Saturday, September 16, 2006

Speed up the Internet

Windows 2k/XP

1. First, open the Windows Registry using Regedit, and (after backing up) navigate to:
2. Note the following lines (all hex dwords):
Class = 008 ( biggrin.gif - indicates that TCP/IP is a name service provider, don't change
LocalPriority = 1f3 (499) - local names cache
HostsPriority = 1f4 (500) - the HOSTS file
DnsPriority = 7d0 (2000) - DNS
NetbtPriority = 7d1 (2001) - NetBT name-resolution, including WINS
3. What we're aiming to do is increase the priority of the last 4 settings, while keeping their order. The valid range is from -32768 to +32767 and lower numbers mean higher priority compared to other services. What we're aiming at is lower numbers without going to extremes, something like what's shown below should work well:
4. Change the "Priority" lines to:
LocalPriority = 005 (5) - local names cache
HostsPriority = 006 (6) - the HOSTS file
DnsPriority = 007 (7) - DNS
NetbtPriority = 008 ( biggrin.gif - NetBT name-resolution, including WINS
5. Reboot for changes to take effect

2. Windows 9x/ME

1. The tweak is essentialy the same as in Windows 2000/XP, just the location in the Registry is slightly different. For a more detailed description see the Windows 2000/XP section above
2. Open the Windows Registry using Regedit, and (after backing up) navigate to:
3. You should see the following settings:

4. The "priority" lines should be changed to:
5. Reboot for changes to take effect

3. System.ini IRQ Tweak - Windows 9x/ME ONLY

1. Find your Network Card's IRQ

1. In order to add the entry to your System.ini file, you'd first have to find your NIC's IRQ
2. Right-click on My Computer icon on your Desktop, then left-click on Properties (a shortcut for that would be to press the 'Windows' + 'Pause' keys). Navigate to Device Manager and double-click on Computer. Under "View Resources" you will find a list of IRQs, each with description of the device that's using it. Note the IRQ number used by your Network Adapter

2. Adding the entry to System.ini

1. Once you've found the IRQ of your Network Card, you need to reserve some RAM for its use, by adding an entry to the System.ini file. You can edit the file in any text editor, however the easiest way is to use Windows' built in "System Configuration Editor"
2. Navigate to Start > Run and type sysedit . Find the [386enh] Section in the System.ini file and add Irq[n]=4096 under it, where [n] is the IRQ number of your NIC and 4096 is the amount of RAM you want to reserve in Kbytes. We recommend using 4096, however you can experiment with different values if you want. Save changes in the file, exit and reboot for changes to take effect.
Note: If you choose to try different values, keep in mind that reserving too much RAM for your NIC will decrease the amount of RAM available for applications, while reserving too little might not give the desired effect

3. Additional Thoughts
1. The only negative effect of the System.ini IRQ tweak is that it will reduce the amount of RAM available for running applications a bit, by reserving some specifically for your Network Card's use. The gain in performance usually outweighs the negative effect by far, considering any Computer with 32Mb of RAM or more
2. This tweak may or may not work for you. It is not a documented tweak by Windows
3. Keep in mind that if you add hardware to your system the IRQ of the Network Adapter might change, in which case you will need to modify the setting in System.ini
4. In systems with multiple NICs, you might want to add the setting for both IRQs. Also, you could reserve RAM for other IRQs if you wish, just use common sense and don't forget it reduces the amount of RAM available for running applications
5. If you are using an USB device, it does not have a specific IRQ, however you can try adding the entry using the IRQ of the USB Controller
6. For internal Cable Modems, you'd have to add the entry using the IRQ of your modem, rather than the IRQ of a Network Card

No matter how good your systems may be, they're only as effective as what you put into them.

Convert to Basic and Dynamic Disks in WinXP.

Windows XP Professional supports two types of disk storage: basic and dynamic. Basic disk storage uses partition-oriented disks. A basic disk contains basic volumes (primary partitions, extended partitions, and logical drives).

Dynamic disk storage uses volume-oriented disks, and includes features that basic disks do not, such as the ability to create volumes that span multiple disks (spanned and striped volumes).

General Notes
Before you change a basic disk to a dynamic disk, note these items:

You must have at least 1 megabyte (MB) of free space on any master boot record (MBR) disk that you want to convert. This space is automatically reserved when the partition or volume is created in Microsoft Windows 2000 or Windows XP Professional. However, it may not be available on partitions or volumes that are created in other operating systems.

When you convert to a dynamic disk, the existing partitions or logical drives on the basic disk are converted to simple volumes on the dynamic disk.

After you convert to a dynamic disk, the dynamic volumes cannot be changed back to partitions. You must first delete all dynamic volumes on the disk, and then convert the dynamic disk back to a basic disk. If you want to keep your data, you must first back up or move the data to another volume.

After you convert to a dynamic disk, local access to the dynamic disk is limited to Windows XP Professional and Windows 2000.

If your disk contains multiple installations of Windows XP Professional or Windows 2000, do not convert to a dynamic disk. The conversion operation removes partition entries for all partitions on the disk with the exception of the system and boot volumes for the current operating system.

Dynamic disks are not supported on portable computers or Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition.

Before you change a dynamic disk back to a basic disk, note that all existing volumes must be deleted from the disk before you can convert it back to a basic disk. If you want to keep your data, back up the data, or move your data to another volume.

How to Convert a Basic Disk to a Dynamic Disk

To convert a basic disk to a dynamic disk:

1) Log on as Administrator or as a member of the Administrators group.

2) Click Start, and then click Control Panel.

3) Click Performance and Maintenance, click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Computer Management.

4) In the left pane, click Disk Management.

5) In the lower-right pane, right-click the basic disk that you want to convert, and then click Convert to Dynamic Disk.

NOTE:You must right-click the gray area that contains the disk title on the left side of the Details pane. For example, right-click Disk 0.

6) Select the check box that is next to the disk that you want to convert (if it is not already selected), and then clickOK.

7) Click Details if you want to view the list of volumes in the disk.

8) Click Convert.

9) Click Yes when you are prompted to convert, and then click OK.

How to Convert a Dynamic Disk to a Basic Disk

To change a dynamic disk back to a basic disk:

1) Back up all the data on all the volumes on the disk you want to convert to a basic disk.

2) Log on as Administrator or as a member of the Administrators group.

3) Click Start, and then click Control Panel.

4) Click Performance and Maintenance, click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Computer Management.

5) In the left pane, click Disk Management.

6) Right-click a volume on the dynamic disk that you want to change to a basic disk, and then click Delete Volume.

7) Click Yes when you are prompted to delete the volume.

8) Repeat steps 4 and 5 for each volume on the dynamic disk.

9) After you have deleted all the volumes on the dynamic disk, right-click the dynamic disk that you want to change to a basic disk, and then click Convert to Basic Disk.

NOTE:You must right-click the gray area that contains the disk title on the left side of the Details pane. For example, right-click Disk 1.

DVD Regions Information

The DVD region code identifies a DVD's compatibility with the players typically sold in a particular region.

Region 0 (or "region free") is compatible with DVD players from any region.

The majority of all current titles play only in one specific region unless otherwise noted. DVDs sold by are encoded for Region 2 or Region 0. Region 2 DVDs may not work on DVD players in other countries.

Region 1 DVDs sold by Marketplace sellers

Region 1 discs are intended for use with standard DVD players in North America (Canada and the USA). In most instances they can also be played on compatible "multi-region" DVD players (also known as "chipped" or "region-free" players).

They also require an NTSC-compatible television. NTSC is the standard picture format in North America, and differs from the PAL format adopted in Britain and Europe. Region 1 DVDs are usually presented in NTSC format, so you should ensure that your TV is capable of reading the NTSC signal before purchasing Region 1 DVDs.

Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE)

Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE) has been added by some film studios (specifically Warner and Columbia) to selected Region 1 DVDs, with the intention of preventing these discs from playing on some multi-region DVD players. We are therefore unable to guarantee that all Region 1 discs will be compatible with all multi-region players.

Global DVD region countries

This is not a definitive list and is intended only as a guide.

Region 1 - US, US Territories and Canada

American Samoa, Canada, Guam, Palau, Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands, Puerto Rico, Micronesia, United States, U.S. Virgin Islands

Region 2 - UK, Europe, Japan, South Africa and Middle East

Albania, Andorra, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vatican City, Yemen, Yugoslavia

Region 3 - Southeast and East Asia

Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Phillipines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam

Region 4 - Australia, New Zealand, Central and South America

Antigua, Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Barbuda, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Falkland Islands, French Guiana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, New Guinea, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad, Tobago, Uruguay

Region 5 - Former Soviet Union, Indian sub-continent, Africa, North Korea and Mongolia

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, St. Helena, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Region 6 - China

Region 7 - Reserved for future use

Region 8 - International Territories (ships, planes, etc)

Changing the CMOS Battery

First the safety rules

The inside of a computer is a bad place full of electricity and sharp edges.
On the electricity side always when working on you computer make sure that it’s still plugged in to the power socket and the power is turned off, this is to ensure that any static
From you is discharged through the earth. The inside of most computer cases are unfinished metal and has very sharp edges so be careful.

The first signs of a battery failing are:-

1) your clock starts running slowly
2) when you boot (start) your computer it has a problem finding your hardware (no hard drive, no cd rom)

To change the battery you need the following tools

1) a X-point screwdriver
2) an anti-static strap(optional)
3) a new battery (seems logical)

Then unplug all the cables from the back of the computer as you remove them make a note where they came from. (So when you finished you can put them back)

Move the computer somewhere where you can work on it with ease

Remove the cover by locating the screws around the outer edge (back) of the computer
Some computer cases only require you to remove 2 screws on one side then a panel can be removed allowing you access to the computers insides, others you must remove 6 screws and remove the whole case by sliding it to the rear and lifting it off.

Now make sure that you read the safety instructions about static.
Look inside you will see a round silver thing that looks about the size of a 10p piece (quarter). This is the battery itself, carefully lift the retaining clip and slide the battery out. That’s it removed now go to your local computer retailer, electrical retailer (Tandy/Radio shack) taking the old battery with you and get a new battery.

Back to your computer insert the new battery by lifting the clip and sliding the battery in.

Reinstall your case and plug all the cables back (you did remember to label them didn’t you)

Now for the fun part.

You will now need to go into you bios….

Right the bios is the god of your computer.

To access it, when your computer first starts you will see a black screen with white text.

If you look carefully you will see a line that says something like "press del for setup" or some other key (F2 or ESC or tab) this will take you to god's house where you can make lots of changes to the way your machine works.

It is also the place where you can make your nice computer in to a rather expensive door stop so be careful and don’t go playing with anything.

You will now be presented with a blue screen with a lot of options on it,
The one we want is load optimised/default settings.

Press the F10 key and type y the computer should now reboot.

If every thing went well then your computer will now be up and running.

Another method: Keep computer running. Lay it on it's side and remove side cover to expose MoBo. Take any thin object, "small screwdriver, knife point, wood shiskabob skewer. Pull back the battery retaining clip. Toss the old battery in the junk recepticle, unless you belong to greenpeace and want to save the earth. Install the new battery. No need to reset bios becasue the compter supplies voltage to the cmos while it is running. Reset or resync clock with internet. Done!

Recover Data from a quick-erased CD-RW.

Procedure used to recover data from a quick-erased CD-RW disc

1. Make a file of exactly the size of the cdrw disc's capacity (650MB in my case).
(this step may not be needed)

2. With Nero I created a new project and added the file to it so that I have the disc filled. I gues you can also fill up the disc with other files.
The reason why I fill the disc is because I want Nero to make a session that uses the entire disc. Like I wrote earlier in this thread I experienced that my CD-Drive refuses to read off the disc beyond the session's boundaries. When you quick-erase a disc there is no session anymore so the drive will not read at all. Burning a new session will overwrite the data and burning only a small session will NOT make the drive read the other data that is still on the disc.
The reason why I used the one big file is so that I could later on recognize which part of the disc was overwritten by this file because this file contained all zeros (0x00).

3. I pressed burn and selected disc-at-once. Then while Nero was burning the leadin I pressed cancel. My CD-Drive finished writing the lead-in and Nero reported an error.
This is what was accomplished however: Now the disc contains a session that says that the used disc size is the complete disc. Nero did not get to writing file because I cancelled it. Good thing because I don't want Nero to write any files because my old data will get overwritten!
I gues it works the same with different writing software. Another method that I used during a test was simply press the reset button of the computer when the burning software was done with writing the lead-in and started with the files.

4. I had to restart the computer after cancelling burning.
With the cdrw disc inserted I saw in "my computer" that windows recognized that the disc was 650MB, clicking on it gave an error. Good so far!

Now with IsoBuster you can extract the sectors from a disc to a file. This is what I did.
I gues that if you have data-recovery software at this point it will be usefull because now (if all went well;)) the CD-Drive WILL read data from the entire disc. Anyway, I used ISO-Buster because the files that I needed to recover where a bit odd for nowadays (.XM, .S3M, .MP3):
In IsoBuster I had to do several steps:

Step 1: Find out from and to which sector the drive will read
By choosing "Sector View" you can look at any given sector.
Here I found out what the first and the last sectors where that are readable. (Hint I used the method for the old game: "Gues a number below 100, I'll tell if it is higher or lower than what you gues")
Step 2: Extract the actual sectors
By choosing "Extract From-To" you can extract any given range of sectors to a file. My disc was a data-disc so I choose the first extraction type "User data, 2048 bytes/block...".

In the end I got a .tao file which was about 650MB. I ran several programs on it to look for files inside a file by searching for file-header-paterns:
1. Multi Ripper 2.80 (for DOS, for the .XM files. It does many other file formats as well (jpg,png, bmp,wav,etc,etc +100). Try google with this query: Multi Ripper 2.80. I still had the file from good old days but I saw several good search results)

2. Winamp for mp3.
Winamp will scan any file when you give it the extension .mp3 and play it as one big song (so I renamed the .tao file to .mp3). I used the discwriter to get a .wav and the Adobe Audition to manually cut and save my songs. I looked at the MP3 file format and it is hard to find an mp3 file in a big file because it has no clear header just a bunch of mpeg-frames in most cases for me . A lot of my files had no ID3v2 or ID3v1 tags... But after a couple of hours I recovered everything.

Finally a list of used stuff:

- IsoBuster v1.5
- Nero
- Multi Ripper 2.80
- WinAmp v5.02
- Windows XP Pro NL (patched up)

- NEC DVDRW ND1300A 1.06

- some old 4 speed cdrw

Hack the WinXP Start Button

I've gotten so many requests on how to change the Windows XP Start button, I'm going to teach you how to hack it to pieces manually.
Before you get started, you might want to print out this page for easy reference.

Change the Start text

1. First of all, make sure you download Resource Hacker. You'll need this puppy to edit resources inside your Windows shell.

2. Locate explorer.exe in your c:\Windows directory. Make a copy of the file in the same directory and rename it explorer.bak.

3. Now launch Resource Hacker. In the File menu, open explorer.exe. You'll now see a bunch of collapsed folders.

4. Expand the String Table folder and then find folder No. 37 (folder No. 38 if you're in Windows Classic mode).

5. Click on resource 1033 and locate the text that says "Start." This is your Start button, and now you've got control over what it says! Change the "Start" text to your text of choice. You don't have a character limit, but the text takes up valuable taskbar space, so don't make it too long.

6. Click on the button labeled Compile Script. This updates the settings for your Start button. But nothing will happen until you complete through step #20, so keep going!

Change your hover text

7. While you're here, why not also change the text that pops up when your mouse hovers over your Start button?

8. Right now it says "Click here to begin." Well, duh! We already know that's where to begin!

9. Open folder No. 34 and click on resource 1033.

10. Find the text that says "Click here to begin" and change it to something cooler. Might I suggest "Click here for a good time, baby."

11. Click on the Compile Script button to update this resource.

Customize your Start icon

12. For an added bonus, you can also change the Windows icon to the left of the text, too.

13. Collapse the String Table folder and expand the Bitmap folder at the top of your folder list.

14. Click on folder No. 143 and click on resource 1033. You should see that familiar Windows icon.

15. Go to the Action Menu and select "Replace bitmap." Select "Open file with new bitmap", and locate the replacement image on your machine. Note: The image must have a .bmp extension and a size of 25 pixels by 20 pixels. Then click the Replace button.

16. Now that you've made your changes, save the file in your Windows folder with another name, such as newstartbutton.exe. Don't name it Explorer.exe, because that file is already being used by your system. Close all open programs and restart your system.

17. Boot into Safe Mode With Command Prompt by pressing F8 on startup. Then choose Safe Mode in the command prompt.

18. Log on as administrator and enter your password.

19. When the command prompt comes up, make sure you're in the right directory by typing "cd c:\windows" (without the quotes).

20. Now type "copy c:\windows\newstartbutton.exe c:\windows\explorer.exe" (no quotes). Type "yes" (no quotes) to overwrite the existing file, then restart your system by typing "shutdown -r" (no quotes).

When Windows relaunches, you'll see your new Start button in all its glory!

Difference between DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD+RW and DVD-RW explained

There's DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW, and even DVD-ROM! So what's the difference between all of these different names, aren't all DVDs the same? Well, it's not quite that simple.

Let's first start with the most obvious difference: some have R and some have RW. The "R" stands for readable, while the "W" stands for writeable.

The main difference between DVD-R and DVD-RW, or DVD+R and DVD+RW is that the R disc formats can only be written to once, and then it is only readable and can’t be erased for the rest of its digital life. While RW discs are can be written to and erased many times, they are both readable and writeable.

"R" discs are perfect if they are only needed to be written to once, such as giving some files to a friend or transferring them between PCs. "RW" discs have their strength in the ability to be used many times over, which is great for routine system backups, etc. And naturally, the RW discs are slightly more expensive than the R discs, but you'll have to decide if the trade offs are worth the money.

Now, onto the difference between DVD-R and DVD+R. As I just described above, DVD-R & DVD-RW are sister discs, the difference being one is writeable once, while the other is writeable multiple times. The same thing is true for DVD+R & DVD+RW. So the question is, what's the difference between the plus and minus?

In order to explain this we must take a trip back in time. When DVDs were first being developed, there was no industry standard. Multiple companies were competing to develop what they hoped would be the dominant form of the future.

The DVD-R DVD+R difference can easily be summarized by the following:

* The DVD-R/RW standard was developed by Pioneer, and is used primarily by Apple and Pioneer. These "minus" discs can only be written to in one layer on the discs surface. In addition, this format is supported by the DVD forum, but is in no way an industry standard. DVD-R/RW discs are cheaper than the "plus" format.
* The DVD+R/RW format is supported by Philips, Dell, Sony, HP, and Mcft. These discs can be written to in multiple layers, giving them slightly better and more disc storage than the "minus" format. Because of this additional capacity, they are slightly more expensive than "minus" discs.

A couple final things to clear up is the difference between DVD-ROM and DVD+RW, or the other DVD formats I mentioned above. The DVD-ROM drive can only read DVDs, while the other DVD drives can read and write data to DVDs.

And naturally the DVD+RW CD+RW difference can be explained by the "DVD" or "CD" prefix. DVDs, on average, can store up to 4.7 GB of data, while a CD can only store about 700 MB of data, or about 15% of a DVD's capacity. While CDs are slightly cheaper, in my opinion, the benefits of DVDs are much greater.

So now that you've learned about the difference between DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, and even DVD-ROM, which one is right for you? The easiest way to determine which is more beneficial is to watch the industry trends. A few years ago all pre-built computers were shipping with DVD-ROM drives. Today, most PCs have a burnable DVD drive.

I feel that the benefits of having a burnable DVD drive far outweigh any additional costs. They store much more data, and they are ideal for storing your home movies to watch on your DVD player.

My advice is to look at DVD burners that support all of the major formats I've mentioned above, DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, and DVD+RW. While a DVD drive that supports all of these formats may be slightly more expensive, it will allow you to use any type of DVD disc to burn to, and you'll be protected from any industry shifts to one format or the other.