• Make disk images, restore points, and backups of files and registry keys to repair your system if you fuck things up.
  • Access to inaccessible files or folders  
The security tab lets you take ownership of files and folders, but in XP Home the security tab is only available when you boot into safe mode.
If you don't want to boot into safe mode, you can also take ownership of files and folders from the command line or run box.

To take ownership of a file, run cacls "X:\folder\subfolder\file.ext" /e /g username:f
To take ownership of a folder, run cacls "X:\folder" /e /g username:f
To take ownership of a folder and all files and subfolders, run cacls "X:\folder" /t /e /g username:f

Instead of using the full path for a file or folder, you can navigate to the folder that contains it using the command prompt.

You don't need quotation marks if the path does not contain spaces or special characters.

More in

Alternative: Security tab in XP Home (like in XP Pro)

  • Files: Delete undeletable files  
If you can't delete a file because XP says it's "in use," you can often delete it if you close explorer first.

1) Close all open programs and folders.
2) Open a command prompt window and navigate to the folder with the undeletable file(s) in the command prompt window with the cd command.
3) Close explorer.exe from the task manager (ctrl-shift-esc), leave Task Manager open.
4) Delete the file from the command prompt with del filename.ext
5) Reopen explorer.exe from the Task Manager.

  • Files: Expand a single file from your xp cd (or a copy of the i386 folder)  
Files on your xp install disk, recovery partition or i386 folder with extensions that end with an underscore (like file.ex_ instead of file.exe) are compressed, and need to be extracted with XPs built-in decompressor ("expanded") before you can use them.

The easy way:
1) Open the run box from the start menu and run MSCONFIG
2) Click "Expand File" and navigate to the file you want to expand.

A little harder:
1) Open the run box or command prompt (use the command prompt if you want to expand more files).
2) Run the expand command. Syntax: expand [source file] [destination]. For example:
  expand d:\i386\explorer.ex_ c:\windows\explorer.exe

  • Files: Recover deleted files  
Never run recovery software (or any other software) from the drive you want to recover files from. Always run it from an external drive, USB stick, CD, floppy, etc.

PC Inspector File Recovery recovers files from hard drives. Free.

Restoration recovers files from hard drives and flash cards. Works with NTFS and FAT. Free.

Smart PC Tools apps to recover files from hard drives, memory cards, USB sticks, and to recover deleted partitions. For NTFS and FAT. Free.

GetDataBack recovers files even if the partition table or boot record is gone. Horribly expensive.

  • Files: Toggle view hidden files  
Switching 'view hidden files' on and off requires a lot of clicks through a bunch of menus.

To put a "Toggle Hidden Files" option in your right-click menu:
1) Install HiddenFilesToggle.

To get a "Toggle Hidden Files and Folders" shortcut on your desktop, in your start menu, or in your quick launch bar:
1) Put the "toggle hidden files and folders" script from somewhere in your programs folder
2) Put a shortcut on your desktop, in your start menu, in your quick launch bar, or whereever you want to have it.

  • Folders: Mount as drive with the subst command  
The subst command lets you put a virtual drive in 'My Computer' that points to a folder.

Make a shortcut or batch file if you run a subst command often.

To add a virtual drive 'X' to 'My Computer' that points the 'My Documents' folder of 'User X':
  subst x: "c:\documents and settings\user x\my documents"

To remove a virtual drive (but keep the original folder):
  subst x: /d
To list the virtual drives created with subst:
The run box will close before you can read the output so use the command prompt.

To display help on the subst command:
  subst /?
The run box will close before you can read the output so use the command prompt.

To make a virtual drive of the folder you're in (use the command prompt, not the run box):
  subst x.
The period is part of the command, so don't forget to add it.

The subst command only works for local drives, not on a network drive.

Use double quotes for paths with spaces, e.g.:
  subst w: c:\windows
  subst p: "c:\program files"

Virtual drives live untill logoff or reboot (or untill you use subst x: /d). To make virtual drives at startup, put a shortcut or batch file in your startup folder.

If you use subst for a local shared folder, it will create a RECYCLER for that drive. The RECYCLER is not removed when the drive substitution is removed, but you can delete it manually.

  • Folders: Remove shared documents folders  
To hide Shared Docs folders (normally under "Other Files Stored on This Computer"):

1) Open regedit and go to:
    HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\My Computer\NameSpace\DelegateFolders
2) Delete {59031a47-3f72-44a7-89c5-5595fe6b30ee}

  • Unknown file types: Disable "Always open with..."  
When you double-click a file with an unknown extension, Windows asks you which program you want to use to open the file.
The option "Always open with..." is checked by default, which makes it too easy to accidentally associate a file type with the wrong program.

To have the "Always open with..." box always unchecked and greyed out:

1) Open regedit and go to HKCR\Unknown\shell\openas\command
2) Change
   %SystemRoot%\system32\rundll32.exe %SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,OpenAs_RunDLL %1
   %SystemRoot%\system32\rundll32.exe %SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,OpenAs_RunDLL %1 %2


  • Unknown file types: Remove 'use web service' dialog  
1) Open regedit and go to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\system
2) Set NoInternetOpenWith to 1

If NoInternetOpenWith isn't there, just add it yourself (choose DWORD).


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