Game developer David Braben creates a USB stick PC for $25

His solution is not to create his own course, but instead to manufacture a very low cost PC that can be given to kids for free and courses built up around their use. When we say low cost, we mean so low even the OLPC would be impressed.

Braben has developed a tiny USB stick PC that has a HDMI port in one end and a USB port on the other. You plug it into a HDMI socket and then connect a keyboard via the USB port giving you a fully functioning machine running a version of Linux. The cost? $25.

read more…

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Microsoft’s free XP, Office 2003 support ends April 14

A quick reminder: Microsoft’s free support for XP and Office 2003 is going to end next week, on April 14.

If you have a Software Assurance licensing contract with Microsoft, you can buy paid support for those two flagship products from the Redmondians. But after April 14, the only support XP and Office 2003 users will continue to get for free from the Softies are security-specific fixes.

Even though Microsoft will continue to offer XP via downgrade rights with Vista and Windows 7, the free support for XP is still ending.

ref:http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=2479&tag=nl.e539

Google G1 Phone: Security Flaw Exposed


Android, Google’s open source software is based on outdated open-source components which had know vulnerabilities and were fixed. Google admitted that they did not incorporate the security fixes into Android.For Google´s G1 phone to become infected, a malicious developer would need to know what the flaw is and then needs to place this malicious code on a website.


Unless you are searching for suspicious websites that may be affected, the chances are good that you are safe from infection.
Google said it is developing a solution to the problem. “We are working with T-Mobile to include a fix for the browser exploit, which will soon be delivered over the air to all devices, and have addressed this in the Android open-source platform.
This incident raises concerns about potential difficulties that the Android community might face in the future. Because Google has adopted an open model with Android, many vendors and operators in the future may offer a variety of phones. If vulnerabilities are found in the future, phone makers and operators will have to determine if their version of the software is affected and then coordinate the distribution of a fix to all users.

 

Windows 7 will be more fast and easy, vows Microsoft

Microsoft Corp. said on Tuesday that regular PC users will be able to test out a “beta” version of Windows early next year. Windows 7, the forthcoming operating system, will let users choose to see fewer alerts and warnings from their computers.
Source:physorg


Rampant notifications and pop-up windows alerting people to potential security risks have irked many users of Windows Vista.
“We had all the best intentions of helping to secure the PC platform even more, particularly for novice PC users who needed to be protected,” said Steven Sinofsky, a senior vice president in Microsoft’s Windows group.
Sinofsky didn’t back down from the major changes in Vista responsible for the rise in alerts, but he did acknowledge that Microsoft needed to work earlier and more closely with outside companies to avoid a similar mess in Windows 7.
“Despite the difficult change we introduced, we did move forward the ecosystem, making it more secure for end users,” he said. With Vista, Microsoft made some significant design changes to the way windows and icons look, and also to where certain features and functions are stashed in the system.
Windows 7 keeps some of those changes, but tosses out others. In an interview, Julie Larson-Green, a Windows vice president, offered one small example: Microsoft took the “add printer” feature out of the quick-access Start menu, but after users complained, the company is putting it back in Windows 7.

Larson-Green, who led the redesign of Office for the 2007 edition, said that some of the changes made in Vista’s design made sense to designers but weren’t fully tested on actual PC users.
With Windows 7, Microsoft is also making subtle but useful changes to the task bar along the bottom of the screen. The designers have taken out some redundant buttons that launch applications. And when users roll over the icon of a program in the task bar, it’s easier to see how many documents or windows are open, and switch between them.
Microsoft also showed off a quick way of organizing recently used files, Web sites or often-used program features it’s calling “jumplists.” The company also introduced a concept called “libraries,” which automatically finds similar files from a single PC, its external hard drive and even other PCs on a home network, then displays them together in a single folder. For example, that could be handy for organizing a family’s digital photos, Microsoft said.
The company also appears to be betting on a rise in touch-screen PCs. Windows 7 builds in more support for gestures so that even programs that aren’t designed specifically for touch-screen computers can be used to some degree by poking or swiping fingers across the screen.
Under the hood, Microsoft said it improved the speed of the system and cut the amount of memory it needs to run. Sinofsky held up a netbook – a low-cost, low-power laptop that would have a hard time running Vista – and said it’s working with Windows 7.

Microsoft gave copies of a “pre-beta” version of Windows 7 to programmers attending a conference in Los Angeles, and announced the early 2009 target for the general-use beta.
The Redmond, Wash.-based software maker promised deadlines it couldn’t keep when it was developing Vista, and the company is trying hard to avoid a similar debacle this time. Sinofsky said there is no date yet for the next milestone, a “release to manufacturing” version of Windows 7, and reiterated that the system is set to go on sale in early 2010.
 

Windows 7 touch and multi-touch gestures demonstrated on video

 


Check out the video that gives a better idea of what it might be like to manipulate icons and images on a desktop display in Windows 7. Microsoft’s goal is to enable “most applications,” out of the box with simple multi-touch on day one of the Windows 7 launch. Individual apps can then be optimized to improve performance and offer a greater degree of touch and multi-touch control.

Are these your problems with Windows?

Assuming most of the desktops in your current enterprise are installed with Windows XP (SP2/SP3) or Windows 2000, here is a list of problems you (administrator) might be facing with them.

Problems:

1.      The users on most of the desktops use administrative accounts to work on their PCs. This is usually done so as to enable to users to do all the common tasks on their PCs themselves, but this may pose problems like:

a.      Users can install software themselves. Once installed, software can compromise the overall health and control of the PC, as well as introduce security and data compliance issues. With every new piece of unknown software installed, desktop performance, security, and supportability is gradually compromised.

b.      No asset inventory control or license management. This can leave you in a position where you don’t know what has been installed and whether or not you have a license for the software.

c.       Important data files are often changed or deleted. With administrator accounts, users have full access to the system and can often delete files that are required for system stability and reliability or even booting into the operating system, running applications or performing other day-to-day tasks

d.      End users are able to change core system configurations. Users with admin rights can install drivers, change firewall settings, deactivate services, or deactivate anti-malware software, and add additional user accounts.

e.      Users are not restricted from attaching devices to their PCs. With unauthorized storage devices connected (such as USB drives and MP3 players), users can easily lose or steal important data, load malware onto PCs, or misuse company assets with personal devices.

f.        Systems cannot be centrally managed. In many cases software is not centrally distributed or tracked. If that is the case, computers will require manual setup and configuration.

2.      Many applications are written to require admin privileges. This is often because software developers tend to develop as local administrators. Many applications are designed to assume that administrative privileges are present.

3.      Applications can save their data (installation files, registry keys, and runtime data) to random locations. Applications written this way are difficult to support, because each application functions in a different way. If something breaks, it is difficult to troubleshoot the problem. For example- applications may store unknown file formats in “Program Files’ folder during installation.

So what is the ideal way in which the Windows systems must be managed and how can that state be achieved?

Read my next blog on what should be done to tackle these problems proactively, and the third one in the series on how can it be done.

Launching Windows Essential Server Solutions

Microsoft is launching it’s new series of small and midsize server solutions on 12th of November. The two products which are part of this launch are Small Business Server 2008 and Essential Business Server 2008. For more details check this out link. http://www.thedreamserver.com/

Virtual TechDays – September 2008 – Managing Virtual Infrastructure

Hi, this is Ravi Sankar (http://ravisankar.spaces.live.com/blog ) again from the TechNet India team. This is the second blog post I am writing in response to the questions we received as part of virtual tech days (http://www.connectwithlife.co.in/vtd ). This time I am answering the questions from the session “Managing Virtual Infrastructure”

Q1: Is virtualization suitable for big corporations only? Or is it useful to small and medium enterprises also?

A1: Very good question. Virtualization technologies are useful to organizations of all sizes. Let me explain this with the help of an example.

Hyper-V is the server virtualization technology from Microsoft. By using Hyper-V in a data centre, a large organization can consolidate their server infrastructure into fewer number of servers. This will result in savings in terms of rack space, cooling, power, management cost etc.

The above advantages are applicable to a small and medium sized business organization (SMB) as well. Since SMBs face additional constraints in terms of quality infrastructure and skilled IT man power virtualization can offer them a more optimized IT solution by requiring less infrastructure and better server management technologies (backup, high availability, provisioning etc.).

Q2: How does System Centre Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) handle applications which are not cluster aware to provide high availability (HA)?

A2: SCVMM does not handle applications directly but through virtual machines. Hyper-V is cluster aware and can be configured to provide HA for all the virtual machines running on it. The applications running in these virtual machines may or may not be cluster aware. SCVMM can manage the failover of such virtual machines from one server to another server running Hyper-V.

Q3: What is template creation in System Center Virtual Machine manager (SCVMM)?

A3: Templates are virtual machines created and stored in SCVMM library with specific virtual hardware, OS and application configurations. Templates are created for frequently used virtual machine configurations so that it is easier to provision new VMs. It also allows automation of VMs through scripting.

As one of you said it is a one time activity

Q4: Is diagram view of virtual and physical machines created automatically in System Center Operations Manager (SCOM)?

A4: Yes, once SCOM is configured to monitor a Virtual Server or Hyper-V based computer it can generate a diagram of physical machines and associated virtual machines automatically

Q5: Is Hyper-V a Type-1 virtualization product?

A5: Yes, Hyper-V is a hypervisor based Type-1 virtualization product. Hyper-V is available either as part of Windows Server 2008 x64 editions or as a standalone product (http://www.microsoft.com/servers/hyper-v-server ) for bare metal implementation

Q6: How many Hyper-V based servers are required to virtualize my xxx number of servers?

Or How can I size my Hyper-V deployment?

Or How much memory is required to virtualize xxx number or servers?

A6: As an answer to all these questions I request you to visit the following URLs and read things related to virtualization.

http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/sysperf/Perf_tun_srv.mspx

www.microsoft.com/map

http://blogs.microsoft.co.il/blogs/lior/archive/2008/08/15/hyper-v-server-sizing-and-performance-tuning.aspx 

Q7: How powerful is Hyper-v?

A7: This is a very subjective question and it can be best answered with the help of some real customer  case studies given the following link http://www.microsoft.com/virtualization/case-studies.mspx

Q8: Is it possible to manage VMWare infrastructure from SCVMM?

A8: Yes, SCVMM allows the integration of VMWare into its console. Details can be found here. http://blogs.technet.com/chengw/archive/2008/04/29/managing-vmware.aspx

http://blogs.technet.com/virtualworld/archive/2008/06/02/managing-vmware-with-scvmm.aspx

Q9: Can Hyper-V run on 32 bit hardware or 32 bit OS?

A9: Hyper-V runs only on 64 bit hardware and requires 64 bit edition of Windows Server 2008 in the parent partition. However some of the remote management tools for Hyper-V runs on 32 bit OS. Also Hyper-V supports 32 bit virtual machines.

Q10: What kind of drivers used by virtual machines in Hyper-V?

A10: Hyper-V supports two different types of devices viz. emulated and synthetic. Emulated device drivers are used for backward compatibility with older operating systems whereas synthetic drivers are supported only in newer operating systems like WS2008 but provides better performance. To know more about emulated and synthetic devices please refer to the following links.

http://blogs.msdn.com/virtual_pc_guy/archive/2008/02/25/hyper-v-terminology.aspx

http://blogs.msdn.com/tvoellm/archive/2008/01/02/hyper-v-integration-components-and-enlightenments.aspx

http://searchservervirtualization.techtarget.com/tip/0,289483,sid94_gci1312278,00.html

Q11: How do I provide high availability for virtual machines running in Hyper-V?

A11: There are many articles available on Microsoft’s website on providing high availability to a Hyper-v environment. Here is one of them http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/cc837977.aspx

Q12: What makes the rapid provisioning of virtual machines possible in a Hyper-v environment?

A12: Libraries, templates, PowerShell based scripting and self service portal features in System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 make the rapid provisioning of virtual machine possible in a Hyper-V based virtual environment.

Q13: What are the minimum system requirements to run Hyper-V?

A13: The answer depends on whether you are running a bare metal Hyper-V server, server core based Hyper-V and Hyper-V with full installation of Windows Server 2008. Here is the system requirements for running Hyper-v server

http://www.microsoft.com/servers/hyper-v-server/system-requirements.mspx

Q14: Where can I get a free copy of Hyper-V?

A14: Hyper-V is available to you when you purchase a copy of “Windows Server 2008 x64 edition with Hyper-V”. To download an evaluation copy of Windows Server 2008 please visit the following link

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/trial-software.aspx

A full version of Hyper-V server can be downloaded free of cost from the following link

http://www.microsoft.com/servers/hyper-v-server/how-to-get.mspx

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Q&A: Performance Tuning Redefined with SQL Server 2008

I am sure you folks are enjoying all the Q&A posted by my fellow Evangelists on this blog. The intentions are very much there to give you complete information even after our webcasts have got over. If you didnt get to read the Part I Q&A I wrote around the DMVs session, dont forget to read them too. Let me next give you the links to PPT and Session for your offline viewing if you missed them. Next, moving to the unanswered Q&A from the session. Here we go:

Question Asked: can we run data collector on sql server which is having sql server 2005 ?

The management data warehouse can only be installed on a server running SQL Server 2008.

Question Asked: different collection modes available for data collector

The Data Collector Architecture (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb677355.aspx) explains the real backend work. Incidentally, this is an completely async process and uses a combination of SSIS, SQL Agent and SQL Relational engine magic. You can also manually collect and upload the data into SQL Server from the Management Studio.

Quesiton Asked: Could you plz tell something more about WMI event?

If you personally ask me, this is a super cool event one seems to miss-out from the SQL Server 2005 days itself. Anyways, check the complete documentation of WMI Events and SQL Server at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms180606.aspx. Infact, if you crank up your SQL Server Configuration Manager, it operates completely around the WMI Eventing Infrastructure. It is really powerfull and under-utilized.

Quesiton Asked: What is the Impact on Memory Usage and Performance of system of Data collection?

This my friend is a dicey question because the data collected is completely under your control. And everytime a collect and upload happens the runtime fires enough info into the database. Now when this happens is completely configurable and the purging is also configurable. Hence the stress on the IO and Memory is something in your hand. Moreover we use the SQL Server Agent infrastructure and it can also be configured to run at our specified interval rather than automatically every 10 sec or so.

Question Asked: Can we use data collector to pull the data from the the data provider or website that allows to fetch the data using webservices?

Though the question is vaugue I think if you get a chance to read through the Architecture (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb677355.aspx) in detail things will get clear. There is nothing like a webservice or sorts available.

Question Asked: can we have single data collector to collect information from multiple instance ?

If you have multiple SQL Server instances you could configure the data collection processes on each of your instances to use a central MDW repository. In fact, It is recommended you do this to minimize the impact of the data collection process.

Question Asked: Can the Monitoring data be Stored outside the server being monitored

Your question seems to be similar to the one asked in the previous question. You can raise the collection as T-SQL Collector, SQL Trace, Perf Counter Collector and Query Activity Collector. You can read on each at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb677328.aspx.

Question Asked: Does it upload the data to the warehouse db on its own or we have to do it manually?

As described before, you have all the flexibility here. You can manually do it or schedule it at regular intervals via the SQL Server Agent process.

Question Asked: how much frequently is the data fed to dataware house from cache ?

Same as the previous question. You can completely customize it.

Question Asked: we can use this data collector for maintain performance related data for application or database or Visual studio application

Though this is a nice thought, currently we are restricted for collecting perf data using the DMVs inside of a SQL Server instance only.

Question Asked: Say If I run this tool, every 1 hour, for 30 days, how much of data space will it take?

There is no straight forward answer to this question. It depends on how much data you will be collecting. I have seen with an interval of 10 sec for the past ~25 days the current size is close to 400MB for me. But I this happens on my laptop which starts and shuts down often.

Question Asked: WIll Data collector effect MSDB ?

This is a good question. We do use msdb for DW activities. The data collector uses msdb for storing configuration information, run-time information, auditing, and collection history information. This database must be present on the instance of SQL Server that runs the data collector. Using msdb provides the following benefits: a) All the data needed to configure and run the data collector is in one location. b) Data collection configuration can be deployed across several servers without having to use the file system. c) The data collector can use existing SQL Server security mechanisms to protect the data. In addition, database roles can provide granular security, and there is no need to implement cross-database chaining. and finally d) Since msdb is a relational database, it is possible to ensure the referential integrity of the configuration and run-time data.

Hope these clarified some of your questions from the session and hope to meet you all again in the next VTD scheduled on Nov 25th and 26th. And guess what we will have 8 fabulous sessions around SQL Server. Dont miss the action and dont forget to register.

Windows XP know-how

Disable Windows XP’s Error Reporting notification

1. Press [Windows][Break] to display the System Properties dialog box.

2. Select the Advanced tab and click the Error Reporting button.

3. When you see the Error Reporting dialog box, select the Disable Error Reporting option. (If you don’t want to see any type of error message, clear the But Notify Me When Critical Errors Occur check box.)

4. Click OK twice — once to close the Error Reporting dialog box and once to close the System Properties dialog box.

Automatically run a batch file when you open a Windows XP command prompt

You probably run the same few commands each time you start using the command prompt in Windows XP. For example, perhaps you first switch to the root directory and then clear the screen. Then, you may have put these commands into a batch file and saved the file to the C:\Documents and Settings\{username} folder so that when you open the command prompt, you simply type the name of the batch file to issue the commands.

You can save yourself from typing any commands at all if you add the path and name of the batch file to a special key in the registry. Here’s how to add them:

1. Launch the Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).

2. Go to the  HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Command Processor key.

3. Double-click the AutoRun value to access the Edit String dialog box.

4. In the Value Data text box, type the path and name of the batch file. Be sure to enclose the text in double quotes — for example, “C:\Documents and Settings\greg\go.bat”.

5. Click OK to close the Edit String dialog box and close the Registry Editor.

Configure Windows XP’s MS-DOS Editor instead of Notepad

Windows XP comes with another text editor besides Notepad — it’s called the MS-DOS Editor, and it’s commonly referred to simply as Edit. It has features similar to Notepad, as well as additional features such as the ability to work with multiple text files and change the background and text colors. Since Edit is a DOS-based application, you can easily configure it to work just like a Windows application. Here’s how:

1. Use Windows Explorer to locate the Edit.com file in the \Windows\System32 folder.

2. Right-click the file, drag it to your desktop, and select the Create Shortcut(s) Here command from the Shortcut menu.

3. Right-click the Shortcut icon and select the Properties command from the Shortcut menu.

4. Choose the Program tab and select the Close On Exit check box.

5. Click OK to finish.

Now you can double-click the Shortcut icon to launch Edit. When you’re done using it, you can close it by clicking the Close button in the upper-right corner or by using the Exit command on the File menu.

Download free hard disk imaging utilities for Windows XP

Windows Vista’s hard disk imaging utility, Complete PC Backup, allows users you to create an image file that contains the complete contents and structure of a hard disk. If you want this capability in Windows XP, you don’t have to pay for a third-party utility, such as Acronis True Image.

If you have a Seagate or Maxtor hard drive, you can get a free copy of the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) version of Acronis True Image. Seagate provides this tool for migrating your files from an older Seagate or Maxtor hard disk to a new one. You can also use the tool as backup utilities simply by downloading either the Seagate DiscWizard or Maxtor MaxBlast software.

After you download and install either of these OEM version packages, you’ll be able to quickly and easily create a complete image backup of your Windows XP hard disk just like you can in Windows Vista.

Note: This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Professional.

Reposition Windows XP’s Quick Launch toolbar

If you think that Windows XP’s Quick Launch toolbar takes up a lot of room on the taskbar at the top of your screen, here’s how you can easily move the toolbar to any other location on the desktop:

1. Position your mouse pointer over the vertical bar on the left edge of the Quick Launch toolbar until your cursor turns into a double-headed arrow.

2. Drag the Quick Launch toolbar to any location on the desktop — you can anchor it to the top, left, or right edge of the desktop.

3. Once you position it where you want, you can right-click on the toolbar and select the Always On Top command so that you can always access the Quick Launch toolbar just like you can the taskbar.

Note: This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional.

Find and download new fonts for Windows XP

Windows XP provides a host of fonts that you can use to enhance your documents both onscreen and in printed form. When you install certain applications, you’ll find that even more fonts have been added to your operating system. Even so, you may still have a longing for more fonts.

Check out Dafont, which offers a huge repository of fonts available as freeware, shareware, demo versions, or public domain, that you can download and install at will. If you know what you want, you’ll appreciate the fact that the fonts are sorted alphabetically, by author, and by themes. If you’re just browsing, check out the new fonts and top 100 sections. What makes this site even more intriguing is that you can type in your own text and see what it looks like in any of the available fonts.

Note: This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional.

Reset Internet Explorer’s window size in Windows XP

If in Windows XP you typically maximize a too-small Internet Explorer window, every subsequent time you launch Internet Explorer, its windows may remain too small. By default, Internet Explorer is supposed to open at the same size it was at the last time it was closed; however, sometimes the default setting gets out of whack, and you need to manually reset it. Here’s how:

1. Launch Internet Explorer.

2. Click one of the window corners and drag it out to completely fill your screen. Do not use the Maximize button.

3. Press [Alt] to view the menu bar (if you are using Internet Explorer 7).

4. Press and hold down either [Ctrl] or [Shift] while selecting Exit from the File menu. Do not use the Close button.

Now when you launch Internet Explorer, it should open in a full window. If it opens in the same small window, repeat the steps but hold down the opposite key in step 4, that is either [Ctrl] or [Shift].

Note: This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional. As this is a function of Windows XP, it will work on all versions of IE.

Create a custom Control Panel in Windows XP

To simplify access to the tools in Windows XP’s Control Panel, Microsoft created the Category View, in which the Control Panel’s tools are organized into categories. If you’re an old-school Windows user, you can still switch back to the Classic View, in which all of the Control Panel’s tools are available. If you admire the simplicity of the Category View but prefer the Classic View, you may want to create your own custom Control Panel that combines the best of both views. Here’s how:

  1. Right-click the Start button and select the Explore command.
  2. Go to File | New | Folder.
  3. Name the new folder My Control Panel.
  4. Right-click your new My Control Panel folder, select the Properties command, choose the Customize tab, click the Change Icon button, and select an icon that will differentiate this folder from all the rest on the Start menu.
  5. Open your new My Control Panel folder, and then open the original Control Panel and select Classic View.
  6. Drag and drop your favorite tools from the original Control Panel to your new My Control Panel folder.
  7. Close both your new My Control Panel folder and the original Control Panel.

Now when you need to use your favorite tool, just click Start | All Programs and at the top of the All Programs menu select the My Control Panel folder. You’ll see your favorite tools in an easy to access drop-down menu.

Note: This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional.

Viewing non-present devices in Windows XP’s Device Manager

When troubleshooting driver problems in Windows XP, one of the first places you may look is Device Manager, which provides detailed information about every piece of installed system hardware. In light of devices such as removable USB drives becoming more and more common, you may need information about devices that are not currently connected; Device Manager recognizes these as non-present devices. Here’s how to get information about these devices:

  1. Go to Start, right-click My Computer, and select Properties.
  2. In the System Properties dialog box, select the Advanced tab and click the Environment Variables button.
  3. In the Environment Variables dialog box, locate the System Variables panel and click New.
  4. In the New System Variable dialog box, type DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES in the Variable Name text box and type 1 in the Variable Value text box.
  5. Click OK twice.
  6. To view the non-present devices, go to Start, right-click My Computer, and select Manage.
  7. Click Device Manager, pull down the View menu, and select Show Hidden Devices.

Note: This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional.

Forcing Windows XP’s Disk Cleanup to delete all temporary files

If you’ve ever run the Windows XP’s Disk Cleanup utility, you probably discovered that your temporary files occupy a significant amount of space. You might select the Temporary Files check box in order to allow the Disk Cleanup utility to delete the files in the Temp folder, but the Disk Cleanup utility will not remove all of the files. The reason for this oddity is that the configuration for the Disk Cleanup utility does not allow deletion of files accessed in the last seven days.

By altering the LastAccess value in the registry, you can configure the Disk Cleanup utility to delete all the files in the Temp folder regardless of the last accessed date. Here’s how:

  1. Launch the Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).
  2. Go to
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\
    Explorer\VolumeCaches\Temporary Files

    .

  3. Locate and double-click the LastAccess value.
  4. When you see the Edit DWORD Value dialog box, change the Value Data setting from 7 to 0 and click OK.
  5. To complete the operation, close the Registry Editor and restart Windows XP.

Changing the value to 0 will force the Disk Cleanup utility to delete all the files in the Temp folder every time that you select the Temporary Files check box.

Notes: Since editing the registry is risky, be sure you have a verified backup before saving any changes. This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional.

Speed up Windows XP’s Search Companion

One reason why Windows Vista’s Search tool is so fast is because, rather than searching your whole hard disk, it only searches the Documents folders. So the next time that you pull up Windows XP’s Search Companion, click All Files And Folders and select My Documents in the Look In drop-down list. This prevents the Search Companion from searching the entire hard disk.

If you want to search documents stored in the root folder, you can still speed up the process by removing system folders from the search. Click All Files And Folders, open the More Advanced Options panel, and clear the Search System Folders check box. If the Search Hidden Files And Folders check box is selected, clear it too.

If you have a lot of ZIP files (or compressed folders, as Windows XP calls them) on your hard disk, the Search Companion will search through each of those as well, albeit more slowly. To prevent the Search Companion from searching through compressed folders, either move all your compressed folders to the root folder and then configure the Search Companion to only search the My Documents folder, or disable Windows XP’s support for compressed folders.

To disable this support, access the Run dialog box, type the command regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll in the Open text box and click OK. You’ll then need to restart the system for the change to take effect. (To re-enable Windows XP’s support for compressed folders, use the command regsvr32 zipfldr.dll.)

What if the Search Companion is disabled?

If you’ve disabled Windows XP’s Search Companion interface and are using the Windows 2000 Search interface instead, you’ll need to make the following adjustments to this tip:

  • To search My Documents, select My Documents in the Look In drop-down list.
  • To remove system folders from the search, click Search Options, select the Advanced Options check box, and then clear the Search System Folders check box. (If the Search Hidden Files And Folders check box is selected, clear it too.)

To prevent the searching of compressed folders, you can use the same technique as you would for the Search Companion.

Note: This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional. Also remember that editing the registry is risky; so be sure you’ve performed a full backup before making any changes.

Locking Drives

We don’t usually prefer to lock our drives, but sometimes it becomes nesscary. Say for instance you might have stored your office documents in D:\ and you don’t want your kids to access it, in such case this technique can be useful for you.

Note: Please don’t try this tweak with your root drive (usually C:\ is the root drive) since root drives are not intended to be locked because they are mandatory for the system and application programs.

  • Start >> Run and type Regedit to open Registry editor
  • Browse
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Curre ntVersion\Policies\Explorer
  • Create a new DWORD value NoViewOnDrive and set its value as
    2^ (Alpha Number of Drive Letter-1)
    where Alpha number are simple counting of alphabets from A to Z as 1 – 26
    • For example: to lock C:\, Alpha number of C is 3 so 2^ (3-1) = 4 (decimal value)
  • To lock more drives, calculate the value of each drive and then set sum of those numbers as value
  • To unlock your drive just delete the key from the registry

P.S.:
Please do backup the registry before chaning.
Also, the above scenario requires the "technical" user to perform the task. So, do at your own risk.

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