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My new friend Sue asked me the other day how to customize icons on Windows XP, so I thought I’d write up all the ways to change the icons, both by using the built-in methods and also with additional software.

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One of the few things about Vista that just drives me crazy is the problems with Windows Explorer. I prefer to use Details mode for certain folders, but it seems like Vista constantly “decides” that the folder should show a different set of columns than what I had previously chosen.

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If you are like me, you probably have dozens of windows open at any given point, so if you want to tile just a couple of windows you have to minimize everything and then show two of the windows, and then tile them… so how do we just quickly select two taskbar buttons together?

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Have you ever tried going through all of the menus required to delete the Recent Items in the XP Start Menu? It takes forever, especially when you want to hide whatever you shouldn’t have been doing. As usual, there’s a simpler way to do it.

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If you’ve used Windows for any length of time, you’ve likely tried to open a file with an unknown extension. Instead of getting a list of programs to open the file with, you get an annoying dialog asking you to use a web service to find a program. So how do we change this?

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A friend of mine sent me a link to this site from albinoblacksheep.com.  This is a flashed based spoof on Windows XP.  You can play around with it and get some pretty hilarious messages.  I thought the one on the image below about Quicktime was pretty funny.  Who knows … this one might be old news to some of you, but for those who have not seen this … it’s worth wasting time on for a good laugh.

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If you are a frequent reader of this site, you’ve seen your share of registry hacks. Today I’m going to detail how you can easily find the registry keys we mention, and even create a shortcut or hotkey to immediately drill down to the correct key by copying it to the clipboard.

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Have you ever wondered how to change the default Windows XP logon screen? Today I got the crazy idea to figure out how to make it look like Windows Vista instead, so I’m writing that up for you.

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ClamWin is a very cool lightweight open source anti-virus program. This may not be the best anti-virus solution for beginners, but experienced PC power users should check this out. The download size of this application is around 15 MB. I really like that this application is so light weight and uses little system resources. One downside (if you can call it one) is this development does not yet support real time scanning. You can schedule automatic updates and scans though. ClamWin also creates nifty reports on your updates and scans. You can use it to scan individual files and it also integrates seamlessly with Outlook.

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Windows Vista restricts network traffic to 10 packets per millisecond while playing multimedia to prevent skipping. Unfortunately this causes network speed to be pitiful on a gigabit network, especially during file copies over the network.

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So you are reading instructions on some article that tells you to reboot into Safe mode. You ask how you do that, and are told to use the F8 key when the computer boots up. But you just can’t seem to get the F8 key to work… so how do you boot into Safe mode?

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After writing articles about how to open the Safely Remove dialog as well as eject a specific USB drive, some readers contacted me asking me to write about how to eject a CD or DVD drive instead, so I’m covering that here.

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You’ve already heard the news: Microsoft released Windows Vista Service Pack 1 yesterday. So what does that mean for me, and how do I install it again?

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Sometimes in the life of a geek, we do something in front of a non-geek that shocks and amazes them. Sometimes it’s as simple as typing three keystrokes into a file open dialog. (At least it was for me yesterday)

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After writing yesterday’s article about creating a shortcut to the Safely Remove Hardware dialog, a number of readers mentioned to me that they’d like create a shortcut to immediately eject a specific drive, so we’ll cover that here.

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This article is part of Mysticgeek’s IT blog, a How-To Geek blog focused on IT geekery.

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Have you ever had the context menus in Windows Explorer just completely disappear? There’s a simple registry hack that can turn the context menus off, which means you could also reverse that hack to re-enable the context menus.

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So you’ve been going through Task Manager trying to figure out why so many services are running when you notice there’s two items for Windows Media Player in the list… but you don’t even use Media Player. What’s up with that?

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When you have a problem with your Windows computer, you’ll usually be told to insert the Windows cdrom and then start the Recovery Console in order to fix the issue. So where did you put that XP disc anyway? Why can’t we just install the recovery console to the hard drive?

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Have you ever tried to unzip a file to the Program Files directory in Windows 7 or Vista? You’ll get all sorts of permission denied errors, and generally be unsuccessful. So how do we open up the zipfile as an administrator? For that matter, how do you open any file as administrator?

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If you’ve ever tried to copy a file that is locked by another application, you’ve probably seen an error message similar to “The process cannot access the file because another process has locked a portion of the file”. So how do you copy it anyway?

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Let me start by saying that I have no idea why anybody would want to do this, and it’s perhaps one of the most useless articles I’ve ever written. That said, if you’ve ever wondered how to remove the username from the Start menu in Windows XP, this article is for you.

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I’ve got a Wacom drawing tablet hooked up to my computer, and ever since I installed Vista’s Tablet PC utilities, I’ve had this obnoxious onscreen keyboard on the welcome screen that just can’t seem to be turned off through any regular settings. So how do I get rid of it?

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In the pursuit for performance, making sure your drive isn’t fragmented is a regular task. The problem is that Windows XP doesn’t allow certain system files to be defragmented without commercial software. What about free solutions?

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This article is part of Gmedia, a How-To Geek blog focused on Media Center.

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