Top Useful Tips On Using Windows XP

1. Don’t just maximize your windows—go full screen

When you need a really big window for viewing photos and videos, don’t just maximize it: go full screen! This tip works great for viewing photos and videos at maximum size in Windows Explorer or Windows Media Player, utilizing screen space usually occupied by the header at the top of the screen and the taskbar at the bottom. Here’s how:

Open any photo in Windows Explorer, or open a photo or video clip in Windows Media Player. Do one of the following:

  • In Windows 7 and Windows XP, click the F11 key at the top of your keyboard.

2. Remove text from icons

You can improve the general look of your PC’s desktop by removing the names of shortcuts, leaving the icons to speak for themselves. If you try renaming a desktop shortcut to a single space, Windows XP won’t let you.

However, you can force it to accept a space as the name by holding down [Alt] and typing 255 on the number pad. If you want multiple shortcuts to have blank names, you’ll need to give each one a different number of spaces to avoid them having identical names.

3. Create a mute shortcut

You can make a custom shortcut that mutes and unmutes your PC’s sound by downloading a small utility called Nircmd, which you can get from

Download and extract the file contents to ‘My Documents’. Next, right-click the desktop and choose ‘New | Shortcut’. Enter the following for the shortcut location:

“C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\nircmd\nircmd.exe” mutesysvolume 2.

Ensure that the path points to the location where you extracted the ‘Nircmd.exe’ file. Name the shortcut ‘mute_ unmute’. Double-click it to mute your speakers and do so again to turn them back on.

4. Cut the Start menu delay

There’s a slight delay built into the Start menu to give you thinking time. If you know your way around, you can shorten it with a Registry edit.

Open the Registry Editor by choosing ‘Start | Run’ and entering Regedit in the ‘Open’ bar, then clicking ‘OK’.

Now go to ‘HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop’. Double-click the ‘MenuShowDelay’ value and change it from the default 400 to a lower number of your choice.