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Nov 25, 2011

Windows XP Twenty Useful Tips and Tweaks

1) Cracking Windows XP Login Password download the nice and easy Nt/2k/xp password cracker from our community or other way is if u get acess to the computer then go to Start>Run and type “control userpasswords2” without Quotes and a new pop up windows will open and u will reach to user account properties. Here u can Reset the Administrator and any Users password so anytime when u Want to use the Computer start it in safemode pressing F8 at Booting get into the xp as u have Administrator password and go to Controlpanel>Useraccounts and create a New Account .Start Computer Normally and get into WinXP with ur newely made account and do ur job. (Don’t forget to Delete ur newely made account Otherwise u will be in trouble) Delete ur account again starting the computer in Safemode as Administrator and Delete ur Account.

2) Disable XP Boot Logo It is possible to disable the XP splash screen, which will slightly speed up the overall boot process. Be aware that removing the splash screen will also cause you not to see any boot-up messages that might come up (chkdsk, convert ... ), but if your system runs without any problems then it should not matter. Edit boot.ini. Add " /noguiboot" right after "/fastdetect". Upon restarting, the splash screen will be gone. It can be re-enabled by removing the new switch.

3) Turn Off Indexing to Speed Up XP Windows XP keeps a record of all files on the hard disk so when you do a search on the hard drive it is faster. There is a downside to this and because the computer has to index all files, it will slow down normal file commands like open, close, etc. If you do not do a whole lot of searches on your hard drive then you may want to turn this feature off: Open My Computer. Right-click your hard drive icon and select Properties. At the bottom of the window you'll see "Allow indexing service to index this disk for faster searches," uncheck this and click ok. A new window will pop up and select Apply to all folders and subfolders. It will take a minute or two for the changes to take affect but then you should enjoy slightly faster performance.

4) Clean Your Prefetch to Improve Performance This is a unique technique for WinXP. We know that it is necessary to scrub registry and TEMP files for Win9X/ME/2000 periodically. Prefetch is a new and very useful technique in Windows XP. However, after using XP some time, the prefetch directory can get full of junk and obsolete links in the Prefetch catalog, which can slow down your computer noticeably. Open C(system drive):/windows/prefetch, delete those junk and obsolete files, reboot. It is recommended that you do this every month.

5) Performance Increase Through My Computer Easy enough tweak to usually find out about it on your own, but still, some of us still don't find it right away. So here it is: Start > right-click on My Computer and select Properties. Click on the "Advanced" tab. See the "Performance" section? Click "Settings". Disable the following: Fade or slide menus into view Fade or slide ToolTips into view Fade out menu items after clicking Show Shadows under menus Slide open combo boxes Slide taskbar buttons Use a background image for each folder type Use common tasks in folders There, now Windows will still look nice and perform faster.

6) Reduce 10 Second Scandisk Wait Time Start MS Dos Prompt (Start run CMD), and type: CHKNTFS /T:4 where 4 is the amount of wait time. CHKNTFS /? for more info.

7) DMA Mode on IDE Devices Just like Windows 2000, Windows XP still fails to set the DMA mode correctly for the IDE device designated as the slaves on the primary IDE and secondary IDE channels. Most CD-ROMS are capable of supporting DMA mode, but the default in XP is still PIO. Setting it to DMA won't make your CD-ROM faster, but it will consume less CPU cycles. Here's how: Open the Device Manager. One way to do that is to right-click on "My Computer", select the Hardware tab, and select Device Manager. Expand "IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers" and double-click on "Primary IDE Channel". Under the "Advanced Settings" tab, check the "Device 1" setting. More than likely, your current transfer mode is set to PIO. Set it to "DMA if available". Repeat the step for the "Secondary IDE Channel" if you have devices attached to it. Reboot.

8) Load Internet Explorer the Fastest Way Possible Edit your link to start Internet Explorer to have -nohome after it. For Example: "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE" -nohome This will load internet explorer very fast because it does not load a web page while it is loading. If you want to go to your homepage after it is loaded, just click on the home button.

9) Easy Way to Adjust Large SystemCache Normally, the tweak I've seen asks you to go into HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management and change the value to either O or 1 to the adjustment the LargeSystemCache. However, in Windows XP, all you have to do is: Right-click My Computer. Select Properties. Click Advanced. Choose Performance. Click Advanced again. Select either Programs or System Cache under Memory Usage. Programs = 0 for the registry tweak equivalent System Cache = 1 for the registry tweak equivalent

10) Shutdown XP Faster Like previous versions of windows, it takes long time to restart or shutdown windows XP when the "Exit Windows" sound is enabled. To solve this problem you must disable this useless sound. Click Start button. Go to settings > Control Panel > Sound, Speech and Audio devices > Sounds and Audio Devices > Sounds. Then under program events and windows menu click on "Exit Windows" sub-menu and highlight it. Now from sounds you can select, choose "none" and then click Apply and OK. Now you should see some improvements when shutting down your system.

11)Easily Disable Messenger Go into: C:/Program Files/Messenger. Rename the Messenger folder to "MessengerOFF". This does not slow down Outlook Express or hinder system performance.

12) Turn Off Autoplay for Program CDs How can you stop Windows XP from launching program CDs? Click Start, click Run, type GPEDIT.MSC to open Group Policy in the Microsoft Management Console. Double-click Computer Configuration, double-click Administrative templates, double-click System, and then click Turn off autoplay. The instructions on your screen describe how to configure this setting. Click Properties to display the setting dialog. Click Enabled, and choose CD-ROM drives, then click OK, to stop CD autoplay. This setting does not prevent Autoplay for music CDs.

13) Synchronize Your Computer Clock with an Internet Time Server Does your computer have the right time? If your computer is not part of a domain, you can synchronize your computer clock with an Internet time server. To do so: Double–click the time on your task bar. Click the Internet Time tab. Select the time server you want to use and make sure to select the Automatically synchronize with an Internet time server check box.

14) Win XP Won’t Completely Shutdown Go to Control Panel, then go to Power Options. Click on the APM tab, then check the "Enable Advanced Power Management support." Shut down your PC. It should now successfully complete the Shut Down process.

15) Adjust Various Visual Effects Open up the Control Panel. Go under System and click on the Advanced tab. Click settings under Performance options. You can now change various graphical effects (mainly animations and shadows).

16) Disable Error Reporting Open Control Panel. Click on Performance and Maintenance. Click on System. Then click on the Advanced tab. Click on the error-reporting button on the bottom of the windows. Select Disable error reporting. Click OK. Click OK.

17) Increase Your Cable Modem or DSL Speed in XP This tweak is for broad band cable connections on stand alone machines with WinXP professional version - might work on Home version also. It may also work with networked machines as well. This tweak assumes that you have let WinXP create a connection on install for your cable modem/NIC combination and that your connection has tcp/ip - QoS - file and print sharing - and client for Microsoft networks , only, installed. It also assumes that WinXP will detect your NIC and has in-box drivers for it. If it doesn't do not try this. In the "My Network Places" properties (right-click on the desktop icon and choose properties), highlight the connection then at the menu bar choose "Advanced" then "Advanced Settings". Uncheck the two boxes in the lower half for the bindings for File and Printer sharing and Client for MS networks. Click OK.

18) Stop Jerkey Graphics If you are connected to a LAN and have problems with jerkey graphics, this might be the solution: Right-click "MyComputer". Select "Manage". Click on "Device Manager". Double-click on your NIC under "Network Adapters". In the new window, select the "Advanced" tab. Select "Connection Type" and manually set the value of your NIC. (Not "Auto Sense" which is default.). You should reboot.

19) Speeding Up Your Old **** Pentium by 50% We all know that you really shouldn't try to run Windows XP on anything less that about a Pentium 3 of some sort if you are out for speedy operations and amazing reaction times, but for those of us with the good old Pentium 2's who want to see just how well we can run XP, we have to tweak as much as we can where-ever we can. A real killer to the system's performance is Windows Media Player. Although it may look desirable and fancy with it's rounded off edges and 3rd-Dimensional appearance, the truth is, it takes up a large amount of that precious processing power. All of these troubles however, lead to one thing in particular with this 'new-look' over-rated music and video player...the Visualizations. The look-great I'll admit but like a lot of software these days, it has no purpose. If you run the task manager, and click the Performance tab along the top, you'll see that when Windows Media Player is running and nothing else is active, it takes up around 50% of the processors power. Once these visualizations are turned off, it barely takes up 2-3% of the processors power, which leaves much more room for other applications to work efficiently. Here's how to disable the feature: Open Media Player. Make sure the Now Playing tab on the left is selected. Click the View menu along the top. Go down to Now Playing Tools

20) Turn Off System Restore to Save Space By default, Windows XP keeps a backup of system files in the System Volume Information folder. This can eat up valuable space on your hard drive. If you don't want Windows to back up your system files: Open the Control Panel. Double-click on System. Click the System Restore tab. Check "Turn off System Restore on all drives". Hit Apply. You may now delete the System Volume Information folder. ............................

Nov 11, 2011

How to Hide Data in Image, Audio & Video Files: Steganography

How to Hide Data in ImagesEver wondered to know how to hide secret messages in images, audio and video files? Well, in this post I will take you through a concept called steganography using which, it is possible to hide your secret information in image files, songs or any other file of your choice. At the end of this post, you can also download free stegnographic tools and start hiding your data.

What is Steganography?

Steganography is a means of obscuring data where secret messages are hidden inside computer files such as images, sound files, videos and even executable files so that, no one except the sender and the receiver will suspect the existence of stealth information in it. Steganography may also involve the usage of cryptography where the message is first encrypted before it is concealed in another file. Generally, the messages appear to be something else such as an image, sound or video so that the transfer of secret data remains unsuspected.
The main advantage of steganography over other methods such as cryptography is that, it will not arose suspicion even if the files fall in the hands of a third party. Unlike cryptographic messages, stegnographic messages will no way attract the attention of a third party by themselves. Thus stegnanography has an upper hand over cryptography as it involves both encryption and obscurity.

What are the Applications of Steganography?

Steganography is mainly used to obscure confidential information/data during storage or transmission. For example, one can hide a secret message in an audio file and send this to another party via email instead of sending the message in the textual format. The receiver on the other end will decrypt the hidden message using the private decryption key. In a worst case scenario, even if a third party does manage to gain access to the email, all he can find is the audio file and not the hidden data inside it. Other usage of steganography include digital watermarking of images for reasons such as copyright protection.
Eventhough steganography has many useful applications, some may use this technique for illegitimate purposes such as hiding a pornographic content in other large files. Roumors about terrorists using steganography for hiding and communicating their secret information and instructions are also reported. An article claiming that, al-Queda had used steganography to encode messages in images and transported them via e-mails, was reported by New York Times, in October 2001.

How do Steganography Tools Work?

Stegnography tools implement intelligent algorithms to carefully embed the encrypted text messages or data inside other larger files such as an image, audio, video or an executable file. Some tools will embed the encrypted data at the end of another file so that there will be enough room for storing larger data.
There are many steganography tools available online but only a few are able to work flawlessly. I did not find any tool that worked perfectly on both small and large data. However I have  managed to develop my own tool that can work perfectly on all types of files and all size of data. The tool is called “Stego Magic“. You can download it from the following link.
Download Stego Magic
The zip file contains two versions of Stego Magic: One for encrypting the text messages and the other for encrypting binary files. StegoMagic_TXT can be used to hide text messages in other files such as an image or a sound file. StegoMagic_BIN can be used to hide one binary file in another such as an executable file inside an image or an image inside a video file.
With Stego Magic, there is no limitation on the size and type of the file that you are intending to hide. For example, you can hide a video of size 1 GB in an image of size 1 MB or hide an executable file inside a WORD document. The tool is pretty straightforward to use and requires no special understanding of the concept.
At the end of the encryption process, a secret decryption key will be generated and the same is required during the decryption process.

How to Use Stego Magic?

Suppose you want to hide a text message inside a JPG file:
1. Place the JPG and the text file (.txt) in the same folder as that of StegoMagic_TXT.exe
2. Run StegoMagic_TXT.exe and follow the screen instructions to embed the text message inside the JPG image.
3. Note down the secret decryption key.
Now you can send this image to your friend via email. To decrypt the hidden message, your friend should load this JPG file onto the Stego Magic tool and use the secret decryption key.
I hope you enjoy this post :) . For queries and feedback, please pass your comments

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