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Thought it's a good time to post the site statistics.

Report generated on Dec 19, 2007 by AWStats.

A question which I came across recently...

I go to Start, Run and type in "cmd", I get an Open With prompt window that asks me to

Choose the program you want to use to open this file: File: cmd

I've used the "Browse" button to locate the Windows Command Processor, but I have to select it from the list of "Program." The "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file" check box is grayed out. I don't even know why Windows has decided cmd is a file to be opened by an external application.

This problem happens if there is a file named CMD in your profile folder, and Windows tries to execute it when you type CMD (without the .exe suffix, the file extension) in Start, Run dialog.

Click Start, Run and type:

%comspec% /k dir "%userprofile%\cmd*" /s

Press {ENTER}

This lists files within your profile directory which contain cmd in the file name . Spot the files which contain the names (CMD, CMD.EXE, CMD.COM, CMD.BAT) located within your user profile path and rename them or move them somewhere else.

If those files appeared in your user profile folder without you doing anything, then it's a good idea to run a thorough scan for Viruses and other Malware.

When you type CMD in Start-Run dialog, Windows searches for the file in the following locations in the same order given, and executes the first one found:

  • Your user profile folder
  • Checks the App Paths registry key
  • Searches all the folders included in the PATH variable

The search order may vary depending upon the Operating System you use, and the Service Pack level of your system.

Note: The problem was fixed when the user removed a 0-byte file named cmd in his profile folder. If you run across a similar situation at some time, this blog entry should help.

Unable to assign Acceleration Key for an Action

I have found what I consider to be a bug in Windows XP. It would affect almost no one, but still a bug. As an example, assume that Microsoft Word is already installed and a person installs the Microsoft Word Viewer also.

  1. Open Control Panel/Folder Options/File Types tab.
  2. Select a file extension. (Say .doc)
  3. Click Advanced and the Edit File Type dialog box opens.
  4. Select New button and the New Action dialog box opens.
  5. In the Action: text box, type &View (with the intent that the keyboard shortcut for this is Alt+V)
  6. In Application used to perform action:, type the path to wordview.exe
  7. Select OK to close the New Action dialog box.
  8. Select OK to close the Edit File Type Box.
  9. Select OK to close the Folder Options Box.
  10. In Windows Explorer, right click a .doc file. The context menu will show &View instead of View.

Does this happen to others?



Hi Paul, Yes! You've found a bug in the Windows XP File Types dialog. I can reproduce the problem exactly, but have a workaround for this issue.

When you type the name of the new Action (in Step 5 above), add a blank space after the action. For example, type "&View " instead of "&View" (without quotes). Or, type a multi-word string (such as "Open with Word &Viewer") in the Action text box. This circumvents the problem.

Another workaround is to edit the registry and set the file type description manually. This can be done by modifying the (default) value in the file type's ProgID, which is located here:


Where <ProgID> is the actual ProgID for that file type. To better understand what ProgID is, have a look at the graphic below:

Here are some ProgID examples: txtfile, jpegfile, giffile, Wordpad.Document.1, xmlfile and so forth.

Although I have a graphics card (NVIDIA GeForce 7300 LE) which supports Aero, slideshows always run in Basic mode in my Windows Vista (Ultimate) RTM system. The Help and Support indicated that the slide show theme controls only appear if the WinSAT score is atleast 3.0. Mine is rated as low as 2.8 (Graphics system being the poor scorer).

WinSATScore registry value

Soon after seeing RegMon query the WinSATScore registry value (non-existent by default), I Googled it and saw the excellent tweak posted at the Microsoft Photography Blog. It suggested that in order to get the entire Theme set for slideshows, one may try boosting the WinSAT score virtually, by creating/altering the WinSATScore value.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Photo Gallery\SlideShow

In the above key, I create a new DWORD (32-bit) value named WinSATScore and assigned 300 as the Value data, and closed Registry Editor.

Voila! The slideshow themes magically appeared, and all the themes worked fine in my system. Of course, there is no guarantee that this tweak with work with every graphics card on the market.

Note: If one or more of the slideshow theme does not work for you, you may want to check if your graphics card supports Vertex Shader 2.0 property or not. Here is an excerpt from Help and Support:

In order to see your slide show with high-quality visuals (including videos, themes, and transitions), you need to have a subscore of 3.0 for the Graphics category in the Windows Experience Index. Some themes also require your computer’s graphics card to have a feature called Vertex Shader 2.0. To take advantage of all slide show capabilities, you might need to upgrade to a more powerful graphics card. For more information, see Ways to improve your computer's performance.

Here is the list of Slideshow Themes available:

  • Classic
  • Fade
  • Pan and zoom
  • Black and white
  • Sepia
  • Album
  • Collage
  • Frame
  • Glass
  • Spin
  • Stack
  • Travel

After performing a clean install of Windows Vista Ultimate RTM (Build 6000), I downloaded the NVIDIA driver 97.46 (current version, as of this writing) for my NVIDIA GeForce 7300 LE graphics card. Well, here is what I saw when I tried to install the drivers:

Setup detected that the operating system in use is not Windows Vista. This setup program and its associated drivers are designed to run only on Windows Vista. The installation will be terminated.

When browsing NVIDIA user forums for solution, people advised that this is a known problem, and that the International drivers (97.46_forceware_winvista_x86_international_whql.exe) should work fine. I downloaded the international drivers (~50 MB), emptied the NVIDIA folder in the C:\ drive (this folder was created when I ran the setup earlier, which then failed), and ran the international driver (97.46_forceware_winvista_x86_international_whql.exe). This resulted in the same error as above.

When I contacted NVIDIA support, they asked me to download the international drivers, even though I already stated in the original inquiry that I've tried both the drivers. I just downloaded it again as the techs told me that I may have downloaded a different version of the "international" driver.

So I downloaded the 50 MB file again, and installing it resulted in the same error. The techs asked me if I'm using Vista RTM (note that I've provided the entire system specs in the original inquiry.) This case prolonged for a week and no solution was arrived at. NVIDIA techs had no clue, and informed me that they would notify me when they find an answer to this problem.

I desperately needed the Vista drivers because the text in my LCD monitor (Samsung SyncMaster 940BW) was extremely blurry as it was running in a non-native resolution, giving me a mild headache. 940BW's native resolution is 1440x900, but that aspect ratio was missing in the Display Properties.

Manual installation worked!

Thanks to an user at the NVIDIA forums who hinted me about manual installation using INF file. That info was the ticket. The setup program extracted the drivers / supporting files to the C:\NVidia folder. Here is what I did and it worked!!

  • Open Device Manager (devmgmt.msc)
  • Double-click Display Adapters
  • Right-click on the graphics adapter listing, and choose Update Driver Software...
  • Select Browse my computer for driver software in the next screen
  • Mention the path where the driver files were extracted by the NVIDIA setup program. This is usually C:\NVIDIA\WinVista\97.46

Voilà! The driver installation was successful! And the 1440x900 aspect ratio magically appeared in the Display Properties. No more blurry text now. I hope that proposed solution above helps many others, as well.

It's quite surprising to see how the techs at NVIDIA missed this manual installation option, and how quickly they gave up on this matter. IMHO, there is certainly a scope for improvement on their side!

This week I came across the following question, which I'd like to share with you:

Any file on my computer that ends in .gif gives the message "Access is denied." when I try to open it. If I rename the file to .jpg or something else, it opens fine (though that's not a good thing to do, obviously). Any other image file opens fine, and if I rename one of them to .gif and try to open it, I get "Access is denied." And it's not just image files. Any file that opens with no problem, when renamed to .gif and opened, results in "Access is denied."

The file association information for .GIF file type is given below by the asker.

"Content Type"="image/gif"



@="GIF Image"




@="\"D:\\Program Files\\msgif\\GIFAnimator.exe\" \"%1\""





@="\"%SystemRoot%\\System32\\mspaint.exe\" \"%1\""

After examining the settings carefully, I spotted atleast one error in the GIF file association setting.

@="\"%SystemRoot%\\System32\\mspaint.exe\" \"%1\""

In the above key, the (default) value type is REG_SZ, but the existing data contains expandable values / environment strings. If you need to use expandable values such as %Windir%, %Systemroot% etc, you should use the REG_EXPAND_SZ value type.

The "Access is denied" error was then resolved by changing the above entry (into already expanded format) directly in the registry.

"%SystemRoot%\System32\mspaint.exe" "%1"


"C:\Windows\System32\mspaint.exe" "%1"

Q:    Is it is possible to change the icons for the right-panel of the Start Menu in Windows XP Pro. (the icons for My Documents, My Computer, Network Places, Printers & Faxes and others) ?

I know that certain visual styles software like Windows Blinds can do this too. I was wondering if one could do this without the use of such programs. A way to do this through the registry would be welcome. Thanks..

A:    You can set the icons for special folders in the following key (per-user override)

HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ CLSID \ {GUID} \ DefaultIcon

Where {GUID} is the Globally Unique Identifier pertaining to a special folder. The {GUID} for various special folders are given below. Note that you need to create the registry keys up to that level above, for each special folder for which you want to customize the icon.

My Computer {20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}
My Documents {450D8FBA-AD25-11D0-98A8-0800361B1103}
Network Connections {7007ACC7-3202-11D1-AAD2-00805FC1270E}
Printers & Faxes {2227A280-3AEA-1069-A2DE-08002B30309D}
My Network Places {208D2C60-3AEA-1069-A2D7-08002B30309D}
Set Program access and Defaults {2559A1F7-21D7-11D4-BDAF-00C04F60B9F0}
Control Panel {21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}
Recycle Bin {645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}
Internet Explorer {871C5380-42A0-1069-A2EA-08002B30309D}

FYI, the icon for the My Pictures folder comes from the Desktop.ini file present in that folder. So you need to alter the Desktop.ini file to change My Pictures folder icon.

Q:  Is there a way to create a batch file which would put a desktop icon onto the desktop which invokes an html page in a web browswer (MSIE) and change the associated icon for that particular desktop item, all in one batch file? Thanks

A: Yes. This is possible. Here are some examples:

--------------------Launches a HTML page---------------
echo [InternetShortcut] >"%userprofile%\desktop\localpage.url"
echo URL=C:\myfile.htm >>"%userprofile%\desktop\localpage.url"
echo IconFile=C:\favicon.ico >>"%userprofile%\desktop\localpage.url"
echo IconIndex=0 >>"%userprofile%\desktop\localpage.url"
--------------------Launches a website--------------------
echo [InternetShortcut] >"%userprofile%\desktop\google.url"
echo URL= >>"%userprofile%\desktop\google.url"
echo IconFile=e:\Backups\google.ico  >>"%userprofile%\desktop\google.url"
echo IconIndex=0 >>"%userprofile%\desktop\google.url"

Q:  I have a tip request I think might be useful to others. I have been looking around for a way to use Scheduled Tasks to launch a webpage in the background and then close it after a certain time. I do not have cron jobs on my website and the newsfeeds are cached for about 2 hours. The site is new so some pages may not be accessed as often and then the first person to access one of these pages if the cache has expired has to wait a little too long. I thought since I work on my pc for a good part of the day I could use Scheduled Tasks like a poor man's cron and call these pages every few hours to make sure there is always a cached copy.    --Burt.

A:  I've written a small script that'll do the task for you. Change the URL in the following script (opens by default) and set the wait time accordingly (60 seconds wait time) before the IE window will be closed automatically.

Set objExplorer = WScript.CreateObject _
("InternetExplorer.Application", "IE_")
objExplorer.Navigate ""

'Determines if the window is visible or not
objExplorer.Visible = 0

'Suspend the script for 1 minute
WScript.Sleep 60000

'Close the IE (instantiated) window

Sub IE_onQuit()
End Sub

Copy the above lines and paste the contents to Notepad. Save the file with .VBS extension (launchsite.vbs). You can then schedule this script to run at specific intervals

Q:  I've installed Media Info Exporter from the Winter fun pack (Microsoft). When I export my song list to Word or Excel the track length is in seconds. I want to convert the seconds to mm:ss format, like it displays in Windows Media Player. How do I do that?

A:  I'm not sure if this setting is configurable in Media Info Exporter plug-in options, but you can accomplish this using Formula in Microsoft Excel, or perhaps by writing a Macro. Here is a Macro that should do the task:

Sub Macro1()
    Dim rng As Range, cell As Range
    Set rng = Range("g2:g50")
    For Each cell In rng
        If cell.NumberFormat = "General" Then
            cell.Value = cell.Value / 86400
            cell.NumberFormat = "mm:ss"
        End If
End Sub

FYI: Column G contains the Track Length, and this script takes the cell range G2:G50. If you have too many lines, you may have to modify the cell range in Macro accordingly.

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