Speeding up your boot process – Windows

Microsoft Configuration wizard is one tool you can use to improve your systems boot time. This tip utilizes the msconfig utility.

1. Go to Start»Run(WIN+R) and type “msconfig” , the Microsoft System Configuration Utility will pop up.

2. Select the “STARTUP” tab. This will show you a list of programs that will automatically start when your system boots and if the unnecessary ones are there your start up time is gonna increase a lot.

MSCONFIG options for boot up services

3. The trick here is to remove any unwanted entries from here.

Un-checking the programs is where you need to be cautious. Make sure that you don’t remove your systems sound driver, Graphics driver or other important programs. Almost all of the services can be removed actually. But if there are some programs provided by your graphics card, Sound card or your Laptop provider like DELL please make sure it won’t affect your systems working. You can easily figure out the other removed ones also by either looking at the name or the path. But here what stays checked is important. “igfxtray” can be removed (the tray icon for Intel graphic accelerator – present only for Intel boards with on-board graphics enabled) “igfxpers.exe” is related to graphics driver..

I have found that some programs are commonly present on most systems which can be removed from startup safely, they are

hkcmd : Intel hot key manager (it can be removed but Windows Hot Keys won’t work)
realsched : Real player’s memory resident service (some crap)
ctfmon : monitors the active windows and provides text input service support for speech recognition, handwriting recognition, keyboard, translation, and other alternative user input technologies
Yahoo***, Google***, Nero***, Acro*** are all tray icons which can be removed

After some experience you will be able to recognize viruses that add themselves to the startup list directly by seeing the name. For more on preventing viruses please read the Series Viruses dealing with the worst.

Save web pages as PDF and save to your desktop for free

PDF online Logo
Most of us browse through numerous web pages and save them if we find them interesting. When I am downloading the entire site I will use Winhttrack a very useful web archiving utility. But the problem with html pages is that the have an associated folder, even the mht files are not much of use also if you need to read the page later as an e-book. So what if we could save the web page as pdf

Thats exactly what PDFOnline offers. It has a plethora of options to choose from. they provide online conversion of doc, jpg, htm and many more files to pdf. But you need to signup inorder to put there convert to pdf widget on your blog, which enables a visitor to save your page as pdf to their system. Users are able to convert pages to pdf just by clicking a button as the one shown here.

If you need the page exactly as you saw it on the net than you may try saving the file in Microsoft Web Archive format.

**Tips :Although this is nice and convenient I am sad to say that the formatting is pretty much ugly. What you’ll get is almost a screen shot and then also some image including backgrounds are missing. So for now save the page as .mht **

Free Vista like search box for Windows XP

The most functional and convenient tool in Vista is the instant Search Box. Here is how to get your own instant search box on for Windows XP. Launchy is a small software that provides XP with an instant search bar like Vista.

Launchy in Action On Desktop

Launchy Indexes the folders you specify and hides itself in the background. When you press a hot key (The Hot Key can easily be configured) the search box is shown. As you type in the characters, the matching results are shown.

Pros :

Easy Searches, inbuilt Calculator, Web search enabled, Easy configurable Hot Key, Indexes all file types, Low on memory, cool looks, skins can be easily made

Cons :

Nothing yet noticed

Specifications :

Mem. Usage (RAM) : 7708 kb
(Virtual) : 45792 kb(may vary)

File formats supported:

Almost all

Price : Free

Download Launchy here

**Tips : The skins can be made by anybody, all you need to do is take the Skins folder and check out the ini file there. It explains how the background image of the skins behave. Also many search engines can be added to it. This can be read from the web site **

Perfomance enhancing – speed up your boot time 1

This is the simplest and slowest tip which will actually improve the boot time only by a small amount.

1 . Take Microsoft “System Configuration Utility” by typing “msconfig” in the RUN (WIN+R – more Windows KeyBoard shortcuts) dialogs (Start»Run).

MSCONFIG boot.ini tab

2. Select “BOOT.ini” tab from General,SYSTEM.INI,WIN.INI,Services and Startup tabs. There will be a check box NOGUIBOOT enable it.

MSCONFIG NOGUIBOOT option

This will disable the Windows Splash Screen (an animated loading indicator with the windows logo on black background that appears just before the welcome screen) that appears every time you boot. This will improve the boot up time a little bit.

2. Goto Start»All Programs»Startup and delete all the programs that you don’t want at start up. (A powerful function is provided by msconfig but I’ll deal with in detail later.)So try this out today itself and tell me if you have any suggestions or doubts…

Warning
Enabling NOGUIBOOT will make the boot-time messages not to be shown. This means if an ERROR checking has been scheduled you will not see the dialogs that says “An error check has been scheduled press any key to cancel it:” also if you use third party tools to format your hard drive during boot time there can be a problem.

Main reasons for Invalid XHTML pages in blogs

Watching your blog pass all the validations like html, xhtml, css etc. is actually satisfying for everybody. W3Schools validator tool is the most popular one used for the purpose. Many Blogger users should have found that however hard they try there will still be errors if the strict check is enabled, Why?

1. For Blogspot : If you know your page well and look at the errors shown you will come to the sad conclusion that you will NEVER be able to make your page valid..It’s because even if write your posts and template in valid xhtml the Blogger parts – Navbar, iFrames and attributes used with them are not properly xhtml formatted. You can do nothing about them.

There are some common errors among these especially if you come from an HTML background. Many of the attributes used in HTML are invalid if we use xhtml strict mode.

2. For all : If you are a blogger or a web page developer there can be errors in your document. Of course if you are only starting you may not be able to resolve many of this. So following are the main errors and the suggestions to rectify them.

General

Always use small letter for all tags and attributes. ie use <img src=” ” alt=” ” /> instead of <IMG arc=” ” ALT=” ” />

<META>

Use small letters as well as close the tags your meta tags should read
<meta name=”name” content=”content” />

<a href=””></a>

Always use title attribute for <a tag <a href=”http://sample.com” title=”my title”>Link Text</a>

<img>

Empty tags are not allowed in XHTML. so you need to use <br /> for <br>, <hr /> for <hr>, <img /> for <img>

width=..,height=..,

It is always better to use <style=”width:xx px; …”> The usage is as follows
<img src=”PATH” width=”xx” border=”mm”>>. for this try using <img src=”PATH” style=”border: toppx rightpx bottompx leftpx; margin: toppx rightpx bottompx leftpx; width:xxpx;” alt=”Alternate text” /> (you can use negetive numbers for margin border etc.. and also px can be changed to cm centimeter, in inch etc..)

alt=”TEXT”

Never forget to put alternate text, the text shown in image disabled browsers. (always use some text that best describes you image)

<sctipt language=”JavaScript”>

Use <script type=”text/javascript(VBscript)“>

<style>

be sure you use <style type=”text/css”>

<u>

This tag for underlining can’t be used (it works still) use <font style=”text-decoration:underline;”>

Most common errors – from W3Schools site

not using </li> or other closing tags, usage of empty tags like <br>, not using alt in images etc…

So check your web page for errors and go care fully through the result page so that next time you edit your page the error wont repeat.

VLC media player, one player plays all formats

VLC media Player basic interfaceVideo Lan Player (VLC) is a one of a kind Audio and video player. VideoLAN is a software project, which produces free software for video, released under the GNU General Public License. It has got everything one would ever want in a media player. It is free, supports a seemingly infinite formats of Audio and Video, has live streaming support and so on. It can act both as an http server as well as an http remote. You can read more about VLC at VLC documentation

The list of Media types supported by VLC could not be said in a paragraph, it is an exhaustive list. But you can see it here – which all Media formats are supported by VLC. From my experiments with VLC it has never once crashed, nor have I met with a file which I could not play on VLC. The team at VLC has done an amazing job and it will be nice if you could donate for this really nice project.

Pros :
Free ware under GNU License, almost all media types supported, can fix errors in Video streams and files, plays files including mkv and flv, plays DVD files on HDD with subtitles, plays mp4files with subtitles, a large database of help and support. VLC is available for almost all platforms
Cons :
has some problems dealing with Windows Media Video wmv files during skips, skipping not possible for Flash video files flv.

Price : Free

You can downlod VLC media player for Windows from here, and VLC for MAC here. There are separate packages for different Linux flavors which are available here.

PC on steroids, Improve your systems perfomance – start of series

This is the first among a series of post in which I will tell you many tips on how to make your System perform faster. The post frequency in this Series will be one post ( tip ) per week. So check out my other posts on all other days. Being the first in the series lets start with the system booting and BIOS.

BIOS is a central location for you to control all your systems hardware manually.

bios-screen-main.png

image courtesy :Whatever

The unwanted hardware can consume your system resources. So what you can do is to disable them via the BIOS.

1. onboard LAN – if your computer is not on a Local Area Network you may want to disable the onboard LAN adapter. This will allow you not to install and LAN drivers. onBoard Video and Audio can also be switched off if you don’t use them). You can find th options under Peripherals or Integrated peripherals.

2. Make sure that you have set you first boot device to your Hard Disc drive. The option can be found under Boot menu or basic BIOS setup.

3. Disable unwanted ports like parallel and serial ports. Disable floppy drives if you don’t use it.

4. There can be many options that are hardware specific. You may view a list of such options on yourmother board manufacturers web site.

5. Update your BIOS frequently.

These are the most basic things from which you can start to speed up your system. To get into the system BIOS press F2 or DEL key when you start your computer. And make sure you have saved your changes before you exit by pressing F10 and then OK.

Find all recently used Wallpapers from your Registry

Windows saves the list of wallpapers ever used on the system in a registry Key.

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersion
ExplorerWallpaperMRU

All those Registry Binary values here are the address to the images you used as wallpapers.

Wallpaper history binary value in registry

The last part in this binary makes no sense to me but I think this i information about the dimensions and style of the image.

Prevent copying of files to USB drive

There are times when you want to prevent others from copying your data but you still need them to be able to view it on your computer. The following tip will help you do exactly that.

As always it is the registry that comes to your rescue. Open the Registry Editor by typing regedit in RUN (WIN+R) dialog (more keyboard shortcuts). Go to th key

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies

Protect files from being copied to USB device, registry key

Create a new DWORD named WriteProtect (Right Click on right pane and select New»DWORD). Edit the value and make it 1. Just restart Windows explorer and you are done. Next time somebody tries to copy data to the external storage device they will see

Can't copy to Mass storage device error
If you need to copy something just make the stored value of WriteProtect to 0

**Tips : to restart Windows Explorer take Shutdown. Click Cancel while holding down SHIFT+CTRL+ALT, this will close Windows Explorer. Now take TASK MANAGER by pressing ALT+CTRL+DEL take File>>New Task>> [ explorer ] and press Enter. **

Adsense section targetting for better contextual Ads

Google Adsense has been a money maker for many of the bloggers out there. but many a times we have seen really nonsense ads appearing on our blogs, may be of medicine on a blog about computers etc.. Well this can easily be prevented by using ad section targeting in Adsense. By section targeting what we do is tell the ad producing script to consider only the text lying between the

<!– google_ad_section_start –> <!– google_ad_section_end –>

tags for keywords. Then the ads will be related to the words in the the text lying between them. So what you need to do is put

<!– google_ad_section_start –>

Your Post (article) Body Here

<!– google_ad_section_end –>

and see the difference.