Archive | Tips on Microsoft


Select Multiple Windows from Taskbar and Cascade / Tile them

Selecting Multiple files from taskbar is often a necessary requirement.

If you are like me, you must be having many windows open in your task bar at a time. And many times, you must be requiring them to open side-by-side in order to work on both of them simultaneously.

One way is to resize them, and place them side-by-side manually.

But, there is a simple solution.

Hold down the CTRL key, and now you can select multiple windows from your task bar. Right click on any of them, and you will have many options for the placement of these windows. You can Cascade, Stack or place them side-by-side.


Try it, it is super quick way, and saves your precious one minute.

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Windows Advisor BETA | The Official Spyware from Microsoft

Don’t go by the headline of this post. This is my personal thinking.

Microsoft Windows Advisor BETA is the recent system maintenance tool (Do we really need that ?) from Microsoft at MS Connect. It continuously runs in the background on your PC and claimed to be checking for potential errors and problems. Whenever it encounters such a problem, it notifies you about it and gives you some simple to do solutions for your problem.

At least, what it is meant for. Right now the service is in BETA, and you need an invitation to use that service.

“Windows Advisor is an easy-to-use self-help tool that notifies users about problems on their PCs and helps fix them. Windows Advisor scans users’ PCs continuously, notifies them about important issues, and, when possible, suggests easy fix solutions. The program also provides users with self-help solutions, such as including a one-click checkup function that enables them to check their PCs whenever they like; tips and tutorials that teach users how to perform certain actions on their PCs; and a toolbox that concentrates the important tools that are found in the operating system into one easy-to-find location.”

Download Windows Advisor Beta for Windows XP and Vista [13MB] from here [Microsoft site]

Frankly speaking, I have not yet tested the program, so I am not in a position to speak on its pros and cons. But two quick thoughts come to my mind. One is the huge vulnerability you are exposing your system to. Although it is Microsoft, but will you take such a risk even with Microsoft. I am a bit hesitant. And secondly, the error messaging and reporting ofall Microsoft products is so pathetic, that I thought it would be better to let it go.

What do you think ?

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Easy file encryption in Windows XP

[A very HAPPY NEW YEAR to all the readers, visitors, well-wishers, friends and patrons of this blog. We value your visit here, because Web Tools and Tips is for you and because of you, period.]

File Encryption is a process by which you convert the contents of a file so as to make them unreadable to others, unless permission is granted to them. There are many ways, utilities, software codes available for file encryption, some are free and some bear a price tag depending upon the complexity and features.

But many people don’t know that their own, Windows XP has a feature by which you can easily encrypt a file and make it unusable to the other users of the PC. But you need to have the file system converted to NTFS for this method to work.

How to Encrypt a File in Windows XP

Follow these simple steps.

  • Open Windows Explorer and right click on the icon of the file or folder to be encrypted.
  • Click on the Advanced button on General tab.

  • Check the Encrypt contents to secure data check box, and then click OK.

  • Save your settings, and you are through.

This will disallow other users to open the file and also restrict them from moving or copying the file to other locations.

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How to disable error reporting in Windows XP

Error reporting is a feature of Windows XP, which is supposed to be used by Microsoft for getting information from the actual users so as to improve upon it. Whenever any Microsoft application crashes, the Windows XP operating system prompts you with a window, asking you to report the bug to Microsoft.

I don’t know what actually Microsoft does with the data, but sometimes I am really annoyed with that extra click, which I am forced to make. If you also get irritated, then you ought to know..

How to disable error reporting

It is simple five steps process.

  • Right click on My Computer > Properties.
  • Click on the Advanced tab.
  • Click on the Error Reporting Button.

  • Select Disable error reporting radio button and uncheck the box “but notify me when…”.

  • Save your settings, and you are through.

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Microsoft Office Live Basics | Free web hosting, domain name, web site design

This seems too good to be true.

Microsoft is offering you a free web site with Microsoft Office Live Basics. It is totally free service from Microsoft, which offers you…


  • A free domain name, registered in your name by an Australian affiliate.
  • Free web hosting, which includes 500 MB of Web site storage space, 10 GB monthly data transfer rate, 25 company-branded e-mail accounts, regulr backups and much more.
  • Easy-to-use Web site design tools, which will let you create your website in minutes
  • Web site reports to enable you measure the performance of you website
  • Search advertising tool with $50 credit (with terms and conditions)

Sounds too interesting. Yes it is.

So, what is the catch ?

Absolutely nothing. At least I could not find one. Only thing is that they also offer two types of premium accounts, which you might choose, if you want to access more features, or if your websites starts to get popular and grows big.

They require a credit card during the sign up process, which is not charged, until you choose to upgrade to their upgrade plans.

To give it a test ride, I also signed with them, and found the offer really interesting. The registration process is really simple, no deep knowledge of web designing or HTML coding is requried, and you can host images on the website.

There are a few things, which I wished, Microsoft would have added.

  • Number of available page templates.
  • Allow customization of the templates. In fact you cannot modify HTML or customize styles (CSS).
  • Seems like the uploaded images are converted by some conversion tool, because the quality of uploaded image is not that good as the original one, specially GIF and PNG images.
  • And if, in case, you want to switch the host, moving domain name can take a few days.

But still, for a really small website need, it is an option worth try.

BTW, did you started using the free useful tools from Google. If not, then

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How to Speed Up Windows XP

Windows XP is arguably the most popular Operating System today. Even with the launch of Windows Vista few months back, most of the PCs still run on Windows XP.

But many of the regular users of the Windows XP complain about it getting slower in speed and performance with time. They think of various spywares, viruses, background running programs to be the main reason behind that.

Although this is partially true. But there is also much more behind the story. The fact is, just like any mechanical machine, software components also require regular upkeep and maintenance. There are certain tasks, which you require to carry out on daily, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis, so as to get the maximum speed from your PC. It is best to make a schedule of the activities to be carried out, and follow that schedule strictly, without fail.

Speeding up your PC

Although the title of this post relates to speeding up of Windows XP, we will share few tips with you beyond that also, which will speed up the overall performance of your PC. So here we go…

Use Defragmentation: Defragentation rearranges your disk drives so that the related files are stored in vicinity. Do it once in a month. This increases the speed. Without wasting money on purchasing any third party defragmentation program, you can use the built-in Windows defragmenter. It works equally fine.

Disable file indexing: If you do not need to search your files and folders often, then you can easily disable it. Windows XP indexes files and folders, which enables it to search them faster. Windows built-in Search function can still work fine, even if you disable this feature, only thing is that it will take a bit more time. So, this is a trade-off. If you don’t search your files more often, then you should definitely disable it.

For disabling it open My Computer. Right-click on C: Drive > select Properties. Uncheck “Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching.” Click Apply and OK.

Use NTFS file system: NTFS file system is more secure, more reliable and more efficient as compared to the FAT32 file system. You can check the file system used by your PC in the Properties windows of C: drive, which was just described above.

If you have FAT32 file system, then you can change it to NTFS through Command Prompt. Go to Start > Run and type cmd, click OK. A new window will open up. In the command prompt, type CONVERT C: /FS:NTFS and hit Enter. Be sure to backup your important data, before attempting it.

Run Disk Clean: This can be done once in two months or so. A button for starting the Disk Clean Up utility is also available on Properties windows of C: drive, as described previously.

Empty Windows Prefetch folder: Prefetching is a process, which is used by Windows XP to load often used files and folders fast. But after consistent use, the prefetch folder get loaded with pointers related to those files and folders, which are not being used by you at present. At this moment, it is wasting a lot of resources and it is better to clean it up.

Run Spyware Removal: No need to elaborate. They are the programs, specially designed to hide within your PC and send the information to the third parties. You need to block them for two reasons. First they are intruding your privacy and second, they are wasting your resources. For removing them, you can use any good spyware removing progrgam. There are many of those, which are free and easy to use.

[Watch out for the next part of tips to speed up your Windows XP PC]

See the second lot of tips here.

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How to clear the history in My Recent Documents Folder


This blog has earlier written two posts on How to delete browser history, which you can find here and here.

These were helpful tips to use, if you are working on a shared computer, which is also used by others. But these tips can only work to erase your history as far as your use of Internt is concerned.

The history about your offline use, I mean whatever document files you have worked on, are stored in the My Recent Documents folder, and anybody using the computer after you can see, which files you have used last.

So, how to erase files from My Recent Documents

Follow these steps:

  • Right-click Start > Click Properties.
  • Click Customize < Advanced tab.
  • Under Recent documents, click Clear List, and save your settings.

This action doesn’t delete the documents from your PC.

There is another option. You can right click any document in the My Recent Document List and select Delete, but this will delete the document from your PC, which you may not like.

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