Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ways to keep XP fresh

By Dennis O'Reilly

A better way to clear out temp folders, a great all-purpose Windows cleaner, and more free online storage top your suggestions for giving XP a new lease on life.

The question remains: Who benefits when Microsoft's only real competition is with itself?

Reports of XP's demise are greatly exaggerated

Last week's Top Story by Scott Dunn on keeping XP fresh until Vista's successor is released was one of the most popular articles the newsletter has ever published. Clearly, a great number of Windows users see no need to trade in XP for Vista.

Responding to Scott's request, several readers offered their own techniques for teaching the old OS new tricks. David M. Deitz points out that you can empty XP's temp folder for all users by replacing the login name. "On Rule 7, 'Clear the clutter from XP's many cubbyholes,' " he writes, "the batch file could be more generic by using the userprofile variable." This would look as follows:

del /s /q "%userprofile%\Local Settings\Temp\*.*"

Windows substitutes the userprofile variable with the actual location of information for all users of a machine. The quotation marks in the command are required because the command line includes a space.

The freeware cleanup alternative

Several readers echoed Ezra Riner's recommendation for a free cleanup utility.

* "I never use Microsoft's Disk Cleanup tool. I find the free CCleaner [from Piriform] does an excellent job of clearing caches, temp files, and the like. [The program] integrates into your Recycle Bin for ease of use and total control."

Even more free storage available online

Scott recommended several online-storage services that offer as much as 2MB of space for your files for free. Hitman Howler wrote in to tell us about two services that trump those offerings.

* "The [services] you mention are about 1GB to 2GB free. Allow me to show you two sites that offer 5GB totally free: Microsoft's Windows Live SkyDrive and 4Shared."

I don't often think of Microsoft as the kind of company that does its customers a favor, but the only two programs that really compete with Vista are the OS's predecessor and eventual successor. Perhaps that's some consolation for the company as it attempts to fabricate a silk purse out of the sow's ear that is Vista.

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