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TechFreaks FAQ
Date: Various (last updated October 8th, 2004)
Author: Michael Brim, Marcus Schubert and contributing readers
Welcome to our TechFreaks FAQ. We hope it will be used as a troubleshooting reference for common computer problems that both average users and enthusiasts experience.

October 8th Update

Changing your Network Card's MAC Address.
If you have been looking for a way to spoof or change your Ethernet card's MAC address and have come up short in your search, you will love this great little program called MAC Makeup. The program is pretty straight-forward, however if you find yourself lost among the many options, the author has written a fool-proof tutorial also located here.

Cracking a .ZIP file's Password Protection
Ever password protect a file and forget what the password was? Yeah, happends to the best of us. So far, the only way to recover your precious files within the .zip file is through brute force methods. And depending on how long and complex your passwords are, this process could take hours, days, weeks, etc. A program TechFreak's has stumbled upon is AZPR: Advance Zip Password Recovery, which we have found to be the most efficient .ZIP password recovery program.

Downloading 2+ Files in Internet Explorer
The default configuration of Microsoft's Internet Explorer limits the amount of files that can be downloaded simultaneously to 2. For those of us on broadband, unless those two downloads are maxing our connection, we can easily handle a couple more files. Here's the fix:

   1. Start > Run > type "regedit"
   2. Navigate to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software >Microsoft >Windows > CurrentVersion > Internet Settings
   3. Double Click MaxConnectionsPerServer and change the value to your choice.

I have mine set to 50. It's a nice, even number

July 16th Update

Computer Crashes and Delayed Write of Memory to Disc.
By default, Windows has an option where it would dump your entire computer memory to disc on a system crash for debugging purposes. There is a way to disable it though, for those of us not interested in such information.

Right click My Computer and go to Properties. Now go to the Advanced tab and click on Settings under the Startup and Recovery heading. Then, under Write Debugging Information click on the drop-down list and select (none). Click OK on all of the Windows and now you will no longer have to wait on your next system crash.

Changing Drive Letters in Windows
Most of us want to customize our hard-drive letters and names for the sake of organization. The following method will show you how to exactly pull it off.

Go to Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools. Double-click on Computer Management and then select Disk Management on the explorer list on the left. Select the hard-drive/partition you want to re-letter, right click it and select Change Drive Letter and Path. Select a new drive letter from the drop-down list and that's it. Please note it's probably not a good idea to change the drive letter of the drive your operating system is installed on.

Enabling a Windows XP Ctrl+Alt+Del Login
Users migrating from Windows 2000 to Windows XP will notice the "Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to login" is missing. But fear not, you can re-enable it! Go to Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools and open Local Security Policy. Expand the Local Policies folder and click on Security Options. In the list, you'll see "Interactive logon: Do not require Ctrl+Alt+Del". Double-click this entry and select Disabled then click OK on all remaining boxes. Now when you try to login a user on your computer, it will ask you to press Ctrl+Alt+Del.

July 9th Update

Making Download Accelerator FireFox's Default Downloader
I've learned that it's impossible to make Download Accellerator FireFox's default downloader, however, there is a FireFox extension that allows you a right-click -> Download With DAP option. You can download the Download With extension at MozDev's Extension Page.

Changing your Windows XP Boot Screen
The easiest way to do so is to download StyleXP from TGTSoft and use that. However, StyleXP costs money and for those of us who are penny pinchers and are using the uxtheme.dll hack for our visual styles, there is also a free, and relatively easy, way to change your Boot Screen. Please note you will be messing around with some important files, so if your computer explodes, not my fault.

First: Extract the .exe file (for example sakes, we'll call the boot screen example.exe)
Second: Copy the example.exe file over to C:\Windows\system32\
Third: Modify your boot.ini file, located in C:\ and add the string:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional (bootscreen)" /fastdetect /KERNEL=example.exe
Save the boot.ini file and restart your computer.

When you restart your computer, it should have two options of the Operating System you want to boot into.
Windows XP Professional
Windows XP Professional (bootscreen)

Choose the second option, if the bootscreen loads, congratulations. If you don't want to deal with having to select the bootscreen option everytime you restart your computer, just go back into your boot.ini file and remove the string:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP" /fastdetect
Therefore there will only be one string, which would be the (bootscreen) string.

To uninstall, delete the part of the string that says /KERNEL=example.exe and delete example.exe from your C:\windows\system32 directory.

Taking a ScreenShot of a Video in Windows Media Player
So, you want to take a few screen-shots of your favorite movie in Windows Media Player, press Print+Screen, paste it in your favorite image editting program and you get a black screen. The reason for this is due to Hardware Accelleration. To turn off Hardware Accelleration, just follow these directions:
   1. Open Windows Media Player
   2. Tools -> Options
   3. Go to the Performance Tab
   4. Move the Hardware Accelleration Slider to None

March 15th Update

Playing MP4 Files in WinAMP
We tried to find an easy solution earlier in the February 20th Update of playing iTunes MP4 files in WinAMP. No less than a day later I got an email from Thomas Wiesehofer about his M4P Input Plugin for WinAMP that allows WinAMP to play MP4 files with the .mp4 extension. The only downside is that you need to have iTunes installed for the plugin to work.

More Control Over Local Users (WinXP)
Going through Control Panel restricts ultimate control over the computer user accounts. For completely control over these accounts, do the following:

   1. Windows Key + R (or Start → Run)
   2. Type "lusrmgr.msc" without quotes and press Enter

You can now disable accounts, restrict password changing, create home directories, etc. It's nice to have full control over your users

Getting Rid of Unsigned Driver Warnings
Windows XP comes with a system that notifies you if you are installing a driver that hasn't been verified by Microsoft. This warning can get very annoying, very fast. So for those who know what they are installing, let's get rid of it!

   1. Right click 'My Computer' on your desktop and select 'Properties'.
   2. Select the 'Hardware' tab on the window that comes up.
   3. Click 'Driver Signing' and select the option 'Ignore' and hit OK
   4. Hit OK on the Properties Window

Now those pesky warnings won't bug you anymore!

February 20th Update

Why won't this .avi file delete?
This is a common problem among Windows XP users; I even experienced it. You're trying to delete an .avi file (usually one huge in size), but Windows displays the error that the file is in use. You reboot to no avail, the .avi file won't go away. Today, a solution.

*please note that editing your registry is dangerous and TechFreaks takes no responsibility for anything you do within your registry.*

  1. Start -> Run regedit
  2. Navigate to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Classes \ CLSID \ {87D62D94-71B3-4b9a-9489-5FE6850DC73E}

  3. Delete the InProcServer32 key
  4. Reboot

Now, you should be able to delete the .avi file. The reason it wouldn't delete before is that Windows tries to read the corrupt .avi file before allowing you to delete it. The removal of the InProcServer32 prevents Windows from reading the files before you play/edit/delete them.

My computer randomly plays Audio Advertisements. Why?
Assuming you've ran Adaware 6.0 and Spybot Search and Destroy and your computer has come up clean, the cause for these advertisements is AOL Instant Messenger. It seems to be an added "feature" in the 5.0 versions of the AIM client. Please note that DeadAIM 4.1 does not block these advertisements, I can personally confirm this. The only alternatives is to use an older version of AIM or a third-party instant-messaging client such as Miranda, GAIM, or Trillian.

How can I play .m4p files in WinAmp?
Drink Pepsi; get a free music download from Apple iTunes. Unfortunately these music files are in an .m4p format; a file format that the popular computer-music player WinAMP cannot natively play. There are many ways to get the .m4p files to play in WinAMP, the following two are my probably the easiest.

The easiest way is to install iTunes. Burn the .m4p files to a CD-RW (so you can erase the files afterwards) and then rip the tracks off the audio CD. Now you have your song as an .mp3 format retaining its original quality.

The other way also involves installing iTunes, but you won't need a CD-RW. After installing iTunes, download and extract MP4 Stream Processor (second item) and convert the .m4p file to an .mp4 file by going into the Command Prompt and typing in the following:

C:\m4p2mp4.exe c:\afile.m4p c:\afile.mp4

   c:\m4p2mp4.exe to the path of the extracted m4p2mp4.exe application
   c:\afile.m4p to the path and filename of the .m4p file you wish on converting
   c:\afile.m4p to the path you want the .mp4 extracted and name of the .mp4 file

With your newly created .m4p file, you have two options.

  • Download and install the in_MP4 WinAMP Plug-in, which allows WinAMP to play .mp4 files.
  • Download and install DBPowerAmp, which will convert the .mp4 file to an .mp3 file.

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TechFreaks' FAQ
UPDATED 10-08-04

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© 2004
All Rights Reserved
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