Frequently Asked Questions of Windows XP
This FAQ is created to address the frequently asked
questions in the few XP newsgroups I frequent:
There are more newsgroups than these. Check them here.
Answers were obtained from the replies. As I was bored,
this is another work I did.
Proceed at your own risk! The information here is
accurate to the best of my knowledge. I will not be
held responsible if this document causes your computer
to explode or burst into flames. In real serious terms,
if any corruption of data, hardware damage or any
other kind of damage/losses/etc. arises from the use
of this document, I will not be responsible for it.
If you don't like this, please don't read any further.
Some Humour [US: Humor]
Computers churns out some ironic messages:
"Windows XP has no drivers for my modem, so it
tries to use the Internet to find some" Irony being,
Can't use Internet because it needs modem drivers to
use it, which it does haven't & wants to look for.
- Sweet Spin
"ERROR "Keyboard not found" press F1
to continue?" - Mhzjunkie
"Windows can not continue because the process
has completed successfully." - Vern
"What's XP? Xpensive, Xpect, Xtra Pain, ......"-
These tips will get rid of about 75% of the problems
- Get the latest drivers for your hardware, especially
your video card and sound card, as games are dependant
on these. Get the XP drivers if available. If XP drivers
do not exist there, then try obtaining the Windows
- Go to
Windowsupdate.com and download the latest updates.
- Avoid installing Windows XP by the upgrade method.
Follow my guide here
on how to preserve your previous settings and do a
clean install of Windows XP.
- Log in as an administrator account if a program
or feature refuses to work.
Many of the answers here should apply to Home Edition
as well. However, things related to NTFS security and
network will mostly likely won't be available in the
- I'm having problems shutting down my PC. My previous
Win9x OS always shut off automatically, but here Windows
XP shows me the "It is now safe..." message?
- I've enabled my taskbar to be hidden always but
doesn't hide always! [Answer]
- Is there any way to speed up the bootup process?
- How do I enable the good old search method? [Answer]
- Do you have good utilities to recommend to customise
my Windows XP environment? [Answer]
- I want to run a old DOS game that refuses to work
under WinXP. [Answer]
- How do I do it such that Explorer opens up pointing
to the C drive or some other location? [Answer]
- How do I disable the built-in ZIP support? [Answer]
- How do I make the taskbar transparent? [Answer]
- How do I get rid of the pop-up balloons(or bubbles)
that appear near the system tray? [Answer]
- How much space does a Windows XP installation roughly
takes up? [Answer]
- What is this file named HIBERFIL.SYS doing in my
root folder? [Answer]
- I have the upgrade version of XP, can I perform
a clean install using it? [Answer]
- How do I stop folders from expanding when I click
on a folder in Explorer? [Answer]
- How do I stop Windows Messenger from starting up
every time I boot up my computer? [Answer]
- Where's Scandisk gone? [Answer]
- What are the pros and cons of FAT32 and NTFS? [Answer]
- The Command Prompt in Windows XP does not have DosKey
- Can I install XP Home (or Professional) on more
than 1 computer? [Answer]
- Every time my PC boots up, it takes about 2 minutes
for the Network connections submenu in the Start menu
to expand! [Answer]
- The volume icon does not appear in the notification
area (taskbar). [Answer]
- All my games can't detect OpenGL [and, or] Glide
for my video card? [Answer]
- What's the best antivirus software out there for
- Can I remove Outlook Express or Internet Explorer?
- What is SVCHOST.EXE doing in my Processes? [Answer]
- How do I install Windows XP in DOS mode [or from
MS-DOS command prompt]? [Answer]
- How do I remove programs such as Pinball, wordpad
and other accessories? [Answer]
- In Outlook Express, the spell check doesn't work.
It's checked in the tools options menu, but it still
will not work! [Answer]
- How do I get Internet Explorer to open new windows
- Doing a "SFC /SCANNOW" always keeps asking
for the CD, even after I've inserted it! [Answer]
- How do I make a boot disk in Windows XP? [Answer]
- How do I uninstall Windows XP? [Answer]
- How do I change the Boot screen when Windows XP
- My hard disk shows frequent activity, which is the
application causing this? [Answer]
I'm having problems shutting down my PC. My
previous Win9x OS always shut off automatically,
but here Windows XP shows me the "It is now
You need to get into Control Panel, Power
Management, and turn on APM (Advanced Power Management).If
that doesn't work, check out this website here.
||I've enabled my taskbar to be hidden
always but doesn't hide always!
This is a known problem. Unfortunately I haven't
come across any fixes for this. There could be an
application request which you have to attend to.
However, I myself have seen a situation where the
taskbar refuses to hide even with all windows closed.
Is there any way to speed up the bootup process?
You can use this utility called BootVisor,
click Trace and Optimize and it will do the remaining
work for you. Check out this guide
for more tweaks. You can also try defragging your
hard disk. If your computer seems to take a long
time in the blue welcome screen, here are some
things I did to speed things up:
Will add more if I come across any.
- Disable network drives which are "Reconnect
- This also can speed up
||How do I enable the good old search
has a search fix. Windows XP Search Fix (to review)
Do you have good utilities to recommend to
customise my Windows XP environment?
TweakXP and StylesXP
are some popular ones. (To review)
I want to run a old DOS game that refuses
to work under WinXP.
You can create a Windows 98 boot disk which boots
to the DOS prompt using the utility here.
Be aware that Sound Blaster Live! and new sound
cards may not work in DOS. You will also need
to load the mouse, sound and cdrom drivers if
your game needs it. If your partition is a FAT32,
your boot disk should allow you to access your
C drive and you can configure the CONFIG.SYS and
AUTOEXEC.BAT files in the boot disk to access
the files from the hard disk or you can copy them
to the boot disk as well.
How do I do it such that Explorer opens up
pointing to the C drive or some other location?
Changing the blue coloured text to the location,
change the shortcut such that it looks like this:
||How do I disable the built-in ZIP
Use the following command from the Run dialog:
If you ever want to re-enable the built-in zip
||How do I make the taskbar transparent?
Head over here!
(to review) I've heard you can use TweakXP, not
sure about this.
||How do I get rid of the pop-up
balloons(or bubbles) that appear near the system
Involves registry editing. Navigate to "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced",
create DWORD value called EnableBalloonTips with
Hex value of 0 and restart your computer.
||How much space does a Windows XP
installation roughly takes up?
Taken from usenet by Kent W. England [MVP] <email@example.com>:
1.0 GB for Windows folder
0.5 GB for Program Files
50 MB for Documents and Settings (w/o user shell
200 MB for pagefile.sys (varies depending on RAM
130 MB for hiberfil.sys (same size as RAM)
2.0 GB (10%) for System Restore (default) in System
Volume Info folder
2.0 GB (10%) for Recycle Bin (default)
2.0 GB (10%) for each TIF (default)
||What is this file named HIBERFIL.SYS
doing in my root folder?
Windows saves the state of the RAM to this file
for use when you hibernate your computer. You can
remove this file by disabling hibernation, which
is by Control Panel, Power Options, Hibernate tab.
||I have the upgrade version of XP,
can I perform a clean install using it?
Sure, but the setup program will ask for a qualifying
media to be inserted as proof of ownership.
||How do I stop folders from expanding
when I click on a folder in Explorer?
Go to Folder Options, View and uncheck the box
for "Simple Folder View in Explorer's Folder
How do I stop Windows Messenger from starting
up every time I boot up my computer?
If you're running Pro, you can use GPEDIT.MSC
to prevent Messenger from loading. Otherwise,
even disabling it in startup won't cause it to
"always" not run. Outlook, Outlook Express
and some Microsoft web pages can still make it
- Start, Run and enter GPEDIT.MSC
- Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates,
Windows Components, Windows Messenger
- You can now modify whether it starts initially
and/or whether it is to run at all.
If you don't have Pro, run Windows Messenger,
Tools, Options and uncheck "Run this program
when Windows starts". Run Outlook Express,
go to Options and uncheck "Automatically
logon to Windows Messenger". You can also
try this command:
||Where's Scandisk gone?
Scandisk is gone from Windows XP. Replaced by
the ol' Chkdsk.
What are the pros and cons of FAT32 and NTFS?
NTFS offers a smaller cluster size (0.5) compared
to FAT32 (4). This means more space for you. NTFS
also allows compression and additional security
features. Many people recommend formatting to
a NTFS partition rather than converting the drive
for speed reasons. You can go to this Microsoft
article for more information, and only
the pros .
Some cons I've heard:
More cons will be added if I come across them.
- Virtually no recovery tools for a faulty NTFS
volume. If you backup this isn't a big deal.
If you can't backup then it's a very big deal.
- It's rumoured to have performance problems,
but I'm not entirely sure about this.
- If you're dual booting, that's running OS's
in the same system (like Windows 98 and XP),
only NT, 2000 or XP can access the NTFS partition,
other Windows OS's (95,98,ME) will not be able
to view nor access the drive.
||The Command Prompt in Windows XP
does not have DosKey installed?
from the Run instead of command
||Can I install XP Home (or Professional)
on more than 1 computer?
No. You're only allowed to install it on one
computer. You will be unable to activate XP on the
other computer. You have to purchase additional
licenses to install it on more than 1 computer.
||Every time my PC boots up, it takes
about 2 minutes for the Network connections submenu
in the Start menu to expand!
Disable "Obtain IP Address Automatically"
for the local area network connection. If there's
a DHCP server running on your network that assigns
IP addresses dynamically, you have to enable
Obtain IP Address Automatically.
The volume icon does not appear in the notification
Make sure Hide Inactive is disabled in Taskbar
Properties. In Sound and Audio Devices Properties,
make sure "Place volume icon in the taskbar"
is checked. If it still doesn't work, you are
one of the few people infected with this bug.
Watch this section for updates for this bug fix.
- Go to Start, Log off, log off then log back
- Right-click the taskbar & select Task
Manager under Processes tab select Explorer.exe
& End Task. Under Applications tab select
New Task, type in "explorer" and click
All my games can't detect OpenGL [and, or]
Glide for my video card?
Windows XP's drivers are basic ones that just
allow you to manipulate the desktop (and possibly
directx also). You have to get updated XP drivers
from your card's manufacturer.
3dfx has closed down, if you do not know yet.
Fortunately, some geeks have hacked (or tweaked)
3dfx's original drivers to make it compatible
with Windows XP. You can find a list at VoodooFiles,
and I recommend downloading Goat's
driver if you own a Voodoo 3000, it worked for
me well particularly for Diablo II and Ultim@te
What's the best antivirus software out there
Norton Antivirus 2002.
||Can I remove Outlook Express or
No, they are part of the operating system, and cannot
be removed. You'll just have to ignore them.
||What is SVCHOST.EXE doing in my
It represents all the services running in your computer.
-svc in the command prompt to get a list
of services running.
||How do I install Windows XP in
DOS mode [or from MS-DOS command prompt]?
First, start up SmartDrive to speed things up. Next,
from the I386
folder. Setup should launch, warn you if you don't
have SmartDrive loaded, copy the cd to a temporarily
to your hard disk and reboot your computer.
||How do I remove programs such as
Pinball, wordpad and other accessories?
Delete all "HIDE" words in C:\Windows\inf\sysoc.inf
file and you will be able add or remove more Windows
components. The change can be noticed in the Add/Remove
||In Outlook Express, the spell check
doesn't work. It's checked in the tools options
menu, but it still will not work!
Do a search for csapi3t1.dll and copy it over
to the Outlook Express folder.
||How do I get Internet Explorer
to open new windows maximised?
There isn't such a way to do this so far, but
a simple workaround is to open a window and manually
drag the edges to fill the screen without using
the maximise button. The next time you open it,
it should remember that size.
||Doing a "SFC /SCANNOW"
always keeps asking for the CD, even after I've
Hit Try Again every time the box comes up.
||How do I make a boot disk in Windows
Go to Explorer, insert a floppy disk, right-click
on the A Drive, click Format, check Make System
disk and click OK.
|How do I uninstall Windows XP?
You can boot from a Windows 9x boot disk, reformat
the XP partition and install a previous version
If XP is installed using NTFS file system, you'll
first have to use FDISK to delete the partition,
type FDISK at the prompt. Once you are at the
menu, select "Delete Non-dos Partition."
When complete, select create partition, be sure
to set it active, exit FDISK, reboot from the
Windows 9x boot disk, select "Boot with CD-ROM
At the prompt type change to the C drive by typing
C: and press enter. Type format and press enter,
when complete, place the CD of the Windows OS
you wish to install in the drive, change to your
CD-ROM drive, note it may not be the same drive
letter it was in Windows. Type setup, press enter
and follow the prompts.
||How do I change the Boot screen
when Windows XP starts?
Head over here
and download the 960kb file.
||My hard disk shows frequent activity,
which is the application causing this?
Run the Task Manager, go to the Processes tab, and
turn on the following columns: "I/O Read Bytes"
and "I/O Write Bytes." This will give
you details as to which process is accessing the
disk. Although many processes will be accessing
the disk a lot, look for one with a high total or
a fast rate of increase, especially when you hear
the drive being accessed.
Errors? Omissions? Need Help? Know something? Post
your queries in the Windows
XP Discussion Forum.
This document is Copyright(©) 2001,2002 by G.Ganesh.
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(Last Updated 12 January 2002)