Christmas Themes for Windows XP

Previously we did a roundup of some of the Best Christmas themes for Windows 7. However those themes will not work on Windows XP. In this post you will find themes/theme pack which can be installed and used on Windows XP computers.

chrsitmas_theme_pack_windows_xp

chrsitmas_theme_pack_windows_xp_2

Themes do not work out of the box on Windows XP, you will have to apply some patches before you can install a them on XP. The download page contains links to download patches for your computer, make sure to apply them before you use the themes.

Download Christmas Themes for Windows XP

Windows 7, Vista, XP CD Key Finder

windows_cd_key_finder

Quite sometime back we had told you on how you can find the XP Product CD key on your installation disk. If you are planning to re-install your system or format it, here is a nice which will allow you to find your Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 CD Key.

Though the product says that it only extracts CD keys from XP, we successfully ran this on and too.

Download XP CD-Key Finder

How to transform Ubuntu(Gnome) into Windows XP desktop

You are using Linux desktop for advanced features and security, but do you still miss the Windows XP looks and layout?

There are many options, using which, you can tinker around and experiment with themes and icons etc., until you get that perfect XP look for your Linux Box running Gnome.
Well, the good news is that you can now theme Gnome desktop, completely into XP style, using a single script.

PhrankDaChicken has launched XpGnome script that transforms Ubuntu (Gnome) into Windows XP look-alike.
You can download the script from here .

transform gnome into windows xp
transform gnome into windows xp

The script changes the following components:

  • Icons
  • GTK
  • Metacity
  • Usplash
  • GDM theme
  • Mouse
  • Panel background
  • Desktop background
  • Nautilus tree view

It deletes all the Gnome panels and adds a new panel at the bottom with:

  • Start Menu
  • Show Desktop
  • Window switcher
  • Notification area
  • Volume control
  • Clock

But as a general rule with Linux, be prepared for things to screw up.
So, in case if you want to get your old and working desktop back by reverting the settings. Simply run the Restore_Settings script in the restore folder.

Here is a complete video tutorial on how to install and then revert XpGnome script, on Youtube.

So why does anyone want this script?

Techie-buzz verdict: This script is for people who often screw their Windows XP desktop. So, now they can have a stable Linux OS with familiar Windows Xp looks and feel.

How to use Google Public DNS on Windows 7 and Windows XP

Google recently announced that it’s offering a new public DNS server. It caught me by surprise. However, I’m not new to using public DNS services, and I gave Google’s new service a try. If you are using Windows 7 or Windows XP, I’ll show you how to set it up.

First, let’s get a couple of questions out of the way.

What is a DNS server?

DNS stuff can get pretty complicated, and I don’t want to go into details, so I’ll just give you a general idea. A DNS server is like a phone book. If you want to call someone using your phone, you may need to look up their phone number. Every website on the net has a 12 digit number (IP Address) that your PC needs to know in order to contact it. When you type a website name into a browser, your PC queries it’s assigned DNS server (the phone book), the DNS server reports the IP address (the phone number) back to your PC, and the PC initiates a connection with the site you requested. This all happens automatically and you really don’t need to know about DNS to use it. Most people are using a private DNS server that’s assigned by their Internet Service Provider, however, there are many open (public) DNS servers out there that anyone can use. Google’s new DNS server is only one among thousands.

Why would you want to use Google’s Public DNS?

I’m not sure that I completely agree with the reasons given at the Google Public DNS home page, but they state that their DNS service is faster, more secure and fairly private. Personally, I prefer OpenDNS, but that’s a topic for another time.

And now – on to the How toportion.

Set up Google Public DNS on Windows XP

How to Avoid the XP Product Activation After a Reinstall

xplogo Have you ever had to reinstall Windows XP? If so, have you ever had to reactivate it? I recall hearing one of the guys at work talking about the problems he’d had during a reinstall. He had to jump through hoops in order to convince Microsoft to allow him to reactivate.

If you plan to reinstall WinXP on a machine that already has XP on it, you can back up the current activation keys and restore them after you reinstall. You won’t have to contact Microsoft for a reactivation.

Before you Reinstall:

1. Make sure that you back up all of your personal files, data, programs, license keys and product keys.

2. Gather copies of the service packs and security software that you’ll need.

3. Go to the following folder: C:\Windows\System32

4. Find the files named wpa.dbl and wpa.bak, and copy them to a floppy disk or CD.

xp-save-activation-normal-mode

During and After You Reinstall:

I’ll recommend that you take your PC offline (no internet connection) during installation. This allows you to install the service packs and security software before you reconnect to the internet. An unprotected PC can get infected in less than a minute online.

At the end of the installation, if you get a prompt to activate Windows, follow the steps below:

1. Just say no. Microsoft will allow you a grace period to activate.
2. Reboot the PC.
3. Hit the F8 key during boot to get the advanced boot screen.
3. Choose “Safe Mode”.
4. Once in Safe Mode, open up that same folder at C:\Windows\System32.
5. Locate the two wpa files wpa.dbl and wpa.bak. If you don’t find the bak file, don’t worry.
6. Rename the files to something else, like maybe wpadbl.xxx and wpa.xxx.
7. Now copy the two files, Wpa.dbl and Wpa.bak, from the floppy or CD, into the system32 folder.
8. Reboot as you would normally.

xp-save-activation-safe-mode

Now you don’t have to contact Microsoft and you haven’t broken any rules, as far as I know. You’re good to go.

Do You Have XP Activation Problems?

If you have problems with your activation, I found this forum thread that may help.

You can also find out more about XP activation at this Microsoft page.

Here’s what MS says about why it needs you to activate.
Product activation makes sure that each Windows XP license is installed in accordance with the EULA and is not installed on more than the number of computers that the license permits. Windows creates a unique installation identification (ID) that is based on information from the product ID and a hardware identifier that are created when you install Windows XP.

This article was inspired by a visit to my friend Gary’s website. His site, InternetFixes, offers thousands of tips, tricks and fixes for all Windows PCs.

Do you have any questions about Windows XP or reinstalling it? Do you have any ideas you’d like to share? Be sure to add a comment below or email me. I’d love to hear from you.

Enable Windows 7 Task Switching in Windows XP and Vista

Starting with , Microsoft made the Windows key more useful with some excellent . In Windows 7, you can use the Windows key in combination with numbers 1-9 to cycle between the applications in the taskbar.

windows7_task_switcher

did have a similar feature, but it was only limited to the applications in the quick launch bar. We had covered more such shortcut keys in our of Windows button shortcut keys.

ActivateByNum is a , which will allow you to use the Windows key + number, task switching functionality from Windows 7 in and Vista.

Techie Buzz Verdict

The Windows key + number task switching comes in pretty handy when you want to navigate or open applications without using the mouse or Alt + Tab key combination.

This should definitely come in handy on Windows XP, however it might disable the Quick launch hotkeys on Windows Vista.

Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Download ActivateByNum

Customize Windows XP Icons Using Icon Tweaker

In the past we have told you how to change default Windows desktop icons, using a inbuilt feature in , and . But what if you want to apply a new icon pack to your system?

Also Read: Browse and Download Free High Quality Icons

Icon Tweaker is a excellent that will allow you to update the icons used on your Windows XP system with a different icon pack.

icon_tweaker_install_icons

Icon Tweaker comes loaded with several built-in icon packs. In addition to that you can also download and install icon packs from the internet.If you are feeling adventurous, you can create your own icon packs using the software.

If you think you messed up something or want to go back to using the original icons, you can do that with a single click. Icon Tweaker only works with Windows XP and lower PCs.

Download IconTweaker

Windows XP – Secure your Computer from Internet Attacks

windows-xp-logon-screen You might be terrified or anxious about people hacking into your computer and gains access to your confidential data. To avoid unauthorized access, you may have set a password in your Windows XP account that you can remember easily. Even with a password set, hackers on the internet can break into your account and get access to your files. So, what do you have to do now? You better set a blank password or use no password at all.

Yes! Using a blank password (or no password at all) can make your computer more secure. Accounts on Windows XP that are not secured by a password, cannot be accessed remotely over the network or the Internet.

An official guide from Microsoft on Password strength suggests using blank passwords on Windows XP machines when the following criteria are met:

  • You only have one computer or you have several computers but you do not need to access information on one computer from another one
  • The computer is physically secure (you trust everyone who has physical access to the computer like your family members)

However, using blank password (or no password at all) is not always a good idea particularly when a computer is not in a secure location. For instance, your laptop is not physically secure so, setting up a strong password is a must!

P.S. Running the command gpedit.msc in the Run box and disabling the setting “Limit local account use of blank passwords to console login only” available under Local Policies will allow youto access your XP Professional computer over the network ever after the password is blank

Get Windows 7 Taskbar in Windows XP

brings in several improvements over but one of the most noticeable one is the new taskbar which is more compact and space saving in addition to Jump Lists.

If you are using and have no plans to switch to Windows 7 even when it is available for $30 a nifty called ViGlance adds a Windows 7 taskbar to Windows XP.

windows7_taskbar_for_windows_xp

ViGlance is pretty decent as it uses only about 10MB memory and also provides users with thumbnail previews and the ability to pin favorite applications to the taskbar.

In addition to that it also replaces the start button with Windows 7 Orb replica. Overall a pretty neat implementation of the taskbar.

Download ViGlance [via Cybernet News]

Experience Aero Glass in Windows XP With Border Skin

As far as Microsoft is concerned Windows XP is dead. However, for thousands all over the world it is still the best Operating System. In case you are reluctant to let go of the performance king that is XP, there are tons of software available to back port Windows 7 features into XP.

Over the years numerous utilities have been developed to bring Aero like transparency and blur to Windows XP. WindowBlinds probably does it best. However, it’s not free and may be overkill for many. If you are looking for a free, light-weight solution you will be pleased with Border Skin.

Border Skin : Aero Glass for Windows XP

Installing and using Border Skin is straight forward. All you need to do is extract the files. You will also require .Net Framework 3.5. Border Skin comes with as many as 20 themes. All of them are variations of Aero and looks cool. The blur effect as well as reflections are done really well. In fact they are almost as good as original.

Border Skin is an impressive utility whose biggest strength is its simplicity. Go ahead and check it out. Let us know whether you were equally impressed.

[Download Border Skin]

Note : Some Antivirus software may erroneously detect Border Skin 0.2.3.exe/Border Skin 0.2.3/Hook DLL.dll as a backdoor/trojan.

via AskVG