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Setting a manual exception for a certain program.

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If you are annoyed with Windows popping up a balloon notification telling you things you already know every time you turn on your machine, here is a quick tip on completely disabling them.  (Note this requires a registry modification so be sure to back up your registry before making any changes.)

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Automatic Updates is a great feature. Your computer stays protected from threats without worrying about it… but if it’s 3am and I’m trying to play a video game, the last thing I want is for the automatic updates to pop up and remind me every 5 minutes that I need to reboot, interrupting my game… Drives me crazy!

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If you are concerned with video game performance, or you are trying to fix some problems with any 3D application, you can ensure DirectX 9 on XP is running at peak efficiency by running a diagnostic. 

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The System Restore feature in Windows Vista is very important to keep enabled, what with all the problems Vista users are having with compatibility. Even so, the disk usage can get out of hand if you install a large amount of software.

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For those times when Windows completely freezes and you can’t even open the start menu, you can also restart your computer from Task Manager instead of just powering the machine off.

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Many utilities need to be run as administrator in order to function properly, especially older utilities that haven’t been updated to support Windows 7 or Vista yet.

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If you’ve been wondering why your XP desktop icons have a background color, you’ll be glad to know you can flip a checkbox and have them go back to a normal transparent background.

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Restarting Firefox is always difficult for those of us with dozens of tabs open, because you don’t want to lose all the open tabs, but you might not want to bookmark them all either.

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It drives me crazy when applications install themselves into the system tray without giving me a choice during setup. QuickTime has no good reason to be in the system tray, but it’s there anyway after you install iTunes.

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I’ve previously written about mounting an ISO image in Windows Vista using Virtual CloneDrive, but I thought I’d go a step further and explain how you can mount more than one ISO at a time.

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If you have an external hard drive that is always plugged into your computer, you can enable write caching to speed up performance significantly when writing to the disk.

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To show hidden files, open Control Panel and double-click on Folder Options.

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Using the Disk Cleanup utility in Windows XP is a great way to clean up files and get more hard drive space. One of the options is to “Compress Old Files”, but the default setting is files older than 50 days. This setting can be modified if you only want to compress really old files.

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Windows Media Player has an interesting option that will let you open files in the Mini Player mode instead of the full player window. This is especially useful for opening music files where you really don’t need the full-size window.

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Windows Vista has a neat new feature for laptops called “hybrid sleep”.  Actually, Windows Vista has a neat new feature for laptops called sleep too, so I’m getting ahead of myself a bit.

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If you’ve been having problems copying large files over mapped drives, network disconnects, or having to reboot your router a lot more often than normal, then you can try out this fix to solve the problem.

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As many people already know, the most supportive application for playing media ( Video ) files on your computer in VLC Player. The problem is that it doesn’t always work correctly on Windows Vista.

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If your hard drive is short on space you might want to consider reducing the size of your Recycle Bin. By default Windows XP reserves 10% of your hard drive for the bin. You can save up to 3GB of space if you resize a bin to 1% on a 40GB hard drive. You can resize individual drive or all of them globally.

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Have you ever plugged in a USB drive or any external device with a hard drive and wondered why you cannot see it in My Computer?

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If you have an email you send out every day that contains the same information, or a form that requires users to dictate answers to the same questions – you can create a template in Outlook to help save you time.

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Don’t you hate it when you are typing an email, a report, or chatting on IM and halfway through… you (or the person you are shouting at) realizes you have caps lock on?

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If you have a lot of tabs open at a time, it’s sometimes quicker to have Ctrl+Tab switch to the most recent tab instead of the next one to the right. This is the default setting in the Tab Mix Plus extension for Firefox, so a lot of you are probably used to it.

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My friend made the huge mistake of downloading PartyPoker onto a laptop from work - even after he uninstalled it, the menu item still showed up. He was worried about getting caught by the IT people, so he asked me how to get rid of it.

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