All the tips/hints/fixes/other information posted here are at your own risk. Some of the steps here could result in damage to your computer. For example, using a Windows registry editor like RegEdit could result in unintended serious changes that may be difficult or impossible to reverse. Backups are always encouraged.

30 December 2008

Improving Wireless Networking on Vista (and XP?)

Some commands for the Command Prompt:
  • netsh int ipv4 reset
  • netsh winsock reset
  • netsh int tcp set global rss=enabled chimney=disabled autotuninglevel=normal congestionprovider=ctcp ecncapability=enabled timestamps=disabled
  • ipconfig /release
  • ipconfig /renew
Registry change from Microsoft KB928233:
  • DhcpConnForceBroadcastFlag 0

29 December 2008

QuickArchive: More About Gmail-like Archive in Outlook

Expanding upon this earlier post, I started using AutoHotkey so that Shift Right-Clicking a message in Outlook archives it and Ctrl Right-Clicking deletes it. To do so, I changed the toolbar name for the ArchiveSelected macro to "&QuickArchive" (without quotes). An ampersand in a toolbar item name underlines the following character so that the button may be "clicked" via a keyboard shortcut: in this case Alt-Q. Why "Q"? Well, every other letter I tried was already taken by a menu or another toolbar item.

Then, I added the following to my main AHK script:
#IfWinActive ahk_class rctrl_renwnd32
Send {Click}
Send !q
Send {Click}
Send ^d

27 November 2008

Apps I'm Thankful For

  1. Everything (Search)
  2. Firefox
  3. AutoHotkey
  4. MWSnap
  5. Taskbar Shuffle
  6. Norton Antivirus 2009
  7. Digsby
  8. Audacity
  9. MP3Tag
  10. SpywareBlaster
  11. TrueCrypt
  12. Windows Vista
  13. Nirsoft
  14. Console Calculator
  15. GOM Player
  16. MP3 to Ipod Audiobook Converter

26 November 2008

Parallel Port Driver Service Failed to Start

If you don't have a parallel port on your computer, this is easily fixed from the command line:

sc config parport start= disabled

21 November 2008

Disable Wireless LED with Gigabyte GN-WI06


In the registry key above, changing the value for LinkLedFunc to 00 from 03 effectively disabled the WLAN indicator LED. Simply deleting the LED keys did not do the trick.

23 October 2008

Error 1310 Can't Write to Config.msi Directory During Repair or Uninstall

Error 1310. Error writing to file: C:\Config.Msi\59cb9b6.rbf. System error 5. Verify that you have access to that directory.

This problem seems to especially crop up under Windows Vista with UAC turned off. There is a lot of advice online about adjusting the permissions of the Config.msi folder, but I don't think they work.

The following workaround seems to do the trick, however:

1. First, try resetting Windows Installer by running the following (this might be all you need to do):
msiexec /unreg
msiexec /regserver

2. When installing a program, like from Adobe or Microsoft Office 2007, that demonstrates this problem, run the installer EXE in XP Compatibility mode.

3. Make sure the setup programs that are copied to your Program Files directory are set to run in XP Compatibility mode. Here are a couple examples:
Adobe Acrobat Pro 9: "C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 9.0\Setup Files\{AC76BA86-1033-0000-7760-000000000004}\Setup.exe"

Microsoft Office 2007: "C:\Program Files\Common Files\microsoft shared\OFFICE12\Office Setup Controller\SETUP.EXE"

4. Make sure that no files are in use when doing a change/repair operation. For example, Copernic Desktop Search keeps Outlook files in use unless it is shut down, and changing the Office installation will fail. Other search programs or backup software might make for the same problem.

05 September 2008

Command Line: Enable/Disable Require Password on Wake from Sleep or Hibernate

I couldn't find this anywhere online:

powercfg -setdcvalueindex SCHEME_CURRENT SUB_NONE CONSOLELOCK 1
powercfg -setacvalueindex SCHEME_CURRENT SUB_NONE CONSOLELOCK 1

The last digit enables or disables the setting: 0 = password not required; 1= password required

31 August 2008

New Antivirus Recommendations

  • Avast! Home: Web Shield, Network Shield, Email/Outlook (Attachments Only), Standard Shield (Check only on copying/modifying files and not on application launch) -- Very fast and Web Shield does not slow down browsing.
  • SpywareBlaster
Please see previous security/malware posts for more information, especially why I prefer a "light" antivirus strategy.

19 August 2008

Some Favorite Time Savers with AutoHotkey

AutoHotkey is awesome.

NB: I use KeyTweak to remap the [Right Alt key to Right Ctrl] and [Right Ctrl to another Left Ctrl]. Although AHK can use RAlt as a command key (when written ">!"), Windows has a hard time with it.

AutoExecute Section:
#SingleInstance force
#UseHook On
SetBatchLines -1
SendMode Input
SetKeyDelay, 1, 1
Process, priority, , High
GroupAdd, AllWindows, , , , ahk_class Shell_TrayWnd

Right Alt + Right Ctrl for Back/Fwd buttons
>^LCtrl::Send {Browser_Forward}
<^RCtrl::Send {Browser_Back}
Tilde ` key to close active window
>^`::Send {asc 096} ; ` since ` is remapped to WinClose
PostMessage, 0x112, 0xF060,,, A
Sleep 50
IfWinActive, ahk_class Shell_TrayWnd
GroupActivate, AllWindows
Capslock key minimizes active window
WinMinimize, A
Sleep 50
IfWinActive, ahk_class Shell_TrayWnd
GroupActivate, AllWindows
Left Shift + Right Shift for Capslock
<+RShift:: SetStoreCapslockMode, Off Sendevent {capslock} return
Shift-Capslock toggle restore/maximize active window
WinGet MX, MinMax, A
WinRestore A
Else WinMaximize A
Ctrl-Click becomes a Middle Click for the taskbar and Firefox tab bar (recommend Taskbar Shuffle for closing windows from Taskbar with middle click)
^LButton:: ; Make ctrl-click a middle click in certain circumstances
MouseGetPos, , , , currentcontrol
If currentcontrol in ToolbarWindow324,MozillaWindowClass6
Click M
Send ^{click}

Various Clipboard extensions
>^end::Send {Shift Down}{End}{Shift Up}{Backspace} ; Delete to end of line

>^v:: ; paste without extra spaces, line breaks
gosub getplain
gosub pasteplain

+>^v:: ; additionally remove formatting
gosub getplain
clipboard := %clipboard%
gosub pasteplain
ClipSaved := ClipboardAll
StringReplace, clipboard, clipboard, `r`n, %A_Space%, All
clipboard := RegExReplace(clipboard, "` {2,}", "` ")
StringLeft, 1st, clipboard, 1
IfInString, 1st, %A_Space%
StringTrimLeft, clipboard, clipboard, 1
StringRIght, last, clipboard, 1
IfInString, last, %A_Space%
StringTrimRight, clipboard, clipboard, 1

pasteplain: ; pastes and then clears clipboard and restores clipboard from clipsaved
Send ^v
gosub restoreclip

backupclip: ; backups clipboardall to ClipSaved and then copies (follow with restoreclip)
ClipSaved := ClipboardAll ; Save the entire clipboard to a variable of your choice.
clipboard := ; empty clipboard
Send ^c
ClipWait, 2, 1
IfEqual, ErrorLevel, 0
gosub restoreclip

restoreclip: ; restores clipboard to clipsaved
Clipboard := ClipSaved ; Restore the original clipboard. Note the use of Clipboard (not ClipboardAll).
ClipSaved = ; Free the memory in case the clipboard was very large.
Edit AHK script
Reload AHK script upon save (I use HiEditor)
#IfWinActive, HiEditor - D:\Documents\AutoHotkey.ahk
Sleep 500

To prevent accidental firing using Capslock or tilde, see this solution.

18 August 2008

Add Gmail-like "Archive" and "Move to Inbox" Buttons to Outlook

The blog Techdem has instructions for adding a "Done" button to Microsoft Outlook. I've modified the macro code from those instructions and made similar buttons for the toolbars of message windows:

Sub ArchiveSelected()
Set ArchiveFolder = Application.GetNamespace("MAPI"). _
For Each Msg In ActiveExplorer.Selection
Msg.UnRead = False
Msg.Move ArchiveFolder
Next Msg
End Sub

Sub ArchiveActive()
Set ArchiveFolder = Application.GetNamespace("MAPI"). _
Dim myItem As Object
Set myItem = Application.ActiveInspector.CurrentItem
myItem.UnRead = False
myItem.Move ArchiveFolder
End Sub

Sub MoveActiveToInbox()
Dim myItem As Object
Set myInbox = Application.GetNamespace("MAPI"). _
Set myItem = Application.ActiveInspector.CurrentItem
myItem.Move myInbox
End Sub

Sub MoveSelectedToInbox()
Set myInbox = Application.GetNamespace("MAPI"). _
For Each Msg In ActiveExplorer.Selection
Msg.Move myInbox
Next Msg
End Sub

Updates: Please see QuickArchive in Outlook for more.

06 August 2008

Antivirus Strategy Update: Recommended Download Manager

As I've written earlier, I believe real-time antivirus carries too high a performance cost for the protection it provides. Windows has a deserved reputation for security holes, but antivirus is not the most relevant part of a wise security setup for a PC. In fact, traditional antivirus has some troubling disadvantages:
  1. Slow read/write disk access up to 15-fold
  2. Definitions may not be available until after a virus has reached your computer
  3. Deleting or quarantining false positives can be hazardous
  4. Background scanning can interfere with software installation and updating, leading to malfunction that is difficult to correct
  5. Popular free software like AVG updates only daily, so even if proper definitions are available, your software might not have them
  6. Marketing preys on fears of the Internet that aren't proportional to the actual risk involved
  7. The same files may be scanned many times even though they hadn't changed at all since the last scan
  8. Hazardous files may still go undetected by scanner incompetence or bad virus definitions
I still use antivirus, but only for downloads and for periodic on-demand scans. To assist with this, I use a download manager that scans downloaded files. I've recently tried many options: Free Download Manager 2.5/2.6, Fresh Download 8.06, Download Accelerator Manager, Download Statusbar, BitComet, LeechGet 2007, Orbit Downloader, and FlashGet. Of these, my current favorite choice is Orbit Downloader, which needs the FlashGot extension for Firefox 3 to work properly with that browser. For scanning, I use ClamWin but with a compiled AutoHotkey script so that it scans downloaded files in a minimized window unobtrusively. You're welcome to download the small .EXE I use for this purpose for yourself (specify that .EXE as your virus scanner in the options of the download manager).

Beyond this, it's wise to use an active firewall such as the one the comes with Windows XP SP2 or Vista, preventative steps such as subscriptions against malware sites as is provided with SpywareBlaster and AdBlock Plus, and to keep unnecessary networking functions disabled.

UPDATE: Avast is free, has frequent updates, and can be set to only scan when files are being copied/modified. I now prefer this approach over Orbit Downloader + ClamWin.

04 August 2008

How to Disable the Annoying Blinking LED for an Atheros Wireless Adapter

In Regedit, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E972-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318} and look the key for your wireless adapter.
Back it up then delete the following keys:


After, restart.

If you want to have a visual cue of network activity, you can right-click the network icon in the notification area of the taskbar and select Turn On Activity Animation, and this is more subtle and less distracting than the amber LED. By the way, the button to turn the wireless adapter on and off still works after deleting the above keys.

Crossposted here

Recommended Firefox Extensions

Sorry, I'm too lazy to make links to all of them:

  • Distrust
  • Forecastfox
  • Add to Search Bar
  • IE View Lite
  • Link Alert
  • New Tab Button on Tab Bar
  • Options Menu
  • Personal Menu
  • Tab Control
  • Adblock Plus
  • Adblock Plus Element Hiding Helper
  • CustomizeGoogle
  • Stylish: Combine Stop/Reload Buttons, Yellow https bar

30 July 2008

[SOLVED] Unwanted Wake from Sleep on Vista

By Fungi008:
Vista's dumb multimedia sharing option: More complex (and I don't think anyone else has posted it). Do this:
Control Panel -> Power Options -> If "High Performance" is selected, choose something else, like "Balanced" (I don't know why this works) -> Change plan settings (for the chosen power plan) -> Change advanced power settings -> Scroll down to Multimedia settings -> Choose "Allow the computer to sleep"
Thanks, Fungi008!

[SOLVED] Dialog Boxes Stuck Behind Their Parent Windows

I thought this was a common Windows bug, but since the search terms were so common, it was very difficult to find a discussion on the matter online. I had a frequent problem where an application would bring up a modal dialog that would get very easily trapped behind the parent window. That is, a dialog box would have focus that could not be shifted to the window that spawned it, but the dialog box itself would not come to the forefront so it would be obscured. Trying to switch using the taskbar or alt-tab didn't usually help. Regrettably, I thought the problem was due to bad programming of the applications that demonstrated the behavior, like Iolo System Mechanic 8. It turns out the problem was instead due to a software conflict...

Quitting Acer GridVista and stopping it from running at startup fixed the problem. Similar stay-on-top shell enhancements might interfere also.

24 July 2008

Possible Fix for DWM.EXE error?

During shutdown on Vista, I would occasionally get the following error:
GDI+ Window: dwm.exe - Application Error : The instruction at 0x748573f6 referenced memory at 0x748573f6. The memory could not be written.

I was also having problems with a blank taskbar and notification area upon resume from sleep mode.

I believe that this could be related to changing the driver for nVidia graphics or changing disk access to AHCI causing the Desktop Window Manager to no longer be seen as genuine.

Here are the commands that (I hope) has fixed the issue:
cd %windir%\system32
wscript slmgr.vbs -rearm

Then, reboot when prompted.

UPDATE (29 July 2008): That wasn't enough. Try the following if you're still having trouble:
  1. Reinstall the license files with wscript slmgr.vbs -rilc (wait for confirmation)
  2. Reboot
  3. Go to Genuine Microsoft Software and click Validate Windows

11 June 2008

Awesome Free Apps; Most or All You've Haven't Heard Of

03 June 2008

Fixing Outlook's Data Store

In Microsoft Office, there is an OST Integrity Check Tool (Outlook 2003 & Outlook 2007), but there is no easy shortcut. I recommend making a new shortcut for your Start Menu group like this: "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\SCANOST.EXE"

UPDATE: If you're having frequent problems, a couple files in %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Outlook may be corrupted: outcmd.dat & Outlook.nk2. While Outlook isn't running, rename those files.

Also, disable unused add-ons easily with OfficeIns.

25 May 2008

New Software Picks

Since moving to Vista, I have switched around my favorite programs. More are forthcoming, but I'm no longer featuring the following since they're better for XP:
  1. FolderICO
  2. FastStone Image Viewer
  3. ToolTipFixer
  4. Tweak UI

Beware If Taking the AHCI Plunge

With a recent BIOS update, I noticed a new option for AHCI vs. IDE mode. Even though Vista has support for this new supposedly feature-rich disk technology, those drivers are disabled after installation. Vista won't even boot after making the change in BIOS to AHCI unless you first do the following:
To resolve this issue, enable the AHCI driver in the registry before you change the SATA mode of the boot drive. To do this, follow these steps:
1.Exit all Windows-based programs.
2.Click Start, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.
3.If you receive the User Account Control dialog box, click Continue.
4.Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
5.In the right pane, right-click Start in the Name column, and then click Modify.
6.In the Value data box, type 0, and then click OK.
7.On the File menu, click Exit to close Registry Editor.
From KB 922976

24 May 2008

Restore Default NTFS, Etc. Permissions for Vista (and XP)

This was difficult to find online, so I thought I'd write a post about it. Here's the bottom line:

secedit /configure /cfg %windir%\inf\defltbase.inf /db defltbase.sdb /verbose

More info and instructions for XP: KB 313222

10 May 2008

Quickly Insert Unicode (Greek, Symbols, etc.) into Any Application

Perhaps someday I'll write one killer article all about AutoHotkey and how it can accelerate your productivity, but for now I'll just discuss one problem it can (help) solve: inputting special characters such as α or → with ease. I put "help" in quotation marks, because AHK does not have an easy, built-in way of inputting Unicode characters (yet), but it can do effective text auto-replace (a.k.a. hotstrings). There are several clever solutions on the AHK forums for the Unicode deficit (SendU, etc.), and here's mine:

Add the following string entry to the Registry for the Alt-Plus method of entering characters:
Key: HKCU\Control Panel\Input Method
String name: EnableHexNumpad
Value: 1
After a restart, you can enter Unicode characters by their hexadecimal value. [That's the alphanumeric number U+03c3 in the left part of the status bar in Character Map.] Hold down Alt and press the + key on the numeric pad and then the hex code for the character you want, without the leading zeroes if you like and then release the Alt key. Convoluted, huh? Here's a script that show's how to make light work of it with AHK: specialchar.ahk

With this kind of script running, "/alpha" immediately becomes "α"

Bonus tip: you can use a "raw" hotstring for faster entries:
#IfWinActive HiEditor ; or whatever editor you use for editing AHK scripts
#Hotstring R
::<<::{alt down}{numpadadd}
::>>::{alt up}
#Hotstring R0

BTW, I should mention that AHK has a {ASC nnnnn} function for the alt-numpad method of entering special characters, but it has 2 main problems: it can enter only the decimal and not the hexadecimal code for a character (which is fine for ASCII and ANSI but less convenient for Unicode), and only certain applications using the RichText framework can interpret Unicode characters entered this way (decimal).

08 May 2008

Uninstall a Service

If you want to delete/uninstall/remove a Windows service, perhaps left from an incomplete installer, you can use the sc command from an Administrator control prompt: sc delete [servicename]

04 May 2008

Folder2Junction now on Softpedia

Well, this is cool:

30 April 2008

[SOLVED] Adobe Reader 8.1.2 Freezes Entire Computer

Under Vista, opening some PDF's can crash Adobe Reader 8.1 so badly that the entire computer can freeze up and only a hard reboot is possible. The conflict is threefold: Reader's GPU acceleration, Vista's UAC, and temp folder security.

I fixed it by adjusting the following in Reader's preferences (not all steps may be necessary):
  • Automatic Default Page Layout
  • Automatic Default Zoom
  • Hardware rendering for legacy video cards
  • PDF browser plugin, fast web view (irrelevant to this, though)
  • Acrobat JavaScript
  • Preferred Media Player (.i.e., set to Windows Media Player)
  • Multimedia operations
  • Verify signatures when opened
  • Check spelling when typing
  • External content (off by default, I think)
Most importantly, adjust the properties for AcroRd32.exe to run in compatibility mode for Windows XP SP2.

Cross-posted from

27 April 2008

Traditional Antivirus is Wasteful

A response to this LifeHacker post:

Traditional real-time antivirus scanning is wasteful, IMO. Viruses can come through in what you download, or if your networking settings are weirdly insecure-- but it's not like you can just "catch" a virus. To warn people that their computers might be unknowingly infected is unnecessarily alarmist; a virus or trojan would have to come from a downloaded or copied file. I scan every file I download by having Free Download Manager call ClamWin (and A-Squared Command Line), which I update hourly (I even made an AutoHotkey script so that the scan happens in the background). This precaution makes more sense than scanning every file whenever it is read or written, and it is hugely better for your I/O performance.

All in all, though, blacklist-paradigm antivirus does not make a lot of sense nowadays for on-access scanning, because viruses (and more relevantly, other kinds of malware) spread before virus definitions are created. Furthermore, on-access scanning of files involves a huge performance cost. If you scan all incoming files, extra file scanning doesn't make any sense unless the virus definitions have been updated in the interim. I'm perplexed, for instance, by Avast!, which can scan all files + emails + IMs... if all files are being scanned, why the extra scanning repetition due to its route of entry?

However, blacklist-oriented antivirus seems wise for periodic on-demand scanning. For this, Norton Security Scan available free through Google Pack is a nice choice.

A better choice for so-called real-time antivirus, though, is behavior-based scanning such as Threatfire, but I prefer Mamutu ($30 for 1 year). Threatfire would interfere with several programs (especially the kind that export files to other formats: PDF Creator, AutoHotkey EXE compiler) even when "suspended," so I can't recommend it unless you're allergic to spending money on security software (as I tend to be). Comodo Firewall is another free alternative in this vein, but it is quite confusing.

Additionally, you can take some preventive measures by using SpywareBlaster. I paid for the privilege of auto-updating and to support its development, but you don't have to.

The one thing that irritates me most about many anti-malware products: the false positives. Since trying out Comodo BOClean and having it shut down a program I wrote myself as a trojan, I've been very suspicious of claims that BOClean has caught malware other antivirus missed. When I see claims like that, I wonder about the likelihood that it is a false positive. (To be clear, I do NOT recommend Comodo BOClean.)

A final note is that I think infrequently-updated real-time antivirus like AVG, which allows only daily updates in its free version, is the worst (if used by itself), because you're exposed to the newest threats while suffering an I/O performance hit.

26 April 2008

Easily Select a Web Page without the Menus, Etc at the Top & Bottom

I was trying to make an AHK script for making it easier to select the text I wanted on a web page without the material at the top and bottom (menus, links, and so forth).

Apparently, it's already easy, even though it wasn't obvious to me:

  1. Click once where you want the selection to begin
  2. Press Ctrl-End to move to the end of the window
  3. Shift-Click at the end of your desired selection

That's it!

05 April 2008

Extending the Usefulness of TrueCrypt on Vista with Folder2Junction

As you may know, TrueCrypt is a great, free utility for encryption. It's especially welcome to me, because on Windows Vista Home Premium, there is no EFS. TrueCrypt mounts a virtual disk that is encrypted for the storage of sensitive files and folders, and the encryption/decryption happens on-the-fly (like EFS). Unlike EFS, however, the files have to be in the encrypted area to be encrypted. You can't have, for example, the Mozilla folder in AppData encrypted and keep it in its default location on C:\. Unless, that is...

NTFS offers a neat but difficult-to-utilize feature known as directory junction points. These are like wormholes in the file system that look like folders but point to other directories, even on other disks/volumes. Junctions are a way to store sensitive data on an encrypted disk while maintaining application compatibility and ease-of-access.

To make that easier, I developed a utility (I'm really proud; my first programming triumph!) called Folder2Junction. Folder2Junction adds a command to the contextual menu of folders: Move Folder Then Create Junction Here. Selecting it will prompt you to select where you want the folder and its contents to be stored. It will then move the folder to that location (say, the encrypted disk) and then make a NTFS junction point in the original location pointing to its new location. To the OS and apps, the folder will appear to be in the same place, but it is really a wormhole to the real folder now somewhere else.

Luckily, Windows Vista has some built-in support for junctions, and they will appear in Explorer in Vista with an arrow icon overlay. Also, deleting junctions in Vista's Explorer will delete just the junction and not the original (unlike Explorer in XP). Partially for this reason (but more for the mklink command Folder2Junction uses that is new to Vista), Folder2Junction is compatible with Windows Vista or higher only and is totally freeware. Please see this thread for the download link and more information.

17 March 2008

Services You Should Disable If You Aren't on a Microsoft Network

These being disabled won't affect Internet usage, but you won't be able to do Microsoft networking stuff. For me, those features are more of a liability than a help. Some are disabled by default, because even Microsoft has determined that they are risky.

  • Alerter
  • ClipBook
  • Computer Browser
  • Distributed File System
  • Distributed Link Tracking Client
  • Messenger
  • Net Logon
  • Net.Tcp Port Sharing Service
  • Netmeeting Remote Desktop Sharing
  • Network DDE
  • Network DDE DSDM
  • Remote Registry
  • Server (and uncheck Client for Microsoft Networks and File and Printer Sharing in your network connection properties)
  • TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper (and disable NetBIOS over TCP/IP in your network connection TCP/IP properties)
  • Telnet
  • Terminal Services Session Directory
Others that you might want to disable but might not apply to you:
  • Distributed Link Tracking Server
  • Error Reporting Service
  • IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service (unnecessary if you have burning software, I believe)
  • Indexing Service
  • Intersite Messaging
  • Kerberos Key Distribution Center
  • License Logging
  • Network Provisioning Service
  • Performance Logs and Alerts
  • Remote Desktop Help Session Manager
  • Routing and Remote Access
  • Smart Card
  • WebClient
Be smart and do research before you muck too much with this stuff. I recommend Turbo Services Manager so that you can see what depends on what. If you disable one service, you should disable all the services that depend on it, but if doing so would disable something you should keep, don't disable that first service in the first place!

Some Services Are Just Supposed to Run "Manual"

I tweak with Services settings for better security and performance, but it's a silly endeavor, because the services themselves are quirky: they might not start correctly if they are set to Manual when they should be Automatic (3rd party services especially, it seems) and vice versa!

Here are some services that should have their startup types be Manual even though they are running most of the time:

  • COM+ Event System
  • Network Connections
  • Network Location Awareness (NLA)
  • Remote Access Connection Manager
  • Telephony
  • Terminal Services

16 March 2008

2 Nice & Free Security Utilities: Seconfig and SpywareBlaster

What's nice about these is that they help secure your machine without having anything run in the background to slow you down at all: Seconfig and SpywareBlaster

Scan Downloaded Files with ClamWin and Firefox

I do this instead of running antivirus in the background constantly, but that point of view is apparently controversial. Use the Download Scan Firefox extension and configure as follows:

Exclude these types: jpg, jpeg, gif, png, htm, css, asx
Path to clamwin.exe
Parameters: --mode=scanner --path=%1 --close

My opinion is that downloaded files are the main source of virus trouble, so scanning upon download is good for safety; where constant background scanning is overkill and a drain on system performance.

Fixing the High Pitched Noise

If you're Intel-powered laptop has a high-pitched noise problem, this might be the solution (copied from Yubastard's post at TabletPCReview)

I knew RMClock was the tool but didn't know how to use it until tonight. The above "Run HLT..." option works because it takes the CPU out of the Hard C4 state(battery), you can see Task Manager @ 100% (because RMClock idles instead of Windows), thus reducing battery life noticiably.

Instead, use these settings:
  1. Management page:
    • uncheck: "Use OS load-based management"
    • uncheck: "Run HLT command when OS is idle(requires restart)"
    • check: "Restore CPU defaults..." - both options
    • select: from the "CPU defaults selection" drop-down menu: "CPU-defined default FID/VID"
  2. Profiles page(if you know what ur doin'):
    • for AC power choose Maximal Performance profile and, under AC tab, check "Use P-States..." and "Use Throttling(ODCM)", use index #6 for both.
    • for battery power choose Power Saving profile and, under battery tab, check "Use P-States..." and use index #1, unckeck "Use Throttling(ODCM)", or, alternatively, use "Performance on Demand" profile and check nothing.
  3. Advanced CPU Settings page:
    • Processor Tab:
      • uncheck: "Enable Thermal Monitor 1" (makes CPU jumpy when it gets hot, that's why there's TM2)
      • check: "Enable Thermal Monior 2" (replaces TM1)
      • check these Enhanced Low Power States: C1E, C2E, Hard C4E.
    • Platform Tab:
      • check: "Enable Popdown Mode"
      • THE MOST IMPORTANT!! uncheck: "Enable Popup Mode"

That last one is the most important as it's the one that silences the noise! All of the other ones where just to preserve battery life and keep everything safe if you exit RMClock. You can also check: "Run application automatically when Windows session starts" for hassle-free power management (tho' it seems to keep working after you exit!).

Press "Apply" and ur done... but wait, these settings, if improperly set, may heat up any computer, so, please, do it at your own risk. I'm a computer engineering student and know my way around, more or less, but it works and preserves battery, on my Core Duo T2500 2.0Ghz with BIOS version 78.03, haven't tested it with newer 78.04.

Also, it pumps it up on AC power, without too much heating or jumpyness after long standby.

Hope it works for other Core Duo users and even Pentium M, and I hope I was clear enough. I wish I could keep experimenting and try to get more life out of battery but it's 5:30am and I'm tired. @ least, I don't have the whinning anymore and have more than 4 hours of battery life

I forgot!!!

In "Adavcend CPU Setings" page, check the "Apply these settings at startup", beside the Refresh button, at bottom.

This is so when you restart, these power management settings will kick in.

ToolTipFixer failing to launch in Windows 2003

I am a big fan of TooltipFixer which fixes a Windows shell bug where tooltips in the notification area would be eclipsed by the taskbar itself.

In Windows 2003, the service would have problems at startup and trigger the annoying and unhelpful: "At least one service or driver has failed to start" error dialog. This can be fixed by adjusting the properties of the NST ToolTipFixer service to log on as "Local Service" rather than "Local System".

The Annoying Icon that says "Acquring Network Address" When You're Already Connected

This complaint is all over the web, but I first saw a solution at DSL Reports

Using Intel Proset/Wireless software to manage wireless network connections, there was a weird and annoying issue where connection to a wireless network would work fine, but the little notification area wireless icon would animate endlessly with the tooltip "acquiring network address." Using the Hide Inactive Icons feature of the Start Menu control panel didn't work; the icon would reappear. This KB article is no help either.

The problem is that the Network Location Awareness Service wasn't running. Launch services.msc and change its startup type to Manual.