the older one.
Also it is not restricted to just Microsoft products. Software from other vendors can also be updated.
So just head over to following website and enjoy Microsoft Updates in your favorite browser:
WindizUpdate.com
NOTE: If you face any problem while installing the plug-in, then download its installer from following link:
WindizUpdate installation program

Customize “New Folder” and “New Shortcut” Text in Windows XP



Whenever you create a new folder or shortcut in Windows XP, the default name for the newly created item is set as "New Folder" or "New Shortcut". Did you ever wish to customize it?
This tutorial will help you in customizing the "New Folder" and "New Shortcut" text, so that whenever you create any new folder or shortcut, you can see your desired names instead of the default ones.
You'll need to edit a system file "Shell32.dll" which is stored in "%windir%\System32" folder, here %windir% means "C:\Windows" folder if your Windows is installed in C: drive.
We'll edit this file in Resource Hacker. If you have no idea of this software, please go through following tutorial:
All About Resource Hacker in a brief Tutorial
Once you become familiar with Resource Hacker, make sure you have run WFP Patcher. It disables WFP (Windows File Protection) service. This service protects editing of system files and you'll not be able to edit "Shell32.dll" file until you disable it. 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.
So here we start our tutorial:
1. Open "%windir%\System32\Shell32.dll" file in Resource Hacker and go to:
String Table -> 1896
2. Now in right-side pane, you'll see default "New Folder" and "New Shortcut" strings:
Default_Strings.jpg
3. You just need to replace the default strings with your desired strings as we have removed the "New" word from both strings:
Customized_Strings.jpg
4. Once you finish, click on "Compile Script" button and save the file.
5. Restart your system and now you'll see your customized names whenever you create a new folder or shortcut:
New_Folder_and_Shortcut.png
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.

Download Official Microsoft Brilliant Black Skin for Windows Media Player

Here is an official Microsoft skin for Windows Media Player. Its called "Brilliant Black". Actually this skin is a part of Microsoft Touch Pack for UMPC OEM (Ultra Mobile Personal Computer, Codenamed Origami). Our friend, a regular AskVG reader and porting expert "Amirz" got a chance to extract this skin and now you can use it in almost all Windows Media Player versions.
Official_MS_WMP_Skin.jpg
It works in Windows XP and Vista and Windows 7 too. You can use it in WMP 9 and higher versions.
Just download the ZIP file, extract it and double click on "Brilliant Black.wmz" file. It'll automatically install and apply the skin.
Download Link

Minimize Windows as Thumbnails on Desktop Instead of Taskbar using miniMIZE

"miniMIZE" is a small utility which puts all minimized applications on Desktop as thumbnails. So whenever you minimize a window, it gets minimized on Desktop as a small thumbnail. miniMIZE.jpg
You can double-click on the thumbnail to restore the window. Its a cool desktop enhancement utility.
You can also change various options using its settings like:
  • Start miniMIZE at Windows startup
  • Show icon in system tray
  • Hide or unhide taskbar buttons
  • Desktop Thumbnails size
  • Opacity level
  • Thumbnails position on Desktop
  • Hotkeys
  • Exclusions List
You can download this small utility from following link:
Download miniMIZE

Microsoft Released Security Update for Internet Explorer, Update NOW

Recently security experts found a security exploit in all Internet Explorer versions and suggested all people to stay away from IE until Microsoft releases an update to fix it. Now Microsoft has officially released a security update to fix the issue and we request you to download and install it as soon as possible. You can find the appropriate update using following links:
Download Update for IE6 (Windows XP)
Download Update for IE6 (Windows XP x64 bit)
Download Update for IE6 (Windows Server 2003)
Download Update for IE6 (Windows Server 2003 x64 bit)
Download Update for IE7 (Windows XP)
Download Update for IE7 (Windows XP x64 bit)
Download Update for IE7 (Windows Server 2003)
Download Update for IE7 (Windows Server 2003 x64 bit)
Download Update for IE7 (Windows Vista)
Download Update for IE7 (Windows Vista x64 bit)
Download Update for IE7 (Windows Server 2008)
Download Update for IE7 (Windows Server 2008 x64 bit)
PS: There is also an update available for IE8 RC1 on Connect. So if you are an IE tester, download it from Connect.

Get Windows 7 look-a-like Windows Media Player (WMP) in Windows XP and Vista

As you know Windows 7 contains Windows Media Player 12 which looks like as following:
Now if you want to enjoy the same media player in Windows XP or Vista, then this article will help you.
We are going to share 2 skins with you: one for WMP11 in XP and other for WMP 11 in Vista. These skins can make the WMP 11 under XP and Vista to look like WMP12 of Windows 7.
You can download the required skins using following links:
Download Windows 7 Skin for WMP11 under Windows XP
Download Windows 7 Skin for WMP11 under Windows Vista
All required instructions are mentioned in the downloaded ZIP files.
PS: If you are facing a wmploc.dll version number problem while opening WMP after installing this skin, then visit following tutorial to fix it:
[Fix] Wmploc.dll Version Number Error While Opening Windows Media Player
Thanks to fediaFedia and bogo-d for creating these excellent skins...

[Fix] Wmploc.dll Version Number Error While Opening Windows Media Player

Its a very common problem and occurs when you install a new Windows Media Player skin by replacing "wmploc.dll" file in "System32" folder. Actually almost all WMP interface resources are stored in "wmploc.dll" file and most of the designers modify this file and replace existing resources with their customized ones to change the UI.
But "wmploc.dll" is a system file and whenever you start Windows Media Player, it checks the version number of this file and if a different version number is found, it shows an error message similar to following screenshot:
WMP_Version_Error.jpg
As you can see in above screenshot, the error message indicates that the version number of "wmploc.dll" file should be "11.0.6002.16489" but the current file's version number is  "11.0.6001.7000". It happened because the new file version number was different than the original file.
To fix this problem, you can restore the original "wmploc.dll" file but if you want to use the new customized file, then you'll need to follow a few simple steps which are as following:
METHOD 1: Using Command Prompt
1. Click on "Start button -> All Programs -> Accessories". Right-click on "Command Prompt" and select "Run As Administrator". If you are prompted to enter password, enter the password and continue. You can also open Command Prompt in Administrator mode by typing "cmd" in Startmenu Search box and press "Ctrl+Shift+Enter".
2. Now provide following commands one by one:
unregmp2.exe /updatewmpversion
regsvr32 wmp.dll
3. It'll sync the WMP version number with Windows Registry and your problem should be solved.
METHOD 2: Using Resource Hacker
If the above method doesn't work, you can try following method which requires a little expertise.
1. Open "%windir%\System32\wmploc.dll" file in Resource Hacker and go to:
Version Info -> 1
2. In right-side pane, you'll see the file version info:
WMP11_Default_Version.jpg
You'll need to replace all instances of the version number with the required and correct version number. For example, the new customized file contains version number "11.0.6001.7000" but the correct version number should be "11.0.6002.16489". So you'll need to replace all instances of "6001" with "6002" and all instances of "7000" with "16489" as shown in following screenshot:
WMP11_Modified_Version.jpg
3. Once you correct the version number, click on "Compile Script" button and save the file.
That's it. Now you'll be able to start Windows Media Player without any problem.
PS: If you don't have much idea about Resource Hacker, please go through following tutorial:
All About Resource Hacker in a brief Tutorial

XP SysPad: A Must Have System Tool for Power Users

"XP SysPad" is an ultimate system utility which provides access to hundreds of Windows utilities which are usually hidden and not accessible. Its a must have tool for all power users. With the help of this tool, you can access:
  • All important system folders like Start menu, Desktop, Cookies, Favorites, Fonts, History, Documents, Cache, Send to, Startup, etc.
  • Lots of hidden Windows utilities like Dr. Watson, Certificate Manager, Group Policy Manager, SAM Lock Tool, etc.
  • Windows and Office product keys.
  • All Control panel applets.
  • Lots of important Networking tools like Get IP, NSLookup, Telnet, etc.
  • Common programs within a click like Notepad, Command Prompt, Paint, Calculator, Run, Task Manager, etc.
  • Floppy, CD/DVD drives.
You can also log off or shut down your system using this tool. You can even hide the taskbar which is an interesting feature of this tool:
Hide_Taskbar_Using_XP_SysPad.jpg
You can also set it to always stay on top or start with Windows.
Its absolutely FREE tool and also a portable one so you don't need to install it. Just download and run the file. You can carry it on your USB drives. Its a great troubleshooting tool.
And don't get confused by its name. It also supports Windows Vista and 7.
Download Link

Customize “New Folder” and “New Shortcut” Text in Windows XP

Whenever you create a new folder or shortcut in Windows XP, the default name for the newly created item is set as "New Folder" or "New Shortcut". Did you ever wish to customize it? This tutorial will help you in customizing the "New Folder" and "New Shortcut" text, so that whenever you create any new folder or shortcut, you can see your desired names instead of the default ones.
You'll need to edit a system file "Shell32.dll" which is stored in "%windir%\System32" folder, here %windir% means "C:\Windows" folder if your Windows is installed in C: drive.
We'll edit this file in Resource Hacker. If you have no idea of this software, please go through following tutorial:
All About Resource Hacker in a brief Tutorial
Once you become familiar with Resource Hacker, make sure you have run WFP Patcher. It disables WFP (Windows File Protection) service. This service protects editing of system files and you'll not be able to edit "Shell32.dll" file until you disable it. 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.
So here we start our tutorial:
1. Open "%windir%\System32\Shell32.dll" file in Resource Hacker and go to:
String Table -> 1896
2. Now in right-side pane, you'll see default "New Folder" and "New Shortcut" strings:
Default_Strings.jpg
3. You just need to replace the default strings with your desired strings as we have removed the "New" word from both strings:
Customized_Strings.jpg
4. Once you finish, click on "Compile Script" button and save the file.
5. Restart your system and now you'll see your customized names whenever you create a new folder or shortcut:
New_Folder_and_Shortcut.png
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.

Transform Windows XP into Windows 7 without using Customization Pack

First 5000 comments deleted to reduce database overhead!
NOTE 1: If you want to download all BITMAPs, AVIs and other files mentioned in this tutorial in a single pack, you can download it using this link.
NOTE 2: Please create a Restore point using "System Restore" before applying anything mentioned in this tutorial so that you can restore your system back to default if you don't like the changes.
Also take a backup of system files before modifying them, so that you can restore them if anything goes wrong or you don't like the new change.
NOTE 3: 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" or use "Replacer" to replace the file. Both utilities 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.
Windows 7 provides lots of new features along with a newly designed interface. It looks very similar to Windows Vista but there are many GUI changes like redesigned taskbar, Explorer, new boot screen and login screen, etc.
If you are still using Windows XP but want to enjoy the new Windows 7 look, then this tutorial will definitely help you.
After following this tutorial, you'll get the same Windows 7 look in your Windows XP. Following is a list of things which are going to change after following this tutorial:
  • Windows Theme or Visual Style
  • Icons
  • Boot Screen
  • Login Screen or Welcome Screen
  • Cursors
  • Taskbar
  • Wallpaper
  • Sidebar
  • Progress Dialog Box
  • Shutdown / Log off Dialog Box
  • About Windows Box
  • System Properties Dialog Box
  • Volume Control Window
  • Extras like "Aero Shake", "Aero Snap", "Aero Peek", "Calculator" and "Paint"
  • A Few Other Mods...
So here we start our transformation tour:
1. Windows Theme or Visual Style:
Windows 7 provides a new refreshing look which includes redesigned taskbar and start menu, Windows Explorer and a few other small changes.
You can get the same look in Windows XP by using following theme:

Download SevenVG RTM Theme for Windows XP
If you want a Black version, then you can get it using following link:

Download New Official Embedded Theme for Windows XP and 2003, No File Patching Required

Here is a new theme for Windows XP and 2003 users. Its called "Embedded" theme. Its an official Microsoft theme so you'll not need to patch anything. You can apply it without any problem.
This theme has been taken from "Windows Embedded Standard CTP Refresh" and works perfectly in Windows XP and 2003.
Download following ZIP file, extract it and run the .EXE file. After that you can apply the theme from Desktop Properties. A sweet wallpaper is also included in the pack.
Download Link

A Complete Tutorial to Customize Desktop Context Menu in Windows XP Using Resource Hacker

You might be using the Desktop context menu since a long time in Windows but did you know that you can customize it to your needs? You can add/remove items from the context menu, you can re-arrange items, you can group those items, you can add your name in the context menu, you can add an image in context menu, you can add your favorite application shortcut in context menu, you can enable "View" menu in context menu. Phew... There are lots of things which you can do with Desktop context menu. So this tutorial will help you in fully customize the Desktop context menu in Windows XP. So tighten your seat belts and get ready for our journey.
The default Windows XP Desktop context menu looks as following:
Default_Windows_XP_Desktop_Context_.jpg
and following are a few examples of the customized Desktop context menu which you'll get after following this tutorial:
Modified_Windows_XP_Desktop_Cont-1.jpg
Exploring_Modified_Windows_XP_De-1.jpg
Exploring_Modified_Windows_XP_Deskt.jpg
So without wasting any time, lets start the tutorial:
How to Edit the Desktop Context Menu?
First question comes how will you edit the whole Desktop context menu? To edit it, you'll need Resource Hacker. If you don't know about Resource hacker, then visit this link.
To customize the Desktop context menu, we'll need to edit "%windir%\System32\Shell32.dll" file in Resource hacker. When you'll open "Shell32.dll" file in Resource hacker, you'll see various folders in left-side pane like Bitmap, Menu, String Table. Dialog, etc. We'll only need to edit "Menu" and "String Table" folders for our task.
Customizing Menu Items Text:
To change any menu item text, just replace its name to your desired name. e.g. I have changed almost all menu items names in the given screenshots, Refresh has been renamed to Reload Icons, New has been renamed to Create, Properties has been renamed to Personalize, etc.
Almost all menu items name can be changed in "Menu -> 215". So go to "215" menu in Resource Hacker and change your desired menu item text enclosed in "" and then click on "Compile Script" button. For example, To change "Refresh" to "Reload Icons":
Change following line:
MENUITEM "R&efresh", 28931, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
To:
MENUITEM "Rel&oad Icons", 28931, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
To change "Properties" text, you'll need to edit "Menu -> 220".
A few menu items like "Lock Web Items on Desktop", "Show Desktop Icons" and "Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard" are stored in "Menu -> 218".
To change "New" menu item's text, go to "String Table -> 1895" and in right-side pane, change text of "30315" line.
Removing Menu Items:
If you want to remove any particular menu item, then simply select its line of code and delete it and then click on "Compile Script" button. For example, if you want to delete "Refresh" from context menu, then delete following line from "Menu -> 215":
MENUITEM "R&efresh", 28931, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
Grouping Menu Items:
You can also group menu items to save some menu space and to make it more organized. To group menu items, you'll need to add some extra code.
First add following lines of code at the place where you want to show the main group:
POPUP "Put_Group_Label", 0, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED, 0
{
}
Replace "Put_Group_Label" with any desired text which you want to show in context menu.
Now you'll need to cut paste the desired menu items code between the curly braces.
For example, as in the screenshot I have grouped "View" and "Arrange Icons as" menu items in "Icons Menu". What I did, I pasted the above mentioned code just before the "View" menu item code line and then moved the lines of "View" and "Arrange Icons as" menu items between curly braces.
Its a bit complex task and require some practice.
Adding Image in Desktop Context Menu:
To add an image in context menu, visit following tutorial:
Add an Image in Desktop/Explorer Context Menu in Windows XP
Adding Your Favorite Application Shortcut in Desktop Context Menu:
You can also add any favorite application shortcut to context menu, like Firefox, Media Player, Winamp, etc. To know about it, visit following tutorial:
Add Your Favorite Program Shortcut in Desktop Context Menu in Windows XP
Enable "View" Menu in Desktop Context Menu:
"View" menu is not present in Desktop context menu. After applying following tutorial you'll be able to get "View" menu in Desktop context menu just like Windows Vista:
How to enable VIEW Menu on Desktop in Windows XP
Add Your Name or Any Desired String in Desktop Context Menu:
As you can see in the screenshot, I have put my name at top in context menu. You can also do the same with the help of following tutorial:
How to Add Your Name in Desktop Context Menu in Windows XP?
PS: If you face problems while changing the menu items text, grouping them, enabling view menu, etc, then you can use my ready-made code for it.
Just copy following code and replace the existing code in "Menu -> 215" with this new code. Click on "Compile Script" button and you'll get almost the same look as shown in screenshot. Now you can change the text, etc easily:
215 MENUEX
LANGUAGE LANG_ENGLISH, SUBLANG_ENGLISH_US
{
POPUP "", 0, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED, 0
{
MENUITEM "!*~.VISHAL.~*!", 33333, MFT_STRING, MFS_GRAYED | MFS_DEFAULT
POPUP "&Icons Menu", 1, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED, 0
{
POPUP "&Show Icons As", 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
}
POPUP "Sort &Icons By", 28673, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED, 0
{
MENUITEM "", 30208, MFT_SEPARATOR, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "Show in &Groups", 30209, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "&Auto Arrange", 28753, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "A&lign to Grid", 28756, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
}
}
POPUP "&Clipboard Menu", 1, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED, 0
{
MENUITEM "&Paste", 28698, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "Paste &Shortcut", 28700, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "&Undo", 28699, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
}
MENUITEM "Rel&oad Icons", 28931, MFT_STRING, MFS_ENABLED
MENUITEM "Media Player", 28785, 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
}
}
NOTE: If you face problems while saving the 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 recently and there is a backup file which needs to be deleted before saving the file again. Go to the "System32" folder and you’ll see a file “Shell32_original.dll”. Delete it and try to save the file again.

How to Customize Default Places Bar in Windows Common File Dialog Box?

When you open, save or browse for a file, Windows opens a "common file dialog box" containing a few shortcuts in left side pane which is called "Places Bar" and the shortcuts are called "Places". DefaultCommonPlaces.jpg
As you can see in the above screenshot, My Recent Documents, Desktop, etc are the default places. Many times we want to customize those shortcuts so that we can add our desired shortcuts there.
In this tutorial, I'll tell you how to customize these default places. So here we start the tutorial without wasting our time:
1. Open regedit and goto:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\
2. Now right-click on "Policies" key and select "New -> Key". It'll create a new key, give it name "comdlg32". Now again right-click on this new "comdlg32" key and select "New -> Key" and give the new key name "Placesbar". So the final key path would be:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\comdlg32\Placesbar
3. Now select "Placesbar" key and in right-side pane, create a new String value "Place0" and set its value to your desired path. You can set it to a drive like C:\ (make sure you put a slash "\" at last) or you can set it to a particular folder like D:\Wallpapers. You can also use some predefined values to put system elements in Places Bar:
MyComputer
MyDocuments
MyMusic
MyPictures
MyNetworkPlaces
MyFavorites
CommonDocuments
CommonMusic
CommonPictures
Desktop
Printers
Recent
ProgramFiles
You can set upto 5 places. So to change other default places, create new String values Place1, Place2, Place3 and Place4 and set their value to your desired path.
CustomizingCommonPlacesListUsingReg.jpg
4. That's it. Now you'll see your desired places in common file dialog box:
CustomCommonPlaces.jpg
PS: You can also use "TweakUI" to change the default places. Download it from here and run it. Now navigate to "Common Dialogs -> Places Bar" and in right-side pane, you can change them:
CustomizingCommonPlacesListUsingTwe.jpg
NOTE: This tutorial will work in all Windows versions. Windows Vista uses a new file dialog box which is easy to customize by right-click in the Favorite Links pane and select "Open Favorite Links Folder". It'll open the folder where you can add / remove any shortcut. A few applications still use old common file dialog box in Vista, so this tutorial will work for them.
BONUS TIP: This tutorial will not change places bar in open/save dialog boxes in Microsoft Office. To change them visit following tutorial:
How to Customize the Places Bar in Common File Dialog Box in Microsoft Office?

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