XP Command Prompt Shortcut

I know I am a throwback, but even in these days of graphical everything, I still prefer to use the command line for some things such as utilities and older software. (Yes you can get older software to work in Win 9x and XP, with some fiddling around.)

To that end, I find it useful to have a shortcut readily available. The easy way to do this in XP is as follows:

Click Start, All Programs, Accessories, Right Click on Command Prompt (at least that is where I have usually found it) click Send To and then Desktop (Create Shortcut).

Now you have a shortcut to the command prompt easily available.

For even easier access, find the shortcut you created on the desktop and drag and drop to the Quick Launch Toolbar, provided of course that you use the toolbar.

Disabling the New Program Highlighting in XP

I don’t know about you, but I find this “feature” in XP to be quite annoying.

I know I installed the new program, so why do I have to be told? This might be useful and less annoying if it only showed something I did not specifically install myself like malware, but I know of no way to set it up for that, if someone does let me know.

If you are like me and find this annoying follow the instructions below to turn it off:

  • Right-click the Start button and click “Properties” to open the “Taskbar and Start menu Properties” window.
  • Click the “Customize” button to open the “Customize Start Menu” window and then click the “Advanced” tab.
  • Remove the check in the check-box labelled “Highlight newly installed programs”.
  • Click “OK” to save the changes and exit the “Customize Start Menu” window.
  • Click “OK” again to exit the “Taskbar and Start menu Properties” window.

Of course this is reversible, should you ever want to return to having the balloon pop up and tell you just installed a program that you just installed and highlight it in the start menu.

Windows XP File and Folder Compression

Running out of room on your hard disk? Need some extra space to install a new program? Want to keep some data files available, but worried about wasted space?

No problem, both Windows XP Professional and Home Edition include a zip compression utility that you can use to compress files and folders on your hard disk.

There is no need for a separate utility like WinZip, unless you just like them or need more compression control.


  • Right click the file or folder to be compressed.
  • Point to Send To.
  • Then click Compressed (zipped) Folder.

This will make a compressed folder, identified by a zipper icon, which displays the same name as the file you compressed with a zip extension (The zip extension is visible, if you don’t hide extensions for known file types in your folder options view).


  • Right click the desktop.
  • Point to New.
  • Click Compressed (zipped) Folder.
  • Open the new compressed folder and drag files inside that you would like compressed.

Now that is easy isn’t it?

If you are going to be emailing a zip file, be aware that not all email clients will let you attach a file with a zip extension.

One way around that is to rename the file with an extension like bbb or something similar that you can remember, and when you download it at the other end, rename it back to have the zip extension, before trying to work with it.

Don’t forget to rename your file back with the zip extension after you have attached to your email!