Uninstall USB Drivers on Windows 7

In the time you used your current Windows 7 system you undoubtly have plugged in a lot of different USB devices into your computer, most of them never to be used on it again. You will have notices that for every different device, Windows comes up with a message telling you that it automatically installs all drivers needed to use it.

That is perfectly alright, but what if you won't use the device ever again? The drivers will remain on your hard disk in case you still need it. This is not optimal for two reasons - first: in no time, you will have a massive amount of drivers for different USB devices installed; second: drivers may be out of date the time you use your device again, even if you use it frequently.

Therefore, there is an option to uninstall or update your USB device drivers manually. Open a command prompt by searching for cmd and enter:

set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1

This will set an environmental variable which can also be seen in Control Panel > System and Security > System > Advanced system settings > Environment Variables.... Afterwards, enter


to open the device manager. This can also be done by right clicking Computer and choosing Manage, the device manager will be in the left column.

In the device manager menu, click View and enable Show hidden devices. If you now expand Universal Serial Bus controllers (USB) you will most likely have a bunch of transparent entries, which are all non present and/or hidden devices.

By right-clicking them, you can remove or upgrade their drivers if you need to. This can also be done will any other driver on the device manager and is rather useful for corrupted drivers, is to be handled with care however. If you don't precisely know if you just selected a system component for uninstallment, better don't do it.

Slipstream Service Packs Into Windows XP Installation Disk

To slipstream (=integrate) MS Windows Service Packs into an existing Windows XP Installation Disk you need an installation Disk, a working copy of Windows, the downloaded Service Pack, a burning software capable of burning bootable images (for example ImgBurn, which is also free), a DVD burner and an empty disk.
First copy all files of the installation disk into a folder on your hard disk (don't forget any hidden files) and download the Service Packs you need. Then open a command line by typing cmd into a Run... prompt and direct it to the directory the Service Pack you want to integrate is in with the cd (change directory) command, for example like this:

cd C:\Service_Packs

Don't forget to double-quote the path if there are any Space characters in it. Next, enter the file name of the Service Pack followed by the integrate switch and the path of the installation disk files in the following syntax:

WINDOWSXP-KB936929-SP3-X86-DEU.EXE /integrate:C:\Windows_XP_Install

Windows_XP_Install is the folder where I copied the files of the disk into and is located directly on the <em>C:</em> drive. After the process is done, create an image from the altered installation files and burn it as bootable CD/DVD.

Extend Windows XP Trial

As there is the slmgr -rearm command to extend your trial on Windows Vista and Windows 7, there is also a command to do the same on Windows XP. To use it, open a cmd window and enter:

rundll32.exe syssetup,SetupOobeBnk

There won't be any message about successfull execution, the timer will be reset after a reboot however. The command is repeatable three times.

Installing Powershell 2.0 on Windows XP

To install Windows Powershell 2.0 on an XP machine, you must have Windows XP Service Pack 3 installed. Powershell is included in the Windows Management Framework which you can download at support.microsoft.com/kb/968929:

Now scroll down until you find some links listed in the More Information section:

Pick the appropriate one for your Windows system and install it after downloading. To use powershell you need to open a new command line prompt and enter powershell.

Make Windows XP Boot a Lot Faster

There is a simple registry option in the Windows XP Registry that, if not altered, adds a delay time to the the XP boot process. However you can easily set this delay time to zero if you know where to look for it: Open the Windows Registry by entering regedit into a Run... prompt. The registry is parted in two frames, the one on the left containing a large list of keys and sub-keys, the one on the right displaying the keys' values. In the list of keys, browse the following:


Left-click the ContentIndex-key to see its values, look for StartupDelay and double-click to modify it.

The default value is the hexadecimal number 75300, which is the decimal number 480000. Leave the hexadecimal button active and just change the value to 0 (you can also pick another value; to see which hexadecimal value you have to take for a decimal number, just switch to decimal, enter the value and switch back again).
After making this change, close the registry and reboot Windows to see how fast it has become.

Reset Folder Options on Windows XP

If you have ever tried to set another default application for opening file folders on Windows XP and to turn it back afterwards, you will have run into a really nasty bug.

If you try to restore the default settings of an application to open a folder, the folder will no longer open as before (normal explorer window, further folders open in the same window) but will open a search window on doubleclick.

You cannot achieve the former behaviour by trying to reset it in the control panel. What you have to do is to create a new opening action for File Folder and set it as default. Afterwards, open Run... and enter regedit to open the Windows Registry. On the left side of the registry, there is a list of directories. Browse this list to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT > Directory > shell and click on the plus-button next to shell to unfold the actions to open file folders with. Now look for the new opening action you have previously created and set as default. Rightclick it, choose Delete and confirm your choice. It is not enough to delete this entry in the Control Panel, it has to be done in the registry. Close the registry after deletion and try out doubleclicking a folder. It should now open like it usually used to.

Clean Up Your Windows System (CCleaner)

The common computer user often does not know that a simple uninstall of a software he or she is no longer in need of will not erase the program completely but will leave traces on your hard disk. These may stack up to a fairly high size and can slow your computer down. The same goes for all kind of temporary files your system stores, the most common being temporary internet files. Deleting these files manually can be a hard thing to do, especially if you do not know where to find those and how to recognize them. That is why there are plenty of tools on the internet that allow you to search for and erase them automatically.
One of these helpful tools is CCleaner.

CCleaner is a tool that allows you to clean up your Windows Registry (the key storage that is responsible for every kind of configuration on your system), uninstall software properly without leaving any traces, disable autostart processes, delete all kinds of temporary files and even format your hard drives and overwrite them up to 35 times so that your old files will no longer be accessible by any usual means.

CCleaner for Windows can be downloaded here: http://download.piriform.com/ccsetup311.exe
It is also available for Mac on: http://download.piriform.com/mac/CCMac1.00.077.dmg

CCleaner's menu is divided into four main options, being Cleaner, Registry, Tools and Options. The Cleaner section is there for deleting temporary files, cookies, recent documents and other stored files of that kind. The Registry section searches the registry for disposable entries such as missing shared DDLs, unused file extensions or obsolete software and gives you the option to delete these entries. In the Tools section you can uninstall software, delete system restore points and wipe your hard drives empty. Options, speaking for itself, lets you configure your settings, mainly to include or exclude data from being deleted.

Encrypt Files With Axcrypt on Windows

AxCrypt is a software giving you the possibility to encrypt files with a password and a keyfile which you both need to decrypt it again. You can either encrypt the file itself or a copy of it, in case you choose the latter the encryption output can be an executable file which does not need the AxCrypt software to be decrypted (but still the password and/or the keyfile).

You may ask what kind of file the keyfile is - in case you let AxCrypt itself produce a keyfile, it is a simple text document with a short code in it. You can however choose any file you want as your keyfile (I have tested it with a .vbs script and a .wav file, both work) which offers a great deal of security especially against non-professional attackers.

Upon decrypting you need all info you used when encrypting a file - the password as well as the keyfile, depending on which of them you used. If you send encrypted files to other people, the receiver will need AxCrypt installed if you have encrypted your files without choosing the option to produce an executable file. If you did however, the receiver will only need the keys to open the file, but no additional software installed.

Download AxCrypt on http://www.axantum.com/axcrypt/

Skip time on Multiboot Screen (Win XP)

If you install multiple operating systems on one machine, usually you are shown a screen on startup where you are asked to choose the operating system you would like to use. If you do not push a key on that screen, the default OS will be booted after 30 seconds (sometimes it is 28 or 27 that are displayed). Now I find that this is a pretty long time since you usually know what operating system you would like to use, plus, this screen may also occur after a simple reinstallation of windows in some cases and thus is really annoying since it lengthens your boot time for a good 30 seconds if you are not present to hit the return key. However there is an option to shorten this time in the Windows Control Panel.
To access it, browse start > Control Panel > Performance and Maintenance > System. Open the Advanced tab and click on Settings in the Startup and Recovery field.

To alter the time to wait, change the value of Time to display list of operating systems. Click on OK on every window you opened and the time should now be applied to our settings!