Windows XP Hidden Utilities
Ok … it’s actually not the time for speaking about Windows XP, isn’t it ? All people speak about Microsoft ‘s new ‘Golden Boy’, Windows Vista, so why should i write about Windows XP ? It’s because many people (especially in my country) still use it for the main operating system of their PC in many edition, Home Edition, Professional Edition and of course … ‘Pirated Edition‘ . Another main reason was the price of Windows Vista. It’s very very expensive for us to get it, i’d prefer buy a new laptop than buy this OS.
Back to Windows XP, i think most of you had already known that there were some utilities embedded with it which were also installed in your computer. These utilities could be easily accessed from the start menu (Start ->All Programs->Accessories). Yeah … even my little niece could tell them all easily, e.g. Notepad, Calculator, Wordpad, etc. But, did you know that there were tons of hidden utilities in Windows XP ?
There were at least 43 utilities which had been concealed by Microsoft from the start menu and some of them were very useful for the system maintenance. Since there were so many utilities in the internet, and many of them also brought ‘unexpected guest’ for your PC like spyware, malware, virus, trojan etc, so for your (PC’s) safety, i think it’s better for you to know these hidden utilities.
I’m sure that some advanced users (including me) had already used these hidden utilities manually, so it might be not a big news. But i write this to share my knowledge with the others who had less experiece with Windows XP, so, if you do not like to run the utilities manually, you can use an utility to do all the stuff. It’s a freeware for creating the shortcut of the hidden utilities in the start menu, so you do not have to type it manually from the Run window (don’t worry, it doesn’t contain spyware, trojan or something else).
If you have already downloaded the file, install it (you must have an administrator account to do this). Then from the start menu, choose All Program -> XP Addons, and you will see all of the hidden utilities of Windows XP .
These were the previews of some useful Hidden Utilities of Windows XP :
1. (System) Configuration Utility (could be accessed from Run -> msconfig).
The most common utility for system maintenance among the administrators. It can be used for StartUp Settings, including : StartUp Selection, Initial Files, Windows Service, and Startup Programs. I usually use this utility to disable unuseful startup programs to improve windows startup speed.
2. DirectX Diagnostic Tool (could be accessed from Run -> dxdiag)
Another common utility for gamers and video editing users. This utility is used for checking directX components of Windows, including display, sound, music etc. You can also determine if your VGA or sound settings are working properly with this utility.
3. Disk Management (could be accessed from Run -> diskmgmt.msc)
You can use this utility to perform disk-related tasks, such as creating partitions and volumes, formatting them, and assigning drive letters.
4. Dr.Watson Diagnostic Tool (could be accessed from Run -> drwtsn32)
If you have experienced an unknown error while running a program and you still do not know the cause, you should try this utility. You can also see the log file of the errors or crash and the list of the programs which have the troubles.
5. Event Viewer (could be accessed from Run -> eventvwr)
As the name suggest, this utility can provide us with the information of ‘events’ which had been occured in Windows, eg. error reports, application process, system process etc. You can also use it for tracking the errors which had been previously occured in windows.
6. Express Install Wizard/IExpress (could be accessed from Run -> iexpress)
Still use another program to make self-extracting/installing package ? Hehe … you should check this utility out .
7. Performance/System Monitor (could be accessed from Run -> perfmon)
You can easily watch your current system performance graphics, logs and system alerts with this utility.
8. Private Character Editor (could be accessed from Run -> eudcedit)
Another interesting utility of Windows XP . You can create up to 6,400 unique characters (such as special letters and logos) for use in your font library. PCE contains basic tools for creating and editing characters, along with more advanced options.
9. Registry Editor (could be accessed from Run -> regedit)
It’s absolutely the most famous utility of Windows since the Windows 95 era. You can easily edit the database which stores settings and options for the operating system with this utility. This is maybe the most powerful utility for customizing Windows system, but you should use it with caution, otherwise you won’t be able to use your Windows anymore .
10. Task Manager (could be accessed from Run -> taskmgr or simply press Ctrl-Alt-Del buttons)
You can watch and manage the system process, performance, background applications and the active users of your computer. You could also run new task, shut down or restart windows with this utility. Because of its powerful abilities, this utility is usually become one of the first target to be locked by virus or trojan while infecting the computer.
11. Text to Speech Narrator (could be accessed from Run -> narrator)
"Oh my God ! I tell ya, the Windows was speaking !", Hehehe … this could be the funniest utilities of Windows (it’s useful indeed for people with low vision ).
12. Windows Migration Manager/Wizard (could be accessed from Run -> migwiz)
If you have a new computer and you don’t have time to configure the settings (internet explorer, outlook express or display settings) for it, you can use this utility. It could also transfer any files from your old computer into the one as long as you have direct cable connection or LAN.
13. Windows Network Chat (could be accessed from Run -> winchat)
You can simply use this utility to chat with someone within a LAN. Actually, you can also disturb someone with this utility (don’t try that at your office or school. It is very dangerous ).
Reference and Links :
– Windows Online and Offline Help
– English Wikipedia
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