Posts Tagged ‘windows xp’

Windows 7 change windows behavior like XP How to / Make Windows 7 act like XP

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

If you haven't worked for a while with Windows (since the days when XP was standard modern OS) you might be amazed that Windows like me. You might feel pretty unconfortable to work with Windows 7's "dock style" taskbar – showing application icons instead of buttons.

dock-style-taskbar-windows-7-screenshot

People who are traditionalist like me would definitely prefer to change this stupid behavior to "Windows Classic". Here is how to do it:

1. Right click on any open area on taskbar and choose Properties

properties-on-empty-taskbar-windows-7-screenshot
2. From Taskbar -> Taskbar Buttons choose (Never Combine).

Never Combine – option makes every new Window to show as a separate one instead of Grouping the Windows by application.
In some cases choosing (Combine when TaskBar) is full is nice new option, so you might want to check it out for a while and see if you can get used to it.

never_combine_windows-7-make-windows-look-like-XP-and-2000

3. Make Windows Start menu panel look like Windows 2000 (clear up unnecessary mambo-jumbo design)
I very much like simplicity thus I don't like Microsoft's choise to make Start Menu panel look like a Christmas Tree. To revert back:

On any empty space on the Desktop press Right Mouse button (Choose Personalize); Scroll down and choose (Windows Classic theme)

windows-personalize-screenshot-windows-classics

That will change Windows to look normal again 🙂

windows-start-menu-screenshot

Cheers 🙂

Quitting my job as IT Manager and moving to Further Horizons in Hewlett Packard

Friday, September 13th, 2013

International University College Logo IUC

I haven't blogged for a while for a plenty of reasons, I'm going through a change period in my life and as any change it is not easy.
This post will be not informative and will not teach any of my dear readers, anything on Computers its pretty personal but still for my friends it might cause interest.
Here is my personal life story over the last few months …

For a while I worked in a International University College situated in my hometown Dobrich. I was hired on position of IT Manager, and actually was doing a bit of E-Marketing to try to boost traffic to College's website – www.vumk.eu and mostly helping the old school hacker ad college system administrator over the last 10 yrs – Ertan to fix a bunch of Linux Mail / SQL and Webservers and some Windows machines. In college I learned from Ertan how to install and backups of restaurants software called BARBEQUE as well as how to fix problems with billing terminals situated in College Restaurant (3rd floor of building). Other of my work time I had to  fix infested Windows computers with viruses re-install Windowses and fix various printing and network problems of College's teachers, accountants, cash desk, marketing and rest of college  employees.

Talking about Ertan I should express my sincere tremendous Thanks (Thanks Ertan) to it for recommending me for this job position. Right before I started work in the college I was jobless for a while starting to get desperate that its impossible find work. Current IUC sysadmin – Mr. Ertan Geldiev is a remarkable man and one of the people that made great impression in my mind. Something I found interesting I can learn from Ertan was to get from his cheerful "admin" attitude. As a true hacker Ertan had this hacker attitude of playfulness I myself has for a while lost over the years. So seeing someone like this near my life make me a good favor and had a positive influence on myself.

I have learned a lot from Ertan during the 3 months and 3 days in International University College. Just for a bit of historic information earlier IUC was known as International College – Albena, also among Dobrich citizens known as The Dutch College – as earlier IUC had good relations with Dutch Universities and was issuing double degrees both Bulgarian and Dutch. Nowadays I'm not sure if still Double-degrees partnership between IUC and Dutch Universities exist, what I know for sure is college is issuing European Double Degrees in partnership with Cardiff Metropolitan University. I myself have earlier studied in the college and already know the place well thus will use this post to say a few words on my impressions on it …

International University College - one of top prestigious colleges in Eastern Europe

The college is a great place to be as you have chance to meet plenty of people both lecturers (professors), participate in the various events organized by College's as well as get involved in the many European Projects which are being handled by a European Projects department special department situated on the back of the College Building. Other positive about College is it is small and located on a peaceful town of Dobrich. This gives the bright people a lot of space for personal development, anyways on the other hand it can make you also a bad as Dobrich as a small city is a bit boring. The studies in College are good for students who want personal freedom as there is not too strict requirements for professors on how to teach.

Though college had help me grow, especially in my knowledge in Windows 7 and 8 (Ertan had a really good Windows background), I couldn't have the chance to develop myself too further in the long term. So my job offer to work in HP as Web and Middleware Implementation Engineer opened much broader opportunities for my long term IT career. Other reason I quit the College IT job was simply because I needed more money I had the vision to make a family with a girl from Belarus – Svetlana and in order to take care for her I need to earn good money. My official salary in the college was the funny for the position – 640 lv (though after a few months I was promised to have a raise and earn 400 EUR :)) . Such low sallary was for the reason I had the idea to continue studying in College and complete my Bachelor Business degree and we had agreed with the College CEO Mr. Todor Radev to extract part of my salary monthly and with that to pay my 1 semester tuition fee (2200 EUR) – necessary for my graduation assignment. Though completing the Bachelor is important phase to close in my life for a long time, I found for the moment more valuable to work for HP and earn normal living salary with which to possibly finance myself and create family with woman of my life (hopefully) in the short term.

In this post I want express my sincere thanks to all people in International College (Elena Urchenko, Krasimir – for helping me in my job duties), Pavel and Silvia for being a colleague for a while I worked partly in the Marketing Department.

Talking about Marketing Department what I did there is some Twitter Marketing (building some twitter followers) and wrote a tiny document with recommendation on how to optimize College website – vumk.eu (future version) – for better SEO ranking. This included complete analysis from user outlook to Indexing bots and site current code. 

Mr Docent Phd Todor Radev

I have to do a big underline on how great person the College President and UNI Rector – Docent Todor Radev is. I have already bitter experience studying for a while in a government universities when younger and I know from experience usually Rectors and Universities management of state universities is pure "Hell". Thanks to Mr. Todor Radev for he did me a big favor letting me quit  job just a week later (instead of 1 month as it is officially set by Bulgarian Dismissal Law and explicitly stated in my Work Contract. Also as a person my experience from Docent Radev is wonderful too. He is extremely intelligent, brilliant gentleman and  most importantly open minded and always open for innovation.
 

As a close up I would like to say Big Thanks to everyone which I worked with or met in International University College! Thanks guys for all your support and help, thanks for being work mates and friends for the time.

Windows add to startUP / Make MS Windows XP / Vista / 7 and 8 to start program automatically on start-up

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

On Linux, it is quite easy to run programs on OS boot via /etc/rc.local.
For Linux admins like me who are not much into Windows, it is interesting How it is possible to make Application run on Windows boot?

Running Program auto on boot is precious, especially for running small custom written .BAT (batch scripts)
On Windows XP there is a Startup Folder. Anything placed in Startup folder launches whenever Windows start.

Windows XP open startup folder screenshot

  • Click on Start button -> All Programs, right mouse click on Startup folder -> Open.
  • Open Folder location that contains Program want to make start-up on Windows start.
  • Right-click Program and then click Create Shortcut. Newly created shortcut appears in same location as the original item.
  • Drag with Mouse new shortcut into the Startup folder.

Alternative way to reach Windows  Start-Up (on Windows XP) is via C:\Users\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs

Windows XP Start menu programs start up

To remove already, scheduled program to start, just remove it from Startup Folder or run in command prompt Start -> run (cmd.exe) ->

msconfig

And from StartUp tab, remove tick from Program you'd like to disable:

Alter Remove from Windows XP Startup Programs

On Windows Vista / 7 Add / Remove Program on Start-up is done also from:
Control Panel -> Program -> Change Startup Programs

Control Panel Programs Add / Remove Programs on Windows Vista / 7 Start-up

On Windows 8 to add / remove Programs to Startup (press Ctrl+C) in Run box that appears run:

%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

run command for start up program add Remove Microsoft Windows 8

Then just like on XP, create shortcut and Paste Shortcut linked to program to run on Win Start

That's all you have to do on Next Windows Startup-up Program will automatically run.
Following same logic it is possible to make Word DOC / .TXT / PDF / Mp3 / Movie run automatically on Windows boot. Enjoy 🙂

P.S. Dear Windows Admin Gurus, I'm sorry if this article was too boring, please accept my kind apologies if so:)

Workaround “Running chkdsk in Read-Only mode” on Windows XP

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

running chkdsk in read only mode microsoft windows  XP chkdsk schedule check drive C on next restart

I had to fix old Notebook Dell Insspiron 1501 (890 mb ram and 1.60 Ghz CPU) notebook with Windows XP SP2. The notebook looks okay but as it is an old piece of hardware I decided to check hard drives for bad sectors with Windows (Check Disk) –  chkdsk. 

Running chkdsk via -> cmd.exe does not work because file system is in use and once you run chkdsk it does spit warning and error:


"Running CHKDSK in Read-Only mode
".

Errors found. CHKDSK cannot continue in read-only mode

Because it checks hdd in read-only its check is not completely reliable and in case some bad block is matched it is not possible for chkdsk to write on HDD and try fix or move it to some free space blocks.

 

To work around this its necessary to run chkdsk with options:

chkdsk C: /v /f

This command brings out prompt like in below screenshot offering to run CHKDSK on C drive on next system boot before starting Windows services which does lock files on file system – making it unavailable for CHKDSK to read blocks on it.

Checking file system on C drive before boot windows XP screenshot

The notebook had 3  Drives C:\, D:\ and E:\ so I run above command also on D:\ and E:\ to make sure there are no physical damages on D and E partitions, i.e.:

chkdsk D: /v /f
....

chkdsk E: /v /f
...
.....

Delete 2nd Windows installation from Windows boot screen menu

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Lets say you re-installed Windows with keeping old installation, because you already have numer of programs installed in Program Files – some of which take too long to pre-install or even you don't have installer. Then you end up in situation with one Windows installed in C:\Windows and one in C:\Windows.0. Respectively before Windows boot screen appears, you have choice to load Windows installed in C:\Windows or one installed in C:\Windows.0.

This is pretty annoying as the WIndows boot manager screen appears on every computer start / restart and the prompts keeps there until you press enter to start newer installed Windows.

Here is how to fix that

  1. Click Start -> My Computer -> Properties.
  2. Then Advanced tab, under Startup and Recovery -> Settings.
    The Startup and Recovery dialog box appears.
  3. Under System startup -> Edit to modify the Boot.ini file.

Windows XP My Computer Properties System Start-up, Edit boot ini, delete 2nd Windows from boot
 

[boot loader] timeout=30 default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS [operating systems] multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS.0="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home" /fastdetect

Delete 2nd line offering to load from \WINDOWS and Save and exit notepad. After restarting system, Windows Boot prompt should be no more.

After changes, file should look like so:

[boot loader] timeout=30 default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS [operating systems] multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS.0="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

N.B. ! Be very cautious when deleting things from this file, messing up with it will leave system in un-bootable state.

Fixing Active Desktop Recovery Windows XP problem

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Windows XP active desktop recovery screenshot picture

I had to repair Windows XP PC which got the annoying Active Desktop Recovery screen. I remember seeing this screen back in the days when I was still using Microsoft Windows 98. It was quite shocking for me to find out this stupid pointless Windows bug appears on NT based Windows as well…

As you can see on the screenshot there is a button Restore My Active Desktop but pressing this button doesn't change anything

People around the net recommend two ways to fix that one is through:

Control Panel -> Internet Options -> Advanced (Reset)

Windows XP Control Panel Internet Options Advanced Reset tab screenshot

After this I tried the usual Computer Restart but unfortunately this not solved the problem.

Second suggested method was through a change in Windows registry from

C:\> regedit

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\\Software\Microsoft\\Internet Explorer\\Desktop\\SafeMode\\Components

Change the key value – DeskHtmlVersion REG_DWORD 0x00000110(272) to decimal zero.

Windows XP fix Active Desktop Recovery - change the key value - DeskHtmlVersion REG_DWORD 0x00000110(272) to decimal zero

Fixing enter not working in Skype 6 – Skype cannot send message bug on Windows XP

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Skype how to fix enter not sending messages in Skype6 downgrade to Skype5 windows XP
Yesterday, I had to fix another Windows XP computer infested with Spyware and Viruses. Thanksfully I cleaned it up as usual using standard combination of Malware Bytes + Little Registry Cleaner and Avira. The PC haven't been updated recently and running still Windows XP SP2, thus to make Avira running I had to install SP3 as Avira nowdays depends on Win SP3. After clean up it worked much better, though it is not 100% sure if some kind of malicious software is still not on PC.
After all seemed fine on this Russian Windows XP, there was one thing still problematic – Skype. For some weird reason whenever user from Skype contact list is messaged, it was impossible to send the message with Enter key. I tried checking if all seems fine in Keyboard Settings and Regional Settings in Windows Control Center, cause XP version was with Russian Language Pack and I suspected the Language Pack might mess up something in how Keyboard keys are mapped but all seemed fine there. One important note to make here is PC is running on old hardware and had an old standard PS/2 Keyboard detected as PS/2 – 101 – 102 keys standard keyboard. I tried re-installing the keyboard driver, trying to auto-detect however driver detected for this keyboard seemed to be latest issued for PS/2 Keyboards from Microsoft so after update Skype can't send message bug was still present and respectively the only way to communicate with people from contact list was to Call the person and speak. I researched online on the problem and found a multitude of users complaining to face the same Skype messaging – Enter key not working, unfortunately noone online seemed to have found a solution. I've seen some suggestions to use Skype settings to re-map Enter key but on this Skype 6.2.0.106 the option to remap how Enter key reacts wasn't present. Thus I decided to try to downgrade Skype 6 to Skype 5 here is a mirror of Skype 5 -and try if this helps. After Uninstalling Skype 6 and installing Skype 5 – enter key started working again so mission accomplished 🙂 If you happen to have the annoying Enter key not working in skype bug just downgrade to any below version to 6 and all will be fine. Drop me a comment if you experience the same bug with Win and Skype version.
Finally, be sure not to upgrade further Skype to avoid problems. Last but not least, there is even some advantages in older skype releases, the interface is simpler – making work with skype easier.

Clean disk space, fix broken shortcuts and delete old restore points on Windows 98,XP, 2000 with Free Spacer

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

 

freespacer perfect clean disk space on Windows 98 XP 2000 russian software

If you end up with a low disk space, or a lot of broken shorcuts without knowing how this exaclty happened  on  Windows XP and you need to free some disk space on OS without manually bothering to delete Windows Temporary files. Check out a tiny Russian Program called Free Spacer. The program is a good substitute for the inefficient windows default app Disk Cleaner. Free Spacer is FreeWare and it can be just used "as it is" but unfortunately access to source code is unavailable as well as use for commercial purposes is prohibited.

I've used Free Spacer multiple times on messed up PCs and always it does good, it is an excellent piece of software. Any Windows-Admin knows  Cleaning some disk space from unnecessary junk files, makes PC work faster. Free Spacer is very useful to run on Virus infested PCs, together with SpyBot , Malware Bytes and some AV soft like Avira.

As software is Russian, unfortunately menu buttons are in Russian too. Even non-russians can easily orientate as the most important buttons are first two from up to bottom and the last which is exit. The first button on from top onwards starts searching for garbage and obsolete and temporary files you can afterwards delete with the second button Удалить – meaning Delete in Russian). A note to make here is on newer Windows than XP Pro or XP Home FreeSpacer does not work well; even though it installs and runs on x86 Windows Vista and Win 7 it hangs up during scan.

For latest version of FreeSpacer check Free Spacer's Official version here, only available in Russian. As of time of writting this post FreeSpacer's latest version is 1.67, I've created mirror of FreeSpcer 1.67 here.

Here is description of what FreeSpacer "features" translated to English:

  • Powerful cleaner drive of unnecessary files.
  • Cleans efficient found "garbage." files
  • A large number of masks for the detection of unnecessary files / folders.
  • Cleanup folders with temporary files, not only Windows / Internet, but about 30 popular programs.
  • Search for invalid shortcuts.
  • Search system restore points.
  • Search for missing files and folders.
  • Support Exclude files and folders.
     

Is it possible mail server to work on alternative port to 25?

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

If you're running a small home based Linux or BSD server with Qmail, Exim or Postfix and it happens your ISP has filtered incoming connections to TCP/IP port 25 and you wonder if it is possible to use other alternative port to 25 for example the (Secure SMTP) SMTPS 465 supported by all major SMTP servers, the answer unfortunately is it is not possible.

The only accepted and working mail transmission port works on TCP/IP Port 25, thus the only option to make the mail server working fine is contact your ISP and convince them to remove filtering for port 25 to your custom IP. Many ISPs set a Firewall filter for 25, because nowadays many Windows XP / Vista / 7 PCs get infected with Viruses and Trojans running a tiny SMTP server on the host and trying to send million of SPAM messages via the poor unknowing victim. This congests the network and often even creates ISP network overloads, thus ISPs prefer to filter Port 25 to get rid of such eventual problems.

Once again,  alternative port to 25 for Mail is impossible !