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I just posted a beta version of ABR with Windows 7 support. I have not been able to test it myself (no access to OEM Windows 7 at the moment), but I have had a few beta testers who reported it worked correctly.

Give it a try if you are willing to help test it and please let me know how it goes.

When you run the backup, you should have 2 new files created in the folder, "backup-key.txt" and "backup-cert.xrm-ms". Make sure both files contain something, then save everything to a safe place before you clean install.

ABR (Activation Backup & Restore)


Here's a handy backup batch script, useful for keeping backups of USB flash drives. It will save the backup files in C:\User\[username]\[backupdir], with backupdir using the same name as the batch file. This makes it easy to have multiple backups from different USB drives, as only the batch file name needs to change to save the backup to a different folder. (This also means that the file MUST be named differently for different drives as to avoid clobbering another backup)


ABR (Vista Activation Backup & Restore) has finally reached 1.0!

It's been working great for a long beta period, except for one minor bug that was fixed with this release. I also added a silent restore option for anyone trying to integrate the activation into an auto-install DVD. With that, it was finally time to promote it to 1.0.

ABR allows the to backup and restore of Windows Vista activation that was pre-installed at the factory (OEM:SLP activation only).

Here's the main page for it.


To remove a value, set it equal to "-":

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\TrayNotify]

To remove a key, place a "-" in front of it:


Read the rest of this series:

Back in Part II, I did some time tests to see the differences between reading and writing compressed and uncompressed files. One factor that I did not account for was the fact that the number of files in the test could affect the results.

Here's what led me down this road, from Part II:


One annoying thing about modern OEM systems is that they come with "recovery discs" instead of a regular Windows installation. On Vista recovery discs from HP (and probably others), those files are stored as .WIM files. I was initially under the assumption that these were somehow encrypted to protect them from tampering, as my initial attempts to open them had failed, but the reality is that they are spanned WIM volumes and can be reconstructed to a whole WIM image file, then mounted using imagex.exe.

Read the rest of this series:

A little while ago I did some testing on NTFS compression with HD Tune and Sisoft Sandra. The results seemed to favor using NTFS compression, but didn't really answer the question of which file types would benefit, and which would not. The tests gave a slight edge to the compressed drive for reading, but I didn't feel like one benchmark test was really conclusive enough, and benchmarks are not an indicator of real-world performance. So I decided to run a test of my own making using some real files, and see if I could get some better numbers.


To manually force Vista to defrag the boot files (for faster boot times), copy and paste this into a batch file.

  • MUST run as Administrator
  • Do not name the file "defrag.bat"
  • Wait for it to finish. It might take a while. Do not cancel this while it's running!!!

@echo off
:: Originally found here:
echo Optimize boot files for faster startup
echo MUST run as Administrator
echo Close ALL running programs before continuing!!!

echo Defragging boot files...

:: Tell Vista that all applications are idle and it can start a background task
echo Rundll32.exe advapi32.dll,ProcessIdleTasks


WinHotKey allows you to assign "hot keys" that do various things. Actions that can be done with a hotkey are:

  1. Launch a Program
  2. Open a document
  3. Open a folder
  4. Automatically type something Sorry, this feature doesn't work on Vista, Windows 7, or later
  5. Control other windows on the screen

The main goal of this tool is to be easy to use. There are many other hotkey programs out there, but most of them do not provide a sufficient level of "ease of use". This walks the user through the options, while remaining a powerful tool.

When running, the program sits in the system tray. Double-clicking on the system tray icon will bring up the main window.

Here's a screen-shot of the main window: