Got XP Annoyances? Try These Four Smart Fixes for Windows Woes

Windows XP is loaded with annoyances, but what else is new? The following tips will stop XP from crashing, scanning your disk every time you boot, and hanging when you don't expect it to. Even if you're not hassled by these problems today, clip and save the page, because these gremlins strike when you're least ready.

Boot Error-Check Overload

The Hassle: All I wanted was for Windows XP to perform its Error Checking routine on my NTFS-formatted drive--just once. But now Error Checking appears every time I boot up, and unless I tap a key within a few seconds, it starts running.

The Fix: At some time in the past, you must have opened the Error Checking dialog box (to get to it, right-click the drive's icon in Explorer and choose Properties, Tools, Error-Checking) and clicked 'Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors', which tells XP to check the drive the next time you boot. I'm not sure what caused the recurring check-on-boot hiccup (talk about slow boot time, eh?), but I have a fix. After your drive completes the error check, click Start, Run, type cmd, and press <Enter>. Now type chkntfs /x c: (change 'c:' to your drive's letter, if it's different, and don't forget the space before and after the '/x') and press <Enter> again. Your boot-up disk scans will be ancient history.

Quick Digital-Photo Tip: If you've accidentally deleted images from your digital camera's memory card or somehow corrupted the card, get them back with (Art Plus's Digital Photo Recovery tool). This freebie tries--usually successfully--to recover JPEG, TIFF, and some RAW files. Unfortunately, it can't restore MOV video files. Be prepared for a wait, too: It took almost an hour to wend its way through my 2GB SD Card.

Pinch a Persistent Folder

The Hassle: Whenever I boot my PC, a folder loaded with the contents of System32 pops open. What a pain in the posterior!

The Fix: A string value in one of your Registry entries is corrupt. You can follow Microsoft's long-winded advice and fiddle with the Registry if you want to, but there's a quicker solution: Go to Kelly's System32 Folder Opens Upon Boot to download and run, a Visual Basic script that automatically tweaks your Registry as necessary.

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