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This blog is a cross between a scrapbook and a diary. I hope you find something here of interest. If you’d like to keep up with things as I see them then you can subscribe to my news feed by clicking the icon below:

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Please note that any reviews/recommendations are based solely on my own experience and does not constitute a guarantee that you will have the same experience. Please do your own research before parting with any money - the risk is all yours!

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facebook-icon-28x28.pngVisit my Briticiser Facebook Page to keep up with things here - lots of reviews of stuff I’ve really used and also all kinds of helpful computer tips with a heavy bias towards SAVING YOU TIME.

How to quickly toggle sharing of a computer’s folders on a network

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170816-130524

There may come a time when you want to only make a computer’s shared folders available to other users temporarily. An example of this would be if you wanted to periodically back-up your server to another computer in which case you’d need to turn sharing on, on that computer, and then turn it off again when you’ve performed the back up.

Please note that this works on Windows XP (long live XP!) and using an old computer for back up purposes is a great idea - because we all do back-ups, right?

As you can see below I have two icons on my target computer’s desktop which are just shortcuts to two batch files. Batch files are just ordinary text files but saved with a .bat extension instead of the more usual .txt and the text they contain is a special command which will be interpretted and executed by the computer (instead of simply opening the file in a text editor).

Batch files are very useful things once you get used to how they work!

Shortcuts to batch files

As you can see above my shortcuts point to a couple of batch files which I have stored in the “Batch Commands” folder which is sandwiched between them.

Here are the respective commands I used in those batch files - just a single line of text needed at the top of the page in both cases:

Disable Sharing.bat

netsh firewall set service type=fileandprint mode=disable profile=all

Enable Sharing.bat

netsh firewall set service type=fileandprint mode=enable profile=all

The easiest way to create the shortcuts is to open that folder in Windows Explorer and simply right click on each file in turn, and choose “Create shortcut”, then copy the shortcuts to the desktop where you can right-click to rename them or to change their icons via the right-click “Properties” option.

Want to start backing up or synchronising your files but don’t know where to begin?

For anyone interested, scared, nervous, or just plain lazy I use Cordes Development’s “Leanware Backer” to perform my back-ups. Other programs will do much the same (some probably better) but Backer is easy to use, reliable, and definitely NOT bloated with features you’ll never need. It will also allow you to synchronise files between computers/flash cards, which I’ve used to good effect before when I’ve needed to work on files using my work computer and my home computer, and carried an SDHC card around in my pocket which I synchronised with those machines both before and after doing my work.

I find this better than cloud computing because you know that no-one else can access you files and, also, you’re not reliant on having a stable internet connection.

You can try Backer before you buy but, for just EUR 39, this program is truly excellent value for money and will be all you need for… ever. Download Leanware Backer here:

http://www.cordes-dev.com/english/trial.html

Unfortunately Backer is a Windows-only program so anyone using a different OS is out of luck.

Drawing version comparison made easy

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry170711-120251

Back in the olden days (when the internet was in short trousers) I used to create animated GIFs for my web pages using a great little program called Microsoft GIF Animator.

It’s somehow gratifying to learn that this great and tiny application is still available and runs flawlessly on my 64 Bit Windows 7 computer and I recently used it to compare old and new versions of a drawing, to easily see what’s been changed…

Using an animated GIF to compare drawing versions

Of course, this technique can be used for may other purposes - and it’s really just a variation on how astronomers use a blink comparator to detect movement of celestial bodies through the relatively fixed background of stars.

Microsoft GIF Animator is a single standalone file - no installation required - which is very easy to use. The hard work is getting your comparison files to be the same size and have the features all line up, but this is quite easy to do when working with drawings.

You can download the file here and also see some basic instructions, but the program comes with a built-in help file which which tell you all you need to know to get started.

Also here is a web page with an easy to follow tutorial:

http://gwanderson.server101.com/Computer101/gifAnimate.htm

Animated GIFs aren’t difficult to do, and you don’t need to use some “magic” online generator to make them because this old Microsoft program will let you create some very complex animations, once you get to know it.

Cures ALL Windows problems since Vista

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161224-201602

winxpsp3packaging.jpg

Just saying…

Windows 10 Update Freezing Computer

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161107-001648

Windows 10 Logo When a monster update came through and installed itself on our Windows 10 laptop,  aside from suddenly getting annoyed to death by “Cortana” (some stupid Microsoft “help thing”, I think - not asked for nor desired, anyway) the laptop - a Dell - just started freezing up after a few minutes of use.

If this happens to you (and you could care less about ditching Cortana) then try this first before tearing your hair out. [Read More…]

Epson ITS L1300 A3+ USB Printer works with TP-Link TL-WPS510U Wireless Print Server

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161028-041004

I think the title above is descriptive enough to answer the question which I’ve seen many people asking about this printer. We bought one for the office today along with a wireless print server not knowing whether we could get them to work together or not, but the answer is a resounding YES! [Read More…]

Fix for Windows 10 Can’t Connect To This Network

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry161025-233719

The solution to this extremely annoying recurring problem which worked for me was this:

[Read More…]

Fix for no audio/sound via HDMI

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160829-132605

I have a recurring problem with my media PC dropping the HDMI audio output to my big Sony TV - and I keep forgetting how to fix it (because it’s quite a simple fix but it’s not that obvious how to do it).

Why this happens is anyone’s guess but, for some reason, the TV gets disconnected or disabled somehow - AND THEN HIDDEN in the choice of speakers when you click in the speaker icon in the system tray (where the clock is).

Here’s where I refreshed my memory but, although this says it is for Windows 10 it does also work just the same in Windows 7, which is what I have installed. You may find some additional solutions there, if this doesn’t work for you:

https://www.drivereasy.com/knowledge/fix-hdmi-monitor-has-no-sound-after-windows-10-upgrade/

I knew I had to right-click somewhere and get the Plackback Devices panel to show my TV as an option but I couldn’t remember where. Well, all you need to do is RIGHT click on a BLANK AREA of the panel (right-click on the speaker icon then choose “Playback devices” to show the panel, then see the picture below) and then make sure that both “Show Disabled Devices” and “Show Disconnected Devices” are checked.

This continues to solve the problem for me. I hope this has helped you too!

image

What’s THAT doing in Word 2010?

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160329-125122

Blast from the past error message in Word 2010

Add a new FlatPress Blog in Open Live Writer

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160121-165110

imageOpen Live Writer is the new open source version of Microsoft’s wonderful blogging tool Windows Live Writer, and users of the latter will feel VERY at home with the new open source version (as it’s pretty much the same thing!).

In my previous post I gave you my first impression of it - there was a slight hiccup when I tried to set it up with my first blog account, but here is how to add another blog account once you’re up and running. [Read More…]

Live Writer is now Open Source

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160120-174435

imageWindows Live Writer is/was a great blogging tool but Microsoft haven’t really supported it for some time now, so thanks to them for allowing it to become open source so it can be developed by the large community of users who love it to bits.

This is my first post using Open Live Writer on FlatPress and it was relatively easy to set up, but not so straightforward as it could have been… so here’s what FlatPress users may* need to know in order to get it working. [Read More…]

How to install a network printer WITHOUT administrator privileges

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160107-173447

There are lots of suggestions out there in “IT Professional Land” about how to provide your common or garden computer user with just enough privileges to allow them to install a printer.

The problem is that often it’s the computer user themselves who need to know how to do this WITHOUT involving their IT people who, more often than not, end up asking the question on a web forum and get mixed up in all sorts of conversations (and sometime arguments) about which is the best way to do it - wouldn’t it be great if there was a trick to it all? Well, try this one… [Read More…]

Review - Need for Speed: Collectors Series - Includes Underground 1, 2 and Most Wanted (PC DVD)

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160107-020643

Still great games but beware that Underground “needs help” to run on Windows 10

imageBeware that only Underground 2 and Most Wanted will work on Windows 10 - “Underground” appears to be too old for Microsoft’s liking and falls under the growing number of old games which use SafeDisc DRM (Digital Rights Management). Due to vulnerabilities with SafeDisc Microsoft did not include support for it in Windows 10, and have also disabled it via updates in previous versions of Windows (though there is a workaround to get your games to play in Windows 8/7 & Vista).

In case anyone has a problem installing one of the games after installing Most Wanted then you need to rename the Most Wanted game exe file in your Program Files folder from Speed.exe to something else (e.g. SpeedMW.exe) before trying to install the other game, otherwise the Underground installation program thinks that you already have Underground installed, showing you a “Play” option instead of “Install”. Just one star off for that little inconvenience.

No problem with the quality of the product supplied - excellent on that front, just beware if you have Windows 10 then you’ll only be able to play 2 of the 3 games without a little work (all three will install - but only 2 will play) unless you set your computer up to dual boot with (say) Windows XP to play your older games, or you hunt around for a no-cd crack (which is illegal, but it seems as if that’s what Microsoft are forcing genuine owners of these older games to do). If you do go down that route then you’ll probably have some success if you replace your installed game EXE file with for one suitable for NFS Underground Euro Version 1.4, if you bought this set from amazon uk, like I did* ;)

* note that although this is a “No CD” crack it DID ask me to insert Disc 2 into my computer, though when I did this it seems as though the DRM check was avoided and the game then played as normal.

Review - Windows 10 Home 32-bit/64-bit English International

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry160107-015235

A nice upgrade from Windows 7 - maybe not worthwhile if you have Windows 8

image Apart from some niggles running games I actually quite like Windows 10 - not enough to give up on good old XP Pro on my own computer just yet, but I upgraded my son’s Windows 7 machine and much preferred it. I’ve never used Windows 8 but if you’re happy enough with that then you may as well stick with it - especially if you own a few older games such as NFS Underground which use a particular type of Digital Rights Management because Microsoft have blocked these games from running in Windows 10.

If you’re not a gamer then Windows 10 offers a familiar-looking interface with a Start button. I first installed the free version a few months ago and, now that most of the teething troubles seem to be sorted out, I bought this and just used the serial number to activate the version I already had installed - the nice looking USB stick with Win 10 on it is still in the box but I did install my current version from a USB stick and it was very easy.

Aside from removing the Activation watermark from the screen the activation key also unlocks the customisation options which let you choose a profile picture and set a folder of pictures as your desktop wallpaper, etc. We could probably could have got by without activating it, but I bought this as a present and it’s nice to see a nice watermark-free screen with everything working as it should.

Beware that Windows Media Player doesn’t seem to be included in Windows 10 but I just downloaded and installed Media Player Classic which is part of the K-Lite Mega Codec Pack, which is my own favourite.

I also installed Office 2003 on Windows 10 64 bit and it runs perfectly, as do all the other programs I’ve installed (IrfanView, 7-Zip, Windows Live Writer, Opera 12, to name but a few).

How to repair/replace target paths in multiple desktop shortcuts

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry151215-142555

Shortcuts Search And Replace just saved me loads of time when I moved a whole folder structure from one computer to another, leaving me with hundreds of shortcuts all pointing to the wrong place.

It was simple to use (the program is self-contained so there’s no installation required) and I found and replaced a matching pattern in the Target Paths of about 350 shortcuts in less than a minute - fantastic, and well worth my small donation which went winging it’s way back to the author once I’d tried it out.

In addition to replacing a matching pattern in the target path this program will also check for dead links - it found 8 “potential troubles” with my shortcuts and flagged them with a helpful yellow warning triangle in the search results preview (a useful break in the process) so I could skip them during the replace operation.

Just one tip: for quickest results run this program directly on the machine where your shortcuts are stored - it will still work across a network, but it works a lot slower that way.

During my search on how to do this I saw lot’s of people struggling to write complex scripts of their own to achieve the same thing, but look no further as this little tool gets my full seal of approval:

http://jacquelin.potier.free.fr/ShortcutsSearchAndReplace/

Screenshot:

Shortcuts Search And Replace Interface

Windows shortcut files are a little more useful than I thought

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry151214-092353

But only a little. I create shortcuts using VBA all the time and - up till now - I thought that the only extra field which was possible to display information about the target was “Description”, so I was surprised to see a shortcut which I created manually (just in Windows Explorer) showing the title field from the target file. [Read More…]

How to add folder comments in Windows 7

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry151103-120033

Adding a description to a folder so you can easily see what that folder contains is one of the greatest features that Microsoft have left out. It was possible using Windows XP by using a 3rd party program called HobComment and there’s a bit more information about this in my earlier post on this subject here:

How to restore file tooltip popups in Windows 7

Sadly this doesn’t seem to work under Windows 7 but it can be used WITH Windows 7 - meaning that any comments created by HobComment can be viewed on ANY Windows 7 machine (they show up in the native Windows Explorer “Comments” field, if you choose to display that) - which is actually an improvement on XP as the only way to see those comments previously was by having HobComment installed on your machine: other network users couldn’t see them.

I have the option of either using an XP machine on my network, or Windows Virtual PC on my Win7 laptop (running virtual XP) and I have HobComment running there.

This is read from a Desktop.ini file which HobComment creates in the folder. I’ve tried just copying one of these to a new folder and editing it with a new folder description but that doesn’t work - I need to go into an XP machine running HobComment and confirm it there so it can do whatever magic it does to make it appear.

The text in the Desktop.ini file is simply 2 lines like this:

[.ShellClassInfo]
Infotip=YOUR FOLDER DESCRIPTION HERE

I’m sure someone out there must be able to glue all of this together somehow and make something similar to HobComment for Windows 7. Whoever you are “good luck, we’re all counting on you”!

Can’t delete or rename a folder in Windows 7? Try this

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150907-162937

Occasionally you may receive a Folder In Use message such as “the action can’t be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program” when you try to rename or delete/move a folder in Windows 7.

folder-error-msg

There are a number of suggestions out there which might work for you, but try my suggestion first and you may be pleasantly surprised. [Read More…]

How to migrate Windows user profile settings to another account

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150607-000408

User Profile Wizard 3.9 by ForensiT is a simple to use tool to migrate your Windows user profile from one account to another. I used it on a computer with multiple accounts which I decided I just wanted one account left, but wanted to use all of the settings (desktop, programs list, etc.) from one of the other accounts. This program did the job - easily.

For more information and to download this great little program (the Personal Edition of User Profile Wizard is free to download) click below:

http://www.forensit.com/domain-migration.html

Excel 2010 Solutions to the Clipboard Cannot Be Emptied Problem

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150514-124113

In Excel 2010 you may run into an annoying problem trying to copy things to the clipboard:

clipboard-cannot-be-emptied

The solution which worked for me was to open the Windows Snipping tool:

Start > All Programs > Accessories > Snipping Tool

then click the “Options” button and uncheck “Always copy snips to the clipboard”, then close the Snipping Tool again.

Credit for this tip goes to user dawsopd at the MrExcel.com forum - you can also find a few other suggestions there if this doesn’t work for you:

http://www.mrexcel.com/forum/excel-questions/506582-excel-2010-pop-up-message-clipboard-cannot-emptied.html

Here are some other things you can try - I must admit that I still got the message occasionally after trying the fix I mentioned above, but the first solution on the following page (simply press the Esc key to deselect any cells which were already selected when you try to copy another cell) seemed to also work for me.

Fix for Cannont Empty the Clipboard in Office (yeah, I know it’s spelt wrong… but that’s how it is)

The save failed due to out of memory or disk space

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry150507-125645

For anyone who has a problem trying to save a Word 97-2003 Document (this may apply to other Office file types too) in Office 2010, specifically where you receive a message saying “The save failed due to out of memory or disk space” then there is an easy fix for this. [Read More…]

Support our caregiving

If you found anything on this site of use, interesting, or even mildly amusing then please consider dropping a few pennies in the jar to help us to take care of our disabled son who contracted encephalitis in 2007 at the age of 6 and who is now confined to a wheelchair. He is getting bigger as his mother and I get older, imagine that, please. Every penny we collect goes towards his upkeep, and towards his future care requirements.

Thank you.

Support our caregiving

Support our caregiving

If you found anything on this site of use, interesting, or even mildly amusing then please consider dropping a few pennies in the jar to help us to take care of our disabled son who contracted encephalitis in 2007 at the age of 6 and who is now confined to a wheelchair. He is getting bigger as his mother and I get older, imagine that, please. Every penny we collect goes towards his upkeep, and towards his future care requirements.

Thank you.