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:
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!
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…]
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…]
The solution to this extremely annoying recurring problem which worked for me was this:
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:
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!
Open 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…]
Windows 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…]
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…]
Still great games but beware that Underground “needs help” to run on Windows 10
Beware 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.
A nice upgrade from Windows 7 - maybe not worthwhile if you have Windows 8
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).
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:
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…]
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:
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:
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”!
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.
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…]
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:
In Excel 2010 you may run into an annoying problem trying to copy things to the clipboard:
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:
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)
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…]
If, like me, you’re less than impressed with the latest versions of Acrobat Professional (I have Acrobat XI 64 bit installed) and wish you could go back to good old 32 bit Acrobat 7 with it’s dockable toolbars, batch processes which run really quickly, and overall familiarity with a product which you use on a daily basis, then here is some good news… for some of you.
As Acrobat 7 is no longer supported by Adobe they’ve decided to give it away (activation key and all) for FREE to qualifying users and, while you can’t install this directly in Windows 7 64 bit you can install it from within Windows XP Mode running in Windows Virtual PC on a 64 bit version of Windows 7.
While you still suffer from a few problems caused by Adobe not fully supporting 64 bit in so far as you can’t easily see thumbnail previews of you PDFs in Windows Explorer or (inexcusable) the PDF document PROPERTIES in Windows Explorer, there are ways around these problems. [Read More…]
*Updated September 2015*
Batch processing of PDF files was a powerful feature of previous versions of Acrobat Professional. Since the release of Acrobat X Adobe have renamed batch processing as “Actions”. While these are just as easy to set up and retain much - if not all - of the functionality of the previous versions there is one major problem with Actions - they are incredibly SLOW TO RUN, in comparison with the good old batch processes.
For those who are either stuck with Acrobat X+ or who are perfectly happy with the new interface then this article explains how to set up an Action to add the file name and page number to a whole folder full of PDF files. If you’d like to learn how to set up a batch process in earlier versions of Acrobat Professional then click here for my earlier article on how to do that. [Read More…]