Category: Windows XP Tweaks

There are any number of programs available that will claim to search your hard drive and remove any duplicate files. Most of these programs do a pretty good job, but it’s worth having an understanding of what impact removal of system files and application components can have upon your computer.

Sanx’s pocket guide to DLLs, OCXs and TLBs

DLLs, OCXs and TLBs are sections of code that exist in a different file to the main program file – the executable.

DLLs (Dynamic Link Libraries): Programmers often use DLLs when they have sections of code they wish to share between applications, but don’t want to duplicate in each application. Placing this code in a DLL allows multiple applications to access it whilst keeping the overall application size down.

OCXs (OLE Component Extensions): OCXs tend to be visual components or objects. Where a programmer wants to use a certain style of button or list box, he’ll use an OCX to make it. This saves him from having to write all the code to display the button manually. He just puts it there using the OCX, and all the actions come pre-packaged without him having to worry about coding what happens to the button image when the user clicks his mouse on it.

TLBs (Type Libraries): Type libraries are basically definitions of data structures – methods in which information is stored and transfered. Whilst these are usually stored in the application itself, having thm stored in a separate file allows the programmer to use the same type definitions across more than one program.

So what happens when a programmer uses one of these files and you install their program on your computer? In the vast majority of cases, the process is seamless. The setup program copies down the files, registers them properly and the application works without any thought or other configuration required. Problems can occur however, when different applications use the same components.

Whilst this is not an issue for custom-written DLLs and OCXs (i.e. ones the programmer has written themselves), there can be a problem when the programmer uses stock components. Visual Basic comes with a whole bunch of these, as does Visual C++ and a whole number of other programming languages. The problem arises because the programmer cannot automatically assume that the machine on which the software is going to be installed has all the pre-requisite components already on it. And even if it does, he cannot assume that all the components will be the right version.

Because of this, he will usually package up into his setup routine all the components the application will require. Now, this may end up containing duplicates of what is already on the target machine.

To cope with multiple versions, Windows has a built-in way of handling calls to external components. If an application makes a call to a certain DLL (let’s call it sanx.dll) Windows will first look in the directory in which the application resides, and then in the \Windows\System32 directory.

Should the programmer need a specific version of a component, he can install it in the application directory. If it’s going to be a common one, he can put it in the System32 folder.

The issue really starts getting fuzzy when you realise that in addition to the component actually having to be on the machine, it also needs to be registered. Registration of a component involves writing a whole bunch of GUIDs (Globally-unique identifiers) to the registry. Registration basically makes the component available to applications under a certain name and identifier without the programmer having to reference it by path and filename – quite a good thing since the programmer doesn’t know in advance into what directory you’ve installed Windows or what directory you’re going to put his program. Because of this, it’s quite possible to have two or more identical components in different places on the machine, with different identifiers. Removing one will probably break the program associated with it.

Let’s say sanx.dll exists on your machine in two places; your Windows\System32 directory and in the directory into which you’ve installed Sanx’s ReallyWonderfulDoEverything application – the program that uses sanx.dll. Which version of sanx.dll will it be using? Well, that depends on where the registered version of the component is – something that can be devilishly hard to find. Even if both versions are registered, you’d need to know which of the two identifiers the program is using. Removal of the wrong copy of sanx.dll (i.e. the registered one) will end up breaking Sanx’s ReallyWonderfulDoEverything. And that’s a bad thing.

This is how you can create a shortcut on your desktop and when ever you click at it, your Windows will be shutdown.

Step 1

Right click on your desktop > New > Shortcut

Step 2

You will see a pop-up window. Enter SHUTDOWN -s -t 01

Note: Enter c:\windows\rundll.exe user.exe,exitwindows (if you’re using Windows95, Windows98 or ME)

Click the Next button and name the shortcut as Shutdown, Turn Off, Stop or whatever. Then click Finish. DONE.


1. You can make a keyboard shortcut for that icon and by pressing them, you will be able to shutdown Windows. Right click to that shortcut icon > Properties. Click the Shortcut key’s textbox and press the combination of keys that you prefer (e.g. Ctrl-Alt-Q)

Click the Apply button and then OK.

2. You also can change the shortcut icon. (Image at the top). Right click to the shortcut > Properties and click the Change Icon… button. Select any icon you prefer, click OK. Then, click the Apply and OK button.

Take this simple steps:-

Open your Registry Editor. Go to Run (Windows+R), type regedit and press ENTER.

Then go to:-


Note: For faster navigation, press C on your keyboard while selecting the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT folder.

You may have something like below:-

Double click the (Default) and you will see the Value Data: Recycle Bin. Change the Value Data to Trash or whatever you want.

Click OK and close your Registry Editor. Restart your PC. By now, your Recycle Bin icon’s name should be changed.

Do you any problem on Windows shutdown time? Ok, here are a couple of steps you can take to speed up your Windows XP shutdown process.

Step 1

Paging file (pagefile.sys) – Don’t have XP clear at shutdown.

The paging file is used to store temporary files and data, but when your system shuts down, information stays in the file. Some people prefer to have the paging file cleared at shutdown, because sensitive information such as unencrypted passwords sometimes ends up in the file. However, clearing the paging file can slow shutdown times significantly, so if extreme security isn’t a high priority, you might not want to clear it. To shut down XP without clearing your paging file, run the Registry Editor and go to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management

Change the value of ClearPageFileAtShutdown to 0. Close the Registry and restart your computer. Whenever you turn off XP from now on, the paging file won’t be cleared, and you should be able to shut down more quickly.

Step 2

Reduce the amount of time Windows will take to kill open applications on shutdown.

Part 1 – Go to :

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\

Change the value of WaitToKillAppTimeout to 1000. And then,

change the value of HungAppTimeout to 1000 also.

Part 2 – Go to :

HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop

Change the value of WaitToKillAppTimeout to 1000. And then,

change the value of HungAppTimeout to 1000 also.

Part 3 – Go to:


Change the value of WaitToKillServiceTimeout to 1000.
Step 3

Non-responsive applications – Allow XP to close it automatically upon shutdown

Go to:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

Change the value of AutoEndTasks to 1.

So, how was it for you? I hope you find this tips really useful.

Ok, just a simple Win XP tip for today. If you have an experience using Windows 98 before, you will notice that there are an option or wizard to customize and change the folder background image. Unfortunately, this cool feature does not exist in Windows XP. No worry, in this short article, I will show you how easy it is to customize your folder background in XP.

Step 1

First thing first, download this utility tool, IESHWIZ

Step 2

After that, extract to C:\Windows\System32 folder. This zip file will extract the ieshwiz.exe file into System32 folder.

Step 3

Next, open a command prompt (Windows+R and then type cmd, press ENTER), and type:-

IESHWIZ <path:\foldername>

E.g:- To customize the “test” folder in drive D:, type IESHWIZ D:\test and press ENTER.

Note: In this tip, I will using the “test” folder in my local drive D:

Step 4

You will see a popup window and something like below:-

Select the Choose a background picture. Click Next.

Step 5

I will make some settings like below:-

I used my dX-Vista Maniac as a background image..hehe..Click Browse and you can select either a .bmp, .jpeg or .gif image. Click Next and Finish.

Done. Now go to the “test” folder in D: and you can see if the changes are applied.

All of the these settings are stored in a file named Desktop.ini within that folder. You can read more about Desktop.ini on MSDN website.

Note: If you want to remove all the settings that you’ve made before, simply follow the step above from Step 1 to 4. But in Step 4, please select the Remove Customization. Click Next and Finish.

*Another alternative that I’ve just found out was, you can extract the file in the folder which you want to make a changes. Just run the ieshwiz.exe file and start the customization. E.g:- Extract the into our “test” folder.