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Windows XP



tu 14 Feb
Valentine's Day

PC TipsWindows XPYesterday we did a clean install of XP Pro plus Service Pack 3 on a desktop.  Went well except it didn't want to talk to Windows Update.  As we have a netbook here happily running XP with Internet Explorer 8 we judged the problem to be the new install was running Internet Explorer 6 but all download attempts from the Microsoft site got won't run on your system messages.  Left the machine turned on and auto updates sorted it out ...

we 2 Jul

PC TipsOn our Windows XP netbook the AVG icon in the system tray was showing a warning triangle (Microscoft Security Essentials no longer updates on XP).  The triangle was warning that the AVG anti-spam is not installed because you have to pay for it, well AVG we have the free SPAMfighter installed and a reboot made your warning triangle go away.

fr 28 Mar

PC TipsIf you're running XP and are doing your Microscoft updates you should be getting start up messages saying their support for XP ends April 8th and then Security Essentials won't be that ... secure thatAVG is.  What's more you can't help but suspect all the black hats are saving up their nasties to unleash on the 9th so uninstall Security Essentials and (re-)install the AVG freebie.  Typical that Microsoft finally write a bit of tight code that actually does the job and then constrain its use ... it's not like they need the money ...

tu 18 Feb

PC TipsLast week an XP Pro netbook crashed complete with Blue Screen of Death whilst trying to auto install Microsoft updates.  We restarted and immediately tried to manually install from Windows Update but the updates kept failing including worryingly the definitions update for Windows Security Essentials.  Rather than keep making things worse we did a reboot to get a clean start and as Windows shut down the waiting updates started to install, it had been these hanging updates stopping our attempts to force the same updates.  MORAL: When updates fail restart and then SHUT DOWN before messing about.

we 2 Jan

PC TipsHere's a Windows XP tweak that has got to speed things up if not System Restore necessarily noticeably.  If your computer has more than one partition or hard disc turn off System Restore off on the non-system ones by Control Panel/System/System Restore/Settings.  The clue is in the name System Restore, if there's no system then there's nothing to restore.

su 20 Nov

PC TipsHave you had this appear next to the start button?  Google search boxSo have we and we don't know how it got there either, but if you want it to go away point the mouse at it, press the right mouse button and select Disable... or uninstall it by going Start/All Programs/Google Quick Search Box/Uninstall.

we 23 Feb

PC TipsIt is possible to log on to Windows XP even if the mouse or touch pad have gone walk about.  Whilst holding down the CTRL and ALT keys press and release the Delete key twice to get the text based Log On window, use the Tab key to move about between the buttons and text boxes.

we 8 Sep

PC TipsDead easy to set one of your pix as the desktop.  Go to My Pictures, point at a pic and then click the right mouse button, on the menu that opens click Set as Desktop Background.  Display PropertiesIf the pic is significantly smaller than the screen resolution the pic will repeat (Tile) to fill the screen otherwise it's stretched to fill and judging by the desktops you showed us last year that's how you like it.  Me?  I find a full picture makes it difficult to see the shortcut icons.  Try this, you might like it, point at an unoccupied bit of the desktop, click the mouse right button, click Properties, click the Desktop tab ,set Position to Center and click OK... don't like it?  Ok then, put things back the way they were:)

we 7 Jul

PC TipsThat there Microscoft are ending support for XP Service Pack 2 Microscoft Service Pack Centreand Vista release version Tuesday so even though updating can take time you should keep updating until the updater says it's had enough and you have the latest service pack installed.  The downloads are big enough that if you are still on dial up then it'll probably take until Christmas so best to part with the near six quid it costs to get the relevant service pack on cdrom.

we 23 Jun

PC TipsIf you point your mouse at an unoccupied part of the right click on the taskbar menutaskbar (that bar along the bottom) and click the right mouse button this menu appears.  You might want to unlock the taskbar.  Why?  By pointing at the top of the taskbar and then dragging you can change the height of the taskbar, by pointing at an unoccupied part of the taskbar and dragging you can really confuse yourself by moving the task bar to the side or top of the screen but most important you can now change the size of the quick launch.  Haven't got the quick launch enabled?  You should have.

th 23 Apr
St George's Day

Here's a demon tweak for XP (and Vista too though a slightly different configuration path), starting with where it says Start (usually bottom left of the screen) go Performance Options Start/Control Panel/System.  A System Properties window opens, click on the Advanced tab and then the Perfomance/Settings button.  A Performance Options window opens, ensure you're on the Visual Effects tab where there are four radio buttons at the top, most likely with the Let Windows choose ... button set.  Click the Adjust for best performance option and then the OK button, there'll probably be a delay (maybe even a "Please Wait") and then the window will close.  Click OK to close the System Properties windows and what you should find is your machine is now more responsive at the price of the appearance being slightly more clunky.  If you don't like the clunkyness just put the pc back the way it was before.

th 9 Apr
Rubbish Thursday ... the day before Good Friday

Microscoft PC Tipsand that there Gill Bates may be very rich cowboys but they're still a bunch of cowboys.  Next week they're ending tech support for Windows XP the operating system that most of the world's pcs run on because Vista is rubbish.

su 15 Feb

Select "Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)" and then click propertiesWindows XP thinks everything is fine with your network connection but when you try to use the browser or email you get Not found messages.  If you use a router or hub to access the Internet then check the TCP properties of the active network adaptor on Obtain an IP address automaticallythe computer (it's entirely likely your PC has two network adaptors, wired and wireless).  Unless you're pratting about with fixed IPs Obtain an IP address automatically should be set on the General tab so the hub or router can set the IP ... should have got this quicker at Craig's last week but we're not very good before 10am.

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