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Top Tricks of Windows IT Pros

Tip #1 Is it a Hardware or Software Problem?

Inevitably, you will be challenged with a hung computer. It could be stuck on a blue screen, flashing a Please Wait message endlessly or seemingly frozen in time. Your biggest immediate problem is determining where to start to look for the problem is it hardware or software? Here is a quick test that is accurate about 90% of the time. First, try to recreate the problem and get it to the point where the computer has just hung. If you cant do this, dont worry about it the trick still works. Next, begin pressing a single key on the keyboard. Count each keystroke. If you get a beep on the 17th keystroke, then you know your computer hanging is a result of a software problem. If you do not hear the beep, then you know you have a hardware problem. The reasoning is simple. Each keystroke is entered into a 16 byte keyboard buffer. Normally, if the hardware is working properly, each of these keystrokes is dealt with by the software application. It would withdraw the keystroke from the buffer ensuring that you never hear the beep of a full buffer. But if you do hear the beep, then the application is not doing its thing it is not withdrawing that keystroke. The hardware is operating correctly because you could hear the beep. It is the software application that is the culprit.

Tip #2 Quick E-mail

E-mail has become ubiquitous in the IT Industry. It has become the single application you cant live without. It is also probably one of the most used applications. Here is a quick tip for Windows users that recognizes the importance of efficiently popping open a new, blank email.

Copyright 2001

Top Tricks of Windows IT Pros

Right-click on your desktop Choose NEW - shortcut In the Location box, type mailto: Click next and give it a name like New E-mail Message

Now anytime you want to create a new message, double click on the short-cut. Hint: if you send a lot of messages to one individual, add an email address like this:

Tip #3 Get More Folder Details

When viewing the contents of a folder in the Details view, you can customize the screen to show dozens of details. Here is how: right-click on one of the column names and select More check one or more of the attributes to display the attribute information you can add or remove 25 columns, including Video sample size, Comment, Pages and Author

Tip #4 Adding to the "Send To"

List One of the slickest tips has to do with working with files in Explorer (or My Computer or Network Neighborhood). You can right-click any file and chose from a list of destinations under the "Send To" menu. For

Copyright 2001

Top Tricks of Windows IT Pros

example, Right-click a filename and you can choose send, and copy it to a floppy disk. Wouldnt it be handy to be able to send a file to other applications? For example, you could send any file to your Desktop or to your printer. You can add any shortcut to this list in the following way: Navigate to the SendTo folder of your profile. This folder is in different locations depending on which Windows OS you are using. For example, on Windows XP it is found at C:\Documents and Settings\UserProfileName\SendTo and in NT Winnt\Profiles\username\SendTo Right-click an object (such as a printer or disk drive), or folder, and drag it to the SendTo folder, drop it, and choose "Create Shortcut Here."

Tip #5 Force DNS Registration

It can be very aggravating to have a Windows 2000/XP computer unable to register itself with the Active Directory DNS. A simple solution is to: Go to a command prompt, by choosing Start > Run and typing cmd At the command prompt, type ipconfig /registerdns

Give the DNS 5 minutes to replicate the information and your troublesome client will have itself listed in the Active/Dynamic DNS.

Tip #6 Continuous Ping

If you are waiting for a remote server to reboot or a network printer to show up online, you can use the "ping" command to see when the device comes alive. The ping command works with any device that has an IP address.

Copyright 2001

Top Tricks of Windows IT Pros

By default, the command will try four times and then stop. However, if you use the -t switch, the command will continue to run until it is interrupted by pressing CTRL-C. Go to a command prompt, by choosing Start > Run and type cmd At the command prompt, type ping -t x.x.x.x

where x.x.x.x is the IP address of the device. This is also handy for troubleshooting intermittent problems with IP devices.

Tip #7 Where are Those DOS disks When You Need Them?
With the advent of all-things-GUI, the occasion to use a DOS boot disk is slowly fading into oblivion. But there are still times when it is necessary to boot to a DOS environment which is free of keyboard intercepts and TSR programs. However it is tough, if not impossible, to get a licensed copy of MS DOS these days? Enter a good substitute the FreeDOS Project. The goal of the FreeDOS Project is to create a free implementation of MS-DOS. They claim their DOS will run on most any Intel based computer. See: for details.

Tip #8 Expose Most Programs in Add or Remove Programs

You might be surprised when you go to remove some of the standard Windows 2000/XP games like Pinball from your computer, only to find it does not show up in the Add or Remove Programs option of your Control Panel. This is because Microsoft, in their Big Brother mentality, has decided you dont need to remove these programs. Unfortunately, their trick was soon learned by others, and now many games, software programs and components use it resulting in you being unable to remove these

Copyright 2001

Top Tricks of Windows IT Pros

programs with the Add or Remove Programs wizard. Here is how to expose these in the Add or Remove Programs panel: Bring up Windows Explorer Choose Tools > Folder Options > View Scroll through the Advance Settings and choose Show Hidden Files and Folders Now, browse to the INF folder off of WINDOWS or WINNT folder Locate and open the file SYSOC.INF with Notepad Remove the word HIDE from any line of any item you do NOT want hidden, leaving the comma before and the comma after the word in place Launch the Add or Remove Programs from your Control Panel Click the Add/Remove Windows Components button. Pinball, for example, can now be found under Accessories and Utilities > Games

Tip #9 Address Bar in Task Bar

This is a great tip for Windows 2000/NT users. A shortcut for launching programs or web URLs is to add an Address Bar to the Task Bar on the bottom of your screen. Because the Task Bar is usually visible, it is always available.

To create this Address Bar do the following: Right-click on your Task Bar Choose ToolBars > Address Place your mouse just to left of the word Address and pull until the Address Bar is complete visible. If you cant pull the address bar over, ensure you task bar is not locked. Right-click the task bar and uncheck Lock the Taskbar.

Copyright 2001

Top Tricks of Windows IT Pros

Tip #10 Windows XP Password Hint

Before you forget your password on a Windows XP computer that is part of a workgroup or stand-alone computer (NOT in a domain environment), create a password hint: Start the User Accounts applet from Control Panel Select the account for which you want to add a password hint. Click Change the password. Enter and confirm your password in the two locations. In the bottom location, type your password hint. Click Change Password.

This can also be change through the registry: Click Start > Run > Regedt32 Navigate to Hkey_local_machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Hints\<Username> Double-click the default and enter your password hint

Your password hint is located on the Welcome screen beside the password prompt.

Copyright 2001