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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Recover Your Lost IM Passwords

I am writing this post for those people who have lost their passwords and want to recover them. You can recover your password with a nifty tool MessenPass It is a password recovery tool that reveals the passwords of the following instant messenger applications:

  • MSN Messenger
  • Windows Messenger (In Windows XP)
  • Windows Live Messenger (In Windows XP And Vista)
  • Yahoo Messenger (Versions 5.x and 6.x)
  • Google Talk
  • ICQ Lite 4.x/5.x/2003
  • AOL Instant Messenger v4.6 or below, AIM 6.x, and AIM Pro.
  • Trillian
  • Trillian Astra
  • Miranda
  • GAIM/Pidgin
  • MySpace IM
  • PaltalkScene
  • Digsby

MessenPass can only be used to recover the passwords for the current logged-on user on your local computer, and it only works if you chose the remember your password in one of the above programs. You cannot use this utility for grabbing the passwords of other users. So all those GEEKS who were thinking that it is a Cracking tool I am sorry for broking your heart, but Hey! you can use it as don't you?

You can also use MessenPass
in Command Line mode without displaying any user interface.

Hope it would help you out, if you have any problem leave a comment.

Disclaimer: This information is provided by the author as it is from the application source. The author will not be liable for any special, incidental, consequential or indirect damages due to loss of data or any other reason.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tips To Boost Windows Vista Performance

Windows Vista has some great new security and functionality features, as well as cool eye candy, such as Aero transparency, Flip 3D, and other graphical tricks. But all this comes with overhead that may lead to a performance hit on anything less than a top-of-the-line supercomputer.
If you find Vista’s performance lagging, the good news is that you can make it run faster. Here are some of the steps you can take.

#1: Add more RAM

There’s no denying it: Vista is a RAM-hungry operating system. Whereas XP usually runs great on 512MB, you really need a minimum of a gigabyte to run Vista acceptably. Two gigs is even better, and if you turn on all the graphical features and keep a lot of programs open, especially those that use a lot of memory, four gigs isn’t overkill.
Luckily, RAM is still relatively inexpensive — but it’s rumored to be on the rise, so get as much of it as you can, while you can. You won’t regret it.

#2: Use ReadyBoost

Can’t add physical RAM? Maybe you have a laptop that already has the maximum amount of memory installed. In that case, Vista provides you with a way to fool your computer into thinking it has more RAM than it does. You can use a flash memory card or USB key to boost the system memory; Vista can access the flash memory more quickly than data stored on the hard disk.
It’s best to use a high performance flash card or USB drive for ReadyBoost. When you insert it, Windows will ask if you want to use it to speed up system performance, and then you can allocate how much of the card’s/drive’s memory you want to use for that purpose. The rest can be used for storing data. For more info about ReadyBoost, see this Microsoft feature description.

#3: Get a good video card

If you have enough RAM, the most likely hardware culprit on a slow-moving Vista machine is the video card. You need a fairly high end card to run Aero at all, but some computer vendors are selling computers with graphics cards that run it badly. You can find out whether your video card is the bottleneck by checking your Windows Experience Index (WEI) score from the Performance Information and Tools applet in Control Panel.
The onboard video adapters in most systems aren’t powerful enough to run Vista properly. If you want to run Aero and be happy doing it, get a card that’s Vista Premium Certified. As with system RAM, the more video RAM the better, and if you want to play Vista games, be sure your card supports Direct X 10.

#4: Eliminate extra startup programs

You may find that you have a lot of programs loading automatically when you boot Windows, especially if you bought your Vista system from a hardware vendor who added lots of software. Some of these you may want, such as antivirus or anti-spyware programs, but many of them you probably don’t even use or use only occasionally and don’t want to run all the time. Yet they’re all loading into memory and consuming your system resources — and thus slowing down your computer as they run in the background.
Some programs can be prevented from starting automatically by removing them from the Startup folder. Others are configured in the registry to run at startup. Many can be managed through the Windows Defender Software Explorer, which you can access from the Manage Startup Programs link in the left pane of the Performance Information And Tools applet.

#5: Turn off visual enhancements

There are a lot of visual enhancements that make Vista look like Vista, such as the animations when minimizing and maximizing windows, fading or sliding menus, shadows under the menus and mouse pointer, and thumbnails of graphics files instead of dull icons. However, all this bling uses resources, and if performance is your priority, the operating system will run faster without them.
The Performance Options dialog box can be accessed through the Adjust Visual Effects link in the left pane of the Performance Information And Tools applet. On the Visual Effects tab, you can customize these settings individually, turning off the ones you don’t want, to help speed performance. Or you can disable all of the visual effects by clicking the Adjust For Best Performance option.

#6: Adjust indexing options

Vista has a much-improved search function, but it’s dependent on indexing the files and programs on your hard disk so they can be found quickly. When the indexing process is running, however, it can slightly slow down other programs you’re trying to run at the same time.
You can select the locations you want to index; fewer locations will result in less indexing and thus better overall performance. On the other hand, you’ll get better search performance by indexing all locations. You can’t turn the indexing feature off completely, but you can adjust locations indexed by selecting Adjust Indexing Options in the left pane of the Performance Information And Tools applet.

#7: Clean up and defrag the disk

Fragmented files or a lot of unneeded extra files on the disk can slow down performance. Vista provides a disk cleanup tool, which you can access from Start | All Programs | Accessories | System Tools. Specify a drive you want to clean up, and the tool will estimate the amount of space you can recover by running the cleanup process.
Defragmenting the disk rearranges data on it so that all the parts of a file are together; this allows Vista to access those files more quickly. The built-in disk defragmenter is also accessed from the System Tools menu. The defragmentation process itself can slow down your computer, so you may want to schedule it to run at a time when you aren’t using the computer. Third-party defrag utilities are also available.

#8: Adjust your power settings

If you don’t mind using more power, you can boost performance by setting your power settings to the High Performance option. Click the Power Options applet in Control Panel and select that choice. By default, this configuration is set to Balanced, which limits the CPU to 50% power during normal operation.

#9: Turn off the sidebar

The sidebar is a cool feature of Vista, but if you don’t use its applets, you can save some resources by disabling it. First, right-click it and select Properties. Next, deselect the check box to start the sidebar when Windows starts. Then, close the sidebar by right-clicking it and selecting Close.

#10: If all else fails, turn off Aero

This is a last-resort option for most Vista users; after all, Aero is what makes Vista look like Vista. But if you don’t care for all the eye candy and/or have a low powered machine, and you still want the functionality advantages of the new OS (search, security, Explorer enhancements, etc.), you can definitely speed things up by going back to the non-transparent look.
To do so, right-click the desktop and select Personalize, then click Windows Color And Appearance. Now, click Open Classic Appearance Properties For More Color Options. From the drop-down list box on the Appearance tab, select any theme except Aero (Windows Vista Basic, Windows Standard, or Windows Classic).

Friday, August 21, 2009

Use USB Flash Drive As Windows 7 Installation Platform

This technique is very cool for two reasons: First, a flash drive is much more responsive than an optical drive, since it doesn’t rely on physically moving components, so the installation procedure will be faster. Second, it provides an easy way to install Microsoft Windows 7 on a system that doesn’t have a DVD drive, such as a netbook.

Getting started

Of course, in order to employ this technique you’ll need a USB flash drive that is big enough to hold the contents of the Windows 7 DVD. The Windows 7 RC DVD is about 2.5GB, and you can expect that the RTM DVD will be at least that if not more. For my test system I am using a 4GB USB flash drive.
Keep in mind that the procedure we will use will completely reformat the USB flash drive. So you want to make sure that you back up any data that you have on the drive before you begin.
The systems on which you want to install Windows 7 via the USB flash drive have to be able to be configured to boot from a USB drive. Most new systems have the capability to boot from a USB flash drive, and the operation can usually be configured in the BIOS or by simply pressing a certain key during bootup. You’ll need to check your specific hardware in order to be sure.

Using the DiskPart utility

As you may know, the DiskPart utility is a command-line version of the Disk Management snap-in and is designed to allow you to manage disks, partitions, or volumes from within scripts or directly from a command prompt. We can use the DiskPart command in Windows Vista or in Windows 7 to configure a USB flash drive to be a bootable device. (Keep in mind that Windows XP’s DiskPart command is unable to create a bootable USB flash drive.)
To begin, connect your USB flash drive to a computer on which you will be preparing the drive. For my example, I’ll be using a Windows Vista system.
Now, locate the command Prompt shortcut on the Start menu, right-click on it, and select the Run as Administrator command. Then, respond appropriately to the UAC. You can now launch the DiskPart utility by typing DiskPart on the command line. You’ll then see the DISKPART prompt, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

DiskPart has its own command-line environment complete with a special prompt.
Now that you’re in the DiskPart environment, you’ll need to locate the USB flash drive using the List Disk command. As you can see in Figure B, the List Disk command has identified my USB flash drive as Disk 5. I can verify that my USB flash drive is indeed Disk 5 by checking the Size column, which lists the size as 3906MB, which is roughly 4GB.

Figure B

Using the List Disk command displays all the disks in the system.
(If you have difficulty identifying your USB flash drive using the List Disk command, you can try the List Volume command, which will provide the drive letter as well as the label, both of which can help you to identify the drive.)
Once you identify the drive number of your USB flash drive, you will need to set the focus of the DiskPart environment on that disk. (This is an extremely important step–Make sure that you select the correct drive or you could accidentally destroy valuable data!). On my example, the USB flash drive is Disk 5, so I will use the command Select Disk 5, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C

To shift the focus over to the USB flash drive you’ll use the Select Disk command.
Now that your USB flash drive has the focus, you need to remove all the partition or volume formatting information from the disk. To do that, you’ll use the Clean command. The Clean operation should occur rather quickly. When it is done you will see a success message like the one shown in Figure D.

Figure D

In order to start with a clean slate you’ll use the Clean command to remove all partition and volume information from the USB flash drive.
You’ll now use the Create Partition Primary command to create a primary partition on the disk. After you create the partition, you will see a success message and the focus will automatically shift to the new partition. You’ll use the Active command to mark the partition as active, as shown in Figure E. Marking the partition as active will essentially allow the BIOS to recognize that the partition is a valid bootable system partition.

Figure E

Using the Create Partition Primary and the Active commands, you’ll create a bootable partition on the USB flash drive.
With the partition created and active, you’re now ready to quickly format the drive and set up the FAT32 file system using the Format fs=FAT32 quick command. (While you could format the drive as NTFS, the typical way to format a USB flash drive is to use FAT32.) Once the drive is formatted, you’ll use the Assign command, as shown in Figure F, to allow the drive to be assigned a drive letter.

Figure F

To complete the preparation, you’ll format the drive and assign it a drive letter.
The USB flash drive is now ready. At this point, you can use the Exit command to exit the DiskPart environment and then close the Command Prompt window.

Copying the Windows 7 files

Copying the Windows 7 files is easy. Just open Windows Explorer, access the Windows 7 DVD, select all the files and folders, and then drag and drop them on the USB flash drive icon, as shown in Figure G. Keep in mind that the copy operation will take a little while to complete.

Figure G

Once the USB flash drive is ready to go, you can copy all the files and folders from the Windows 7 DVD to the newly prepared bootable drive.

Installing Windows 7 from the USB flash drive

With the contents of the Windows 7 DVD on a bootable USB flash drive, installing the operating system is a snap. Just boot the system from the USB drive and the installation procedure will begin as it normally would, as shown in Figure H. However, the installation procedure will actually run quicker off of a USB flash drive since it doesn’t contain any physically moving components.

Figure H

Once the system boots from the USB flash drive, the Windows 7 installation will begin as normal, but it will actually run faster.

Get The Most Out Of Bing

Using Google to search for everything is so ingrained into our computer-user personas, it’s hard to imagine using anything else. Even so, Bing does offer a lot of features that make it a worthy addition to your Internet browsing toolkit, once you learn more about what the site has to offer. Here are 10 things you should know about using Bing.

1: Use it as a Decision Engine

Microsoft may be competing with Google by spending advertising dollars in the search universe, but it seems that the actual product has a slightly different aim. Microsoft is calling Bing a Decision Engine and positioning it as a new kind of tool, as described in this press release:
Bing is specifically designed to build on the benefits of today’s search engines but begins to move beyond this experience with a new approach to user experience and intuitive tools to help customers make better decisions, focusing initially on four key vertical areas: making a purchase decision, planning a trip, researching a health condition or finding a local business.
The next time you’re using the Web to make a decision about buying something, going somewhere, improving your health, or finding directions, give Bing a shot.

2: Find interesting information

Sites such as StumbleUpon and Digg allow you to randomly find interesting Web sites based on various categories. Similarly, the Informational Hotspots embedded in the amazing images on Bing’s Home page allow you to instantly discover interesting facts simply by hovering over the hotspot (Figure A). If you want to learn more about that topic, click on the hotspot’s popup box to initiate a search.

Figure A

Use the Informational Hotspots embedded in the Home page images to discover interesting facts.

3: Use the preview feature

One of the biggest downsides of investigating the results of a search operation is clicking a link only to discover that the site doesn’t contain the information you are looking for. To help alleviate unnecessary clicking, Bing has a preview feature that gives you an idea of what the site has to offer. Just move your cursor to the right of a search result and hover over the orange bullet. When you do, a preview window appears that contains the first few sentences from the site’s home page (Figure B). The preview boxes also can contain Deep Links, which are essentially links found on the main page that lead to content buried deeper in the site.

Figure B

The preview window provides a description from the Web site, as well as links that lead to content buried deeper in the site.

4: Take advantage of the Explorer pane

After you initiate a search operation, be sure to investigate the Explorer pane on the left side of the window for ways to refine your search. Depending on how broad your search term is, you’ll find the Quick Tabs section at the top of the Explorer pane, which automatically arranges the search results in the most common categories according to that topic — kind of like a table of contents. If you scroll down the page, you’ll also discover that the displayed results are arranged according to the categories in the Quick Tabs section. Also in the Explorer pane you’ll find a Related Searches section, which provides you with alternative, yet related searches. The Explorer pane also contains your Search History, making it easy to quickly return to a previous search.

5: Search for images in new ways

When you search for images, you’ll encounter the Infinite Scroll feature. It basically puts all the image results on one page to reduce the amount of clicking from page to page while looking for the perfect picture. To help you quickly narrow your image search, the Explorer pane provides filters for narrowing your search results by using attributes such as size, layout, color, style, and people (Figure C). (If you are searching for an image with people in it, you can narrow to just faces or head and shoulders.) If you find an image you like, but it’s not quite what you are looking for, hover over the image and select Show Similar Images to refine your search to images that share a similar characteristic.

Figure C

You can narrow your image search results by using attributes such as size, layout, color, and style.

6: Get videos and more

When you access the main Videos page, you’ll see an interface reminiscent of Windows Media Center. Featured TV shows and music videos take center stage and allow you to easily peruse the collections. Search for videos, and you’ll see the results as thumbnails. When you hover over a thumbnail, a preview of the video will begin playing. The Explorer pane provides filters for narrowing your search results by attributes such as length, screen type, resolution, and source. (Bing can pull the video from multiple sources, including MSN, AOL, MTV, ESPN, YouTube, MySpace, Daily Motion, Metacafe, and Hulu.)

7: Save and share your searches

If you find a really great set of search results, you know that you can always access them later in your Search History in the Explorer pane. However, you can take your search history to a new level with the Save & Share feature (Figure D). Just click the See All link in the Search History section. You can then select any search and save it to your hard drive or, if you have a Windows Live account, to your SkyDrive folder. You can even share your search results with friends and family via Windows Live, Facebook, or email.

Figure D

You can save a search to your hard drive or SkyDrive folder, as well as share them via Windows Live, Facebook, or email.

8: Get Instant Answers

Often, when you are searching the Internet, you’re looking for a quick answer to a question right at hand, and you don’t have time to scan thru a bunch of search results just to find it. To help you out, Bing provides a feature called Instant Answers. Using your question, a special keyword along with your search term will bring up an Instant Answer. For example, need the find the area code for Orlando? Just type Area code Orlando FL. Want to know who won a specific Super Bowl? Just type Who Won Super Bowl XXX? Need to convert currency? Just type Convert 100 dollars to pesos. Need more information on the types of Instant Answers available on Bing? Just type Help Instant Answers.

9: Create a Collection

When you’re searching for a location in Bing’s Maps and find what you are looking for, you can add the location to a Collection that’s tied into to your Windows Live account. That way, when you need to find the location again, you can just open your collection and quickly access it. Just right-click on the map, select Add A Pushpin, fill in the Pushpin Properties form (Figure E), and click Save. You can then share your collection via email or your Windows Live blog.

Figure E

Creating Collections makes it easier to track down your favorite locations in the future.

10: Set your preferences

To customize the way that Bing works, pull down the Extras menu in the upper-right and select Preferences. You can then specify the Safe Search level, set your location, choose your language, and choose the number of search results to display on a page.

Bonus: Bing & Google

If you’re a big Google fan and are not sure whether you want to rely solely on Bing, you may want to try the Bing & Google site to get the best of both worlds. Using an interesting approach, Bing & Google passes your search term to both search engines and then uses a frame-like interface to display the results side by side (Figure F).

Figure F

Get a side-by-side comparison on Bing & Google

Increase Vista Performance By Tweaking Startup

As you may know, the system requirements for Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, and Ultimate all list 1GB of RAM as a minimum. However, we all know that Vista runs better with 2GB of RAM or more. If you’re currently running Vista on a system with only 1GB of RAM you know that the system can, at times, be frustratingly slow — especially when you are running extremely memory-intensive applications.

Of course the ultimate solution would be to add another 1GB of RAM to your system, but what if doing so is not feasible at this point in time? Are you stuck with a sluggish system? Fortunately, you can bump up Vista performance by trimming back startup programs that may not be needed. By preventing unnecessary programs from automatically starting, you’ll have more memory to spare for the programs that you do want to run.

In this edition of the Windows Vista Report, I show you several methods that you can use to investigate the programs that automatically start up on your system. I show you how you can eliminate or at least temporarily prevent them from automatically starting up.

Using WMIC

You can investigate startup programs using a specially configured WMIC (Windows Management Instrumentation Command-line) command. WMIC is built into the Windows operating system and allows you to tap into a wide variety of application systems, hardware components, and operating system subsystems.

Using WMIC command, you can easily create a very nice HTML-based report of those programs that automatically start up on your system. You can then print the report to have on hand as you investigate whether you can safely eliminate any of those programs.

To create the report, open a Command Prompt window and type the following command:

wmic startup get /format:hform > startupreport.htm

When you do, the report will be created in a matter of moments. To access the file, just type the following:


You’ll then see a report displayed in Internet Explorer similar to the one shown in Figure A.

Figure A

Using a specially configured WMIC command, you can create a nicely formatted report on startup programs.

As you can see, the report is set up in a table and uses color to make it very easy to read.

Using Reliability and Performance Monitor

You can also investigate startup programs using the Reliability and Performance Monitor. Open the Control Panel, click the System and Maintenance category, and then click the Performance Information and Tools subcategory. Then under the Tasks panel, select the Advanced Tools and click the Generate a System Health Report icon. When you do, you’ll encounter a UAC and will need to respond accordingly.

When the Reliability and Performance Monitor window opens, the utility will begin compiling its report, which will take about 2-3 minutes. Once the report is compiled, expand the Software Configuration section and scroll down to the Startup Programs section, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

The Reliability and Performance Monitor creates a much more concise report on the Startup Programs.

Using System Configuration

You can investigate and disable startup programs using System Configuration. Open the Control Panel, click the System and Maintenance category, click the Administrative Tools subcategory, and then click the System Configuration icon. When you do, you’ll encounter a UAC and will need to respond accordingly.

When the System Configuration dialog box appears, select the Startup tab, as shown in Figure C. As you can see, the Startup tab provides a straightforward listing of the programs that automatically start up on your system.

Figure C

You can view and easily disable startup programs on the Startup tab of the System Configuration utility.

You can disable a startup program by clearing the adjacent text box. As you can see, the Startup tab makes it easy to keep track of those programs that you have disabled by recording the date and time they were disabled. When you click OK, you’ll be prompted to restart the system to activate your changes.

Using Software Explorer

You can also investigate and disable startup programs using Windows Defender's Software Explorer. Click the Start button, type Defender in the Start Search box and press [Enter]. When you see the Windows Defender Home page, click the Tools link on the menu. Once you see the Tools and Settings page you’ll find the Software Explorer link in the second column under the Tools heading. Once you click that link, you’ll see the Software Explorer, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

Software Explorer combines detailed descriptions of each startup program with the ability to disable those programs you deem unnecessary.

As you can see, the Startup Programs category contains a list of programs and provides a detailed description of the currently selected program. To disable any program, you first click on the Show For All Users button and deal appropriately with the UAC that pops up. Once you do, you’ll see that the Remove and Disable buttons are activated. You can then click the Disable button, which will display a confirmation dialog box. To remove a program from memory and reclaim the RAM, you’ll need to restart your system.

When the system restarts, you’ll receive a pop-up message in the notification area that tells you that Vista is currently blocking some startup programs. This warning will display only momentarily, but serves as a reminder that you have disabled some startup programs each time the system is restarted.


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