Configure Live Mail 2011 for Gmail IMAP (and Yahoo Mail POP3)

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In my earlier post on Configuring Outlook 2003/2007 for Gmail IMAP, I mentioned that there was a problem with deleting messages. Specifically, when I deleted a message in the Gmail Inbox, the message was deleted from the Inbox but still left in the “All Mail” folder; so it didn’t show up in the Trash. The workaround was to drag the message from the “All Mail” folder to the Trash.

Microsoft fixed the above Gmail delete message problem in Outlook 2010 and in Live Mail 2011. To enable this fix, in Live Mail, go to menu “File->Options->Mail->Advanced->IMAP” and enable the “Use the ‘Deleted Items’ folder for IMAP accounts” option. (Live Mail 2012 enables this option by default.)

(Update: Either Microsoft or Facebook fixed the following Facebook email crash issue because I no longer see it.) There was a major downside to using Live Mail 2011 if you receive emails from Facebook. Simply, when you attempt to read an email from Facebook, Live Mail 2011 would crash. (I looked into using rules to move emails from Facebook into a folder, but rules only work for POP3 accounts, not Gmail IMAP.)

Note: Live Mail 2012 is the last version. Thankfully it does not exhibit any of the issues above and is still fully functional under Windows 10.

Configure Gmail IMAP

When you first run Live Mail, it will prompt you with an “Add your email accounts” dialog. If you don’t see this dialog or wish to access it later, go to menu “File->Options->Email accounts”.

To configure for Gmail IMAP, do the following on the first page:

  • Input your Gmail email address.
  • The password should be your Google Mail app-specific password if you have generated it. Otherwise, input your regular Gmail password.
  • Select the “Manually configure server settings” option.

On the next “Configure server settings” page, do the following:

  • Select “IMAP” as the “Server type”.
  • Input “imap.gmail.com” into the IMAP “Server address” under the “Incoming server information” section.
    • Select “Requires a secure connection (SSL)” under the IMAP “Server address”.
    • The IMAP “Port” should change from “143” to “993” automatically; but if it doesn’t, make the change manually.
  • Select “Clear text” for the “Authenticate using” option (the alternative “Secure Password Authentication” method is not supported by Gmail).
  • The “Logon user name” field should include the ending domain “@gmail.com”, not just your username.
  • Input “smtp.gmail.com” into the SMTP “Server address” under the “Outgoing server information” section.
    • Select “Requires a secure connection (SSL)” and “Requires authentication” under the SMTP “Server address”.
    • The SMTP “Port” won’t automatically change, so manually change it from “25” to “465”.

When you click on the next button, Live Mail will create the Gmail account and perform the initial IMAP folder sync. Once the sync completed, I tested by selecting a message in the Inbox and deleting it. When I checked the “[Gmail]->All Mail” folder, the message was not listed there. And when I checked the “[Gmail]->Trash” folder, I saw the deleted message. It worked! I no longer had to do the “move to Trash” workaround.

Issue: Duplicate Unread GMail Messages

A strangeness I noticed was that the “Unread email” folder under “Quick views” would show a duplicate of each new message. Duplicates occur because each new unread message appears both in the Inbox folder and the “[Gmail]->All Mail” folder. You can eliminate the duplicates by hiding the “All Mails” folder. To hide the “All Mail” folder, left-click on it and select the “Hide this folder from list” menu item. After making this change, you should see only one copy of each message in the “Unread email” folder.

If you want to unhide the “All Mail” folder, left-click on the email account name and select the “Show or hide folders…” menu item. Under the All tab, select the “All Mail” item and click on the “Show” button to the right. Hit Ok to close the dialog. You should see the “All Mail” folder under “[Gmail]” again.

Issue: Unwanted GMail Folders

Live Mail recognizes Google Mail’s IMAP folder names and maps them correctly. So you should only see two main folders, “Inbox” and “Gmail”. Under “Gmail”, there are “All Mail”, “Drafts”, “Sent Mail”, “Spam”, “Starred”, and “Trash” sub-folders.

If you see other IMAP folders, then they represent custom labels in Google Mail. You can either hide them or delete them. To delete, do the following:

  1. Log into Gmail and delete the custom labels.
  2. Under Live Mail, right-click on the top Gmail email account label (in the left-side view), and click “Download all folders” to refresh the IMAP folders displayed. The unwanted IMAP folders will disappear.

Configure Yahoo Mail IMAP

Yahoo’s new IMAP access is available to all Yahoo Mail users. Yahoo Mail’s IMAP configuration is almost identical to Gmail’s. (I prefer IMAP to POP3 so use the configuration below myself.)

To configure for Yahoo Mail IMAP, do the following on the first page:

  • Input your Yahoo Mail email address.
  • The password should be your Yahoo Mail app-specific password if you have generated it. Otherwise, input your regular Yahoo Mail password.
  • Select the “Manually configure server settings” option.

On the next “Configure server settings” page, do the following:

  • Select “IMAP” as the “Server type”.
  • Input “imap.mail.yahoo.com” into the IMAP “Server address” under the “Incoming server information” section.
    • Select “Requires a secure connection (SSL)” under the IMAP “Server address”.
    • The IMAP “Port” should change from “143” to “993” automatically; but if it doesn’t, make the change manually.
  • Select “Clear text” for the “Authenticate using” option.
  • The “Logon user name” field should just be your username (don’t include the the ending domain “@yahoo.com”).
  • Input “smtp.mail.yahoo.com” into the SMTP “Server address” under the “Outgoing server information” section.
    • Select “Requires a secure connection (SSL)” and “Requires authentication” under the SMTP “Server address”.
    • The SMTP “Port” won’t automatically change, so manually change it from “25” to “465”.

Issue: Unwanted Yahoo Mail Folders

Live Mail does not recognize Yahoo Mail’s IMAP folder names. As a result, we end up with a combination of Live Mail folders and Yahoo Mail folders. So, we will see both “Drafts” and “Draft”, “Sent Items” and “Sent”, “Junk E-mail” and “Bulk Mail”, and “Deleted Items” and “Trash”. (Live Mail actually creates its missing folders in Yahoo Mail.)

First, we need to teach Live Mail how to map its folders to Yahoo Mail’s folders.

  1. Go to menu “File->Options->Emails accounts”, select the Yahoo Mail account, and click on “Properties”.
  2. Click on the “IMAP” tab.
  3. Under “Special Folders” section, change the IMAP paths to match the Yahoo Mail folder names accordingly:
    • Change “Sent Items” to “Sent”.
    • Change “Drafts” to “Draft”.
    • Change “Deleted Items” to “Trash”.
    • Change “Junk E-mail” to “Bulk Mail”.
  4. Hit Ok and answer Yes to the “Would you like to refresh your folders” dialog.

Second, we then can delete the Yahoo Mail folders created by Live Mail.

  1. Right-click on the “Sent Items” folder and select “Delete”.
  2. Right-click on the “Drafts” folder and select “Delete”.
  3. Right-click on the “Deleted Items” folder and select “Delete”.
  4. Right-click on the “Junk E-mail” folder and select “Delete”.

The correctly-mapped IMAP folders won’t offer the “Delete” menu item so you won’t be able to delete them by mistake. You will end up with just “Inbox”, “Archive”, “Bulk Mail”, “Draft”, “Sent”, and “Trash” folders.

Configure Yahoo Mail POP3

Note: If you don’t have a Yahoo Mail Plus account which is required for Yahoo POP3, you can use Yahoo’s new IMAP access above instead.

To configure Yahoo Mail POP3, follow the steps for the first page above. On the next “Configure server settings” page, do the following instead:

  • Select “POP” as the “Server type”.
  • Input “pop.mail.yahoo.com” into the POP3 “Server address” under the “Incoming server information” section.
    • Select “Requires a secure connection (SSL)” under the POP3 “Server address”.
    • The POP3 “Port” should change from “110” to “995” automatically; but if it doesn’t, make the change manually.
  • Select “Clear text” for the “Authenticate using” option.
  • The “Logon user name” field should just be your username (don’t include the the ending domain “@yahoo.com”).
  • Input “smtp.mail.yahoo.com” into the SMTP “Server address” under the “Outgoing server information” section.
    • Select “Requires a secure connection (SSL)” and “Requires authentication” under the SMTP “Server address”.
    • The SMTP “Port” won’t automatically change, so manually change it to “465”.

Issue: Display Order of Email Accounts

After adding several email accounts, I noticed that Live Mail’s account list (on the left in the main window) was not listing the email accounts in the order of creation; they were in some random order. To re-arrange the display order, just left-click on the email account name and select “Move up” or “Move down”.

I imagine that the above IMAP and POP3 configuration instructions are still applicable to Outlook 2010.

These sites helped me to figure out the quirks of Live Mail 2011:

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Create a Bootable USB Windows XP Installer (Good-bye CDs and DVDs!)

Windows No Comments

Note: I have also used the WinToFlash tool to successfully make a bootable USB Windows 7 installer, both 32bit and 64bit versions.

kingstonflashdrivewinzpMy sister asked me to fix her Compaq Windows XP laptop. I found that the Windows XP Home installation on it was in a weird state. On bootup, it would always show an error saying “One of the files containing the system’s Registry data had to be recovered by use of a log or alternate copy”. And every time I launched Internet Explorer 8, I would get this error, “A program on your computer has corrupted your default search provider setting for Internet Explorer” and the search provider configuration dialog would appear; however, any change I made to the search provider selection was not saved.

I tried to fix both issues above and failed miserably. There were many suggestions on the Internet but none of them worked for me (except re-install Windows). To fix the Windows startup issue, I tried to do a clean boot (setting msconfig to not load any services on startup) but the error stilled occured. I tried to replace the “ntuser.dat” (user registry file) but that made no difference. I even un-installed and re-installed the Windows XP Service Pack 3. No success.

At the same time, I tried to fix the IE 8 error. I un-installed and then re-installed IE 8; the error still appeared. I deleted the IE “SearchScopes” entries in the registry; that didn’t work. I even copied whole IE 8 registry sections from a working machine over to the malfunctioning one. No dice.

I finally came to the conclusion that I had to do a clean Windows XP installation. The problem was the DVD drive on the laptop was broken. So that left me with one option, boot and install from a USB flash drive. I remember looking into bootable USB several years ago and giving up on it because it looked to be too difficult. Thankfully, time has drastically simplified the process of creating a bootable USB flash drive.

The tool I found that made everything painless is called WinToFlash. Just download, unzip, and run the “WinToFlash.exe”; there is no installer setup. Creating a bootable USB Windows installation drive is very simple: you put a bootable Windows CD/DVD (can be Windows XP or even Windows 7) in an optical drive, stick a USB flash drive into a USB port (should be 600MB or larger for Windows XP), run WinToFlash (just use the default Wizard) and select the drive letters assigned to the bootable CD/DVD (or select ISO image file) and the USB flash drive. WinToFlash will copy the Windows CD/DVD content to the flash drive and make the flash drive bootable.

Note: The latest version of WinToFlash is capable of opening up a bootable Windows ISO image directly. However, you can still mount the ISO image instead, and reference it by drive letter in WinToFlash. To do the ISO mount, I recommend either of these two free programs, Slysoft Virtual CloneDrive or WinCDEmu.

I had to go into the laptop’s BIOS (press F10 for Compaq laptops) to change the boot order to put the “USB Hard Drive” before the “Notebook Hard Drive”. I then rebooted and the laptop booted off of the USB flash drive. The boot menu was a bit cryptic though.

Option 2, “2nd, GUI mode setup, continue setup + 1st start of Windows”, was selected by default so I selected that. The Windows XP logo appeared and the laptop booted off of the internal hard drive, instead of running the Windows XP installer. I rebooted and this time, selected option 1, “1st, text mode setup (Boot from flash again after finished)”. This time, the Windows XP installer was launched. The rest of the installation was the same as when installing from CD/DVD.

Doing a fresh installation of Windows XP did finally “fix” the weird registry and IE 8 errors. Of course, this was like repairing a car with a malfunctioning engine by removing it and sticking in a new engine. The term “repair” or “fix” doesn’t seem to apply in this scenario.

Flash Forward to the Future

The bootable USB flash drive reminded me of when bootable CDs first came out and replaced the multiple floppies Windows installation. Like floppies, the CDs and DVDs will soon disappear; case in point, the new ultrabooks don’t come with built-in optical drives. With the decreasing price of solid state hard drives (which use flash technology), the current mechanical hard drives’ days are numbered.

Take me as an example. Almost two years ago, instead of buying an external 500GB hard drive for backup purpose, I purchased two 32GB USB flash drives for about the same price. The smaller physical size more than compensated for the reduced capacity. And the smaller capacity flash drives forced me to truly identify which of my digital data was important enough to save.

Next, I will look into creating a live Windows XP operating system on a bootable USB flash drive. It will come in handy to repair broken Windows installations or just to quickly retrieve data from an internal hard drive. If the USB flash drive is big enough, I could even make and keep ghost images of internal hard drives on the USB drive. That would be really useful.

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Recover From The “win64/Sirefef.W” Virus Infection

Windows 92 Comments

boxelderbugRecently, the Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) running on my Windows 7 64bit desktop detected the “win64/Sirefef.W” virus. The “win64/Sirefef.W” (or variants like “win64/Sirefef.Y” and “win64/Sirefef.B”) is a trojan which can install rootkits and other malicious programs onto your machine, in addition to providing security backdoors and other nasty stuff. On my machine, the “Windows/System32/services.exe” file was infected which is really bad because services.exe is used to launch essential Windows Services.

Unfortunately, MSE was unable to clean the “win64/Sirefef.W” virus after detecting it. In the middle of cleaning, the desktop rebooted. On restart, MSE detected the virus again and display a message saying that the machine needed to be rebooted in a minute. A minute later, the desktop rebooted, MSE once again detected the virus and displayed a reboot warning. This cycle looked to repeat endlessly, rendering my Windows 7 64bit desktop useless.

Manual intervention was necessary. Fortunately, I was able to dual-boot the infected desktop to run an older, clean Windows XP operating system. (If you don’t have a dual-boot, see comments for alternative methods to get a clean “services.exe” on your machine; search for JAKiii who updated Andre’s instructions.) More fortunate, I had a clean Windows 7 64bit operating system on my laptop. Using Windows XP, I was able to copy the clean “Windows/System32/services.exe” file from my laptop to the Windows 7 partition on my desktop (I left the corresponding “services.msc” alone). (Note: In the future, if I only had one machine, I would consider having a dual-boot of two Windows 7 operating systems; the first of which is for my day-to-day usage, and the second is a barebones install which is the reference install. I might considering ghosting just the barebone one for easy restore.)

After replacing “services.exe”, I was able to restart my Windows 7 64bit desktop without MSE detecting the virus and forcing a reboot. I then did a full scan with both MSE and Malwarebytes to ensure that the whole machine was clean. I thought the problem was solved, but “win64/Sirefef.W” had damaged Windows 7 by removing security-related Windows services.

I found that the Base Filtering Engine (BFE), Windows Firewall (MpsSvc), Windows Security Center (WscSvc), Windows Update (wuauserv), and Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) services were missing. The “win64/Sirefef.W” virus had deleted their registry entries. To recover, I exported the following registry entries from my laptop and then imported them into my desktop:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\BFE (Base Filtering Engine)
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\MpsSvc (Windows Firewall)
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\SharedAccess (Required by Windows Firewall)
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\WscSvc (Windows Security Center)
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\wuauserv(Windows Update)
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\BITS (Background Intelligent Transfer Service – required by Windows Update)

For your convenience, here is a zip file, SirefefMissingServicesRegistryFix.zip, containing the registry exports above and the clean “\Windows\System32\services.exe” file from my Windows 7 64bit Service Pack 1 (SP1) laptop. The registry exports have file extension “.reg” and you can import the services you are missing by double-clicking on them. (For those who don’t have SP1, John in comments provides a link to his services.exe for Windows 7 Home Premium in addition to instructions on how to extract a version from your Windows 7 install DVD. Please make sure to scan the file with your virus scanner before using. That advice applies to everything, including the zip file that I include above.)

There is an additional step to do below but at this point, we need to reboot once so that the registry changes can take effect and Windows will recognize the “new” services. On reboot, Windows will fail to start the Base Filtering Engine and Windows Firewall services. If you attempt to manually start them, you will encounter “error code 5” messages (see below), which are “access denied” errors. The fix for these access denied errors is to add the necessary permissions to the registry for each of the services. (You can try to avoid this reboot, but Windows may complain if you attempt to add permissions for services like BFE which it may not recognize without a reboot. In this case, just reboot and then repeat the add permission instructions.)


Update: Originally, I couldn’t set an NT service name as a user in the registry permissions so I suggested using the “Everyone” user with “Full Control” permission. While that worked, it left a big security hole. Fortunately, gvozden in the comments provided the solution. I have updated the instructions to replicate the original registry permissions exactly (as set on my laptop).

Do the following to add the necessary registry permissions:

  1. Run “regedit”.
  2. Browse to the “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\BFE\Parameters\Policy” section.
    • Right-click on “Policy” and select “Permissions…”. If you see a “BFE” user listed under the “Group or user names” list, you do not need to add it below.
    • Click the Add button, type “NT service\BFE” (it’s actually case-insensitive), and click the OK button.
    • Click the Advanced button, double-click on BFE to edit, and select the following in the allow permissions column: Query Value, Set Value, Create Subkey, Enumerate Subkeys, Notify, and Read Control.
    • Click OK, OK, and OK to close the Permissions dialog.
  3. Browse to the “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\SharedAccess” section.
    • Right-click on “Epoch” and select “Permissions…”. If you see “MpsSvc” listed, you do not need to add it below.
    • Click the Add button, type “NT Service\MpsSvc”, and click the OK button.
    • Click the Advanced button, double-click on MpsSvc to edit, and select the following in the allow permissions column: Query Value and Set Value.
    • Click OK, OK, and OK to close the Permissions dialog.
  4. Repeat the steps above for “Epoch2”.
  5. (Note: I could run the Windows Firewall without permissions set on the following two registry keys; but on my laptop, they were set so I also set them on the desktop just in case.)
  6. Browse to the “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\SharedAccess\Defaults\FirewallPolicy” section.
    • Right-click on “FirewallPolicy” and select “Permissions…”. If you see “MpsSvc” listed, you do not need to add it below.
    • Click the Add button, type “NT Service\MpsSvc”, and click the OK button.
    • Click the Advanced button, double-click on MpsSvc to edit, and select the following in the allow permissions column: Query Value, Set Value, Create Subkey, Enumerate Subkeys, Notify, Delete, and Read Control.
    • Click OK, OK, and OK to close the Permissions dialog.
  7. Repeat the above for the “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\SharedAccess\Parameters\FirewallPolicy” section.
  8. Reboot the machine.
  9. After the reboot, run “services.msc” and check that the “Base Filtering Engine”, “Windows Firewall”, “Security Center”, “Background Intelligent Transfer Service”, and “Windows Update” services are started successfully. The last three services are set to delayed start so they may not have started yet; in this case, you can manually start them.
  10. Run “Check security status” to see what Windows thinks about the security of the machine.
  11. Run “Windows Update” to get the latest security updates from Microsoft.

Note: The “Base Filtering Engine” depends on the “IPsec Policy Agent” and “IKE and AuthIP IPsec Keying Modules” services. Thankfully, the “win64/Sirefef.W” virus left these two services alone on my desktop.

If you prefer the command line, you can use the Service Control Manager “\Windows\System32\sc.exe” command line program instead of the “services.msc” program. Just run the “Command Prompt” as an administrator and input “sc” to see the command line options. Some useful ones I found were:

  • “sc qdescription wcssvc” which returns the human-friendly name “Windows Security Center” for “wcssvc”.
  • “sc query mpssvc” which returns the status for the “Windows Firewall” including recent exit codes.
  • “sc start bfe” which will attempt to start the “Base Filtering Engine” service.

I found the following websites helpful while researching this topic:

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Use the Macbook Keyboard and Trackpad With Windows 7

Windows 2 Comments

I have a 15in Macbook Pro that can boot into Windows 7. For portability’s sake, I do not use a separate PC keyboard/mouse, but instead have adapted to using the Macbook’s keyboard and trackpad with Windows 7. Below are some customizations I made to make the Macbook keyboard and trackpad more useful with Windows. These instructions pre-suppose that the Apple Boot Camp Windows drivers have already been installed.

Customize the Macbook Keyboard

You can use the AutoHotkey utility to remap keys on the Macbook keyboard to adjust to your usage style. For example, I tend to use the delete key more often than the backspace key, so I usually swap the backspace key (the Mac “delete” key) with the delete key (the Mac “fn+delete” combo key). Here’s how I do the swap:

  1. Install and run AutoHotkey. I downloaded the AutoHotkey_L installer.
  2. Create a script text file named “SwapBSDel.ahk” (the .ahk extension is mandatory) with the following content:
    Delete::Backspace
    Backspace::Delete
  3. Run the script by double-clicking on the “SwapBSDel.ahk” file to have AutoHotkey launch with it.

AutoHotkey is a very powerful tool. For example, here’s a way to add a menu to enable/disable the delete/backspace swap above.

Note: There are other key mapping utilities such as SharpKeys, but I prefer AutoHotkey because it is temporary and the key remaps only take effect when I run the script. If I want to apply the changes more permanently, I would configure the AutoHotkey script to run automatically during startup (put a shortcut to the script file in the Windows Startup folder).

Also, the Page Up/Down keys are missing from the Mac keyboard, but there are keyboard shortcuts: fn and up arrow for Page Up, fn and down arrow for Page Down, fn and left arrow for Home, and fn and right arrow for End.

Customize the Macbook Trackpad

twofingergestureBecause I configured one-finger tap-to-click/drag and two-fingers tap-to-right-click/scroll functionality with Boot Camp, I encountered several issues and also found their workarounds. To configure the one-finger and two-fingers tap functions, do the following:

  1. Run the “Boot Camp Control Panel” and go to the Trackpad tab.
  2. Under the One Finger section, check the “Tap to Click” and “Dragging” boxes.
  3. Under the Two Fingers section, check the “Secondary Tap” box.
  4. Click the OK button.

The two-fingers scroll is so fast that it is not useable with documents and browsers. To slow down the scrolling speed, I had to do the following:

  1. Run Control Panel.
  2. Type “mouse” into the “Search Control Panel”.
  3. Click on “Change mouse settings” and then the Wheel tab.
  4. Under “Vertical Scrolling”, change “The following number of lines at a time:” value to be 1, instead of 3.
  5. Click on the OK button.

When doing a multiple item selection and then drag to move/copy items, the double-tap-to-drag will deselect the items. I had to hold down the Shift (move) or Ctrl (copy) key to preserve the multiple selection when doing the double-tap-to-drag.

When doing a double-tap-to-drag on items and even a window, there is a half second pause after the double-tap, before the drag action occurs. This pause may interfere with your intention and result in unpredictable behavior; i.e., the window gets resized or moved to a random position. I’ve taught myself to insert a manual pause before doing the drag action to avoid this issue. (The problem is a known issue with the Boot Camp driver; unfortunately, even at this late version, Apple has not corrected it.)

There is a free 3rd party Mac trackpad driver called Trackpad++ which may solve the above drag-pause problem. In addition, Trackpad++ may help to eliminate the accidental drag-n-drop actions (which I encounter now and then) and provide support for 3-finger and 4-finger gestures. I will try it out one of these days.

Note: If you do not use the one-finger and two-fingers tap functionality, you may not encounter the issues above.

Customize the Windows 7 Aero Behavior

Because my Macbook’s 1440×900 resolution is not that large, the Windows 7 Aero Snap behavior (where windows are automatically maximized or resized when dragged close to the edges of the desktop) occurs quite frequently. In almost all cases, performing an Aero Snap is not my intention. Here’s how I disable the Aero Snap feature:

  1. Run Control Panel.
  2. Click on the green “East of Access” header link.
  3. Click on the blue “Change how your mouse works” link.
  4. Check the “Prevent windows from being automatically arranged when moved to the edge of the screen” box.
  5. Hit the OK button.
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Configure Wireless Access for the Brother HL-2280DW Multi-Function Laser Printer

Mac OS X, Windows 60 Comments

I scored a great deal on two Brother HL-2280DW Wireless Laser Printers (with scanner functions) during Thanksgiving break. Once I got the printers and tried to configure them for wireless, I found that Brother’s wireless configuration options were lacking and in some cases, didn’t work at all.

Unfortunately, the Ethernet connectivity on one of the printers was broken; worse, that was the printer I picked first to configure. After wasting half the weekend, I thought I would document how I finally went about configuring the wireless access for the Brother HL-2280DW printer and adding it to my Windows and Mac OS X machines. Hopefully, the steps below will help you with your Brother printer woes.

Note: The instructions below will work for other Brother wireless printers. I’ve also tried them successfully with Brother HL-2170W, HL-2270DW, and MFC-7860DW printers.

Note: I recently setup the newest model Brother HL-L2380DW printer. Unfortunately, I had to configured the printer to use a static IP address in order for it to be used from Windows 7. If you don’t configure a static IP address, when you install the Windows HL-L2380DW printer drivers, the installer will say that the printer is not configured properly and offer to configure it (set a static IP address). Mac OS X did not require the printer to have a static IP address.

Configure Wireless Access With Ethernet Connection and Web Interface

Note: The WPS and “WPS with Pin” setup did not work with my Cisco Linksys E1000 router. And while the printer allowed me to manually input the SSID and passphrase using the up/down arrows, the printer’s LCD only displayed the first 10-12 digits of the passphrase making it impossible to input the rest! Because I dislike using the USB method (which required installing, uninstalling, and then re-installing software), I decided that using the printer’s Ethernet connection and web interface was the best solution.

  1. Before we start, you will need to know the following info concerning your wireless network (check your wireless router’s configuration):
    • Network ID (SSID)
    • Channel Number (usually 3, 7, or 11)
    • Authentication Method (WEP, WPA or WPA2)
    • Encryption Mode (TKIP or AES)
  2. Follow the included Brother “Start Here” manual to prepare the printer for operation.
  3. Before turning on the printer, connect it to your wireless router by Ethernet cable.
  4. After the printer is on, we will need to find its assigned IP address:
    • Look it up on the printer:
      1. Press the Menu button to the right of the printer’s LCD and you will see “1. General Setup” menu item show up. You might need to press the Menu button twice sometimes. (Do not select the “1. General Setup” item.)
      2. Select the following menu items by pressing the up/down arrows and clicking on the OK button:
        • 4. Network
        • 1. Wired LAN
        • 1. TCP/IP
        • 2. IP Address
    • Alternatively, you can browse to your wireless router’s web interface and look at the list of connected DHCP clients.
  5. Browse to the printer’s assigned IP address to access its web interface.
  6. Configure the printer to enable toner save mode and to allow printing even if the toner is low:
    1. Click on “General Setup” at the top.
    2. You will be prompted for the user/password. Input the default: admin/access.
    3. Set the following options:
      • Toner Save: On
      • Replace Toner: Continue
    4. Click on the Submit button
  7. Configure the wireless network access:
    1. Click on “Network Configuration” link at the top.
    2. Click on the “Configure Wireless” link near the bottom of the page.
    3. Configure the following options:
      • Communication Mode: “1) Infrastructure Mode”
      • SSID: [input your wireless ID]
      • Channel: [input the wireless channel]
      • Authentication Method: WPA/WPA2-PSK (usually)
      • Encryption Mode: AES (usually for WPA2)
      • Passphrase: [input your wireless password]
    4. Click the Submit button.
    5. Answer Yes to “Would you like to enable the wireless interface?”.
    6. You will get a message to unplug the Ethernet cable. The printer will reboot and then print a page indicating whether the wireless connection succeeded or not.
  8. If the wireless connection didn’t succeed, then connect the Ethernet cable and repeat from step #4. Usually, the wireless router will give the printer the same IP address.
  9. If you are totally lost, you can reset the printer configuration by doing the following:
    1. Click on the Menu button next to the printer’s LCD.
    2. Select the following with the up/down arrows and the OK button:
      • 1. General Setup
      • 5. Reset
      • 2. All Settings
    3. Hit the Up arrow to Reboot.

Mac OS X: Add Printer, Set Toner Save Mode, and Scan

To add the printer on Mac OS X, do the following:

  1. Open up System Preferences.
  2. Click on “Print & Fax” under Hardware.
  3. Click the Plus button underneath the list of printers on the left.
  4. Bonjour should detect the printer and you will see “Brother HL-2280DW” listed.
  5. Select it and the “Print Using:” field will populate with “Brother HL-2280DW CUPS” driver.
  6. Click the Add button.
  7. The Brother HL-2280DW should show up on the list of Printers. To make it the default printer, double-click on it and select “Set default printer”.

To configure Mac OS X to use Toner Save Mode by default:

  1. Browse to the local CUPS driver web interface running on your machine. (You may be asked to run “cupsctl WebInterface=yes” in the Terminal application to enable the CUPS web interface.)
  2. Click on the Printers tab to the top-right.
  3. Click on the “Brother_HL_2280DW” printer in the list.
  4. Click on the Administration drop-down list box and select “Set Default Options”.
  5. Change “Toner Save Mode” to be “On”.
  6. Click on “Set Default Options” button.
  7. If you are prompted for a user/password, input your Mac OS X login username and the administration password.

The built-in way to do a scan on Mac OS X:

  1. Open up System Preferences.
  2. Click on “Print & Fax” under Hardware.
  3. Select the printer.
  4. Click on the “Scan” tab.
  5. Click the “Open Scanner…” button.
  6. Click “Show Details” for more options like output format and location.
  7. Make your selections and click on the “Scan” button.
  8. The scan will be taken and saved to the “Pictures” folder by default.

Windows XP and 7: Add Printer, Set Toner Save Mode, and Scan

To add the printer on Windows, do the following:

  1. Download the latest Brothers HL-2280DW printer software (it is the same file for Windows XP, Windows 7 32-bit, and Windows 7 64-bit and is named “HL-2280DW-inst-B1-usa.EXE”).
  2. Run the downloaded installation executable.
  3. Select “usa” for language. Click OK.
  4. Select “Wireless Network Connection” and check “Custom Install”.
  5. Take the default for “Change the Firewall port settings…”. Click Next.
  6. Take the default selected features (all are selected) and click Next.
  7. I usually select “No, I don’t want to register this PC to ‘Scan To’ button”; however, feel free to select Yes. (I think this option is so when you press the Scan button on the printer, it will send the image to this computer.) Click Next.
  8. On Windows XP:
    1. Keep the “Search the network for devices…” selected and click Next.
    2. Select the found Brother printer (the node name looks like “BRxxxxxxxxxx”) and click Next.
  9. On Windows 7, the printer detection doesn’t work so you will select either “Specify your machine by address” (IP address) or “Specify your machine by name” (node name/hostname). I usually do it by using the node name:
    1. To lookup the node name, go to the printer, press the Menu button, select “4. Network”, “2. WLAN”, “1. TCP/IP”, and “5. Node Name”. (Alternatively, the wireless router’s DHCP client table should have the printer’s hostname which is the same as the node name.)
    2. Back in the Brother setup dialog, select “Specify your machine by name” and input the node name.
    3. Click Next.
  10. The installation program will take several minutes to install the various Brother driver and tools.
  11. Click Next and Next to skip the “User’s Guides” and “On-Line Registration”.
  12. I usually uncheck “Enable Status Monitor on startup” and leave the “Set as Default Printer” checked. Click Next.
  13. The setup will request a reboot.
  14. After the reboot, you will see a new, red “CC4” icon in the status tray. This is the Brother Control Center software which allows you to set device properties, print, and scan. Because I prefer using my own programs to scan, I usually remove this from the tray by doing the following:
    1. Right-click on the CC4 icon and select “Preferences”.
    2. Unselect “Start ControlCenter on computer startup”.
    3. Hit the OK button.
    4. Right-click the CC4 icon and select “Close”.
  15. (OPTIONAL) Even though I have configured the Brother software to not run Control Center and the Status Monitor (unchecked “Enable Status Monitor on startup” in last page of installation wizard), Brother still runs them stealthily on startup. To really get rid of them, I had to do the following:
    1. Run “msconfig”.
    2. Select Startup tab.
    3. Under Windows 7, uncheck “Brother ControlCenter” and “Brother Status Monitor Application”.
    4. Under Windows XP, uncheck “BrCcBoot” and “BrStMonW”.
    5. Click Apply and then click OK.
    6. You may be prompted to restart.

To configure Windows to use Toner Save Mode by default:

  1. Go to menu “Start->Control Panel”.
  2. On Windows XP:
    1. Click on “Printers and Other Hardware”.
    2. Click on “View installed printers or fax machines”.
    3. Right-click on printer and select “Printer Preferences” to open the “Brother HL-2280DW Printer Printing Preferences” dialog.
  3. On Windows 7:
    1. Click on “View devices and printers”.
    2. Double-click on the Brother printer to open it.
    3. Double-click “Adjust print options” to open the “Brother HL-2280DW Printer Printing Preferences” dialog.
  4. In the Printer Preferences dialog:
    1. Select the Advanced tab.
    2. Check the “Toner Save Mode” option.
    3. Hit the Apply button and then the OK button.

The built-in way to do a scan on Windows XP:

  1. Run “Start->All Programs->Accessories->Scanner and Camera Wizard”.
  2. The Brother printer will be listed at the top. Click Next.
  3. Click on Preview, select options, and click Next.
  4. Select output format and folder. Click Next.
  5. The scan will be taken and saved to the “My Pictures” folder by default.

The built-in way to do a scan on Windows 7:

  1. Run “Windows Fax and Scan”.
  2. Click the “New Scan” button in the top toolbar.
  3. Hit Preview to see a preview image.
  4. Select the options and hit Scan.
  5. The scan will be taken and saved to the “Documents\Scanned Documents” folder by default.

One Button Scanning With Control Center

If you plan to do a lot of scanning, the Brother Control Center software (you’ll need to download and install it separately on Mac OS X) allows you to pre-configure the scan to file properties (including directory to save to and DPI quality). Once configured, you will only need to press the Control Center software’s scan button once to take a scan.

Note: The Scan To PC function allows you to press the hardware Scan key on the printer to save the file to your computer. You can configure this function using the Control Center. When adding the Brother scanner to Control Center, make sure to configure the “Scan Key” with a name. Unfortunately, using the Scan key on the printer requires multiple selection key presses, so it is not as convenient as the Control Center’s software scan key.

Though I refer specifically to the Brother HL-2280DW, these instructions most likely apply to other Brother wireless printer models.

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Windows XP Optimizations

Windows No Comments

windowsxpoptimizeIf you are running Windows XP on older hardware, you might wish to make some of the following adjustments. The optimizations below were gathered over the past decade. These modifications range from simple to dangerous, so proceed at your risk. (Some of these optimizations may be outdated.)

These changes are generally safe:

  • Open up Internet Explorer fast:
    1. Edit the Internet Explorer shortcut.
    2. Add parameter “-nohome” to the shortcut command to force opening up IE with a blank page.
  • Open up the C drive in Windows Explorer by default:
    1. Create or edit the Explorer shortcut.
    2. Use this path and arguments to open up the C drive by default: “C:\windows\explorer.exe /n,/e,c:\”
  • Quickly open the Windows Search Results dialog:
    1. Go to menu Start->Search. The Search Results dialog will appear.
    2. Click on the “Turn off animated character” option on the left menu.
    3. Click on “Change Preferences”.
    4. Click on “Change files and folders search behavior”.
    5. Select “Advanced…” option.
    6. Hit OK
  • Set a fixed size for the Virtual Paging File (potentially reduces hard drive usage):
    1. Open My Computer properties.
    2. Select “Advanced” tab.
    3. Click “Settings” button under “Performance”.
    4. Go to “Advanced”.
    5. Leave “Programs” and “Programs” selected.
    6. Under “Virtual Memory”, click “Change” button.
    7. Select “System managed size” and input the size of the paging file. The initial value is usually 1.5 times memory. Maximum value is 3 times memory. You have greater than 512MB, you can set to 0.5 times memory.
    8. Click OK.
  • Disable Fast User Switching (if you only have one default user):
    1. Go to Control Panel->User Accounts.
    2. Click “Change the way users log on or off”.
    3. Leave the “Use the Welcome screen” check (this is required so Windows won’t prompt for password).
    4. Unselect “Use Fast User Switching”.
    5. Click “Apply Options”.
  • Set DMA Mode on IDE Drives (for fast hard drive transfers):
    1. Open Device Manager (My Computer->Manage).
    2. Go to “IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers”.
    3. Double-click on “Primary IDE Channel”.
    4. Go to “Advanced Settings” tab.
    5. Make sure all “Transfer Mode” boxes have “DMA If Available”.
    6. Repeat for secondary IDE channel, etc.
  • Turn off File Indexing (reduces hard drive usage):
    1. Go to Computer Management (My Computer->Manage).
    2. Go to Services and Applications->Indexing Service->System->Directories.
    3. Double-click on each directory (with yes in “Include in Catalog”):
      • select “no” under “Include in Index?”
      • click OK.
    4. Open My Computer.
    5. Right click on the Hard drive and choose properties.
    6. Uncheck the “Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching”:
      • A new window will pop up, choose include folder and subfolders.
      • click OK.
  • Remove built-in support for ZIP files and also prevents Search from looking into compressed files (very slow operation):
    1. Go to menu Start->Run
    2. Type “regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll”
    3. Optionally, install another zip application like Winzip to take over the extension; otherwise, if you open a zip file, Windows XP will re-register the zipfldr.dll.
  • Improve shutdown speed (by immediately killing applications at shutdown or reducing the wait to kill timeout):
    1. Go to Start->Run and type “regedit”.
    2. Go to “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop”.
    3. Set the key AutoEndTasks to value 1 to immediately kill applications (without giving time to save) at shutdown.
    4. To reduce wait to kill timeout, change the following:
      • Set “HungAppTimeout” to 8000 (default is 5000).
      • Set “WaitToKillAppTimeout” to 8000 (default is 20000; 4000 if you are brave).
      • Also, go to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control” and set “WaitToKillServiceTimeout” to 8000 (default is 20000; 4000 if brave).

These changes can be dangerous:

  • Increase System CMOS/realtime clock IRQ priority:
    1. Find out the interrupt that the System CMOS/realtime clock is using by opening Device Manager, System devices, and properties on “System CMOS/realtime clock”.
    2. Click on the “Resources” tab (usually the interrupt is IRQ 8).
    3. Increase the IRQ priority by running “regedit” and going to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\PriorityControl”.
    4. Create DWORD value named “IRQ#Priority” (where ’#’ is the IRQ number).
    5. Set the value to 1.
    6. Restart Windows.
  • Ensure that L2 Cache is used (Windows XP sometimes doesn’t detect it so we must manually set it):
    1. Run “regedit”.
    2. Go to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management”.
    3. Adjust “SecondLevelDataCache” to your processor’s L2 cache size (aka 512 kilobytes). (Note: Make sure to use “Decimal” input!)
    4. Tweak Memory Performance by boosting the system cache (if you have 256MB memory or more):
    5. Run “regedit”.
    6. Go to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management”.
    7. Set “LargeSystemCache” to 1 (default is 0) to boost the system cache (only if you have tons of memory) by telling XP to allocate all but 4MB of system memory to the file system cache. (Note: This option can be accessed under “My Computer->Manage->Advanced->Performance Settings->Advanced->System Cache”.)
    8. Optionally, set “IOPageLockLimit” (create this DWORD value if necessary) to 8-16 MB (value in bytes; if exists, it is usually set to 512KB). This improves Input/Output performance for large file transfer operations (good if running a server).
    9. Restart Windows.
  • Improve NTFS Performance:
    1. Run “regedit”.
    2. Go to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentContolSet\Control\Filesystem”.
    3. Create DWORD entry “NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate” with value 1 to disable updating the last access time.
    4. Optionally, change “NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation” DWORD entry to 1 to disable creation of short names (if not supporting MS-DOS or Win 3.x). (Note: If we disable this, some programs like PowerCD and games like Return/Revenge of Arcade will not work!)
    5. Optionally, add “NtfsMftZoneReservation” DWORD entry to reserve the appropriate space for the master file table. If your NTFS volumes generally contain relatively few files that are typically large, set value to 1 (the default). Use a value of 2 or 3 for moderate numbers of files, and 4 (the maximum) if your volumes tend to contain a relatively large number of files. (Note: be sure to test any settings greater than 2 because these higher values cause the system to reserve a much larger portion of the disk for the master file table.)
    6. Reboot Windows.
  • Prevent QoS from reserving bandwidth (Not necessary because if QoS is not used, then bandwidth
    is used by other applications):

    1. Go to Start->Run and type “gpedit.msc”.
    2. Open Computer Configuration->Administrative Templates->Network->QoS Packet Scheduler.
    3. Double-click on “Limit reservable bandwidth”.
    4. Set it to Enabled and the Bandwidth Limit to 0%.
    5. Go to Network Connections.
    6. Right click on your connection and choose properties.
    7. Go to General or Networking tab.
    8. Make sure QoS packet scheduler is enabled.
    9. Reboot Windows.
  • Enable UDMA66 (for faster hard drive I/O):
    1. Run “regedit”.
    2. Go to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10319}\0000”
    3. Create a DWORD named “EnableUDMA66”.
    4. Set value to 1 to enable (set to 0 to disable).
  • Speed up Diskcache:
    1. Open “regedit”.
    2. Go to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control/Session Manager/Memory Management/IoPageLockLimit”
    3. Modify the value in Hex depending on the size of your RAM: For 64M, use 1000. For 128M, use 4000. For 256M, use 10000. For 512M or more, use 40000.
    4. Reboot Windows.

Good luck with turning your old Windows XP machine into a speed demon!

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Common Windows XP Annoyances and How to Fix Them

Windows No Comments

windowsxpbugThrough the years of using Windows, I’ve encountered common issues and their solutions. I’ve documented a couple, Enabling Tab-Completion for Windows 2000 and Accelerator Keys for Address Bar Text Alignment (Internet Explorer), and wanted to capture the remainder below. (The tips below may also work for Windows 7.)

Where is my Show Desktop icon?

On Windows XP, there is a nice Show Desktop icon in the Quick Launch toolbar which when clicked on, will minimize all windows. (On Windows 7, this is replaced by an empty vertical bar at the right-most position in the system tray.) The Show Desktop icon was a quick way to get access to all the icons on the desktop. Unfortunately, through system or user error, this icon may get deleted.

The Show Desktop icon is not a Windows shortcut. It is a Shell Command File (SCF) containing text which Windows understands and can execute. To re-create the Show Desktop icon, create a text file named “Show Desktop.scf” with the content below, and drag it to the Quick Launch toolbar:

[Shell]
Command=2
IconFile=explorer.exe,3
[Taskbar]
Command=ToggleDesktop

How to automatically log into Windows on startup?

If you did not input a password when creating your default user during Windows XP installation, Windows will log you in automatically. However, if you did input a password, Windows will prompt you to login with a Welcome screen. If you would like Windows to log in by default, here is how you can create an automatic login to bypass the Welcome screen:

  1. Go to Start Menu->Run, type “control userpasswords2”, and click Ok.
  2. Uncheck the “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer” option and click Apply.
  3. A dialog will appear that asks you what user name and password should be used to logon automatically. Type your username and password, and click OK.

How to add my own “Send To” menu command?

When you left-click on a file, you will see a list of options including a menu called “Send To”, which contains a list of applications which you can pick to open the file. If you would like to add your own choice of applications to that list, here are the steps:

  1. Run Start Menu->Run, type “shell:sendto”, and click Ok. This will open up your user’s “Send To” folder.
  2. Create a shortcut to any application (such as Notepad.exe or Wordpad.exe) in the folder.

How do I cancel a print job?

Eventually for whatever reason, you will find yourself with a print job which is stuck and cannot be cancelled using the Printer properties dialog. The dialog would keep saying that the job is in “Deleting” state. To avoid having to reboot the computer, try this command line method to delete that print job:

  1. Run Start Menu->Run, type “cmd”, and click Ok.
  2. Execute the following commands:
    net stop spooler
    del c:\windows\system32\spool\printers\*.shd
    del c:\windows\system32\spool\printers\*.spl
    net start spooler

How to debug my wireless connection?

The Windows network diagnostic help has improved greatly from Window XP to Windows 7. However, even in Windows 7, you may eventually need to run some command lines to diagnose the network problem. Below are some useful commands.

  • Type “ipconfig” to find the assigned IP address, subnet mask, and default gateway.
  • Type “ipconfig /all” for the above with even more details.
  • Type “ipconfig /flushdns” to flush the dynamic name service cache (used to resolve hostname to IP addresses).
  • Type “ping [hostname]” to see if you can reach a particular hostname. (Note that for security reasons, some hosts may disable the ping response and this command won’t succeed.)
  • Type “nslookup [hostname]” to resolve a hostname to an IP address.
  • Type “tracert [hostname]” to show the servers that participate in the communications pipeline between you and that host.
  • Type “route print” to show the routing rules in effect.
  • Type “netstat /a /o” to list all the active connections and listening ports.

Note: You can always press the Control + C keys to abort long-running commands such as “ping” and “tracert”.

If all else fails, reboot both the wireless router and your computer.

How to increase the number of folders Windows will remember custom settings for?

When you customize the settings on a folder (such as list instead of icon view), Windows will remember your settings for the next time you open that folder. However, Windows will only do this for a limited number of folders. (Windows XP Service Pack 2 alleviates this issue by increasing the original, default 400 folders to 5000 folders.)

To increase the number of folders that Windows will remember custom settings for, do the following:

  1. Start the Registry Editor by going to menu Start->Run, type “regedit”, and click Ok.
  2. Go to the “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ShellNoRoam” key.
    • Delete the “Bags” and “BagMRU” subkeys. One can also delete the “MUICache” subkey.
    • Create or modify the DWORD key called “BagMRU Size” with the desired number of folders in hex. For example, for 5000 folders, input the Hex “1388” value.
  3. Repeat the above steps for the “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell” key.
  4. Restart Windows for the changes to take effect.

How to remove deleted Windows programs from the “Add/Remove Programs” dialog?

Sometimes, a program which you know have been deleted will still show up in the “Add/Remove Programs” dialog. To remove it from the list of installed applications, do the following:

  1. Start the Registry Editor.
  2. Go to the “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall” key.
  3. Remove the entry for the deleted program in question. You will need to click on each subkey to locate the one with the correct program title.

Hope that these tips will prove useful. For other annoyances (for all flavors of Windows), check out the Annoyances.org website.

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Replace the System Drive With a Larger Hard Drive

Windows No Comments

harddriveNormally, to replace a hard drive with a larger hard drive, you would just install the replacement hard drive, copy the data over, and remove the old drive. Very simple. Unfortunately, if the drive you are replacing is the system drive (where the Windows operating system is installed), it gets more complicated.

After living with an 80GB system drive for many years and running out of space repeatedly, I decided to replace it with a 500GB drive. The goal was to do the replacement without re-installing my Windows XP operating system. The secret weapons are BartPE (to generate a bootable CD) and Ghost (to clone the system hard drive).

Create a BartPE bootable Windows XP CD which includes Ghost

  1. Pre-requisites:
    • Symantec/Norton Ghost 8.x (the version I have is 8.2)
    • Windows XP Installation CD
    • CD or DVD Burner drive
  2. Download BartPE builder. I picked the latest “PE Builder v3.1.10a – zip package”.
  3. Unzip the archive (ex: pebuilder3110a.zip) to a directory like “c:\temp\pebuilder”.
  4. Copy the ghost 8.x files to the “c:\temp\pebuilder\plugin\ghost8\files” folder. From my Ghost 8.2 distribution, I copied the following files: ghost32.exe, Ghostexp.exe, Ghostsrv.exe, and GhostCast.chm.
    • BartPE builder expects a file called “Ghostcdr.dll” which did not come with my Ghost 8.2 distribution. I managed to download it from the internet; you can download it from here.
    • Put “Ghostcdr.dll” into the same “c:\temp\pebuilder\plugin\ghost8\files” directory.
  5. Insert the Windows XP installation CD into your CD-ROM drive (say D: drive).
  6. Run “”c:\temp\pebuilder\pebuilder.exe”.
  7. In the first field, “Source: (path to Windows installation files)”, enter the CD-ROM drive letter which contains the Windows XP CD (ex: input “D:\”).
  8. Select “Create ISO image” or “Burn to CD/DVD”. In my case, I selected “Create ISO image” and then later burned the image to a CD using Nero Burning ROM.
    pebuilder.jpg
  9. Click on the “Plugins” button. BartPE builder will verify that your Windows XP CD is accessible and then show a dialog window.
  10. If you want a startup option to boot from the CD or not, then click to select “Boot Fix (Enabling “Press any key to boot from CD”)” and hit the “Enable/Disable” button. The Enabled column value for that entry will change from No to Yes.
  11. Click to select the “Symantec Ghost 8.0” entry at the bottom and hit the “Enable/Disable” button. The Enabled column value will change from No to Yes. If any required Ghost files are missing, clicking the Enable/Disable button will throw an error message.
    pebuilder_plugins.jpg
  12. Hit Close to close the dialog.
  13. Hit the Build button to create the ISO image or burn to CD/DVD.

Replace the System Hard Drive

  1. Shutdown the computer and install the replacement hard drive. Feel free to re-arrange the drives to connect the replacement hard drive to the first SATA or IDE interface.
    • If you have extra drives, to be on the safe side, you might want to connect only the system drive and the replacement hard drive.
    • Take note of the hard drive sizes so you can distinguish them later on.
  2. Boot the computer with the BartPE bootable CD that was created above.
  3. As BartPE loads, answer No to the “Start Network Support” prompt.
  4. Once BartPE has finished loading, select menu “Go->Programs->Symantic Ghost v8” and launch “Ghost32”.
  5. In the Ghost program window, select menu “Local->Disk->To Disk”.
  6. Select the Source Disk/Drive by clicking it and hit Ok. You can distinguish the source hard drive from the replacement drive by the smaller size information.
  7. Select the Destination Disk/Drive and hit Ok. The destination drive will be your replacement hard drive which should have a larger size information.
  8. Keep the default size selection and hit Ok.
  9. Double-check the source and destination drive info and click Yes to proceed with the disk cloning. Ghost will start cloning the hard drives. (It took 30 minutes for Ghost to clone my nearly full 80GB drive to the replacement 500GB drive.)
  10. Ghost will complete the process with a “Clone Completed Successfully” message.
  11. Hit Continue, Quit, and select menu Go->Shutdown to shutdown the computer.
  12. Remove the old system drive and make sure that your new replacement system drive is connected to the first SATA or IDE interface (which the BIOS will use as the boot drive). Or simply, connect the replacement hard drive to the interface cable that the old system drive was attached to.
  13. Start the computer and everything should work exactly the same as before, except now you have a lot of free space. Good luck!

Some content above derived from Setup Bart PE and Ghost How to.

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Free Microsoft Antivirus and Spyware Protection

Windows No Comments

Microsoft has just released a free virus and spyware protection software for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 called Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). The nice thing about this news is that MSE is just one program that you can run for total protection from viruses, spyware, and rootkits (a specific form of spyware). MSE is from Microsoft so it should work very well on Windows. (In practice, I found MSE had very little impact on the system, unlike the bloated McAfee or Norton monstrosities.)

Update: By default, MSE is included with Windows 8 and Windows 10. Confusingly, it has been renamed back to Windows Defender. So, if you have Windows 8 or Windows 10, you are all set in terms of having basic virus and spyware protection. It is still worth it to do an occasional MalwareBytes scan because MalwareBytes does find spyware that Windows Defender misses.

Note: For those using Mac OS X, I recommend installing the free Sophos Home virus protection. It has very minimal impact on the system. The chance of getting spyware or a virus on Mac OS X is low, but not impossible.

Before installing MSE, make sure to uninstall any existing spyware and virus real-time protection program (these real-time programs run all the time). You will want to go to Add/Remove Programs and uninstall the following programs if you have them:
MicrosoftSecurityEssentials

For those running Windows Vista or Windows 7, you will not be able to uninstall Windows Defender and will have to disable it manually before installing MSE. Supposedly, MSE will automatically disable Windows Defender, but there have been some feedback that this might not occur.

It is not necessary to uninstall non-real-time scanners such as the free MalwareBytes Anti-Malware, which only runs when you launch it and tell it to scan for spyware. If you don’t have MalwareBytes, I recommend installing it and once in a while, updating and running it as a second layer of protection, in case MSE misses some spyware.

Also, I recommend downloading ComboFix and leaving a copy of “combofix.exe” on your hard drive. ComboFix is a spyware and rootkit scanner which I have found to work when everything else failed.

  1. Disable your virus scanner before running ComboFix. (McAfee may falsely detect ComboFix as containing an Artemis trojan.)
  2. Reboot after ComboFix finishes. If you see any issues after restarting, you may wish to scan and repair Windows system files by running the “Command Prompt” as an administrator and executing the “sfc /scannow” command.

Finally, I’ll end this post with a tip on recovering from a spyware infection. The newer spyware knows about the popular anti-spyware and antivirus programs and will prevented them from being run. For example, if you have an infection and attempt to run Ad-Aware or Spybot, their windows will not appear (their processes are frozen in Task Manager). To get around this, find the executable file (right-click on the program shortcut and select Properties) and rename it. For example, I may rename ComboFix.exe to Dandelion.exe before running it.

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Configure Microsoft Outlook 2003/2007 for Gmail IMAP and Yahoo Mail POP3

Windows 5 Comments

Update 2: Yahoo Mail now supports IMAP for all accounts; whereas, POP3 access required Mail Plus accounts. The Yahoo IMAP server is “imap.mail.yahoo.com”. Yahoo IMAP uses the same port 993 and SSL authentication settings as Gmail IMAP does.

Update: The instructions below are specific to Outlook 2003, but will work for Outlook 2007 with minor differences, all in the “More Settings…” dialog; specifically, the SSL enable check-box in 2003 becomes a drop-down selection in 2007. I have included screen-shots of the “More Settings…” dialog from both Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007 for your reference.

outlook2007In the previous post, I found that restoring Outlook’s PST file did not restore the email support (email account) settings. As a result, I had to re-create my Gmail and Yahoo mail accounts.

IMAP and POP3 are different protocols for retrieving email. POP3 is the older and much simpler protocol; it will only give you download access to the Inbox folder. IMAP is younger and more sophisticated; it will give you read/write access to your Inbox and other folders. If your email provider supports IMAP, I would suggest using it over POP3.

Configuring Gmail IMAP

Your Gmail account comes with free POP3 and IMAP access. You just have to enable it.

  1. Log into your Gmail account.
  2. Click on Settings and then “Forwarding and POP/IMAP”.
  3. Click on “Enable IMAP”.
  4. Or if you wish to use POP3, click on “Enable POP for all mail” and select “keep Gmail’s copy in the inbox” in the dropdown for “When messages are accessed with POP”. The reason for the latter option is to prevent POP3 from downloading the mail messages to your Outlook and deleting the mail messages from Yahoo Mail itself.
  5. Click on “Save Changes”.

You can now configure Outlook to access your Gmail account using IMAP.

  1. Run Outlook.
  2. Select menu “Tools–>E-mail Accounts…”.
  3. Select “Add a new e-mail account” and click Next.
  4. Select IMAP and click Next.
  5. Input your name into “Your Name” field and your email address into “E-mail Address” as you would like it to appear in the From field of your emails.
  6. Input “imap.gmail.com” into the “Incoming mail server (IMAP)” field and “smtp.gmail.com” into the “Outgoing mail server (SMTP)” field.
  7. Input your full Gmail username (with the @gmail.com) into the “User Name” field and your Gmail password into the “Password” field.
  8. Do not check the “Log on using Secure Password Authentication (SPA)” box.
  9. Click on the “More Settings…” button.
    • Under General, you can change the name that this email account will show up in Outlook as; I suggest changing this to match your full email address. (You may need to restart Outlook for this change to take effect everywhere.)
    • Under “Outgoing Server”, check the “My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication” box and the “Use same settings as my incoming mail server” option.
    • Under Advanced, check the “This server requires an encrypted connection (SSL)” box and input 993 into the “Incoming server (IMAP)” field. (You will want to do it in this order because checking the SSL box will reset the port number.)
    • Next, check the “This server requires an encrypted connection (SSL)” box and input 465 into the “Outgoing server (SMTP)” field. (You will want to do it in this order because checking the SSL box will reset the port number.)
    • Finally, you may wish to increase the “Server Timeouts” from the default 1 minute to 2 minutes.
  10. Click OK, Next, and Finish.
  11. You should see your Gmail account show up as a new root entry in your Outlook’s All Mail Folders.


Because of how Gmail persists emails, deleting Gmail messages using Outlook is a two step process:

  1. Under Outlook, go to the Gmail’s “All Mail” folder.
  2. Locate the message which you wish to delete and drag-n-drop it to Gmail’s Trash folder.
  3. Go to the Trash folder, select the messages you wish to delete, and hit the Delete key on your keyboard. The subject lines for the selected messages will be striken through.
  4. Go to menu “Edit –> Purge Deleted Messages”.
  5. Note: dragging the message from the “Inbox” folder instead of from the “All Mail” folder will just remove the message from the “Inbox” folder and leave it in “All Mail” folder.

Configuring Yahoo Mail POP3

Yahoo Mail only supports POP3 access and only if you have a Yahoo Plus Mail account. If you don’t have a Yahoo Plus Mail account and are technically inclined, you can use the free YPOPs application.

If you have a Yahoo Plus Mail account, you can configure Outlook to access your Yahoo Mail using POP3.

  1. Run Outlook.
  2. Select menu “Tools–>E-mail Accounts…”.
  3. Select “Add a new e-mail account” and click Next.
  4. Select POP3 and click Next.
  5. Input your name into “Your Name” field and your email address into “E-mail Address” as you would like it to appear in the From field of your emails.
  6. Input “pop.mail.yahoo.com” into the “Incoming mail server (IMAP)” field and “smtp.mail.yahoo.com” into the “Outgoing mail server (SMTP)” field.
  7. Input your short Yahoo username (without the @yahoo.com) into the “User Name” field and your Yahoo password into the “Password” field.
  8. Do not check the “Log on using Secure Password Authentication (SPA)” box.
  9. Click on the “More Settings…” button.
    • Under General, you can change the name that this email account will show up in Outlook as; I suggest changing this to match your full email address. (You may need to restart Outlook for this change to take effect everywhere.)
    • Under “Outgoing Server”, check the “My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication” box and the “Use same settings as my incoming mail server” option.
    • Under Advanced, check the “This server requires an encrypted connection (SSL)” box and input 995 into the “Incoming server (IMAP)” field. (You will want to do it in this order because checking the SSL box will reset the port number.)
    • Next, check the “This server requires an encrypted connection (SSL)” box and input 465 into the “Outgoing server (SMTP)” field. (You will want to do it in this order because checking the SSL box will reset the port number.)
    • Then, you may wish to increase the “Server Timeouts” from the default 1 minute to 2 minutes.
    • Finally, check the “Leave a copy of the messages on the server” box and the “Remove from server when deleted from ‘Deleted Items'” box. This will keep the mail messages on your Yahoo account until you delete it from Outlook’s “Deleted Items” folder.
  10. Click OK, Next, and Finish.
  11. Unlike with IMAP, your POP3 account will not show up as a new root entry in your Outlook’s All Mail Folders. Instead, POP3 messages are delivered to the store designated as the default delivery location. You can find the default delivery store by doing the following:
    • Select menu “Tools–>E-mail Accounts…”
    • Select “View or change existing e-mail accounts” and click Next
    • The default delivery store is shown in the “Deliver new e-mail to the following location” dropdown.


If you are an AT&T SBC Yahoo subscriber, you can link your yahoo account to your AT&T account and thus, upgrade your yahoo account to a plus account. If you do so, you can use the following alternative POP3 and SMTP server settings, “pop.att.yahoo.com” and “smtp.att.yahoo.com”; though the POP3 and SMTP server settings above should also work.

Deleting your Yahoo mail follows the standard Outlook functionality. You will find your Yahoo mail in your default delivery store. If you delete the mail from your Outlook Inbox folder, it should appear in the Outlook “Deleted Items” folder (even though in Yahoo, it remains in the Inbox folder). If you delete mail from the Outlook “Deleted Items” folder, that mail will finally be removed from your Yahoo account.

Which email account to use when composing a new email?

If you have several POP3 and IMAP accounts, you may want to select one of the accounts as the default to use when composing and sending a new message. Basically, when composing a new email, what is the default From address to use? You can set the default account to use by doing the following:

  1. Go to menu “Tools->E-mail Accounts…”
  2. Select “View or change existing e-mail accounts” and click Next.
  3. Select each account (under “Outlook processes e-mail for these accounts in the following order”) and use the “Move Up” and “Move Down” buttons to re-order it. The first account listed will be the default account used when composing and sending a new email message.
  4. Click Finish.

If you are replying to an existing email message, Outlook will use the account that the email was received on to determine which of your email addresses to use as the From address. For example, if you are replying to an email sent to “you@you.com”, then the reply email will use “you@you.com” as the From address.

The info above was taken from Outlook 2003 – Gmail Help and POP Yahoo! Mail Plus with Microsoft Outlook 2002 (XP) and 2003.

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