How to Play DVDs in Windows XP Media Player

“I just got a DVD drive for my computer. I have Windows XP and I can’t get Windows Media Player to play any of my DVDs. What do I need to do to enable DVD playing in Windows Media Player?”
Windows Media Player requires a specific codec pack to be installed on your computer in order for DVD playback to work. There are several companies that offer this type of codec pack for sale.

Taskkill Replacement for Windows XP Home

“taskkill works great in XP Pro, but how do you accomplish the same thing on XP Home system?”
If you want to quickly kill off running processes from the command line in Windows XP Professional, taskkill.exe is a great way to get the job done. XP Home does not include this utility, only including the more limited tkill.exe instead. Microsoft does provide a free solution to this via their acquisition of the Sysinternals team.

Windows Key Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts help you do things faster by keeping your hands on the keyboard and not reaching for the mouse. Windows offers a number of built-in shortcuts that rely on the Windows key (if you own a Think Pad you’re out of luck). Here’s a list of the Windows key shortcuts and their corresponding functions.

Windows Live Photo Gallery

Windows XP may be long in the tooth, but it’s certainly not dead yet. If you do only one thing to overhaul the current state of your Windows XP machine, download Windows Live Photo Gallery. This barely exposed update for the baked in Windows photo management tools is one of the most useful upgrades to your Windows user experience. An improved photo import makes this a worthwhile download all on its own. Photo management is upgraded to include views sorted by date and tags (a new tagging tool helps you ID your photos for grouping all pictures of a particular person, event, or location). Simple photo editing for red-eye removal, crops, and adjusting levels handles most common image fixes. If you happen to have a Windows Live Spaces account, there are additional features to publish direct from Windows to your Space or build slideshows for publishing to your Space. Download this free upgrade to the built-in Windows photo management experience and you’ll be looking at your images in a whole new way. (The same features also improve Vista) [Windows XP/Vista $0.00]

AutoRuns – Startup Manager

While the name AutoRuns sounds more like a laxative than a system utility, this is one app that everyone should have in their Windows tool kit. AutoRuns takes the on board Windows MSConig utility to the next level, going far beyond the basics in seeing exactly what’s starting up each time you boot your system. Find out all the nitty gritty details about what launches during the boot process and in what order. You can tweak application launching to precisely control what applications, browser helper objects, Windows services, and 3rd party utilities are allowed to start as Windows boots. This comes in handy for helping optimize the Windows boot time, keeps unneeded services from launching when you don’t want them, and is also a handy detective tool for discovering malware hidden on your system. If the interface looks overwhelming, consider switching to the mode that hides the official Microsoft signed entires, so you only see startup items that aren’t part of Windows. [Windows 9x/2k/XP/Vista $0.00]