Disable Notification Area Balloon Tips in Windows XP

I’m rebuilding my new Sony Vaio Z with Windows XP, and as usual there are a load of tweaks I need to make to the OS before I feel “at home” again.  Since the fingerprint reader software on the new build has an annoying habit of popping up info balloons on every boot – regardless of how often I click them – I felt the need to Disable Notification Area Balloon Tips in Windows XP.

Much better.

And sorry Vista, I tried, I really did.  I liked how your hot-swap driver support meant I could switch between stamina and speed modes without a reboot, but I hated your poor network performance against my NAS (even with SP1).  Maybe I’ll try again on the next new laptop.  Oh, and Sony?  Thank you for my XP downgrade CD and drivers.  Lovely.

Nooo! Infrant ReadyNAS NV Death

Noooo! One of my ReadyNAS devices died today. Based on the “hot component” smell and the fact that nothing lights up I’m hoping that it’s just the PSU/mainboard that fried, and that all my disks with their lovely XRAIDed data are intact.

I’ve sent a trouble ticket to support, but since they’re now owned by Netgear it’s anyone’s guess as to what’ll happen. Ideally I’ll get an empty chassis to put my (hopefully intact) drives in, and I can send my dead chassis back. Fingers crossed.

Update (6th July): I meant to blog this last week but: Kudos to Infrant/Netgear tech support.  I was contacted within a day by a tech support guy who took my diagnosis of dead PSU as correct and on receiving a PDF of my original invoice immediately authorised the shipment of a new PSU from the states.  This arrived a few days later.  Interestingly it’s a very different design to the original PSU, and includes a plastic riser to keep the cables out of the way of the air-flow.  It took a few minutes to install and my drives are all up and running again.   Great service!

Speed Up IE’s HTTP requests

This is one of those handy tips that I first found out about around IE 4.something, and keep forgetting to write down anywhere – so every time I want to do it again on a new machine I need to Google for it! So here it is in permanent blog form.

To comply with current Internet standards, Internet Explorer limits the number of simultaneous downloads to two downloads, plus one queued download. This configuration is a function of the browser. However, as connection speeds increase, and the number of total connections that are allowed to Internet servers increase, the two-connection limit may be restrictive.

Please Note: Changing the maximum number of connections beyond two is a violation of Internet standards; use at your own risk!

To increase the number of simultaneous connections that are allowed, follow these steps:

1. Start the Registry Editor
2. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Internet Settings
3. Select New > DWORD Value from the Edit menu
4. Name the new value MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server
5. Right-click the MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server value and choose Modify
6. Under Base, click the radio button next to Decimal
7. In the Value Data: box enter the number of simultaneous connections you want to set (for example 10 is a good value), and
8. click OK
9. Repeat steps 3 – 7 using the new value MaxConnectionsPerServer
10. Exit the registry editor

Voila. Assuming you have a reasonably speedy connection, pages should load a bit quicker!

Richard has blogged about doing something similar for Firefox.