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If you've been looking for a way to remove Windows Messenger or other Windows components that don't show in the Add or Remove Programs applet, here's the secret. Windows keeps a list of components in a file called Sysoc.inf in C:\Windows\ Inf. Some of the entries under the [Components] heading, among them the line for Messenger, include the word hide. To make them visible to the Add or Remove Programs applet so that you can remove them, you have to delete the instruction to hide them.

    1. Make sure that Windows Explorer is set to display hidden files

      a. In Windows Explorer, click on Tools then Folder Options

      b. Click on the View Tab, and set the option to Show hidden files and folders

      c. Remove the check from the check box labeled Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)

      d. Click the OK Button

    2. Navigate to the C:\Windows\Inf folder

    3. Open Sysoc.inf in Notepad and find the line msmsgs=msgrocm.dll,OcEntry,msmsgs.inf,hide,7

    4. Delete the word hide, being careful to leave the commas

    5. Save and close the file

    6. Click on Start Button\Control Panel\Add or Remove Programs

    7. After applet (window) opens click on Add/Remove Windows Components

    8. Windows Messenger should now appear in the list

    9. Use Windows Components Wizard to remove Windows Messenger

    10. You can make other hidden components appear in the applet by following the same steps


If you reinstall Windows XP, you normally have to reactivate it, but there's a way around reactivation. Windows XP maintains the activation information in the file Wpa.dbl, which you'll find in the Windows\System32 folder. After you activate, and any time you add hardware to your system, back up the file to another disk. If you need to reinstall Windows XP for any reason, go through the installation routine, then using Windows Explorer copy the latest version of Wpa.dbl to the Windows\System32 folder


The Windows XP search feature includes an annoying animated dog. More annoying, it adds a step to the previous Windows search process, asking what you want to search for before you can enter search terms. You can remove either or both of these annoyances.

    1. Click Start\Search to open a Windows Explorer window with the Search Companion bar

    2. To get rid of the dog:

      a. Click Change Preferences in the options at the left side of the window

      b. Click Without an animated screen character

    3. To remove that extra step:

      a. Click Change Preferences

      b. Click Change files and folders search behavior

      c. Select the Advanced option

      d. Click the OK Button