What Do Those 404 and Other HTTP Return Codes Mean?

You try to access a web page but all you get is a mysterious code number. What do they mean? This page attempts to address that topic.

Governing Document

Web standards are governed by documents prepared by standards committees, approved, and then implemented world-wide. Following are notes extracted from RFC2068Web Link, the draft governing document for the hypertext protocol.

Message Number Categories

Because you usually only see one or two error numbers it’s easy to believe that’s all there are. Actually, there are families of numbers; and, not all are errors. We’ll explore each family and its members below.

1xx Codes (Information). There are a few official codes in the one hundred range. But, if you see one you have probably stumbled onto some sort of experimental application. In this case, what you see will be non-standard and could be most anything.

  • 100 (Continue). An interim response telling the browser the initial part of its request has been received and not rejected by the server. A final response code should be sent when the remainder of the material has been sent.
  • 101 (Switching Protocols). The browser may wish to change protocols it’s using. If such a request is sent and approved by the server this response is given.

2xx Codes (Success). The two hundred range is reserved for successful responses. You probably won’t see one of these codes, but your browser will receive them and know that whatever request was sent by the browser was received, understood, and accepted.

  • 200 (OK). The request was successful and information was returned. This is, by far, the most common code returned on the web.
  • 201 (Created). If a POST command is issued by a browser (usually in processing a form) then the 201 code is returned if the resource requested to be created was actually created. If there is a delay in creating the resource the response should be 202, but may be 201 and contain a description of when it will be created.
  • 202 (Accepted). If a request for processing was sent and accepted but not acted upon and the delay in acting is unknown, then this code should be sent instead of 201. Note that 202 does not commit to processing the request; it only says the request was accepted. A pointer to some status monitor for the task is often included with this response so users can check back later.
  • 203 (Non-Authoritative Information). Usually the preliminary information sent from a server to a browser comes directly from the server. If it does not, then this code might also be sent to indicate that information did not come from a known source.
  • 204 (No New Content). The request was accepted and filled but no new information is being sent back. The browser receiving this response should not change its screen display (although new, and changed, private header information may be sent).
  • 205 (Reset Content). When you fill in a form and send the data, the server may send this code telling the browser that the data was received and the action carried out so the browser should now clear the form (or reset the display in some manner).
  • 206 (Partial Content). This code indicates the server has only filled part of a specific type of request.

3xx (Redirection). The 3xx codes indicate some need for further action by your browser. User action may or may not be necessary to cause this further action to take place; often it will just happen automatically. There are safeguards built into the specification designed to prevent infinite loops, which can sometimes result from automatic redirection.

  • 300 (Multiple Choice). You should not see 300 standing alone; it serves as a template for the following specific codes.
  • 301 (Moved Permanently). As the name implies, the addressed resource has moved and all future requests for that resource should be made to a new URL. Sometimes there is an automatic transfer to the new location.
  • 302 (Moved Temporarily). The addresses resource has moved, but future requests should continue to come to the original URL. Sometimes there is an automatic transfer to the new location.
  • 303 (See Other). The response to your browser’s request can be found elsewhere. Automatic redirection may take place to the new location.
  • 304 (Not Modified). In order to save bandwidth your browser may make a conditional request for resources. The conditional request contains an “If-Modified-Since” field and if the resource has not changed since that date the server will simply return the 304 code and the browser will use its cached copy of the resource.
  • 305 (Use Proxy). This is notice that a specific proxy server must be used to access the resource. The URL of the proxy should be provided.

4xx (Client Error). The 4xx codes are the ones you are most likely to actually see; particularly code 404. These codes indicate some sort of error has happened.

  • 400 (Bad Request). The server did not understand the request. This is usually cured by resending the request.
  • 401 (Unauthorized). The request requires some form of authentication (e.g., userid and/or password) but did not contain it. Usually, this code results in a box popping up in your browser asking you for the required information. Once you supply it the request is sent again.
  • 402 (Payment Required). Reserved for future use. [Who says the web is not moving toward being a commercial medium!]
  • 403 (Forbidden). This is a sort of catch-all refusal. If the server understood the request but, for whatever reason, refuses to fill it, a code 403 will often be returned. The server may or may not explain why it is sending a 403 response and there is not much you can do about it.
  • 404 (Not Found). If you happen to mistype a URL or enter an old one that no longer exists this is the error you will likely see. The condition may be temporary or permanent but this information is rarely provided. Sometimes code 403 is sent in place of 404.
  • 405 (Method Not Allowed). Your browser has requested a resource using a procedure not allowed to obtain that resource. The response should contain allowed procedures.
  • 406 (Not Acceptable). Your browser said only certain response types will be accepted and the server says the content requested does not fit those response types. (This is one way content monitoring can be implemented.)
  • 407 (Proxy Authentication Required). This code is similar to 401, except that the browser must first authenticate itself.
  • 408 (Request Timeout). Your browser waited too long and the server timed out. A new request must be sent.
  • 409 (Conflict). If a site allows users to change resources and two users attempt to change the same resource there is a conflict. In this, and other such situations, the server may return the 409 code and should also return information necessary to help the user (or browser) resolve the conflict.
  • 410 (Gone). Code 410 is more specific than 404 when a resource can’t be found. If the server knows, for a fact, that the resource is no longer available and no forwarding address is known, then 410 should be returned. If the server does not have specific information about the resource, then 404 is returned.
  • 411 (Length Required). For some processes a server needs to know exactly how long the content is. If the browser does not supply the proper length code 411 may result.
  • 412 (Precondition Failed). A browser can put conditions on a request. If the server evaluates those conditions and comes up with a false answer, the 412 code may be returned.
  • 413 (Request Entity Too Large). If your browser makes a request that is longer than the server can process code 413 may be returned. Additionally, the server may even close the connection to prevent the request from being resubmitted (this does not mean a phone connection will hang up; just that the browser’s link to the site may be terminated and have to be started over again).
  • 414 (Request-URI Too Long). You will likely not see this one as it is rare. But, if the resource address you’ve sent to the browser is too long this code will result. One of the reasons this code exists is to give the server a response when the server is under attack by someone trying to exploit fixed-length buffers by causing them to overflow.
  • 415 (Unsupported Media Type). If your browser makes a request using the wrong format, this code may result.
  • 451 (Unavailable For Legal Reasons). This status code indicates that the server is denying access to the resource as a consequence of a legal demand.

5xx (Server Error). The 5xx series of codes indicate cases where the server knows it has made an error or is not capable of answering the request. In most cases the server should include some information explaining the error and say if the situation is temporary or permanent.

  • 500 (Internal Server Error). An unexpected condition prevented the server from filling the request.
  • 501 (Not Implemented). The server is not designed (or does not have the software) to fill the request.
  • 502 (Bad Gateway). When a server acts as a go-between it may receive an invalid request. This code is returned when that happens.
  • 503 (Service Unavailable). This code is returned when the server cannot respond due to temporary overloading or maintenance. Some users, for example, have limited accounts which can only handle so many requests per day or bytes send per period of time. When the limits are exceeded a 503 code may be returned.
  • 504 (Gateway Timeout). A gateway or proxy server timed out without responding.
  • 505 (HTTP Version Not Supported). The browser has requested a specific transfer protocol version that is not supported by the server. The server should return what protocols are supported.

What Can Webmasters Do?

Users get frustrated by error messages that don’t really tell them anything. Even the descriptions above for the various return codes don’t say what you, the user, can do.

Webmasters can help. By analyzing their logs a webmaster can determine which error codes are being returned to users. For the most common, more descriptive error messages can be generated and the system told to use them. This latter is done using a file named “.htaccess” placed in the main directory for the web site. [.htaccess is used for Web hosts using UNIX or some UNIX offshoot.]

The .htaccess file can control many things, but to help with error messages the webmaster has only to insert line(s) of the form (each of these should be on a line by itself starting with “ErrorDocument” but they may be wrapped in this display):

  • ErrorDocument 402 “<h1>You have to BUY a <a href=”/subscribe.html”>subscription!</a></h1>
  • ErrorDocument 403 /forbidden.html
  • ErrorDocument 404 http://cknow.com/notfound.html

Note that the ErrorDocument command can have raw HTML code (note the leading quote only; no ending quote), file references, or URL references. Use whichever is appropriate to help users when they encounter errors at your site. If nothing else, include a 404 ErrorDocument command to help those who mistype something. If you don’t they may not come back!

If you want to really help (and keep the search engines happy), when you change your Web site layout consider adding “redirect” lines into the .htaccess file. These cause requests to specific files that have been moved to be automatically directed to their new location and gives feedback to the search engines that the URL has changed. There are two forms you can use:

  • redirect <oldfile> <newURL>
  • redirect permanent <oldfile> <newURL>

The first is for temporary changes (302 above) and the second for permanent changes (301 above). The <oldfile> should be replaced with the exact designation of the old file in relation to the root directory of the domain the .htaccess file applies to. The <newURL> should be just that: the full URL to the new page. This gives the search engines the ability to easily change their listings.

Comments from Original Article:

Said this on 2010-04-22 At 11:16 am
What Do Those 404 and Other HTTP? for the erros what the soulation
Said this on 2010-04-22 At 11:36 am
In reply to #1
Contact the Webmaster for the website in question. The error messages come from the website so the Webmaster has to fix the site to get rid of them. Nothing you can do at your computer.

How to Use File Shredder to Permanently Delete Files

In the article “How to Securely Delete a File” we saw that using Windows to delete a file is not the way to do so securely. To completely delete a file you have to overwrite it multiple times with different patterns; something Windows has no capability to do. In this article we discuss how to use the free program File Shredder to securely delete files. [Click on pictures to expand them.]

File Shredder is a program that allows you to securely shred one or multiple files using algorithms up to the Guttmann 35-overwrite algorithm. The program will also overwrite and clear all of the free space on a disk and, if you wish, will install a link to the program into the right click context menu for Windows Explorer so that if you are in Explorer and right click on a file you will have an option to shred it or mark it for later shredding.

Installing File Shredder is easy. It comes with a Windows installer that operates much like any other Windows installer. The program installs into the C:\Program Files\File Shredder\ directory by default but you can change that if you need to.

Once installed, to start the program you need only double click on the program icon and you see the main screen…

File Shredder 01 Program Screen

The left menu controls the actions of the program. You have links for adding files or folders or removing them from the file list in the right side of the screen. Below those is a link to shred free disk space and below that is a link for Shredder Settings. That’s the first one you want to take so you can make the program behave as you wish…

File Shredder 02 Settings Dialog

If you want to have the File Shredder option appear in the right click context menu for Windows Explorer make certain the first box is checked. Because file shredding completely removes a file from your system you should also make certain the confirmations are all checked. If you were to make a mistake without confirmation the program would execute your command and if it’s a file you really wanted to keep they you’d have to restore from backups (you do keep backups don’t you!?). With confirmations at least you will have a second chance to bail out before making a mistake.

The Algorithms tab in the Settings dialog allows you to select the exact method you want used to overwrite and “shred” files…

File Shredder 03 DoD Setting

The DoD 5220-22.M standard of three passes over the file with specific patterns is the default selection. Unless you have very sensitive files to delete this will likely do. To recover anything at this level would require very advanced techniques and may not even be possible then. It’s also the fastest secure algorithm in the options. The other two to consider would be the 7 and 35-pass algorithms. These certainly will be more secure than the DoD but will take that much longer to execute. Your choice however. Use what you feel comfortable with.

The Visual Options tab presents options on how the program looks when started…

File Shredder 04 Visual Options

These should be pretty obvious selections. You likely want the program to be visible when you choose to run it and does anybody really want a small utility program to fill the entire screen when it starts???

After shredding individual files you might want to clear the free space on your hard disk. Why? Because the hard disk is divided into sectors of a given length and if a file does not have enough data to fill the last sector written to then whatever was in that sector stays on the disk and could be accessible to any utility that reads the disk byte by byte. If it just happens to be part of a previous version of your password file that data could be useful to someone. The link to clear free space is just above the Settings link in the left menu. When clicked you see the drives on your system…

File Shredder 05 Shred Free Disk Space

Check the one(s) you want to clear the free space on and then select the algorithm to be used. As before, the DoD is probably good enough for most uses unless you are really paranoid or have things that just should not see the light of day on your system. When done setting things up, click on the Next button…

File Shredder 06 Start Menu

The next screen provides some summary information with a Start button. Once the Start button is clicked the free space shredding begins. This can take significant time to complete depending on the size of your disk, the number of files on it, and a variety of other factors specific to each computer system. Do not start this process if you can’t let the computer run. The program will give you an option to abort the process if you need to but even that takes a bit of time while the program cleans up after itself before stopping the process.

Now that things are set up, let’s see the program in action. CKnow set up a test machine and ran the program against several copies of the same 2.4 megabyte file using different algorithms and captured the results in a Flash video. The results can be viewed by clicking on the graphic below…

Well, not quite yet. Still have to edit the video.
[Coming Soon]

Finally, File Shredder will add a shortcut to the right click context menu for Windows Explorer if you told it to do so in the settings above. This gives you the option of having quick access to the program from Explorer…

File Shredder 07 Secure Delete Files

You can see the result in the graphic above where CKnow right clicked on the File Shredder icon and then selected that option. You have the option to immediately shred the file in question using the defaults presently set in the program, mark the file for later shredding, or opening the program itself with the file selected.

That’s File Shredder in a nutshell. Interested in the program? Go to their page and read more or downloadWeb Link.

This article is part of a series about secure file deletion. The others in the series include: “How to Securely Delete a File” and “How to Use Moo0 FileShredder to Permanently Delete Files“. Related would be the article “What Files to Delete to Maintain Your Privacy [Coming Soon].”

How Do I Remove Add/Remove Programs Entries?

Generally, you would use the Control Panel’s Add/Remove Programs tool or Vista’s Default Programs | Programs and Features page to uninstall programs from your computer. Now and again some of these uninstalls will leave program names behind which, when clicked on, either produce errors or no action. You can remove these invalid entries using the method described here.

Note: To use the method described here you will be editing the registry. Editing the registry is tricky in that if you do it wrong you can cause problems with your computer up to and including rendering it inoperable. So, start by first making a restore point using the Windows System Restore utility. Close all open programs and then access the utility through the Start | Programs | Accessories | System Tools | System Restore menu sequence. Pick the Create a restore point radio button and then follow the instructions in the wizard. You will be making other backups as we go along as well.

Note: The procedure described here only removes the references to an invalid entry in the Add/Remove Programs tool; it does not remove or uninstall a program. If a prior uninstall left residual materials on your hard disk in program directories or user data directories and/or other registry entries you will have to clean these up manually. Because each program is different in how it installs, instructions for doing that are beyond the scope of this document.

OK, caveats given, let’s start:

  • Start the Registry Editor (Start | Run and then type “regedit” [no quotes] into the dialog box — in Vista just type “regedit” [no quotes] into the Start menu search box)
  • Navigate to this key value in the left pane:
  • Right click on the Uninstall entry. Select the “Export” option from the menu. Give the exported .REG file a name you can remember and store it in a location you can remember. Doing this makes a backup you can recover from if you make an editing error in the steps below.
  • Locate the specific key you wish to delete. It will likely have the name of the program but, in case not, scroll down each entry and look at the value for DisplayName. The key you want is the key that contains the same display name as you are trying to remove from the Add/Remove Programs menu.
  • If you want to be extra safe, right click on this key and again select Export and save the .REG file.
  • Once you have located and backed up the key containing the DisplayName you wish to delete from the Add/Remove Programs menu, delete that key from the registry. Delete only that key; do not delete the entire Uninstall entry or any other entries.
  • Close the Registry Editor (changes made to the registry via the Registry Editor take immediate effect so you don’t have to save anything before closing the editor).
  • Open the Add/Remove Programs utility from the Control Panel (in Vista use Vista’s Default Programs | Programs and Features page) and verify that the invalid entry is gone and that the other entries are still there.

That should do the job. If you made an error along the way and need to recover either the specific key you deleted or the entire Uninstall key then double click on either the key’s .REG file or the Uninstall key’s .REG file. When you do this you will cause the Registry Editor to restore the values in that key to what they were before you attempted your edit. Should the worst happen and you change something in the registry that you should not have then you should be able to use the System Restore Utility to recover the system to the restore point you created and then start over again.

Comments from Original Article:

Said this on 2010-02-08 At 04:32 pm
hi sorry to bug you but after going back through my add/remove program the file i am trying to remove is still showing up it is called chief architect it takes up 3.5g and i have never used it there is no option to remove it only a change option i did the stips you said and removed the key and sub keys but it still remains
any advice

thanks Ross
Said this on 2010-02-08 At 04:47 pm
In reply to #2
What’s described here is a way to just remove bad entries in the add/remove menu and not a way to actually remove the programs themselves. Check for an uninstall program in the folder where the program itself is located. If found, run that to remove the program itself. If not, look in the All Programs menu. Sometimes companies will insert a link to an uninstall there instead of using the Windows Add/Remove menu. If nothing else works and you are certain you have no need for the software simply remove the folder where the program resides (you’ll likely have to do this as an administrator). There will likely be things associated with the program left on the system (registry entries, maybe a program data file for options, etc.) but these should not bother you.

Said this on 2010-04-22 At 11:12 am
when ever i have installed any software the should not come in add reomve progrmas what i should do pl reply me
Said this on 2010-04-22 At 11:34 am
In reply to #4
Look at the Start Menu item for the program. If there is no uninstall option in Add/Remove then there usually is an Uninstall program in the Start Menu folder for the program. Pick that. If there is none then contact the maker of the program for help.

Michael ware
Said this on 2011-04-13 At 05:34 am
hey what’s up my name is Michael i am having problems removing the crawler toolbar software from my add/remove programs every time i click on change/remove it pops up but then closes before i am able to click on next i have tried removing this crawler toolbar several times already i even went to crawler.com they told me how to do it but , its still doing the same thing the window pops up for me to uninstall it but then it closes quickly , i even down loaded a software to remove unwanted tool bars but i don’t think it worked can you please help me remove this crawler toolbar i would really appreciate it thanks

[Sorry, never used it. But the instructions on their site seem straightforward. Make them help you. –DaBoss]

Said this on 2011-04-26 At 06:22 pm
Trying to follow these steps but none of the stuff I want to remove is appearing on the list under Uninstall.

[These steps are for entries in the list that have no program associated with them. If you want to uninstall a program not on the list check the All Programs menu off the Start Menu to see if there is an uninstall link under that program’s entry. In other cases, programs sometimes have an uninstall option in the program itself. Finally, go to the Program Files folder were the program is located and look for an Uninstall executable to run. –DaBoss]

How Do I Find Autostarting Applications?

Frequently when Windows starts a number of other programs start with it. Some of these you will see as small icons in the System Notification Area at the bottom right of your screen by the clock; for example…

System Notice Area

Others may not leave an icon but run in the background anyhow. Using one of a number of utilities (or looking in the task manager = press the CTL-SHIFT-ESC keys together) usually displays their names. Often these are programs you want running in the background. Sometimes, however, a program that doesn’t have to autostart will impolitely install itself as autostarting without giving you the option. When this happens, how do you stop it from running every time you start Windows?

First, be certain you know the name of the program you are trying to stop from autostarting. If you just let the mouse cursor rest over an icon the name of the controlling program will usually pop up after a short period. If it doesn’t try right-clicking on the icon to see what menu pops up and work from there. Autostarting programs also usually have a counterpart in the Start|Programs menu; you can look for matching icons. Or in the Windows Task Manager (the window that pops up when you press the CTL-SHIFT-ESC keys together) you can find the names of running programs.

Once you have the program name there are several places to look for the command that starts it when Windows starts. Try them in order as some are more commonly used than others (and easier to work with):

CKnow Information Startup Folder

Polite programs will install autostart shortcuts into the StartUp folder (\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp in XP and \Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup in Vista). Any shortcut found in this folder when Windows starts will be run as part of the Windows startup routine. Open the Windows Explorer (right-click My Computer and pick Explore). Navigate to the above-named folder to see what’s there (you can get a quick look by clicking Start|Programs|StartUp). Edit as necessary (Computer Knowledge recommends you drag the shortcuts you are removing onto the desktop or into a temporary folder until you are certain you don’t need them; they’ll be easier to replace than recreate if you make a mistake).

Be careful. Some things may not be obvious. Try removing one thing at a time and then restarting the computer to see what happened. Changing more than one thing will make it difficult to detect which is at fault if problems occur.

One you probably should consider deleting would be Microsoft FindFast. That program is supposed to speed file searches in Office but more often than not is the source of problems.

CKnow Information Using MSCONFIG

Microsoft provides one utility (MSCONFIG) that can manage some of the startup files found in the registry and other common locations. It’s not perfect but can be used for quick testing and diagnosis for startup files found in common locations.

Start the utility by clicking on Start|Run and then typing “msconfig” (without the quotes) into the dialog box that appears or, in Vista, just type it into the Start menu’s search box. When open, you should see a number of tabs that can be used to examine the various programs and services that start when Windows starts. Check each tab for the program or service you are looking for. If found, uncheck it and then click OK to close the utility. When you do, you will be asked to restart to make the change active. Do so and see if this fixes your problem. If so, you can just leave the entry unchecked or you can look in the locations below to find the specific entry and actually delete it.

CKnow Information Registry

The registry contains much information of importance to both Windows and programs running under Windows. For this reason one has to take great care in working with the registry. A backup is critical before doing anything with the registry. This is easily done from within the registry editor.

Start the registry editor by clicking on Start|Run and then typing “regedit” (without the quotes) into the dialog box that appears or, in Vista, just type it into the Start menu’s search box. Click OK or hit return. Navigation in the registry editor works just like navigation in Windows Explorer. First navigate to the key:


There you will see, in the right window, more programs that Windows runs at startup. If you intend to delete or modify any of these entries first export the key to a file you can use to reinstate the entries should there be problems. With the Run key selected click on Registry|Export Registry File. Pick a name and location you can remember for the exported file and then export the key.

Now, edit the registry as necessary and then immediately restart Windows. If there are no problems, great; if there are problems double-click on the Run key registry file you created and then restart Windows. Double-clicking on the file will install it into the registry and restarting Windows should put things back the way they were.

Now, repeat the whole procedure above with the key:


(Never said this would be easy![Smile]

CKnow Information WINSTART.BAT

You remember batch files from DOS (if you are old enough — if not, see the CKnow tutorial on batch files). These are text files that run commands in them; line by line. If you have not found the autostart program you are looking for do a search for the file WINSTART.BAT. It will usually be in the root directory of the drive. If found while your computer is starting this file will be given control before Windows itself starts. The errant autostart program may be hiding here. Use any text editor to look at the contents of the file if one is found (this is rare but possible).

CKnow Information AUTORUN.INF

An AUTORUN.INF file is designed to hold the information necessary to allow a disc, like a CD-ROM, to autostart when loaded. As the disc is detected by the operating system the AUTORUN.INF file is detected and the information in that file directs the operating system to, perhaps, start a particular program on the disc. This can be very convenient but it also can be a problem in that the operating system does not restrict itself to just CD-ROMs for AUTORUN.INF. If that file is found in the root directory of the system boot drive (usually C:\) then it will be accessed and the directions in the file followed during system boot. Thus, AUTORUN.INF becomes yet another way of autostarting something during Windows boot. If you find and need to delete an AUTORUN.INF file you may have to change its attributes first; if copied from a CD it’s likely to be a read-only file (right-click the file, choose “Properties” and uncheck “Read-only”).

CKnow Information WIN.INI

This is a startup holdover from Windows 3.x. No matter; if found in the \Windows directory later versions of Windows will read and process the file. Navigate to the \Windows folder using Windows Explorer and look for a WIN.INI file. Use any text editor to look inside the file. What you are looking for is a line starting with either “load=” or “run=” in the section [windows] which is usually right at the start of the file.

If found, make a backup of the file and then edit those lines as necessary relative to your autostart program problems. Restart Windows and see if that fixes things. If not, use the backup to put things right and restart Windows to continue searching.


These startup leftovers from DOS still run on startup if found in the root directory of your main drive (usually C:\). While of little practical value they may contain older “real mode” drivers and programs that must load before Windows because the hardware these drivers control is not able to be reconfigured dynamically (Plug and Play). To see if any real mode drivers are active right-click on My Computer, select Properties, then click on the Performance tab (or, in Vista, the menu item of the same name). Look for any real mode drivers listed. If found, decide if you need the drivers and, if not, edit either AUTOEXEC.BAT or CONFIG.SYS to delete them (instead of deleting the line just put the letters REM and a space in front of the line so it’s not executed; makes it easier to reinstate the line if necessary).

The easiest way to check to see if these files are needed is to use Windows Explorer to rename them (right-click on the file and select Rename). Then, reboot and see if there are problems. If not, great; if there are follow the prompts to boot into Safe Mode (if needed) and then rename the files back to their original names. After restarting again the problems should disappear.

Final Notes

We’ve described a number of places programs that start automatically when Windows starts can hide. And, we’ve described how these places can be modified to stop these programs from autostarting. But, you need to know that Windows is a very complicated operating system and can be fairly sensitive to changes. It’s very important that you have a good backup before attempting to make any changes to any autostarting programs and then proceed with great caution; changing one thing at a time and then testing to see if the change caused any problems. This incremental approach will take much longer but is considerably safer.

Good luck.

How Do I Find Out What a DLL File Does?

Sometimes, you might want to know about a particular file; not a data file, but a particular .DLL or .EXE file. While this can be a daunting process because of the sheer number of such files, several sites exist that attempt to give you that information:

  • ProcessLibrary.comWeb Link
    ProcessLibrary.com is a product of Uniblue Systems Ltd. the people behind PowerSuite 2009, a program that combines Uniblue products RegistryBooster, SpeedUpMyPC and DriverScanner, creating a complete solution for updating your PC and delivering improved system stability and increased computer speeds. The website is derived from many system scans from users around the world.
  • Filename.infoWeb Link
    Filename.info is a developing database of programs and .DLL files. Each file in the database on that site has basic information about which program owns the file, version and size information, checksum data, and other data as available.
  • Microsoft DLL Search
    Microsoft maintained a DLL search engine for all of their products. The DLL Help application was retired on February 8, 2010 and is no longer accessible.

How Do I Run Older Programs Under Windows?

Many older computer programs may not run correctly if you just click on the program’s executable file in Windows; this is particularly true of older game programs. There can be many reasons why. Perhaps the program uses DOS calls that XP does not know about. Perhaps there are graphic hardware considerations. Perhaps…who knows.

Indeed, some older DOS-based programs, in order to speed up the display, wrote directly to the computer’s hardware. These, Windows XP and newer operating systems will not allow to run at all. In order to run these you will have to find a computer with an older operating system.

For those in between, there is some hope in using Windows XP’s (and Vista’s) Compatibility Mode.

Open Windows Explorer and navigate to where the program is located. Then…

  • Right click on the program file (the .EXE or .COM file).
  • Select Properties from the menu that pops up.
  • Select the Compatibility Tab in the dialog.
  • Change the options so the program opens in Windows 95 or 98 compatibility mode. Note the other options in the dialog as you may have to experiment a bit and change some of them as well.

Basically, this action creates a PIF file that Windows uses to determine options to use to run the program in compatibility mode instead of native Windows 32-bit mode. Hopefully, this will allow the program to run.


There is another option for running older DOS programs under newer Windows operating systems: the DOSBox project. DOSBox emulates an Intel x86 PC. It is a developing option because the project is still refining the code. But, you can find it at its Sourceforge home…

http://www.dosbox.com/Web Link

If these suggestions don’t work for you, you are back to finding a computer with an older operating system.

How Do I Read an Internet Product Page

First, and foremost, keep in mind that the sole purpose of a product page found on the Internet at a product site is to sell you something. Free stuff is available but the page(s) that describe it are usually quite clear. Sale pages, however, will go to great lengths to describe features, use superlatives, have come-ons, and maybe even mask the fact that money will be asked for and/or how much the product costs.

Second, and maybe even more important, is that words mean things; specific things.

For example, a “free scan” is just that: a free scan. There no promise in those two words to fix anything that the scan uncovers. This is an important concept as come-ons like free scans are often used to show errors that are then used to justify why a product should be purchased to fix those errors. There is nothing wrong with this and it’s not bait-and-switch as the words did not say or imply there would be a fix; that came from your interpretation of the words and perhaps the surrounding text on the product page. In short, it’s a meaning that you put on the words and not a meaning in the words themselves.

In line with the words mean things concept, product endorsements on the product page may or may not be helpful. Providers are fond of displaying ringing endorsements; maybe even with pictures of the people and graphic signatures. Such endorsements, however, are almost universally giving praise to the product without any details whatsoever about how the product specifically helped in a given situation. Thus, while it might be useful to know that so-and-so finds the product useful; that knowledge is tempered by the fact that you have no idea why so-and-so found the product useful. So, if so-and-so praises the product for some unnamed purpose you may have an entirely different purpose in mind for the software and the endorsement therefore would not apply to you. But, you rarely have enough information to know that. So, while you may read product endorsements, give them little weight in your purchase consideration unless you personally know one of the people quoted in which case you’ll want to ask them directly about the product.

Similarly, look carefully for use of jargon: complex, industry-specific language. Sites that are full of jargon are either trying to sell to a very technical audience or they are trying to impress you with technical talk. Either way, if you don’t understand what the page says and how the product can help you, then consider carefully if you need that product and how that vendor might act if you have a problem with the product.

Third, ignore formatting. As this is being written the product page format in vogue is the narrow column that runs down the middle of the browser window with solid color on both sides or maybe a background graphic on both sides. The copy is laced with superlatives, different color text, different sized text, and so on. Ignore all this. The pitch…

Simply the BEST dog food on the market!!!

…tells you absolutely nothing about why you might want to buy the product and what benefits it will have for your dog over and above table scraps or the cheapest brand you can buy at the local market (yes, I know dog lovers would not do either; I’m using hyperbole for effect here).

The same is true for most bold, different color text on product pages. Read right through the formatting and see what the words actually say.

In a similar vein, be careful with pages that go on and on and on. Most such pages use the techniques above to keep you reading until they get you down to the end where the final hard-sell is. By this time your eyes may have glazed over and the vendor hopes you’ll just click on the big “buy” link and give them your money.

Pictures should be considered to be words in disguise. Big, fancy product box pictures and other such page decorations are just that: decorations. Few products come in an actual box these days; most are direct downloads with the possibility of getting a backup CD and maybe abbreviated manual (usually an install guide and maybe a feature index) for an extra fee. Screen shots of the product may or may not be useful depending on what they show. Look carefully for meaningful pictures and not just random screen shots that really contain no meaningful information.

Look for links to other pages on the product site. One technique in use now is to bring users to a product landing page that stands alone and has no other links to any other page on the vendor’s website. The technique hopes to corral you into making a decision based on the landing page information alone. If this happens to you see if you can find other links manually. For example, if the URL is http://domain.com/product/productname.html and there are no links on productname.html then manually enter first http://domain.com/product/ and/or http://domain.com/ into your browser and see what page or pages those addresses bring up. What you are looking for are support links and maybe a knowledgebase about the product on the product’s website. A support forum may also be useful. Knowing what problems people have had with a particular piece of software and, perhaps more importantly, how they were solved (or not) should influence your purchase decision more than glowing praise from people you don’t know. If you can’t find such information on the company’s website you can search for it on the Web if you continue to feel the product is useful to you.

As advertising techniques get refined, the specifics of what to look for may change but the primary points on this page will continue to be important:

  • The vendor wants to sell you something. It’s up to you to find out if that something will be of value to you.
  • Words mean specific things. Don’t read more into the words on the page than is actually there.
  • Watch the context of the words. Fancy formatting, nice pictures, and glowing endorsements tell you nothing about the product itself. Find that information instead — even if it’s on a different page than the product page.

Now, for the perfect example, please see…

Why Can’t I Copy a Large File Despite Having Larger Free Space?

In these days of extra large hard disks many try to copy large files from a DVD but find that can’t even though there is plenty of free space on the hard disk. Why not?

The most likely cause for this is not some sort of copy protection but that the file being copied is too large for the file system to handle. Windows XP allows you to format a hard disk in two different file system formats: FAT32 and NTFS. These file systems differ in the size of file they can handle. FAT32, for example, can only handle files up to 4GB in size. When it was developed, that size file was almost unheard of but now, a DVD can have files that large or larger routinely. So, if you are trying to copy a movie from a DVD onto your FAT32-formatted hard drive it likely won’t copy as most full-length movies are files larger than 4GB.


The original File Allocation Table (FAT) file system was introduced in 1977 and generally applied to floppy disk storage. It was later modified to work with hard disks and other removable media. FAT had a problem however; it could only manage spaces up to 2GB in size. As Windows came into being and programs became larger, the 2GB barrier became a serious problem. Thus, in 1996, with the OEM Service Release 2 (OSR2) of Windows 95 (also known as Windows 95b) came a FAT enhancement known as FAT32.

The two major features of FAT32 that improved upon the original FAT (or FAT16 as it’s sometimes known) are the disk efficiency and size of the disk supported.

Files are stored in clusters on the disk. The size of the clusters depends on the size of disk. Under FAT, drives over 1.2GB used clusters that were 32K in size as the file allocation table itself could not track more clusters because of it’s 16-bit structure. The 32-bit structure in FAT32 allows disks of that size to use 4K per sector. This improves efficiency as a file, no matter how small, will always use at least one cluster and the space in the cluster not used is wasted. FAT32 doesn’t start to use 32K clusters until the disk goes over 60GB in size and can handle disks up to 2TB (terabyte or trillion bytes); though not all operating systems can deal with disks that size even if the file system can.

There are many other features changed between the two but these are the major ones to be concerned with.

The problem that many encounter now is one of the limits of FAT32 that’s being run into: file size. The original FAT (FAT12) had a maximum file size of 32MB, FAT16 has a maximum file size of 2GB, and despite the much larger hard disk size supported by FAT32, the maximum file size only doubled to 4GB.

This is largely why a movie file larger than 4GB in size might not be able to be copied to a hard disk with lots of space. The hard disk is probably formatted using FAT32. There is no quick solution short of converting the hard disk to the NTFS file system.


The New Technology File System (NTFS) was introduced in Windows NT (mid-1993) and is available in different forms in all following products: Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and Vista. It replaces FAT and FAT32 although some operating systems allow you to format disks as either FAT32 or NTFS. You can convert FAT32 disks to NTFS with little problem however going back from NTFS to FAT32 may not be possible due to FAT32 limitations that NTFS does away with (e.g., file size as seen above).

NTFS makes a number of improvements over FAT-based file systems. It uses advanced data structures, has a B+ tree directory structure, has improved reliability and use of disk space, allows for extensions such as security control, and has both a hard disk and file size of 16 EiB (EiB = exbibyte; a contraction of exa binary byte, and equaling 1,152,921,504,606,846,976 bytes).

So, if you need to copy files larger than 4GB, you need to make certain that the file system on the hard disk you are copying to is NTFS and not FAT32. Unfortunately, many portable USB hard disk drives come formatted as FAT32 in order to interface with the maximum number of operating systems.

[Added from comments] You can use a Windows Command Prompt command to convert a FAT volume to NTFS. Open a Command Prompt window (Start | type CMD and Enter into the search dialog to open a window). To see the full syntax of the command and to verify that the command is present in your version of Windows type (no quotes) “CONVERT /?” at the command prompt and hit Enter. This should give you the help and if it comes up you have the command available to use. The command to convert any drive from FAT to NTFS would then be: CONVERT d: /FS:NTFS where d: is the drive letter of the disk/volume you wish to convert. If you want to watch the details add a /V (for verbose) to the command. Also, to enable all users to access the drive, just in case you might want to also add /NoSecurity to the command line. These latter two are optional and usually not needed.

Also, this procedure does not erase the disk so files should be safe. As in all things computer, having a backup of important files is critical no matter what and I’d be careful if the disk is almost full as FAT and NTFS disks likely have different sector sizes and therefore hold different amounts of information.

More Information

Comments from Original Article:

Said this on 2009-12-21 At 10:42 pm
very nice article

the command for converting fat32 to ntfs is as follows

Start > Run > Cmd

convert d: /fs:ntfs

where d: is the drive letter of the external disk.
Said this on 2010-01-02 At 09:00 am
In reply to #4
Thanks anan, this info was extremely helpful. When I tried to do Format it showed only FAT32 option but with this command it converted to NTFS. Now I can copy large files!
Said this on 2010-01-17 At 11:34 pm
In reply to #4
“the command for converting fat32 to ntfs is as follows…”
Thanks Anand. Worked perfectly, was trying to copy an 8gb movie to a 16gb usb stick and kept getting the disk is full (brand new and freshly formated). After I ran that it copied no problems.
Said this on 2010-04-26 At 12:08 am
In reply to #8
thats EXACTLY the prob i was facing! though my USB was 8 GB.
solved now after i stumbled upon the solution given here.
many thanks 🙂
Said this on 2010-09-10 At 07:52 am
In reply to #4
legend. worked first time

Said this on 2010-01-14 At 03:50 am
Microsoft has provided the recommended solution for this issue here : http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307881

Said this on 2010-01-19 At 02:40 am
Thanks 1000 for your precious informations, very easy and understandable!
You solved my problem with huge files.

Said this on 2010-01-23 At 12:02 pm
That microsoft article didnt have my problem ‘the drive is not clean’ so i couldnt convert it. I ran chkdsk like prompted (it even ran it in the initial process) and to no avail it was a-okay. So I just went ahead and opened up admin tools via control panel then formatted my terabyte portable HDD over night…its been seven hours and its at 89%
Said this on 2010-01-23 At 02:42 pm
In reply to #11
Sometimes a full format is the only way to change a drive but, frankly, I’m a bit surprised that a drive as large as that was FAT formatted to begin with and not NTFS formatted. The world of computers constantly throws curveballs. 🙂

Robin Hood
Said this on 2010-02-07 At 02:26 am
Hi, I think it is happening again. MS has win7 out and xp must go, so
they do the same thing as with win98se, when it was at its end of life, and xp took over. It is the big file copy/delete etc that was then crippled. And now its the same with xp.
Damn M$.

Said this on 2010-02-16 At 06:41 am
thank you very much! by far the best answer on the internet!

I was wondering if now my macor the PS3 at home will be able to read this file from the usb.
Said this on 2010-02-16 At 10:05 am
In reply to #14
AFAIK the PS3 game system uses FAT32 and cannot read NTFS disks. So, it is limited to files smaller that about 4GB.
Said this on 2010-12-04 At 03:12 pm
In reply to #15
HEy U can use winrar It help u to convert your file to Something like 5X700…………

Said this on 2010-02-23 At 03:40 pm
Thanks i needed this information for an external disk which came with FAT32 format , now i can move large files into it thanks again!!

Said this on 2010-03-10 At 11:19 am
THNX man! U saved my life! Cheers!

Said this on 2010-03-23 At 06:20 pm
1. How can i tell if my drive is FAT32 or NTFS? is there a dos command?
2. if i convert from fat32 to NTFS do i loose the data on the drive>?

txs in advance
Said this on 2010-03-23 At 08:54 pm
In reply to #21
Right click on the drive and select Properties. In that dialog it should tell you what the drive format is. In Vista all you have to do is click on the drive in the My Computer window and down at the bottom it should say what the file system is.

In general, there won’t be any data loss when converting from FAT32 to NTFS however a backup of critical data is always a prudent thing to do; particularly when the disk is almost full. If the sector size changes and the disk is almost full with lots of small files then the spare space at the end of the sectors could add up to trouble. But, if you’re changing the file system to put on a large file then that situation is very unlikely.

Said this on 2010-05-06 At 10:24 pm
Excellent Article! If You have to transform FAT32 in NTFS, You may format the drive into NTFS! Right cklick on the drive You want to convert in Windows Explorer, than Format, on options You choose NTFS, and click Quick Format! But, You loose all the data on the formatted drive!

Said this on 2010-05-12 At 10:06 am
SUPURB ARTICLE! I am having the same issue. My brand new 1TB drive is FAT32 formatted and I can’t move my backups (17+ GB) to it. The issue I am having is that I have created several “manual” backups where I copied the files/directories over manually as the backup file (DNA) would not work with the drive.

If I run the CONVERT D: /FS:NTFS command, will it overwrite/destroy my “manual” backups that I already have on the drive or will it convert the files in the process of converting the drive?

Thanks in advance,
Said this on 2010-05-12 At 10:19 am
In reply to #26
The CONVERT program will take care of moving the files into the NTFS structure with (usually) no data loss. I say usually because if the disk is quite full before the conversion strange things sometimes happen. But, if it’s not particularly full then all should be OK. I would not try the command if the disk is almost full. I’d move some things, do the command, and then move them back.

Said this on 2010-05-27 At 02:17 pm
if i already have files on the portable drive will i lose those files when i convert it to ntfs?
Said this on 2010-05-27 At 04:31 pm
In reply to #29
No. At least not unless the drive is almost full. In that case it’s remotely possible that one or more files might not be converted properly but this usually happens more when going from NTFS back to FAT rather than FAT to NTFS. That said, it’s always good to have a backup when messing with the lower levels on a drive. 🙂

Said this on 2010-06-22 At 09:19 am
VERY GOOD ARTICLE. i just bought a USB drive and i couldnt copy files larger than 4g and i didnt know why !! i searched google, found this article and in 2 minutes i made it work !! thank you

Said this on 2010-06-28 At 03:04 pm
Thanks for this post, I’ve learned a lot.
However, I found the post whilst searching for an answer to a related problem.
I have a mini cam on which I filmed a long AVI video – shows as just under 4 GB (4193258KB – maybe somehow the cam capped the file size?) – however I am not able to open/play the movie.
I converted the memory card to NTFS (so I won’t have the issue again) but am still unable to view this movie.
Any ideas what I can do to rescue my movie?

Said this on 2010-06-28 At 03:16 pm
In reply to #33
Your theory about the camera capping the file size is likely correct. As to viewing the file, I’m sorry but I’m not a video file format expert. It’s possible that the file is simply not correctly terminated by the software in the camera. Search for video recovery software; there should be a free version of something out there (be careful you don’t get any junkware with ads, etc. in it though).

BTW, if you reformatted the memory card to NTFS it’s quite possible that the camera will not be able to write to it at all. Most devices are programmed to write to the FAT file system. You might want to try the card in the camera before you commit to filming anything important. You may just have to reformat the card again and content yourself to shooting shorter sequences and then edit them together.

Said this on 2010-06-29 At 10:56 pm
Thanks for the great write-up. I recently bought a 32GB USB flash drive to copy large PST files and couldn’t because the USB was FAT32. Read your article and ran the convert command to make the USB NTFS , and voilla, I can now copy the files. Thanks!

Said this on 2010-07-06 At 02:53 am
i have win xp and ntfs file system in the both drivers
but when i try to copy big file whuch size (28 GB or more ) it gives me can’t copy ,not enough space , Despite Having Larger Free Space
idont know why??
Said this on 2010-07-06 At 04:59 pm
In reply to #37
28G should not be a problem (other than the time it will take!) for NTFS formatted media. The max file size allowed is just shy of 16 Terrabytes.

Said this on 2010-07-21 At 01:27 pm
I have the same problem. I wanted to copy a movie file that is aprox. 7GB to a external HD of 320 GB and it has a free space of 10 GB.

so now my question is if I convert the HD file system, does my existing data be erased or it would remain as it is.
please I am waiting for your response.

[Previously answered. The conversion is SUPPOSED to keep your data intact. Every now and again it might not. With so little space left on the drive I’d likely back some of that up and take it off the drive during the conversion and then put it back so the conversion routines have enough free space to work with. There is no absolute answer to your question. –DaBoss]

Damien Grant
Said this on 2010-08-21 At 01:11 am
Is there any way that a file greater than 4gb can be watched on the PS3? im trying to convert my dvd library, but i want the files to be the best quality they can be. if i cant move a file that is greater than 4gb, but i need my hard drive to be NTFS to move files to it, but the PS3 wont recognize NTFS – what do i do?? Damien Grant.
Said this on 2010-08-21 At 10:29 am
In reply to #42
The PS3 only recognizes FAT32. You’ll have to break the movie up into smaller sections.

Bob Kight
Said this on 2010-08-28 At 05:51 pm
I have been using Adobe Photoshop Elements 2 for many years now and have only recently found the following bug. I have no problem when saving a file from this program to a terabyte size hard drive (which is really around 930 GBs). But after attaching an external 2TB Hard drive, I’ve found that this program will not save to this drive, because it is full – and according to My Computer it has more than a terabyte of room(?). Apparently, this program has a maximum limit to saving files to a 1TB hard drive. If I save any file created to any other drive (equal to or less than a terabyte) – no problem. Then I can drag and drop it into the 2TB Drive – no problem. I can only guess that the software people imagined that this early program would NEVER save files to more than a TeraByte – “surprise – surprise – Sgt Carter”!!!!!
Said this on 2010-08-28 At 05:58 pm
In reply to #45
Actually, it’s probably not the program but the operating system. I’ll bet you are using Windows XP. That’s a limit of XP. The larger than 1TB disks start writing data at a different location that requires multiple sectors to be read and written for each single sector call and Vista and beyond can easily handle this this but XP cannot. I have an article in writing about this but it got delayed by my 99.5-year-old Mother’s passing and my moving to a new city. I’ll be getting back to that shortly.

Note that some disk makers provide a program that can make XP work with the larger disk but it does so by moving data on the disk to a different series of locations and so the disk might not be able to be read if later moved to a different operating system.

Alex DeBongo
Said this on 2011-11-05 At 04:37 pm
In reply to #46
Hi – – DaBoss:
Wrongo! This is a problem with nearly ALL PSE programs up to 7 or 8. They will NOT write to a Terabyte sized HDD. Once above 1TB, you’re cooked. You can open, but not save. Adobe, in it’s vast wisdom, has only recently realized that the TB barrier would likely be broken with people still using PSE-2 thru 7. What we need is a crack to disable the remaining disk-space check.
OBTW – – I am running Winblows Vista (which sux – Shades of WinME).

[Actually, righto as far as it goes. The terabyte limit (and it’s usually around 2T but can vary by device) is something else having to do with 256 byte FAT versus 4096 byte FAT design; not as easily solved as you’ve found. Vista and above won’t be bothered but XP and outside devices will. There are workarounds for XP but these won’t work with external devices like the Playstation. –DaBoss]

Said this on 2010-09-07 At 08:48 pm
If I convert my External Hard Disk to NTFS will this erase all my file in it???

Also when I try on Command Prompt it says:
”Acces denied as you do not have sufficient privileges.”

[As answered before multiple times, generally no to the file loss. As to the privilege item, right click the command prompt icon and select Run As Administrator. If asked, give the proper password and then you should be able to continue. –DaBoss]

Said this on 2010-09-28 At 01:42 am
There’s a lot of useful information in this article, but the original premise is flawed:
“if you are trying to copy a movie from a DVD onto your FAT32-formatted hard drive it likely won’t copy as most full-length movies are files larger than 4GB.”
That’s not correct, if you’re talking about the DVD video standard (as in the movie DVDs you buy or rent), the maximum .vob FILE size is 1Gb, which FAT32 happily supports. The TOTAL amount of video data does, as you say, far exceed 4Gb, but that is achieved by breaking the video data into multiple files.
Unless you’re creating a .iso image file, FAT32 isn’t a problem. Dealing with the DVD encryption is far more of a problem.
Said this on 2010-09-28 At 08:34 am
In reply to #50
Most people try to get the ISO file as they don’t know about the chapters and DVD encryption was broken a long time ago. Even the master Blue Ray code was leaked not long ago so that will be less and less of a problem over time now.

Said this on 2010-10-20 At 12:59 pm
Hi. I have XP w/Nero. I tried to copy a 2.17 GB file to a 4.7 GB DVD and received the message my file was too big for the disk, & was required to select “use 8.3 file names for back-up.” I tried your formula above – Start > Run > Cmd convert d: /fs:ntfs & received the message “cannot convert volume on this device.” Am I doing something wrong? I am backing up some large picture and music files and it seems wasteful to have to use 3-4 almost 5 GB disks for only 8 GB of files. Thanks for your help.
Said this on 2010-10-20 At 01:14 pm
In reply to #52
I would contact Nero. You can’t use the conversion on a disc but you should not have to. Sounds like a program limitation to me; particularly with the need for 8.3 names. Have not needed those for a long time now. There are special (obscure) rules for CD/DVD file naming but 8.3 is not one of them.

Said this on 2010-11-20 At 10:29 am
Thanks for the article, very informative.

1 Question though:

If my external hard drive is 320GB in size, and only 28GB is free and I want to copy a 6GB file over without losing any of the data; can you assure me that converting from FAT32 -> NTFS that I will not lose any data?

Said this on 2010-11-20 At 01:24 pm
In reply to #56
Absolutely assure? No. Nothing in life is absolutely certain. But, under the conditions you describe I see no problems. You have enough space to spare so the conversion should leave you with pretty much what you have free and that’s plenty to do the copy you want to do. As always however it there are critical files on the drive they should be backed up somewhere and this is true even if you were not contemplating a conversion. Drives fail. That’s a rule you can pretty much count on.

Said this on 2010-11-21 At 09:16 pm
u dont have to use this method. there is an easy way. U just have to right click on your drive and click format and change the settings from fat into ntfs and click format and then u will be able to transfer large files easily.

[The point is that people want to KEEP what’s already on the drive. Formatting will erase all that stuff. But, yes, if you don’t care about what’s on the drive then by all means format it as it’s faster. –DaBoss]

Said this on 2010-12-05 At 11:50 pm
Does the drive get formated by this method???????

[Not exactly but sort of :-). The drive is incrementally changed to NTFS format so that’s the ultimate result but, in the process, the data is preserved where it’s not when you format the drive. –DaBoss]

Wing Tat Chan
Said this on 2011-01-09 At 06:13 pm
Do I have to backup my files in my external drive while the windows is converting my external drive from FAT32 to NTFS?

[The answer is in the article and following comments. I’m tired of typing the same thing over and over so please READ what’s written. Thank you. –DaBoss]

Said this on 2011-01-10 At 12:32 am
By converting my external hard disk from FAT32 to NTFS will my data stored be erased?

[The answer is in the article and following comments. I’m tired of typing the same thing over and over so please READ what’s written. Thank you. –DaBoss]

Jacob Norgaard
Said this on 2011-01-17 At 10:03 am
Nice article, but sadly it never tells you what to do if you want to see a movie via your extern harddrive. As far as i understand the only format that tv, soundbars etc can read is the fat32. So what to do if you want to watch a movie on your extern. The only way to get the movie to the extern is to make it NTFS, but then your tv wont be able to read it..
Said this on 2011-01-17 At 12:04 pm
In reply to #68
While not explicitly stated the answer is implicit in the article. To play on an external device you basically need to make the file less than 4 gigabytes in size. Use your favorite editor to either re compress the file to a smaller size or split the file into multiple files.

Said this on 2011-02-17 At 06:48 am
Is there anyway at all you could transfer files larger than 4gb on a WD My Passport Hard Drive on a macbook ? apparently people have problems using nfts on mac operating systems.

[Sorry, I’m not a Mac person. Anyone? -DaBoss]

Said this on 2011-02-22 At 10:39 am
I just tried this to an external HD and now it’s telling me my drive is unformatted and/or corrupted. Any suggestions as to my next step in troubleshooting?

[Without being there to see the situation and understand what happened simply trying now to format the drive would be my suggestion. If that doesn’t work then I’d contact the manufacturer and try to find out what makes their drive so special that it won’t take simple Windows commands. –DaBoss]

Said this on 2011-03-06 At 10:08 am
Hi THIS IS COMMON PROBLEM WITH WIN XP AND WIN VISTA when transfering or copying files esp above 4 GB . I’ve simple solution attach pen drive or memory card to ur usb port open Windows Explorer/My Computer ..now right click on the drive letter SELECT OPEN AS “PORTABLE MEDIA DEVICE”..THIS OPENS NEW WINDOW..DRAG AND DROP OR COPY PASTE THE HUGE FILES INTO THIS WINDOW. NO NEED TO FORMAT OR CHANGE PARTITION TYPE!!

[This will work but pay attention to the last part. As a portable device the USB device will not look like a standard file system to Windows or the Mac and can ONLY be used as a portable media device. If NTFS formatting is used then the device can store media and other files. The down side of either is that the computer or other device you plug the USB drive into must either support portable media devices in one case or NTFS in another. That’s not always the case so know what your devices support. –DaBoss]

Said this on 2011-03-21 At 02:31 pm
i did all the steps and then it was calculating the size for the conversion with a bunch of numbers …….

THEN after waiting it gave me a message saying this .

” Data error (cyclic redundancy check) ”

HELP ME???????

[Sounds like maybe one or more sectors on the drive have become corrupted in some way. I’d back everything up by copying to another disk and then after you know the backup is good (test it) I’d just reformat the initial disk and start over with it. –DaBoss]

Said this on 2011-04-09 At 07:20 pm
This does not fix the problem. Cuz my TV cant read from NTFS structure, but it support H264 (I flashed firmware on LG). Thats really sucks! FAT32 sucks.

[That’s what happens when you live at the convergence point of technology. Often, the old isn’t good enough and the new isn’t well supported. Until the TV maybe gets a new operating system update that does support NTFS best you can do is either reduce the resolution to fit everything into the proper size or break the video apart into properly-sized sections. –DaBoss]

Said this on 2011-06-10 At 02:17 pm
I think this question come about in this scenario. You have a 20gb hard disk with only 500mb free, you try to copy or move a 3gb size file to another drive. The copy process is halted because you need a certain amount of caching area on the disk your copying from for the data to be written for the simple reason if the copy or move fails you already have a duplicate of the duplicate in a temp file form. I find depending on the file being moved you need an equal size amount of free space to produce the same temp file your copying. Confused OK let me simplify I had a drive C: with only 20mb free so I though “I know I will move a large video file say 700mb to get me more space WRONG error says your don’t have free space on the drive your copying TO (seems weird) even though you have GB’s free. Solution move loads of lesser than 20mb files to create enough cache or temp space to copy the large file in my case only 2 lesser than 20mb then with now 60mb approx freed up moved 50mb files and so on until I had 400mb then any size file was movable….phew…hope that helps if even a little.

[Actually, a valid observation but it does not relate to the specific topic here which has more to do with the overall limits of the file system instead of quirks in how Windows copies files. 🙂 –DaBoss]

Said this on 2011-06-20 At 09:45 am

My DBA’s & server’s support team trying move one large Sharepoint Content DB file(around 100 GB) backup file from Prod to QA..

But they always recieve the error “Cannot copy the db : Not enough storage is available to process this command” .

Server : Windows 2003 SE SP2

Please can you advice on how to avoid this error, and copy the file properly from one server to another..

[Sorry, no experience with this specific task. However, as a general comment, make certain there is at least double the size of the file you want to copy free on both drives. Some network systems will, in order to prevent conflicts, make a temporary copy of the file, copy that and then delete the copy. Likewise, on the receiving end, the file may be copied to a temporary file, copied over to the actual file name and then the temporary file deleted. These actions require the double free space. But, that’s just a guess. –DaBoss]

Said this on 2011-07-13 At 09:58 am
When I’ve done the above convert commands I get the message:

the type of file system is FAT32 and doesn’t go any further in the process. Any ideas please?

[Sounds like the conversion did not process correctly and so you still have FAT32 instead of NTFS. –DaBoss]

Said this on 2011-07-18 At 04:29 am
Thanks for the info.
You have resolved 75% of my problem.
I have to external disc driver both in NFTS. And I cannot transfert big files from one to an other. ERROR COPYING FILE OR FOLDER CANNOT COPY FILE.


[Sorry, no way knowing from that error message. Could be one of a great many reasons. –DaBoss]

Said this on 2011-08-22 At 04:59 am
A very good article. But no solution?

[Please consider reading it again. Solution is convert to NTFS. –DaBoss]

Julie G
Said this on 2011-11-25 At 04:30 pm
Followed the instructions and it says is not available for raw drives, I have a 120 GB ipod hooked up, what am I doing wrong ?

[You are trying to apply a Windows command to a non-Windows-formatted device. Won’t work on Apple stuff. Sorry. –DaBoss]

Said this on 2011-12-11 At 06:02 am

[Yes. This is just for USB drives and not for things like SD cards that might fit into a camera. The memory cards carry their own FAT-style formatting but it’s a bit different than the disk FAT. –DaBoss]

Said this on 2011-12-26 At 06:28 am
your article is so helpfull for us , ut itz not complete…….. some file system type u didnt xpossed , eg: exFAT , its a file sytem can u give the information about this ???????

[It’s not really an article about file systems as such; just a way to get more onto a removable device. But, I’ll think about it. –DaBoss]


Now and again the controlling DLL file(s) for MSN becomes unregistered and MSN users receive MAILHOST and/or DOWNLOADHOST problem messages and can’t connect to their mail. Many times this is caused by registry cleaning programs that incorrectly flag the MSN DLL files for deletion from the registry which effectively unregisters the files with the MSN software, resulting in the errors. Here’s how to fix this. Note: If this happens once after running cleaning software it’s likely to happen again if you run the same software again.

In both cases, to fix the problem(s) you need to re-register the files with the MSN program. To do this you will need to type a specific command into a run dialog. This command will register the DLL files with the MSN software and put the registry back in order.

If these commands do not work please contact MSN support. CKnow cannot directly support the MSN software.


In Windows XP, click on the Start button. In the menu click on the entry that says Run. A dialog box will appear. Assuming a default installation of the MSN software, in the dialog box type (cut and paste from here for accuracy):

regsvr32 c:\progra~1\msn\msncorefiles\mailui.dll

The dialog should look like this…


Click on OK or press the Enter key. This re-registers the mailui.dll file and should solve the problem. If you are signed into MSN, sign out and then sign back in and everything should work OK.

If you have installed the MSN software in other than the default directory, then substitute that path for the c:\progra~1\msn\msncorefiles\ portion in the above.

In Windows Vista click on the Start button and copy the above command into the search box and then press the Enter key.


The problem and solution are similar to the above.

In Windows XP open the Run dialog as above but for DOWNLOADHOST type the following:

regsvr32 c:\progra~1\msn\msncorefiles\msnmetal.dll

This re-registers the msnmetal.dll file and should solve the problem. If you are signed into MSN, sign out and then sign back in and everything should work OK (though, some reports are that the error still pops up even though the downloading will work — this may not be all that is needed).

If you have installed the MSN software in other than the default directory, then substitute that path for the c:\progra~1\msn\msncorefiles\ portion in the above.

In Windows Vista click on the Start button and copy the above command into the search box and then press the Enter key.

Comments from Original Article:

Said this on 2009-06-09 At 10:09 pm
It worked… Thxs I get this problem from time to time and usually have to remove and reinstall MSN. This works fine thxs again

Carol Porter
Said this on 2009-07-17 At 08:27 am
I cannot open my emails. Can someone there fix them
Said this on 2009-07-17 At 02:27 pm
In reply to #3
If the problem is a MAILHOST problem then read the page above and do what it says. If not, then certainly not with the (lack of) information provided.

Said this on 2009-07-18 At 10:14 pm
i tried all your solutions for the “mailhost” problem. even uninstalled then installed msn, plus entered all your directions about the commands. but, needless to say I still have the same problem, nothing was resolved.

i ceratainly would appreciate it if someone could be kind enough to send me some feedback as to how I can solve this problem!

thank you,
Said this on 2009-07-18 At 10:28 pm
In reply to #5
I’m sorry but the fix described here has fixed all MAILHOST problems reported to date using either Windows XP or Vista. If you are still getting the MAILHOST message then I have no other suggestions. Reinstalling MSN was the only other solution and you say you’ve done that. I have to assume that your installation is in the standard folder as shown above or that you modified the command appropriately if not and that you tried running the command as an administrator for the system* (usually should not be needed but can never hurt). If you are getting some other error then that would be beyond the scope of this article and not using MSN myself, I could only refer you to their support. Sorry.

[*To run a command prompt program as administrator open Start | Programs | Accessories and right click Command Prompt. Select Run as Administrator from the context menu. Then, type the command at the prompt.]

Said this on 2009-10-20 At 04:15 pm
Thanks for the workaround. It is very useful.

Said this on 2009-12-26 At 08:42 pm
I tried this, but it didn’t solve my problem, I can’t even see my download manager, and/ or my windows crash when a program goes to the download page. I only see the upper part of the page. Then a send error report to msn comes on, so I send but the problem doesnt’ get repaired?? Any help out there for this. Jim

Said this on 2010-05-01 At 06:34 pm
regsvr32 c:\progra~1\msn\msncorefiles\msnmetal.dll……how do i get this to work with WIN-7?


Said this on 2010-10-25 At 10:55 am
I had an error thst said: MSN5.mail view and using the first recommended phrase worked immediately. Thank you for this free repair. It is greatly appreciated.

regsvr32 c:\progra~1\msn\msncorefiles\mailui.dll

Ron Bastian
Said this on 2011-02-12 At 12:56 am
I’am an old guy and very new to computers and your website to me is very best site that I have ever got the right answer the very first time. thank you so much Ron Bastian

Erin Stevens
Said this on 2011-05-21 At 09:37 pm
FINALLY, after months of trying to fix my mailhost problem your FREE repair did the trick – IMMEADIATELY too! I can’t thank you enough…

What is a Country Code and Top Level Domain?

The last characters on a domain name are usually either a country code (e.g., .ac, .br, etc.) or a top level domain (e.g., .com, .org, etc.). This page describes the various values available.

Domain names around the world often have a country code associated with them. To see where these are from take a look at the list below. The links are to the latest WHOIS information for the top level domain.

First Level National Domains For Internet Addresses

Top Level Domains

More Information

Not here? Check the IANA siteWeb Link.