Table of Contents

Accept no limits! Tweak Windows XP for ultimate performance with the undocumented secrets and hidden gems of the experts who work with the technology every day. Three Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) professionals have teamed with well-known Windows book author Paul McFedries to reveal their best from-the-field-techniques, practices, hacks, tricks, and workarounds for putting all of your PCs muscle to work. Smart, straightforward, and uncompromisingly practical, this book is the ultimate insider’s guide to pushing Windows XP as far as it can go!

Put professional-level practices to work for you:

  • Tweak registry settings without getting burned
  • Employ lethal techniques to help fight viruses, intruders, and spam
  • Customize startup and shutdown—get work done behind the scenes
  • Install devices and drivers—painlessly
  • Learn 10 ways to help give your system rock-solid stability
  • Write your own scripts—or run the ones inside
  • Share your PC using group policies, account lock-outs, and other management tools
  • Optimize memory, performance, and usability
  • Easily synchronize files between your mobile and desktop PCs
  • Troubleshoot problems the way experts do

About the Authors

Paul McFedries has written more than 40 computer-related books that have sold nearly three million copies worldwide. He is the president of Logophilia Limited, a technical writing company, and has experience as a consultant, Windows programmer, and Web site developer.

Scott Andersen, MCS Service Line Architect, has more than 10 years of experience as an IT professional and has been involved in many aspects of building and deploying Windows XP desktop solutions.

Austin Wilson, MCS Service Line Architect, has been involved with Microsoft Windows NT deployments since version 3.1, including Windows XP early adopter programs. He has been in the IT industry for 15 years.

Geoff Winslow, MCS Service Line Architect, has more than 10 years of professional field experience and has been designing and deploying Windows infrastructure solutions from Windows NT 3.51 to the present.

Insider Power Techniques for Microsoft Windows XP

Paul McFedries
Scott Andersen
Austin Wilson
Geoff Winslow

Microsoft Press
A Division of Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, Washington 98052-6399

Copyright 2003 by Paul McFedries

All rights reserved. No part of the contents of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of the publisher.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Insider Power Techniques for Microsoft Windows XP / Paul McFedries ... [et al.].
p. cm.
Includes index.
ISBN 0-7356-1896-8
1. Microsoft Windows (Computer file) 2. Operating systems (Computers) I. McFedries,
QA76.76.O63I555 2003
005.4’469—dc21 2002044882

Printed and bound in the United States of America.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 QWE 8 7 6 5 4 3

Distributed in Canada by H.B. Fenn and Company Ltd.

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Microsoft Press books are available through booksellers and distributors worldwide. For further information about international editions, contact your local Microsoft Corporation office or contact Microsoft Press International directly at fax (425) 936-7329. Visit our Web site at Send comments to

FireWire is a trademark of Apple Computer, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. HotBot is a registered trademark of Wired Digital, Inc., a Lycos company, in the United States of America and other countries. All rights reserved. Hotmail, Microsoft, Microsoft Press, MSN, Outlook, and Visual Basic are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

The example companies, organizations, products, domain names, e-mail addresses, logos, people, places, and events depicted herein are fictitious. No association with any real company, organization, product, domain name, e-mail address, logo, person, place, or event is intended or should be inferred.

Acquisitions Editor: Alex Blanton
Project Editor: Jenny Moss Benson
Technical Editor: Jim Johnson

Body Part No. X09-35335

The manuscript for this book was prepared and galleyed using Microsoft Word. Pages were composed using Adobe FrameMaker+SGML for Windows, with text in Garamond and display type in Helvetica Condensed. Composed pages were delivered to the printer as electronic prepress files.

Cover Designer: Patricia Bradbury

Cover Illustrator: Todd Daman

Interior Graphic Designer: James D. Kramer

Principal Compositor: Barbara Levy, Stepping Stone Graphics

Principal Copy Editor: Marilyn Orozco, Stepping Stone Graphics

Indexer: Shane-Armstrong Information Systems


The gurus keep talking about the coming age of self-publishing, where every Tom, Dick, and Harriet can foist their prose on an unsuspecting world. That’s fine, but the gurus never talk about an important corollary: Self-publishing almost always means self-editing, too. And that’s a big problem, because even the best writers need editing, and not even the best writers can do it themselves. The world needs editors not only because it’s hard to dot every “i” and cross every “t,” but because we need experts to look dispassionately at our prose and give us good advice about how to fix it. And we have been fortunate, indeed, that we’ve had the expert editors at Microsoft Press to help us whip this book into shape. We extend sincere thanks to everyone at Microsoft Press who had a hand in bringing this book to print, particularly those with whom we worked directly: acquisitions editor Alex Blanton, project editor Jenny Moss Benson, technical editor Jim Johnson, copy editor Marilyn Orozco, and project manager Barb Levy.

We also want to thank our family and friends for their support and, well, just for being there.

To Karen and Gypsy

—Paul McFedries

To Barbara, Jaguar, Nick, and Luke

—Scott Andersen

To Laura, Molly, and Chaz

—Austin Wilson

To Carol and Sydney

—Geoff Winslow