Failing Windows update.

The problem in majority of the cases is related to the wrong DNS loading and until you flush your the current DNS configuration you can try anything but you won’t be successful.
What’s really funny that’s so easy – just run cmd.exe with admin rights, then run “ipconfig /flushdns”, make a coffee and get back to the WU heaven 😀

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windows xp logs on then logs off right away

Run a spyware cleaner lately? The userinit value may have been corrupted by
the removal of blazefind. It adds wsaupdater.exe to the logon value in the
system registry, sometimes appending it, sometimes replacing it. Running
Adaware or other cleaners detects and removes wsaupdater.exe, but doesn’t
correct the registry damage. If this is the case, then you may need to load
the registry hive from another installation and change it. This is the key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
Userinit string value should be:
C:\WINDOWS\system32\userinit.exe,
On the damaged installations it’s one of these:
C:\WINDOWS\system32\wsaupdater.exe,
C:\WINDOWS\system32\userinit.exe,C:\WINDOWS\system32\wsaupdater.exe,
Another “quickie” method of resolution is to load the Recovery Console (see
below), copy userinit.exe as wsaupdater.exe from the command prompt, then
restart normally. Once in, go and change the registry value back to what
it’s supposed to be and delete the copied file. To do this, use these
commands:
C:\Windows>
C:\Windows>copy C:\Windows\system32\userinit.exe
C:\Windows\system32\wsaupdater.exe
Then you can exit once completed.

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Best advice for Extreme Conditions

We have talked about why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Computer On Stand-by and we mentioned if you live in extreme conditions you shouldn’t use your computer at all, but sometimes you just can’t do that.
When you live in areas that are extremely cold, hot or humid there are other things to consider. Computers don’t respond well to cold, hot or humid and damage can result. Keeping today’s systems cool is a challenge under normal conditions, but when temperatures are high cooling is even more important.
If your temperatures are too low we have different problems. Lubricating grease and oils in fans, CD/DVDs and other moving parts get thicker when cold and my not lubricate as needed and in some instances even prevent movement altogether causing failure sooner rather than later.
Damp or humid areas can cause condensation on critical components like Hard Drive disks, causing head collision or short circuit electrical boards. A little moisture can be a really bad thing.
Going from hot to cold and back can be bad at both ends and in the transition. Heating and cooling cause components to expand and contract which leads to circuit fractures and sometimes even rubbing of close tolerance parts.
The best thing to do if you must work in extreme conditions is leave your computer running at all times. This helps to maintain a constant temperature inside and prevents moisture from forming those damaging dew drops. If you decide to move your computer from a cold place to a warmer place, say from your garage to your home, there is a greater chance of condensation forming once in the warm house. In these cases make sure you leave plenty of time for your equipment to gradually warm and dry out before powering it on.

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You should not leave your computer on standby

Booting your computer each time you want to use it can be inconvenient, but keeping it in sleep mode may not be the best alternative.
The sleep mode on your computer is designed to keep the machine on while drawing a small amount of power. While the dollar cost may be minimal, the true cost of let it sleep may actually be higher.
You shouldn’t leave your computer on standby if you’re going to be away for more than an hour. Doing so can result in more harm that good. Your memory is still fully functioning, and without cooling fans running it can lead to overheating and damage. It’s always better to fully power down and let your machine rest.
Under normal conditions, turning your computer on and off won’t cause damage. These days, laptops and desktops are designed to withstand 40,000 power-ups and shutdowns before failure. That’s the equivalent to turning your computer on and off 15 to 22 times per day for up to 7 years. Of course, If you have extreme conditions, very cold, very hot or very damp, it’s best to not use your computer at all.
So, when it comes to your computer, be mindful of letting it sleep for too long and power down instead. Otherwise, the low-cost convenience of having it on standby may result in a higher cost in repairs down the road.

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Change registered user name in Windows.

If you’ve ever wondered how to change the name of the person that Windows is registered to, this is the quick tip for you. It’s not all that useful, but it might come in handy if you got a computer from somebody else.
Open up regedit.exe through the start menu search box, and then locate the following registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\urrentVersion
Now you can find the RegisteredOwner and RegisteredOrganization keys in the right-hand pane. Change them to whatever values you want.
To show off the new changes, just type winver.exe into the start menu search box to see the About Windows box:
Kinda useless, but one of those things I have to write about if I want to cover everything 🙂
This should work in all versions of Windows, including Windows 7.

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Use the Bootrec.exe tool in the Windows Recovery Environment to troubleshoot and repair startup issues in Windows

From support.microsoft.com Article ID: 927392
INTRODUCTION
You can use the Bootrec.exe tool in the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) to troubleshoot and repair the following items in Windows Vista or Windows 7:
A master boot record (MBR)
A boot sector
A Boot Configuration Data (BCD) store
Note When you are troubleshooting startup issues by using the Windows RE, you should first try the Startup Repair option in the System Recovery Options dialog box. If the Startup Repair option does not resolve the issue, or if you must troubleshoot more steps manually, use the Bootrec.exe tool.
To run the Bootrec.exe tool, you must start Windows RE. To do this, follow these steps:
Put the Windows Vista or Windows 7 installation disc in the disc drive, and then start the computer.
Press a key when you are prompted.
Select a language, a time, a currency, a keyboard or an input method, and then click Next.
Click Repair your computer.
Click the operating system that you want to repair, and then click Next.
In the System Recovery Options dialog box, click Command Prompt.
Type Bootrec.exe, and then press ENTER.
Note To start the computer from the Windows Vista or Windows 7 DVD, the computer must be configured to start from the DVD drive. For more information about how to configure the computer to start from the DVD drive, see the documentation that is included with the computer or contact the computer manufacturer.
Bootrec.exe options
The Bootrec.exe tool supports the following options. Use the option that is appropriate for your situation.
Note Use the Bootrec.exe tool to troubleshoot “Bootmgr Is Missing” issue. If rebuilding the BCD does not resolve the startup issue, you can export and delete the BCD, and then run this option again. By doing this, you make sure that the BCD is completely rebuilt.
To do this, type the following commands at the Windows RE command prompt:
bcdedit /export C:\BCD_Backup
c:
cd boot
attrib bcd -s -h -r
ren c:\boot\bcd bcd.old
bootrec /RebuildBcd
/FixMbr
The /FixMbr option writes a Windows 7 or Windows Vista-compatible MBR to the system partition. This option does not overwrite the existing partition table. Use this option when you must resolve MBR corruption issues, or when you have to remove nonstandard code from the MBR.
/FixBoot
The /FixBoot option writes a new boot sector to the system partition by using a boot sector that is compatible with Windows Vista or Windows 7. Use this option if one of the following conditions is true:
The boot sector was replaced with a nonstandard Windows Vista or Windows 7 boot sector.
The boot sector is damaged.
An earlier Windows operating system was installed after Windows Vista or Windows 7 was installed. In this scenario, the computer starts by using Windows NT Loader (NTLDR) instead of Windows Boot Manager (Bootmgr.exe).
/ScanOs
The /ScanOs option scans all disks for installations that are compatible with Windows Vista or Windows 7. Additionally, this option displays the entries that are currently not in the BCD store. Use this option when there are Windows Vista or Windows 7 installations that the Boot Manager menu does not list.
/RebuildBcd
The /RebuildBcd option scans all disks for installations that are compatible with Windows Vista or Windows 7. Additionally, this option lets you select the installations that you want to add to the BCD store. Use this option when you must completely rebuild the BCD. WAZOO

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Used Compaq SR5250NX Intel Pentium Dual Core $100

Compaq5250
Processor E2140, 2gb RAM, 320gb Hard Drive, DVD-RW, Vista Home Premium. Fresh install and all updates applied. $100

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Increase the Speed in Which Firefox loads pages

1. Type “about:config” into the address bar and hit Enter.
(Normally the browser will make one request to a web page at a time. When you enable pipelining it will make several at once, which really speeds up page loading.)
2. Alter the entries as follows:
Set “network.http.pipelining” to “true”
Set “network.http.proxy.pipelining” to “true”
Set “network.http.pipelining.maxrequests” to some number like 10.
This means it will make 10 requests at once.
3. Lastly, right-click anywhere and select New-> Integer. Name it “nglayout.initialpaint.delay” and set its value to “0“;.(Zero)
This value is the amount of time the browser waits before it acts on information it receives. If you’re using a broadband connection you’ll load pages faster now.
Optionally (for even faster web browsing) here are some more options for your about:config (you might have to create some of these entries by Right Click –> New– > Interger or String
network.dns.disableIPv6: set “false”
“content.notify.backoffcount”: set “5“; (Five)
“plugin.expose_full_path”: set “true”.
“ui.submenuDelay”: set “0; (zero)

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Free Software

https://hampedia.org/wiki/Free_Software_Recommendations

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General Windows 7 Performance Tweaks

Below is a list of tweaks you can do to achieve better performance from your Windows 7 PC. Some are start up tweaks and some are Run time tweaks but they are all safe and used regularly by us. Of course your mileage may vary so use at your own risk.
Change the Power Plan To Maximum Performance
The Power settings in Windows 7 is not automatically set for maximum performance. By default the power plan in Windows 7 is set for a balanced performance with energy consumption on hardware. So you may not get the optimal performance from windows 7 if this is the case. So we need to change the power plan to High Performance Mode. With laptops there are two settings, one for battery power and one for AC power. You may want to use the more conservative setting under the battery power settings to get longer run time from your batteries.
Double click the “Power Options” in the Control panel.
Click the down arrow showing Show Additional Plans to see the High Performance power plan
Now just activate the High Performance plan and that’s it.
Go for the advanced power settings.
Go to Hard disk, then to “Turn off hard disk after” and set it to Never. This enables the PC to do its job while logged off.
Speed Up the Windows 7 Bootup Time
Press [Win] + R or take the RUN option from the start menu.
Now type msconfig.exe in there and press the Enter Key to open up the System Configuration Window.
Click on the Boot tab in there.
You will see a box called Time out. This is the time (in sec) which the system waits for the user to select the operating system to boot to.
You can safely set the value to 0.
Tick the “No GUI Boot” option too [turns off the Windows 7 logo at boot-up].
Click Apply and then on OK.
Alternatively to change “Time out” only:
Right click on Computer and select Properties from the right click menu.
Click on Advanced System Settings from the left pane to open up the System Properties window.
Select the Advanced tab from it. Then under Startup and Recovery click Settings.
Now uncheck box “Time to display list of operating systems” and click OK.
Change the Number of Processors Used at Boot Up
Information:
If you have a multiple core CPU (e.g. Intel Core Duo or Quad CPU) or multiple CPUs, then this will show you how to change the Number of Processors that will be used during boot up for troubleshooting and debugging purposes to be able to determine if there is a problem with a single processor/core, or for a programmer to test their code against a single core while running on their multi-core system.
Note:
Windows 7 will use all your processors by default at boot up without this Number of Processors setting box checked. Using all of your available processors (cores or CPUs) during boot allows the computer to boot faster only because a multiple core CPU or multiple CPUs can handle and do more at once than a single core or CPU. Multiple cores do not actually increase the speed, but only increase the number of processor cores working on the job which in turn has the job finish quicker. If you do not have much running at startup, then you may not notice much improvement in how long it takes to startup. the biggest difference is seen on systems where multiple 3rd party applications are started automatically on boot up.
Instructions:
Click the Advanced Options button. The Boot Advanced Options Window will then pop up.
Tick the check box saying Number of Processors. Now click on the drop down box and select the maximum number of processor cores (might be 2 or more).
Disable the Aero Theme on Windows 7
Right Click on your Desktop and select “Personalize”, click the “Window Color” Tab.
Uncheck the Box saying Enable “Transparency” and then choose a basic theme. If you had a custom desktop image you may need to reselect it by selecting “Desktop Background”, however plain color backgrounds load faster than images.
Disable the Unwanted Visual Effects
For this right click on “Computer” and select “Properties” from the right click menu.
Click on “Advanced System Settings” from the left pane to open up the System Properties window.
Select the Advanced tab from it. Then Under Performance click Settings . Choose Custom: Options From it.
Now untick all the options and select only the last four options
Disable Unwanted Startup Programs
Many programs have components that start when Windows starts and run in the background. While some of these programs are necessary (such as antispyware programs), you will find that others may not be necessary.
Press [Win] + R or take the RUN option from the start menu.
Now type msconfig in there and press Enter Key to open up the System Configuration Window.
In the System Configuration window, the Startup tab shows all the programs that are scheduled to start with Windows. Resize the columns so that you have a good view of the name and manufacturer.
Go through each item, clearing the check box for programs you don’t want to start with Windows.
Click OK, and then restart the computer. The nice thing about this is it does not remove the application it only turns it off and if you unchecked something you needed you can go back into msconfig and put the check back to turn the item back on and reboot.
Disable the Unwanted Services
It is safer to set the following services to manual rather than disabling them. This is because sometimes if windows needs a service windows can start it by itself if and only if it is set to manual. If you set it to disabled Windows 7 cannot start the service by it’s own. This is similar to msconfig, as it does not remove the service, it just turns it off and you can go back and turn it on if needed.
To open up the Services Window:
Click Start
Select Control Panel
Double click Administrative Tools
Double click Services
or
Press [Win] + R or take the RUN option from the start menu.
Now type services.msc in there and press Enter Key
To disable the Unwanted Service:
Scroll down and highlight the service you want to adjust
Right-click on it and choose Properties
Click the stop button.
Select Disable or Manual in the Startup Type scroll bar.
Services to Disable:
Application Experience
Computer Browser (If your PC does not connect to any local network)
Desktop Window Manager Session Manager (If you don’t want the aero effects)
Diagnostic Policy Service
Disk Defragmenter (Disk Defragmenter still works you just have to run it yourself.)
Distributed Link Tracking Client
IP Helper
Offline Files
Portable Device Enumerator Service
Print Spooler (If you do not use a Printer)
Protected Storage
Remote Registry (You can safely disable it for more Security)
Secondary Logon
Security Center
Server (If your computer does not connect with any local network)
Tablet PC Input Service
TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper
Windows Defender
Windows Error Reporting Service
Windows Media Center Service Launcher
Windows Search (If you rarely use Windows Search feature. Search still works it’s just slower.)
Windows Time (If you do not want to synchronize system time with internet time automatically)
Disable the User account control (UAC) Feature
If you’re tired of click “OK” everytime you try to install or change a program this is the one to turn off.
The idea was to stop users from accidentally installing or removing an application. When did you ever do that? Virus writers just go around the “UAC” anyway so it doesn’t stop them either.
From the Control Panel open the User Accounts and Family Safety
Click User Account.
Click the User Account Control settings link.
Now just Drag the Slider towards Never Notify.
Click OK and Reboot your system.
Disable UAC With a Registry Hack
Press [Win] + R or take the RUN option from the start menu.
Now type regedit there and press Enter Key to open up the Registry Editor Window.
In regedit go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Curr entVersion\Policies\System
In the right pane, right click on EnableLUA and click on Modify
Change value to 0.
* UAC Enabled: 1
* UAC Disabled: 0
Turn off Unused Windows 7 Features
There are many feature in windows 7 that we often don’t use.
Disabling these unused features in Windows 7 will really help in speeding things up.
Open up Programs and Features from Control Panel.
Click the Turn Windows features on or off from the left pane.
Now uncheck all the Feature that you don’t use in Windows 7 [e.g. “Games”] and restart the system for the changes to take effect.
Disable the Aero Snap features in Windows 7
Information:
Aero Snap will help you to maximize, minimize and resize the windows just by dragging and dropping it into the screen corners.
Open the Control Panel and double-click on Ease of Access Center icon.
Now click on the Make it easier to focus on tasks seen at the bottom in there
Now tick the check box saying Prevent windows from being automatically arranged when moved to the edge of the screen.
Note: After you disable Aero Snap Feature, you won’t be able to use some of the new Windows 7 keyboard shortcuts used to move the active window around the screen[s], e.g. Win+Left Arrow, Win+Shift+Right Arrrow, etc.
Speed up the Menu Show Delay Time
Information: This will show you how to change the amount of time it takes for a menu in Windows 7 to pop, fade, or slide open when you run the mouse pointer over it.
Instructions:
Press [Win] + R or take the RUN option from the start menu.
Now type regedit there and press Enter Key to open up the Registry Editor Window.
In regedit go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
In the right pane, right click on MenuShowDelay and click on Modify
Type in a number between 0 to 4000 [400 is default, I use 1] for how many milliseconds you want the Menu to wait before it opens.
Log off and log on, or restart the computer to apply the changes.
Note: The lower the number, the faster the response time. If you use an entry of 0, there is no menu display delay. However it is not recommended to use 0 though since the menus may be hard to navigate through at that speed.
Change the Mouse Hover Time before Pop-up Displays
Information: This will show you how to change the delay time, in milliseconds, that the mouse pointer has to stay hovered on a item before it is selected or opens a pop-up in Windows 7. For example, how long it takes for a taskbar open window button before to display it’s thumbnail preview while hovering the mouse pointer over it.
Note: If you have the Animations in the taskbar and Start Menu option checked in Visual Effects, then you may not see much or any difference. You will need to uncheck this option first before doing the tutorial below.
Instructions:
Press [Win] + R or take the RUN option from the start menu.
Now type regedit there and press Enter Key to open up the Registry Editor Window.
In regedit go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Mouse
In the right pane, right click on MouseHoverTime and click on Modify
Type in a number between 0 to 4000 [400 is default, I use 30] in milliseconds, that the mouse pointer has to stay hovered on a item before it is selected or opens a pop-up.
Log off and log on, or restart the computer to apply the changes.
Note: The lower the number, the faster the response time. If you use an entry of 0, there is no delay before the taskbar thumbnail preview opens. However it is not recommended to use 0 though since it may be hard to navigate through the thumbnails at that speed.
Speed Up the Shut Down Time
Information: This will show you how to set the “Wait to Kill” time Windows 7 waits for programs to save data and close before shutting down.
Instructions:
Press [Win] + R or take the RUN option from the start menu.
Now type regedit there and press Enter Key to open up the Registry Editor Window.
In regedit go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l
In the right pane, right click on WaitToKillServiceTimeout and click on Modify
Type in a number between 1000 to 20000 [1-20 seconds] [12000 is default, I use 1000].
Note: If you have problems with programs from your computer shutting down to quickly, then repeat the above steps and increase the time a bit.
Change from IDE to AHCI Mode after Installation
Information: AHCI stand for Advance Host Controller Interface. AHCI is a hardware mechanism that allows software to communicate with Serial ATA (SATA) devices (such as host bus adapters) that are designed to offer features not offered by Parallel ATA (PATA) controllers, such as:
Hot-Plugging
Native Command Queuing (NCQ) -might improve computer/system/hard disk responsiveness, especially in multi-tasking environment
Instruction: There is one way to fix this, although you need to have knowledge of registry editing.
The detailed steps from Microsoft website are as follows:
Exit all Windows-based programs.
Press [Win] + R or take the RUN option from the start menu.
Now type regedit there and press Enter Key to open up the Registry Editor Window.
If you receive the User Account Control dialog box, click Continue.
Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Servic es\msahci
In the right pane, right-click Start in the Name column, and then click Modify.
In the Value data box, type 0 [3 is default], and then click OK.
On the File menu, click Exit to close Registry Editor.
Restart your computer
Go to BIOS and enable AHCI, Save & Reboot
Another restart will be required to finish the driver installation.
Change from AHCI to IDE Mode after Installation
Instruction:
Exit all Windows-based programs.
Press [Win] + R or take the RUN option from the start menu.
Now type regedit there and press Enter Key to open up the Registry Editor Window.
If you receive the User Account Control dialog box, click Continue.
Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Servic es\Pciide
In the right pane, right-click Start in the Name column, and then click Modify.
In the Value data box, type 0 [3 is default], and then click OK.
On the File menu, click Exit to close Registry Editor.
Restart your computer
Go to BIOS and enable IDE, Save & Reboot
Another restart will be required to finish the driver installation.

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