Backup Your Windows Registry

Before you make any changes in your Windows Registry where you're not completely sure of what you are doing, it might be a good idea to make a backup of your current registry settings. You can either do that by creating a System Restore Point or do a backup of only the registry itself. To do the latter, enter it by typing regedit into a Run... prompt. Right-click on Computer on the left frame (the root directory of the keys) and select Export:

Choose a directory where to save the backup and hit Save. The file that is created that way is a *.reg file and can be merged (in this case it replaces the whole registry) on double-click.
This way you create a backup of the whole registry. It is a good idea to have a full working registry backed up, but you can also back-up smaller parts by exporting sub-keys of Computer.

Disable Automatic Window Arrangement (Aero Snap, Windows 7)

The window arrangement feature in Windows 7 (the one that maximises windows to full- or half-screen when you drag them to the screen's border) might appeal to many users, I however find it rather annoying than helpful.

Therefore I will show an option here that enables you to turn window arrangement off. Open the Windows Registry by entering regedit into a Run... prompt. On the left frame, browse the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop key and left-click it once. On the right frame, look for the WindowArrangementActive value - double-click it and change it from 1 to 0.

You may have to reboot your system, but afterwards window arrangement should be disabled.

Middle-click Options on Panel Icons in Windows 7

The mouse-wheel gives you great options to handle program-tabs in the system panel as a third mouse button. If middle-click on a program tab, a new instance of the same program is opened right next to the existing:

If you hover above a program tab and middle-click on the preview thumbnail instead, the same instance of the program will be closed:

This gives you great flexibility when it comes to handling system panel tabs.

Visualize your HDD space usage on Windows with Disk Space Fan

Of course you can view your disk space usage with the tools and statistics that Windows itself gives you, but if you want a closer and more detailed look at it, then try out Disk Space Fan. Disk Space Fan is a free-ware utility that shows not only how much space you have used on your disk but also what kind of software you have on it, and on top of it, it presents the information in a nice fan-shaped diagram:

You can also go deeper into the categories to gain an even more detailed view. Download Disk Space Fan on http://www.diskspacefan.com/download.html

Disable Windows Explorer Search Query Saving (Windows 7)

This is usually useful if you are not the only one using the computer you are working on and want to hide the keywords you searched for on the Windows Explorer. The way to do it is to open the Local Group Policy Editor by entering gpedit.msc into a Run... prompt, browse this key on the left frame: User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Explorer and left-click it once to see its values on the right frame. Look for Turn off display of recent search entries in the Windows Explorer search box.

Double-click and enable it. The recent search queries will now no longer be displayed in your search bars.

Problem Steps Recorder in Windows 7

It can be really hard to solve computer problems if the only thing you've got is a description and nothing else. This is why Windows 7 integrated a Problem Steps Recorder which, if activated, records every action the user of the computer takes with a screenshot and a brief description of the action. Open it by typing psr into a Run... prompt:

The record is saved as a zipped mhtml file, usually only readable by Internet Explorer but also in Firefox if you install the proper add-on (it is called UnMHT, find it here). It displays all the descriptions of the steps taken along with the screenshots made and is also not too large in size, making it easy to share it with someone who might help out with a problem.

Use of Shell, Registry, Keyboard and Voice in VBScript (Windows)

Look here to learn how to create Visual Basic Scripts.

Using Visual Basic Script you can also access elementary Windows services, some them being really useful to irritate your friends. If at any point of the script there is an error stating that the double-quotes used in it are invalid characters, just delete the copied ones and type them again manually.
With the use of a shell, you can make VBScripts run programs and other executables. To do so you have to specify following line in the beginning of the script:

Set objShell = wscript.CreateObject("wScript.Shell")

Afterwards you can run commands with

objShell.run program

where you replace program with the program you want to run.
To add an executable to the autostart list via registry, you use the following script:

objShell.Regwrite "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\some_name.exe","C:\the\files\path.vbs

Replace the name with any name, it really can be any name, and the path of the file with the correct path. The script will then be executed on every start-up (be careful if you use this in combination with more dangerous scripts).
To make the script itself type as if it was the keyboard, use this script (a shell must be set for this as in the first script shown here):

objShell.sendkeys"key_goes_here"

Replace key_goes_here with the keys the script is supposed to hit. Some of them are embraced by curly brackets, as for example "{CAPSLOCK}", "{NUMLOCK}", "{SCROLLOCK}" and "{bs}" (backspace). Most however go without, as do all letter keys and enter ("~"). Combining all the locks with a loop usually gives a great script!
To make Windows' integrated voice say some words defined by you, use the following script:

Set objVoice = CreateObject("SAPI.SpVoice")
objVoice.Speak "blabla"

Replace blabla with some serious things your computer has to say to you.

Disable Updates on Shutdown in Windows

To disable Windows from installing updates when you were about to shut down your computer and have some tea there are two options available in your Local Group Policy Editor. Access it by entering gpedit.msc into a Run... prompt. On the left side you will have a large directory listing where you have to browse Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update.

The two top options are the ones you have to enable by double-clicking, enabling and applying. Windows will then no longer pester you with updates on shutdown.

Update to latest Spamassassin filter rules in ISPConfig 2

The ISPConfig 2 controlpanel installs its own copy of Spamassassin in the folder /home/admispconfig/ispconfig/tools/spamassassin . To update the Spamassassin filter rules in ISPConfig 2, run this command as root user:

/home/admispconfig/ispconfig/tools/spamassassin/usr/bin/sa-update

To test if Spamassassin works with the new ruleset, run this command:

/home/admispconfig/ispconfig/tools/spamassassin/usr/bin/spamassassin --lint

If it does not return an error message, then Spamassassin is working correctly.

Messages, Loops and Pauses with Visual Basic Script

Visual Basic Script is a simple scripting language you can use in Windows to compile executable .vbs files. They can be created with a notepad document, save the script by choosing All files in the Save as type drop-down menu and give it a name ending with .vbs (if you leave the first drop-down menu on text-document, notepad will attach an invisible text-document suffix on the created file, no matter if you say so in the document name).

Now to the scripting VBScript can be used to either ease the use of Windows (as seen here) or to prank the hell out of your friends' computers.
Here are a few useful script lines:

MsgBox "Text goes here!",extracodes+go+here,"Title goes here!"
This shows a simple Windows Messagebox with a text and a title. The Extracodes determine special characteristics. They are defined in numbers and are seperated with a plus symbol: 0-5 define the available buttons. 0=Ok; 1=Ok,Cancel; 2=Abort,Retry,Ignore; 3=Yes,No,Cancel; 4=Yes,No; 5=Retry. Icons are defined by: 16=Critical Icon, 32=Warning Query Icon, 48=Warning Message Icon, 64=Info Icon. The code 4096 makes the window stay on top. Here is what following code looks like:

MsgBox "Hello hello, I'm a message box with a critical Error!",2+16+4096,"Critical Error"

However, a simple messagebox will not impress anybody. How about a messagebox that reappears every time you close it? To do that, you need a loop. Simple put these two lines around the commands you want to loop:

do
[...]
loop

The commands will now be infinitely repeated until the script is interrupted. To put an interval into the loop, we let the script pause for a specific period of time. This is done with

wscript.sleep number

Replace number with an amount of milliseconds to wait.