Monday, January 21, 2008

Try this instead..

Two timesavers when Windows misbehaves:


(This is obviously just some random person's opinion, and not advice from any major software company.)


Logoff/Logon, instead of rebooting

Windows occasionally gets into a weird state where, well, things just stop working - the start menu doesn't launch some apps anymore, clicking links in Internet Explorer doesn't work, context menus stop working, etc.*


Instead of rebooting Windows to get things working again, try logging out and logging back in. When Windows (and the apps that plug into the Windows shell) get into some weird state, you don't need to reboot; a logoff shuts down the Windows Explorer, and a logon loads it again.

The system services in Windows generally don't get into too weird a state. So they can just keep on running during your logoff/logon.

Recreate your profile instead of reinstalling Windows
On your home machine (not a domain-joined machine):
If your Windows installation is in a terrible state (too many application installs and uninstalls, weird application crashes at weird times, file associations that don't work anymore, etc):

Instead of wiping and re-installing Windows**:
Back up all your files
Log on as a different user on the machine
Delete the user profile of your user (in Computer Properties, Advanced Settings)
Log on as your old user account
All your files will be gone (you did back them up, didn't you?) but you will have a clean registry, and as far as all applications are concerned, you are a new user.
Restore your files

The Windows registry consists (simplifying here) of two parts: HKLM (machine settings) and HKCU (your user settings)
When Windows gets into a weird state, you can mostly fix all the issues by deleting HKCU (by deleting the user profile), instead of reformatting the disk (which, obviously, gets rid of HKLM and HKCU)
You lose some settings in some apps (because you start off with a fresh HKCU) but you were going to reformat and reinstall anyway. And you don't need to reinstall all your drivers. Again.

(Translation for Unix types: This method is about the same as deleting all the .* files in ~, I guess.)
*My Macbook gets into the same state sometimes (I get unejectable CDs, for some reason). The same logoff-logon approach works there too.
**Don't do this if you rely on certificates in your user cert store, for things like EFS. This method makes bad things happen in that scenario, I think.
And some applications (some games) don't like this method. But things like Office just keep on working.

39 comments:

Tom said...

This random person is well.. a twat.

Sparkie said...

I've even done the profile recreation in a domain environment, and it has saved me hours. Most "business" apps work fine afterwards.

dbking0 said...

we dont care about shit like this what about windows 7?

Daniel said...

Interesting post! I knew the thing about login/logoff but not about the profile solution for a reinstallation.

Talking about W7... How true are the leaking rumors about W7 around the web?

dbking0 said...

please tell, is this true?
http://www.istartedsomething.com/20080122/neowin-forum-review-windows-7-m1/

Gergő said...

Well if I need to restart explorer, instead of logging off/on I open the task manager, shut down explorer.exe then start it again (applications / new task)

Nikolaj Hawaleschka Stenberg said...

@dbkin0: Dude, read the fricking blog-description: Random thoughts from somebody working on the next Windows OS.

Point here being the words "random thoughts".

someone said...

I'm a bit surprised here...for a proper healthy system, it is recommended that you always keep an eye on the event log and fix problems reported there (app and system errors) and your system will work just fine.

webstar said...

can you tell me, why there isnt still and option in any of the windowses :) to simply add a password protection to a specific folder..

wihtout using zipped folders or any other 3rd party apps.

im sure lots of the users would want that option.

Justin said...

@webstar: The NTFS filesystem makes that feature available in multiple versions of Windows. If your user account is password-protected, I'm pretty sure no one (if they're logged on as a different user) can access files/folders inside the "C:/Documents and Settings/[your username]/" directory by default.

dude said...

comment on this please?
www.istartedsomething.com/20080123/insider-confirm-windows-7/

AG007 said...

I knew that!

Tecnokrat said...

hi is it true that Windows 7 M1 has been released. All the screen shots available and also a video been posted is all true??
Please do reply becos this is counting with so many romours around in the net.

Austin said...

You can backup EFS certs in Vista by running "efsui.exe /efs /keybackup" for what it's worth.

webstar said...

@Justin
OMG Justin, i knew that.. everybody knows that. but thats protection is sooooo NOT a protection AT ALL! ANY administrator account can take ownership of such files / folders, thus have full access to them.
i asked, why isnt there still a way to PASSWORD PROTECT ANY FILES OR FOLDERS (the OS asks for a PASSWORD to open the particular file or folder), does 'ntfs' support that, if not, will the next 'fs'?

Wowee said...

@ webstar: there are several situations that would come in handy! working in a large company, i've searched for a third party tool to do just that. they typically suck, too.

Vartan said...

hehe! The tricks of the trade.

Jason said...

If you get into a state where toolbars are not being displayed and shortcuts are not working, you need to look into adjusting your desktop heap settings. This behavior is common for people who have a lot of Windows applications (those apps that have a GUI associated with them, not services and console apps). Another contributing factor is Multimon. With more that one monitor, the user is likely to run applications longer and run more of them. For details on this issue, look @ http://blogs.msdn.com/ntdebugging/archive/2007/01/04/desktop-heap-overview.aspx

Andre said...

jesus, people are all bashing the guy because he's not talking about windows 7.

that's helpful stuff, and I actually appreciate it, sir.

now, if I may ask, ever since i deleted my ubuntu linux partition (it was a waste of space to me), things are going crazy in my computer, like I can't use the volume buttons on my laptop anymore because it seems to freeze explorer.exe (I can't click on anything, can't type anything but the windows keys work fine, along with control+alt+delete. I got to the conclusion it was my explorer.exe file that was doing it because after a kajillion of the three magical keys along with lots of mouse clicks, I managed to quit the explorer.exe process and I was able to reload it and continue my stuff (though when I manage to do that, things are getting even weirder like firefox closing by itself while being idle), and often it happens on other apps like madtracker (used to make music using sound samples).

all this happened ever since i got rid of linux.

would you give me some advice about this, if you can? I've got no idea what might have made my computer go haywire, apart that it seems to be related to my riddance of ubuntu.

Lalo said...

Well, what HAPPENED TO THIS BLOG? No news since a long time. Did "Shipping seven" become too famous?

Toph said...

I've been wondering the same thing, Lalo. It's too bad; even when this "somebody" wasn't talking about Windows 7, I always found the posts interesting. Oh well...

Lalo said...

I guess MS told him to keep quiet. Yap.

Paul Maddox said...

This blog was going so well and then (like most blogs) went quiet. PLEASE KEEP THIS UP! Judging by the number of comments on such a small blog it's obviously having a pretty decent amount of readers.

David said...

Hey Dude where are you?

Keep posting, even if you are not posting for Windows 7, i like the tips!!

Lalo said...

I want this blog to be up again ON THE DOUBLE! IT'S AN ORDER! :D

cullen said...

So did one of your PMs or higher find out who this blog belongs to? :(

me said...

a whole month with no posts... i guess some1 got him to stop.

too bad... it's the only "personal" relationship i felt with microsoft in years... plus the tips were quite good... not those cnet nobody reads will break your system "tweaks"

i just hate when something good just ends ...

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SeaBird said...

Fm: Seabird Marine Services. Egypt.
Ref: Suez Canal Transit Shipping Agency Offer

Respected Sir,
GOOD DAY
Kindly Please Forward To Operation and Agency Departments
That offer could be very useful for your company so
Do not delete it and forward it to your entire colleague's

We would like to introduce ourselves as
One of the leading Marine Service Providers &
Shipping Agency and Freight Forwarder. Established in 2002 at Port Said,
Providing the following services at All Egyptians Ports:

* Shipping Agency / Owner Representatives /
Suez Canal Transit Shipping Agency
* Ship Suppliers / Chandlers / Vessel Catering Services & Repairer
* Petroleum Services / Offshore Supplying /
Technical Assistance.
* Freight Forwarder Agents (From / To, Egypt)


We kindly request you to appoint us to serve your vessel calling at
Suez Canal / All Egypt ports.
Height quality, Low prices, Best discount, Fast services
ALL CREDIT FACILITIES AVAILABLE
IF YOU HAVE ANY INQUIRY / QUOTATION / RATE REQUEST
DON'T HESITATE TO CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY…


Thanks and Best regards
Marketing Manger, M. Khalifa.
Tel.: 002-012-4096457
E-mail: mail@seabird-marine.com
Www: www.seabird-marine.com
SEABIRD MARINE SERVICES,
Egypt.

Lalo said...

But I think he still reads these posts and smiles to himself...

Dave said...

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080323-evidence-mounting-windows-7-going-modular-subscription.html

Xepol said...

would be more useful with some finer resolution...ie:rather than ya, sure come in, do whatever you want.

something more like: sure, come in, watch tv but stay out of the fridge...

as in "ok, you can change x and Y, but nothing else"

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100thIdiot said...

This is a great fix for a slow computer, I've already used it 2 or 3 times on friends PCs to great effect. On question, would using 'Save My Settings Wizard' to save the users setting prior to doing this reintroduce the crap after the new profile has been put in place?

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