How to Close Pidgin Chat Windows with the Escape Key

Pidgin (formerly known as Gaim) is a free, multi-protocol instant messaging application for Windows, Mac, and Linux.  Pidgin is highly customizable and supports popular instant messaging networks like Google Talk, MSN/Windows Live Messenger, AIM, Yahoo! Chat, and can connect to services like Facebook Chat through plugins (or directly through the XMPP messaging protocol).

In recent versions of Pidgin, the developers changed the default “close chat window” hotkey from the Escape key to the combination CTRL + W.  While I understand their reasons for doing this (many desktop applications have standardized CTRL + W as the ubiquitous “Close Window” hotkey), I simply can’t break the habit of closing IM windows with Escape.

Here’s how to change Pidgin’s configuration so Escape closes the IM window instead of CTRL + W.

Update: Reader Miguel submitted a much easier way to use the Escape key to close IM windows. Thanks!

Step 1: In Pidgin, go to Tools –> Preferences.

Step 2: In the Interface tab, enable the checkbox for “Close conversations with the escape key”.

That’s it! This change will make Pidgin recognize Escape as the hotkey to close IM windows. Commence celebration.

The other (more difficult) way to use the Escape key to close IM window

Step 1: Close Pidgin.

Step 2: Windows XP: Navigate to the following directory on your computer (where username is the user you’re logged in as):

C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\.purple\

Windows Vista or Windows 7: Navigate to the following directory on your computer (where username is the user you’re logged in as):

C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\.purple\

Linux/UNIX: Navigate to the following directory:

~/.purple/

Step 3: Locate the file called accels and open it with Notepad (or a similar text editor, I prefer Notepad++).

image

Step 4: Find the line that contains the following code:

; (gtk_accel_path “

/Conversation/Close” “w”)

image

Delete the semicolon (;) and change the line to the following code:

(gtk_accel_path “

/Conversation/Close” “Escape”)

image


How to Enable Windows 7′s “Aero Snap” Feature in Earlier Versions of Windows

One of my favorite features in Windows 7 is Aero Snap, which automatically resizes and snaps applications to the sides of your screen when you drag them near.  If you’ve got several windows open on one screen, this is a great way to manage your space (and I’ve learned it’s even more useful when working on large screens).

My favorite way to use Aero Snap is with the keyboard – simply press the Windows Key + the left or right arrow on your keyboard and the current application will snap to the side of your screen.

Check out the video below to see how it works:

When I use earlier versions of Windows like Windows XP and Vista, I often find myself missing this feature.  But good news: it can easily be added with AeroSnap BETA.

AeroSnap BETA

AeroSnap BETA is a free download for Windows XP and Vista, and instantly gives you the same Aero Snap functionality seen in Windows 7.  After downloading and installing AeroSnap BETA, a small icon will be present in your system tray.  Right clicking this icon gives you more options.

In the General tab, you can set AeroSnap BETA to start with your system so snapping is always available.  You can also enable hotkeys, which is the best way to use Aero Snap in my opinion.  Pressing WIN + Left Arrow and WIN + Right Arrow will shift the current window to different sections of the screen, going from Right Snapped to Center to Left Snapped.

In the Snapping tab, you can adjust the different types of window snapping and also the width of the regions that the snap is sensitive to.

Adding Aero Snap to your older version of Windows is a great way to add some new functionality to your aging system without buying an entirely new operating system.

Enjoy this tip?  Make sure to check out our other articles about Windows!

Windows XP Tip: How to Rearrange Applications in the Windows Taskbar

If you have several applications open simultaneously in Windows XP, you may find yourself wishing you could rearrange their order like tabs in your browser.  This feature isn’t included in Windows XP by default, but you can easily add it with Taskbar Shuffle.

Taskbar Shuffle is a tiny application that quietly sits in your system tray.  After installation, you can move any item in your taskbar to a different location by clicking it and dragging it to a new location. 

You can even rearrange items in your system tray by dragging and dropping them.

On top of adding useful functionality to your system, Taskbar Shuffle allows you to customize application grouping in the taskbar (useful for when you have multiple instances of the same application open).   This program also adds the option to close applications in the taskbar by middle-clicking them, which is the same way your browser handles closing tabs.

Taskbar Shuffle is a free download for all versions of Windows (except Windows 7) and is available for both 32 and 64-bit.

[Download Taskbar Shuffle]

Time to Upgrade: Microsoft Ending Support of Windows XP SP2 July 13th

Windows XP, our beloved operating system of the last decade and a savior from previous operating systems such as Windows 2000 and ME, will no longer be supported by Microsoft on July 13th, 2010.  This doesn’t mean that your computer will suddenly stop working that day or you’ll immediately be swarmed by viruses, but it does mean Microsoft will no longer be testing SP2 for vulnerabilities or releasing patches or updates.

What does this mean, exactly?  Well, if a major security flaw is discovered in Windows XP SP2 and a virus is released to exploit it, you’ll no longer have a nagging critical update in your task bar telling you to update your OS.

If you’re already using Windows Vista or Windows 7, you don’t have to worry.  But if you’re part of the surprisingly high 62% of computer users still using Windows XP, you should first check to see what Service Pack (SP) you have installed.  To do this, go to your Start menu, right click My Computer, and select Properties.  Your service pack will be listed under your operating system.

If you’re using SP3, give yourself a high five and continue frolicking on the internet, there’s nothing you need to do.  If you’re running SP2, however, it’s time to consider updating.  Soon.

Upgrading to Windows XP SP3 is easy and free.  Once you’ve installed SP3 you won’t notice many changes from a usability standpoint, but now you’ll have a more secure version of Windows XP with over 1,000 bug fixes.  To install Windows XP SP3, check out Microsoft’s SP3 upgrade page or visit Windows Update.

Obviously, upgrading to SP3 isn’t the best option because that too will expire eventually.  If your computer is capable of running Windows 7, I’d recommend upgrading to that instead and saving yourself some trouble in the long run.

What To Do if McAfee Virus Scan Update 5958 Crashes Your Windows XP Computer (or destroys svchost.exe)

You’ve probably heard about it already – a recent update to McAfee Virus Scan update caused the program to unintentionally damage Windows system files.  Symptoms include (but are not limited to):

  • Loss of internet connection
  • Can’t copy and paste
  • Can’t drag and drop files
  • Missing task bar/Start menu

This problem can render your computer completely useless until you fix the damage that was done by McAfee.  We’ve put a preliminary guide together – please let us know if it works in the comments (or if you have additional symptoms or solutions).

You may see an error similar to the one shown below if you are experiencing this problem:

Which reads:

“Windows is must now restart because the DCOM Server Process Launcher service terminated unexpectedly.”

Before you follow this guide, please note the following.

The fix for the McAfee Update 5958 problem is fairly straightforward, but you should be comfortable with working in Safe Mode and using a command prompt before proceeding.

If you do not feel comfortable with the material presented in this guide, please consult an authorized repair technician.

Method 1 (New 04/22/10)

A tool was released today from McAfee which should be able to perform the procedure explained in Method 2 automatically.  Please note that we have yet to extensively test this method, so post please post your experience in the comments if you use it.

Step 1: From a working computer, download the McAfee Remediation Tool and save it to a USB flash drive or burn it to a CD.

Step 2: Boot the affected computer into Safe Mode by tapping the F8 key as it starts up.  You will eventually see a black screen with several options, select Safe Mode as shown below.  You may also be prompted to select an operating system (even if only one is present).

Step 3: Run the McAfee Remediation Tool on the affected computer.  If you are unable to access My Computer because of a missing task bar or Start menu, press Windows + R to bring up a Run dialog, type the following command, and press enter.

EXPLORER.EXE /e,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}

Step 4: Restart your computer, it should now operate properly.

Method 2

Step 1: You need to download the EXTRA.DAT fix that McAfee released after the problem occurred.  Since you probably can’t download this from your own computer, you will need to find a working computer and put it on a USB flash drive or burn it to a CD.

You may also need a copy of svchost.exe.  A backup version of this file may already exist on your computer, but if it doesn’t you can obtain it from a Windows XP installation disc.  More on this will be covered in Step 3.

Step 2: Boot the affected computer into Safe Mode by tapping the F8 key as it starts up.  You will eventually see a black screen with several options, select Safe Mode as shown below.  You may also be prompted to select an operating system (even if only one is present).

Windows will notify you about Safe Mode.  Click Yes to proceed.

Step 3:  Press and hold the Windows key and tap the R key.  This will bring up a Run prompt.  Type C:/Windows/ServicePackFiles in the prompt and press enter.

If this folder does not exist, proceed to Step 3.5.

If the ServicePackFiles folder exists, press Windows + R again and type cmd.  Press enter and you will see a command prompt.  Type the following commands in succession, pressing Enter after every line (please note that the direction of the slashes matters here!):

copy “C:\Windows\ServicePackFiles\i386\svchost.exe” “C:\Windows\System32” /Y

copy “C:\Windows\ServicePackFiles\i386\svchost.exe” “C:\Windows\System32\dllcache” /Y

Step 3.5: (Only follow this step if the ServicePackFiles folder does not exist):  You need to obtain a clean copy of the svchost.exe file.  The best way to do this is with a Windows XP installation disc.

Put the disc in your optical drive, press Windows + R, and type CMD.  You need to navigate to the the CD by typing in the drive letter followed by a colon.  In my example, the optical drive is called D.  I would type D: in the command prompt and press enter.

You then need to type the following commands in succession, pressing Enter after every line.

cd i386

expand svchost.ex_ C:\Windows\System32

Step 4: Finally, you need to copy the EXTRA.DAT file you downloaded in Step 1 to the computer.  Press Windows + R and type cmd.  Then navigate to your flash drive by typing the drive letter followed by a colon, then press enter.

For example, my flash drive is called G, so I typed G: and pressed enter.  You can type dir and press enter to view the contents of the directory to verify EXTRA.DAT exists.

To copy the file, type the following command and press enter:

copy EXTRA.DAT “C:\Program Files\Common Files\McAfee\Engine”

Step 5: Restart your computer.  Now that you’ve replaced svchost.exe and copied EXTRA.DAT, your computer should now start properly and operate normally.  If you continue to have problems, or have information that could be beneficial to include in this guide, please post in the comments below.

So What Exactly Happened?

What went wrong? The shortest explanation is that McAfee inadvertently flagged an important Windows system file, svchost.exe, as a virus and attempted to remove it.  This is what caused Windows to reboot and all the other problems.  In some cases svchost.exe was not damaged, but in all instances I saw today it needed to be replaced.

What does this guide do? This guide replaces your damaged svchost.exe file with a good version, and also applies an update to McAfee so it will no longer see svchost.exe as a virus.

That sounds simple, what’s with all the command line stuff? After svchost.exe was damaged, it unfortunately removed simple-but-critical features in Windows like drag and drop or copy and paste.  Most of the commands performed in this guide simply copy files, but since you can’t do it through the graphical operating system anymore it becomes a little more complicated.

Will this happen again? Probably not.  This event was very unlikely (and will be better guarded against in the future, I would imagine) – so it still remains critical that you keep your antivirus software and operating systems up to date.  Unfortunate incidences like this can happen, but most of the time updates do more good than harm.

I had something different happen! Please let us know in the comments below!  It will help us make this guide better.

Fix: What To Do if Removing a Virus Blocks Executable (.EXE) Files From Opening

I have recently observed that after removing certain fake anti-spyware viruses (such as “Windows Security Center” or “Anti Virus 2010″), all executable (.exe) files will no longer open.  No matter what file you try to open – iTunes, Firefox, or even Malwarebytes – they will not open because they are all .exe files.

To fix this problem, I came across a process that fixes the registry keys that have been changed due to this virus.

The Problem

When attempting to open any executable file, you see the image shown below.  It is a notification asking you to choose what program you would like to open the file with, which means Windows does not understand how to open .exe files.

The Solution

Disclaimer: Before you start this guide, please keep in mind that this is an advanced procedure and you could potentially end up doing more harm than good by following this guide.  If you are not comfortable with the procedures mentioned in this guide, please call your computer’s manufacturer for support or bring it to an authorized PC technician.  We can take no responsibility for damage done to your system by following this guide.

Step 1: Open the Run dialog box by going to Start -> Run or pressing WIN + R.  Then open the command prompt by typing “command” (instead of typing “cmd” because “cmd” links to an .exe file which will not open).  “Command” links to a .com file which is not affected by the virus.

Step 2: Once you have opened the Command Prompt, type “regedit” and hit enter.

If you can’t open regedit (which is certainly possible because it is an executable file itself), try typing the following commands, one at a time, and press enter after each one.

cd \

cd \windows

copy regedit.exe regedit.com

start regedit.com

This makes a copy of regedit in the form of a .com file so it can be opened.

Step 3: As a precaution you should back up your registry.  To do this, go to File->Export to save a backup file.  You should save this backup to a USB flash drive or other type of portable media just in case you can’t access your hard drive.

Leave the Registry Editor open after you have made a backup because you may need it in the next step.

Step 4: You will now need to run a special registry file that will re-establish the file associations for executable files.  This file is specially tailored for your operating system, so make sure you use the correct file.  You will need to right click these files and select Save As to download them to your computer.

After downloading the correct file for your operating system, you need to try opening it to add those values to the registry.

a) You can first try double clicking the file (or right clicking it and selecting Merge).  If this works you can skip to Step 5.

b) If a) didn’t work, go back to the Registry Editor which you opened in Step 2 and go to File -> Import.  Navigate to the .reg file you downloaded and select it.

c) If neither of those worked, check out the final section of this guide for more help.  Windows XP users can check out this guide which offers the registry fix in a .COM file format.

Step 5: If you were able to successfully install the registry fix for your operating system, you should be good to go now.  Restart your computer and try opening any executable files to see if it worked.

If you encounter problems after changing your registry, you can restore the backup you made in Step 3.

If you still have problems

I’ve dealt with a few computers that have been afflicted with this problem, and I have discovered that there is a tremendous amount of variability that can occur.  If this guide wasn’t able to help you, I recommend checking out the following guides which offer more solutions:

If you’re still stuck after that, post in the comments below and provide as much information as possible.

Remember, if in doubt: call your computer’s manufacturer for support or contact an authorized PC technician.  We can take no responsibility for damage done to your system by following this guide.

Fix: Windows XP Gets Blue Screen Error after Windows Update (KB977165)

A recent Windows Update (KB977165) for Windows XP caused many computers to experience Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) errors when the computer restarted after the update.  The cause of the blue screen wasn’t just the update, but rather a rootkit (a form of malware) which had been present on the users’ machines prior to the update.

The specific error is:

PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA

Technical Information:

STOP: 0x00000050 (0x80097004, 0x00000001, 0x80515103, 0x00000000).

This guide will help you get your computer back into a bootable state and get rid of the rootkit. To do this, you will need a Windows XP installation disc in order to access the repair options.

Step 1: Insert the Windows XP disc and restart your computer.  When the computer initially starts, you should see “Press any key to boot from CD” message which you must do.  If you do not see this message, you may need to configure your computer to boot from the CD drive.

When the content on the CD has finished loading, you should be presented with a screen that looks like this:

Step 2: Press the ‘R’ key to access the recovery console. You should now be presented with what looks like a DOS prompt.

You may see multiple options when asked which installation you would like to log into. The one you want should look something like the one in the picture, “C:\WINDOWS”. Enter the password for the Administrator account when prompted. If you haven’t set up a password for the Administrator account, just press Enter.

Step 3: Enter the following command (since Windows isn’t case sensitive, you don’t need to worry about any capital letters):

chdir $ntuninstallkb977165$\spuninst

and press Enter.

Now enter the command:

batch spuninst.txt

and press Enter

Once that procedure has finished, type ‘exit‘ and press Enter to restart your computer, and don’t forget to remove the CD.  When your computer restarts it should be able to boot into Windows. We now need to perform a few final steps to remove the rootkit.

Removing the Rootkit

First we need to download and install Microsoft Security Essentials. Once it is installed, it should update itself automatically with the latest virus definitions. From the ‘Home’ tab, set the radio button to ‘Quick’ and press ‘Scan now’.

The scan might take anywhere from 10-20 minutes (or more if you’re on a particularly slow computer). Once it has finished scanning, it will present you with the option to clean up any items it found. Go ahead and do this, after which you may be asked to restart your computer.

It should now be safe to run Windows Update again, since Microsoft Security Essentials takes care of the virus that caused the problem.

Since there’s probably other malware residing on your system, it would be a good idea to install and run Malwarebytes as well, just in case. Also, make sure you’re running an antivirus program and that it’s up to date.

Please let us know how it works in the comments, or if you have any questions!

How to Install Flash Player Updates on Citrix/XP/Terminal Servers

Anybody who has had to deal with Citrix servers knows that it’s a pain getting anything installed without affecting end-users.  Adobe Flash Player is no different – it must be installed a specific way to make it work properly without getting the dreaded “Application was installed previously with administrative permissions, please install again” error.

Procedure

Step 1: Download the latest .msi version of Flash Player from Adobe’s download location.

Step 2: Open your Start Menu, click Control Panel –> Add or Remove Programs.

Step 3: Click ‘Add New Programs‘ on the left side of the window.

Step 4: Click the ‘CD or Floppy‘ button, which will open a prompt to select your installer.  Locate and select the .msi file you downloaded in Step 1 and click ‘Next’.

flash-citrix-dialogStep 5: You will now see the standard Adobe Flash Player installer, which can be installed just like a normal program.  And you’re done!

Author’s note: This guide also works with Windows XP for administrators looking to push patches to client workstations.

How to Rebroadcast a Weak Wifi Signal

routerThere may be a time when you have access to a wireless network in one part of your house, but just can’t get it anywhere else.  This isn’t a big deal if you own the network (you can buy another access point or wireless repeater), but if you don’t own the network, this guide will show you how to extend your free coverage.

What’s the purpose of this, you might ask?  In my case, I can connect to several wireless networks in my bedroom where my PC is located.  Unfortunately, I can’t access those networks in my living room where my Xbox 360 is located.  The technique presented in this guide allowed me to use my PC to pick up a wireless signal, share it with my PC’s Ethernet connection, and then rebroadcast it with a router.

What You’ll Need:

  • A working wireless connection
  • A computer running Windows XP, Vista, or 7 with an unused Ethernet port
  • A configured wireless router set to DHCP mode (I’ll be using a WRT54GL with Tomato firmware, but anything will work).  Every router is different, so make sure you configure your router’s settings (SSID, security, etc) before you begin this guide.
  • An Ethernet cable

Windows XP

  1. Connect your wireless router to your PC’s unused Ethernet port with an Ethernet cable.  Make sure to connect the cable to the source or internet port on your router, not one of the numbered outputs.
    router_back
  2. Power the wireless router.
  3. In Windows, right click the Network icon in the system tray and select Open Network Connections.
    rebroadcast_wifi_networkconnXP
  4. Right click your wireless connection and select Properties.
  5. Click the Advanced tab and select “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection”.  This will allow your computer’s Ethernet port to access your wireless internet connection.  Click OK.
    rebroadcast_wifi_enablesharingXP

    1. If you don’t see an option for sharing your connection, verify that you have a second connection enabled on your computer.
  6. You now need to give your Ethernet connection a static IP address.  In the Network Connections window again, right click your Local Area Connection and select Properties.
  7. Select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and click the Properties button.
    rebroadcast_wifi_tcpipXP
  8. Select Use the following IP address: and provide an address.  I arbitrarily used 192.168.137.1.  Set ‘Subnet Mask:’ to 255.255.255.0.  Leave the DNS settings blank and click OK.
    rebroadcast_wifi_ipsettings
  9. Your rebroadcasted wireless network will now be up and running!

Windows Vista

  1. Connect your wireless router to your PC’s unused Ethernet port with an Ethernet cable.  Make sure to connect the cable to the source or internet port on your router, not one of the numbered outputs.
    router_back
  2. Power the wireless router.
  3. In Windows, right click the Network icon in the system tray and select Network and Sharing Center.
    network_rebroadcast_sharingcenterVista
  4. Click Manage network connections on the left side of the window.
    network_rebroadcast_managenetworksVista
  5. Right click your wireless connection and select Properties.
  6. Click the Sharing tab and select “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection”.  This will allow your computer’s Ethernet port to access your wireless internet connection.  Click OK.
    network_rebroadcast_allowsharingVista

    1. If you don’t see an option for sharing your connection, verify that you have a second connection enabled on your computer.
  7. You now need to give your Ethernet connection a static IP address.  In the Network Connections window again, right click your Local Area Connection and select Properties.
  8. Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click the Properties button.
    network_rebroadcast_wifi_staticipwin7
  9. Select Use the following IP address: and provide an address.  I arbitrarily used 192.168.137.1.  Set ‘Subnet Mask:’ to 255.255.255.0.  Leave the DNS settings blank and click OK.
    network_rebroadcast_wifi_ipsettingswin7
  10. Your rebroadcasted wireless network will now be up and running!

Windows 7

  1. Connect your wireless router to your PC’s unused Ethernet port with an Ethernet cable.  Make sure to connect the cable to the source or internet port on your router, not one of the numbered outputs.
    router_back
  2. Power the wireless router.
  3. In Windows, click the Network icon in the system tray and select Open Network and Sharing Center.
    network_rebroadcast_wifi_opennetworkswin7
  4. Click Change adapter settings on the left side of the screen.
    network_rebroadcast_wifi_changesettingswin7
  5. Right click your wireless connection and select Properties.
  6. Click the Sharing tab and select “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection”.  This will allow your computer’s Ethernet port to access your wireless internet connection.  Click OK.
    network_rebroadcast_wifi_enablesharingwin7

    1. If you don’t see an option for sharing your connection, verify that you have a second connection enabled on your computer.
  7. You now need to give your Ethernet connection a static IP address.  In the Network Connections window again, right click your Local Area Connection and select Properties.
  8. Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click the Properties button.
    network_rebroadcast_wifi_staticipwin7
  9. Select Use the following IP address: and provide an address.  I arbitrarily used 192.168.137.1.  Set ‘Subnet Mask:’ to 255.255.255.0.  Leave the DNS settings blank and click OK.
    network_rebroadcast_wifi_ipsettingswin7
  10. Your rebroadcasted wireless network will now be up and running!

While rebroadcasting a weak signal does give you better access to a wireless network, it does have some inherent disadvantages.  Port forwarding will now be twice as complex, and there will most likely be a high amount of network latency induced.  That being said, I didn’t personally notice much of a difference browsing the internet on my laptop or using Xbox Live.

Have any other ideas for accessing wifi on the cheap?  Let us know in the comments.

How To: Mount Images (ISO Files) in Windows XP with a Small, Free Microsoft App

Windows XP:  If you have ever downloaded a disk image (ISO file), you likely burned it to a CD or DVD and put it in your optical drive.  Well, image files don’t necessarily need to be burned to physical media – they can be mounted “virtually” in your operating system and be used just the same.  Software such as Daemon Tools (free) and Alcohol 120% (not free) can mount disk images, but why use those when Microsoft has a free image mounting program?

Virtual CD Control Panel is a free (albeit unsupported) program from Microsoft that lets you quickly mount images in Windows XP.  Although the program doesn’t list support for DVD images, I mounted the Windows 7 installation DVD without any problems.

Getting Started

  1. Download Windows XP Virtual CD Control Panel and extract the files.
  2. Copy VCdRom.sys (included in the zip file) to C:/WINDOWS/system32/drivers(or see detailed instructions below).
    1. Click Start –> Run.
      winxpmountcd_run
    2. Type %SystemRoot%/system32/drivers and press enter.
      winxpmountcd_system32drivers
    3. Copy VCdRom.sys into this folder.
  3. Run the program by opening VCdControlTool.exe
  4. Click Driver Control, then click Install Driver.
    winxpmountcd_drivercontrolwinxpmountcd_installdriver
  5. Navigate to the folder where you copied VCdRom.sys (C:/WINDOWS/system32/drivers), select it, and click Open.
  6. Click Start, then OK.
    winxpmountcd_start

Mounting an Image File

  1. In the Virtual CD Control Panel application, click Add Drive which will create the virtual drive.
    winxpmountcd_adddrive
  2. Click ‘Mount’ and select the ISO file you would like to use.  Click OK in Special Mount Options.
    winxpmountcd_mountwinxpmountcd_specialmount
  3. Your disc will now be fully accessible in My Computer, just the same as if you had the disc in your optical drive.
    winxpmountcd_mountedcd

Unmounting an Image File

  1. In Virtual CD Control Panel, select your virtual drive and click Eject.
  2. Click Remove Drive.

Virtual CD Control Panel is a free application for Windows XP.  [Download]