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Ask HTG: Disabling Windows Startup Programs, Using DNS Names on Your Home Network, and Restoring a Vintage Keyboard

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Once  a week we round up some of the answers we’ve sent out to readers and share them with everyone. This week we’re looking at removing programs from the Windows startup routine, using DNS names on the local network, and restoring a vintage keyboard.

Disabling Windows Startup Programs

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Dear How-To Geek,

I’ve removed a bunch of programs from the /Startup/ folder in the Windows Start Menu but there are still a bunch of applications that load at startup. Most of them are applications I no longer use frequently but that still load up when I reboot. What can I do to remove them? I don’t necessarily want to uninstall everything. I just want to keep them from dog piling my poor processor at boot time.

Sincerely,

Startup Slayer

Dear Startup Slayer,

What you need to do is load up the System Configuration tool and uncheck all the items within the Startup tab that you would prefer to manually start instead of have pre-loaded with Windows. To jump right into the action type msconfig.exe in the run dialog box and then navigation to the Startup tab. For a more detailed look at the process check out our guide to disabling startup programs here.

Using DNS Names On Your Home Network

Dear How-To Geek,

I have a very small question that I’m afraid might have an overly complicated answer. I have a home network that is largely managed by a DD-WRT powered router. I’ve given just about everything on my network a static IP address and a specific name like “OfficePC” or “iPad”. This helps me identify the computers in the device list on the router but what I would really like to be able to do is stop using IP addresses in commands and such. Is it possible to set it up so that I could type ping OfficePC instead of ping 192.168.1.115 ? It’s so much easier to remember host names instead of IP addresses.

Sincerely,

DNS Dreaming

Dear DNS Dreaming,

Your’re in luck; shortly after we shared a guide on setting up static IP addresses we shared a guide to turning on DNS names within your home network. You’re already running DD-WRT and you’ve figured out how to set up static IP addresses within your home network so you’re almost there. Check out the DNS names guide to finish the process and enable human-friendly names across the network.

Restoring a Vintage Keyboard

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Dear How-To Geek

Recently, at my work, we discovered a cache of old Model M IBM keyboards in a long, long, forgotten store room. My boss could care less about them and told me I could have them all. I’ve got a pile of functional but very yellowed Model M keyboards. I’d really love to restore them and give them away to my geek friends for Christmas. Can you give me any pointers on restoring them?

Sincerely,

Clackin’ Keys

Dear Clackin’ Keys

A cache of Model M keyboards, you say? Put us on your Christmas list! As for restoring the keyboards and getting the yellow out, you’ll want to check out Retr0Bright.  It’s a DIY solution that gently bleaches old plastic without damaging it. It’s regarded as somewhat of a miracle solution among vintage computer and game console restorers. While you’re at it, you should check out this guide to cleaning and restoring Model M keyboards as well as this one detailing a USB conversion.


Have a pressing tech question? Shoot us an email at ask@howtogeek.com.com and we’ll do our best to answer it.

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/14/11

Comments (4)

  1. infmom

    Love the way a Commodore Vic-20 is used as an illustration for keyboard bleach. :)

  2. Simon F

    for disabling windows startup programs, you could also try a program called Startup Control Panel.
    Works in XP through to 7 and has a tiny footprint.

    http://www.mlin.net/StartupCPL.shtml

    Enjoy

  3. bellini

    Why use dns for a lan? Unless there’s an obscene number of hosts, editing the hosts files would be quicker in my opinion.

  4. Peter

    “editing the hosts files would be quicker in my opinion.” – Or just let NetBIOS (or LLMNR) do its job.

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