• Make disk images, restore points, and backups of files and registry keys to repair your system if you fuck things up.
  • BIOS: Reset BIOS, remove password  
Reset BIOS by jumper or battery:

MS-DOS BIOS reset tricks (works sometimes, not always):

Reset BIOS with KillCMOS:

These tricks usually don't work on laptops.

  • Boot floppy (MS DOS)  
To make a boot floppy:
1) Insert a floppy disk
2) Select Format from right-click menu
3) Check 'create an MS-DOS startup disk'

You can't read NTFS formatted drives with the MS DOS boot floppy (unless you put NTFS Reader For DOS on the floppy)
You can read NTFS drives when you boot with the XP CD

  • Boot floppy (XP Emergency Boot Disk)  
1) Format a floppy in X
2) Copy these (hidden) files from your system partition to the floppy:

If your boot files goes corrupt, this floppy will get you into XP so you can repair it.

More on

  • Compression: Built-in compressor/extractor  
Launch a run box or command prompt and run IEXPRESS

If you get an error message, then the tool didn't come with your version of Windows.
If the program launches, you can make self-extracting compressed files.

  • Drivers: Backup and download  
DriverBackup! Backup installed drivers. If your drivers come in installers with unwanted extras, this tool lets you save clean installers.
Driver Packs to slipstream into an XP CD.
Help Drivers Large collection of drivers for all types of hardware.

  • Hard drive: Format and partition  
Tutorial on

  • Hard drive: Hard disk bigger than 137 GB  
Windows needs support for 48 bit Logical Block Addressing (LBA) to work on drives >137 GB.

The easy way:
1) Install Service Pack 1 or 2

The hard way:
1) Open regedit and go to HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Atapi\Parameters
2) Make a key called EnableBigLba and set to 1

The BIOS must also support 48 bit LBA, so you may need to flash it.

  • Registry: Change default action of reg files and customize .reg file right-click menu  
To prevent accidental merging of .reg files, make 'edit' the default action for .reg files, and point to Notepad.

To make directly merging regfiles, make a file extension called .regnow with default action 'Merge' (copy command from .reg) and extra action 'Edit with Notepad.'

  • Registry: Edit registry from a command prompt or batch file  
Syntax on

  • Startup programs  
Programs can start automatically from the startup folder or the registry.

To make a program start when windows starts (or stop it from starting) you can:

- add/remove it to/from the startup folder
- add or remove programs from the startup folder and registry with jv16 powertools (or run msconfig, but this misses some startup entries)
- stop programs from starting from the registry with FreshUI , jv16 powertools, or msconfig

See your startup events live: run msconfig and check /SOS in boot.ini, reboot

  • Windows Update: You don't need it  
AutoPatcher All the updates since the last service pack in one single download.
Belarc Advisor Displays installed and missing windows updates with links to the update files.
DIY Service Pack Make an offline installer for all windows patches.
Secunia Software Inspector Web-based updater for windows and lots of other software.
Windows Updates Downloader Download all the windows patches you need for slipstreaming into your install disk.

Always check if you really need the updates offered. Windows Update may offer fixes for XP components that you removed manually or with tools like nLite and XPlite, and you may accidentally install WGA Notifications.

Windows XP Service Pack 2 No less than 266 MB worth of fixes for all the stupid mistakes by Microsofts incompetent programmers.
Ignore the warnings about the download being only for IT pros.
Windows XP Service Pack 3 No less than 316 MB worth of fixes for all the stupid mistakes by Microsofts incompetent programmers.
Ignore the warnings about the download being only for IT pros. List of XP patches. Non-public XP patches.

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