Dear Tech Team:

Windows

How do I write files to CD-R/RW in Windows XP?
Right-click on the desired file(s)
Click "send to"
Choose "Direct CD"

The icons on my monitor have changed and are now too large. How do I make them smaller? 
Right click on the screen\desktop
Click "Properties"
Click "Settings"
Click "Apply"

I'm using Windows 2000 and it runs incredibly slow. What can I do?
Start by "cleaning up" without harming information by working in "safe mode"
Hold down the F8 key while starting the computer
Choose "Safe Mode" in the start up menu
Click "Start," "Programs," "Accessories," and then "System Tools"
Access "Disk Cleanup," which works on operating system
"Defrag," which rearranges the way your computer has stored programs to make it more efficient
When finished, double click the "My Computer" icon on the desktop
Right click on the "C: drive," click on "Properties," and "Tools" to access error checking

How to Run Disk Cleanup in XP:
   1. Double-click on My Computer
   2. Right-click on the C: drive
   3. Left-click on Properties
   4. Click Disk Cleanup
This feature may take a while to run if you haven't done it before (or it's been a long time).

Should I install XP Service Pack 2? 
Microsoft lists 10 reasons:
    * It helps protect your computer from viruses, spyware, and other malicious software
    * It makes your Web surfing more private
    * It provides a measure of protection against unsafe software downloads
    * It cuts down on annoying pop-up ads
    * It adds a built-in firewall to keep viruses and worms out -- called Windows Firewall
    * It makes it easier to view and use your security settings
    * It allows you to get Windows updates more easily
    * It makes it harder for spammers to find and use your e-mail address
    * It reduces the potential for crashes
    * It makes it much easier to go wireless For Windows XP users, Service Pack 2 is a major upgrade. It improves the Windows XP Firewall and Windows Update, adds a pop-up blocker and other security features to Internet Explorer, and enhances the security of Outlook Express. Before installing Service Pack 2, however, contact your local MLS for compatibility information to make sure your new software doesn't create problems.

How do I get my recycle bin icon back on the desktop?
   1. Click Start, and then click My Computer.
   2. On the "Tools" menu, click Folder Options.
   3. Next, click the View tab and then click the check box to clear the Hide protected operating system files (Recommended). Click Yes when the warning message appears.
   4. Click Folders on the toolbar. In the left pane, find the "Recycle Bin" folder and drag it to the desktop.
   5. On the "Tools" menu, click Folder Options.
   6. Click the View tab again, and then click to select the Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) check box. Click OK.

When I boot my computer, sometimes I have this generic windows icon appear with a Tilde symbol (~). What do I do with this file?
First of all, don't delete it—it's a backup of the Windows Address Book. It appears as a result of the April 2003 Cumulative Patch for Outlook Express (330994). Unfortunately, a bug in the patch allows the file to be saved to the desktop. When you edit a contact in the Microsoft Outlook Express Windows Address Book (WAB), a file that is named "~" may appear on the desktop or in another location on the hard disk, such as C:\Program Files\Outlook Express. To resolve the problem, install security update 823353. For additional information about security update 823353, visit the following Microsoft Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms04-018.mspx.

You could also move the file to another location. First find the shortcut to Outlook Express and right-click on it; click on Properties and make sure "Read-only" is unchecked on the "General" tab. Next, click on the Shortcut tab, and in the "Start In" field, change the location to "C:\." Click on Apply and then OK.

Back up your Data
If you are having computer problems, it is advisable that you copy your "My Documents" folder, "Favorites" folder, *.wab, *.pst files, and any other important data to a CD or other media. Also be sure to backup your contacts in your mail program. In Outlook or Outlook Express, you can export all contacts to a text file and copy the file to external media such as a CD or jump drive.

Install all Microsoft Critical Updates for Windows. This can be found by clicking Start, Programs, Microsoft Update.

Free up disk space by removing temporary Internet files, removing installed components and programs that you no longer use, and emptying the Recycle Bin.

How to Delete Temporary files:
   1. Click Start
   2. Click Find (Search)
   3. Click Files and Folders
   4. In the Named box type "*.tmp"
   5. In the Look In box, select the Local Disk C
   6. Click Find now or Search.
After the search is complete, left-click on one file, then select all temporary files by holding down the Ctrl key and tapping the letter A (Ctrl-A). Finally, press the delete key on your keyboard to delete the files.

I don't know what version of Microsoft Windows I'm running. How do I find out?
Option One:
   1. Look for "My Computer" either on your desktop or by clicking on Start.
   2. Right click on My Computer.
   3. Left click on Properties.
Option Two:
      Go directly from your keyboard by pressing the Windows Key plus the Break Key.
In either case, the "System Properties" dialog box will appear. If you look on the "General Tab" near the top of the screen, you'll see which version of Microsoft Windows you're using.

How do I update Windows?
   1. Click on Start and look above the separator line for "Windows Update" (A "separator line" divides permanent programs from programs that can change)
   2. Click on Windows Update, which will open Internet Explorer and take you directly to Microsoft's update page. Learn more about Windows updates at: http://v4.windowsupdate.microsoft.com/en/about.asp.

How do I know if Windows XP is updating automatically?
   1. Click on the Start Button, then on Control Panel.
   2. Click on either Automatic Updates or Security Center.

I have icons on my desktop that I no longer need. How do I remove them?
Right-click on the icon you want to remove and then select "Delete."

When I start my Windows XP computer, the folder C:\windows\system32 pops up repeatedly every time. Why is this and what should I do to resolve it?

If the System32 folder window keeps opening all by itself every time you start your computer, it may be due to the fact that a remaining component of an uninstalled program is causing problems in the Windows Registry or with your computer’s start-up function. (The Registry is the database of software and hardware information Windows depends on to work correctly.)

Microsoft has an article about how to troubleshoot the issue at support.microsoft.com/kb/170086. The article’s explanation, which is a bit technical, entails changing your computer’s Registry file and getting rid of incomplete entries — like quotation marks on a line by themselves in lieu of file path information in the Data column of the Registry Editor window.

Editing the Registry incorrectly can cause the system to fail so the company recommends that you exercise caution and back up your Registry file before beginning the process; a link to another article about backing up and revising the Registry is also featured on the page.

Backing up your PC or producing a restore point (a snapshot of your system that you can refer to, when necessary) with System Restore in the Start menu’s Help & Support section is an excellent suggestion before you start playing with your machine.

If the thought of tinkering with the Windows Registry sounds too terrifying, there are other alternatives. A free script from Kelly’s Korner, a Web site dedicated to tuning Windows XP, might take care of the issue for you; search for the link called “System32 Folder Opens Upon Boot” at www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_tweaks.htm. Double-click on the downloaded script file to open it.

If that doesn’t repair the problem, registry-cleaning utilities like Registry Mechanic (www.pctools.com/registry-mechanic) might lend a hand.

If the System32 folder keeps showing up after you verify your Registry for defective entries, a program fragment may be impeding your computer’s start-up function. You can use the System Configuration utility to find out what programs are starting up with Windows and what might be influencing the System32 folder, and to turn off unnecessary processes.

Utilizing the System Configuration function may cause some Windows alerts regarding configuration changes to pop up, and you should proceed with caution. Microsoft has another article that explains the tool at support.microsoft.com/kb/310560, and the Net Squirrel site describes all the aspects of the process at www.netsquirrel.com/msconfig.