Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Advanced Process Terminator and PSKill

Advanced Process Terminator is a small (42 kb) free tool from DiamondCS (of TDS fame). It has a neat little user interface which displays running processes along with information like PID, file location etc.
But the real fun lies in the number of ways you can kill a process. It has 9 methods to kill a process. By this, it can also kill "toughest" running processes which normal Windows Task Manager can not kill! It can also suspend and resume processes.

Another process killer tool is PSKill from Sysinternals (of Process Explorer fame). This is a command line tool and is very easy to use. It can also kill processes like Winlogon.exe which Windows Task Manager is not able to kill.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Javacool EULAlyzer!

Have you ever read those ultra-long EULA (End User License Agreement) pages while you are installing any software? I think no one will read them;-) But it can provide information about the Software itself or the bundled components. Some software bundle Adware or Spyware along with it, but details about it are cleverly masqueraded in EULA!

A new tool has been released called EULAlyzer, this can scan License Agreements, and report some of the "interesting" words and phrases. It helps to discover if the software you're about to install displays pop-up ads, transmits personally identifiable information, uses unique identifiers to track you, and much more.

Get it here, and analyze those EULA's!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Chkdsk starts automatically while booting Windows.

Sometimes Check Disk utility (chkdsk) starts automatically on every boot-up even though Windows was shut down properly, because if the Dirty bit of a Disk drive is set, chkdsk scans the dirve for errors even though Disk has no errors.

To solve this problem, go to Start > Run and type cmd and press Enter key. Here at the Command Prompt, type chkntfs /d and press Enter key. This command resets the chkntfs settings to default values and schedules a scan for all Disk drives on next restart. Allow this Disk scan to complete.

Then reboot the system again and check whether chkdsk runs as it would do before. If it does run and scan again, then in Command Prompt type the command chkntfs /x DriveLetter: and press Enter key. Here DriveLetter is the letter of that Disk drive which gets scanned on every boot-up (for example, type chkntfs /x C: if C: drive is scanned every time). This command excludes the specified Disk drive from scanning.

Note that chkntfs also works with FAT32 file system!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Windows Search dialog box is blank!

This is one quirky problem where the Search window is blank and only the "little dog" is visible! It can be seen in the screenshot below (sorry for the low image quality).

This can happen due to various reasons. Some of the fixes that can be tried are:-
1 Microsoft KB – Several dialog boxes are blank: This Knowledge Base article gives some information about this problem and also the resolution. This is worth a try.

2 Installing Windows Script files: JScript, VBScript and other Script Runtime files are used by this Search window (and other windows), hence a missing/corrupted Script file could cause the problem. The Script files can be downloaded here.

3 Reinstall Search Assistant: Go to Start > Run and type %windir%\inf and press Enter key. This should open the Inf folder. Here look for a file named srchasst.inf. Right-click on this file and click Install, you may require Windows installation CD.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Windows XP default theme missing!

Sometimes the default theme of Windows XP will be missing from the Themes tab in Desktop Properties, and there will be only Classic them in the drop down list. This is one of the common problems I have seen ;-).

To recover the default XP theme (also called as Luna theme), the following solutions can be used:-
1 Start the Themes Service: Go to Start > Run and type services.msc and press Enter key to open the Services window. Here, navigate to Themes service, and right-click on it and select Properties, and make sure that the Start Up type is set to Automatic. And if the service is stopped, click the Start button to start it.

2 Locate the Luna.theme file manually: Right click on the desktop and choose Properties. On the Themes tab, choose the Browse... option. Next browse and locate the file C:\Windows\Resources\Themes\Luna.theme and apply this as theme.

3 Luna.theme file not present: If Luna.theme file itself is not present, then it has to be restored back. Download this Zip file from Kelly’s Korner, and then extract the contents of this file to C:\Windows directory. Then, apply this theme as given in previous step.

4 Registry fix: If the above steps do not solve the problem, then there is a chance of changes in the default Registry values related to Themes. Download this Registry fix from Kelly’s Korner, and merge it with the Registry. Restart the computer to make the changes to take effect.