Windows Tips and Tricks

See our helpful links for other sites with Windows tips. What we are compiling below are tips and tricks we've come up with ourselves, had a difficult time finding elsewhere, or are answers to questions we get frequently.

What are the differences between Sleep, Hybrid Sleep and Hibernate?

Windows Vista and Windows 7 have a new sleep mode called "Hybrid Sleep", and on Windows Vista, it is the default action of the shut down button in the start menu.

Ordinary "Sleep" mode simply puts your computer into a low-power mode. If the computer loses power, Windows will have to fully reboot on next startup and will behave as though it was forcibly shut down while running, including the possibility of running a disk check at startup.

Hibernate mode writes the contents of RAM to a special file on the hard drive, then powers the computer off. When you turn the computer back on, Windows reads that special file so it can pick up right where it left off without having to go through the entire lengthy bootup process.

"Hybrid Sleep" is a combination of sleep mode and hibernate. Like hibernate, it writes the contents of RAM to the hard drive, but instead of powering off right away, it simply goes to sleep instead. When you come back to the computer, it resumes much faster than it would if it was hibernating. If the system does lose power or is turned off (or was configured to hibernate at some point after entering hybrid sleep), then it will resume on next startup as if it were hibernating all along, so no data loss should occur.

Hybrid sleep is great for desktop computers, but on a battery powered notebook, we recommend using regular sleep and hibernate modes for maximum power conservation.

Should a desktop computer be left on or turned off when not being used?

If you ask around, you will no doubt hear solid arguments both ways, but we believe it's more than just a simple "Yes or No" question.

If you are going to be coming back to your computer during the same day, leave it on and let it go into sleep mode after an hour or so.

If you won't be back to the computer until the next day or longer (e.g. 8-12 hours or more), then turn it off or hibernate it.

If you're going to be away for an extended period of time (e.g. a weekend or longer), we recommend shutting down all your computer equipment and disconnecting everything at the wall outlets (power, phone, coax, network, etc.), especially during the stormy seasons.

How to Remove Online Stores from Windows Media Player 10 (WMP10)

The list of stores is downloaded (if it doesn't exist in IE's cache) from the internet, setting a cookie and transmitting what appears to be a unique identifier for your PC and WMP installation in the process.

Settings for stores you've actually browsed in WMP are stored in the registry.

Warning: This solution requires modifications to your system registry and a vital networking configuration file. For experienced users only.

The following solution was tested on Windows XP Media Center MCE 2005 and WMP10:

  1. Close Windows Media Player 10 (WMP10) if it is running
  2. Clear your Internet Explorer cache and cookies
  3. Add the following line to your 'hosts' file:
  4. Using regedit, remove all keys underneath HKCU\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Services\ in the registry. This would be the little 'folder' icons with names like 'WalMart' and 'Napster'.

The 'hosts' file is in (default location): C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\

This solution will render online stores inaccessible in WMP. To revert, repeat 1-3 above, except remove the line from the 'hosts' file (reverting was not tested; we haven't wanted the online stores back).

Note that when you first run WMP11 or WMP12, and it hasn't been customized by your PC manufacturer, you should be able to decline setting up a store (uses Media Guide then, instead) during a custom configuration.

Got Windows Media Player 11 instead?

Here's a couple ways to remove online stores (like URGE) from WMP11 (also for advanced users only) courtesy of Neowin. Also see their guide to re-shacking WMP11.

If you're running Windows XP, you can uninstall WMP11 and reinstall a previous version if you want to (may not be advisable if you have DRM protected media that requires WMP11, though).