Blog: Windows XP

When entering commands at the Windows command prompt or creating Windows batch files that run under cmd.exe, you can use the caret character (^) to quote special characters.  This means it can be used at end of a line to continue commands.  This makes batch files much more readable and maintainable.

You can also use an ampersand (&) to separate multiple commands on the same line and every command will be executed.  If you use && between commands, the second command will only be executed if the first command completes with a successful status.  You can also use two vertical bars (||) between commands and the second command will only be executed if the first command completes with a unsuccessful status.


While working at a customer site a couple of users reported Word 2007 has no page number gallery when you go Insert -> Page Numbers. After investigating I found that just deleting the Building Blocks.dotx file in their profile fixed the problem.

Windows XP Location:
c:\Documents and Settings\{your username}\Application Data\Microsoft\Document Building Blocks\1033\Building Blocks.dotx

Windows Vista & 7 Location:
c:\Users\{your username}\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Document Building Blocks\1033\Building Blocks.dotx


At a client site, I have been testing some automated ways to move users from v1 to v2 profiles. All their users are on Windows XP and we are moving them to Windows 7. I was looking specifically for a graceful way to allow interoperability between the profile versions and keep us from having to touch every user profile to copy over data. What I found was a little annoying. There is really only two ways to migrate data from v1 to v2 profiles.

  1. Use Folder redirection to share data between the profile versions by redirecting relevant data to a network share that can be used by both profiles.
  2. Use the user state migration tool [more]

If you are NOT using roaming profiles, the USMT is the best way. If you are using roaming profiles, the folder redirection is the best way. The gotcha here is to make sure you create the folder redirection policy FIRST on a Windows Vista, 7, or 2008 system BEFORE editing it on a Windows XP or 2003 system. There is something about the way the GPO is created/built that will not allow it to apply to vista, 7 , and 2008 systems if it is created with XP or 2003 first.


After installing ARTA Deposit on a virtual Windows XP system running user could connect and access all the data. The problem was the bank employees could not preview or print any forms. After a little investigation I called ARTA support. I went through all the normal steps of checking folder permissions and basic troubleshooting before being handed to a 2nd tier support tech. The tech asked me to check the permissions of the Component Services. I navigated to [Control Panel\Administrative Tools\Component Services]. I then went to “My Computer”, in the Microsoft Management Console, right clicked and selected “Properties”.  [more]

Then I select the COM Security tab and under “Launch and Activation Permissions” select “Edit Default”.  I added the local “Internet Guest Account”  with Local Launch, Remote Launch, Local Activation and Remote Activation permissions and was then able to preview and print forms in ARTA Deposit.

This is not documented as needing to be done anywhere that I could find and the tech said it was a common problem. The level 1 support did not know about these permissions either.


A while back I mentioned that you can just enter sendto in the start/run field and it would open your sendto folder.  There are many of these shell folders – special folders that may be on disk, or may be fabricated by the OS.  The “correct” way to reference these is with the “shell:” prefix.  So you can specify shell:sendto, shell:startup, shell:favorites, etc. [more]

The full list is in your registry at


Note: The name in the registry does not always match the name you see in explorer.


I recently ran across a free open source utility called Keyfinder that extracts license keys for the software you have installed on your computer.   You can find more information and download it from [more]

There is a configuration file that indicates where in the registry the key is located for various products - it can be expanded for additional products.  You can also load the hive from another drive if you have an accessible drive from another system and need the keys for software that was installed on it.


A user a one of our client's site was experienc an issue where a Symantec Antivirus full scan was started when the user logged in every morning.  The scan was scheduled to run at 1:00 AM, but it seemed to be ignoring the schedule.  The problem was caused by the computer being in sleep mode during the evening when the scan was scheduled to run.  The scheduled scan would not bring the computer out of sleep mode to run the scan at the scheduled time.  As soon as the started to login the computer would come out of sleep mode and the scan would start.  The power saving options are a per use setting.  Without group policies in place, this setting must be completed for each user on each computer.


A problem I have had since upgrading to Vista was being unable to access domain resources once I connect a VPN session to a customer site. Accessing file shares on our network or connecting to Activity would require me to run "cmdkey.exe /delete /ras" to clear the RAS credentials cached when the VPN was established. I never had this issue with my Windows XP installation. So, after getting fed up with always having to run the command, I finally found a solution. Which is to disable using RAS credentials on my VPN connections. To do so, follow these steps: [more]

  1. Locate the .pbk file that contains the entry that you dial. To do so, click Start, type *.pbk in the Research Bar, and then press Enter.
    • Vista location (C:\Users\<USERNAME>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Network\Connections\Pbk
    • XP location (C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Network\Connections\Pbk)
  2. Open the file in Notepad.
  3. Locate the following entry: UseRasCredentials=1
  4. Modify the entry to the following: UseRasCredentials=0
  5. On the File menu, click Save, and the click Exit.


Desktop Restore is a free shell extension that records the position of desktop icons and lets you restore your favorite layout when things have been rearranged by things such as having the screen resolution change.  [more]

This is a context menu where you can save or restore the desktop but there is also a custom save/restore option that saves multi-monitor information: