This is the list of tricks I often forget:
There is nothing private about them but they don't rate a special public page. They will probably go out of date as people take out the old bugs and put in the new...

Windows 7

Since the first time I loaded it it died of a corrupt registry within 48 hours the notes are here to save me having to think when it happens again.

Start with a warning: If it looks like something has hung minimise all the windows on screen. W7 seems to be very good at popping up boxes to ask questions underneath other windows.
That one caught me out a couple of times wondering why the CPU gadget is showing no activity and the disk light is off but nothing seems to be happening...

Load it: at least that's faster than previous versions but with twin 2G CPUs and a faster than light SATA disk it really should be.

Don't forget to give it a simple password because you can't do networking without a password.

Right click in the blank screen | Personalise | Change desktop icons | switch them all on.

Control Panel | Apperance and Personalisation | Display | Set size to 100% | let it reboot.

Log in again
Start button | All programs | Accessories | Left-Drag the 'Command prompt' onto the desktop | Create Shortcut here.
Left button it | Properties | Start in C:\ |Save it and run it.
Uncheck the "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer" option
When you 'Apply' it will ask you for the username/password to default to. It offers what you are so just put in the password.
Now we don't have to log on any more.

Control Panel again | spot the 'View by' top left. Change it to 'Small icons'. They all fit on a page if they're small so you don't have to scroll for them.

From the control panel pick 'Folder Options'.
I prefer the 'single click' option.
View page:
Always show menus - tick
Hide extentions for known file types - untick

Open the 'Computer' desktop icon. Left-drag the C: drive onto the desktop and create a shortcut. This is the 'usual' access to files.

Control Panel | Power options | Balanced plan | Plugged in
Dim display : never
Turn off display : never
Put the computer to sleep : never
Now it is safe to leave it copying files and walk away...
While you're here sort out the 'What power button does what' stuff. Don't forget to disable the demand for a password on wake-up.
Control Panel | Network and sharing center.
Have nothing to do with Homegroup file sharing as it is W7 to W7 only. The Work system is the normal one.
Plug in the cable and pick 'Work' network.
Now clicking the 'Network' desktop icon should find your other computers. Remember that the username/password has to exit in their list of users for them to trust you. In theory a 'Guest' account should do it but that always seems to work until I 'need' it then it goes all obscure on me.
Now you can set the backups copying back onto the machine. I had 264K items in 67.8G and it said it was going to take an hour but it took one and a half.

Drag the data folders onto the C:\ drive
Control Panel | System | Advanced system settings | Enviroment variables
Append ;C:\Util to the 'system' Path= value
While you're here take the 'Remote' tab and uncheck 'Allow remote assistance..' and the 'Computer Name' tab to put in a description.

Put some gadgets in, load
Put some nice desktop wallpaper up. Meanwhile... Open the 'Computer' desktop icon and left click it to get Properties
Sharing | Advanced sharing | Share this foder - tick
Check Permissions but it should be 'Everybody' and only 'Read' checked.
Run 'Windows Update' and set its defaults. Then let it download. I got 8 'must haves' and, after it rebooted, another one. There was a whole list of language packs but I'll worry about that later.

Time to put Office 2007 on. Do 'Custom' this time and turn off OneNote and turn on Word's Japanese font.

Do the icons for the HTML4 (in \system) and CSS (in \util)

Run windows update again. Another 20 bugs in Office and 345Mb of download.
Click 'Check for updates' when it finishes and we get 10 more.
Again? Yes there's an 'important' and it's 245Mb.
Agian? Only 39 optionals including Silverlight, some hardware stuff and I'll put in the Japanese language pack too this time. 117Mb

This is the point where it blew up again on the second time through but this time the 'Start up repair' system managed to get it going again so I scheduled a full blooded disk check, including bad sector scan, and rebooted it. It took over two hours to report nothing wrong so, I suspect, a bad download.
When I finally got to look round the only thing I could see that was missing was the hardware update that provided the HP mousepad. Perhaps it isn't as 64bit as it should be.

Visual Studio 2008 time again. Takes twenty minutes or so.

Do a restart to see if it crashes. It doesn't.
Do updates. Lots of 'important' ones so do them.
Retry and get optionals. Suddenly Silverlight, my two hardware items and the Japaneses fonts are back. I'll pass this time thank you.

Power down, power up, still working.

Prolink and Proplanner for the Sentinel. No I don't know why they insist on a Company name. Mine is 'n'.
Then Dosbox (in the \Archive\utilities) and let it reinstall then copy the pp.conf from the website and modify 'Program Files' to 'Program Files (x86)' but otherwise set it up as usual.

Click a PDF so it goes and gets Adobe. ick the 'Network' desktop item | Properties | Change advanced sharing settings
Under 'File sharing connections' turn it to 40 and 56 bit sharing

To get rid of most of the 'Administrator' nags:
Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Local Security policy | Local Policies | Security Options
Set Accounts: Administrator account status to Enabled
Set User Account Control: Admin Approval Mode for the Built-in Administrator account to Disabled

It wouldn't let me change my user account picture so I found the folder
C:\ProgramData\Application Data\microsoft\User Account Pictures\Default Pictures
and stuck it in there as 128x128 and a bitmap and it let me select it.

Previous stuff

Making XP boot without a logon sequence:
Select: Advanced
Uncheck "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer option"
When you 'apply' it will ask you for the user/password

.jpg files insist on defaulting to .jpeg
Edit the registry:
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\MIME\Database\Content Type\image/jpeg]
"Extension"=".jpeg" becomes ".jpg"

Safe mode

Outlook Express won't spell check
To solve this problem, you need a copy of csapi3t1.dll and put it in "Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Proof" then reboot. Check that "Always check spelling" is enabled in Tools, Options, Spelling.

The csapi3t1.dll file is included with Windows XP, it simply isn't installed by default. Try the i386 folder on the Windows XP CD. (If there isn't a Windows XP CD, the installer should have created an i386 folder somewhere on your hard disk.)

To use the version provided with Windows XP, click on Start, Run, then type:
expand "c:\pathname\i386\csapi3t1.dl_" "c:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Proof\csapi3t1.dll"

Internet Explorer cuts off the favorites menu
It thinks that you aren't using them so you don't want them.
Uncheck "Enable Personalised Favourites Menu" on the Advanced Options page

The location of the hosts file under XP etc.

Removing device drivers for USB ports that are getting in the way
The tool is pnputil.exe run at a dos prompt.
It takes command line option, -? for help, if it complains run it in 'safe' mode.

Tweaking the extra keys on the keyboard
eg to change the calculator button to Editor 95 change

I found a good list as:
1Back (Internet browser)
2Forward (Internet browser)
3Refresh (Internet browser)
4Stop (Internet browser)
8Mute volume
17My ComputerShellExecute::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}
24Mute microphone
25Lower microphone volume
26Raise microphone volume
40Forward (mail)
42Spelling checker
43Toggle dictation and command/control
44Toggle microphone

Why is my USB port a silly number like COM27?
Device Manager | pick the port | right mouse | properties | port settings | Advances
Yes but it says (in use) against the one I want?
Just select it. It whinges but it does it.

How do you fix it? Well it's no good just selecting them in turn as it only clears them until you reboot.


This seems to be a list of what ports are adopted by what virtual ports. HKLM/System/CurrentControlSet/Control/COM Name Arbiter

The ComDB entry is bits indicating COM1 (x01), COM2 (x02), COM3 (x04), are in use. Edit to 03 00... and only COM1 and 2 will be 'in use'.


This is all the devices that the usb driver has seen before. The vilian for me was the Prolific driver. You can't delete it but you can find its oemnn.inf file name in /Windows/inf/ and rename it. Look under VID_067B&PID_2303.

Make a Vista admin account work like it does in XP
This works for Vista Business, Enterprise or Ultimate

Control panel, Administritive tools, Local Security policy, Local Policies, Security Options
Set Accounts: Administrator account status to Enabled
Set User Account Control: Admin Approval Mode for the Built-in Administrator account to Disabled

Remove the transparency on Firefox and Thunderbird
go to
If there isn't one create a folder chrome
In that add a text file called userChrome.css containing

window, page, dialog, wizard, prefwindow {
background-color: -moz-Dialog !important;

#toolbar-menubar {
-moz-appearance: -moz-win-browsertabbar-toolbox !important;

Pictures I want at times. Nigel Hewitt
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Forcing a System Crash from the Keyboard

With PS/2 keyboards, you must enable the keyboard-initiated crash in the registry. In the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\i8042prt\Parameters, create a value named CrashOnCtrlScroll, and set it equal to a REG_DWORD value of 0x01.
With USB keyboards, you must enable the keyboard-initiated crash in the registry. In the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\kbdhid\Parameters, create a value named CrashOnCtrlScroll, and set it equal to a REG_DWORD value of 0x01.

You must restart the system for these settings to take effect.

After this is completed, the keyboard crash can be initiated by using the following hotkey sequence: Hold down the rightmost CTRL key, and press the SCROLL LOCK key twice.

takeown /f "C:\path\to\folder" /r /a (changes ownership)
icacls "C:\path\to\folder" /reset /T (resets permisions)

Keyboard that pops up on windows startup:
Disable the "Touch Keyboard and Handwriting" service

No more ASK toolbar

goto Configure Java | Advanced | Miscellaneous
Check Suppress Sponsor Offers when updating or installing java

Schedule a task (eg: a defender scan)
copy this and remove the new lines if any, fix the time etc.
schtasks /create /tn "Scan With Defender (Daily Full Scan)" /sc DAILY /st 01:00 /ru SYSTEM /rl HIGHEST /tr "'%ProgramFiles%\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe' -Scan -ScanType 2"