10 Sept 2008

Tech Tip

Avoid Having to Re-Activate Windows XP After Reinstallation

Normally, when you reinstall Windows XP you need to also reactivate the operating system by phone or Internet in order to use it. This can be avoided by simply copying a single file from your old installation to your new one.

The 'wpa.dbl' file, located in the 'c:\windows\system32\' folder, indicated to the operating system whether the current hardware configuration has been activated or not. As long as you have not changed any of the hardware in your PC during the reinstall, you can simply copy the file onto a floppy, CD or USB key and copy it back into Windows after the reinstall to avoid the re-activation procedure.

Create a Shortcut to Shutdown or Restart Your PC

You can create quick desktop shortcuts to shutdown or lock your PC with this handy tip.

To do this right click an empty area of the desktop or folder where you wish to create the shortcut and hit 'new\shortcut.' For the location of the shortcut, enter 'shutdown -s -t 01' for a shutdown command or 'shutdown -r -t 01' for a restart. Hit 'next' and give your shortcut an appropriate name.

Create a Shortcut to Lock Your PC

To create a desktop shortcut that will instantly lock your PC, requiring a username and password to get back in right click an empty area of the desktop or folder, where you wish to create the shortcut and hit 'new\shortcut.' For the location, enter 'rundll32.exe user32.dll, LockWorkStation.' Hit 'next' and give the shortcut an appropriate name.

Use a Free, Full Featured Office Suite

Microsoft Office is expensive, but pretty much standard in the working world these days. Other word processors like WordPerfect are available, but these come with a cost attached also. There is a way to get a full-featured, Microsoft compatible office software suite completely free though. It's called Open Office.

Open Office is an offshoot of the successful commercial Star Office suite for Linux and Windows. Open Office is completely free and is constantly being worked on and updated by the Linux and Windows user community. The interface may be considerably different from Office, but the functionality is essentially the same and you can't argue with the price. Try it out.

(Tips courtesy PC Stats)