Hack XP to look like Vista

Well, lets face it. I don't want to jump to Vista Bandwagon just now but I envy the way it looks. There are ways to hack your stable and trusted Windows XP to look and behave like Vista.

1. First you need to find out which Service Pack you are running. To do this simple press the Windows flag key+Pause/Break key. This is going to open the system properties window. Here it is going to say which service pack you are running
2. Now you have some downloading to do.
First get: The appropriate Uxtheme.dll file
If you are running Service Pack 1 then get this file.
If you are running Service Pack 2 then get this file.
3. Unzip the file to your desktop
4. Now you need to download the Replacer(I recommend getting a stable version). The replacer efficiently replaces your system files and is supposed to be completely safe. This program also backs up your file in case you need to revert the changes.
5. Unzip the Replacer to your desktop. Make sure you read the "readme" because it has some important tips on how to revert those changes that you made.
Now you are ready to replace your uxtheme.dll file
1. Now double click on the replacer file (replacer.cmd)
2. Then it will ask you to drag and drop the original system file you want to replace. So go to the System32 folder and somewhere near the bottom you are going to see the uxtheme.dll file. Drag and drop it into the window.
Note: your computer may have more than 1 uxtheme.dll file but usually the file that you computer is using is the one in the system32 folder. (usually the location for your Uxtheme.dll file is C:\WINDOWS\system32\uxtheme.dll)
3. Press Enter
4. Then it will ask you to drag the file you want to replace. Open the folder with the downloaded file and drag and drop the file into replacer. 5. Now it will ask you to confirm that you want to replace the files or not. So double check and then press enter.


Replacer will now swap your original file with the new one. Now restart your computer. Congratulations you can now use custom msstyle themes on your computer. Which is going to make your computer look super cool!  To change your theme just right click on desktop» properties» appearances tab» Windows and buttons If the above method doesn't work then don't loose hope. Just download this multipatcher (no matter what service pack you have) and it might do the job for you!   In case you are looking around for some Visual styles and themes here are some sites that might help you in the quest for the perfect style for you:
- Deviant Art
- Wincustomize
- themexp.org
- WinMatrix

 If you are unsure and want some more proof then you can find some here at uneasysilence.com

These themes will make your computer look like Windows Vista for sure. So... go ahead and download it.  Then unzip or copy it to C:\WINDOWS\Resources\Themes
All right now you can change your computers theme to the Vista theme you chose..  There are many msstyles themes out there that look super cool and look like vista/longhorn. You can also get shell packs and windows blinds themes but some people claim that this can mess up your computer badly.  The theme that I found works best is VistaXP by -kol! (but it was so popular that MS got it removed). 

Some More Vista Components :

Changing the Wallpaper

There are lots of Vista wall papers available... chances are that you have one included with your theme as well. If you don't then you can try your luck at WinMatrix's great post for Vista wallpapers. If not then you can always search on Google for Vista Wallpapers.
If you want you can also get this wallpaper which also a CoolGrass wallpaper by ApacheUser plus it has the Windows Vista logo on it!

Changing the cursor

You can download the aero cursor pack over here. Just read the read me file supplied and enjoy. Additionally, you can go to How to change your mouse pointers article and change your mouse pointer to the 3D-White (system scheme), it looks very similar to the original cursor in Vista.

Getting Vista-ish applications

Now once you are done that. And you like some transparency on your computer get these two very cool tools.
Vista Explorer: Something like the original Vista explorer but for XP and plus it has..... transparency. YES! IT IS TRANSPARENT! Just like the original one.  Internet Explorer (transparent version!): This is also very similar to the real internet explorer. Plus the internet explorer button on the task bar says internet explorer 7 (good for fooling people)! You can also get the real IE 7 (no transparency though)
Now your system should look like Vista for sure, but why stop when you have come so far?
Get the Alt-Tab Replacement PowerToy! This shows you the windows you are switching to (sort of something like in the real windows vista)... 

Fine tuning

After that, fine tune your font settings and turn on ClearType fonts with the ClearType Tuner PowerToy (you can also do this online). Since the real Vista uses the font 'Segoe UI' which is a cleartype font, you can mimic the real fonts by using ClearType.  However, some themes already come with the Segoe UI font so don't forget to enable it while you are using it.

Shell Packs

If you really want to get shell packs to do what you can already do on your own then here are some of them:
- Vista Customization pack by JoeJoe
- The brico pack by CrystalXP
- The Windows X longhorn Transformation pack by Windows X
Please keep in mind that the shell packs don't customize your computer to look like the latest Vista/Longhorn builds, so your computer might not look like the recent Vista versions.

The Vista Sidebar

Go to AlexTheBeast's tutorial on how to Install the Vista/Longhorn Sidebar into XP and put that on your computer too.
And when you are done that you can start celebrating! In fact you can claim that you have Windows Vista already, and nobody will doubt you. One last step enjoy and don't forget to show-off your new look!

Some cool Tips eh ?

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Change the drive icons.

You have not moved to Vista yet or some program stole your drive icons {Notably, geek-fav Vista Transformation Pack is so stupid that if you uninstall the Software, it does not even bother to restore the default icons} and you are stuck with no icons for your C:, D: and other drives. There is a quick and dirty way to change the icon: To change the icon displayed within explorer for a drive requires changes to the windows registry.

  1. Create (if it does not already exist) the registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\ Windows\ CurrentVersion\ Explorer\ DriveIcons\ X\ DefaultIcon

where 'X' is the drive letter of the drive for which you wish to change the drive icon.

  1. Change the key's default value to hold the fully qualified name of the icon file (e.g. 'd:\ions\cdrive.ico').

If the file contains more than one icon then follow it with a comma and the zero-based index of the icon (e.g. 'd:\cons\mylib.dll,2').

  1. To see the affect restart windows - although, depending on the version of windows simply refreshing the window might be sufficient.

From Windows 2000 onwards it is also possible to change the default label shown for each drive.

  1. Navigate to (or create):

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion \Explorer\ DriveIcons\ X\ DefaultLabel

where 'X' is the drive letter of the drive for which you wish to change the label.

  1. Change the key's default value to hold the required label.

The icon displayed for a cd (or zip) drive is normally taken from the media that it holds. To specify the icon that should be used:

  1. Copy the icon file (IconName.ico) to the root directory (i.e. the top directory) of the cd. (Any name will do, but it must be an icon file and have a ‘.ico’ file extension.)

  2. Create the file ‘AUTORUN.INF’ in the root of the drive, it should contain:

[autorun]
icon = IconName.ico

  1. The change will be visible the next time cd is placed into a drive.
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Backup your blog...the easy way !

You were always worried about your precious blog posts getting lost if the provider chose to shut the shop some day. Worry no more... Greg Duncan has created a free blogger backup software which is extremely easy to use.

With Blogger Backup, you can backup your blog posts into a single file or one blog post per file or multiple posts per file. The future versions may even save your blog posts into PDF files that you can distribute as eBooks.

Blogger backup can download everything or you can do incremental backups meaning backup just the new posts since your last backup or download blog posts posted between any two given dates.  Best of all, Blogger Backup can also extract and save your Blog readers comments offline.

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Templates for Picasa Web Albums.

Google Picasa is more than just a simple photo editing and management software. You can edit the pictures and create collages out of them. Its very easy and elegant solution for all your photo editing needs. One of the less-known feature of Picasa is Photo Albums.

To create a Photo album in Picasa, select the photos and put them in the Picasa tray by clicking the Hold button. Next goto Album - Export as HTML page. Select the picture size, web album template and click export. That's it.

While Picasa comes with an impressive array of templates, you can download additional templates from paulvanroekel.nl The above picture gallery was created using the awesome LightBox Picasa template available here.

These templates are available as zip files - extract the content to the directory \Program Files\Picasa 2\web\templates\ in separate folders.

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Disable Active Desktop feature in Windows.

I have always found Windows Active Desktop to be a very heavy and unnecessary feature. Sometimes, you find that you can't disable it using the usual methods. There is another way to force-disable/enable the active desktop.

Create a new DWORD value named "NoActiveDesktop", and set the new value to equal "1" to enable the restriction or "0" to disable the restriction.

This restriction can be used either on a user by user basis by adding it to HKEY_CURRENT_USER or on a computer wide basis by adding it to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.

User Key: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer]
System Key: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer]
Value Name: NoActiveDesktop
Data Type: REG_DWORD (DWORD Value)
Value Data: (0 = disable restriction, 1 = enable restriction)

Disclaimer: Modifying the registry can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. We cannot guarantee that problems resulting from modifications to the registry can be solved. Use the information provided at your own risk.

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Cool GMail Tricks.

Gmail has an interesting quirk where you can add a plus sign (+) after your Gmail address, and it'll still get to your inbox. It's called plus-addressing, and it essentially gives you an unlimited number of e-mail addresses to play with. 

Here's how it works: say your address is duh@gmail.com, and you want to automatically label all work e-mails. Add a plus sign and a phrase to make it duh+work@gmail.com and set up a filter to label it work (to access your filters go to Settings->Filters and create a filter for messages addressed to duh+work@gmail.com. Then add the label work).

You can use this small trick to create web site specific addresses and set up filters for them to catch companies who spam or sell email addresses of its customers.  

Let's say you need to sign up for a mailing list that interests you, but you're afraid spammers might get your address. We'll call the list "exoticflowers". Sign up with the list using the address "johndoe+exoticflowers@gmail.com". Email to that address will still come to your "johndoe@gmail.com" address even though the "To:" will include that "+exoticflowers" in it.

Then set up Gmail filters to shuttle that +exoticflowers email past the inbox to a specific label.

Find out who is spamming you: Be sure to use plus-addressing for every form you fill out online and give each site a different plus address.
Example: You could use
duh+nytimes@gmail.com for nytimes.com
duh+freestuff@gmail.com for freestuff.com
Then you can tell which site has given your e-mail address to spammers, and automatically send them to the trash.

Archive your mail: If you receive periodic updates about your bank account balance or are subscribed to a lot of mailing lists that you don't check often, then you can send that sort of mail to the archives and bypass your Inbox.
Example: For the mailing list, you could give pinkyrocks+mailinglist1@gmail.com as your address, and assign a filter that will archive mail to that address automatically. Then you can just check in once in a while on the archive if you want to catch up.

Also, You can reformat your existing Gmail address by inserting dots (periods) anywhere within your Gmail username. The Gmail Help pages explain:

Because Gmail doesn't recognize dots as characters within usernames, adding or removing dots from a Gmail address won't change the actual destination address. Messages sent to yourusername@gmail.com and y.o.u.r.u.s.e.r.n.a.m.e@gmail.com are all delivered to your Inbox, and only yours.

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Create Dreams...in Photoshop.

Stock.xchng shows how to create incredible 'dream-like' photographs using Photoshop.

Before :

After :

Looks like a dream...well, almost.

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A Programmer's Task Manager.

I have been searching for a real programmer's task manager.  A simple software to remind me and track my tasks. No, I did not want some Web2.0 application. I wanted something to sit on my taskbar and keep on reminding me.

Asumi Task Manager is a gem of a software.

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Finest Fonts

WebIntenta has a wonderful list of superb free fonts.

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Stunning Wallpapers.

Socksoff has a collection of stunningly beautiful wallpapers. This collection consists of modified wallpapers made from free stock photos. Amazing work.

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Expand Windows desktop with ShellEnhancer

Freeware application ShellEnhancer expands the functionality of your Windows desktop. It offers several of visual enhancements like rolling up windows, making windows transparent, forcing windows to always stay on top, and forcing windows to keep focus. But it's much more than another eye candy app.

ShellEnhancer also has advanced task switchers, live previews of open applications, and a task management system.

ShellEnhancer is an application designed to enhance the default shell of Windows and to make your life easier. ShellEnhancer allows you to make your own tasks. Tasks consist of a number of commands which get executed one after the other. Available commands include: insert text, send keystroke, manipulate windows, run program, start screensaver, lock workstation and many others. Tasks can be executed with hotkeys, mouse gestures or screen corners. This can also be automated with the Auto Managed Windows feature.

ShellEnhancer is a free download for Windows XP and Windows Vista. ShellEnhancer [NuonSoft - Via Lifehacker]

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A cheat sheet of cheat sheets

Web site TechTarget compiled the cheat sheet of all cheat sheets (a meta cheat sheet, if you will).  Like any good reference document, this one is categorized alphabetically and gets right to the point. If you still can't find the info you need, Lifehacker has got plenty of cheat sheets too. {via Lifehacker}

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Track site visitors in real time

I saw whos.amung.us sometime back. I was not quite impressed at that time. Perhaps at that time the service had not matured much. But look at whos.amung.us now and you can't help feel pleasantly surprised.

It shows real time data on who's on your site\blog right now by simply using a little gif file on each page (in the blog template. Pretty nice.

Train to be a Keyboard Jedi

Learning app Keyboard Jedi disables your mouse and helps you memorize your favorite application's keyboard shortcuts.

No, this software is not any visual overlay or a diagram of keyboard shortcuts but something entirely different - it puts you in a situation where you have no option but to learn the shortcuts in order to complete your task - just like the strict teacher in the school.
Start any application and press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+F12. Keyjedi will disable your mouse only for that application. Whatever shortcuts you type will appear in a small transparent window.

In Firefox, you can still use mouse to move the cursor and grab focus of various text areas and input fields, but choosing menu items (like File > New Tab) was disabled. Keyboard Jedi is a free download for Windows; requires the free .NET framework to run. [via Lifehacker]

The complete Guide to Optimizing Windows XP - Again

I have previously mentioned an excellent article to optimize the performance of Windows XP. The tips in this article can squeeze the last bits of performance from an over-bloated XP.


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Safari 3 beta now available for Windows too

Lifehacker talks about an interesting move from Apple. Today Apple releases the Safari version 3 beta, which now runs on Windows as well as OS X.

Steve Jobs said today that Safari is faster than Internet Explorer and Firefox. From Gizmodo's liveblog of Jobs' keynote at the WWDC:

HTML performance on XP: IE, Firefox and Safari tested. Running through the benchmark suite, IE gets done in 4.6 seconds, Firefox in 3.7, Safari in 2.2. Javascript: 2.4 for IE, Firefox 1.6, Safari 0.9. "Fastest browser on Windows."

Fastest browser on Windows? If that's true, can it compete with Firefox's extension library ? In the meantime, the Safari 3 public beta for Windows and Mac is available as a free download.

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Enhance window controls with PowerMenu

Freeware application PowerMenu adds enhanced window manipulation options to your right-click menu. Similar to SetAlphaValue, PowerMenu can set the level of transparency for each open application. Additionally, PowerMenu gives you a few more options, like forcing the window to always stay on top, or minimize to the tray. PowerMenu has no formal installation process - they recommend unzipping PowerMenu to a folder in "C:\Program Files" and then adding a shortcut to your Startup folder. PowerMenu is a free download for Windows XP and Windows Vista. PowerMenu [Major Geeks]

Google Pagerank De-mystified

Almost every blogger and site owner is obsessed about their Google PageRank. The problem is, no-one can say for certain exactly how it works and Google are fairly quiet on the subject, so that the algorithm doesn’t get abused. It would probably be the biggest online joke ever if Google PageRank’s played no real role in Google’s algorithms!

Anyway, if you do believe in Google PageRank’s then this post from Smashing Magazine is the only one you need to read. It’s one of the most comprehensive posts I have ever seen and an amazing amount of effort has been put into researching how Google PageRanks work, and what factors do and don’t have an impact.

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Know When People Bookmark You on Del.icio.us

When people bookmark your blog on Del.icio.us, they are indirectly giving important feedback about your site.
The text notes and tags that people attach to your site while saving it on del.icio.us gives a fairly good idea about what they think of your blog. And tracking this information is again very simple.

Visit delicious.com/url and type the URL of your blog.

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Wouldn't it be nice if you could upload a ton of your del.icio.us bookmarks all at once instead of one by one? our favorite Amit Agarwal of Digital Inspiration has figured out how to do this.

All you need to do is create a text file with your links (you can copy and paste his script) and you'll be able to bulk upload about once a minute. It's a much easier way than laboriously bookmarking pages one at a time.

Submit Multiple URLs to del.icio.us Bookmarks as a Batch [via Digital Inspiration]

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Insert tag cloud in the new blogger

phy3blog shows a fantastic way to create a tag cloud {as seen in this blog sidebar} of the blog categories (tags). You have to have a blog on New Blogger, and you MUST be using the layouts templates - no old blogger or classic templates here.

Essentially, the method uses the del.icio.us tag cloud code with slight modification. The entire process can be summarized as :

  1. The first part to put in is the stylesheet section added between the <b:skin> tags. This stylesheet should not be modified unless you are a certified CSS guru.
  2. This next section is the configuration section for the Cloud. It also goes in the head
    of the template, but outside of the stylesheet part. Easiest thing to do again is to find
    the closing stylesheet tag ]]>
    But this time place the code right AFTER that line, but BEFORE the </head> tag. Here, you can modify the look of the cloud by modifying any of the following style sheet : >

    var maxFontSize = 20; /* Change to a different size */
    var maxColor = [0,0,255]; /* Change to a different value */
    var minFontSize = 10; /* Change to a different size */
    var minColor = [0,0,0]; /* Change to a different value */

  3. Now is the time to add the code that renders the cloud, find out the following tag in the template : and replace with the code to build the tag cloud. You can get the code from the original article.

  4. Also the CSS modification is explained in great detail in this article.

Darn ! How did I miss this excellent and very simple way ?

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The Awful Movie Database

The Awful Movie Database (AMDB) now spanning over sixteen cubic miles of internet, was founded in 1992 by film expert Dr. David Thorpe. In their own words..."The AMDB is committed to providing thorough and accurate information about thousands of hard-to-find, lost, forgotten or supressed motion pictures. Within our vast archive of totally unfiltered information you will find an inestimable volume of fascinating trivia, probing biographies, and comprehensive cast and crew listings..." Definitely worth a look.

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First look: Firefox 3 alpha 5

Arstechnica takes a sneak peek into the features of FF3. The fifth public alpha build of Firefox 3 has been officially released. The new alpha build, which is codenamed Gran Paradiso, features early components of the revamped Places system, a cohesive storage framework that will unify bookmark and history storage. 

The current implementation of the Places system is still a work in progress, but the final version will support features like bookmark tagging, full-text indexing, extended metadata search, built-in syncing functionality, and support for exporting bookmarks in a broader number of formats. The Places user interface hasn't been developed yet, so there really aren't any aspects of the Places system that are visually apparent in the alpha 5 build. This alpha release primarily incorporates infrastructure elements of the Places system. In particular, alpha 5 migrates bookmark storage from the current XML data format to the SQLite-based MozStorage system. Bookmarks can now be found in the places.sqlite file in Firefox profile directories.  Firefox 3 alpha 5 also features a new password manager. One of the most significant features in Firefox 3 is Gecko 1.9, a vastly improved Cairo-based HTML rendering engine. With support for Gecko 1.9 and the long-anticipated Places system, Firefox 3 promises to be a powerful and impressive release.

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Some great blogger templates.

Finally someone took the pains to design/port good templates for blogger. Blogyweb has some superb templates for the new blogger and some great tips.

  1. Plantilla Blogy MinyxDemo
  2. Plantilla Blogy WebbyDemo
  3. Plantilla Blogy TierraDemo
  4. Plantilla Blogy neosapienDemo
  5. Plantilla Blogy MinimalistaNegroDemo
  6. Plantilla Blogy Agua Demo
  7. Plantilla Blogy IntegralDemo
  8. Plantilla Blogy AzulbrillanteDemo
  9. Plantilla: Blogy iPlantilla Demo
  10. Plantilla Blogy Enlight Demo
  11. Plantilla Happie Demo
  12. Plantilla Elegant Demo
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Paste multiple lines to Firefox input boxes

If you've ever tried copying and pasting a multi-line address into Google Maps just to realize that an input box will only take one line at a time—meaning that you have to copy and paste each line individually—there's a simple Firefox tweak that will solve this problem:

Type "about:config" in the location bar. In the "Filter" field type "singleline." You can set the value to 2 for editor.singleLine.pasteNewlines, which will allow pasting of multiple lines to input boxes.

Of course, this tweak works for any input box, so if you've bumped up against the multi-line paste problem elsewhere, consider it a problem of the past. Thanks Lifehacker for this excellent tip.

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Change XP Themes Without Installing 3rd Party Software

Do you hate the way the default windows visual scheme looks? Do you hate the fact that you can only choose from two schemes? Well there are some solutions to fixing this problem. If your lazy and dont care about your RAM usage or other vital stuff - you can install a 3rd party style manager such as Style-XP or some Stardock product. But if you ask me those always up space, RAM, and cpu usage.


I’d rather go into display properties on my desktop and change the visual style there. However - Microsoft prevents you from adding any more visual style due to their “uxtheme.dll” file. Therefore - we must either acquire a hacked version of the file that disables the restriction of adding additional visualization themes, or we can hack it ourselves. You could of course hex edit the dll yourself, but why go through the trouble when someone has already done it for you.  Grab it here.


Now apply the patch and reboot. After that, you have to install some themes. Here are some great websites where you can get themes from:
http://www.deviantart.com/
http://www.xptheme.info
http://www.deskmod.com
http://www.winxptheme.com/
http://www.windowspro.net/
http://www.themexp.org
http://winxp.rb-338.com/
http://www.belchfire.net/
http://www.aqua-soft.org/
http://www.getskinned.org


So anyway at this point you picked out your selection of themes that you like and have the zip files and your wondering where to put them all. Well its a simple matter of extracting ALL THE FILES found in the zip files to your “c:/windows/resources/themes” directory. After you have finished extracting the files, right click on your desktop then click on “properties.” That will open the Display Properties dialog box. Then:


A. For themes with the “.msstyles” file extension: click on the “Appearance” tab then choose your desired theme from the “Windows and buttons” dialog box, then choose which color scheme you prefer from the “color scheme” dialog box (most themes only come with one color, but some come with more). You should see something like in the screenshot here:
msstyles extension
Click “apply” then close the display properties dialog box.


B. For themes with the “.theme” file extension, make sure the open “display properties” window is the “Themes” tab (it’s the default window, so you should already be looking right at it.) Choose your theme from the “themes” dialog box like below:
Screen2
Once you’re done just hit apply.


C. For themes with both the “.msstyles” and “.theme” extensions, use the “.theme” version if you want to use any included icons, wallpaper, etc. Use the “.msstyles” version to use the “visual style” only without using any of the included icons, wallpaper, etc.
You’re done! Yeah, right, wouldn’t that be nice? You only wish it was that easy, because I know I do. So keep reading.
There are certain things that must be in place in order for themes to work correctly, so I recommend you double check to make sure everything is good to go before you do any of the above. So go ahead and open the “c:/windows/resources/themes” folder, and follow the below directions:

1. “.Theme” files must be directly within the “c:/windows/resources/themes” folder, and not within individual folders. Check out the screenshot to see what I mean:
Screen3
If you find any in individual sub-folders, simply move the *.theme* file directly to the “c:/windows/resources/themes” folder.


2. “.Msstyles” files *must* be within their own individual sub-folders within the “c:/windows/resources/themes” folder like in the screenshot


3. After doing the above, you will need to check each individual sub-folder within the “c:/windows/resources/themes” folder, *including* the ones you didn’t have to fix, or create yourself.

Why ?  Because:
a. It is essential that the name of the sub-folder match the name of the “.msstyles” file exactly, and caps, lower case, spaces, underscores, etc., ALL count - i.e., the file “generic.msstyles” must be in a folder entitled “generic,” “Generic_01.msstyles” must be in a folder entitled “Generic_01,” etc.
b. Some “.zip” files will extract files into what I call a “sub-sub folder.” For example, the file “generic.msstyles” might be in a sub-folder of a sub-folder; i.e., “c:/windows/resources/themes/generic/generic.” If this is the case, you will need to move the “.msstyles” file into the first sub-folder, “c:/windows/resources/themes/generic.” Delete the “sub-sub” folder after you’ve moved the “.msstyles” file.


4. Some “.msstyles” themes include what is known as a “shellstyle” (”shellstyle.dll”.) “Shellstyle.dll” should be in its own sub-folder entitled “shell” within the “.msstyles” theme sub-folder, “c:/windows/resources/themes/generic/shell”. Sometimes, the “shell” sub-folder has its own sub-folders, for example, “c:/windows/resources/themes/generic/shell/normalcolor”. If this is the case, “shellstyle.dll” should be in the “normalcolor” sub-folder.

Phew! There you go, now you have a FREE way to making your desktop look great. Not only that, but you’re saving your RAM by keeping extra programs out. More often than not, you wont have to go through the trouble to check all of these things, usually the author organizes the files properly.

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Recover corrupted/deleted LOCAL emails in Thunderbird.

I have always loved Thunderbird...but my love crossed all bounds today. Somehow in the morning, somehow (dont blame the birdy) my local folders got corrputed and I missed lots of mails from a specific very dear folder...I panicked but my faith in the birdy never wavered.

I remembered that birdy never actually deletes any mails until I compact the folders. I tried to google and found this superb article..

In a nutshell, you can recover those long gone mails as follows :
(Disclaimer : This will work only if you have not compacted the folder)


- Turn off Thunderbird, do not compact.
- Using your OS, locate the file without an extension and with the same name as the Thunderbird folder where the messages were last (might be Trash) in your profile folder http://kb.mozillazine.org/Profile_folder#Thunderbird
For example, the Inbox file rather than inbox.msf or inbox.sbd.
- Open this file with a simple text editor.
- Change the digits after X-Mozilla-Status all to zero for those messages you wish to undelete if they still exist.
- Save the file
- Turn off the text editor
- Delete the file of the same name with the extension .msf. Example Trash.msf. This will rebuild the message index.
- If you are religious, say a prayer to the deity or saint of your choice
- Say a prayer to Murphy
- Restart Thunderbird


This works like a charm....

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Remove accidental IE Restrictions.

I just returned from a 20 day vacation to find that suddenly my IE 7 did not allow me to access the 'Internet Options'. The error was :

This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator.

I was shocked and was going to throw in the towel when something within me rebelled. I googled a lot to find the following tweak to remove the restriction.

  • Open the Registry and find the following Key :
    • [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Restrictions]
  • Set the value of NoBrowserOptions  to 0 instead of 1.

Inshort, set the following keys and values :

User Key: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Restrictions]
System Key: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Restrictions]
Data Type: REG_DWORD (DWORD Value)
Value Data: (0 = disable restriction, 1 = enable restriction)

Save the registry and restart the browser.

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Managing \dllcache folder in XP

%WINDOWS%\system32\dllcache\ folder on my work machine gobbled up 500 Megs of my precious C drive and left me with a slow pathetic machine.

What on earth does it contain ? WinXP uses System File Checker to protect itself from system instability caused by 3rd party software overwriting important system files. By default, Windows File Protection is always enabled and allows Windows digitally signed files to replace existing files safely.  To do that, the Windows File Protection service constantly monitors for any changes to the main system files. Well Windows XP keeps a cache (copy) of these essential files at the following location:

C:WINDOWS\System32\Dllcache  (assuming C: is your system root which it probably is.)

Deleting this folder is easy, just say this at the command prompt:

sfc /purgecache 

But this cache will be rebuild next time you restart the machine. But, its easy to redirect this cache to a larger partition. Just do the following :

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]
Modify or create a subkey as follows
SFCDllCacheDir=[Disk:\Folder]

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Supercharge Google Calendar

Google Calendar is definitely one of the coolest online calendars and task-management applications. It has everything an average user may wish for: speed, non-cluttered design and lots of useful and never failing features, i.e. calendar sharing, quick event entry, follow-up reminders (SMS/email), RSS feeds, etc.  In addition to it’s standard feature set, there are hundreds of a user-created browser addons (mainly firefox) and problem-specific tips making it even better and more flexible productivity tool. Below, I have listed some of the better ones, if you’re Google Calendar user (or thinking of becoming one) than check them out.

FIREFOX (Addons and Greasemonkey Scripts)

(1) Better GCal - extremely handy extension that integrates bunch of must-have features into your Google Calendar. These are: (1) ‘To-Do’ box, (2) current time, (3) option to quickly hide Header/Sidebar menus, and (4) auto-connect via ’secure connection’ (see screenshot below nr.2)

(2) Extra Tabs (Greasemonkey) - replaces ’standard’ date range tabs with any number of customized tabs. Leaving it on default setting keeps existing tabs untouched and adds “Next 3 Days”, “Next 2 Weeks”, and “Next 3 Weeks” view tabs. (see screenshot below)

 

(3) Google Calendar Integration (Greasemonkey) - integrates Google Calendar agenda into Gmail. See demo [More Gmail Tools]

(4) Forecast (Greasemonkey) - adds a small, draggable and expandable ‘Forecast’ box to your browser that shows next seven events from your Google calendar. (To get it running, you’ll need to provide it with your calendar’s XML feed, which can be accessed via ‘Settings->Calendars->select desired calendar->Private Address: XML’)

(5) GCalQuickTab - switch between Gmail and Google Calendar using keyboard shortcuts: ‘g’ for Gmail and ‘i’ for Calendar.

(6) Some more…

  • Notifier - notifies you of upcoming events for ‘today’ and ‘tomorrow’. [Screenshots]
  • Colorize Sat/Sun (Greasemonkey/Opera) - colorizes ‘Saturday’ and ‘Sunday’ columns [Screenshots]
  • Quick Add - add events to your calendar without going to Google Calendar page. (only Firefox: 1.5.0.*)
  • Facebook to GCal (Greasemonkey) - add Facebook events to your Google Calendar.
  • Quick Import (Greasemonkey) - provides quick access to otherwise deeply buried import to ICS/iCal page.
  • Compact Header (Greasemonkey/Opera) - compacts GCal’s header by removing unnecessary stuff. [Screenshots]
  • Optimized (Greasemonkey/Opera) - removes logo, makes font-sizes smaller and adjusts paddings and margins.

GOOGLE CALENDAR HowTo’s

  • How To subscribe to a Google Calendar using iCal
  • How To sync Google Calendar with Treo using Mac
  • How To sync Thunderbird With Google Calendar
  • How To add Google calendars to Google Maps
  • How To integrate Google Calendar to your website using AJAX
  • How To sync Google Calendar with Outlook
  • How To set Google Calendar as your Desktop’s wallpaper
  • How To do Enterprise Monitoring With Google Calendar
  • How To ‘Get Things Done’ with Google Calendar
  • Google Calendar SMS Tricks
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Massive List of ‘HowTo’ Sites + ‘HowTo’ Search Engine

‘HowTo’s are excellent problems solvers: they provide quick, easy-to-follow and non-overwhelming solutions to one or another problem that pop-up during daily routines. People love them, especially when they’re free, regardless whether it’s a step-by-step guide or a couple of minutes long video.

eHow

WikiHow

Instructables

HowToDoThings

Koonji

VideoJug - Lets you downloaded videos directly to your iPod.

ExpertVillage

SuTree

Sclipo

TrickLife

5min

ViewDo

HelpfulVideo

YouTube

Metacafe

NewBaby [Parenting / Newborn …. and everything related to babies]

TeacherTube [guides for education courses for Math, Literature and etc.]

Helpero [Computers / Networking / Mobile / Games / Internet]

Work [everything related to Entrepreneurs and Small-Business owners]

ShowMeDo [Computing / Internet / Python / java /Linux/ Ruby /Blender / Graphics / Screencasting]

Video-Tabs [Guitar] - over 200 video HowTo’s

 

Google Coop - ‘HowTo & DIY’ Search:  This custom Google-powered search engine will search on all of the above mentioned ‘HowTo’ sites, simultaneously. Works great...

 

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Get Smart, Play Lumosity

Lumosity is a brain fitness program from Lumos Labs which is designed to improve cognitive function through a series of web-based games and exercises. In developing Lumosity, Lumos Labs worked closely with leading neuroscientists from Stanford and UCSF to design and experimentally test the program. In a randomized, controlled study, the exercises were shown to have statistically significant effects in improving memory and attention. Details of the research and methodology behind Lumosity can be viewed here.

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Speed up file copying with TeraCopy

Free file-copying utility TeraCopy speeds up file transfers and can pause, resume and test file copy operations. With TeraCopy you can:

Copy files faster. TeraCopy uses dynamically adjusted buffers to reduce seek times. Asynchronous copy speeds up file transfer between two physical hard drives.
Pause and resume file transfers. Pause copy process at any time to free up system resources and continue with a single click.
Error recovery. In case of copy error, TeraCopy will try several times and in the worse case just skips the file, not terminating the entire transfer.

You can also use TeraCopy to diff the contents of two directories by running a "Test" copy, which shows you which files exist in the destination directory as compared to the source. If you've ever had Windows fail at the very last minute of a multi-gigabyte file copy, TeraCopy's for you. TeraCopy is a free download for home use for Windows.

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Photo2Text: Convert an image to text

Photo2Text.com Convert an image and process to a text file of the original image. There is also a Firefox extension available.

Upload Picasa pics to Flickr with Picasa2Flickr

Windows only: The Picasa2Flickr plugin adds a button to Picasa that lets you directly upload selected pictures to your Flickr account from the comfort of Picasa.

If you're a Flickr die-hard who's love for Picasa has turned your eyes to the Picasa Web Albums more than once, this little plugin adds the same simple one-click upload capability for Flickr. It's currently not the prettiest implementation the world has ever seen, but it works like a charm. Picasa2Flickr is free, Windows only, requires Picasa and Java.

Picasa2Flickr [SourceForge]

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Remove QuickTime from System Tray - Forever.

I dont know why Apple did this to us, but everytime you install something from Apple, Quicktime Player sneaks in and settles in the System Tray. Its mostly a harmless piece of software that does nothing...yes nothing at all but slows down Windows Startup process and annoys you by staring at you from the System Tray. How to remove it forever ?

  1. Start the Windows Task Manager, select the process that says qttask.exe and hit delete. This should kill the process.
  2. Next, open the Registry editor and search for the following entry:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
  3. Delete this entry : QuickTime Task - "C:\Program Files\QuickTime\qttask.exe" -atboottime
  4. Next, open the QuickTime installation folder inside Windows Explorer (C:\Program Files\QuickTime\), select the qttask.exe file and delete or rename it.
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