Monday, October 8, 2007

Scan & Delete Empty Directories on your System

Just a quick tip today, I found a tool that searches through your system for empty directories and gets rid of them. RED searches and deletes empty directories recursively below a given start folder and shows the result in a well arranged tree. Further you can create some custom rules for keeping and deleting folders. Empty files in directories can also be ignored. Just try RED to see the other features - no registry keys or system files will be touched.

System Requirements
Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 (The installer should check if you have installed the .NET Framework 2.0 and will install it if not)

Click here to download RED

Sunday, September 30, 2007

What you should know about the Desktop.ini file

I have got e-mails from people saying they keep getting a desktop.ini file in almost all folders on their PC. File system folders are commonly displayed with a standard icon and set of properties, which specify, for instance, whether or not the folder is shared. You can customize the appearance and behavior of an individual folder by creating a Desktop.ini file for that folder. But, sometimes - especially in Windows XP.
A common use of the Desktop.ini file is to assign a custom icon or thumbnail image to a folder. You can also use Desktop.ini to create an infotip that displays information about the folder and controls some aspects of the folder's behavior, such as specifying localized names for the folder or items in the folder. Actually carries out the same job the thumbs.db file does.

Use the following procedure to customize a folder's style with Desktop.ini:

  • Use PathMakeSystemFolder to make the folder a system folder. This sets the read-only bit on the folder to indicate that the special behavior reserved for Desktop.ini should be enabled. You can also make a folder a system folder from the command line by using attrib +s FolderName.
  • Create a Desktop.ini file for the folder. You should mark it as hidden and system to ensure that it is hidden from normal users.
  • Make sure the Desktop.ini file that you create is in the Unicode format. This is necessary to store the localized strings that can be displayed to users.

Creating a Desktop.ini File

The Desktop.ini file is a text file that allows you to specify how a file system folder is viewed. The [.ShellClassInfo] section, allows you to customize the folder's view by assigning values to several entries:

ConfirmFileOpSet this entry to 0 to avoid a "You Are Deleting a System Folder" warning when deleting or moving the folder.
NoSharingNot supported under Windows Vista or later. Set this entry to 1 to prevent the folder from being shared.

IconFileIf you want to specify a custom icon for the folder, set this entry to the icon's file name. The .ico file extension is preferred, but it is also possible to specify .bmp files, or .exe and .dll files that contain icons. If you use a relative path, the icon is available to people who view the folder over the network. You must also set the IconIndex entry.
IconIndexSet this entry to specify the index for a custom icon. If the file assigned to IconFile only contains a single icon, set IconIndex to 0.
InfoTipSet this entry to an informational text string. It is displayed as an infotip when the cursor hovers over the folder. If the user clicks the folder, the information text is displayed in the folder's information block, below the standard information.

The following illustrations are of the Music folder with a custom Desktop.ini file. The folder now:

  • Has a custom icon.
  • Does not display a "You Are Deleting a System Folder" warning if the folder is moved or deleted.
  • Cannot be shared.
  • Displays informational text when the cursor hovers over the folder.

The folder options in the following illustrations are set to show hidden files so that Desktop.ini is visible. The folder looks like this:

When the cursor hovers over the folder, the infotip is displayed.

The custom icon replaces the folder icon everywhere the folder name appears.

The following desktop.ini file was used to customize the Music folder, as seen in the preceding illustrations.

InfoTip=Some sensible information.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Disabling Low Disk Notification

I have a HP Pavilion DV6000 Intel Centrino, 200GB, 2GB, 2.80GHz. Since my Laptop has alot of space, and it has two 100GB HDDs. I have different partitions that I use for different things.
I have like 15GB of software Installation Files, which I split into 4GBs so I can easily burn them to DVDs if the need arises. These softwares are kept on a seperate partition which I keep full to the brim, I mean- I keep 10GB in a 10.5GB partition. I do not advice you to do the same because you will experience problems trying to defragment such drives.
I do not need to defrag those partitions because files they do not get fragmented, I do not delete large files from the partition and it so it is just intact.

Now when this is done, I get a low disk space warning notification which I don't like to see.

I found a way to disable the low disk warning notification.

Copy the text below into an empty note pad windows and store the document as with a reg extention i.e. if u decide to save the file as "disable low disk" save it as "disable low disk.reg"

Here's the code to copy:


Thanks to and Hiren

Friday, September 21, 2007

Minimize any Window to System Tray with TrayIt

Sometimes when I’m working with my computer system, it is necessary to keep many windows open or minimized to the task bar. This makes my taskbar look disorganized and I don’t like to see it looking like that, so I found a new way to keep it tidy and neat.

Tray it is a small handy freeware that can minimize any window to the system tray keeping the task bar neat and tidy. TrayIt! allows you to save precious Taskbar space for minimized windows. For each application which applies TrayIt! it creates a small icon in the System Tray. (System Tray area is located near the Clock). When application's window is minimized this icon represents the application on the Taskbar instead of the regular "minimized rectangle". It is particularly useful for background tasks you typically keep running on your PC all day long like your favorite E-mail client, iTunes, e.t.c

TrayIt! runs on Windows 95/98/Me, NT/2000/XP and does not require any installation.
Simply create a new folder and place TrayIt!.exe and TrayIt!.dll there (Program Files recommended) When started, TrayIt! will show a dialog box with a short explanation on how to use it. You may choose to load TrayIt! on system startup by selecting "Option" and checking "Load TrayIt! on StartUp" box.

  1. You can temporarily put any window in the system tray by keeping down the CTRL button when minimizing the window. (I tried this but didn’t work on XP but it did on 98).

  1. To always keep window in the system tray when minimized, click with the RIGHT mouse button on the corresponding icon created in the tray in the previous step and check "Place in System Tray" in the pop up menu.

  1. Clicking with the right mouse button on the minimize icon will bring TrayIt! context menu for this window. Just check "Place in System Tray" in the popup menu to make window always go to the tray.

  1. Please note that context menu will work only for the standard minimize icon and will not pop-up if the program use skins like MS Media player.

That’s it and you’re good to go, Don’t forget; You will have to configure TrayIt to start up automatically with Windows®. So you do not have to execute it every time Windows® start. You can open minimized windows by simply double clicking on the icon in the Tray, how easy.

Tray it is another amazing tool from Hiren (Thanks to Raymond)

Download TrayIt here

Any Questions, contribution - E-mail:


Saturday, September 1, 2007

Automating Installation of Windows 2000/XP

Have you ever wanted to smoothly automate the Windows installation process? It is nice not having to press any buttons or type a CD key. In this article and the following, I will discuss how to automate the installation of Windows 2000/XP. Due to the size of this topic I am going to break the content up into several articles. The first installment will consist of compiling a bootable Windows 2000/XP CD with the latest service pack slipstreamed in. Combined with a floppy disk, you will be able to automate the installation of Windows 2000/XP. There are a ton of resources available for this topic and I will include them at the end of this article. They will apply to the whole series I have planned on automating the installation of the Windows OS.

(Note: In this example I am using Windows 2000. You can easily substitute the same procedure for Windows XP Professional. So where you see a reference to anything Windows 2000, just Change it to Windows XP)

Resources You Will Need

Ø Windows 2000 Pro or XP Pro CD

Ø Latest Service Pack (SP 4 for Windows 2000 or SP1a for XP)

Ø Blank floppy disk

Ø Compression tool like WinZip or Winrar

Ø Hard drive space (a gigabyte is sufficient, but more is always better )

Assumptions: (These are the drives I will reference in the article and what devices they are)

D:\ = Hard drive

E:\ = CD-rom Drive

Beginning Steps

To start off, create a directory and name it Win2k_CD. The name of the directory does not matter except to you. I find it easier to make the directory names descriptive and to work off the root of the drive. In this example I will be working from my D:\ drive. Next copy the i386 directory from the Windows CD to the Win2k_CD directory you created. I find it easier to work from a command prompt using xcopy. An example would be:

xcopy /E /I e:\i386 d:\win2k_cd\i386

Below is an image of the directories that I created.

Slipstreaming the Service Pack

Next, lets slipstream the Windows service pack into the installation. First you must download it from Microsoft, if you have not done so already. Please follow the below links to the service pack you need.

For Windows 2000 SP 4:

For Windows XP Pro SP1a:

After downloading the service pack, extract it to the Win2k_SP4 directory. Again, this is my naming convention and you can use whatever you like to make it easier. So now you should see an i386 directory created within the Win2k_SP4 directory.

In order to slipstream the service pack into the Windows 2000 directory, open a command prompt. Browse to the D:\Win2k_SP4\i386\Update directory. While in the update directory type the following command (see image below for example):

update /s:d:\win2k_CD

When the process has finished a notification window will appear with the statement Integrated install has completed successfully.

Building the CD

Now that we have the service pack slipstreamed into the Windows i386 directory, we can begin to build the CD. You will need to download the following zip file (choose the one you need) and extract the contents into the D:\win2k_CD directory.

For Windows 2000, download this file: [2 kb]

There are 3 files in the

  1. CDROM_IP.5 (tells the installation that it is a Windows 2000 Professional install)
  2. cdromsp4.tst (identifier file for service pack 4)
  3. w2kboot.bin (the boot sector for the cd)

For Windows XP, download this file: [2 kb]

The contains only one file.

Burning the CD

I will cover burning the CD using Ahead’s Nero Burning Rom ( You can also use other burning applications like Easy CD Creator, but you will have to apply the settings for the burn process yourself.

Begin by starting Nero and start a new compilation using the CD-ROM (Boot) option like in the image below.

Next, on the Boot tab, you will need to set the image file or boot sector. Select the w2kboot.bin file. Check Enable Expert Settings and set emulation to“No Emulation. Lastly, set the Number of Loaded Sectors to 4. See the image below for the settings.

On the Label tab, you can set your own settings here. I would set the volume label to something like W2KSP4_EN. All other fields are optional to set. Now you can click on New as shown below.

In order to burn the CD you have to copy everything within the Win2k_CD directory into the project. Remember to copy everything within the Win2k_CD directory and not that directory itself! See the image below.

Click on Burn and wait till it is done. You now have a bootable Windows 2000 CD with service pack 4 already integrated into it. Slipstreaming the service pack onto the CD only takes us so far. What we really want is to automate the installation of the operating system so we can pop in the CD and let it install all on its own. So next we will have to create a winnt.sif file that will provide the answers for the installation’s questions.

The Winnt.sif File and Automated Installation

Now that we have the CD ready, let's put together the automation. Microsoft has made vast improvements regarding automating processes including the installs of its OS’s. An article you will want to have is the Unattend.doc. It breaks down the different parts of the answer file and that is all the winnt.sif file is! All you need to know is the syntax, which is simple, and know which items you want to automate. I am going to cover the Windows 2000 answer file. XP is essentially the same, but has some other features that I will discuss in a later installment.

Creating an answer is easy. First we will need to use Setup Manager (setupmgr.exe) from the file located on the Windows 2000 CD. On the Windows 2000 CD, there is a Support\Tools folder with the in it. Extract the file to a temp directory. There are several other items that were extracted, too, and will be covered in the later sections. Run Setupmgr.exe and walk through each window. The second to last window will prompt you to create a distribution folder. We are not doing that in this instance so select No, this answer file will be used to install from a CD. The final window determines the output location of the answer file. The default name is Unattend.txt.

After the file is saved, rename it from Unattend.txt to winnt.sif. You can then copy this file to a blank formatted diskette.

Let's Start Installing

Now that we have our answer file and CD, we can start the install. With the CD in the drive, start up the computer. The CD will prompt you to press any key to boot from CD… Once you hit a key, insert the floppy diskette into the drive. The installation will now check the floppy drive to see if there is an answer file for it to use and—Voila!

Most of the time the first automated install will not work as planned. There will be steps that are not automated that you will want to automate. Check out the Unattend.doc file that was extracted from the In there you will find all the different parameters for automating the installation. Next week I will dive into installing from a remote share and adding hot fixes to the installation as well.

Like I said on the Forum, the second section will be out soon, watch out. . .

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Extend Software Trial Period!

A lot of software and applications are released as a shareware, also known as demoware (demo) or trialware (trial version), where users can download the trial version shareware from the Internet or get the apps from distributed magazine cover-disks, and use it for a stipulated period of time (trial period), free or charge without any payment. The plan is sort of “try before you buy”, where if users satisfy with the software after trying it, they should buy the program by paying a license fee to the developer. After passing the trial expiry date and time (expiry of trial period), the software will either stop working, or continue working with limited or restricted features, or displays a reminder message about expired trial demo license.So what if you want to extend the duration of the trial period of the demo apps to fully evaluate it? Or you have installed the demo software or shareware, but suddenly busy with works or something else, and when finally free, the trial valid date has passed? Or you may be decided that the shareware is not worth to pay? The solution or workaround is to extend or reset the trial apps expiry date and time, or its trial period, so that users can continue to using the trial shareware without crack or hack.
How to extend or reset the trial period of shareware, trial-ware, demo-ware or trial software?
Method 1
Reinstall the program. This is the easiest method, but highly likely that it won’t work mostly on current modern software, as the expiry check algorithm getting sophisticated by keeping the expiry information on started using date and days allowed for try use plus days left in the trial in the registry or in a randomly named file.
Method 2
Adjusting the clock (date and time) of your computer system before starting installation of trial software to future data, or adjusting the clock to past date after expired trial period. Again, this method most likely won’t work.
Method 3
Use a application installation monitoring software or uninstaller software such as
Norton Cleansweep, Your Uninstaller! 2006 and Advanced Uninstaller PRO 2006 to keep track and monitor every changes to the system during installation, and then uninstall and revert the shareware completely to remove all traces of trial expiry data.
Method 4
Backup the registry before installation of software, and restore the registry after trial period passed. Only works on those shareware that store protection information in registry, and you will lose some important registry changes by Windows or other applications. Alternatively, use Regmon to monitor registry activity in real-time to identify possible candidates for trial expiry reg keys, and then delete those keys.
Method 5
Reinstall windows, and you can be sure that you can use all trial demo shareware again, as all dummy registry entries and dummy files that store trial information are wiped off.
Method 6
Find a crack, with the help of cracks
search engine such as Astalavista. But this is not extending the trial period of software.
Method 7
Search with various search engines such as
Google and Yahoo! for application-specific known workarounds.
Method 8
If you use any of the following software, then Trial-Reset can helps you to extend the trial period of the software. Trial-Reset is an registry cleaning tool (it claims it’s not a crack) that removes the keys generated by commercial and freeware protector of trial period, and hence makes the software as if just freshly installed. It actually automates the process of cleaning up the registry key related to trial expiry mentioned above. The software and its protected that Trial-Reset (version 3.0 RC3) supports and able to strips are as below.
ACProtectActiveMarkArmadilloASProtectDBPEEncryptPEEnigmaExeCryptorExeShieldICE LicenseNoCopyObsidiumOneWayOrienPCGuardProtectionPlusProtectSharewareSafeSerialSDProtectorSheriffSGLicenseShareGuardSoftLocxSoftSentrySoftWrapSTProtectorSVKPThinstallVBOLockVBoxVisualProtect
Xheo LicensingXProtectorZipWorx
To use Trial-Reset, just select which software protector that you want to scan for existance on the right hand side of the window. If the registry of the protector is found, make sure you you review the key to ensure that it’s the correct key that stores trial information. Then you can opt to backup the key, remove the key, add the key to protect list and other options.

Trial-Reset 3.0 RC3 can be downloaded here (Trial-Reset30RC2.rar). Future update can be found here.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Removing the Coolpics Virus..

I came across this crazy virus, It's a minor one, if you've got it - Read this for removal methods,

How does it work?
It first starts its life journey on one internet website. viewers of this site will then receive the virus. The virus will execute itself and kill alot of processes in your CPU. then it tries to make copies of itself on all removeable media that you plug into your computer, which will then be spread on every computer in which you inserted your media. From ym messages to flash disks, from memory cards to camera memory sticks, making it one of the most common virus that i’ve encountered.

well, because The coolpics virus is a virus that does the following:

1. Changes your yahoo messenger stat message

2. Spams your ym contact list with a tricky link to where the virus is located
3. Disables your task manager
4. Disables your regedit (Registy Editor)

5. Disables your msconfig

6. Disables the run option from the start menu.
7. Disables AVG and its updater

8. Disables your run command

9. Hides the ‘Folder Options’ in windows explorer. So that users will not see hidden files and system files

10. Disables the ‘Find’ command so you will have a hard time finding the virus. and many more…

Here's a way to get rid of the virus;

Place this link in your address bar: C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc
(that's if windows is installed on Drive C on your computer).

You will find a file named hosts.

Remove the read-only attribute from by right clicking on the file and selecting properties.

Open the file with note pad and you will see a list of web pages that you are not allowed to visit meaning your computer has been barred from visiting those pages. Here's an example:

Go to the end and add yours;

(Never click these links above, Just add to the hosts file to disable access to these links on your computer) .
Now save the file and apply the read only attribute to protect it.
At this point, u have suceeded in blocking your computer from visiting the link to where this file (virus) is downloaded, Congrats. Here's a look at what you should have

Remember to remove the "read only" attribute when you want to edit & re-apply after editing.
Congrats one again.
But dont' get too happy ;D, you haven't removed the virus from the computer. I'm sure you would have noticed that the "run" option is not available.

This is caused by the registry, here's a look;

This is what you should do.
Open the command prompt and type "gpedit.msc" (without quotes)

The above command should open a box with group policy as the head. Expand as illustrated in image below;

Browse through the group policy and re-enable every option that has been disabled.
Note that all you do is entered into this location on the registry editor " \Software\Policies" or "Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies"
This means you can export the registry files and send to a frend if he is infected and running the same OS as u without him going through the stress above.
Also Note that the virus is spreading rapidly like wild fire. Do not open links from your yahoo messenger that you do not know.
If you experience more problems, don't hesitate to e-mail me:


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