Boot Into Windows XP Without a Password

  1. Click Start and click the Run command. Type control userpasswords2 in the Open text box. Click OK.
  2. In the User Accounts dialog box, click the Users tab.
  3. On the Users tab, remove the checkmark from the Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer checkbox. Click Apply.
  4. An Automatically Log On dialog box appears. Here you type in the user name and password for the user account that you want to automatically log on. Type in the User name, the Password and Confirm password. Click OK.
  5. Click OK in the User Accounts dialog box. Restart the computer.

Be aware that not requiring a logon is a big security risk. For that reason, you won't see this option if your computer is a member of a Windows domain. But if you don't have anything important or secret on your computer, and your computer is a standalone or belongs to a workgroup, go for it!

Getting around the "Guest" login prompt when connecting to another computer:

Windows XP changed the way it handles file sharing by default and may cause you to have issues when trying to share files between two computers (especially between a domain computer and a workgroup computer). If you try to connect to another PC and you get a login dialog box that has "Guest" listed in the username field without allowing you to change it and log in as an authorized user,  you will need to make the change that is listed in the article below. Basically you need to click Start / All Programs / Administrative Tools / Local Security Policy and then navigate to Security Settings / Local Policies / Security Options / Network access: Sharing and security model for local accounts. Then change the value from Guest Only to Classic. (This occurs when you are logged into computer #1 with a local account credential - not a domain user - and you try to connect to a drive on computer #2, where computer #2 is set to authenticate all local users on the network as "Guest" only, rather than as "Classic" which allows you to set different permissions for different users on computer #2).

Turn Off Error Reporting

To disable error reporting, follow these directions:

  1. Open Control Panel
  2. Click on Performance and Maintenance.
  3. Click on System.
  4. Single-click the Advanced tab
  5. Single-click the Error Reporting button on the Advanced tab.
  6. On the Error Reporting dialog box, place a checkmark next to the text labeled, "Disable error reporting."
  7. Leave the other radio button unchecked next to the text labeled, "But notify me when critical errors occur."
  8. Click OK


  1. If you've already placed My Computer on your Desktop, then navigate to your Desktop, right-click on My Computer, and choose Properties. Otherwise, click your Start menu, scroll-over My Computer, right-click, and choose Properties.
  2. Single-click the Advanced tab on your System Properties dialog box.
  3. Single-click the Error Reporting button on the Advanced tab.
  4. On the Error Reporting dialog box, place a checkmark next to the text labeled, "Disable error reporting."

Remove MSN Messenger from XP

A lot of people want to know how to remove MSN Messenger service from XP... heres the instructions how:

  1. Locate SYSOC.INF in the \Windows\INF folder (hidden file and folder), Open it in Notepad and locate the line: msmsgs=msgrocm.dll,OcEntry,msmsgs.inf,hide,7
  2. Remove the word "hide" from the line and save the file. You will now have an entry in add/remove programs. Allowing you to do the deed 
  3. OR (XP Pro Only) leave it installed, but tell Windows to never let it run. If you're running XP Professional, you can use GPEDIT.MSC to prevent Messenger from loading. Otherwise, even disabling it in startup won't cause it to "always" not run. NOTE: Outlook, Outlook Express and some Microsoft web pages can still make it load.
  4. Start, Run and enter GPEDIT.MSC
  5. Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Messenger
  6. You can now modify whether it starts initially and/or whether it's to run at all.

Connecting Remotely to your XP desktop

Windows XP Professional allows you to connect to your XP Professional PC from anywhere. This is a really useful feature when your working from home and need documents from your office or vice versa. With Remote desktop you can redirect printers, which allows you to be at home and print to the office or vice versa while logged into the XP Pro host.
You can also redirect sound, shared drives as well as copy and paste.

What you'll need:

Setup Remote Desktop on the Host computer:

  1. Open the System folder in Control Panel.  Or, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double click the System icon.
  2. On the Remote tab, select the Allow users to connect remotely to this computer check box
  3. In the Remote Desktop area, click Select Remote Users....
  4. On the Remote Desktop Users dialog box, click Add....
  5. On the Select Users dialog box, click Locations... to specify the search location.
  6. Click Object Types... to specify the types of objects you want to search for.
  7. In the Enter the object names to select (examples): box, type the names of the objects you want to search for.
  8. Click Check Names.
  9. When the name is located, click OK. The name now appears in the list of users on the Remote Desktop Users dialog box.
  10. Ensure that you have the proper permissions to connect to your computer remotely, and click OK.
  11. Leave your computer running and connected to the Internet.

What the Client Needs

Remote Desktop Client Software is installed by default on Windows XP Home and Pro.  To start it click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, click Communications, and then click Remote Desktop Connection.

For computers running Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Me, Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000 you'll need to install the client software

The Log On to Windows dialog box appears.

Once remote desktop is setup on the host you can also connect to your XP Pro computer from any computer running Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher by opening a browser window and typing http://xp_host_pc_name/tsweb

Stop Password Expiration in XP

By default, Windows XP is set up with passwords which will expire after 42 days. 14 days in advance, Windows will start warning you of this fact. If you do not want your passwords to expire:

  1. Go to Start > Run and in the Open: box type control userpasswords2
  2. Select the Advanced tab in the User Accounts window
  3. Press the Advanced button below the Advanced user management header
  4. Select Users in the Local Users and Groups
  5. In the right pane, right-click the user name for which you want to change the setting, and select Properties
  6. On the General tab, check Password never expires
  7. Click Apply and OK (all the way out)

Turn the Windows XP Autorun Back On

Some people like having the CD-ROM play automatically when Windows XP starts, and some people really don't like it. If you like CD autoplay and it's not working (maybe the last person who used the computer was an anti-autorun type), here's how to get it working again:

  1. Click the Start button. Click the Run command and type Regedit in the Open text box. Click OK.
  2. In the Registry Editor, go to the following Registry key:
    HKEY LOCAL MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\CDRom
  3. In the right pane of the console, right click the Autorun entry and click Modify.
  4. In the Edit DWORD Value dialog box, put a number "1" (without the quotes) in the Value data text box. Click OK.
  5. Close the Registry Editor
  6. Restart your computer

Fix the Desktop Cleanup Freezeup when Compressing Old Files

Many WinXPnews readers tell us that the disk cleanup tool freezes when it gets to the phase in which it compresses old files. We can't tell you why it happens, but we can tell you how to fix the problem. Give this a try:

  1. Click the Start button then click the Run command.
  2. Type regedit in the Open text box and click OK.
  3. Find the following Registry key and click on it:
    HKEY LOCAL MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches
  4. Click the File menu, then click the Export command. Click Desktop in the Save in list. Enter VolumeCaches in the File name text box, then click Save.
  5. Expand the following Registry key:
    HKEY LOCAL MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches
  6. Under that key, you'll see the Compress old files Registry key. Right click on it and click the Delete command. Click Yes in the Confirm Key Delete dialog box.
  7. Close Registry Editor.

Note that step 4 created a backup of the VolumeCaches Registry key before you deleted it. You can double click on the file you created to recreate the key you deleted if you ever need to (although you shouldn't need to).

Easy Log on to Windows XP Machines

On a Windows XP Professional computer that is a member of a workgroup, you can create a user account that has no password. This allows you to type in your user name without a password and access the computer. You can also have the log on dialog box appear without pressing the "security attention sequence (CTRL-ALT-DELETE) by going into the User Accounts applet in the Control Panel and clicking the Change the way users log on or off option. Put a checkmark in the Use the Welcome screen checkbox. Then, if you don't have a password on your account, all you need to do is click on the account name. If you want autologon, you don't need a password because security must not be an issue for you. Have fun!

Disable Tray Balloon Nags

What's the most common request we get in our WinXPnews mailbox? "How do I disable those balloons in the tray? I don't want to sign up for Passport!" Here's how:

  1. Click the Start button. Click the Run command and type Regedit in the Open text box. Click OK. As always, be very careful when editing the Registry.
  2. In the Registry Editor, go to the following registry key:
    HKEY CURRENT USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
  3. Click the Edit menu, point to New, and click DWORD Value.
  4. Press the ENTER key on the keyboard. Right click New Value #1 and click the Rename command. Type in the new name "EnableBalloonTips" (without the quotes) and press ENTER.
  5. In the Edit DWORD Value dialog box, type the number "0" (without the quotes) in the Value data field. Click OK.
  6. Close the Registry Editor.

Remove "Memorized" Outlook Address Entries

Most Outlook 2000/2002 users really appreciate the "autofill" feature when typing in the To: address in a new email message. The problem is that sometimes it remembers addresses you don't want it to remember. The same thing happens in Internet Explorer, where it remembers Web sites and text box entries that you don't want it to remember. Here's how you can whack the remembered addresses:

  1. Create a new message in Outlook 2000 or Outlook 2002 (from Office XP).
  2. Type an email address in the To: line of the new message. You'll see a list of addresses appear from which you can select.
  3. Use the up or down arrow keys on your keyboard to highlight the address you want to remove. When you've highlighted the address you want to remove, press the DELETE key on your keyboard. The entry will be removed from the list and will not appear again.

MS-DOS "NET" Commands

The following commands can be entered via the Comand prompt DOS window, to see network info or perform these functions: (replaceable parameters are in brackets)

Switching to the Classic Logon Screen on a Non-domain XP Computer

When you install Windows XP as a standalone or workgroup computer (not a member of a Windows domain), by default it will use the Welcome logon screen that has a button for each user account. A lot of folks who have their home computers set up as non-domain members still prefer to use the classic logon screen that asks you to type your user name and password. Good news! It's easy to switch. Just follow these steps:

  1. Click Start | Control Panel.
  2. In Classic View, double click User Accounts.
  3. Click Change the way users log on or off.
  4. Uncheck the Use the Welcome screen check box by clicking on it.

Now the familiar username/password box will appear instead of the Welcome screen. Be aware that changing to the Classic Logon screen will disable Fast User Switching, so don't do this if you want to use that feature.

Move the Default "My Documents" Location

There are a few ways to change the location to which the My Documents shortcut points. The first is by editing the HKEY CURRENT USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders key of the Registry. You double click Personal and change the value to the new path. But this is the hard way and we only encourage it for people who like playing with the Registry.  Another way is to right click the My Documents folder on the Desktop and select Properties, then on the Target tab, click Move and browse to the folder on D: where you want to store your documents.

How To Configure your XP Computer for Two Different Networks

Here's how to set up your computer to login to  different networks that require different settings  (company's network and home network) without having to manually change the TCP/IP settings each time. Let's say the office network uses DHCP but you  want to assign a static IP address for the home network. This is one area where Microsoft listened to users and added a great new feature to XP and Server 2003, called Alternate TCP/IP Configuration. To use it, do the following:

  1. Go to Start | Control Panel | Network Connections.
  2. Right click the icon for your network connection and select Properties.
  3. On the General tab, scroll down and double click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP).
  4. On the General tab, select Obtain an IP address automatically (this configures the computer for the network that uses DHCP).
  5. Click the Alternate Configuration tab (this tab does not appear if you don't have the General tab configured as described in step 4).
  6. Select the User configured option, then type in the TCP/IP information for the network that uses a static address (IP address, subnet mask, default gateway and preferred DNS and WINS servers).
  7. Click OK twice to close the dialog boxes.

Now when the computer can't find a DHCP server (that is, when you're connected to the home network), it will use the alternate configuration information you entered

Stop Startup Programs via MSConfig

One way to get rid of startup programs (and one that is easier and safer than editing the registry) is to use the msconfig tool. Hhere's how:

  1. Click Start | Run.
  2. Type msconfig and click OK.
  3. Go to the Startup tab.
  4. You'll see a list of startup items that includes the location (path) of the executable program file and the location in the registry. Uncheck the checkbox for an item to prevent it from running at system startup. The good thing about this method is that you can easily come back and enable the program by checking the box if you decide you want to it be a startup program again.

Tired of Being Asked if You're Sure You Want to Delete Items?

By default, when you delete a file or folder, a confirmation dialog box pops up first and asks if you're really sure you want to delete the item(s). This can be a lifesaver if you click Delete unintentionally, but it can be very annoying if you're deleting several items in a row. If you'd prefer that Windows take your word for it the first time and not question your decision to delete, you can turn off the confirmation dialog. Here's how:

  1. Right click the Recycle Bin icon on the desktop.
  2. Select Properties from the context menu.
  3. Click the Global tab.
  4. At the bottom, uncheck the Display delete confirmation dialog checkbox.
  5. Click OK.

Now when you delete something, it will be deleted immediately. We recommend that you not use this setting if you have the following checkbox checked: Do not move files to the Recycle Bin. Remove files immediately when deleted. If that box is checked, it will be difficult to get back a file that you delete accidentally.

Showing the Desktop without the Show Desktop Icon

You don't have to have use the the Show Desktop icon to show the desktop. You can do it using a keyboard shortcut instead. All you have to do is hold down the Windows key and press the D key. Pressing Windows + D again will bring back your application windows.

Less Typing to Enter www.[name].com addresses

When typing in URLs in the .com top level domain that start with "www." in Internet Explorer, you can just type the domain name (for example, if the URL is, just type "microsoft") and hold down the CTRL key while you press ENTER. This only works on URLs in the .com domain.

How to Install and Configure XP's Built-in Fax Service

Do you want to send and receive faxes on your Windows XP computer? If you have a fax modem installed, you can - but the fax service is not installed by default. Here's how to install and configure it:

  1. Click Start | Control Panel | Add or Remove Programs.
  2. Click Add/Remove Windows Components.
  3. When the Windows Components Wizard starts, click the Fax Services check box to check it and click Next.
  4. Insert the XP installation CD if prompted to do so, and click OK.
  5. Click Finish when the Wizard is done, and click Close to close the Add or Remove Programs dialog box.

Now you need to configure the service:

  1. Click Start | All Programs | Accessories | Communications | Fax | Fax Console.
  2. When the Fax Configuration Wizard starts, go through the steps to enter sender information, select the modem you want to use, and choose whether you want to be able to send or receive faxes, or both.
  3. You can enter the TSID information that appears in the fax header and the CSID information that is displayed on the sending fax machine.
  4. You can also select whether to automatically print faxes or store a copy in a folder.
  5. Click Finish on the Summary page of the Wizard.

Now you can send and/or receive faxes!

Browser Start Page Hijacked by

Question: My default homepage for IE is Earthlink. A few days ago it somehow changed to someplace called SearchV.  Seemed like an easy fix to go to Internet Options on the General Tab and fix it. Well, what happens is that anytime I do a reboot or a fresh start up it still somehow defaults back to SearchV.

Answer: Searchv is a well known browser "hijacker." It's likely that your Registry has been changed. Caution: always be careful when editing the registry. Here's how to check:

  1. Click Start | Run and type regedit to open the Registry Editor.
  2. Navigate to this key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main.
  3. In the right pane, look for an entry called Start Page. Double click it.
  4. In the Value Data box, if the URL is, that's your culprit. Change it to your desired start page.
  5. Click OK and close the Registry Editor.

Use the On-screen Keyboard

What if you've just created a document and your keyboard stops working before you can type a name to save the file? That's just one scenario in which you might want to use the on-screen keyboard. This is a keyboard on the screen that you can "type" on by clicking the keys with your mouse.

  1. To use it, click Start | All Programs | Accessories | Accessibility | On-screen keyboard.
  2. If your regular keyboard is still working and you want to open the on-screen keyboard, another way to do it is by clicking Start | Run and typing osk.

Media Center Edition How-to of the Week: Watching Recorded TV on another Computer

Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) allows you to record and play back TV programs like a TiVO, but did you know that you're not limited to playing them back on the TV or monitor to which your MCE computer is connected? Your Media Center PC records the programs in dvr-ms format, and they can be played back on any Windows XP Professional or Home computer, with a little tweaking. Here's what you have to do to play your recorded programs on another computer:

  1. Install Service Pack 1 on the other computer if you haven't already.
  2. Install Windows Media Player version 9 if you haven't already.
  3. Install the update listed in KB article 810243. Search for keyword "Q810243" at:
  4. If you get a message that says "you need the DAAA codec" when you try to open a dvr-ms file, you need to download and install the WMP 9 Codecs Pack at:

Now you should be able to play your TV shows on your second computer by simply clicking on a dvr-ms file. You can transfer the files to the second computer by recording them to DVD on your Media Center PC (a half hour program uses about 1.5GB at high quality) or you can play them over your local network if the Media Center and the second computer are on the same LAN. We found that playing over the network didn't work very well on an 802.11b network, but over a wired network, it worked great!

Where's that Share?

If you're on a home or office network, you probably use the network browser service (accessed via the My Network Places icon) to find and connect to shared folders and printers on other computers. Sometimes, though, all shares may not show up here. Does that mean they're "gone?" and inaccessible? Not necessarily.

If you know the name of a shared resource, you can try connecting to it via the UNC (Universal Naming Convention) path. To do so, click Start | Run and in the Run box, type \\servername\sharename. "Servername" is the name of the computer on which the share is located, and "sharename" is the name of the shared folder or printer. You will often be able to connect to a share this way even though it doesn't appear in the browse list.

How to Set the Size of the Internet Explorer Window on Opening

When you open IE, do you always have to resize the window because it's too large or too small? You can change the window size at opening by doing the following:

  1. Close any open IE windows.
  2. Open IE, right click on a link in the page you opened, and select Open in New Window from the context menu.
  3. Resize the new window to the size you want all IE windows to be when you open them by clicking a link.
  4. Resize the first window you opened to the size you want IE to be when you launch the browser. Close it by holding down Shift and clicking the Close icon.
  5. Hold down the Shift key and click the Close icon (X) at the top right of the second window you opened  to close the new window.

Now your IE windows should open in the sizes you've set, depending on how you open the browser (from a link or by clicking the IE icon to launch the browser).

How to Restore the Show Desktop icon to the Quick Launch Bar

A reader wrote to say that she accidentally deleted the Show Desktop icon from the quick launch bar, and she wants to know how to get it back. Here's the procedure:

  1. Click Start | All Programs | Accessories | Notepad (or you can use any other plain text editor).
  2. Create a text file that has the following lines:


  3. Save the file with the name Show Desktop.scf. Put it in the Windows\System32 folder. If Notepad adds a .txt extension, remove it.
  4. In Windows Explorer, right click the file you just created. Select Create Shortcut.
  5. Copy the new shortcut to the following folder:
    Windows\System32\Config\Systemprofile\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch
  6. Rename the shortcut to Desktop

Now the Show Desktop icon should reappear in the Quick Launch bar.

Go to IE Address Bar without the Mouse

For all your folks out there who like to keep your hands on the keyboard, you can use the CTRL+D shortcut to go to the IE address bar. This highlights the current URL so you can replace it with another URL without having to backspace to delete it. Remember, you have to be in IE for this to work

How to Shrink Down Word Files Ten-fold

For those of you who paste a lot of graphics files into your Word XP (Word 2002) documents, have you ever noticed how big those Word document files get? We work with a lot of Word docs containing tons of graphics and they get really big. Here's a tip that will shrink those Word docs down ten-fold! (thanks to Ronald Beekalar for this great tip):

  1. Open the Word document and save it with a different name (this is so that you have the original copy of the document just in case something goes haywire).
  2. With the Word document open, click the Edit menu and then click Select All.
  3. Now that the entire document is selected, Hold down the CTRL key. With the CTRL key held down, hold down the SHIFT key. With the SHIFT key and the CTRL key held down, press the F9 key (this is the CTRL+SHIFT+F9 keyboard combination - the command to unlink a field).
  4. Save the document. Compare the size of the new document with the size of the old one. We think you'll be pleasantly surprised!

How to Log On to XP Automatically

Despite the security issue, we get many requests from readers for instructions on how to bypass the logon dialog box and log onto XP automatically when you boot the computer (while still having a password set on your account). We don't recommend it, but here's how:

  1. Open your favorite registry editor and navigate to this key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon.
  2. Click Edit, select New and then select String value.
  3. Name the value DefaultUserName.
  4. Set the value data by typing in the account name you want to log on automatically.
  5. Click Edit, select New and select String value again.
  6. Name the new value DefaultPassword.
  7. Set the value data by typing in the password for the account.
  8. Click Edit, select New and select String value one more time.
  9. Name the new value AutoAdminLogon.
  10. Set the value data to 1 to enable auto logon, or 0 to disable it.
You'll need to reboot after closing the registry editor.

How to Install the FTP Service on your XP Computer

Want to run your own FTP server so your friends can connect to it and download or upload files? XP includes an FTP services component but it's not installed by default. Here's how to install it:

  1. Click Start | Control Panel | Add/Remove Programs.
  2. Click the button to Add/Remove Windows Components.
  3. Check the checkbox labeled "Internet Information Services (IIS)."
  4. Click the Details button.
  5. Check the checkbox labeled "File Transfer Protocol (FTP)."
  6. Click OK.

You may be asked to insert your XP installation CD or navigate to the location of the installation files on your computer or on the network.

Once it's installed, the FTP service can be configured using the Internet Information Services console in Administrative Tools. You can set options such as the home directory, accounts, whether to allow anonymous access and the IP address information. You can stop or start the FTP service by right clicking the FTP site in the console pane and selecting "Stop" or "Start."

Connecting to another computer:  Getting past the "Guest" login prompt

Windows XP changed the way it handles file sharing by default and may cause you to have issues when trying to share files between two computers (especially between a domain computer and a workgroup computer).  If you try to connect to another PC and you get a login dialog box that has Guest listed in the username field you will need to make the change that is listed in the article below.  Basically you need to click Start / All Programs / Administrative Tools / Local Security Policy and then navigate to Security Settings / Local Policies / Security Options / Network access: Sharing and security model for local accounts.  Then change the value from Guest Only to Classic.

To view the list of services that are running:
  1.  Click Start on the Windows taskbar, and then click Run.
  2. In the Open box, type CMD, and then press ENTER.
  3. Type Tasklist /SVC, and then press ENTER.