Despite the palatable pressure and hype of the pending release of Windows 7 for most of the year, the TechRepublic Microsoft Windows Blog continued to show a dogged preference for practical posts that explain how to make the Windows operating system better, regardless of version. And similar to the Product Spotlight Blog, members seem to be very concerned about properly and efficiently defragging their hard drives.

Top 5

Tips to speed up defrag operations in Windows XP

A simple way to speed up a defrag operation in Microsoft Windows XP is to restart the system before you launch the Defrag application. This allows the operating system to clear out the swap/paging file (may require a change in configuration for ultimate effect) and to reset it to the default size. This lets Defrag focus strictly on the necessary data on the hard disk, without having to stop and manage a huge swap file loaded with unneeded data.

Another approach to speeding up a defrag operation in Windows XP is to configure it to occur immediately upon startup. You can do so easily with a simple registry edit.

The end is near for Windows XP: what are you going to do?

After years of tweaking, patching, and otherwise cajoling the Microsoft Windows XP operating system, many administrators and users feel comfortable with their current systems. But now the writing is on the wall and the dominance of Windows XP in the marketplace is slowly but surely being squeezed by Windows Vista, Linux, Mac OS X, and eventually Windows 7.

Like it or not, information technology professionals have no choice but to plan for another operating system migration. The aging equipment sitting on many a user’s desk is going to have to be replaced, and that will likely mean a new operating system.

Have you been planning for this eventuality? Would you like to know what your peers are thinking on this subject? Check out the poll and then check out the poll results.

How do I … use the Windows XP Installer Clean Up Utility to remove apps?

If you are not able to remove or uninstall an application in Windows XP using either the Uninstall option or the Add/Remove Programs tool, you could try using the Windows Installer Clean Up Utility. As long as you installed the application using the Windows Installer, this utility will remove all the installation files from the system. You can then re-run the installation procedure. After that you should be able to remove or uninstall an application in Windows XP using either the Uninstall option or the Add/Remove Programs tool.

How do I … organize my Windows desktop with Fences?

A cluttered Microsoft Windows desktop is an inefficient workspace. If you have numerous icons littering your desktop, hunting for the one you need can often tick away priceless moments. And by the end of the day, how many of those moments have wasted away? Plenty.

However, there are applications like Fences that can help you to keep your workspace organized so that your workday isn’t wasted by hunting and pecking for icons.

Microsoft wants to help you fix Windows

Justin James forwarded an e-mail of a press release announcing Microsoft’s Fix It Web site. This new help-and-support resource collates and automates many of the tips, tweaks, and registry hacks that Microsoft, TechRepublic, and countless others have published in the past.

The applications that Microsoft includes a fix for on the Web site range from your basic Windows “how do I turn this feature off” tip to lengthy explanations on how to install the Exchange Server 2007 Hub Transport. For Windows alone, there are dozens of entries listed.

Additional posts

In addition to the Top 5 listed above, the TechRepublic Microsoft Windows Blog featured a few dozen posts dealing with Windows 7, specifically detailing tweaks and tips for making the latest version of Windows even better. Check out the Windows 7 and the Launch Windows 7 focus pages for details.

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