Monthly Questions & Answers For Windows XP

After a regular shut down, there appeared on the "Start" bar an extra bar of icons at the bottom of the screen just to the right of "Start". Where did this come from and how do I get rid of it? I have tried to close it, delete it, right click then delete it, escape, control alt. delete and it just stays there. It really does not prevent any other use of the computer, but I know it should not remain.

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Great Question. The icon bar that you see is the Quick Launch Bar. It is a newer feature that Microsoft developed from their Office Toolbar. The Quick Launch Bar is great because it allows you to have shortcuts to start applications accessible without cluttering up your desktop. To remove a specific shortcut from the Quick Launch Bar: "Right mouse click on the specific icon shortcut and choose delete". To add an icon shortcut to the Quick Launch Bar: "Just drag and drop". To hide or display the Quick Launch Bar: "right mouse clicking on an open part of the start bar. Choose toolbars and appropriately check or uncheck Quick Launch".

I am sooooooo tired of my "so called" friends sending me virus warnings. They end up not being true and sometimes cause me to delete good working programs. What can I do?

First consider finding new friends. It sounds like they are the virus. These types of warnings are ridiculous. Have a current antivirus program installed on your PC and stop worrying. HALNet has a great antivirus service as well.

If you do want to follow up on rumors that you might hear, try going to: or and review the current or new threats. Also, a real fun site to go to is the Urban Legend site. It has a search engine which helps make it easy to find some of these issues. The Urban Legend Site can be found at:

What happened to Scandisk? I can't find it anywhere. I don't imagine that Disk Cleanup and Disk Defragmenter have replaced it, have they?

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No, Scandisk is still here. It has however been renamed to "Error Checking". Microsoft has to rename programs or move them with each release to make it a little more challenging for the end user. Go into (double click) "My Computer". Right mouse click on the "C:" drive and choose "properties". Choose the "tools" tab and click on the "Error Checking" button. Thanks for the super question!

My Windows XP Operating System was pre-installed on my PC using FAT. I heard that I should have something called NTFS used for Windows XP? Can I install NTFS? When I asked the technician, I was told that I would have to erase everything on my hard drive, install NTFS, and then reinstall all of my programs. Is NTFS that important?

Yes, you can install NTFS: New Technology File System, and No, you do not have to erase your hard drive. Windows XP supports three file systems for fixed disks: FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS. Microsoft recommended that you use NTFS with Windows XP because of its advanced performance, security, and reliability features. This article describes how to convert a FAT16 or FAT32 volume to NTFS. Be aware, however, it is more difficult to troublehoot and recover lost files with NTFS due to the improved security.

You can use the convert command (Convert.exe) to convert an existing FAT or FAT32 volume to NTFS. Because this conversion retains all of your files (unlike a format operation), use Convert.exe when you want to keep existing files on your volumes intact. Before you convert a drive or partition to NTFS, consider the following:

  1. Always backup critical data before installing anything to your PC.
  2. The conversion to NTFS is a one-way process. You cannot convert it back to FAT.
  3. Convert.exe requires a lot of free space. If Convert.exe determines that there is not enough free space on the volume, it does not convert the volume.
  4. If you run other Windows operating systems on your computer in addition to Windows XP, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me), Windows 98 Second Edition and earlier, and MS-DOS will not be able to access files on the NTFS.

To convert an existing FAT or FAT32 volume to NTFS, follow these steps:

  1. Click "Start", "All Programs", "Accessories" and "Command Prompt".
  2. At the command prompt, type the following, where drive letter is the drive that you want to convert:
    convert drive letter: /fs:ntfs
    For example, type the following command to convert drive C: to NTFS:
    convert c: /fs:ntfs
  3. When the following message is displayed in the command prompt window, type the volume label of the drive (Name of drive letter if you are using one) that you are converting, and then press ENTER:
    The type of the file system is FAT.
    Enter the current volume label for drive letter:
  4. When the conversion to NTFS is complete, the following line is displayed in the command prompt window:
    Conversion complete

Terrific Question! Sorry for the long and detailed answer. I hope that it helps. For more information, please go to Windows XP "Help And Support" option.

If I do a back up of my registry, as discussed in a previous article, and then my registry gets corrupted so that the system does not boot, what do I do?

If you are a religious person, you can start praying. I do not like directing people to adjust or replace the registry because it is too easy to crash a PC. If your PC has already crashed, it is best to get physical help before starting the surgery. Please do not accept the information below as "THE WAY," but instead review as much information before dealing with a "Crashed" PC. Check for viruses before assuming that your registry is corrupt.

Before restoring the registry, reboot the PC while pressing the "F8" button. This will bring up a special boot menu. Choose the option "Last Known Good Configuration" and reboot. See if using this last "Restore Point" fixes your problem.

If you have a current emergency repair disk, you can boot off your Windows XP CD and choose the repair option.

If you have to manually restore your back-up copy of your Registry, you can try Microsoft's directions as shown below. Whatever the outcome, a corrupt registry (next to fire) is about the worse thing that can happen to a PC.

The Registry consists of five registry hives. Make sure to replace all 5 of the registry hives. If you only replace a single hive or two, this can cause potential issues, since software and hardware may have settings in multiple locations in the registry.

Part One

In part one, you boot to the Recovery Console, create a temporary folder, back up the existing registry files to a new location, delete the registry files at their existing location, and then copy the registry files from the repair folder to the System32\Config folder. When you are finished with this procedure, a registry is created that you can use to boot back into Windows XP. This registry was created and saved during the initial setup of Windows XP, so any changes and settings that took place after Setup completes are lost.

To complete part one, follow these steps:

  1. Boot to the Recovery Console using your Windows XP CD.
  2. At the Recovery Console command prompt, type the following lines (assuming that your Windows XP operating system is installed in the "C:\Windows" directory), pressing ENTER after you type each line.
    See box1
  3. Type exit to quit Recovery Console. Your computer will restart.
Box 1

This process will backup the current Registry and then delete it.

"md tmp"
"copy c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\tmp\system.bak"
"copy c:\windows\system32\config\software c:\windows\tmp\software.bak"
"copy c:\windows\system32\config\sam c:\windows\tmp\sam.bak"
"copy c:\windows\system32\config\security c:\windows\tmp\security.bak"
"copy c:\windows\system32\config\default c:\windows\tmp\default.bak"
"delete c:\windows\system32\config\system"
"delete c:\windows\system32\config\software"
"delete c:\windows\system32\config\sam"
"delete c:\windows\system32\config\security"
"delete c:\windows\system32\config\default"
"copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system"
"copy c:\windows\repair\software c:\windows\system32\config\software"
"copy c:\windows\repair\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam"
"copy c:\windows\repair\security c:\windows\system32\config\security"
"copy c:\windows\repair\default c:\windows\system32\config\default"

NOTE: This procedure assumes that Windows XP is installed to the C:\Windows folder. Make sure to change C:\Windows to the appropriate windows folder if it is a different location.

Part Two

In part two, you copy the registry files from the backed up location by using System Restore. This folder is not available in Recovery Console and is normally not visible during normal usage. Before you start this procedure, you must change several settings to make the folder visible. To complete the procedure described in this section, you must be logged on as an administrator, or an administrative user and start the PC in Safe Mode.

  1. Boot up the PC while pressing the "F8" key.
  2. Use the arrow keys to select the appropriate "Safe mode" option, and then press "ENTER".
  3. If you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot system, use the arrow keys to select the installation that you want to access, and then press ENTER.
  4. Log in as the Administrator.
  5. To unhide all protected folders start Windows Explorer (right mouse click on "Start" and choose "Explore").
  6. On the "Tools" menu, click "Folder options".
  7. Click the "View" tab.
  8. Under "Hidden files and folders", click to select "Show hidden files and folders", and then click to clear the "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)" check box.
  9. Click "Yes" when the dialog box is displayed that confirms that you want to display these files.
  10. Double-click the drive where you installed Windows XP to get a list of the folders. It is important to click the correct drive.

    Open the System Volume Information folder. This folder appears as a dimmed folder because it is set as a super-hidden folder.

    NOTE: This folder contains one or more _restore {GUID} folders such as "_restore{87BD3667-3246-476B-923F-F86E30B3E7F8}".
  11. Open a folder that was not created at the current time. You may have to click "Details" on the "View" menu to see when these folders were created. There may be one or more folders starting with "RPx under this folder. These are restore points.
  12. Open one of these folders to locate a Snapshot subfolder folder; the following path is an example of a folder path to the Snapshot folder:

    C:\System Volume Information\_restore{D86480E3-73EF-47BC-A0EB-A81BE6EE3ED8}\RP1\Snapshot
  13. From the Snapshot folder, copy the following files to the C:\Windows\Tmp folder:

These files are the backed up registry files from System Restore. Because you used the registry file created by Setup, this registry does not know that these restore points exist and are available. A new folder is created with a new GUID under System Volume Information and a restore point is created that includes a copy of the registry files that were copied during part one. This is why it is important not to use the most current folder, especially if the time stamp on the folder is the same as the current time.

The current system configuration is not aware of the previous restore points. You need a previous copy of the registry from a previous restore point to make the previous restore points available again.

The registry files that were copied to the Tmp folder in the C:\Windows folder are moved to ensure the files are available under Recovery Console. You need to use these files to replace the registry files currently in the C:\Windows\System32\Config folder. Recovery Console has limited folder access and cannot copy files from the System Volume folder by default.

Part Three

In part three, you delete the existing registry files, and then copy the System Restore Registry files to the C:\Windows\System32\Config folder:

  1. Boot to Recovery Console.

  2. At the Recovery Console command prompt, type the following lines, pressing ENTER after you type each line:

"del c:\windows\system32\config\sam"
"del c:\windows\system32\config\security"
"del c:\windows\system32\config\software"
"del c:\windows\system32\config\default"
"del c:\windows\system32\config\system"
"copy c:\windows\tmp\_registry_machine_software c:\windows\system32\config\software"
"copy c:\windows\tmp\_registry_machine_system c:\windows\system32\config\system"
"copy c:\windows\tmp\_registry_machine_sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam"
"copy c:\windows\tmp\_registry_machine_security c:\windows\system32\config\security"
"copy c:\windows\tmp\_registry_user_.default c:\windows\system32\config\default"

NOTE: This procedure assumes that Windows XP is installed to the C:\Windows folder. Make sure to change C:\Windows to the appropriate windows folder if it is a different location.

Part Four

  1. Click Start, and then click All Programs.
  2. Click Accessories, and then click System Tools.

Click System Restore, and then click Restore to a previous Restore Point.

This information was taken from a Microsoft TechNet article. For more detailed information refer to Windows XP Help And Support or Microsoft's On-line TechNet and Knowledge Base.;EN-US;kbhowto&sd=GN&ln=EN-US&FR=0

See what I mean about getting physical help! Please only follow these Microsoft directions with a crashed Windows XP system when nothing else works. Yuck