Mailbag – October 3rd 2010

How to delete windows.old folder?

People have been asking me, how can I delete the Windows.old folder in my C: drive after upgrading Windows?

A lot of people try and just right click and delete but this will only present you with aces denied issues. Well the best way to delete this folder is to use Disk Clean-up Tool by doing the following:

1. Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Disc Cleanup

2. When the dialog box comes up, select the drive that has the .old files on it and click OK

3. The system then scans for the files to be cleaned up and another dialog box opens with the selection.  Click on the button labelled Clean up system files at the bottom of that dialog box.

4. Another dialog box will come up, select the drive again that has the .old files on it.  The system will perform another scan for the system files that need to be cleaned up.

5. After scanning, another dialog box opens up and there you will find a list of check boxes.  Scroll through and check on the box labelled older versions of Windows and click OK.

Disk Cleanup

It will take about 10 – 20 minutes dependent on how big the folder is, but essentially that’s all you have to do.

How to clear Vista’s offline folders cache

If you are using Vista’s offline folders feature and you suspect that the offline cache has gone corrupt, or if you simply want to reset the cache, follow these steps.

  1. Open up registry editor (WARNING: Only for Advanced Users)
  2. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Csc
  3. Add a new key (folder) called Parameters
  4. Under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Csc\Parameters, add a new DWORD called FormatDatabase and set its value to 1

If you want to completely disable the offline folders functionality, you must also stop and disable the offline folders service:

net stop "Offline Files"
WMIC SERVICE WHERE Caption="Offline Files" CALL ChangeStartMode "Disabled"

Windows Vista without Activation for Free for 120 Days

Official Way to Install and Use Windows Vista without Activation for Free for 120 Days  

By default, Windows Vista can be installed, used and run without any license, product key or the need of activation for 30 days grace period, for purpose of trial or evaluation. Although Microsoftinitially stressed that users should purchase a license with valid product key before the trial period expires, or else Windows Vista will lock into Reduced Functionality Mode. However, a “rearm” method has long since been discovered to be able to extend, or reset the remaining time for activation to another fresh 30 days, for up to 3 times.

Now Microsoft has confirmed that Windows Vista can be used and run for 120 days or 4 months (3 rearms), and extending the activation grace period is not a violation of the Vista End User License Agreement (EULA). All versions of Vista include Windows Vista Ultimate allow a 30-day free period without activation, except the corporate-oriented Vista Enterprise, which supports only a three-day trial.

To extend, reset or restart the initial OOB grace period of Windows Vista to another 30 days, use the following steps: 

  1. Click on Vista Start button and key in Cmd in Start Search box.
  2. Press on Ctrl-Shift-Enter to open Command Prompt with administrative credentials (equivalent to “Run as Administrator”).
  3. In the Command Prompt, type the following command and press Enter when done: slmgr -rearm or you can use sysprep /generalize
  4. Reboot the computer.
  5. Rearm again when the remaining activation grace period timer counts down to 0 days.

Rearm option resets the computer’s activation timer and reinitializes some activation parameters.

Windows Vista Slow Network Problems

Maybe you have already encountered the strange behaviour that it takes much longer to copy large files in Windows Vista than in Windows XP. You thought that the change from XP to Vista would at least be not a disadvantage speed wise but Vista somehow seems to have a problem copying large files. This happens especially with mapped drives but it could also be that you witness network disconnects.

The problem is caused by a new feature called Auto Tuning which is by default enabled in Microsoft Windows Vista. What Auto Tuning does is that it reacts on changes in the network by tuning the receive windows size. The solution would be of course to disable Auto Tuning in Vista. Some users reported that disabling Auto Tuning had a positive effect on their ability to connect to services such as Windows Live Messenger which did not work before.

To disable Auto Tuning and speed up the copy process and avoid timeouts and disconnects do the following:

Open a command prompt and type the following: netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled

once you receive the ok, restart to activate and you should notice a difference.

if for any strange reason you would like to re-activate it use the code below.

To turn it on again: netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=normal