Get Your Windows Version Information

Here is a cool tweak that allows you to get all your Windows version information through your registry;

  • Open regedit
  • Navigate here: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion

In this section it will give you this information;

  • CSDVersion: Service Pack
  • CurrentBuildNumber: Build Number
  • CurrentVersion: Version Number
  • ProductName: Windows Version Name

Setting for Best Performance

Here is a quick little tweak you can do to both Windows Vista and XP that will automatically set your PC to run at its best performance.

The trouble with Vista is that it is so full of graphics and animations that it effects the performance of your PC, so if you are someone who doesn’t care about the looks of something but just want performance, then this tweak is for you.

Just follow these pointers and you will have your PC running at its best performance;

Windows Vista

  • Go to control panel
  • Click system
  • Click advanced system settings
  • Click the advanced tab
  • Under performance click settings
  • Check on best performance
  • Click apply and OK
  

Windows XP

  • Right click on my computer
  • Click properties
  • Click the advanced tab
  • Click settings under performance
  • Check adjust for best performance
  • Click apply and OK

Adjust Visual Effects for Better PC Performance

You can increase your computer’s performance by adjusting the visual effects. The visual effects can take up your PC’s CPU and slow it down, often leading to more annoying problems. This tweak should work on all Windows Vista machines.

These options for changing your visual effects are totally optional, you can edit which ones you like and keep the ones you want. But I can assure you that these system settings only change the ‘pretty’ look of your computer and nothing important.

To get started adjusting your visual effects settings just;

  • Open control panel
  • Click system and maintenance
  • Open system
  • In the left pane click advanced system settings
  • Open the advanced tab
  • Under performance click settings
  • Go to the visual effects tab
  • Here uncheck all of these options
    • Animate controls and elements inside windows
    • Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing
    • Enable desktop composition
    • Enable transparent glass
    • Fade or slide menus into view
    • Fade or slide ToolTips into view
    • Fade out menu items after clicking
    • Show preview and filters in folder
    • Show shadows under menus
    • Show shadows under mouse pointer
    • Show thumbnails instead of icons
    • Show translucent selection rectangle
    • Show window contents while dragging
    • Slide open combo boxes
    • Slide taskbar buttons
    • Smooth edges of screen fonts
    • Smooth-scroll list boxes
    • Use a background image for each folder type
    • Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop
    • Use visual styles on windows and buttons
  • Click apply and OK

Repair Disk Errors

One simple way you can improve the speed of your PC is to scan your hard drive for errors such as bad sectors. These errors will slow down your hard disk performance and make your computer run slower.

To run a scan and repair any problematic sectors in your hard drive just follow these points;

  • You must close down any files
  • Click start
  • Click computer
  • Right click on the hard disk you want to scan and select properties
  • Click the tools tab
  • Click check now
  • In the check disk box select scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors
  • Click start

Speed Up Windows XP Shutdown With Paging Files

The paging files in Windows XP are there to basically store your temporary files and data, and in XP these files are cleared everytime you shut down. So whenever you shutdown XP it takes time first to clear the paging files, and this can take time.

If you have information that is secure or you don’t want anyone else to see then I recommend you keep XP clearing the paging files, but if you don’t really care then you can get faster shutdown speeds by stopping XP from clearing the paging files.

To stop XP from clearing the paging files you need to do this registry edit;

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management

  • Now you need to find this – ClearPageFileAtShutdown
  • Double click on it
  • Set the value data to 0
  • Restart your PC

Disable Notification Balloons in Windows XP

Notification balloons are those annoying things popping up in a balloon that tells you basic stuff about the OS, so unless you are one of the few that actually enjoys the balloons you may want to get rid of them.

  • Open regedit
  • Navigate to this location
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
  • In the right pane right click and select new DWORD
  • Set the name as EnableBalloonTips
  • Keep the value data set at 0
  • Done
  • You will need to restart your PC to see it take effect

Read Outlook Express Messages in Plain Text

You will notice that all of your messages that come through in Outlook Express are in a html format, so it can look ‘pretty’ with colors, borders, fonts etc.

This ‘pretty’ look is great if you always know who the sender is (even then they can forward dodgy stuff), but you can recieve malicious emails through the html code.

The best way I believe (unless you have some awesome security) to safeguard your Outlook Express messages is to just get them in a plain text format, to do this just;

  • Open Outlook Express
  • Click tools
  • Select options
  • Select the read tab
  • Check read all messages in plain text
  • OK, done

Add a URL Address to the Taskbar

Here is a cool tweak you can do to your PC so that an address bar will open up in your taskbar (the bar at the bottom of your screen), this means you can type a quick URL in your taskbar and the webpage will open.

Some people may find that it just clutters up their taskbar and is useless, while others may prefer to use it rather than using their browser. This tweak can be done in both Windows XP and Vista;

  • Right click on your taskbar
  • Click toolbars
  • Check address
  • Done
  • Type in a URL and the page will open up in your default browser

Disable Last Access Timestamp in Windows XP

In Windows XP whenever your PC reads a file it marks that file with times and dates when you accessed it last. Now if you often check back at these data for any reason than you should keep Last Access Timestamp enabled, but if you don’t then you can disable it.

By disabling it you will stop XP from marking everyfile with a timestamp and cluttering things up, I have given two options here to which disable your Last Access Timestamp.

Command Prompt

  • Open your cmd
  • Enter the following command
    • FSUTIL behavior set disablelastaccess 1
  • Reboot your computer
  • To turn Last Access Timestamp back on just put this command back into your cmd
    • FSUTIL behavior set disablelastaccess 0

Registry Edit

  • Open your registry editor
  • Navigate to this location
    • SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem
  • Add a new DWORD
    • NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate
  • Set the value to 1
  • Set the value to 0 if you want to enable it again

Mouse Sonar

For some reason I have never heard of this cool feature before (as we all know there are thousands of unknown features in windows!), it allows you to basically ‘find’ your mouse pointer if you have lost it.

It can be useful for people with impaired vision of other problems locating their mouse pointer, and it is so simple to activate.

  • Open your control panel
  • Navigate to mouse section
    • XP is just control panel/mouse
    • Vista is control panel/hardware and sound/mouse
  • Click the pointer options tab
  • Check show location of pointer when I press the CTRL key
  • Apply and OK
  • You will find now that when you press the CTRL button a big circle shows around your mouse pointer making it simple to find.