Making Media Player Always Show Song Title…

I needed a way of making Windows Media Player 11 always show the current song’s title while in toolbar/mini-player mode. This isn’t an option when it should be, so if you want this done you’ll have to go into it’s registry and add an entry. And I quote…

You [fix] this in v11 by creating REG_DWORD value named “DeskbandFlyoutTimeout” under
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\P references . If you set it to 0x0, it’ll never show up. If you set it to 0xFFFFFFFF it’ll always show up. Anything in between it’ll show up for that many milliseconds. The normal setting is I believe 3000ms. If that value is not present, the default is used.”

I found this method here… in one of the anonymous comments. I didn’t reference the original forum thread because it is no longer valid.

Desktop Text Background Color

After installing XP on a new machine, I noticed that the text on it’s desktop had a background color when it should be transparent. If you run into the same problem, try this…

  1. Go to your “Control Panel”
  2. Double click on “System”
  3. Select the “Advanced” tab
  4. Click on “Settings” in the Performance category
  5. Scroll down and make sure the “Use drop shadow for icons labels on desktop” option is checked

That should do it.

Zonealarm Blocking ALL Websites

Yesterday, one of my computers couldn’t access the internet. The weird thing was, I had done nothing to it and all my other computers we still able to access the net. So after half an hour of troubleshooting, I decided to wait things out.

Today, July 9, 2008, I still couldn’t get to any websites with it. So, I did a little more trouble shooting and found that the culprit was my firewall, ZONEALARM. It was blocking all my internet connections.
I search the web for a while using these sets of keywords and found nothing:

zonealarm blocking all websites
zonealarm blocking internet connection
zonealarm block all sites

Until I used these keywords:

zonealarm no internet access

And found a post which helped me temporarily resolve my connection issues, click here.

As explained in the thread: the problem was a mix of a Microsoft Update (KB951748) and Zonealarm. So if you are using Zonealarm Free per my suggestion, temporarily set your Zonealarm internet security to “Medium” until Zonealarm fixes this issue. Oh, and the reason it was only one of my computers experiencing the issue is because it was the only one I set to “Automatically update Microsoft Updates”.

How to check your cPanel based email

Using your web browser,

1) Go to
2) Log in using your username and password.
3) Click on Horde or SquirrelMail

It’s that simple.

*Optional: if you have Outlook, after logging in using your web browser, click on “Configure Mail Client”, then choose “Auto-Configure Microsoft Outlook 2000® for POP3 Access” to automatically have cPanel configure Outlook for you. This involves downloading a registry file and installing it. If you would rather not do this or the auto configuration doesn’t work, then follow the manual configuration instructions.

Final Thoughts: I suggest using Outlook if you have it.

HP BT450 Bluetooth XP Driver

Yesterday, I spent a good 10+ minutes looking for a driver, the HT BT450 Bluetooth Adapter driver. I Google’ed, then I Yahoo!’ed, then I went straight to HP’s support website… always using the keywords: hp bt450 bluetooth xp driver. I either got nowhere or found the Vista version, here. That was until I found this page… and the direct link to the driver, here. I hope this helps someone else, because 10+ minutes of “searching” is way too long especially for a driver! -Thuan

MS MP Visualization Removal

Today I downloaded and installed a couple Microsoft Media Player Visualizations. They didn’t turn out as expected, so I tried to follow their un-install instructions:

To uninstall the Visualizations
1. In Windows Media Player full mode, click Tools, and then click Options.
2. On the Visualizations tab, click the visualization you want to remove.
3. Click Remove, and then click Yes when prompted.

Well in MS MP 11, this is actually:

To uninstall the Visualizations
1. In Windows Media Player full mode, click File, click Tools, and then click Options.
2. On the Plug-ins tab and within the Visualizations category, click the visualization you want to remove.
3. Click Remove, and then click Yes when prompted.

But my “Remove” button was grayed out, so I had to do this:

1. Using my standard Windows Explorer, I navigated to C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player\Visualizations
2. Deleted the visualizations I didn’t want
3. Then went to edit my registry: clicked on “Start“, opened “Run“, typed in “regedit“, clicked on “Ok
4. Then I navigated to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Objects\Effects
5. Then deleted the keys attached to the visualizations previously deleted.

Final Thoughts: It would’ve helped a lot if the Remove button actually worked…

Alexa Ranking

I have been evaluating Noteful.COM’s Alexa Ranking and notice that it changes drastically from time to time.  Why is this happening?

My professional guess… It is because very few people actually install the Alexa Toolbar.  How do I know this?  Remember… I am a system administrator.  I have seen my share of “other people’s” systems.  People generally use the default MS IE without any addon toolbars.  For more savvy people, they use FireFox which doesn’t support Alexa.

My current opinion of Alexa is if Amazon (Alexa parent company) doesn’t do something to get more people caught onto it’s Ranking System soon it will be too late.

Your System Optimized

If you are reading this, it mostly means that your system was worked on by yours truly. For my time and work, I ask that you donate a small contribution to my “tech toys” fund. 🙂

Let me point out that the mentioned fund is and will always be short of proper funding. 🙁 So, please click on the button below to help me out!


System Recovery

The perfect Microsoft setup? Is there such a thing? Yes, if you plan ahead of time for disaster. What am I talking about? System recovery is today’s topic.

The best way to prepare for a failing system is to separate the “system” and “storage”. Why? With the system and storage separated, we can do anything to the system and at the same time preserve our stored data. I have been SEPARATING the two for a while for all friends and family members that have totally missed up their systems. Does the system have to be totally wiped? No, that’s about the only time users will seek help. The process is pretty simple but very effective:

Separation in Bios – here we make to physical partitions out of one hard-drive

  1. Boot from you favorite OS CD, mostly a Microsoft OS
  2. Wipe out the whole hard-drive
  3. Create 2 or more partitions, the first partition should be C: and at least 10GB (more if you have a bigger HD)
  4. Install the OS on that partition

Separation in OS – here we make use of the second partition

  1. After everything is done, login into OS
  2. Open “My Computer”, right click C: drive, rename it to “System”
  3. Right click to rename the other drive to “Storage”… you may have to format it
  4. Exit everything, right click “My Documents” properties
  5. Click on “Move To”
  6. Browse to your “Storage” drive/partition, make a folder, select it

That’s about it. What we did was first made to partitions, on for the operating system and one for storage. Just in case the OS needs to be fixed. With there being a drive just for the OS, if needed it can be wiped without messing with the personal data.

But for all this to work, the user MUST NOT save any important data on the C: drive. Thanks to Microsoft’s design, personal data is sent is mostly sent to “My Documents”, which we move to the “Storage” partition.

We can go further by cloning our “System” partition, but that’s other article.