If you’re like me, you’ve been putting off upgrading to Windows Vista for as long as possible. While I still feel pretty confident with Windows XP, there are still some random flaws that pop up every now and then that can be a pain. Here are four Windows XP problems I have run into that are relatively easy to fix.
1) Accidentally delete the “Show Desktop” icon.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve managed to delete this from my quick launch on the taskbar. Luckily, getting this back is incredibly easy. First, open up Notepad. Then, copy the following into your new file:
Now, go to File->Save As, but make sure to change the “Save as type” dropdown to “All Documents” rather than text. This will enable you to save it as an extension other then .txt. Then, save the file to your desktop as “Show Desktop.scf” and navigate to it. Now, make sure to save it in a folder where you won’t delete it. By default, it resides in C:\Documents and Settings\[Your Account Name]\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch
Keep in mind you will not be able to navigate to the above folder if you do not have “Show hidden files and folders” enabled in your folder options. After you have placed it here, make a shortcut and drag it back to your quick launch toolbar where it can live in peace for another two or three weeks until you accidentally delete it instead of the AIM icon that annoyingly appears every time you upgrade.
2) The “Safely Remove Hardware” icon randomly disappears from the taskbar icons at the bottom right of the screen.
This is another annoying issue I run into all the time. For some random reason, even though I might have two or three USB devices connected to my computer, the “Safely Remove Hardware” icon is no where to be found. Luckily, this is just as easy to fix as the previous issue.
Go to your desktop, right click and select “Create Shortcut.” The first window to come up will tell you to enter the location of the item you are making the shortcut to. Copy the following into the box:
RunDll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL hotplug.dll
Click next and it will ask you to type in a name for the shortcut. Type in something like “Safely Remove Hardware” and click “Finish.” Now, you have a shortcut you can use anytime you run into this issue, and clicking on it will bring up the window where you select which device to remove.
Alternatively, if you want to do this without creating a shortcut, you can click on the start menu and select “Run,” and just paste the above command into that box.
3) When you have a system crash and you get the Blue Screen of Death, it doesn’t show long enough for you to get any actual information before your system restarts.
This is something that has never made sense to me; when your system hits a critical error and needs to shut down, for some reason by default it just shows the error screen quickly before restarting. Given, this screen really doesn’t convey any information that is useful 98% of the time, but there could be a situation where you needed to write down what is on the screen. To do this, right click the “My Computer” icon and click “Properties.” In the “Advanced” tab, click “Settings” under “Startup and Recovery.” Here, uncheck the “Automatically Restart” box. Next time you get the blue screen of death , you’ll have plenty of time to write down the useless information it contains.
4) A SATA system drive shows up under “Safely Remove Hardware,” even though it obviously could never be removed while the system is running.
This was one of the first problems I ran into when I first got my current PC. For some unexplainable reason, my SATA drive shows up under “Safely Remove Hardware” even though it would be impossible to shut it down while my computer is on. The reason this occurs is because Serial ATA drives are technically “hot swappable,” meaning that it works like USB and can be removed while the computer is running. However, this simply takes up space in “Safely Remove Hardware” when a SATA drive has Windows XP installed on it. This problem can actually be traced to the nForce SATA drivers that run the hard drive. In order to fix this, you need to mess around with RegEdit. Keep in mind, doing anything in the registry editor could possibly screw up your entire system, so make sure you know what you are doing and you backup regularly.
Go to “Run” under the Start menu, and type in “regedit.” Expand “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE” and navigate down to “SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\nvata.” You should see something similar to the screenshot below.
(Click to Enlarge)
In the right hand window, right click and select New->DWORD Value. Name it “DisableRemovable” and right click to select “Modify.” In the “Value data” field, change the “0” to a “1” and click “OK.” Close out of the Registry Editor, and restart your system. Your SATA drives should no longer show up in your “Safely Remove Hardware.”
Hopefully some of this information will be useful to the many Windows XP users that are still out there like myself.