Windows XP

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See also

Reinstalling the Windows XP operating system

  • College-owned desktops and laptops can be reimaged by the Helpdesk using our UDI (Universal Disk Image).
  • Dell Latitude laptops which have been purchased through the college can be reimaged at the Helpdesk. The process of reimaging involves erasing all data, but is very quick and results with a fully supported system that's pre-loaded with all the standard software (Microsoft Office, Adobe Reader, antivirus, etc.)
  • Unsupported Dell models and other brands: You will need the install disk that came with your computer. If you cannot find this, contact the manufacturer and they can send you a new install disk. Dell customers can use this form to order the disks online: support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dellcare/en/backupcd_form
  • In some cases, the installation files needed to reinstall the operating system are preloaded on your hard disk in a "Recovery Partition". As long as the hard disk is healthy, it should be very easy to reformat and reinstall the operating system using these preloaded install files. Consult your documentation to find out how to use the preloaded install files. In most cases, you need to restart the computer and press a specific key on the keyboard and this starts the reinstallation process. For example, on Lenovo or IBM computers, you need to press the blue IBM button. On HP laptops you need to press F11.

Taking screenshots in Windows XP

  1. Press the PrintScreen key (click here for a picture of where PrintScreen is located on the keyboard) to capture an image of the entire screen and store it in the Windows clipboard.
  2. You can then paste (Edit menu => Paste or CTRL+V) into any application that supports pasting (Microsoft Word, Outlook, MS Paint Photoshop, Indesign). For example, you can open a new Word document and select Paste from the Edit menu. The screenshot will be pasted in Word. You can attach this document to an e-mail message and email it to the Helpdesk.

Languages and international input

Typing in a foreign language

  1. Go to Start -> Settings -> Control Panel
  2. Regional and Language Options -> Languages tab -> click Details.
  3. Click Add to add new keyboard input layouts.
  4. Also look for the Language Bar button to add the language switcher to the taskbar.
  5. We need a section on adding support for east Asian, Arabic, Cyrillic, etc. -- A Windows install CD is needed for this...
  • See section below on enabling input for non-Latinic languages (Asian, Arabic, etc.)
  • See section below for special help enabling typing input in Chinese.

Use the on-screen keyboard to see where each letter is, when your current input method is not the same layout as the layout of the keyboard you are using. To start the OSK:

  1. Click Start -> Run ->
  • To start OSK on WinXP: Start -> Run -> osk and press enter
  • To start OSK on Vista: Start -> type in osk and press enter

Enabling input in Asian, Cyrillic, Arabic, etc.

Non-latinic languages require a special extra package to be installed. You need a Windows install CD to install this package.

  1. In the Control Panel, go to Regional and Language Settings.
  2. Click on the "Languages" tab and check the box that says "Install files for complex script and right-to-left languages (including Thai)"
  3. When you click OK or Apply, Windows will ask you to insert the install CD. If you have inserted the correct install CD, it should find the language pack and install it in a couple minutes.
  4. Restart your computer and the extra language inputs should be available!

Typing in Chinese

To add the Chinese input method:

  1. Enable input for Asian and other non-Latinic languages as explained above. While doing so, check not only the "Install files for complex scripts" checkbox, but also the "Install files for East Asian languages" box.
  2. Add Chinese input to the input menu as explained in the generic directions above. Leave the default option to "Microsoft Pinyin".
  3. REBOOT!
  4. You'll see a language toolbar to the bottom (or top) of the screen. Setup of Chinese input is complete now.

To switch between Simplified and Traditional you need to add the Character Set button on the Language Toolbar. 1) Switch from English to Chinese on the language toolbar 2) Click on the small arrow at the end of the language toolbar and select "Character Set". There is a detailed guide at this page.

In Word, to add translation from Simplified to Traditional (and vice versa), you need the proofing tools. The option is under Tools => Languages after the proofing tools are installed.

Change the entire system's language

In Windows XP, it is not possible to change the language of the operating system (all messages, menu items, etc.) without buying and installing a special International edition of Windows to have multiple languages available. On Windows Vista this process is much easier and does not require a separate install CD.

Check your disk space in Windows XP and Vista

  • Windows XP and earlier:
    • Open "My Computer" (by double-clicking on the My Computer icon on the desktop OR on the start menu).
    • Right-click your local disk C and select "properties", details about the disk space will be displayed on the 1st tab.
  • Windows Vista:
    • Click on the Start button (lower left corner), click on "Computer"
    • Right-click your local disk C and select "properties", details about the disk space will be displayed on the 1st tab.

Get a system profile in Windows

  1. Click on the Start menu => Click on Programs (or All programs) => Click on Accessories => Click on System Tools => Click on System Information => Click File => Save As, choose your desktop, name the file "yourname-system-profile".
  2. E-mail the "yourname-system-profile" file to the helpdesk.

Disable automatic restart after Windows Update

(Note: this won't work on XP Home Edition.)

  1. Click Start -> Run.
  2. Type “gpedit.msc” without the quotes to open the group policy editor. Hit enter.
  3. Navigate to Local Computer Policy -> Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Update.
  4. Double click on “No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations” (it may be something similar depending on your service pack installed).
  5. Select the “Enable” radio button. This disables the automatic restart after updating.
  6. Click OK and close Group Policy.
  7. Really good instructions with screenshots are here: http://www.coderetard.com/2008/12/10/how-to-disable-automatic-restart-after-windows-update/

It's possible to do this remotely, as well: Simply go to Start => Run and type: gpedit.msc /gpcomputer: Computername


Windows switches to another typing input, confusing keys

My computer keeps switching so that I type in another language, what can I do?

Symptoms: While using your Windows computer, your key strokes on the keyboard generate foreign language characters. Problem: A foreign language keyboard is probably installed and was enabled through a keyboard shortcut.

Solution: Disable the keyboard shortcut for switching between foreign keyboards

  1. Click Start -> Control Panel -> Regional and Language Options
  2. Click the Languages Tab -> Click the Details button -> Click the Key Settings button
  3. Select "Switch between input languages" and click "Change Key Sequence"
  4. Uncheck both check boxes: "Swith Input Languages" and "Switch Keyboard Layouts"
  5. Clik OK
  6. Repeat steps 3-6 for any actions listed under "Hot keys for input languages"

Windows switches to another typing input, English is Missing

  1. Click Start -> Control Panel -> Regional and Language Options
  2. Click the Languages Tab -> Click the Details button -> Click the Add button
  3. Select "English (United States)" and click "OK"
  4. This is where you can add and remove languages - I recommend always having English and Spanish. Since Spanish has a similar keyboard layout as English
  5. Click Apply and OK

Windows freezes on or near the login window

This is likely caused by the Novell client. Since we don't need Novell anymore because of our switch to Middfiles, the best solution is to uninstall the Novell client.

  1. Wait patiently for the login screen to appear
  2. Uninstall the novell client (control panel => add/remove programs, works in safe mode) - it is no longer needed!

Windows hangs after login but before seeing the desktop

Possible culprits: Novell client (see above). Old wireless drivers. Hanging printer spooler service.

Note: Before proceding with the solutions, start => run => compmgmt.msc => even viewer => system, then view the errors whose time stamp coincides with the hang.

Possible Solutions: Novell client (see above). Update wireless and wired network drivers. Remove all printers and reinstall them.

Windows Explorer Icon Corruption

  • Sample case: When I turned on my computer today, I noticed that my folders did not show their icons. They did work when I selected/opened them, but all their icons are lost.
  • Cause: Sometimes icons can become corrupt because the section of the registry that handles them, gets full.


  1. Download and install tweakui from Microsoft: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/Downloads/powertoys/Xppowertoys.mspx
  2. After installing tweakui, open it from the start menu => all programs => powertoys
  3. In the tweakui menu, on the left, on the very buttom, click on the "Repair" option.
  4. Select "Rebuild icons" and click "Repair Now". The repair should be immediate.

Windows Automatic Updates

See this article on enabling automatic updates: http://www.amset.info/windows/auto-updates.asp

Laptop does not boot

  1. Try holding down the power/reset button for 8-10 seconds.
  2. Release the power/reset button.
  3. Press the power button to turn the laptop on.

If it still doesn't respond:

  1. Remove the battery and unplug the AC adapter,
  2. Press and hold the power/reset button for 8-10 seconds.
  3. Plug in the AC adapter (check that there is some indication that the laptop is getting power. This will vary depending on the make and model. Most laptops have some sort of power light.)
  4. Try holding down the power/reset button for 8-10 seconds.
  5. Release the power/reset button.
  6. Press the power button to turn the laptop on.
  7. If this doesn't work, try re-inserting the battery and repeating steps 4-6.

If still having problems, try Diagnostics. If the problem does not seem to be related to hardware, reinstalling the OS may be the best option.

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