Category: OS Tricks


This tutorial was written to show all Windows XP users how they can add a shortcut of their most commonly used programs to the left pane of their “start” menu. Read below to find out how you can increase the capacity of the “Recently used programs” pane on the left of the “start” menu.

The first step you must take towards increasing the capacity of the “Recently used programs” pane on the left of the “start” menu, you must first single-right click the “start” button, which will open a small context menu like so:

Right clicking the start button

 

You will notice in the screenshot above contains a red circle, which encapsulates the text “Properties”. You must click the text “Properties”, which will open the “Taskbar and start menu properties” window, which will appear like so:

Taskbar and start menu properties - customize

 

Within the window that you are presented with you will have access to a button marked “Customize”. You must click the button circled in red marked with the text “Customize”. Once you click the “Customize” button, you will be presented with the “Customize start menu” window like so:

Customize start menu

 

Now as you can see in the screenshot of the “Customize Start Menu” window depicted above there is a red circle around a box filled with the number six. The number six can be replaced by using the up and down arrows in order to alter the number of most recently used programs that appear in the left pane of your “start” menu. The maximum you can set this to is thirty.

Congratulations! You have just changed the amount of recent programs in your “start” menu. Enjoy your newfound Microsoft Windows customization knowledge.

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This tutorial was written for all Windows XP users out there who are tired of coming to their computer to find that their screen is somewhat “distorted”. There is a simple way to fix this and it can be completed in just minutes. Read below to find out how you can stop your screen from becoming distorted at times in just minutes.

The first step you must take is one of which will determine whether the source of the distortion is your computer’s display settings or the settings on your monitor itself. To do so we must first try the display settings.

 

In order to change the display settings you must first open the “Control Panel”, which can be done by clicking the “start” button in the lower left corner of your screen and then clicking the text “Control Panel” like so:

Clicking the start menu - control panel

 

As you can see in the screenshot of my start menu above, the text “Control Panel” is circled in red. You must click this text, which in turn will make your computer present you with the “Control Panel”, which will appear like so:

Control Panel - display

 

In the screenshot above is the “Control Panel” window, within is the icon leading to the “Display Properties” window, the “Display” icon is circled in red. You must double-left click the “Display” icon. Once you have double-left clicked the “Display” icon you will be presented with the “Display Properties” window, which will appear like so:

Display properties - settings

 

Also in the above screenshot is a red circle, which encapsulates the “Settings” tab. You must click the “Settings” tab in order to alter the display settings of your computer. Once you have single-left clicked the “Settings” tab, you will be presented with the window shown below:

Display properties - troubleshoot

 

In the screenshot above is the “Settings” tab of the “Display Properties” window, which you must now use to access the “Advanced” section. To do so you must click the button marked “Advanced”, which is circled in red. Once you have clicked the “Advanced” button, you will be presented with the window shown below:

Display properties - advanced

 

You must now click the “Troubleshoot” tab, which is circled in red in the above screenshot. Once you have clicked this tab you will enter the window shown below:

Display properties - troubleshooting

 

You will notice that the screenshot above depicts the “Plug and Play” window. With this window you must use the slider circled in red in order to attempt to disable particular features on your display options in order to restore a non-distorted state. You will notice a couple lines of text beneath the slider on the right of the text “Hardware acceleration”. You must drag the slider towards the left, towards the text “None” in order to disable certain features. I will shown you in the screenshot below that the text changes depending on how far you slide the slider like so:

Plug and play

 

As you can see in the screenshot above I have slid the slider one notch to the left and in turn the text below the slider has changed and is now displaying the features that will be disabled when the “Apply” button is clicked. You must slide the slider to the left one notch at a time and click the “Apply” button after each movement. After each movement you must click the “Apply” button and then run a few programs that you would normally experience distortion with and see if the distortion remains. If the distortion remains then slide the slider one more notch to the left, click “Apply” and then retest the programs that would usually cause distortion again. If the distortion persists then slide the slider to the left once more and click the “Apply” button and then retest the program once more. If the problem is fixed then congratulations, you now have no distortion, although if it is not then you may continue to slide the slider to the desired position and click the “Apply” button, or you may proceed to the next method, which is explained below. Additionally you may wish to try checking or removing the check in the checkbox marked “Enable write combining”. Disabling or enabling this feature will deal a different result on every computer, although if you have tried altering the hardware acceleration and you are still experiencing distortion then you may use this at your own risk.

 

Now on to the other method, which is altering the settings on your monitor in itself. The instructions on how to do so will vary depending on your model, thus I cannot describe here how to change the settings on your monitor as you must refer to the user manual that came with your computer or perhaps another monitor’s manual assuming it is the same model or a similar model to your own. The best I can do in the way of describing how you are to change settings on your monitor is that there should be a series of buttons on the front, top or sides of your monitor that can be used to adjust the settings on your screen. If you are using an older monitor these buttons may be push buttons or more rarely rotating knobs.

 

You should finally check that the power and video cable connected to the back of your monitor and the back of your computer are connected at both ends properly. Upon checking you must connect all cables at all ends sufficiently.

Congratulations! You have just removed the distortion from your computer’s monitor. Enjoy your newfound hardware troubleshooting knowledge.

This tutorial will provide an in-depth explanation of how one could disable the hindering UAC (User Account Control) on their Windows Vista machine, in order to provide much easier administrative control over your computer system. Read below to find out how you can disable UAC on your computer and enjoy your administrative power without the irritants involved with having to accept prompts.

The first thing you must do is head to the “Control Panel”. To open the “Control Panel” you must click your “start” button, which is the small, round multi-coloured button in the bottom left of your screen. When you click the “start” button you will be presented with a menu like so:

Clicking the start menu

 

As you can see in the screenshot above, there is a small red oval around the text “Control Panel”. You must click the text “Control Panel” in order to open the “Control Panel”.

 

Once you have clicked the text “Control Panel", the “Control Panel” will open like so:

Searching control panel

 

The screenshot above depicts the “Control Panel” – the point of control over a Microsoft Windows operating system. You will notice a small red oval circling the text “Classic View”, which I recommend you click in order to achieve a more organized “Control Panel”, although it is best that you are in “Control Panel Home” view for the duration of this tutorial.

 

Once you are in “Control Panel Home” view, you will be presented with a screen just as it appears in the screenshot above. Once you have this screen you must then enter the text below in the text box at the top of the window marked “Search”

uac

 

Once you have typed the text “uac” into the “Search” bar, you will then be presented with a window just like so:

Control panel - user account control

 

You will notice in the screenshot above that there is a red oval around the text “Turn User Account Control (UAC) on or off”. You must click this text and then allow administrative privileges by clicking the “Continue” button at the prompt. Once you have accepted the security prompt, you will be presented with the window below:

Deactivating UAC

 

As you can see there is a small red oval circling the text “Use User Account Control (UAC) to help protect your computer”. You must click the small white box on the left of the text in order to remove the check from the box. Once you have removed the check, you must then click the “OK” button on the right side of the window.

 

Once you click the “OK” button, you will then be presented with the window below asking you to restart like so:

Restart now

 

You must click the button marked “Restart Now”, which is circled in red. Doing so will restart your computer, which will then have UAC disabled.

Congratulations! You have just disabled one of Microsoft Windows’ most irritating “features” and you can now traverse your computer more freely. Enjoy your newfound Windows knowledge.

This tutorial was written to show all Windows Vista users how they can help maximize the performance and power of their PC by deselecting certain visual effects on their computer. Read below to find out how you can optimize the display settings on your computer for optimum performance in just minutes.

The first thing you must do is click the “start” button. Clicking the “start” button will bring up the “start menu” like so:

Clicking the start menu

 

From the “start menu” you must click “Control Panel”. Once you have clicked “Control Panel” you will be presented with the “Control Panel” window, which will appear like so:

Control Panel

 

You will notice a large list of icons in the window as shown above, if yours is appearing categorically then you must click the “Classic View” text, which is circled in the top left of the window as shown above. Once you have done so you must select the “System” icon, which you should have to scroll down to find like so:

Control Panel - system

 

Once you have found the “System” icon, you must double-left-click the icon, which will bring up the “System” window like so:

Changing settings - System

 

As you can see there is a red circle around the text “Performance”. You must click the text “Performance”, which will lead you to the “Performance Information and Tools” window. This window is used to change many aspects of your computer’s performance. The window should appear like so:

Adjusting visual effects

 

In the image above, you will notice that the text “Adjust visual effects”. You must click this text. Once you have clicked the text “Adjust visual effects” and accepted any security prompts, you will be presented with the “Performance Options” like so:

Performance options

 

From the “Performance Options” window you may deselect or select as many options as you choose, although in order to maintain a relevantly attractive computer at the same time as optimizing its performance, I recommend that you disable all of the effects except for the effects listed below, which should be kept in order to maintain a good looking desktop:

  • Show shadows under menus
  • Show translucent selection rectangle
  • Use visual styles on windows and buttons
  • Show shadows under mouse pointer
  • Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop

You must click within the small white box in each of the visual effects that are not one of the five listed above in order to remove the check from the box, thus disabling each effect.

 

Once you have deselected all of the effects except for the five listed above, you muse then click the “Apply” button and then the “OK” button, which are both located in the bottom right of the “Performance Options” window.

 

Once you have clicked the “Apply” and “OK” button, your desktop will appear to change. Once this change is complete, which should only take a few seconds, your desktop will be more responsive and your overall processor usage should drop slightly if not dramatically. Your computer may ask you to restart in order for the changes to take effect, if this is the case then you must restart your computer and once it restarts you will then notice the difference.

Congratulations! You have just modified the visual effects settings for your Windows Vista PC. Enjoy your newfound Windows optimization knowledge.

This tutorial gives a thoroughly detailed explanation on how a Windows Vista or Windows XP user can remove pesky adware, spyware and malware from your system, thus providing a sharper, safer and more responsive system. Read below to find how you can clear your computer of adware, spyware and malware in just minutes.

The first step towards removing these irritating programs is to head to a review page. The review page I selected my antispyware software from was the site linked below:

http://www.spywareremoverreviewed.com/

 

The site linked above will provide the top 5 antispyware programs and a download and purchase link for each. I recommend the antispyware software “XoftSpy SE”, although you may choose whichever suits your budget better.

 

If you would like to consider using “XoftSpy SE” then you may visit one of the links below:

 

Download free edition

http://download.cnet.com/XoftSpy-SE-Anti-Spyware/3000-8022_4-10492481.html

 

Official site of XsoftSpy SE

http://www.paretologic.com/products/xoftspyse/index.aspx

 

Once you have downloaded or purchased your copy of “XsoftSpy SE” and saved it to your desktop, you must then install it using the automated installer. To do so you must double-left-click the installer icon, which will appear like so:

Opening XsoftSpy SE installer

 

Now that you have double-left-clicked the “XsoftSpySE_Setup_RW” icon, the installer will open (if you are using Windows XP) if you are using Windows Vista then you will be prompted with a security prompt first, which will appear like so:

Opening installer security warning

 

Once you have accepted the security confirmation prompts the installer will appear like so:

XoftSpy SE installer

 

You must click the “Next” button, which will then present you with the next installer window like so:

XoftSpy SE installer - agreement

 

You must read and accept the license conditions and then click the “I Agree” button in order to proceed to the next window. The next window will appear like so:

XoftSpy SE installer - installation directory

 

You can select a custom directory for installation of the software or you may use the default directory. Once you have chosen the directory you wish to install to you must click the “Install” button. The program will then begin to install like so:

XoftSpy SE installer - installing

 

Once the installation is complete you will be presented with the finishing installation window, which will appear like so:

XoftSpy SE installer - finished

 

You may now click the “Finish” button. Once you have clicked the “Finish” button the “XoftSpy SE” software will run and will update like so:

XoftSpy SE updating

 

Once your software has updated you will be presented with the application itself, which will appear like so:

XoftSpy SE application initiated

 

You must now click the green button marked “Start Scan”, which will initiate the scan of your computer. The scan will begin, which will appear like so:

XoftSpy SE application scanning

 

Once your scan has completed the software will show you the threats that it found and offer to fix them. The window will appear like so:

XoftSpy SE application scanning completed

 

In order to remove the threats on your system you must click the green button marked “Clean”. Once you click the “Clean” button, you will be prompted to register your software. In order to register your software you must click the “Register” button that appears within the prompt that appears after you click the “Clean” button. Once you click the “Register” button you must then click the button marked “Get License Key” like so:

XoftSpy SE application registration

 

Once you click the “Get License Key” button your web browser will open and direct you to their purchase site. On this site you must follow the prompts and enter your details and appropriate and then you will receive your license code, which must be entered in the text box to the right of the text “License Key:” as shown above. Once you have entered the code you must click the “OK” button on the right side of the text box, which will register your software. You may now re-scan your computer by clicking the “Scan” button in the top left of the window and then clicking the “Clean” button once the scan has completed.

Congratulation! You have just removed most if not all of the spyware, malware and adware that your computer. Enjoy your newfound Windows performance boosting knowledge.

This tutorial is aimed at showing every user of Windows Vista or Windows XP how they can dramatically decrease the boot time of their computer by disabling unnecessary startup programs. Read below to find out how you can decrease your boot time in just minutes.

The first step you must take is to open the “Run” window, which be opened by holding the “Windows” key and then pressing the “R” key.

Hold down “Windows” key, while holding the “Windows” key press the “R” key once and then release the “Windows” key.

 

Once you have opened the “Run” window, you may then proceed to opening the “System Configuration” window, which can be done by typing into the text box within the “Run” window the text below and then hitting the “Enter” key or clicking “OK”:

msconfig

 

You must enter the text into the appropriate text box like so:

Opening msconfig

 

Once you have entered the text above as shown you must then hit the “Enter” key or click the “OK” button.

 

Now you should have the “System Configuration” window open, which will look like this:

System configuration

 

You must now click the tab marked “Startup” on the top of the window like so:

System configuration - startup

 

The startup services shown above will vary depending on your computer. As you can see I am running Windows Vista on a Lenovo computer.

 

You must now scroll through this list of programs and remove the programs that you know are not necessary by left-clicking once in the white box on the left of the program name then clicking “Apply” then clicking “OK”. For example if you wanted to disable “Windows Defender” on startup, you would uncheck the box next to “Windows Defender” then click the button marked “Apply” then restart your computer.

 

Once you have clicked the the “OK” button you will be prompted to restart your computer, accept the prompt and your computer will restart. Once your computer restarts you will notice a decrease in your startup time, which will vary depending on which startup programs you disabled.

Congratulations! You have just decreased the boot up time of your computer. Enjoy your newfound Windows performance boosting knowledge.

This tutorial is written for all Windows users who are sick of those boring old Windows sounds and would like to change those sounds to a sound file of their choice. Read below to find out how you can modify the system sounds on your Windows computer in a few easy steps.

The first step is to use the Win+R key combination in order to open the “Run” window, which can be done using the combination highlighted below:

Press and hold the “Windows” key (bottom right of keyboard) and then press the “R” key once. Now release the “Windows” and “R” key.       The “Run” window will now be open.

 

Now that you have opened the “Run” window, you must enter the text “mmsys.cpl” into the text box provided within the “Run” window, as shown below:

Running mmsys

 

Once you enter the text into the text box provided as shown above, you must then click the “OK” button or hit the “Enter” key, which will open the “Sounds and Audio Devices Properties” window, which will allow you to change the sound settings on your computer. The “Sounds and Audio Devices Properties” window will appear as shown below:

Sounds and audio devices properties

 

Now that you have the window open, you must then left-click once the “Sounds” tab from the top of the window, which will bring up the window shown below:

Sounds and audio devices properties - sounds

 

Now that you have the window shown above on your screen, you must then select the event you would like to change the sound for. For example if you click “Asterisk” and then use the drop-down box or the “Browse…” button to search for the .wav file you wish to play when the “Asterisk” event occurs, as shown below:

Sounds and audio devices properties - sounds selection

 

All you must do is select a Windows sound from this drop down list for the event of which you wish to change, left-click the sound once and then click the “Apply” button and then click the “OK” button to apply the new settings. In addition you may click the “Browse…” button and then navigate to an appropriate .wav file stored on your harddrive and select it and then click the “Apply” button and then click the “OK” button, just as you would if you were to use the drop-down box method.

 

You may replace “Asterisk” with any other event sound you wish to change, as “Asterisk” was just an example. You may use the procedure above to change any of the event sounds in the scrollable list. Once you have selected and applied the sound for the event or events you wish to use, you may close the “Sounds and Audio Devices Properties” window and proceed with using your computer just as you normally would. Although, if you have changed startup sounds then you may restart whenever you like in order to test them.

Congratulations! You have just edited the event sounds on your Windows computer. Enjoy your newfound Windows modification knowledge.

This tutorial is written to explain to Windows users how they can change the theme on their computer, thus providing a more unique desktop experience. Read below to find out how you can change your theme in a few short steps.

The first step you must take in order to get that great, unique desktop you have been waiting for, is to right-click once on the desktop, which can be done once you have minimized or closed all currently open windows and then right-clicking once on any free space on the desktop. Once you have right-clicked on the desktop you will be presented with the context menu shown below:

Right clicking the desktop

 

Now that you have opened the context menu on your desktop, you must then left-click once on the text “Properties”, which is located at the very bottom of the context menu. Once you have clicked the text “Properties” you will be presented with the “Display Properties” window shown below:

Display properties

 

Now that you have opened the “Display Properties” window, you must stay within the “Themes” tab, which you will be presented with automatically and then click the small arrow beneath the text “Theme:” and then select your preferred theme, as shown below:

Display properties - themes

 

As you can see in the screenshot above, there are various theme options you can choose from. You may select the theme from the drop-down box in order to preview it in the small window in the centre of the “Display Properties” window. Once you have decided on which theme you would like to use, you must then select it from the drop-down box and then click “OK” or hit the “Enter” key on your keyboard. Now that you have selected your theme and hit “Enter” or clicked “OK” your computer will begin to apply the theme, which can take a few seconds to complete. Once the application of your theme is complete your new theme will remain active until you decide to change it again.

Congratulations! You have just changed the theme on your Window computer. Enjoy your newfound Windows customization knowledge.

This tutorial was written to show all Windows users who enjoy a photograph or other high resolution image consisting of many contrasting colours being set as their wallpaper, although are not willing to do so for the sake of the visibility of the text below their icons. Read below to find out how you can improve icon text visibility in a few simple steps.

The first step is to use the Win+R key combination in order to open the “Run” window, which can be done using the combination highlighted below:

Press and hold the “Windows” key (bottom right of keyboard) and then press the “R” key once. Now release the “Windows” and “R” key.          The “Run” window will now be open.

 

Once you have opened the “Run” window using the key combination shown above, you must then enter the text below into the text window provided within the “Run” window like so:

Running sysdm

 

Once you have entered the text “sysdm.cpl” in the text box provided, as shown above, you must then click the “OK” button or hit the “Enter” key on your keyboard. Once you have entered the text above and hit the “Enter” key on your keyboard or clicked the “OK” button, you will be presented with the “System Properties” window, as shown below:

System properties

 

As you can see in the screenshot above, I have circled the “Advanced” tab. You must click the “Advanced” tab, which will give you the window shown below:

Clicking advanced

 

Now you must click the “Settings” button, which is circled in red above. Once you click the “Settings” button you will be given the window shown below:

Performance options

 

Now that you have clicked the “Settings” button, you must then scroll to the bottom of the list of options and left-click once in the box on the left of the text “Use drop shadow for icon labels on the desktop” and then click the “OK” button. Also if you would like to disable the shadowed icon effect then you may left-click once on the box next to the text and remove the check.

Congratulations! You have now enabled/disabled the icon shadow effect for your desktop icons. Enjoy your newfound Windows customization knowledge.

This tutorial is written to explain to all Windows users how easily they can remove all of the icons on their desktop, whilst being able to make them reappear just as they were with two simple clicks. Read below to find out how you can remove your icons to remove unwanted clutter from your desktop in just seconds.

The first thing you must do is navigate to your desktop, which can be done by minimizing or closing all currently open windows.

 

Once you have navigated to your desktop, you must then right-click once on a free space on your desktop like so:

Right clicking the desktop 

 

Once you have right-clicked the desktop as shown in the screenshot above, you must then move your mouse pointer to the text “Arrange Icons By” like so:

Arrange icons by

 

Now that you have moused over the “Arrange Icons By” text, you will notice that the text “Show Desktop Icons” should have a ‘tick’ (check) next to it. In order to disable icons on your desktop all you must do is left-click once the text “Show Desktop Icons”.

 

Once you have clicked the text “Show Desktop Icons”, the ‘tick’ (check) will be removed, thus removing your desktop icons. In order to bring your icons back with the exact layout and placement they had prior to being removed, all you must do is right-click once on the desktop and navigate to the “Arrange Icon By” text and left-click once the text “Show Desktop Icons”, which will place a ‘tick’ (check) on the left side of the text “Show Desktop Icons” and after a few seconds your desktop icons will reappear.

Congratulations! You can now maintain a neat, fresh look on your Windows computer. Enjoy your newfound Windows customization knowledge.

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