In time, the Microsoft Windows XP tweaking series covered a lot of ground, from minor to serious, these optimizations were mostly software/OS oriented. So, we thought it’s about time to ‘sing another song’ and go from software to hardware tweaks. In today’s episode, we’ll only cover printing tweaks, mostly intended for printer servers or users dealing with large amounts of printing jobs, but some of them might also be useful to any average user owning a printer.

For those of you just joining us, here’s the deal with this series: it provides immediate access to registry tweaks hidden in Windows XP that will help you unlock cool features just by using Notepad. You don’t need to install any other tweaking program, because you’ll do the optimizations by yourself. More »

If you read our latest articles about tweaking Microsoft Windows XP by modifying the registry, we surely know we’ve covered the customization of the Internet Options window. On the other hand, if this is your read about the XP registry tweaks saga, here’s the basic idea: we provide an absolutely free, easy to perform tutorial on how to unlock hidden secrete inside good-old XP, just by using Microsoft Notepad.

Internet users will also be interested in another important XP application: Outlook Express. OE is the default email client integrated into Windows XP and covers the basic functions for this of software. In this article will cover a few Outlook Express tweaks that will ease your work with this program or at least improve it a bit.

Let’s start with the preparations: as always, you’ll have to create a .reg file that must run after adding the customizations. This process is described in detail in the first article about Windows XP tweaks, so take a look here for all the details. Now that you’ve created your tweaks.reg file and added in Notepad Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 at its beginning, you can choose of the following tweaks and paste it below that line. More »

Microsoft never sends out updates by email so you should instantly bin this latest threat, which has been doing the rounds over the last 24 hours, I’ve already had about 50 of them sent to me. It’s really easy to spot, the Subject line says ‘Critical Update for Microsoft Outlook and if you open it, it says: Update for Microsoft Outlook / Outlook Express (KB910721). Obviously it’s nothing of the sort though it looks very plausible and has none of the usual clumsy spelling and grammatical errors. If you click on the link you will be taken to a spoof website and instantly download a nasty Trojan, though there are some reports suggesting that the payload may have changed in the past 12 hours. Either way don’t open it and do not on any account click on the link, and at the risk of repeating myself, remember that, Microsoft never sends out updates for Windows by email.

Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook, introduced at the start of the past week, manages to handicap the Redmond company’s email client, delivered as a part of the Office System. Essentially, the installation of Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook manages to kill the email client’s ability to search its own data. The tool from the Mountain View-based search giant is designed to bridge Outlook 2003 SP3 and 2007 SP2 (or SP1) with Google Apps. However, it appears that Google failed to perform sufficient testing of the utility, as Microsoft came across a bug that no longer allowed users of Outlook to search through their data.

“The installation of the Google Apps Sync plugin disables Outlook’s ability to search any and all of your Outlook data,” stated Dev Balasubramanian, Outlook product manager. “When a Google Apps user installs the sync plugin for Outlook, the plugin modifies a registry key which disables Windows Desktop Search from indexing and providing search functionality for all Outlook data, not just the Outlook data being synchronized from GMail. Because Outlook search relies upon the indexing performed by Windows Desktop Search, Outlook search functions are broken as a result.” More »

While Outlook 2007 offers many new features that do indeed offer real benefits it can come at a price – performance.

On my Core 2 Duo with 2GB of RAM Outlook 2007 originally took a good 20 seconds to fire up from a fully booted PC and appeared to be constantly sluggish. So what can be done about it?

Tip 1: Delete attachments

A little-known feature in Outlook is the ability to keep an email but delete one or several attachment. Firstly, sort your inbox by file size (descending) and open a message (by double clicking so it opens in a new window) where you no longer wish to keep the attachment. Right click over the attachment and select Remove. Now save the email, repeat with all relevant emails in this mailbox and then repeat in any other mailboxes (including your sent items). More »