Microsoft Windows: How to Process Idle Tasks

Running multiple applications simultaneously in Windows for long periods leads to a gradual decrease in system performance over time. Often the only option is a Restart. Even if you close the application in the Task Manager, the tasks/threads associated with the application are not released completely, depleting the system’s memory resources making the system unstable and sluggish. The following tip is designed to offer fast relief:

  1. Right-click on your desktop and select New > Shortcut
  2. In the text box enter the command:
    %windir%\system32\rundll32.exe advapi32.dll,ProcessIdleTasks
  3. Click Next. In the next screen, name the shortcut: for example, Clear Memory
  4. Click on Finish

Whenever you feel that the system is sluggish you can double click on this shortcut and it will take care of the idle tasks by removing them. This can be used before you resort to restarting/rebooting the system.
DISCLAIMER This tip requires changes to processes/components that may lead to undesirable system behavior. While I personally test all tips before publishing them,  I dont takes responsibility for the potential side effects of tips.
Note to this tip: Because this tip involves shutting down application processes, there is the possibility that some applications could be shut down improperly, leading to unexpected application behavior. That said, the following tip has been running happily on my machine for many months without any problems so far.

Cheers,

Vaibhav

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Open DNS: A big DNS Cache

To begin with, i thought of writing a little about DNS and then moving on. So here I am, beginning with a very basic question ” What is DNS ? “.

                                                            What is DNS

Ok, having written that, i also need to write the explanation for this question. :). So here you go:

DNS stands for Domain Name System.Whenever we type a URL in our browser, it is first translated into computer translated numbers. In short, DNS is a database system that translates a fully qualified domain name into an IP Address.

Usually, most networks use the DNS servers provided by their ISP’s or run their own small DNS Server.

I was looking for a DNS server which really gives a boost to my internet speed and also adds some crispiness to my internet broadband connection. Thats when i found OpenDNS. OpenDNS is free, fast and secure DNS Server. As per the website:

OpenDNS is a better DNS, free to all. OpenDNS uses its distributed network of DNS servers to speed up your Internet experience, increase reliability, improve security and make DNS smarter for users all over the world.

OpenDNS

OpenDNS is a zero downtime service. Personally, i have been liking it since the day i started using it. Also, the thing that impresses me about OpenDNS are the features that come along with it. Once the setup is complete ( which is as simple as changing the IP on your computer ), OpenDNS blocks unsafe websites and also fixes up the mistyped domain names.

The key question that might and rather should come to anyone’s mind is ” How can OpenDNS be free?”. The answer to this key question is; OpenDNS makes money by placing advertisements on pages for domains which do not exist.

Try out OpenDNS by clicking here.

If you find the service interesting, do let me know.

Cheers,

Vaibhav

Tutorial: Find IP Address of Sender in Yahoo Mail!

In my previous article, i had written about Finding IP Address of the sender in Gmail. Many readers have replied back to me to write about figuring the IP Address of sender in Yahoo Mail. In this tutorial, i shall be writing about the trick to get the IP Address of sender in Yahoo Mail.

Also Read: (Tutorial: Find the IP Address of sender in Gmail.)

The IP Addresses for all the sender mails are readily available in the header information. We have already discussed the way to track down the mails sent to Gmail. In order to get the information out from your Yahoo Mail, please follow the steps mentioned below.

For Users using New Yahoo Mail:

IP Tracking

  1. Login to your Yahoo mail and open the mail for which you wish to know the Sender.
  2. Click on Compact Header/Standard Header, this presents a drop down menu. Select,Full Header from the drop down menu.
  3. A window Pops up with the entire header details.
  4. Look for the term Received: from [eg: Received: from 216.248.197.88 (EHLO mx1.info.brainbench.com) (216.248.197.88) ]. The IP Address mentioned is the sender IP Address.
  5. Also importantly, there are times when you might find multiple Received: from entries, in that case, please select the last one as the valid choice.

For Users using Yahoo Mail Classic:

Yahoo IP Tracking

  1. Login to your Yahoo mail and open the mail for which you wish to know the Sender.
  2. If you do not see the headers above the mail, you need to enable them. In order to do so follow these steps:
  • Click on Options link on the top-right corner.
  • In the Mail Options page being displayed now, click on the link called General Preferences.
  • Scroll down to Messages section where you have the Headers option.
  • Make sure that Show all headers on incoming messages is selected.
  • Click on the Save button.
  • Go back to the inbox and open the mail for which you wish to know the sender’s IP.

3. You should now be able to see headers in the mail.

4. Look out for header with title Received. The IP Address is listed in the column (e.g. from 216.248.197.88).

Note: There are times when you might find multiple Received: from entries, in that case, please select the last one as the valid choice. If there are no instances of Received: from with the IP address, select the first IP address in X-Originating-IP.

Let me know if you have any doubts getting the IP Address.

Cheers,

Vaibhav

How-To: Get default Registry values

Playing with the Windows Registry is always a risk prone job. Often, the advisory from many professionals is to take a backup of your registry before changing the values. In this How-To guide, i will try to explain the process of getting the default values from Registry.

This tutorial will be a good tool for those who often change the HKEY_CURRENT_USER branch of the registry. Sometimes, what happens is, that the user tends to forget the default value of the node while editing the registry. In such cases, it becomes tough to revert to the previous value. However, this trick comes handy.Registry

You can easily find the default registry values for most of the settings in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER branching of the registry tree in the HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT node of the registry. This is the part of the registry which Windows XP edition uses while creating new user accounts.

Lets take up an example, Lets suppose you intend to customize Windows Explorer’s Menu color setting by altering the RGB value stored in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Colors\Menu. To do this, you edit the value, but something prompts you to restore the value back to the default. However, to your horror, you had not noted the value at a safe place and now it seems to have gone.

But the good news is that you can still track down the RGB values for the default color by navigating to the HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Colors\Menu. You can then copy the default value from this subkey and paste it into the key that you’ve altered.
Following this trick will return you back your default value for the intended key. 🙂

Also Read:Why does Windows have a registry?

Cheers,

Vaibhav

Windows XP: Speed up Folder Browsing.

Speed Up Folder Browsing

Thought of putting up this small tip/trick for speeding up folder browsing in Windows XP. This tip is essentially useful for a computer with limited resources.

You may have noticed that at times when you try to open my computer to browse folders there is a slight delay in processing the request. This is due to the fact that  Windows XP automatically searches for network files and printers every-time you try opening Windows Explorer. To tweak this in order to increase folder browsing speed significantly follow the below mentioned steps:

  1.  Open My Computer.
  2.  Click on Tools menu.
  3.  Click on Folder Options.
  4.  Click on the View tab.
  5.  Uncheck the Automatically search for network folders and printers check box.
  6.  Click Apply.
  7.  Click Ok.
  8.  Reboot your computer.

Cheers,

Vaibhav

iGoogle: Make your own Gadgets.

iGoogle gadget’s are the talk of the town these days. With more than 25,000 gadgets available for iGoogle, the plethora of choices is sometimes overwhelming.

However, there are times, when one doesnt actually get the gadget of choice. To cater to this, Google has a Gadget creating wizard  which allows user to create his/her own gadget, using seven templates, including ones for photos, a countdown, lists, You Tube and more. You can check it out here.

Go on and create your own Gadgets. Also, do let Technofriends know about your favorite iGoogle Gadgets.

Cheers,

Vaibhav

Step by Step Guide for Creating Google Custom Search Engines

Tech publisher O’Reilly has come out with a nice write up on making a dynamic search engine for the topic of choice. The write up is essentially a step by step tutorial for creating Google Custom Search Engines.

[Excerpt from the website]

What Is a Custom Search Engine?

A custom search engine (CSE) tells Google which sites to search and which to avoid when dealing with a search query. This makes it much easier to get specific, guided answers to questions about a specific subject area. If you create a CSE you can use your expertise in a subject to control where Google looks for information about that topic. And you may even make some money in the process, because the custom search engine returns AdSense advertisements with each set of results. If you have an AdSense account, then the revenue from those advertisements can go to you. Don’t get too excited, you’ll probably get less than a few dollars a month from AdSense unless your search engine gets really successful.

You can tune this list of sites over time, adding and removing sites from the list. This makes it easy to improve the results based on the queries entered by people who are using your custom search engine.

Here’s an example of a custom search engine for Bermuda. The editor of this CSE has chosen 80 sites that are worth searching to produce results about Bermuda that help him and others. So, if I love scuba diving and I search on this site for the term “scuba tours,” I get results that are about scuba tours in Bermuda. If I used the normal Google search page, I’d get over 2 million results and I’d spend much more time looking for Bermuda-related scuba touring information.

A properly built CSE returns search results intended for specific audiences or areas of interest. It’s important to get the search engine name and description right so people don’t get frustrated when trying to use it. And then the rest of the work is deciding where to search. Later, you can organize the results into categories to help fine tune the results, but that’s an optional step you can skip when you’re starting out. It may sound like a lot of work, but you can actually create a new custom search engine in minutes. You’ll see how in the next section. Later, I’ll show you how to tune the CSE interface, site selection, and results.

[End of Excerpt]
This tutorial will not only help you get the most from your personal search engine. Go out and read more on this here

Cheers,

Vaibhav