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  • ffdshow tryouts - ffdshow tryouts is a DirectShow and Video for Windows codec with support for a wide range of audio and video formats, such as Xvid, DivX, and H.264. However, it is recommended that you use the K-Lite Codec Pack instead.
  • IExpress - IExpress is a Microsoft tool that is included in Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, and Windows 7. It can be used to create a single self-extracting package from a set of files. Such packages can be used to install applications, executables, drivers and system components.
  • Learn how to troubleshoot Windows like an IT Professional
  • Windows Command Reference - You can use the command reference to familiarize yourself with new and enhanced command-line tools, to learn about the command shell, and to automate command-line tasks by using batch files or scripting tools.
  • Windows Media Player - Guide to fixing problems with WMP
  • Windows Sysinternals - Microsoft Sysinternals utilities help you manage, troubleshoot and diagnose your Windows systems and applications.

Aero - Turning it off

Windows Aero is the graphical user interface and the default theme in most editions of Windows Vista and Windows 7. It includes new translucency, live thumbnails, live icons, animations and eye candy. It is also a resource hog.

To turn it off, go to Services and disable Desktop Window Manager Session Manager.

ARP Cache

The Microsoft Windows ARP cache will occasionally become corrupt and need to be cleared.[1] The symptoms can be difficulty with internet access. Sometimes your browser might work fine but other internet programs have problems.

The first symptom you are likely to notice is that connections to web pages will time out and fail.

If you troubleshoot further, you may notice that you can `ping` your Glossary Link IP address and also, but not other Glossary Link IP addresses.

Clearing the ARP Cache

To fix this error, you will need to clear the ARP Glossary Link cache. This is done with the `netsh` command:

C:>netsh interface ip delete arpcache

Viewing the ARP Cache

If you would like to view your ARP cache, this can be accomplished using the `arp` command:

C:>arp -a

Output will look much like:

Interface: --- 0x10004

Internet Address Physical Address Type 00-0f-66-37-22-32 dynamic

If clearing the ARP Cache fails

Occasionally, clearing your ARP cache will fail due to a bug in Microsoft Windows.

If you try to use Microsoft Windows to repair the network connection, you will receive an error message that says:

Windows could not finish repairing the problem because the following operation could not be completed:

Clearing the ARP cache

For assistance, contact the person who manages your network

This bug occurs when Routing and Remote Services is enabled. Routing and Remote Services is almost unnecessary and can be turned off unless you know that you are using it.

To disable Routing and Remote Services:

  • Click the Start button
  • Click the Glossary Link Control Panel button
  • Switch to "Classic View" if you are in "Category View"
  • Click Administrative Tools
  • Click Computer Management
  • Double-click Services and Applications
  • Double-click Services
  • Scroll down to Routing and Remote Services
  • Double-click Routing and Remote Services
  • Examine the "Startup Type"
  • The options are "Automatic", "Manual", and "Disabled"
  • Set the "Startup Type" to "Disabled"
  • Examine the "Service status"
  • Make sure that the service status is Stopped. If it is not Stopped, click the Stop button
  • Click the OK button

Now, try clearing the ARP cache again and it should complete with no error messages.

Command line tools

Disable Explorer Folder View of Cab and Zip Files

By default, Windows handles ZIP files just like folders. ZIP files will show in the navigation pane of Windows Explorer, and if selected in the navigation pane, you will see the ZIP file's contents in Windows Explorer just like a folder.

If you have a 3rd party ZIP program (ex: 7-Zip, etc.) installed, then this can be an annoyance to you and you may want to turn this feature off so ZIP files will only open in the program instead of Windows Explorer.

The link is to a tutorial that shows you how to enable or disable ZIP folders (compressed and cab folders) from having their contents expand and show in Windows Explorer like folders for all users.

DistributedCOM (DCOM) error

In Windows 8 or any version with SkyDrive installed, you may get the following errors:

The server {1B1F472E-3221-4826-97DB-2C2324D389AE} did not register with DCOM within the required timeout.

The server {BF6C1E47-86EC-4194-9CE5-13C15DCB2001} did not register with DCOM within the required timeout.

These happen when the SkyDrive IdleSync Maintenance Task and SkyDrive RoutineMaintenance Task do not register properly. If you don't use SkyDrive on your system you can disable following tasks in Task Scheduler to stop the error messages:

\Microsoft\Windows\SkyDrive\IdleSync Maintenance Task

\Microsoft\Windows\SkyDrive\RoutineMaintenance Task

According to this link, on Windows 8 those two scheduled tasks should be disabled until the first time you use SkyDrive.


If you attempt to run an old Windows game in a modern version of Windows, you may get the error message, "dplay.dll not found".

To fix this, find "dplayx.dll" and copy it in the same folder, then rename it "dplay.dll".

You may need to reboot your computer to get it to work.

Force program to not run as administrator

If you have a program which runs as an administrator but should not need this to work, you can force it to run without such access. Note that this can cause problems if the program needs such access.

To do so, put the following line in a text file:

cmd /min /C "set __COMPAT_LAYER=RUNASINVOKER && start "" %1"

Save the file with the name "non admin.bat" (without the quotes). You can use any name but make sure to use the extention ".bat".

Now drag and drop the icon to start the program you wish to run as non-administrator onto the icon for "non admin.bat".


GodMode is a folder that brings together a long list of customization settings allowing you to change all your settings from one place.

  1. Create a new folder anywhere you want.
  2. Rename the folder: GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}
  3. The folder now contains links to the settings.

Improving internet connectivity

Installing .NET Framework 1.1

If you are unable to install the .NET Framework 1.1, try this:

1. Create a new folder named DotNetin C:\ drive (C:\DotNet is used in this guide, you can change to any folder you prefer, but ensure that you use correct path in the following steps).

2. Download Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 Redistributable Package (dotnetfx.exe ). Make sure the setup file is saved as dotnetfx.exe .

3. Download Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 Service Pack 1 (NDP1.1sp1-KB867460-X86.exe). Make sure that the file is renamed and saved as dotnetfxsp1.exe , so that the rest of the steps can be followed easily.

4. Move both installation files into the same directory (i.e. C:\DotNet), if you’re not saving them together.

5. Open command prompt as Administrator .

6. Change to the directory where the two installation setup files for .NET 1.1 are saved (i.e. C:\DotNet).

7. Run the following commands one by one, press Enter after each one.

  • dotnetfx.exe /c:"msiexec.exe /a netfx.msi TARGETDIR=C:\DotNet"
    • Then click on “Yes” when prompted to answer “would you like to install Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1. Package?”
  • dotnetfxsp1.exe /Xp:C:\DotNet\netfxsp.msp
  • msiexec.exe /a c:\DotNet\netfx.msi /p c:\DotNet\netfxsp.msp

Install Microsoft .Net Framework 1.1 with slipstreamed/integrated Service Pack 1 by running netfx.msi created in the working folder.

Notifications - Make them show up longer

Notifications are ways in which apps and the Windows itself can alert the user to important events without interrupting what they’re doing. On the standard Windows desktop, they appear on the taskbar on the right side. Normally, they show up for five seconds and then disappear.

If you want them to hang around longer, or until you dismiss them, here is how:

1. Open the registry editor by hitting Windows + R then entering regedit in the dialog box that appears.

2. Navigate to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Control Panel/Accessibility key.

3. Double click the MessageDuration DWORD value in the right window pane. A dialog box appears.

4. Set Base to Decimal and Enter a Value of 4294967295 if you want notifications to stay until you manually dismiss them. The number you enter is the delay time in seconds which, by default, is only 5 seconds and can last as long as 4,294,967,295 seconds (136 years), longer than you’d keep the computer on. If you enter “300,” notifications will disappear on their own if you don’t act on them within five minutes.

5. Close the registry editor and you are done.

NTFS File System Setting

Note: It is currently recommended that you do not change this setting from the Windows default, as it appears to have little or no performance boost for the average user. This information is left here for those who still wish to do so.

Under HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem\ is NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate (REG_DWORD) 1.

This system-global switch reduces disk I/O load and latencies by disabling the updating of the date and time stamp for the last file or directory access. This key is set to 1 by default. Clean installations of Windows Server 2008 set this key by default and you do not need to adjust it.

Earlier versions of Windows operating systems did not set this key. If your server is running an earlier version of Windows or was upgraded to Windows Server 2008, you should set this key to 1. Disabling the updates is effective when you are using large data sets (or many hosts) that contain thousands of directories. We recommend that you use IIS logging instead if you maintain this information only for Web administration.

Warning: Some applications such as incremental backup utilities rely on this update information and do not function correctly without it.

Password Start Up - Removing

You can change a setting so you don't have to put the password in every time you start up.

  • Hold down the windows key and press R
  • Type in netplwiz, OK, then uncheck "Users must login with username and password"
  • Apply
  • Enter password (twice), OK
  • Shutdown computer, then restart it.

Send To

To edit what appears when you right-click an item in File Explorer under the "Send To", use the Win-R keyboard shortcut to call up the Run command window and type


and hit enter or click OK. This calls up the SendTo folder where the right-click "Send to" menu destinations reside.

System File Checker

System Update Readiness Tool

Description of the System Update Readiness Tool for Windows Vista, for Windows Server 2008, for Windows 7, and for Windows Server 2008 R2 - Microsoft released the System Update Readiness Tool to resolve certain conditions that could cause installing updates and other software not to work.

Take Ownership

Sooner or later you'll probably come across a file that you can't access for some reason, despite being logged in as an Administrator. In situations like this, taking ownership of the file or directory can help you gain access to the file, but the process is somewhat tedious. With some Registry editing, however, taking ownership of a file or directory is just a right-click away.

Instead of walking you through this process, though, we'll explain how to complete it in one fell swoop. First, select and copy all of the text listed below:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


@="Take Ownership"



@="cmd.exe /c takeown /f \"%1\" && icacls \"%1\" /grant administrators:F"

"IsolatedCommand"="cmd.exe /c takeown /f \"%1\" && icacls \"%1\" /grant administrators:F"


@="Take Ownership"



@="cmd.exe /c takeown /f \"%1\" /r /d y && icacls \"%1\" /grant administrators:F /t"

"IsolatedCommand"="cmd.exe /c takeown /f \"%1\" /r /d y && icacls \"%1\" /grant administrators:F /t"

Once you've copied all of that text, paste it into a new Notepad (or any basic text editor) document, and save the file with a *.reg extension; name it take-ownership.reg, for example. After saving the file, double-click it, follow the on-screen prompts, and add all of the keys to the Registry. Now you can right-click a file or folder and choose Take Ownership from the menu if you can't access or edit for some reason.

Uninstall programs in Windows Safe Mode

Sometimes programs may not uninstall in the regular mode correctly, and you may at times have to boot in safe mode to uninstall software.

However, Windows Installer will not work under Safe Mode, this means that programs cannot be installed or uninstalled in safe mode without giving a specific command using msiexec in command prompt.

To make Windows Installer to work under Safe Mode you need to create registry entries. To know how to do it manually, click : How to make Windows Installer work in Safe Mode.

Alternatively, you can also download and use this freeware utility which automates the entire process and makes thing easier for you.

Simply download SafeMSI, boot in safe mode and then run this utility.

Version license information

To find your version with license information, open a Run prompt (Windows key + R) and enter:

slmgr.vbs -dli

Windows 7

All System Options shortcut

(Note: This might not include all the options but it is pretty close)

Create an All-Inclusive Control Panel Shortcut in Windows 7:[2]

All you have to do is right-click on the desktop or in a folder, choose New->Folder, and give the new item something like this name:

How-To Geek.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

Feel free, of course, to replace "How-To Geek" with "God mode" or whatever self-aggrandizing shortcut name you'd like.

Update: This tip only works on Windows 7 — other versions of Windows may produce unsavory results.

Video Playback problems

Resolve common Video Playback problems and issues on Windows 7

Install without the disc

  • How to Install Windows 7 Without the Disc
  • Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool - If you choose to download an ISO file (so that you can create a bootable file from a DVD or USB flash drive), copy your Windows 7 ISO file onto your media and, run the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool. After you do this, you can install Windows 7 onto your computer directly from the USB flash drive or DVD.

Windows 7 ISOs

32 bit

64 bit

Windows 10

Windows Update stuck

Windows Vista and 7 VirtualStore issues