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6. Tweaking your setup

Since everyones configuration is different, no one can give you an exact list of services that can be Disabled or changed to Manual. You will have to do this via trial and error.

Warning:Event Log and Remote Procedure Call (RPC) should never be changed regardless of what guides say. Most of the services are dependent on either Event Log and/or RPC so disabling these will cause almost every service to fail.

However, there are a few good sites that can help you through this:
3D Spotlight Windows XP Services Tweak Guide
Windows XP Service Configurations Note - site currently unavailable - May, 2005
Elder Geek - Services Guide for Windows XP

You may also notice in msconfig or the Task Manager that there are many other programs running besides the typical Windows services. For a great in depth explanation, check out the Pacs Portal page.

Keep track of your changes in the event you lose some functionality while tweaking your Services and Startup Programs. When in doubt, you can always refer to the link below for a list of the "Default settings for services" in a typical installation:

Default settings for services

by MSeng See Profile
last modified: 2005-05-11 09:50:33

Just like Windows 2000, Windows XP still fails to set the DMA mode correctly for the IDE device designated as the slaves on the primary IDE and secondary IDE channels. Most CD-ROMS are capable of supporting DMA mode, but the default in XP is still PIO. Setting it to DMA won't make your CD-ROM faster, but it will consume less CPU cycles. Here's how:

1. Open the Device Manager. One way to do that is to right click on "My Computer", select the Hardware tab, and Select Device Manager.
2. Expand "IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers" and double-click on "Primary IDE Channel"
3. Under the "Advanced Settings" tab, check the "Device 1" setting. More than likely, your current transfer mode is set to PIO.
4. Set it to "DMA if available".

Repeat the step for the "Secondary IDE Channel" if you have devices attached to it. Reboot.

Microsoft Knowledge Base Article - 247951

For those using Intel Application Accelerator, this option is no longer available. Intel has documented the issue. It is not clear whether it will be re-enabled or not.

by redxii See Profile edited by slash See Profile
last modified: 2003-05-10 06:37:55

Open regedit and add the following registry key.


"EnableAutoTray"= dword

Value Data: (0 = display inactive icons, 1 = hide inactive icons)

by Skipdawg See Profile

There are two way to backup the registry:

1) You can use the export function in the System Registry Editor.

2) You do this manually in the registry:
Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\ControlSet001\Control\HiveList\ with the System Registry Editor. It shows you the locations of all the files that make up the registry on your PC. Make copies of NTUSER.DAT, USRCLASS.DAT, and all the hive files to create a full backup.

Use caution!!!

by Skipdawg See Profile edited by trparky See Profile

Open regedit and add the follow registry key in

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management
"ClearPageFileAtShutdown"=dword: 1 (decimal)

by Skipdawg See Profile edited by trparky See Profile

Yes. To switch to classic look do the following:

Step 1: Right-click on your Desktop
Step 2: Select Properties
Step 3: Click the Appearance tab
Step 4: Select Windows Classic
Step 5: Click OK

by Skipdawg See Profile edited by trparky See Profile

Open regedit and change the follow registry key in

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
"MenuShowDelay"=REG_SZ (String Value) to 0

Microsoft also offers a tool that can help optimize your startup.
BootVis - A performance visualization trace tool for XP

by Skipdawg See Profile edited by MSeng See Profile
last modified: 2002-06-02 16:13:52

Step 1: Open windows explorer then click on Tools
Step 2: Go to Folder Options
Step 3: Click on the View Tab.
Step 4: Scroll to the bottom and uncheck the option that reads "Use Simple File Sharing"
Step 5: This will allow you to see the security tab when viewing the properties of a file/folder.

Note that this will only work on Windows XP Professional. In Windows XP Home Edition, you will have to go into Safe Mode and do this.

by Skipdawg See Profile edited by trparky See Profile

Start regedit

Navigate to HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop
Locate the key FontSmoothingType.

Change the value to 2 (decimal).
Restart Your computer.

by Skipdawg See Profile edited by MSeng See Profile
last modified: 2004-07-01 20:07:16

Start Regedit.

Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Dfrg > BootOptimizeFunction

Select Enable from the list on the right.
Right on it and select Modify.
Change the value to Y to enable and N to disable.
Reboot your computer.

by Skipdawg See Profile


Step 1: Open Control Panel (Category View)
Step 2: Click on Performance and Maintenance.
Step 3: Click on System.
Step 4: Then click on the Advanced tab
Step 5: Click on the error reporting button on the bottom of the windows.
Step 6: Select Disable error reporting.
Step 7: Click OK
Step 8: Click OK

Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
  • Step 2 is not or no longer available. Step 3 should say "Double Click".

    2010-02-10 15:58:23 (Dogwood See Profile)

by Skipdawg See Profile edited by Kramer See Profile
last modified: 2010-02-10 16:16:56


Open your registry and change or add this key.

"EnableBalloonTips" = dword
Value Data: (0 = disabled, 1 = enabled)

by Skipdawg See Profile

This entails a registry hack by doing the following.

Simply fire up the Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ My Computer \ NameSpace \ DelegateFolders

You'll see a sub-key named 59031a47-3f72-44a7-89c5-5595fe6b30ee. If you delete this, all of the Shared Documents folders (which are normally under the group called "Other Files Stored on This Computer") will be gone.

Now close your Registry Editor and reboot to take effect.

Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
  • I have XP Pro SP2, and it doesn't work. The folder is back at next reboot.

    2008-03-13 16:11:44

by Skipdawg See Profile

To add additional time servers, start the Registry Editor (regedit) and go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\DateTime\Servers\
    1. Right-click an empty space in the right pane and select New > String Value
    2. Name the new value with a number one higher than the last (so the first you add will have the value 3, since 1 and 2 are given)
    3. Double-click this new value, and enter the hostname as it's Value data
    4. Close the registry editor
Additional information on public time servers can be found at the following sites:
Public NTP Time Servers

To change internet time synchronization schedule, open your registry and find or create the SpecialPollInterval key located here:


Create or modify "SpecialPollInterval" as a DWORD DECIMAL based key in seconds.

Here are a few common intervals:
One Hour=3600
Twice a Day=43200

Exit your registry, you may need to restart or log out of Windows for the change to take effect.

This portion contributed by jazzman916

by MSeng See Profile edited by slash See Profile
last modified: 2003-09-15 20:36:35

Powertoys is a set of tools for Windows XP exclusively that enable several features that are not available to XP without them. TweakUI is the most popular "Powertoy" and has been redesigned from the previous versions that work on Windows 9x and 2000. For the full description of the feature set head over to the Powertoys website for the details and descriptions.

Added 7/03 -- A new version of TweakUI is now available and can be found at this link Windows XP PowerToys.

by slash See Profile edited by MSeng See Profile
last modified: 2003-07-20 10:33:48


After you have run Windows XP for a while, you may receive this message when you log on: "Your password will expire in 14 days.....".

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:

Go to the Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Computer Management.

Once you have opened Computer Management, expand Local Users and Groups. Click Users. Double-click a user, in the General tab, click the "Password never expires" check box. Click OK. Do this to each account.

You can make a global setting if you are using Windows XP Professional.

Start Menu, Run --> gpedit.msc

Expand Windows Settings under Computer Configuration. Expand Security Settings, expand Account Polices, click Password Policy. Double-click "Maximum password age" and set to 0 (zero).

Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
  • cool !!!

    2015-01-05 13:49:01

by Skipdawg See Profile edited by trparky See Profile
last modified: 2002-05-25 22:52:34

Yes it is. Review the instructions from the Microsoft Knowledge Base article:

HOW TO: Change the Windows Logon Screen Saver in Windows XP (Q314493)

Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
  • To avoid compatibility issues with your third party screensaver you may have to set the monitor to "Never" turn off under power options.

    2012-09-10 13:44:48 (dolphins See Profile)

  • I found that when running a third party screensaver, the default Windows Logon Screensaver will run for a few minutes when logged out of Windows before the third party screensaver will activate. In other instances the 3rd party screensaver will only work when logged into Windows. If this happens it is because the third party .scr exe has been placed in C:\Program Files folder by default. In order to make the third party screensaver activate instead of Windows default. You must copy a shortcut of the third party .scr exe to C:\Windows\System32 folder. For 64 bit OS I believe you must copy to C:\Windows\SysWOW64 folder? To do this in XP navigate to, C:\Program Files\ProgramName\ProgramName.scr Then copy (Not Move) "ProgramName.scr" to System32 folder. (This puts a shortcut of the screensaver exe in the System32 folder) Then click, Start, Run and type "regedit" without quotation marks and click, OK. Then navigate to, HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop In the right pane, double-click, SCRNSAVE.EXE and change the "Value data:" to "ProgramName.scr" without quotation marks (No need to type the full path name) Reboot for changes to take effect.

    2012-08-28 13:21:26 (dolphins See Profile)

by MSeng See Profile
last modified: 2003-12-15 22:28:23

If you have an Intel HyperThreading-capable processor, take a look at MSKB #810231 to ensure HyperThreading is enabled.

by redxii See Profile edited by trparky See Profile
last modified: 2003-01-23 15:43:24

You can find a listing of command line switches that can be used to customize the default view (when you load it) of Windows Explorer in Windows XP in the Microsoft Knowledge Base Article below.

HOW TO: Customize the Windows Explorer Views in Windows XP - Q307856

by Bubba See Profile edited by trparky See Profile
last modified: 2003-01-23 15:47:35

Dave has done a nice FAQ about this in the MS Applications section.

by Kramer See Profile edited by MSeng See Profile
last modified: 2003-12-18 01:13:01

If you dislike the Luna theme on the Windows 2000/NT style logon, you can change it through registry tweaking.

Open Regedit, locate and make backups of the following keys via File > Export:

[HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Colors]

[HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics]


Next, make two new '.reg' files (add .reg at the end of the name when saving) by copying and pasting the following entries into Notepad or Wordpad. For each entry, include only the text BETWEEN the lines starting and ending with //. Right click on each new 'reg' file and select "Merge". Log off or reboot to see the changes.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Colors]
"ActiveBorder"="212 208 200"
"ActiveTitle"="10 36 106"
"AppWorkSpace"="128 128 128"
"Background"="58 110 165"
"ButtonAlternateFace"="181 181 181"
"ButtonDkShadow"="64 64 64"
"ButtonFace"="212 208 200"
"ButtonHilight"="255 255 255"
"ButtonLight"="212 208 200"
"ButtonShadow"="128 128 128"
"ButtonText"="0 0 0"
"GradientActiveTitle"="166 202 240"
"GradientInactiveTitle"="192 192 192"
"GrayText"="128 128 128"
"Hilight"="10 36 106"
"HilightText"="255 255 255"
"HotTrackingColor"="0 0 128"
"InactiveBorder"="212 208 200"
"InactiveTitle"="128 128 128"
"InactiveTitleText"="212 208 200"
"InfoText"="0 0 0"
"InfoWindow"="255 255 225"
"Menu"="212 208 200"
"MenuText"="0 0 0"
"Scrollbar"="212 208 200"
"TitleText"="255 255 255"
"Window"="255 255 255"
"WindowFrame"="0 0 0"
"WindowText"="0 0 0"
"MenuHilight"="0 0 0"
"MenuBar"="212 208 200"

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


[HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics]
"Shell Icon BPP"="16"
"Shell Icon Size"="32"

You now have a perfect 2000/NT style logon.

Originally posted on TweakXP, but this is a *perfected* version

by redxii See Profile edited by Skipdawg See Profile
last modified: 2003-05-25 15:53:50

There are a few options available for XP users:
Option 1:
    •Click Start, and choose Run.•Type in "control userpasswords2" (without quotes). You'll get a dialog. Look at the first checkbox, at the top.•Uncheck "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer".•Click OK.
Option 2:
Download and install the TweakUI tool, part of the XP Power Toys. You can then use the Autologon section to configure a specific user\password.

Option 3:
Like to delve into your Registry? Then follow the instructions from this WinGuides Registry Guide Tweak -- Automatic Logon to Windows NT, 2000 and XP

by jdong See Profile edited by MSeng See Profile
last modified: 2011-02-12 22:18:48

Common "Open File" dialog may contain "Places Bar" (left side bar) from which you can switch directly to frequently visited folders.

It's possible to change items in "Places Bar" accordingly to your needs. To do so you may run Regedit program and make changes manually, or you may run reg-file and all changes will be done at time it loads information into Windows Registry. In last case - open a new file in Notepad (or any other text editor), copy and paste information below into this new file, make your customization in "PlaceX" (where X is in range 0 - 4) values accordingly to your needs. Then save file, open CMD dialog, and run it from there. Changes will be effective immediately - no reboot is required.

Note - Office Products do not use common "File Open" dialog. They have its own dialog box that is customizable by its "Tools" menu.

Content of "OpenFile_PlaceBar.reg" file is below:

; Organizes Places Bar (left side bar) in common "File Open" dialogs.
; It's possible to use these 'dword' values to address standard folders:
; 00 - Desktop
; 01 - Internet Explorer
; 02 - Start Menu\Programs
; 03 - My Computer\Control Panel
; 04 - My Computer\Printers
; 05 - My Documents
; 06 - Favorites
; 07 - Start Menu\Programs\Startup
; 08 - \Recent
; 09 - \SendTo
; 0a - \Recycle Bin
; 0b - \Start Menu
; 0c - - logical "My Documents" desktop icon
; 0d - My Music
; 0e - My Videos
; 0f - -
; 10 - \Desktop
; 11 - My Computer
; 12 - My Network Places
; 13 - \NetHood
; 14 - WINDOWS\Fonts
; 15 - Templates
; 16 - All Users\Start Menu
; 17 - All Users\Programs
; 18 - All Users\Start Menu
; 19 - All Users\Desktop
; 1a - \Application Data
; 1b - \PrintHood
; 1c - \Local Settings\Application Data
; 1d - - Nonlocalized startup
; 1e - - Nonlocalized common startup
; 1f - Favorites
; 20 - Temporary Internet Files
; 21 - Cookies
; 22 - History
; 23 - All Users\Application Data
; 24 - WINDOWS directory
; 25 - System32 directory
; 26 - Program files
; 27 - My Pictures
; 29 - - x86 system directory on RISC
; 2a - - x86 C:\Program Files on RISC
; 2b - C:\Program Files\Common
; 2c - - x86 Program Files\Common on RISC
; 2d - All Users\Templates
; 2e - All Users\Documents
; 2f - All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Administrative Tools
; 30 - - \Start Menu\Programs\Administrative Tools
; 31 - Network and Dial-up Connections
; 35 - All Users\My Music
; 36 - All Users\My Pictures
; 37 - All Users\My Video
; 38 - Resource Directory
; 39 - Localized Resource Directory
; 3a - Links to All Users OEM specific apps
; 3b - USERPROFILE\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\CD Burning
; or use string values with specifying path to the folder (don't forget to
; put double '\\' in places, where '\' required as path delimiter).
; Default: key "Placesbar" is absent
; OZO, 2003


"Place0"=dword:00000011 ; My Computer
"Place1"=dword:00000005 ; My Documents
In this reg-file you see an example of places used in "Places Bar". Make changes of "PlacesX" values or remove unwanted values.

To restore original look of "Places Bar" - just remove "Placesbar" key from Registry or create "OpenFile_PlaceBar-.reg" from the content below and run it the same way as described above.

; Restores Place Bar (left side bar) in common "Open File" dialogs.
; Default: key "Placesbar" is absent
; OZO, 2003

Changes will take effect immediately.

If you need to hide "Places Bar" (I don't know why you'd do it) - put new value into the "comdlg32" key:
You have to restart running applications to see the change.

Be noticed - all modifications described above done on a per user basis.
OS required - Windows 2000, XP, 2003.

by OZO See Profile edited by MSeng See Profile
last modified: 2003-10-26 15:06:37

If you are tired of clicking the Start button to get at the Shutdown/Reboot/Logoff buttons, you can add them to your taskbar with this quick and easy guide.

by FastEddie See Profile edited by Kramer See Profile
last modified: 2004-09-26 21:37:15