How to: Enable disabled USB in Windows

How to: Enable disabled USB in Windows

Note: This assumes you have administrator rights on the Windows PC in question. Valid for all version of Windows I was able to test it on. (XP, 2000, Windows 7)

Note #2: This command edits the Registry. Doing so incorrectly can severely mess up your machine. If you do not feel comfortable editing the Registry, contact your IT department or local Computer Shop.

Some Virus and Malware will disable the USB ports in Windows to keep themselves from getting “cleaned” off the machine. Note that this does not affect the USB Keyboard or Mouse in any way.

1. Click Start, and then click Run.
2. In the Open box, type “regedit,” and then click OK.
3. Locate, and then click the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesUsbStor
4. In the right pane, double-click “Start”.
5. In the Value data box, type “3” without quotes
6. Click Hexadecimal if it is not already selected, and then click OK.
6. Quit Registry Editor
7.) Restart Computer

To re-disable, in step 5 use “4” instead.

If you do not have administrative rights to the computer, contact your IT department, or your local Computer Repair Shop.

Home Network Setup

Home Network Setup

Originally Posted 11/20/2000. Ironically a lot of this is still useful.


Home Networking



            In the day and age of Multi-computer families, a frequent argument is, who gets to be online? The answer is simple, Modem Sharing or networking. Modem Sharing can be done one of several ways, using a regular Analog Modem (300 baud to 56.6K,) DSL or ADSL, ISDN and Cable modems. You could also be on a T-1 (or greater!) network connection, but then why are you reading this? J



Which one is right for me?


            Analog Modems


            Pros: Can be used anywhere a telephone is located.

            Cons: Limited to an upper bandwidth of 53K due to telephone regulations in the US. May be slightly higher in other countries. Modems also suffer greatly from phone line quality, crosstalk (where two or more wires touch each other in the wrong place therefore mixing the signal,) and any line noise at all. More then two low-bandwidth applications can easily make this almost worse then nothing. Ties up the phone line if you only have one.



            Pros: Very fast, two 64K channels giving 128K total. Even one channel at 64K is cleaner and noticeably faster then 56k.

            Cons: Still only 128K, costs the same as DSL. In addition, totally against ISDN specs, some companies charge you for the 2nd line to automatically drop when an incoming or outgoing phone call is detected, so your phone is still tied up.




            Pros: Very fast… minimum 265K maximum 7 megabits, makes this very, very fast. Phone lines do not get tied up at all. Can easily support multiple high-bandwidth applications (web browsers, games, large downloads, etc.) Can get a Static IP, which is very useful if you wish to run servers at home.

            Cons: Suffers slightly at the phone companies end due to misconfiguration. Such things as dropped carriers, being able to see other people’s computers (in Network Neighborhood.) and depending on the carrier, a slight slow down in bandwidth due to the phone company over selling it. Remember, at this point the phone company does not have to guarantee a certain amount of bandwidth… you simply have speeds up what ever your limit is.




            Pros: As above, very, very fast

            Cons: Suffers greatly from overselling of bandwidth. If other cable subscribers are all using it at the same time as you, they effect your speed. If you’re the only one in the area then it’s not a big deal. But frequently this slows down to speeds that are little better then a regular modem. Can’t get a Static IP number,  you’ll never be able to run a server, at least not very effectively.


Initial Setup


            First you need to get the network equipment. Your best bet for ease of configuration and portability is to get a couple of  mid-priced range network cards, (Kingston is a good bet) and a decent 100Base hub. (NetGear, Bay Networks, Intel.) You can buy cheaper cards such as SMC but they will effect your speed. If you can afford it, a switch is even better, giving you more bandwidth and speed. You’ll also want several lengths of networking cables too. J

            Second, your modem or router should be hooked up to one of the computers. In the case of some DSL routers, these can be directly hooked up to your hub. Other products have a DSL router and hub built in to the same unit. In my opinion this is unncessecary and could cause problems down the road. Remember to install the 2nd network card if it’s an external unit. (Cable and DSL only.)

            The third step is to setup the modem/router itself to connect to the network. This changes from different brands of Cable modems and routers. If you’re using a regular 56k modem, connect as you usually would.

            The last step is to make sure you know what your IP Address, DHCP Server (if needed,) DNS Server, Gateway and Netmask numbers are. You may or many not have all of these options. These have four numbers or “octets” like or Each of these numbers or octets can be anything between 0 to 255, with some exceptions.

            Your network should look something like this when you’re done:

            ISP -> Modem/Routers -> Computer -> Hub <-> Other computers

            One thing to point out, the computer plugged into the modem/router needs to be running an Operating system capable of doing routing. Windows 95 is not capable of doing this.  Windows 98 sorta does it, while Windows NT, ME, 2000, FreeBSD and Linux are all capable of doing so. Mac OS X being based off of FreeBSD can also do this. Windows 95 is capable of doing so with the help of a third party commercial piece of software. I personally run FreeBSD on  a 486 SX-25, recently upgraded to a Intel P-166 to do this. (BTW, it runs quicker and more efficiently then Windows NT or 2000 on a AMD –450 with 128 megs of RAM!)


Network Setup


            The Network hardware is pretty straightforward. One cable from each computer plugs into the hub or the switch. Each port should have a LED saying the port is active. Usually there is a 2nd LED that shows network traffic on that port of the hub.

            Start with the computer connected to the modem/router. The protocol that you wish to run is TCP/IP, make sure IPX/SPX and Netbui are both disabled unless you need them. Most games these days don’t care what protocol you’re running, but some of the older ones need IPX/SPX (Duke Nukem 3D, Warcraft, early Diablo releases, etc.) Having Netbui disabled helps keep people from hacking into your computer, there are hundreds of security holes in Windows with this protocol.

            After adding TCP/IP in the Network option under Control Panel Add in your network settings as provided by your ISP. Usually your ISP gives you instructions on how to do this, you’ll want to follow them. Test your dial-up and networking. The computer should run perfect.

            Now comes the tricky part, configuring the other computers. The easiest configuration is the dual network card and external modem/router option. The first NIC connected to the modem/router is configured exactly as it should be. The 2nd NIC’s TCP/IP Address should be one that is assigned by you. For ease you should pick something like You can pick any number, but make sure the first three octets are all the same. Do not pick the same first three octets as the IP assigned to your 1st NIC… it will cause problems.

            Your Netmask is always do not ever change this unless you know what you’re doing, your network will become unreachable. The Gateway address is the same as the IP address of the 1st network card. Keep in mind this is only for this card. Certain operating system will not accept this option either, but most Windows systems should.

            In addition some operating systems will need a flag set to make it a gateway or router machine. For instance, in FreeBSD and Mac OS X /etc/rc.conf needs the line “gateway=enable” This also invokes the NAT or “Name Address Translation” program. NT and 2000 should both give you a similar option.

            The 2nd (and all subsequent computers) will have an IP address of 192.168.1.x (where x is any number between 2 and 254, do not use 1 as it’s already used, 0 and 255 should also be reserved, Just in case.) Their Gateway address will be the IP of the 2nd network card in the first computer! DNS or Name Server address will be the same across all computers, unless you setup a nameserver, which for a small network I recommend against doing.

            For computer with a single network card, and a modem, the theory is the same. Use the gateway to be the IP number of the modem/router. Remember that IP numbers are assigned to Network interfaces, not to the computer. A computer can theoretically have an infinite amount of IP addresses, in reality it’s whatever number the operating system is capable of handling, at least 254 though, and more then most people will ever need.

            If you have a large amount of computers, say more then 5 or 6, you may want to look into assigning these IP numbers via DHCP, it’s initial setup is harder, but more robust with large networks, it also makes the client machines virtually Plug and Play.




            Now that your network is running, it’s time to turn your eye towards security. The best way is a firewall. Windows NT, 2000, FreeBSD and Linux can all do this. Linux has more security holes fixed then Windows NT or 2000, and FreeBSD even more. If you’re really serious about security and wish to really learn, OpenBSD is the best of all. FreeBSD offers the best choice of security and ease of setup.

            A Firewall is simply that, it keeps the bad stuff from coming in, and if you wish, keeps stuff from going out. It works by stopping or dropping traffic if it does not adhere to the rules that you define.

            The first step in building effective firewalls is to block everything. Then step by step you want to unblock stuff you want. Port 80 (http requests,) 21 and 22 (FTP) are good starts. Some programs will want other ports open, PCAnywhere needs 186 & 187 open. Remember, it’s easier to block stuff before it’s broken, then to block if after somebody has hacked into your computer.




            These are really some very basic instructions. Unluckily due to the sheer amount of different configurations out there, I can’t give step by step instructions like I’d like too. If you have specific questions though, post to the Hardware and Software forums and somebody can help! J Even then you should have a working network configuration in no time at all!

How To: Give Windows Server more then 4GB of Swap

How To: Give Windows Server more then 4GB of Swap

There are a hundred reasons why people need more then 4gb of swap files on Windows these days. By default this is not always enabled, especially if the computer’s RAM was upgraded to a larger amount. On the same token, if the machine has 8GB of memory, then the swap files need to be increased also.

All instructions are assuming the Service Pack 2 or above is installed. If it’s not, install it.

First step is to upgrade the file system to NTFS, not FAT32 if it is not already done.

At the command line type: convert c: /fs:ntfs /v

Upon the next reboot the computer will automatically change the filesystem. Keep in mind this could take some time depending on how big the hard drive and how full it is. Alternatively if the disc is blank already it’s a easy step to simply reformat and go.

Next is to edit the boot.ini file and add /PAE to it. It may also be a good idea to add /MAXMEM if the physical memory is over 4GB is size.

On the other hand, having swap files larger then 4GB can cause system performance issues. Adding faster drives is a possibility but not always practical. Instead it may be better to create multiple page files.

1.) Create Multiple Empty Directories. These can be on the same drive or even across multiple drives. So it could look something like this:


2.) Open the Registry: Click Start, Click Run, type regedit in the Open box, and then click OK.

3.) Locate the Key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESystemCurrentControlSetControlSessionManagerMemoryManagement

4.) Delete any entries currently there.

5.) Add:
C:SwapFile1pagefile.sys 3000 4000
F:SwapFile2pagefile.sys 3000 4000
G:SwapFile3pagefile.sys 3000 4000

Or if they’re all on the same drive:
C:SwapFile1pagefile.sys 3000 4000
C:SwapFile2pagefile.sys 3000 4000
C:SwapFile3pagefile.sys 3000 4000

6.) Reboot the computer. Upon boot up it should create these files automatically.

Check the virtual memory settings:
7.) On the desktop, right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.

8.) Click the Advanced tab -> Click Performance Options -> Click Change.

At this point there should be a noticeable speed difference, especially on machines that are using large files, such as databases, graphics, IS or similar programs.

Leopard: Print Sharing to Windows

Leopard: Print Sharing to Windows

For those of us who run multiple different machines it can be a pain to share resources such as printers. Most of the how-to guides I’ve seen on the Internet tell how to share a Windows based printer to OS X. I’m going to show how to share an OS X based printer to Windows.

The first step is to make sure your printer works in OS X. If you’re looking for a new printer, try here for Tiger (OS X 10.4) or here for Leopard (OS X 10.5). Any printer on this list is going to be Windows compatible. There are a lot more printers then this that will work, but be sure to check the manufacturers web site for updated OS X drivers. On the Windows box make sure to download and install the Windows drivers too. They might fail, but it’s easier to have the driver preinstalled.

On the OSX Machine go to System Preferences then Sharing. Simply click on Printer Sharing and exit out of the screen.

In Windows go to Start -> Control Panel (or All Programs, then Ctonrol Panel.) Click on Printers and Faxes, then “Add a Printer”. Choose Next then “A Network Printer,” next again and make sure Browse for a Printer is checked. A list of computers with shared resources will come up. Double Click on the one that is your OSX box and hit next yet again. The OS X name may be something like MAC00123456, this is the EtherNet card’s unique Mac address. A list of available printers should come up, highlight the one you want to install and hit next again.

The next step is a bit complicated, when you see a message saying that the printer drive will install automatically and it could be a security risk, go ahead and say Yes to the message. The next message may says “The server for the printer does not have the correct printer driver installed.” Click Ok, as this is why the printer driver was already installed. If the printer driver isn’t on the list, then browse to the printer driver that you installed earlier. Hit OK, perhaps do a test page just to be safe, and enjoy printing!

MSMAPI32.DLL is missing, corrupted or broken

MSMAPI32.DLL is missing, corrupted or broken

Upon Launching Outlook in Windows, this error message comes up: Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. MAPI32.DLL is corrupt or the wrong version.

iTunes for Windows can give a similiar error message by the way. As can the MSN toolbar although both tend to say: The original 49 could not be located in the dynamic link library MAPI32.dll

The first problem seems to be caused by having Office 2007 installed, then retrograding back to Office 2003. Perhaps because of the costs or maybe because of compatibility issues.

Uninstalling Office 2007 does not remove or replace MSMAPI32.ddl. Instead you need to go to c:Program
FilesCommon FilesSystemMSMAPI1033MSMAPI32.DLL and delete or rename the file. Once that is done, launch Outlook . Reconfigure your mail settings and everything should be good to go.

The file may also be located in c:winntsystem32. There may be a backed up version of it that you can restore.

Do not under any circumstances download this file from the Internet, restore it from another machine or your original Windows Disks. This is most likely a virus.