The mandate of the TechRepublic Windows blog is to provide information regarding both Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Vista, and the plans Microsoft has for its operating systems, whether in the past or in the future. During the course of 2008 several posts in the blog struck a resonate chord (or in some cases a discord) resulting in a lengthy discussion thread and lively debate.

As we come to the end of another year, we take a look back at the top five TechRepublic Microsoft Windows blog posts of 2008.

1. Adjust these performance options to speed up Windows XP

If you have some Microsoft Windows XP clients that run slower than others, it could be due to some of the default settings located in the Performance Options dialog box. You can change the options in this dialog box to boost the performance of a Windows XP client.

2. Change the product key on Windows XP

For most Microsoft Windows XP installs, you’ll never need to worry about the validity of the product key assigned to your copy of the OS. However, software does tend to get installed without authorization, even in the most carefully managed shops, and so from time to time you may need to reset the Windows XP product key.

3. How do I … use BootVis to improve XP boot performance?

Microsoft Windows XP was designed to optimize the boot process so that users can boot their machines and access the operating system as quickly as possible. For the most part, XP is successful. There is, however, almost always room for improvement, and BootVis.exe, a free Microsoft utility, can help you get the best boot performance possible from an XP system.

4. Creating a Windows Vista Recovery CD

If you purchased a new computer with Windows Vista preinstalled on it, you may have received an actual Windows Vista DVD with your purchase or a Recovery Disk created by the computer’s manufacturer, or maybe your new computer came with a Recovery Partition on the hard disk in lieu of a Recovery Disk. While a Recovery Disk or a Recovery Partition will allow you to restore your computer to the original settings from the manufacturer, chances are you will not be able to use it to repair your Windows Vista installation. For that, you will need an actual Windows Vista DVD that contains the Windows Recovery Environment; without the tools contained in the Windows Recovery Environment, you cannot repair your current installation.

5. Reset lost Windows passwords with Offline Registry Editor

Misplaced passwords can render Windows systems useless. Minus a valid username and password, Windows boxes and the data they contain are essentially off limits. The situation arises frequently. Users leave. Past consultants fail to document deployments. IT professionals quit. A free open source program often makes quick work of cracking Windows passwords. The Offline NT Password & Registry Editor presents a potential option for obtaining access to locked-out Windows NT-based systems. Here’s how you can use it to recover lost passwords on your Windows systems.

On to 2009

One thing you should note about the top-five list for the Windows blog in 2008 — all but one of the most popular blog posts are about Windows XP. It will be interesting to see how many of the top five in 2009 will be about Windows Vista. Could there even be a top five dealing with Windows 7? Only time and Microsoft can tell.

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