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::... GENERAL HINTS AND TIPS...::

These tips are gathered from a variety of sources around the internet. As computers and software are always changing, so will be this page. I will try and keep this somewhat organized, but you get what you pay for; and since this page is free... :)

Also, since it needs to be said, I take no responsibility if a) one of these tips doesn't work for you or b) something you do with these breaks something else on your computer. These free tips come with no warranties express or implied.

How to Backup Outlook

Address Book: Generally, if you save your messages as described below you'll have a copy of your address book. That's because the Contacts folder is stored with all your other folders. However, you can get to just the address book if that's what you want. Outlook 2000 has an extensive import and export feature that's available through the File | Import and Export menu. Select "Export to a file" and choose "Comma separated values" as the data format. Then select your Contacts folder and provide a name for the exported file. This format is readable by almost any mail program, and you can even use Notepad to read it in a pinch. One unfortunate thing you may encounter is that the import/export wizard may not be installed and you'll have to dig out your original Outlook 2000 CD to install it. However, you can also export your address book through Outlook Express as described in last week's column, since they share the same address book.

Account Settings: Outlook 2000 mail accounts are stored in the registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Outlook. To save this data, start RegEdit and select that key in the left-hand pane. Then from the menu select Registry | Export Registry File. Save the file to a name like OL2KACCT.REG and put it in a safe place. Like the address list, this will fit on a floppy for most people. To restore the account settings, right-click the .REG file and select Merge.

Mail Messages and Rules: Outlook 2000 stores all your messages and folders in a single file ending with a .PST extension, usually OUTLOOK.PST. You may also see an ARCHIVE.PST, which are the old messages and tasks that Outlook cleans out of your main .PST file if you have archiving turned on. Where are these files hidden? To find out, go to Outlook 2000 and right-click the root folder (usually named Mail) and click Properties. Then click the Advanced button on the dialog. You'll see a value named Path that tells you where the file is located. Typically, it's C:\WINDOWS\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook, but you may also see files stored in C:\WINDOWS\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook as well. You can make backup copies of these files, but make sure to exit Outlook so that the files will not be in use while you're trying to make copies!

Mail Rules and More: Mail filtering rules are kept in a file with a .RWZ extension, usually in this same directory with your mail messages. There may also be a few other settings and log files in this directory. Since all these files are small, I suggest you back up all of them. Outlook is pretty configurable, so even if you save all these files you'll have a lot of configuring to do on a clean install. You can save yourself a lot of clicking if you go into RegEdit and export the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\9.0\Outlook to a file. If you want, you can save all your Office 2000 settings including Outlook accounts by exporting the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office subkey to a name like 0F2KSAVE.REG. To get all your settings back, just right-click the file you saved and select Merge.

Convenient Utilities - A few months back, Microsoft released a great little utility called Personal Folders Backup that helps you remember to save your mail folders. It can be set to remind you to do backups when you exit mail, and all you need to do is click the button and it will make the backup. You can even set the backup file location, so it's easy to back up to another disk or a network share. A second utility that I think is less useful is Save my Settings which lets you save some of your Office 2000 preferences (but not your important data like mail messages or address book) to a Microsoft web site. You can later retrieve those settings, either to restore them for the same computer or to migrate them to a new computer. My preference is to save the registry tree manually, rather than sending this data to some unknown Microsoft website.

Speed up Windows 2000 & XP: Here's a tip for speeding up Internet and LAN browsing on Windows 2000 and XP machines. Open regedit.exe from Start->Run Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/Explorer/RemoteComputer/NameSpace [note: line break inserted so line will fit] Under that branch, select the key {D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF} Delete it This key instructs Windows to search for Scheduled Tasks on remote computers. Unless you use this feature, which most people don't (for remote machines), it is safe to delete the key.


Configuring DHCP or Static IP From the Command Line: netsh

netsh is a pretty useful command-line tool that lets you control tons of things about your network interfaces and services. One really neat thing that netsh will do for you is to let you set IP addresses, DNS and WINS servers. It works on Windows 2000, XP and .NET Server.

Suppose I have a laptop that travels between an office in Washington, DC, and an office in Los Angeles. The DC office uses DHCP. The LA office uses static IP addresses and when it's there, the laptop is supposed to use IP address 192.168.2.10, subnet mask 255.255.255.0, WINS server 192.168.1.100, DNS server 192.168.1.100.

Whenever I take the laptop to LA, I've got to punch in all kinds of numbers before the thing will work. When I return to DC, I've still got work to do, as I've got to open up TCP/IP properties and tell the system to stop using static addresses and instead use DHCP. netsh can help here, as I can use netsh commands in a batch file; make one batch file for DC and another for LA.

First, I'll build the DC batch file. I'll need three commands. One tells my system to get its IP address from DHCP, the next says to get its DNS server from DHCP, and finally the third says to get its WINS server from DHCP. They look like this:

netsh int ip set address local source=dhcp

netsh int ip set dns local source=dhcp

netsh int ip set wins local source=dhcp

These are the simpler commands. I just open up Notepad, type them in, and save the file somewhere on my system's path as dodc.cmd.

"netsh int ip set" is the starting point for every one of these commands. "netsh" is the overall command, and it does lots and lots of things. But to modify the behavior of a particular network interface, I use the subcommand "int," which is short for "interface." Within that, I could do several things, but in the particular case I want to change the IP settings, hence the IP, and I want to change ("set") those settings rather than display them, so I use "set" instead of "show." By the way, netsh will always give you help if you ask it. Just type "netsh" all by itself and your prompt will change from "C:\>" or whatever to "netsh>;" you can then type "?" to find out what commands netsh will accept, one of which would be "int." If you then typed "int" then the prompt would change to "netsh interface>," and a "?" would tell you that "IP" was one option, and so on.

The three commands pretty much won't vary from one system to another unless you've got more than one NIC. If you've got more than one NIC, then you'll want to tell netsh which NIC you're trying to configure. In that case, replace the word "local" with the NIC's name in quotes, as in

netsh int ip set address "Local Area Connection 2" source=dhcp

Next, I'll tackle the LA batch file. I want to set the IP address to 192.168.2.10 with a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0 and a default gateway of 192.168.2.1. That command looks like this:

netsh int ip set address local static 192.168.2.10 255.255.255.0 192.168.2.1 2

It starts with "netsh int ip set address local" as before, but now instead of "source=dhcp" I specify "static," meaning that it's a static IP address. The three four-quad values following are, of course, the IP address, subnet mask, and default gateway. The "2" at the end is the metric for the default gateway. As it's at least one hop away from anywhere in the Internet, I specified "2," but you could set it to anything that makes sense.

Next, I'll set the DNS server to 192.168.1.100. That command looks like this:

netsh int ip set dns local static 192.168.1.100 primary

Again, the "static" parameter says that we're specifying a value rather than using DHCP. The IP address is of course the IP address of the DNS server, and "primary" says to do a dynamic DNS registration on the primary DNS suffix. The alternative to "primary" is "none," which says not to do any dynamic DNS registrations, or "both," which means to register on all DNS suffixes.

The command to set a WINS server is similar:

netsh int ip set wins local static 192.168.1.100

Just like the DNS command, except without the primary/none/both option. Collecting the commands together, we get doLA.cmd:

netsh int ip set address local static 192.168.2.10 255.255.255.0 192.168.2.1 2

netsh int ip set dns local static 192.168.1.100 primary

netsh int ip set wins local static 192.168.1.100

Now when I go to LA, I just open a command prompt and type DOLA. When I go to DC, DODC. Very convenient. netsh is a pretty powerful command, and I hope I've inspired you to look at it further!

Backup your network settings:

At a command prompt type: netsh -c interface dump > networksetting.txt

To restore use: netsh -f networksetting.txt

Numlock in NT/2000: Windows NT is supposed to remember the NumLock state when you log off and restore it when you log on. In the Registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER \Control Panel \Keyboard, if the value InitialKeyboardIndicators is 2, NumLock is turned on. If that value is 0, NumLock is turned off.

Do a screen shot: Press the PrtScr key (on some keyboards it's marked "Print Screen"). Windows will place an exact copy of the entire screen and put it on the clipboard. From there, it's relatively easy to open Word, Paint (Start | Programs/All Programs | Accessories | Paint), or any other program that understands pictures, and paste the picture into a file, typically by choosing Edit | Paste. Save the file and attach it to your e-mail missive to the support staff. If you don't want to take a picture of the entire screen, Windows will let you snap a picture of the currently active window. Just press Alt+PrtScr (hold down the Alt key, then press PrtScr or Print Screen, and release both). Be sure you click on the message once before hitting Alt+PrtScr, to make sure the right dialog box is active.

Set Time automatically

net time /setsntp:"time.nist.gov time-a.nist.gov time-b.nist.gov"

Control new popup windows:

All of this is easy to do. The trick is to manipulate the window's components through JavaScript. Here's how to gain control over window components. First, inside your script, include the window.open method, and add, as arguments, the URL and a name for the new window. For example, the code window.open ("http://www.pcmag.com/", "PC Magazine") opens the PC Magazine Web site in a new window and places the text PC Magazine in the title bar of that window. You don't actually need the title bar text, but it's useful to help orient the user, and also because by using different names you can include several different windows in the same HTML document.

Now that you have the window in operation, you can tailor its components. To do so, add a third argument to the window.open statement, this one enclosing one or more options in one set of quotation marks. (It's important to note that if you put anything in the third argument, you must spell out all of the features you want. The features have default values, but if you enable only some, the ones not defined will be disabled. (See The MSDN Library.)

These options must be separated by commas, but without a space following the commas. Here are the available options:

· channelmode—The new window is displayed in theater mode and shows the channel band.

· directories—The new window displays the Links bar in IE or the Personal bar in Navigator.

· fullscreen—The new window displays the browser in full-screen mode, hiding the title bar and menus. If you use this, be sure to give users a button or other obvious way to close the window.

· height—The new window's height is set to the specified number of pixels.

· left—The new window's position is set in pixels, relative to the top-left corner of the screen.

· location—The new window displays the address bar.

· menubar—The new window displays the browser's menu bar.

· scrollbars—The new window displays vertical and horizontal scrollbars when necessary (excluding them can make content inaccessible).

· status—The new window includes a status bar at the bottom.

· toolbar—The new window displays the browser's toolbar (making toolbar buttons such as Back and Forward available).

· top—The new window's position is set in pixels, relative to the top-left corner of the screen.

· width—The new window's width is set to the specified number of pixels.

· resizable—The new window can be resized by the user.

Here's an example. The following code would open the PC Magazine site in a new resizable window showing only the toolbar:

window.open("http://www.pcmag.com/",


"PC Magazine", "toolbar=yes,resizable=yes")

Note that the value "yes" can be replaced by "1", and that if you omit the value entirely the browser will assume "yes" or "1".

The following sets the height and width of the new window, makes it nonresizable (by leaving out the resizable option), and displays the menu bar, the location bar, and the scrollbars:

window.open("http://www.pcmag.com/","PC Magazine",


"menubar=yes,location=yes,scrollbars=yes,


width=628,height=333")

Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator, versions 4 and later, handle the height and width options differently. In IE 4 and later, you can specify height, width, or both; in Navigator 4 and later you must specify both in order to specify either.

Here's something I learned....you can make XP smaller by removing programs you don't use...in order to do this you have to modify some system files, otherwise the uninstall option does not show up in the control panel for a lot of programs (windowsXP programs). Here's how to do it: Go to the Windows folder/inf/sysoc.inf.....remove the word "hide" from all the entries in that folder. In order to see that folder you have to enable "view all files" in tools/view/folder options. After you do this, you will then be able to remove a whole lot of stuff using control panel....including the annoying messenger icon that always pops up. I'm not sure how small you can shrink this OS....maybe 900mb. Problem here is you have to do a large default install before you can shrink it....there may be a work-around here, but I haven't found it yet.


Windows Registry key File Locations:

Favorite folders, etc... - HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Micorsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders

Startup entries - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Run

Remove Windows Messenger from XP

Tip: Easiest method to disable Messenger: C:\Program Files\Messenger and either rename the Messenger folder to
something like "MessengerOLD" or just move it.

  • Remove Messenger from XP

Start/Run/RunDll32 advpack.dll,LaunchINFSection %windir%\INF\msmsgs.inf,BLC.Remove

  • Disable Messenger

Start/Run/gpedit.msc/Admistrative Templates/Windows Components/Windows Messenger. Alter your settings in the right pane. (For Pro)

  • Stop Windows Messenger from Auto-Starting

Simply delete the following Registry Key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\MSMSGS

  • Uninstall Messenger

You have to edit sysoc.inf (located in /WINDOWS/inf). Under [Components] you should see the following line:
msmsgs=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,msmsgs.inf,hide,7. Take the word 'hide' out of the line, and it should look like this:
msmsgs=ocgen.dll,OcEntry,msmsgs.inf,,7. Exit and save.

Go to Add or Remove Programs, and click on Add/Remove Windows Components. There you should now be able to uncheck the MSN Messenger Service, and by clicking Next it will uninstall.

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