December 12, 2010

How to login as Administrator in Windows XP?

The built-in Administrator account is hidden from Welcome Screen when a user account with Administrator privileges exists and enabled. In Windows XP Home Edition, you can login as built-in Administrator in Safe Mode only. For XP Professional, press CTRL + ALT + DEL twice at the Welcome Screen and input your Administrator password in the classic logon window that appears.

To have the Administrator account displayed in the Welcome Screen, try one of these methods:

Method 1: Using TweakUI Power Toy for Windows XP

Download TweakUI from here:

v2.00 for Windows XP  |  v2.10 for XP SP1 and above

Open TweakUI and click "Logon" option in the left pane. Put a checkmark against the option "Show Administrator viagra cost on Welcome Screen". Click OK to close TweakUI. Logoff and see if Welcome Screen lists Administrator login. Changes are immediate and you can use the Winkey + L to switch back to Welcome Screen to see Administrator account is listed.

Use this procedure to hide/unhide any user account from the Welcome Screen. Please remember, you can still login to a hidden account using CTRL+ALT+DEL classic logon method, but cannot Fast User Switch to a hidden user account.

Method 2 – Manual registry edit

  • Click Start, Run and type Regedit.exe
  • Navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows NT \ CurrentVersion \ Winlogon \ SpecialAccounts \ UserList

  • Use the File, Export option to backup the key
  • Create a new DWORD Value named Administrator
  • Double-click Administrator, and set 1 as its data
  • Exit the Registry Editor.

For Windows XP Home Edition

While you can configure Windows XP Home Edition to show Administrator account in the Welcome Screen, you cannot login as Administrator in Normal mode. Visit the following link for more information:

Error Message: Unable to Log You on Because of an Account Restriction

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November 30, 2010

Format a USB Drive as NTFS in Windows XP

Windows XP only: Today's USB flash drives are huge, but they come formatted with the FAT32 limit of 4GB files—if you want to format them as NTFS under Windows XP you'll need a little trick.

Windows XP does have the ability to format drives with the NTFS file system, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the format dialog—normally the option is disabled. To enable it, open up Device Manager and find your viagra best prices USB drive, go to the Properties -> Policies tab and then choose "Optimize for performance". Once you've done this, you'll see the NTFS option in the format dialog.

Readers should be warned, however, that once you've enabled write caching you will need to use the Safely Remove Hardware dialog to avoid losing data—though once you format the drive as NTFS you can switch the write caching back off.

The choice between NTFS and FAT32 isn't cut-and-dry—while NTFS does allow larger file sizes, encryption, compression, and permissions, there's a lot more overhead to using it—and more importantly it won't really work on non-Windows systems. Hit the link for the full walk-through and more information about the pros and cons.

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February 21, 2009

10 things you should do before, during, and after reinstalling Windows

  • Date: October 15th, 2008
  • Author: Alan Norton

Whether you are talking about your tech-novice family members or an international corporate enterprise, you will have to reinstall Microsoft Windows at some point. Take steps to ensure a smooth install.


There are some very good reasons why you might want to reinstall Microsoft Windows. Whether it is 2000, XP, or Vista, the registry can become corrupted or it can accumulate settings for programs long-since forgotten, leading to sluggish performance. Or you can find yourself with a stubborn Trojan Horse. The only way to be 100 percent sure that you have rid yourself of some particularly nasty viruses is to reload Windows.

I have wanted to document the steps needed to properly reinstall Windows for a long time now. I always end up missing something after the reload and find myself scrambling to find IDs, passwords, configuration settings, or favorite Web sites lost in the reinstall.

Be sure to set aside a large block of time to do the reinstall. Don’t do it before a term paper is due or your business presentation slide show. A weekend is a good time.

An OS reinstall is also a good time to decide to upgrade. If you want to upgrade to Vista, there are a lot of options available to you. For more information about these options and the pros and cons of Vista, please read Vista Confusion.

This article focuses on Vista but the concepts apply to all versions of Window. This blog post is also available in PDF format in a TechRepublic download.

When you run the Windows Vista set-up program, you will see a window with two options: Update and Custom (Advanced). The Update option is not available when reinstalling Windows Vista. Under the Custom option, you will be doing what is known as a Clean Install. Follow these 10 steps and you will, hopefully, not find yourself having to scramble for files or information that you need after the reinstall.

Please Note: I have gone to great care to test and retest this documentation. It is still possible that there are errors or missing information or that I have not covered your specific reinstallation configuration. Please provide feedback in the forum if you find any issues.

Before reinstallation

1. Document your login IDs, passwords, and settings.

If you are using your browser to store the passwords for Web sites, you will be in for a rude awakening after reinstalling Windows — they will be gone. Your browser is a poor place to keep your Web site IDs and passwords.

One possible option is to store your information in a spreadsheet. However, if you keep your IDs and passwords in a password-protected Excel or OpenOffice Calc spreadsheet, be aware that there are programs that can recover/discover the password for most .xls files. I suggest you use stronger encryption techniques to better protect Excel 2002, 2003, and 2007 spreadsheets.

If you do have Excel 2002 or later, secure your spreadsheet from hackers and then make sure you don’t lose your password! Next, add your IDs and passwords. Create a row in your spreadsheet for your ISP, e-mail, Web hosting company, personal Web sites, and any other password-protected logins. This file is also a good place to keep your e-mail POP3, SMTP, and newsserver name.

If you don’t have Excel you can keep the IDs and passwords on a piece of paper securely locked away in a safe place or you can choose one of the software alternatives available. RoboForm is a popular way to secure your browser login user name and password but is not freeware. GuardID Systems offers a product called ID Vault that is supposed to be a secure way to store your IDs and passwords — for a small price. Do not keep your IDs and passwords in a Notepad or Word document unsecured and “in the clear,” readable by anyone with access to your computer or to a hacker.

2. Export your e-mail and address book, bookmarks/favorites, and cookies.

You can export your e-mail and contacts from Outlook Express, Outlook, MS Mail, and most third-party e-mail programs. I have a folder called Mail Exports under my Archive folder where I export my e-mail. You can export from the various mailboxes. Select the Inbox, Outbox, Sent Items, and Drafts. Unless you have a special reason otherwise, you can exclude the Deleted and Junk mail boxes.

I don’t bother exporting my contacts. If I need a contact, I pull it up from an archived e-mail. You might want to export your contacts though, especially if you have a large number.

I used to always forget about bookmarks for my favorite Web sites. I had to spend time searching for a favorite site after Windows was reinstalled. I made a promise that I would export my IE Favorites and Firefox Bookmarks the next time I did a Windows reinstall. You can also export feeds and cookies.

3. Download the latest applications and drivers.

There is a core set of applications that you know you will be using. One good way to identify these core apps is to take a look at your desktop and Start menu. You can save an image of your desktop to a non-system folder and use that as a guide to reinstalling your core apps. You can also look at your installed programs in Programs and Features located in the Control Panel.

I have a logical drive named Documents and on that drive a folder called Downloads. I keep all my apps and drivers downloaded from the Internet there. These add up in a hurry. To keep it organized, I have a lot of subfolders including one for Apps and one for Drivers.

Once you have a list of your core apps, download the latest versions from the Internet and save them to your \Downloads\Apps folder or a non-system folder of your choice.

Some of your core apps may be on DVD, CD, or even floppy. Pull out your media and set it in a stack ready for reinstallation later.

Download the latest version of your favorite anti-virus software. I like Alwil Software’s Avast! The free home version includes real-time protection for e-mail, instant message, Web browser, Outlook Exchange, and four other types of real-time protection. If you can, download a file containing the latest virus definitions.

How do you know what drivers you will need? There are two basic types of drivers. I separate them here because updating them is usually handled differently:

Motherboard Specific Drivers – Auto Update

  • System and Chipset (usually Intel)
  • Onboard Sound
  • Onboard Video (some motherboards)
  • Onboard LAN

Many motherboard manufactures and computer vendors have an application that will check all the motherboard-related drivers to see if they are current. If your manufacturer or vendor provides this type of application, go to their Web site and download the latest version now.

If you don’t have access to an update utility, you have to manually identify the motherboard-related drivers that you will need:

Other drivers – Manual Update

  • Sound Card (if your computer has a sound card)
  • Video Card (if your computer has a video card)
  • Modem
  • RAID (Intel Matrix RAID, JMicron RAID, or other if you have a RAID-controller card)
  • Other Unique Devices

If you do not already know the type of video card, sound card, modem, RAID, or other unique devices in your system, you can identify them by opening the Device Manager (Figure A).

Figure A

The expanded items in the Device Manager show the devices installed on my computer requiring a manual driver download and install.

If you aren’t running RAID, you should not need to identify any Storage controllers. If you are running RAID, you will need to have the driver file available on a floppy disk or CD if installing XP or previous versions of Windows. You also need to know the exact driver/controller name — Intel 82801 GR/GH SATA RAID for my system. Unlike previous versions of Windows, Vista recognizes your hard drives during setup and you can get your RAID drivers from there.

I don’t have a sound card in my system, but if you do, expand the Sound, video and game controllers item to determine the sound card installed in your computer.

Mike Smith has put together a handy Windows Reinstall Checklist (PDF) that you might want to print and use.

After identifying the drivers you need to install, download them and save them to a non-system logical drive. Do not pull them from old floppies or CDs unless you are sure that new drivers are not available.

4. Housecleaning and backing up your data.

Now is the time to clean up your hard drive by deleting unneeded or unwanted files. Cleaning up years of accumulated files that you no longer need or want is no fun. If you want to make it less of a chore, you can start a week or more in advance of the reinstall. Spend one or two hours each day deleting the files you are sure that you want to send to the great bit-bucket in the sky.

This is also an excellent time to do a thorough anti-virus scan of all your drives. You don’t want to back up infected files.

Then do a full backup, which is easy for me to say, right? You can spend hours doing a full backup, but this is a good investment of your time. Back up anything that you don’t want to lose. It is especially important if you are one of the unfortunate ones without a Windows OEM disc or a vendor reinstall disc. Many computer vendors put the Windows setup and installation files on a separate partition or folder on the hard drive. If you have a vendor built computer, Windows Reinstall – OEM Computers is a must-read.

If you will be reinstalling Vista on a different partition, you will need almost 15GB of free space minimum on a logical drive/partition to load Vista. I like to create a partition of 30-40GB for the 32-bit version of Vista and 40-50GB for the 64 bit version. Do a full format of the logical drive/partition that will be your new system partition so that you will have a clean Vista-ready partition.

Warning! If you will be dual booting using XP and Vista, do not use XP to create the partition that you will install Vista on. For a very helpful guide to issues dual booting XP and Vista please read Dual Booting Windows Vista & Windows XP by Bert Kinney.

5. Service packs

As of October 2008, the latest service packs are SP3 for XP and SP1 for Vista. There are five ways to retrieve and install the latest service packs. Some of these methods reduce or eliminate your risk to security vulnerabilities. Some are alternative methods you can use if you are having problems installing the service pack from Windows Update. If you are not concerned about either of these two issues, you can skip this section entirely and move on to item 6.

There are five ways to get the latest Windows service pack:

  • Download it via Windows Update
  • Download it from the Microsoft Web site
  • Order it on CD/DVD disc
  • Order the latest copy of Windows that includes the latest service pack (should be noted in the product description)
  • Install Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or the System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) if available and if the computer is networked on a local Intranet

The update is much smaller when done through the Update utility found in the Control Panel. I planned to recommend that it is best to download the latest service pack and install it manually. Doing this would install important security updates in the service pack before connecting to the Internet. After a request for information from Microsoft I received the following response as to why that is not recommended:

“Microsoft strongly recommends using Windows Update to download and install Windows Vista SP1 on single PCs.

If a customer prefers to install Windows Vista SP1 from a DVD and has Internet access, they should first visit Windows Update and install all recommended and optional drivers and updates (the SP1 DVDs will have this advice on their packaging). To order Windows Vista SP1 on DVD, which costs $3.50 for shipping and handling, customers may visit the SP1 order page.

Customers should know that the install program on the DVD does not include the same logic that Windows Update uses to check for device drivers prior to SP1 installation. To make this change, the installer would need to be substantially modified, which would take a significant amount of time. Additionally, one of the benefits of Windows Update is that it can dynamically add or remove filtered devices over time, as is necessary. If the DVD were to ship with the set of filters included, they could not be added or modified as the driver landscape changed over time.

We also want customers to know that if they have any problems during or after installing SP1, they can call Microsoft Customer Support Services (CSS) free of charge with questions or for help.”

Note the emphasis added. Both options require connecting to the Internet before installing SP1.

I spoke with a Microsoft technician specializing in Windows Update. He informed me that there are two primary reasons why you might want to manually install SP1. I added reason three as my reason for a manual install.

  1. You cannot download SP1 from Windows Update or it will not install properly.
  2. During high demand times SP1 may not be available to some users for up to a week or possibly longer due to a limitation placed on the number of downloads.
  3. You want the security updates included in SP1 installed before connecting to the Internet.

The technical representative understood why I might want to install SP1 so that my system would be more secure before connecting to the Internet. He said it was possible to do this. However, SP1 does not include all the security patches since its release, even if you download it today. You will still have to start Windows Update to get these security updates.

In case you were wondering, SP1 installs 23 important security updates and 551 hot fixes, and some of those security updates are cumulative. If you want a closer look at the details, you can review Hotfixes and Security Updates Included in Windows Vista Service Pack 1.

The service packs for Vista are large — 434.5 MB for the 32-bit version and 726.5 MB for the 64-bit version. If you are still using dial-up you might be able to download the 32-bit version, but it would be easier to have a friend with broadband download the 64-bit version for you. Read the knowledge base article KB936330 carefully before installing the service pack.

I downloaded the Vista 64 bit SP1, and it took approximately 42 hours over four days. Oh the sacrifices I make for you, my patient reader! Use a download manager if you want to download the Vista service pack. I don’t recommend you do this over dial-up. At $3.50, just order the SP1 CD or DVD.

During reinstallation

6. Load Windows.

Tip: When installing Vista in Windows, the installer takes over the entire screen. But you can still have access to Windows and features like Disk Manager by clicking on the [Windows] key. I have not had problems doing this when stuck and needed information or wanted to delete files on the target partition or format the target partition, but it might be dangerous to do while the installer is busy.

Don’t forget to have your product key handy. If you have a RAID setup you will need to load the RAID drivers (be sure to get the right driver — 32 bit or 64 bit) and know the RAID controller name. For more information about installing Windows on a RAID system see Want Speed and Data Safety? Consider RAID. Rarely, you may have to have drivers for a device where Windows will be installed. As an example, some older motherboards require that you load SATA drivers in order to recognize SATA drives.

Perhaps the best way to reinstall Windows is the simple and straightforward “insert Windows disc into optical drive, format target partition and install to target partition” method. You should, if you can, start with a nice clean partition to install Windows on.

You can reinstall Vista from within your current Vista installation in addition to the traditional CD/DVD bootup install. If reinstalling from within Windows, connect to the Internet so the installer can check online for the latest installer updates.

You can replace your existing installation, even from within the existing installation, or you can load Windows onto a different partition that you prepared in item four. If you do reinstall Windows in a different partition, the original installation must be removed per the EULA. You cannot format the target partition if it is the same as the one with the current Windows installation.

Starting with Vista, the system boot files and boot manager are located in a folder called Boot. Gone is boot.ini, and replacing it is something called a Boot Configuration Data store(BCD). If you are running a dual-boot system the Boot folder may not be located on logical drive C:\. The boot files are system files and will be hidden unless you have unchecked Hide protected operating system files when configuring Explorer. If you want to load Windows onto a different logical drive, be careful that you do not delete the Boot folder when removing the original Windows installation. You also do not want to format the logical drive where the Boot folder is located.

Tip:  Microsoft includes a comprehensive help file called Installing Windows. It is a good idea to read this before reinstalling Windows.

After reinstallation

7. Reconfigure personal settings.

I have a routine that I follow — one that I developed over the years. Personal settings are, well personal. I have a list of my personal settings that I like to make immediately upon Windows startup. I offer these changes as suggestions and not recommendations.

Read How to Personalize Windows Vista for a step-by-step how-to guide or click on the specific topic below:

For those of you who are Vista experts, you might notice that there is something conspicuously missing from my list. I do not recommend changing the default settings that leave User Account Control (UAC) turned on, but this is how to turn it off if you must.

If the Windows personalization aren’t enough for you, there is a freeware version of TweakVI for Vista. You can easily spend the better part of a day going through all the tweaks available, and some of them are even useful. If you have kids and they have a computer, there are some tweaks that are useful for hiding administrative tools that you don’t want them to access. Lo and behold, you can even get your Vista product key plus lots of other detailed information about your system.

You no doubt have a list of your own, many of which have long-since been forgotten that you suddenly remember after reloading Windows. You might want to keep a list of these personalized setting so that you will have it the next time you have to reinstall Windows.

8. Enable previous versions and create a “clean install” restore point.

You will need to enable Previous Versions if you are using this feature in Vista Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise for a specific logical drive or folder. If you aren’t using Previous Versions, you should be, especially if you are a programmer. For information about how to turn this feature on in Vista, see Previous Versions in Vista Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise in the #2 Give examples section.

I always like to immediately create a restore point once Windows is installed and personalized. You can create a restore point in the same Window that Previous Versions is enabled.

Warning! If you are dual booting XP or Server 2003 and Vista or Server 2008, XP / Server 2003 will delete the Vista / Server 2008 restore points. If Previous Versions is enabled, the shadow copies of your files will also be gone. There is no simple solution for this. Be sure that Vista is installed properly before booting into XP in case you need to use a system restore point.

XP users with SP1 or greater and Server 2003 users need not feel left out. They have a similar feature called Shadow Copies.

9. Configure network, install service packs, patches, and security updates.

There are other security updates and patches that may be required. For example, I had a Micron Millenium PC that had an atapi.sys patch that had to be installed immediately after installing Windows.

Install all security updates, patches, and fixes before connecting to the Internet.

How you install SP1, your modem drivers, anti-virus, malware, firewall etc. (items 9.a – 9.e below) depends on which method you choose. Please use the instructions column of Table A to get the right order for the method you have chosen. If you skipped item 5, use the instructions for method one.

Table A — The Five Vista SP1 Installation Methods




Method One

Windows Update

9.a Install anti-virus, anti-virus definitions, malware

9.b Install modem drivers and set up network connection

9.c Run Windows Update

9.e Create Restore Point

The Windows Update installer will have to download files to update itself, and then it will have to restart.

Method Two

Firewall Application


Windows Update

9.a Install anti-virus, anti-virus definitions, malware, and firewall9.b Install modem drivers and set up network connection

9.c Run Windows Update

9.e Create Restore Point

Comodo Firewall ProThe Windows Update installer will have to download files to update itself, and then it will have to restart.

Method Three

Windows Update

Manual Install

9.a Install anti-virus,  anti-virus definitions, malware9.b Install modem drivers and set up network connection

9.c Run Windows Update

9.d Install SP1 manually

9.e Create Restore Point

The Windows Update installer will have to download files to update itself, and then it will have to restart.

Method Four

Manual Install



9.d Install SP1 manually9.e Create Restore Point

9.a Install anti-virus, anti-virus definitions, malware

9.b Install modem drivers and set up network connection

9.c Run Windows Update


Method Five


Manual Install

9.d Install SP1 manually9.e Create Restore Point


9.a Install anti-virus, malware, and firewall (optional)

Install your anti-virus, spyware, and adware. Restart the computer if prompted before connecting to the Internet. Don’t forget to configure the anti-virus app to set the scan sensitivity. Set it to High or maximum for a thorough scan and set the real-time protection to High. If you have a file containing virus definitions, load these now.

If you have a third-party firewall you want to use instead of Windows Firewall, install it now.

9.b Setup and configure network connection.

Install your modem/network drivers. Create and configure your network connection(s).

9.c Run Window Update to scan for new drivers and updates.

Next, connect to the Internet and use Windows Update to scan for drivers and updates. Use Windows Server Update Services or the System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) if available and if the computer is networked on a local Intranet. The discussion below is centered on those using Windows Update.

It had been so long since I started Windows Update manually that I had completely forgotten about its strange behavior. The Windows Update Window will show that it is looking for updates, and then it will close. It took me awhile to remember that although it appears that Windows Update has died a look at the notification icons on the taskbar shows that Windows Update is busy downloading updates (Figure B).

Figure B

Task Manager shows Windows Update process wuaudt.exe running.

When I ran Windows Update after installing SP1, there were 28 important updates (Figure C) and thirteen of those were security updates (Figure D). I asked if there was a way to get the security updates created after SP1 in a downloadable cumulative security update file and was told that they are available only via Windows Update.  

Figure C

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Windows Update Window shows 28 important updates, totaling 159.4 MB after manually installing Vista SP1.

Figure D

Clicking View Available Updates reveals the 28 important updates since the release of SP1 — already marked for update.

9.d Install SP1 manually (optional).

Install the service pack from either a disc or a file. A manual install of Vista SP1 (Figure E) requires about 7GB of free space for the 32-bit version and 13GB for the 64-bit version.

Figure E

These updates are installed after manually installing Vista SP1.

9.e Create a new Restore Point.

After SP1 is successfully loaded, I immediately create another restore point manually and call it Clean Install with SP1 or a similar identifiable name. I do this before installing any drivers and apps. I know I will be installing a lot of drivers and apps and some of those, like video card drivers and apps, may be problematic. If I begin to have problems after loading numerous apps and drivers, it is nice to be able to go back to the Clean Install with SP1 point and restart loading the apps and drivers.

Please read Remove All Remnants of the Windows Vista SP1 Installation by Greg Shultz for instructions about how you can recover disk space gobbled up by the SP1 installer.

10. Reload your drivers and apps.

One thing is almost certain now that Windows has been reinstalled — some of the generic drivers that Windows has installed are not optimal. If you are lucky enough to have an auto-update utility from your motherboard manufacturer, install the latest version that you downloaded earlier, connect to the Internet, and fire up the update app.

Do NOT update the BIOS. This option may be available in your motherboard update app and it may be called a BIOS update, but it is more commonly known as a BIOS flash. A BIOS flash is not a driver update. You also want to avoid any option labeled Update All.

Next, pull out your list of drivers requiring manual installation and install them now.

I keep my apps on a separate logical drive labeled Vista x64 Apps. It is a good idea to now go to the logical drive/folder where you keep your app files and wipe it clean. This is the fastest way to clean out the deadwood files that you will never use again. If you have all your apps on one logical drive and nothing else is stored there, it is best to format the logical drive before reloading your apps. Some programs like your newsreader usually store information like group messages on this logical drive. Export this information to your \Archive folder if you don’t want to lose it before formatting the logical drive.

If you are running Intel’s Matrix RAID, install the Intel Matrix Storage Manager.

It is finally time to reload all your applications. Take a peek at the desktop JPEG you created earlier or use a list of your core apps to determine what apps you want to install. Install to a fully formatted non-system logical drive.

There are two basic strategies when reloading your apps. You can reload the apps you use the most and load additional apps when needed or load a full list of apps up front. I prefer to load the core apps and load additional apps only when needed.

Take it from experience — it is not a good idea to load a lot of apps requiring a system restart and postpone the restart. Install a few at a time, restart the computer, and see if all is still well. If you do find a problem, you can return to the last known good restore point or uninstall the offending app. If you find no problems, consider manually creating a new restore point.

Don’t forget to reload your e-mail messages, e-mail contacts, browser favorites, and other data that you exported earlier back into your newly reloaded apps.

The final word

Even a casual glance at this list reveals that loading Windows is the easy part of your reinstall project. The prep work and configuration will occupy most of your time; plan the actual date and time of the install accordingly.

There is one more final bit of housekeeping to do. If you reinstalled Windows in a folder with an existing installation of Windows, you should decide what to do with the Windows.old folder. You will not find this folder if there was insufficient space on your system partition during the Windows setup.

If you are reinstalling Vista, the Windows.old folder will be too large for a single-layer DVD but may fit on a dual-layer DVD. You can archive it to a backup drive, or if you have followed the steps carefully in this article and are satisfied that you have all your Windows-specific data, simply zap it into oblivion.

Congratulations! By completing the 10 steps outlined here, you have prepared your computer for years of maintenance-free service. You have also protected yourself from data loss due to a hard drive failure.

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February 19, 2009

How do I … install KDE applications on Windows?

  • Date: December 9th, 2008
  • Author: Jack Wallen

With the help of Wine you can install Windows applications on Linux. But what if there are Linux applications you want to run on Microsoft Windows? Say, for example, you want to use Dolphin for your file manager instead of Windows Explorer. Thanks to a group of KDE developers, it’s possible.

Now don’t get overworked thinking you’re going to have the entire KDE workspace. You’re not. What you can get, however, is a lot of the KDE-specific applications up and running on Windows (2000, XP, and Vista). And many of these applications are integrated within themselves (so when you click an image in Dolphin, Gwenview automatically opens to display the image).

What is nice about KDE on Windows is that the aim of the project, since inception, is to create these applications as native ports. So there is nothing like Cygwin acting as a middle-layer to help run the KDE applications. This helps tremendously in keeping memory and CPU usage down to a minimum.

At this point I should warn you, some of the applications do not work perfectly. Take for instance Konqueror. Konqueror works perfectly as a file manger, but as a Web browser it is somewhat slow and prone to bugs. But it does work in both functions. Another application, Amarok, is unstable to the point of not being usable yet. That is not a problem; you can simply deselect the unstable applications during installation.

With that said, let’s get on with the installation.

This blog post is also available in PDF format in a TechRepublic download and as a TechRepublic Photo Gallery.

Getting and installing

The installation of KDE on Windows isn’t difficult, but it is time consuming. Fortunately much of this time is not interactive (so you can step away from the machine and get some work done). The first thing you need to do is download the KDE installer. Once the installer has finished downloading, double-click the .exe file and the installation will begin.

The first step in the installation is to select the Installation directory (Figure A).

Figure A

The default installation path is probably the best choice.

The next step is to choose the Install Mode (Figure B). The purpose of this is to dictate to the installer application if the installation is for an end user or a developer. If you are not planning to do any developing for KDE on Windows, your best bet is to select the End User option.

Figure B

If you select Development Mode you will also have to select a Compiler mode.

It’s very important that you select the proper Compiler Mode (if you plan on doing a Developer installation). Once you make your selection and install, you cannot change the compiler type without uninstalling and reinstalling. You can, of course, do another install and just install KDE into a different path on your hard drive. This will allow you to run different types of compilers on different installs.

Since most of you will not be doing a developer installation, we are going to continue on with an End User installation.

The next step is to configure a local storage location (Figure C). This local storage directory will be where all downloaded files are retained for the installation process.

Figure C

There shouldn’t be any reason you would need to change this directory.

Now it’s time to configure Internet settings (Figure D). This is necessary because the installer has to download everything it needs, so it must know how to get to it.

Figure D

If you are behind a proxy server, the installer will fail if the proxy is not configured here.

Along with the Internet connections configuration, you have to select a download server (Figure E). Naturally you will want to select the closest in proximity to your machine.

Figure E

Of course, even if the server is near you, that doesn’t always mean you will have the best speeds.

The next step is to choose the release you want to install (Figure F). As of this writing there are only four choices: 4.1.0, 4.1.1, 4.1.2, and 4.1.3. Installing 4.1.3 will bring you closest to the latest features of KDE 4.

Figure F

You can always go back and install other releases by installing them in different folders.

The next step is the final configuration in the installation. You now have to select the packages you want to install. As you can see in Figure G, I have opted to not install the unstable packages as well as the various language packages.

Figure G

Unless you have a need for the various language packages, not installing them will save a good deal of time during the installation.

The next window (Figure H) serves only to inform you what additional packages will be installed, based on your package selection. These are all dependencies (libraries, etc).

Figure H

You cannot deselect any of these packages.

Finally the installer will begin to download all packages necessary for the installation. In my case there are 50 packages to install (Figure I).

Figure I

Go work on that Apache server because you’re going to have the time.

Once everything has been downloaded, the installer will automatically compile and build the applications. When all is complete you will be greeted with a window (Figure J) informing you the installation is complete.

Figure J

Click Finish and you’re ready to rock the KDE way.

With the installation complete, there is no need to reboot. You are ready to take a peek at the KDE applications you now have installed on your Windows machine.

inexpensive cialis class=”entry” align=”justify”>A quick glance

One of the most welcome applications is the Dolphin file manager. I have never been a huge fan of Explorer, so having a Linux file manager is a welcome addition. To get to Dolphin you only need navigate to the KDE submenu in the Start menu. If you installed KDE 4.1.3 the menu entry will be titled “KDE 4.1.3 Release.” Within that submenu you will find a number of child menus (Figure K).

Figure K

You will notice as you navigate through the KDE menus that anything regarding the desktop is missing.

In the System submenu you will find the entry for Dolphin. Load Dolphin to see just how well the KDE applications have been ported to Windows. Figure L shows Dolphin in action.

Figure L

As you can see Dolphin contains many of the standard KDE features.

Like much of the KDE-ported applications, Dolphin works exactly as expected. The only feature I have yet to be able to take advantage of is connecting to a network connection. I have attempted to connect Dolphin through SSH (with the help of Putty) but have yet to have any luck. Outside of that small issue, Dolphin makes for an outstanding replacement for Explorer.

Final thoughts

There are many reasons why you would want to install KDE on Windows. And I am confident that eventually the developers will manage to port the entire desktop experience onto Windows. At this point, I can’t see any reason to run the standard Windows desktop.

Give KDE on Windows a try. Even if you find only one application that you use regularly, it will be worth the effort.

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10 security tips for Microsoft Windows XP

  • Date: November 4th, 2008
  • Author: Chad Perrin

When installing and using MS Windows XP, there are some security practices you should keep in mind.

There are general security tips that apply to all operating systems, of course, but each operating system platform provides its own security challenges. The following tips are tailored to Microsoft Windows XP.

  1. Disable dangerous features. Microsoft Windows systems come with a number of features enabled by default that do little or nothing for convenience, but introduce significant security risks. Among these are Autorun, the Guest account, and even Automatic Updates — because letting someone in Redmond, WA decide when changes should be made to your system, when he has no idea what software you’re running and you haven’t tested the updates yet, is a bad idea. Microsoft Windows provides many features that are activated by default and either poorly conceived from a security perspective or, at best, unnecessary for the vast majority of users. Each of these features introduces its own risks, and any that you do not need should be deactivated.
  2. Disable unneeded services. In addition to local operating system features, you should disable unneeded services. Almost exactly one year ago, my article 10 services to turn off in MS Windows XP provided a brief checklist of services to turn off — or to ensure you know why you’re leaving them on, at least. The list is not comprehensive, of course, but it is a good start.
  3. Employ good email security practices. Make use of some basic email security tips to ensure you do not invite the bad guys to read your email, flood you with spam, and take advantage of you through phishing techniques.
  4. Install and maintain malware protection software. Regardless of the reason for it, the fact remains that malware is a significant threat to Microsoft Windows systems, and running one without malware protection is irresponsible. Research your options for antivirus and antispyware how to get cialis without prescription protection carefully, and choose well. Don’t let your malware protection software’s signature databases get out of date because the software only protects against the threats it can recognize, and don’t rely on your choice of antivirus software from six years ago because there’s no such thing as a trusted brand.
  5. Update more than just MS Windows. In the world of Microsoft Windows, the majority of the software most people run on their computers often comes from third-party vendors without any connection to Microsoft’s own software distribution channels. This means that when you install something like Adobe Photoshop or Mozilla Firefox you have to track security updates for these applications separately from the operating system. Just getting your Microsoft updates every month doesn’t always cover it — sometimes some third party application needs to be updated, too. You need to keep track of what’s installed and whether or not it has received any updates if you want to maintain security for your system, because security goes beyond the core operating system.
  6. Research and test your updates. It’s important to keep your system updated so that security vulnerabilities that receive patches from Microsoft and other software vendors will not remain open to exploit. It’s also important, however, to ensure that you research and test your software updates before applying them to a production system. All too often, users and sysadmins discover that untested updates are a cure worse than the disease, as they break functionality, open additional vulnerabilities in the system, and even occasionally undo the benefits of previously applied updates. Others may have tested the updates, or have simply applied them and run into problems, so researching others’ experiences can help you plan for such issues as they arise; testing them yourself by installing them on a test system before doing so on your production system is a next necessary step to ensure that your system in particular will not develop problems as the result of a bad update.
  7. Investigate alternatives to your default application choices. Should you be using a Web browser other than Internet Explorer, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Opera? Is the multiprotocol IM client Pidgin with the OTR encryption plugin a better option for your instant messaging needs — including security — than the native clients for AIM, MSN, Y!M, ICQ, and gTalk? The only way to be sure is to determine your own needs and make an informed decision. Don’t settle for default applications without knowing the consequences of that choice.
  8. Use a quality desktop firewall. Desktop firewalls are in many respects applications like any other, but they deserve special mention for MS Windows security. Furthermore, even Windows servers are in effect desktop systems, so don’t let the fact that a given computer is a “server” deter you from installing a good “desktop” firewall application on the system if you can spare the CPU cycles and RAM. On an actual end user desktop system, desktop firewall software is even more important. Relying on the defaults you get when you buy the computer is a good way to get your system compromised without even knowing it. The Windows Firewall provided with MS Windows after Service Pack 2 is certainly better than nothing, but one can almost always do better. Look into alternatives to the Windows Firewall, and select the option that best suits your needs.
  9. Research your options before assuming MS Windows XP is what you need. The same principles that apply to applications may also apply to operating systems. Different OSes can provide different security and functionality benefits. Are you really certain that MS Windows XP is the operating system you need? Have you investigated other alternatives? What about MS Windows 2000 or Vista? Have you checked into the possibility of MacOS X, FreeBSD, or Ubuntu Linux for a workstation? What about OpenBSD, OpenSolaris, or OpenVMS for a server?
  10. Protect yourself the same way you would with any other operating system. In last year’s article, 10 security tips for all general-purpose OSes, I laid out a list of security tips that apply for good security practice in the use of any general purpose operating system — including MS Windows.

Installing MS Windows XP is only the first step to using it. If you stop there, you’re likely to run afoul of the various security threats roaming the wilds of the Internet. Make sure you take care to configure your system to best protect you against the dangers that lurk around every corner.

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