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Thursday, September 01, 2005
  online tips- Survival tips for Windows XP
The difference between using Windows XP and struggling with it often comes down to knowledge.

Tricks like knowing how to start XP when things go wrong and how to rid your machine of performance-snapping. Background programs can help you avoid heartburn and get back to work when others will be calling technical support.

Q: What is Safe Mode and how do I use it?

A: Safe Mode in Windows XP without all of the device drivers and background processes that might cause the operating to malfunction.

Safe mode is an essential troubleshooting tool. If you install a new video driver, for example, and immediately thereafter your system fails to start properly, you’ll need to enter safe mode in order to remove the driver and get back to working order.

Safe mode only loads those tasks and processes that are absolutely essential to running Windows.

Entering safe mode is anything but intuitive, however. So it’s a good idea to write down the steps and put them somewhere where you’ll have them when you need them.

First, reboot you computer. While your computer is going through its initial startup phases, either hold down the Ctrl key or press the F8 key.

In practice, it can be difficult to tap or press these keys at exactly the right moment, and it apparently takes finding the right moment on some computers.

When you get it right, a startup screen will appear instead of the normal Windows splash screen.
On the startup screen, you’ll see an option for loading Safe Mode. Choose that, and press Enter.

An alternative way to enter safe mode is to instruct Windows XP to start in this mode the next time that you boot your computer.

To do this, launch the System Configuration, Utility by pressing Start button, clicking Run, and in resulting run dialogue, typing ‘msconfig” (without the quotation marks). Press Enter and the Configuration Utility starts.

Click the BOOT.INI tab, and check the box labeled /SAFEBOOT. Now when you reboot, XP will start in safe mode and keep doing so until you uncheck this option.

Keep in mind that within safe mode, many of your normal applications will not function properly, because some of their necessary components will not have been loaded.

So stay in safe mode only long enough to perform a specific task. Reboot and enter Windows normally as soon as you’re finished.

Q: My Windows XP computer takes forever to start, and I believe it’s because of the entire programs that start automatically. How can I remove these?

A: You’re probably right. When you first got your computer, or your first installed Windows XP, you probably notice how fast everything seemed.

But that speed demon slowly, over time, turns into a slug, and one reason is because off all the programs that wiggles themselves into your Windows XP startup routine.

To make matters worse, it’s often difficult to discover exactly what is loading behind the scenes when you start your Windows XP computer.

Start by opening the Windows Start menu, clicking Run and typing “msconfig” in the Run dialogue box, and then pressing Enter. The Msconfig tool launches.

Click the Startup tab, and you’ll see a long list of programs that start automatically each time you boot your PC.

You’ll recognize the names of the some, and you can freely deselect anything that you know you do not want to start each time your PC does.

Don’t worry: if you deselect something that should start, you can always return to this dialogue box, and reselect the item.

You should check you Startup folder. Click Start, Program Files, Startup, and take a look at the programs that are listed there.

Each of those items starts when your computer does, and each takes time to load. If you’d like to remove something, simply right-click it, and choose Delete from the pop-up menu.

You should revisit this menu from time to time, as tiny process and programs have a way of sneaking back into the Startup folder.

Also, don’t forget about spyware, which can slow down you PC measurably as it loads itself surreptitiously and monitors your activities.

Downloads and use Ad-Aware, Microsoft’s Windows Antispyware, and other spyware detection and removal software. You’ll find a list of popular programs at Antispyware Tools (

Q: How do I remove Windows components when they’re not listed in the Add/Remove section of Control Panel?

A: The Add/Remove section of the Windows Control Panel allows you ro remove any program that was installed using a Windows-compliant installer.

You an also click the Add/Remove Windows Components dialogue box to access another dialogue box that allows you to remove Windows-specific applications such as Windows Messenger, Outlook Express, MSN Explorer, and more.

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