Google Search missing from IE search providers list

Internet Explorer uses Microsoft Live / Bing as its default search provider, which is nowhere near as good as Google Search. It should be pretty easy and straightforward to add Google Search and make it the default search provider: just click on a little arrow next to the search box, click on "Find More Providers..." and install your favourite search engine selecting "Make this my default search provider".

Intentionally or not, but in some instances Microsoft doesn't make it easy to find and install Google Search as your search provider.
When you click on "Find More Providers..." Internet Explorer loads a IE Gallery Search Providers page. In some localized versions of this page Google Search is simply missing from the list.
For example, if you are in the UK, Search Providers URL is and at the time of writing this article Google search is not there.

To find Google Search simply change gb bit in the URL to en to load a generic non localised version. Full URL would look

Change OS partition drive letter prior to Windows installation

Although Windows XP can work with OS partition placed on D: E: or any other drive, it's normally recommender to place it on the usual C: drive. You shouldn't change system partition letter after Windows installation therefore you need to ensure that system partition has correct letter during the installation.

If you have multiple partitions on your hard drive in some cases Windows XP setup may mark your intended OS partition as D: and some other (e.g. Recovery) partition as C: (This often happened to me wile downgrading DELL Latitude laptops from Windows Vista or 7 to Windows XP). This is not a problem if you want to delete all partition and install Windows on a blank hard drive. However if you want to keep your Recovery partition, there is no way to fix this inside Windows XP setup.

Normally Windows XP setup sets C: letter for a partition which is flagged as active or boot. So if your Recovery partition has been assigned letter C: it's probably marked as a boot partition (this doesn't mean that Windows will necessary try to boot from it). You can fix it using one of many bootable partition managers.

Free opensource gparted will do the job just fine:
Boot from gparted live CD.
Right click on your Recovery partition > Manage Flags > unselect “boot”
Right click on your OS partition > Manage Flags > select “boot”
After this Windows XP setup should set your OS partition as C:

Be aware that if you already have some OS installed gparted may make it unbootable. This can be fixed, however because you are planning to reinstalled OS anyway, it shouldn't be a problem.

Windows XP installation

explorer.exe very high RAM / Processor usage

There could be many reasons why explorer.exe consumes high amount or memory. This particular issue has been reported on Windows Vista and Windows Small Business Server 2008 machines and is caused by Windows Search functionality.

If you click on START and type anything in the "Start Search" box, explorer.exe RAM usage starts increasing. This doesn't stop even after Start menu is closed and eventually explorer.exe consumes pretty much all remaining RAM. Some users also report high CPU usage. Killing explorer.exe and starting it again fixes the problem until the next time search box is used.

To fix this:

Right click on Start > Properties > Start Menu - Customize.
Scroll down to Search files and select Don't search for files

Windows Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008)
Windows Vista


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