Key combinations, such as Ctrl+Alt+Del, do not work with Remote Desktop since they will apply to the client computer and not the remote. There are combinations you can use that will simulate the special key combinations on the remote computer.

  • Ctrl+Alt+End: Task Manager or Windows Security dialog box (acts like Ctrl+Alt+Del).
  • Alt+Page Up or Alt+Page Down: Task Switching (like Alt+Tab and Alt+Shift+Tab).
  • Ctrl+Alt+Plus symbol: Puts a snapshot of remote session on clipboard (like PrtScn).
  • Ctrl+Alt+Minus symbol: Puts a snapshot of active window in remote session on clipboard (like Alt+PrtScn).

In some instances it is necessary to protect a computer by disabling the local Administrator account in Windows XP. Before doing this it is very important to verify that you have another account which has admin privileges on the system.

To disable the local admin account:

  1. Log on to the system using an account that has administrator privileges.
  2. Right-click My Computer and select Manage to bring up the Computer Management applet.
  3. In the left pane, expand the Local Users and Groups node and click on Users.
  4. In the right details pane, double-click Administrator.
  5. In the Properties dialog box, go to the General tab, and select Account is Disabled.
  6. Click OK and then close the Computer Management applet.

Running the Disk Defragmenter utility on a regular basis can keep your system running efficiently. It organizes the files on the drive so that they can be accessed more quickly. Running this utility can take a long time to complete and there should be no other programs executing while this process is running. You can use the Windows Task Scheduler to run this program run automatically at a time when the computer will not be in use.

Simply do the following:

  • Go to the Control Panel and open the Scheduled Tasks applet.
  • Double-click Add Scheduled Task
  • Right-click the folder, and select New | Scheduled Task
  • Click New Task and give it an appropriate name (Defrag Disk).
  • Double-click the newly created icon, to open the Task dialog box.
  • In the Run field, type “defrag.exe c: -v”.
  • In the Start in field, type “C:\”.
  • In the Run as field, enter a user account with administrator privileges. Click the Set password button, and enter a password for the account.
  • Select the Schedule tab to select the time and date(s) to run the task.
  • Click OK

If your keyboard has the Windows logo key then you can use this key to perform specific actions quickly and easily. Here are the shortcuts:

  • Windows Key: Start Menu.
  • Windows Key+D: Minimizes all open windows and shows the Desktop. (press it key again to restore them to their previous positions).
  • Windows Key+E: Explorer Window.
  • Windows Key+F: File search.
  • Windows Key+L: Locks your computer (switches users if Fast User Switching is activated).
  • Windows Key+R: Run… command dialog.
  • Windows Key+Pause/Break: Systems Properties panel.
  • Windows Key+Tab: Cycles through the application in the Taskbar. (Shift+Windows Key+Tab will do this in the reverse direction).
  • Windows Key+F1: Windows Help and Support Center.

On the 10th of this month, Microsoft will no longer provide public assisted support for Widows XP Service Pack 1. That means no more security updates or support options for the service pack. If you haven’t upgraded to Service Pack 2, now’s the time to do it (besides, it’s free!).

Download: Service Pack 2 for Windows XP

Windows XP: Enhancing My Computer

September 20th, 2006

Enhance My Computer

I rarely used XP’s My Computer for anything more than a mere entry point into my various drives. However, after using a few easy-to-do registry hacks, My Computer has become very useful and saves me time and mouse clicks. One such tweak will allow you to add any combination of the following to the My Computer window: Printers and Faxes, Administrative Tools, Scheduled Tasks, Network Connections, Recycle Bin, My Network Places (See Expand The Functionality Of My Computer). To give My Computer even more functionality, you can add many different applets to the context (right-click) menu. You can add any or all of the following (click the link to see how to add it):

Remember to back up your registry before making any changes.

While the Windows Places bar isn’t as customization-friendly as the Office My Places bar (see my recipe for how to modify it), it can be altered. 

1. Type GPEDIT.MSC in the Start, Run

2. Navigate to this location:

User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Explorer -> Common Open File Dialog

3. Double-click Items displayed in Places Bar and add your places.

Thumbs.db is a file which is created in a folder with Movies or Pictures so that you can view a piece of their content without actually opening them (you can’t see thumbnails unless you have the option to view system files turned on). Thumbs.db is there so that you don’t need to reload a thumbnail every time you browse that folder. Sad fact is, is Thumbs.db takes up about 2kb per file and if you edit a lot of stuff its annoying to keep seeing them popping up all over your computer. You can remove Thumbs.db quite easily by following the following steps:

  1. Go to “Run” in the startmenu.

  2. Type gpedit.msc.

  3. Click OK and the Group Policy will open.

  4. Go to User Configuration/Administrative Template/Windows Components/Windows Explorer.

  5. Scroll down to the bottom of the long list of stuff that now shows up in the menu on the right. Double-Click on Turn off caching of thumbnail pictures.

  6. Click on Enable then Apply, Ok. And now you no longer have this annoying problem.
    Alternatively or if you use XP Home you can make this change in Control Panel -> Folder Options -> View -> “Do not cache thumbnails
    NOTE:  Disabling thumbnail caching will considerably slow down opening folders in thumbnail view. So if you use thumbnail view a lot, think about it.

If you need to share multiple folders, running the program SHRPUBW.EXE (Click Start, then Run; Type in SHRPUBW.EXE and click OK). This will bring up a simple dialog box to let you:
1. Browse to the folder you want to share
2. Input a Share name
3. Input a Share description
4. Set permissions. There are several choices available.
5. Continue the process from within the same program until you have shared all desired folders