- Hits: 7742
Did you Know?
There are some things that defy a category yet once in a while they would be useful to know. This page will list some of them. The best way to find what you need is to search - either with the search on this site or Google, or Bing!
- Add to List of Files to open in Office
- Delete Auto-Complete entries
- Stop auto-insertion of Hyperlinks in Word
- Copy the current screen
- F2 and F5
- Can't copy or delete a file
- Quick Launch
- File Types - opening files with a double-click
- Reading other formats - Powerpoint, Works
- Make copying a file to a new location fast - expand the use of "Send To"
- Printing a directory
- Re-activating Windows after a re-install
- Changing the icon for a folder
- Stop big downloads in your e-mails
- Why does an attachment (in Outlook) show in the text body instead of in the attachment box?
- Is there some way to disable the infernal "insert" key?
- Test memory (Vista only)
- View embedded photos in Outlook 2007
- Google biases their results
- Surge Suppressors - do they work?
All Office Programs (Vista and XP) - When you need to open a file, you get a dialog and on the left of the list of files is a pane listing possible folders. You can add to that list of Files to Open as follows: Open the Open File dialog, then navigate until the desired folder is in the window. Then go to top right hand corner of the dialog box to "Tools". In there, select "Add to my Places (or Favorites) ". To remove it again, on the left pane, right click the folder you just added and select remove.
Internet Explorer saves all entries you've entered into the browser address field as well as certain forms. This is to help autocomplete the entry next time you want the same thing. But sometimes you'd prefer to delete these autocomplete entries. To do so, in Internet Explorer, select Tools>Internet Options>Content>Autocomplete and select the desired option(s).
Similarly, Outlook (2003 and 2007 only) (not Outlook Express) saves names you've typed into the address field and you may want to re-set or delete these names. First be sure you can see hidden files. Do this in My Computer - go to Tools>Folder options>View and check "Show Hidden files and Folders". Then Search for file Outlook.nk2. It will typically have a path like this: C:\Documents & Settings\<User_name>\Application data\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.nk2. Rename it as something else (e.g. Outlook_nk2.bak) to allow you to reverse this process if desired. A new Outlook.nk2 will be created next time you start Outlook. (Note that if you have more than one user, you may find more than one copy of this file.) The saving of names will then be re-set.
For Outlook 2010, go to File>Options>Mail - then under Send Messages, click "Empty Auto-complete list".
Auto Insertion of HyperLinks
Microsoft wants you to use their programs (e.g. Word) to make a web page although there are many people (I'm one) who do not want to do that. So Microsoft has made it a default in Word that if you type something that looks like a web site or e-mail address, it will automatically turn it into a hyperlink. For example, type www.cobourginternet.com and you'll automatically get www.cobourginternet.com. To correct this for each case, highlight the unwanted new hyperlink, go to Insert>Insert Hyperlink and select Remove Link. To stop it happening forever more, go to Tools>AutoCorrect Options and select the AutoFormat as you Type tab. Then uncheck Internet and Network paths with Hyperlinks under Replace as you Type. The same process applies for Excel. Another way to eliminate hyperlinks on a one time basis is to use the paste format function - paste an otherwise identical format with no hyperlinks.
Copy your current screen for saving or printing. Press Print Screen - this copies the screen to the clipboard. After doing this, use "Paste" into (e.g.) Word to get a copy of what the entire screen looks like including Windows headers etc. You can then print it. Since it is a picture, you can open the picture tool-bar and crop or do other simple edits. You can also paste into a photo editing program like PhotoShop - so no picture can be truly immune from getting a copy on the Internet - that's why people with photos to sell don't put high resolution versions on the internet! If you have Windows 7 or Vista, you can use the snippet tool which allows you to select what you want to copy.
F2 - Rename a file (instead of right click, select Rename, then left click)
F5 - Refresh the screen - sometimes, the screen does not show the results of what you just did - so try pressing F5. For the Internet, you may need to use CTRL F5 to get a refresh.
This could be because it does not exist - if it's still there after you press F5 then there is some other problem. Another possibility is that the file name including its path is too long. A file name including its path must be no longer than 255 characters. This length is quite possible if you have deep directories in My Documents. For example, the file Tricks could have a name plus path of: C:\Documents and Settings\User name\My Documents\Windows Tricks\Tricks which is 70 characters already! To fix the problem, delete some characters in the file or folder name(s) or move it higher in the folder tree.
If you get an error message that says the file does not exist, even though it's listed, then you need to go into DOS - now known as the command prompt. First open a command prompt and use the following commands to navigate through your directories to find the file then delete them.
Use these commands:
- dir - lists files and directories (folders)
- dir /x - list files in 8 character DOS format and not the long version you use in Windows
- cd <folder name> - change up to named directory (folder) [Substitute the actual folder name for <folder name> ]
- cd.. - go down one folder in the tree
- del <File name> - delete a file but it must be in DOS format [max 8 characters] - use dir /x to see these names
- RMDIR <Folder name> - delete specified empty folder
- RMDIR /s <Folder name> - delete specified folder - even if it has content
You must have admin rights and the file must not have read-only attributes.
In Windows XP and Vista, along the bottom and in the toolbar, are two groups of small icons. On the right is the system tray that is added during the default Windows XP installation. This includes the date, anti-virus spyware icon, a speaker icon to allow volume adjustment and possibly many others. On the left, next to the Start button are the optional Quick Launch icons. To activate Quick Launch, hover your mouse over Start and left click Properties. Select the Task Bar tab and check the Quick Launch box. Now, next to the Start button, there will be a collection of small icons that are mostly shortcuts. If you don't want some of them, right click them and select delete. To add something, "right click" drag a desktop icon to this space. If there is not enough room (or too much room), right click any free space on the task bar and uncheck "Lock Task bar". Then drag the divider bar left or right. While you are there, you can also drag the top of the tool bar up to make it wider if you'd like. When satisfied, right click any free space on the task bar and check "Lock Task bar".
The Quick Launch area is very useful for programs that you often use - e.g. e-mail, Internet browser, Word - or even particular folders. One icon that will be there when you first set up Quick Launch is the Show Desktop icon. Very handy for minimizing all open applications. If you inadvertently delete this icon but want it back, go to this Microsoft site for instructions on how to restore it.
The file type is determined by its extension - that's the 3 letters after the dot in a file name. By default, Windows hides extensions but you can change this. Go to My Computer>Tools>Folder Options and select the View tab. Uncheck Hide extensions for known file types.
If someone sends you a file and your computer cannot open it when you double click, it's because your computer does not recognize the file "type". For example, information.doc has a .doc extension and is a WORD document.
If you get a file like this and double click it, WORD will be used to open it. If you get a new program, it will automatically update this list but you can modify this if you like per the next paragraph.
Changing File Types
If you want to change the program that opens files with a particular extension e.g. .jpg, in Windows XP, go to Windows Explorer (or My Computer), then to Tools then Folder Options. Then select the File Types tab. Go down the list on the left till you find .jpg. Click on that row then select Change. Choose the desired program from the list. Then click OK. In future, whenever you double click a file with a .jpg extension, it will open with the program you just selected.
In Windows 7, go to your Control Panel and open Default Programs and choose Set Associations to access the same screen.
But what if you come across a program that you can't open and you don't even know what program will open it? You need a very large list of all file types and information about them. Fortunately there is a web site that does this. (More on this subject here). When you find the extension, you can then search the Internet for the program and decide if you want it.
There are times that you would like to copy a file from where it is to another location. The (fastest way without this hint) is to select the file(s), right click, select copy, then navigate to the location you want, right click then paste. But if you select a file (or files) then right click, in the menu you'll see Send To. This menu includes a range of destinations including My Documents and Mail Recipient. Click one (e.g. My Documents) and a copy of the selected file(s) will be sent to My Documents.
While these are good, more would be better. In my case, I often copy files to another computer on a small network. You can add such a location by adding a shortcut to it to your SendTo Folder. First find your SendTo folder - it will be in your "Documents and Settings/User Name Folder" (where User Name is your name) possibly hidden (more on hidden files) - then open the folder. If you have a problem use Windows Search to find SendTo. You'll see files corresponding to the menu seen when right clicking. Now right-click the destination folder and drag it to this SendTo folder and drop, then select Create shortcut here. Rename if you like. Now when you select a file and right click you can send a copy to this location. You can repeat this as often as you like.
Printing Directory Contents
(Directory is another name for Folder)
To print a list of the files and folders in a directory, you first need to make a small batch file. Go to Notepad and type the following - exactly as shown complete with spaces etc:
dir %1 /-p /o:gn > "%temp%\dir.txt"
notepad /p "%temp%\dir.txt"
Navigate to the SendTo Folder (see previous item) and save the file as Print Directory with a .bat extension, that is as: Print Directory.bat
To use, right click on any folder (directory), go to SendTo, select Print Directory.bat and the list will be printed on your default printer. If you want it edited or otherwise want it as a soft copy, the file is kept until you next use this feature, is called dir.txt and is located in (XP) Documents and Settings/<User Name>/Local Settings/Temp/ or (Win7) C:\Users\<User name>\AppData\Local\Temp
If you ever have a major problem with Windows and end up re-installing Windows, then you'll have to re-activate it unless Windows can find a particular file. To make sure this happens, before destroying your old copy of Windows off your hard drive, backup this file: c:\windows\system32\wpa.dbl. Then after you finish installing a new copy of Windows XP, all you have to do is restore this file. Be sure to back it up to somewhere that will be available - e.g on a USB stick.
Note: If you change any of your hardware before copying this file back to your new installation of Windows XP, you may still have to reactivate.
If you want to put a shortcut on your desktop to a folder you often use, you probably know to right-drag (drag while right-clicking) the folder to the desktop then select Create Shortcuts here. But the icon you end up with is uninformative and boring. So you can then right-click, select Properties and Customize. But when you choose Change Icon, the choice is poor. You might have a picture you'd like to use but it first must be the right size and the right format. Use any picture editing program to crop and reduce your desired image to 32 pixels square (for small icons as used in Windows Explorer, use 16 pixels square). Then convert the format to Icon format - .ico extension. There are several programs that will do that - one good free one is Irfanview. To convert, open your 32 pixel square picture in Irfanview, then Save as "Windows Icon File". Save this file in a location you can remember, go back to Customize>Change Icon, browse to this file and select.
In Outlook Express, create a rule: Select Tools>Message Rules>Mail>Modify, and then scroll through the conditions and check Where the message size is more than size. In the Select actions for your rule menu, scroll to and check Do not Download it from the server. (Unfortunately, you'll never know that the person sent you an e-mail.) In the Rule Description box, click the size link, set the maximum allowed message size, and click OK twice. About 300KB would be suitable.
In Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007, choose Tools>Options, select the Mail Setup tab, click Send/Receive>Edit, and check Download complete item including attachments and Download only headers for items larger than xx KB (where xx is a number you pick from a drop-down menu). Be sure to check the box next to Receive mail items.
In Outlook 2010, go to Send/Receive Tab, click small arrow beside Send/Receive Groups, choose Define Send/Receive Groups, Select Group (e.g. All Accounts), click edit. To limit downloaded email size, choose Download only headers for items larger than (e.g.) 300KB.
In Outlook 2003 and 2007 (not Outlook Express), when you insert an attachment, it will normally go in the attachment box immediately below the address boxes. However, if you have selected Rich text format instead of HTML or Plain Text, it will go in the body of the e-mail. Very confusing. In 2010, it works like you expect. Attachments are attached; use Insert Picture to put into the body.
The insert key converts typing from inserting to overtype and back. If you never use Over-ride except accidentally, you will likely wish it did not exist. Here is one way to "turn it off": Go to WORD 2003, click Tools>Customize> Options>Keyboard. In the Categories box (left side) select All Commands. In the commands box (right side) select Overtype. In the "Current keys" box, highlight Insert and click Remove. In Word 2007 and 2010, Insert is disabled by default. To restore (why??), you can go to Word Options, then under Advanced check Use the Insert key to control overtype mode.
If you suspect your RAM is faulty, you can test it (Vista only). Click Start, type memory in the search field and then click Memory Diagnostics Tool. Takes a while but a successful test takes a load off your mind! Windows 7 has a different tool that is also accessed via typing memory in the search box.
Sometimes people will send you photos embedded in the body of an email instead of as an attachment (I know, bad practice!!). And sometimes they don't arrive - you just see a line down the left side and you see that the email size is quite large. Despite Outlook's instructions on how to see "downloaded images", nothing you change makes the picture visible - so how can you see it? If you click on the menu bar item other actions and select view in browser, it will be shown in Internet Explorer (even if that's not your default browser). Then you can right click to save or whatever. It will be a .bmp file but at least you can open it and change if you want.
Google is continually trying to improve their results. One of the things they do is to adjust the search results so that it reflects what Google thinks you want. For example, it knows you are in Cobourg, Canada so it will have a bias to Canadian sites and even sites near Cobourg. They also look at your history of surfing and try to get what they decide you want.
Google does have options to manage what they call "search history personalization" although they don't advertise it very well. There are two cases:
- If you have a Google account - you have one if you have a Gmail account, use a Google calendar and perhaps other Google products. If you have an account, sign-in and go to the Dashboard. One of the options is to disable web history. Mine is set to disabled.
- If you don't have a Google account go to the Google home page - www.google.com and click the small gear icon in the top right corner. One of the items in the drop down menu is Web History. That page allows you to pause or remove web history. Whatever you choose will be stored as a cookie on your computer.
There are three types of surge:
- Direct hits on your house or very close power lines – in this case, anything connected to a power outlet will likely get fried irrespective of any surge protection. The only protection against these is to unplug anything vulnerable.
- Mild surges caused by remote lightning hits or large motors starting nearby or electrical faults on the grid. Cheap surge protectors would help with these but then nothing is likely to be damaged anyway. So surge protectors are a waste of time and money for these cases.
- In between cases – e.g. a lightning strike on a power line a half mile away or on the house two doors down. Power will likely surge and some poorly designed equipment might lose a power supply but not much more. A good quality surge protector would likely help (but no guarantees) in this case but would only protect once – after that, they become useless. The problem is, in most cases you won’t know that it operated.
I use a UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) but since I have a limited budget, it’s only really good for cases 2 and 3. In case 3, it might get damaged but I’d know since it would stop supplying power. I don’t use any other surge protectors.