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  • Add the Recycle Bin to Start Menu in Windows 7

    - by Matthew Guay
    Have you ever tried to open the Recycle Bin by searching for “recycle bin” in the Start menu search, only to find nothing?  Here’s a quick trick that will let you find the Recycle Bin directly from your Windows Start menu search. The Start menu search may be the best timesaver ever added to Windows.  In fact, we use it so much that it seems painful to manually search for a program when using Windows XP or older versions of Windows.  You can easily find files, folders, programs and more through the Start menu search in both Vista and Windows 7. However, one thing you cannot find is the recycle bin; if you enter this in the start menu search it will not find it. Here’s how to add the Recycle Bin to your Start menu search. What to do To access the Recycle Bin from the Start menu search, we need to add a shortcut to the start menu.  Windows includes a personal Start menu folder, and an All Users start menu folder which all users on the computer can see.  This trick only works in the personal Start menu folder. Open up an Explorer window (Simply click the Computer link in the start menu), click the white part of the address bar, and, enter the following (substitute your username for your_user_name) and hit Enter. C:\Users\your_user_name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu Now, right-click in the folder, select New, and then click Shortcut. In the location box, enter the following: explorer.exe shell:RecycleBinFolder When you’ve done this, click Next. Now, enter a name for the shortcut.  You can enter Recycle Bin like the standard shortcut, or you could name it something else such as Trash…if that’s easier for you to remember.  Click Finish when your done. By default it will have a folder icon.  Let’s switch that to the standard Recycle Bin icon.  Right-click on the new shortcut and click Properties. Click Change Icon… Type the following in the “Look for icons in this file:” box, and press the Enter key on your keyboard: %SystemRoot%\system32\imageres.dll Now, scroll and find the Recycle Bin icon and click Ok. Click Ok in the previous dialog, and now your Recycle Bin shortcut has the correct icon.   You can even have multiple shortcuts with different names, so when you searched either Recycle Bin or Trash it would come up in the Start menu.  To do that, simply repeat these directions, and enter another name of your choice at the prompt.  Here we have both a Recycle Bin and a Trash icon. Now, when you enter Recycle Bin (or trash, depending on what you chose) in your Start menu search, you will see it at the top of your Start menu.  Simply press Enter or click on the icon to open the Recycle Bin.   This trick will work in Windows Vista too!  Simply follow these same directions, and you can add the Recycle Bin to your Vista Start menu and find it via search. This is a simple trick, but may make it  much easier for you to open your Recycle Bin directly from your Windows Vista or 7 Start menu search.  If you’re using Windows 7, you can also check out our directions on how to Add the Recycle Bin to the Taskbar in Windows 7. Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips Hide, Delete, or Destroy the Recycle Bin Icon in Windows 7 or VistaDisable Deletion of the Recycle Bin in Windows VistaHide the Recycle Bin Icon Text on Windows VistaAdd the Recycle Bin to the Taskbar in Windows 7Resize the Recycle Bin in XP TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips Revo Uninstaller Pro Registry Mechanic 9 for Windows PC Tools Internet Security Suite 2010 PCmover Professional StockFox puts a Lightweight Stock Ticker in your Statusbar Explore Google Public Data Visually The Ultimate Excel Cheatsheet Convert the Quick Launch Bar into a Super Application Launcher Automate Tasks in Linux with Crontab Discover New Bundled Feeds in Google Reader

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  • Integrate Nitro PDF Reader with Windows 7

    - by Matthew Guay
    Would you like a lightweight PDF reader that integrates nicely with Office and Windows 7?  Here we look at the new Nitro PDF Reader, a nice PDF viewer that also lets you create and markup PDF files. Adobe Reader is the de-facto PDF viewer, but it only lets you view PDFs and not much else.  Additionally, it doesn’t fully integrate with 64-bit editions of Vista and Windows 7.  There are many alternate PDF readers, but Nitro PDF Reader is a new entry into this field that offers more features than most PDF readers.  From the creators of the popular free PrimoPDF printer, the new Reader lets you create PDFs from a variety of file formats and markup existing PDFs with notes, highlights, stamps, and more in addition to viewing PDFs.  It also integrates great with Windows 7 using the Office 2010 ribbon interface. Getting Started Download the free Nitro PDF Reader (link below) and install as normal.  Nitro PDF Reader has separate versions for 32 & 64-bit editions of Windows, so download the correct one for your computer. Note:  Nitro PDF Reader is still in Beta testing, so only install if you’re comfortable with using beta software. On first run, Nitro PDF Reader will ask if you want to make it the default PDF viewer.  If you don’t want to, make sure to uncheck the box beside Always perform this check to keep it from opening this prompt every time you use it. It will also open an introductory PDF the first time you run it so you can quickly get acquainted with its features. Windows 7 Integration One of the first things you’ll notice is that Nitro PDF Reader integrates great with Windows 7.  The ribbon interface fits right in with native applications such as WordPad and Paint, as well as Office 2010. If you set Nitro PDF Reader as your default PDF viewer, you’ll see thumbnails of your PDFs in Windows Explorer. If you turn on the Preview Pane, you can read full PDFs in Windows Explorer.  Adobe Reader lets you do this in 32 bit versions, but Nitro PDF works in 64 bit versions too. The PDF preview even works in Outlook.  If you receive an email with a PDF attachment, you can select the PDF and view it directly in the Reading Pane.  Click the Preview file button, and you can uncheck the box at the bottom so PDFs will automatically open for preview if you want.   Now you can read your PDF attachments in Outlook without opening them separately.  This works in both Outlook 2007 and 2010. Edit your PDFs Adobe Reader only lets you view PDF files, and you can’t save data you enter in PDF forms.  Nitro PDF Reader, however, gives you several handy markup tools you can use to edit your PDFs.  When you’re done, you can save the final PDF, including information entered into forms. With the ribbon interface, it’s easy to find the tools you want to edit your PDFs. Here we’ve highlighted text in a PDF and added a note to it.  We can now save these changes, and they’ll look the same in any PDF reader, including Adobe Reader. You can also enter new text in PDFs.  This will open a new tab in the ribbon, where you can select basic font settings.  Select the Click To Finish button in the ribbon when you’re finished editing text.   Or, if you want to use the text or pictures from a PDF in another application, you can choose to extract them directly in Nitro PDF Reader.  Create PDFs One of the best features of Nitro PDF Reader is the ability to create PDFs from almost any file.  Nitro adds a new virtual printer to your computer that creates PDF files from anything you can print.  Print your file as normal, but select the Nitro PDF Creator (Reader) printer. Enter a name for your PDF, select if you want to edit the PDF properties, and click Create. If you choose to edit the PDF properties, you can add your name and information to the file, select the initial view, encrypt it, and restrict permissions. Alternately, you can create a PDF from almost any file by simply drag-and-dropping it into Nitro PDF Reader.  It will automatically convert the file to PDF and open it in a new tab in Nitro PDF. Now from the File menu you can send the PDF as an email attachment so anyone can view it. Make sure to save the PDF before closing Nitro, as it does not automatically save the PDF file.   Conclusion Nitro PDF Reader is a nice alternative to Adobe Reader, and offers some features that are only available in the more expensive Adobe Acrobat.  With great Windows 7 integration, including full support for 64-bit editions, Nitro fits in with the Windows and Office experience very nicely.  If you have tried out Nitro PDF Reader leave a comment and let us know what you think. Link Download Nitro PDF Reader Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips Install Adobe PDF Reader on Ubuntu EdgySubscribe to RSS Feeds in Chrome with a Single ClickChange Default Feed Reader in FirefoxFix for Windows Explorer Folder Pane in XP Becomes Grayed OutRemove "Please wait while the document is being prepared for reading" Message in Adobe Reader 8 TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips Xobni Plus for Outlook All My Movies 5.9 CloudBerry Online Backup 1.5 for Windows Home Server Snagit 10 tinysong gives a shortened URL for you to post on Twitter (or anywhere) 10 Superb Firefox Wallpapers OpenDNS Guide Google TV The iPod Revolution Ultimate Boot CD can help when disaster strikes

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  • Fix Windows Computer Problems with Microsoft Fix it Center

    - by Matthew Guay
    Fixing computer problems can often be difficult, but Microsoft is aiming to make it as simple as a couple clicks with.  Here’s how you can easily fix computer problems with Microsoft’s new Fix it Center Beta. Last year Microsoft began offering small Fix it scripts that you could download and run to help solve common computer problems automatically.  These were added to some of the most visited Windows help pages, and helped fix problems with things such as printing errors and Aero glass support.  Now, the Fix it scripts have been bundled together with the Fix it Center, making fixing your computer even easier.  This free tool works great on all editions of Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. Note: The Fix it Center is currently in beta, so only run if you are comfortable running beta software. Getting Started Download the Fix it Center installer (link below), and install as normal. The installer will download the remaining components, and then finish the installation. In Windows XP, if you have not yet installed .NET 2.0, you may see the following prompt.  Click Yes to go to the download site, and once you’ve installed .NET 2.0, run the Fix it Center setup again. Also, the Fix it Center uses PowerShell to automate its fixes, but if it is not installed yet the installer will automatically download and install it. Find Fixes for Your PC Once Fix it Center is installed, you can personalize it for your computer.  Select Now, and the click Next. It will scan your computer for problems with known solutions, and will offer to go ahead and install these troubleshooters.  If you choose to not install them, you can always download them from within the Fix it Center at a later time. While those troubleshooters are downloading, you can create a Fix it account.  This will give you additional help and support, and let you review Fix it solutions for all your computers from an online dashboard.  You need a Windows Live ID to create an account. Also, choose whether or not to send information to Microsoft about your hardware and software problems. Get Problems Fixed Now that the Fix it Center is installed and has identified issues on your computer, it’s time to get the problems fixed.  Here’s the default front screen in Windows 7, showing all of the available fixes. And here’s the Fix it Center running in Windows XP. Select one of the Troubleshooters to see more information about it, and click Run to start it. You can choose to either detect problems and have them fixed automatically, or you can choose for the Fix it Center to show you the solutions and let you choose whether to apply them or not.  The defaults usually work good, and only take a couple minutes to apply the fixes, but you can select your own fixes if you’d rather be in control. It will scan your computer for known problems in this area, and then will show you the results.  Here, Fix it determined that startup programs may be causing performance issues.  Select Start System Configuration, and uncheck any of the programs you do not usually use. Once you’ve run a troubleshooter, you can see the issues it checked for and any problems it discovered. If you created the online account, you can also choose to view the details online.  This will show all of your computers with Fix it Center and the fixes you’ve run on them.   Conclusion Whether you’re a power user or new to computers, sometimes it’s best to just get your problems fixed and go on with life instead of digging through the registry, forums, and hacking your way to a solution.  Remember the service is still in beta and may not work perfectly or solve your issues every time. But it’s something cool and worth a look. Links Download Microsoft Fix it Center Beta Fix additional problems with Microsoft’s Fix it Center Online Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips Disable Windows Mobility Center in Windows 7 or VistaMake Outlook Faster by Disabling Unnecessary Add-InsUsing Netflix Watchnow in Windows Vista Media Center (Gmedia)Disable Security Center Popup Notifications in Windows VistaHow To Manage Action Center in Windows 7 TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips DVDFab 6 Revo Uninstaller Pro Registry Mechanic 9 for Windows PC Tools Internet Security Suite 2010 Icelandic Volcano Webcams Open Multiple Links At One Go NachoFoto Searches Images in Real-time Office 2010 Product Guides Google Maps Place marks – Pizza, Guns or Strip Clubs Monitor Applications With Kiwi

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  • The Windows Browser Ballot Screen Offers Web Browser Choice to European Users

    - by Matthew Guay
    Since March, our friends across the pond in Europe get to decide which browser they want to install with their Windows OS. Today we thought we would take a look at the ballot choices, some are well known, and others you may not have heard of. Windows users in European countries should start seeing the so called “Browser Ballot Screen” after installing the Windows Update KB976002 (link below). The browser ballot offers a dozen different browsers, including some you’ve likely never heard of.  They each have some unique features, and are all free, and here we take a quick look at each of them. Internet Explorer 8 Internet Explorer is the world’s most used web browser, as it’s bundled with Windows. It also includes several unique features, including Accelerators that make it easy to search or find a map of a location, and InPrivate filtering to directly control what sites can get personal information.  Additionally, it offers great integration with Windows Touch and the new taskbar in Windows 7. IE 8 runs on Windows XP and newer, and is bundled with Windows 7. Mozilla Firefox 3.6 Firefox is the most popular browser other than Internet Explorer.  It is the modern descendant of Netscape, and is loved by web developers for its adherence to web standards, openness, and expandability.  It offers thousands of Add-ons and themes to let you customize it to fit your preferences. The most recent version has added Personas, which are quick, lightweight themes to let you personalize the look your browser. It’s open source, and runs on all modern versions of Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Of course thanks to Asian Angel, our resident browser expert, you can check out several articles regarding this popular IE alternative. Google Chrome 4 Google Chrome has gained an impressive amount of market share during its short time in the market. It offers a minimalistic interface and fast speeds with intensive web applications. The address bar is also a search bar, so you can enter a search query or web address and quickly get the information you need. With version 4 you can add a growing number of extensions, personalize it with a variety of stylish themes, and automatically translate foreign websites into your own language. Opera 10.50 Although Opera has been around for over a decade, relatively few users have used it. With the new 10.50 release, Opera has many unique features packed in a sleek UI. It integrates great with Aero and the Windows 7 taskbar, and lets you preview the contents of your websites in the tab bar. It also includes Opera Unite, a small personal web server to make file sharing easy, Opera Turbo to speed up your internet when the connection is slow, and Opera Link to keep all your copies of Opera in sync. It’s a popular browser on many mobile devices, and version 10.50 has a lot of enhancements. Apple Safari 4 Safari is the default browser in Mac OS X, and starting with version 3 it has been available for Windows as well. It’s based on Webkit, the popular new rendering engine that provides great speed and standards compatibility.  Safari 4 lets you browse your browsing history in a unique Coverflow interface, and shows your Top Sites in a fancy, 3D interface.  It’s also great for viewing mobile websites for the iPhone and other mobile devices through Developer Tools. Flock 2.5 Based on the popular Firefox core, Flock brings a multitude of social features to your browsing experience. You can view the latest YouTube videos, Flickr pictures, update your favorite social network, and keep up with your webmail thanks to It’s integration with a wide variety of services. You can even post to your blog through the integrated blog editor. If your time online is mostly spent in social services, this may be a browser you want to check out. Maxthon 2.5 Maxthon is a unique browser that builds on Internet Explorer to bring more features with IE’s rendering. Formerly known as MyIE2, Maxthon was popular for bringing tabbed browsing with IE rendering during the days of IE 6.  Today Maxthon supports a wide range of plugins and skins, so you can customize it however you want. It includes mouse gestures, a web accelerator to speed up pokey internet connections, a content blocker to remove unwanted content from sites, an online account to backup your favorites, and a nice download manager. Avant Browser Another nice browser based on Internet Explorer, Avant brings a wide variety of features in a nice brushed-metal interface. It includes an integrated AutoFill for forms, mouse gestures, customizable skins, and privacy protection features. It also includes a Flash blocker that will only load flash in webpages when you select them. You can also integrate Avant with an online account to store your bookmarks, feeds, settings and passwords online. Sleipnir Sleipnir is a customizable browser meant for advance users that is quite popular in Japan. It’s built on the Trident engine and virtually every aspect of is customizable unlike Internet Explorer.   FlashPeak SlimBrowser SlimBrowser from FlashPeak incorporates a lot of features like Popup Killer, Auto Login, site filtering and more. It’s based on Internet Explorer but offers a lot more customizable options out of the box.   K-meleon This basic browser is light on system resources and based on the Gecko engine. It’s been in development for years on SourceForge, and if you like to tweak virtually any aspect of your browser, this might be a good choice for you.   GreenBrowser GreenBrowser is based on Internet Explorer and is available in several languages. It has a large amount of features out of the box and is light on system resources.   Conclusion The European Union asked for more choices in the web browser they could choose from when installing Windows, and with the Browser Ballot Screen, they certainly get a variety to choose from.  If you’ve tried out some of the lesser known browsers, or think some important ones have been left out, leave a comment and tell us about it. Learn More About the Browser Ballot Screen and Download Alternatives to IE Windows Update KB976002 Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips Set the Default Browser on Ubuntu From the Command LineQuick Tip: Empty Internet Explorer 7 Cache when Browser is ClosedView Hidden Files and Folders in Ubuntu File BrowserSet the Default Browser and Email Client in UbuntuAccess Multiple Browsers from Firefox with Browser View Plus TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips Revo Uninstaller Pro Registry Mechanic 9 for Windows PC Tools Internet Security Suite 2010 PCmover Professional Play Music in Chrome by Simply Dragging a File 15 Great Illustrations by Chow Hon Lam Easily Sync Files & Folders with Friends & Family Amazon Free Kindle for PC Download Stretch popurls.com with a Stylish Script (Firefox) OldTvShows.org – Find episodes of Hitchcock, Soaps, Game Shows and more

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  • Tools to Help Post Content On Your WordPress Blog

    - by Matthew Guay
    Now that you’ve got a nice blog, you want to do more with it and start posting content.  Here we look at some tools that will allow you to post directly to your WordPress blog. Writing a new blog post is easy with WordPress as we saw in our previous post about Starting your own WordPress blog.  The web editor gives you a lot of features and even lets you edit your post’s source code if you enjoy hacking HTML.  There are other tools that will allow you to post content, here we look at how you can post with dedicated apps, browser plugins, and even by email. Windows Live Writer Windows Live Writer (part of the Windows Live Essentials Suite) is a great app for posting content to your blog.  This free program for Microsoft lets you post content to a variety of blogging services, including Blogger, Typepad, LiveJournal, and of course WordPress.  You can write blog posts directly from its Word-like editor, complete with pictures and advanced formatting.  Even if you’re offline, you can still write posts and save them for when you’re online again. For more information about installing Live writer, check out our article on how to Install Windows Live Essentials In Windows 7. Once Live Writer is installed, open it to add your blog.  If you already had Live Writer installed and configured for a blog, you can add your new blog, too.  Just click your blog’s name in the top right corner, and select “Add blog account”. Select “Other blog service” to add your WordPress blog to Writer, and click Next.   Enter your blog’s web address, and your username and password.  Check Remember my password so you don’t have to enter it every time you write something. Writer will analyze your blog and setup your account. During the setup process it may ask to post a temporary post.  This will let you preview blog posts using your blog’s real theme, which is helpful, so click Yes. Finally, add your Blog’s name, and click Finish. You can now use the rich editor to write and add content to a new blog post.   Select the Preview tab to see how your post will look on your blog… Or, if you’re a HTML geek, select the Source tab to edit the code of your blog post. From the bottom of the window, you can choose categories, insert tags, and even schedule the post to publish on a different day.  Live Writer is fully integrated with WordPress; you’re not missing anything by using the desktop editor. If you want to edit a post you’ve already published, click the Open button and select the post.  You can chose and edit any post, including ones you published via the web interface or other editors. Add Multimedia Content to your Posts with Live Writer Back in the Edit tab, you can add pictures, videos and more from the sidebar.  Select what you want to insert. Pictures If you insert a picture, you can add many nice borders and designs to it. Or, you can even add artistic effects from the Effects tab in the sidebar. Photo Gallery If you want to post several pictures, say some of your vacation shots, then inserting a picture gallery may be the best option.  Select Insert Photo Gallery in the sidebar, and then choose the pictures you want in the gallery. Once the gallery is inserted, you can choose from several styles to showcase your pictures. When you post the blog, you will be asked to sign in with your Windows Live ID as the gallery pictures will be stored in the free Skydrive storage service. Your blog readers can see the preview of your pictures directly on your blog, and then can view each individual picture, download them, or see a slideshow online via the link. Video If you want to add a video to your blog post, select Video from the sidebar as above.  You can select a video that’s already online, or you can choose a new video from file and upload it via YouTube directly from Windows Live Writer.   Note that you will have to sign in with your YouTube account to upload videos to YouTube, so if you’re not logged in you’ll be prompted to do so when you click Insert. Geek Tip:  If you ever want to copy your Live Writer settings to another computer, check out our article on how to Backup Your Windows Live Writer Settings. Microsoft Office Word Word 2007 and 2010 also let you post content directly to your blog.  This is especially nice if you’ve already typed up a document and think it would be good on your Blog as well.  Check out our in-depth tutorial on posting blog posts via Word 2007 using Word 2007 as a blogging tool. This works in Word 2010 too, except the Office Orb has been replaced by the new Backstage view.  So, in Word 2010, to start a new blog post, click File \ New then select Blog post.  Proceed as you would in Word 2007 to add your blog settings and post the content you want. Or, if you’ve already written a document and want to post it, select File \ Share (or Save and Send in the final version of Word 2010), and then click Publish as Blog Post.  If you haven’t setup your blog account yet, set it up as shown in the Word 2007 article. Post Via Email Most of us use email daily, and already have our favorite email app or service.  Whether on your desktop or mobile phone, it’s easy to create rich emails and add content.  WordPress lets you generate a unique email address that you can use to easily post content and email to your blog.  Just compose your email with the subject as the title of your post, and send it to this unique address.  Your new post will be up in minutes. To active this feature, click the My Account button in the top menu bar in your WordPress.com account, and select My Blogs. Click the Enable button under Post by Email beside your blog’s name.   Now you’ll have a private email you can use to post to your blog.  Anything you send to this email will be posted as a new post.  If you think your email may be compromised, click Regenerate to get a new publishing email address. Any email program or webapp now is a blog post editor.  Feel free to use rich formatting or insert pictures; it all comes through great.  This is also a great way to post to your blog from your mobile device.  Whether you’re using webmail or a dedicated email client on your phone, you can now blog from anywhere.   Mobile Applications WordPress also offer dedicated applications for blogging directly from your mobile device.  You can write new posts, edit existing ones, and manage comments all from your Smartphone.  Currently they offer apps for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry.  Check them out at the link below. Conclusion Whether you want to write from your browser or email a post to your blog, WordPress is flexible enough to work right along with your preferences.  However you post, you can be sure that it will look professional and be easily accessible with your WordPress blog. Download Windows Live Writer Download WordPress apps for your mobile device Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips Quick Tip: Set a Future Date for a Post in WordPressAdd Social Bookmarking (Digg This!) Links to your Wordpress BlogFuture Date a Post in Windows Live WriterHow To Start Your Own Professional Blog with WordPressUsing Word 2007 as a Blogging Tool TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips Acronis Online Backup DVDFab 6 Revo Uninstaller Pro Registry Mechanic 9 for Windows Fun with 47 charts and graphs Tomorrow is Mother’s Day Check the Average Speed of YouTube Videos You’ve Watched OutlookStatView Scans and Displays General Usage Statistics How to Add Exceptions to the Windows Firewall Office 2010 reviewed in depth by Ed Bott

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  • Make Your 64 bit Computer Look like a Commodore 64

    - by Matthew Guay
    The Commodore 64 was one of the bestselling home computers ever, and many geeks got their first computing experience on one of these early personal computers. Here’s an easy way to revisit the early years of personal computing with a theme for Windows 7. With only 64Kb of ram and an 8 bit processor, the Commodore 64 is light-years behind today’s computers.  But with a Windows 7 themepack, you can turn back the years and give your computer a quick overhaul to look more like its ancient predecessor. Age Windows 7 with a click Download the Commodore 64 theme from PC World (link below), and unzip the files. Now, double-click on the Themepack file to apply the theme. This will open your Personalization panel and will automatically change your system fonts, window style, background, and more. Your desktop will go from your Windows 7 look… to a modified Windows 7 look that is reminiscent of the Commodore 64. Open an application to see all the changes … notice the old-style font in the Window boarder and menus. This theme also changes your Computer, Recycle Bin, and User folder icons to Commodore 64-inspired icons. And, if you want to go back to the standard Windows 7 look and feel, it’s only a click away in the Personalization dialog.  Right-click on your desktop, select Personalize, and then choose the theme you want.   Conclusion Although this doesn’t give you the real look and feel of the Commodore 64, it is still a fun way to experience a bit of computer nostalgia.  There are tons of excellent themes available for Windows 7, so check back for more exciting ways to customize your desktop! Link Download the Commodore 64 theme for Windows 7 Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips Make MSE Create a Restore Point Before Cleaning MalwareMake Ubuntu Automatically Save Changes to Your SessionMake Windows Vista Shut Down Services QuickerChange Your Computer Name in Windows 7 or VistaMake Windows 7 or Vista Log On Automatically TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips DVDFab 6 Revo Uninstaller Pro Registry Mechanic 9 for Windows PC Tools Internet Security Suite 2010 Dark Side of the Moon (8-bit) Norwegian Life If Web Browsers Were Modes of Transportation Google Translate (for animals) Out of 100 Tweeters Roadkill’s Scan Port scans for open ports

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  • Jolicloud is a Nifty New OS for Your Netbook

    - by Matthew Guay
    Want to breathe new life into your netbook?  Here’s a quick look at Jolicloud, a unique new Linux based OS that lets you use your netbook in a whole new way. Netbooks have been an interesting category of computers.  When they were first released, most netbooks came with a stripped down Linux based operating system designed to let you easily access the internet first and foremost.  Consumers wanted more from their netbooks, so full OSes such as Windows XP and Ubuntu became the standard on netbooks.  Microsoft worked hard to get Windows 7 working great on netbooks, and today most netbooks run Windows 7 great.  But the Linux community hasn’t stood still either, and Jolicloud is proof of that.  Jolicloud is a unique OS designed to bring the best of both webapps and standard programs to your netbook.   Keep reading to see if this is the perfect netbook OS for you. Getting Started Installing Jolicloud on your netbook is easy thanks to a the Jolicloud Express installer for Windows.  Since many netbooks run Windows by default, this makes it easy to install Jolicloud.  Plus, your Windows install is left untouched, so you can still easily access all your Windows files and programs. Download and run the roughly 700Mb installer (link below) just as a normal installer in Windows. This will first extract the needed files. Click Get started to install Jolicloud on your netbook. Enter a username, password, and nickname for your computer.  Please note that the username must be all lowercase, and the nickname should not contain spaces or special characters.   Now you can review the default installation settings.  By default it will take up 39Gb and install on your C:\ drive in English.  If you wish to change this, click Change. We chose to install it on the D: drive on this netbook, as its harddrive was already partitioned into two parts.  Click Save when your settings are all correct, and then click Next in the previous window. Jolicloud will prepare for the installation.  This took about 5 minutes in our test.  Click Next when this is finished. Click Restart now to install and run Jolicloud. When your netbook reboots, it will initialize the Jolicloud setup. It will then automatically finish the installation.  Just sit back and wait; there’s nothing for you to do right now.  The installation took about 20 minutes in our test. Jolicloud will automatically reboot when the setup is finished. Once it’s rebooted, you’re ready to go!  Enter the username, then the password, that you chose earlier when you were installing Jolicloud from Windows. Welcome to your Jolicloud desktop! Hardware Support We installed Jolicloud on a Samsung N150 netbook with an Atom N450 processor, 1Gb Ram, 250Gb harddrive, and WiFi b/g/n with Bluetooth.  Amazingly, once Jolicloud was installed, everything was ready to use.  No drivers to install, no settings to hassle with, it was all installed and set up perfectly.  Power settings worked great, and closing the netbook put it to sleep just like in Windows. WiFi drivers have typically been difficult to find and install on Linux, but Jolicloud had our netbook’s wifi working immediately.  To get online, simply click the Wireless icon on the top right, and select the wireless network you want to connect to. Jolicloud will let you know when it is signed on. Wired Lan networking was also seamless; simply connect your cable and you’re ready to go.  The webcam and touchpad also worked perfectly directly.  The only thing missing was multitouch; this touchpad has two finger scroll, pinch zoom, and other nice multitouch features in Windows, but in Julicloud it only functioned as a standard touchpad.  It did have tap to click activated by default, as well as right-side scrolling, which is nice. Jolicloud also supported our video card without any extra work.  The native resolution was already selected, and the only problem we had with the screen was that there was no apparent way to change the brightness.  This is not a major problem, but would be nice to have.  The Samsung N150 has Intel GMA3150 integrated graphics, and Jolicloud promises 1080p HD video on it.  It did playback 720p H.264 video flawlessly without installing anything extra, but it stuttered on full 1080p HD (which is the exact same as this netbook’s video playback in Windows 7 – 720p works great, but it stutters on 1080p).  We would be excited to see full HD on this netbook, but 720p is definitely fine for most stuff.   Jolicloud supports a wide range of netbooks, and based on our experience we would expect it to work as good on any supported hardware.  Check out the list of supported netbooks to see if your netbook is supported; if not, it still may work but you may have to install special drivers. Jolicloud’s performance was very similar to Windows 7 on our netbook.  It boots in about 30 seconds, and apps load fairly quickly.  In general, we couldn’t tell much difference in performance between Jolicloud and Windows 7, though this isn’t a problem since Windows 7 runs great on the current generation of netbooks. Using Jolicloud Ready to start putting Jolicloud to use?  Your fresh Jolicloud install you can run several built-in apps, such as Firefox, a calculator, and the chat client Pidgin.  It also has a media player and file viewer installed, so you can play MP3s or MPG videos, or read PDF ebooks without installing anything extra.  It also has Flash player installed so you can watch videos online easily. You can also directly access all of your files from the right side of your home screen.  You can even access your Windows files; in our test, the 116.9 GB Media was C: from Windows.  Select it to browse and open any file you had saved in Windows. You may need to enter your password to access it. Once you’re authenticated it, you’ll see all of your Windows files and folders.  Your User files (Documents, Music, Videos, etc.) will be in the Users folder. And, you can easily add files from removable media such as USB flash drives and memory cards.  Jolicloud recognized a flash drive we tested with no trouble at all. Add new apps But, the best part about Jolicloud is that it makes it very easy to install new apps.  Click the Get Started button on your homescreen. You’ll first need to create an account.  You can then use this same account on another netbook if you wish, and your settings will automatically be synced between the two. You can either signup using your Facebook account, …or you can sign up the traditional way with your email address, name, and password.  If you sign up this way, you will need to confirm your email address before your account will be finished. Now, choose your netbook model from the list, and enter a name for your computer. And that’s it!  You’ll now see the Jolicloud dashboard, which will show you updates and notifications from friends who also use Jolicloud. Click the App directory to find new apps for your netbook.  Here you will find a variety of webapps, such as Gmail, along with native applications, such as Skype, that you can install on your netbook.  Simply click the Install button on the right to add the app to your netbook. You will be prompted to enter your system password, and then the app will install without any further input.   Once an app is installed, a check mark will appear beside its name.  You can remove it by clicking the Remove button, and it will uninstall seamlessly. Webapps, such as Gmail, actually run in in a Chrome-powered window that lets the webapp run full screen.  This gives the webapps a native feel, but actually they’re just running the same as they would in a standard web browser.   The Jolicloud Interface Most apps run maximized, and there is no way to run them smaller.  This in general works good, since with small screens most apps need to run full-screen anyhow. Smaller apps, such as a calculator or the Pidgin chat client, run in a window just like they do on other operating systems. You can switch to another app that’s running by selecting it’s icon on the top left, or you can go back to the home screen by clicking the home screen.  If you’re finished with an program, simply click the red X button on the top right of the window when you’re running it. Or, you can switch between programs using standard keyboard shortcuts such as Alt-tab. The default page on the home screen is the favorites page, and all of your other programs are orginized in their own sections on the left hand side.  But, if you want to add one of these to your favorites page, simply right-click on it and select Add to Favorites. When you’re done for the day, you can simply close your netbook to put it to sleep.  Or, if you want to shut down, just press the Quit button on the bottom right of the home screen and then select Shut Down. Booting Jolicloud When you install Jolicloud, it will set itself as the default operating system.  Now, when you boot your netbook, it will show you a list of installed operating systems.  You can select either Windows or Jolicloud, but if you don’t make a selection it will boot into Jolicloud after waiting 10 seconds. If you’d perfer to boot into Windows by default, you can easily change this.  First, boot your netbook in to Windows.  Open the start menu, right-click on the Computer button, and select Properties.   Click the “Advanced system settings” link on the left side. Click the Settings button in the Startup and Recovery section. Now, select Windows as the default operating system, and click Ok.  Your netbook will now boot into Windows by default, but will give you 10 seconds to choose to boot into Jolicloud when you start your computer. Or, if you decided you don’t want Jolicloud, you can easily uninstall it from within Windows. Please note that this will also remove any files you may have saved in Jolicloud, so be sure to copy them to your Windows drive before uninstalling. To uninstall Jolicloud from within Windows, open Control Panel, and select Uninstall a Program. Scroll down to select Jolicloud, and click Uninstall/Change. Click Yes to confirm that you want to uninstall Jolicloud. After a few moments, it will let you know that Jolicloud has been uninstalled.  You’re netbook is now back the same as it was before you installed Jolicloud, with only Windows installed. Closing Whether you’re wanting to replace your current OS on your netbook or would simply like to try out a fresh new Linux version on your netbook, Jolicloud is a great option for you.  We were very impressed by it’s solid hardware support and the ease of installing new apps in Jolicloud.  Rather than simply giving us a standard OS, Jolicloud offers a unique way to use your netbook with native programs and webapps.  And whether you’re an IT pro or are a new computer user, Jolicloud was easy enough to use that anyone can do it.  Give it a try, and let us know what your favorite netbook OS is! Link Download Jolicloud for your netbook Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips How To Change XSplash Themes in Ubuntu 9.10Verify the Integrity of Windows Vista System FilesMonitor Multiple Logs in a Single Shell with MultiTail for LinuxHide Some or All of the GUI Bars in FirefoxAsk the Readers: Do You Use a Laptop, Desktop, or Both? TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips DVDFab 6 Revo Uninstaller Pro Registry Mechanic 9 for Windows PC Tools Internet Security Suite 2010 Stop In The Name Of Love (Firefox addon) Chitika iPad Labs Gives Live iPad Sale Stats Heaven & Hell Finder Icon Using TrueCrypt to Secure Your Data Quickly Schedule Meetings With NeedtoMeet Share Flickr Photos On Facebook Automatically

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  • Test Drive Windows 7 Online with Virtual Labs

    - by Matthew Guay
    Did you miss out on the Windows 7 public beta and want to try it out before you actually make the leap and upgrade? Maybe you want to learn how to deploy new features in a business environment. Here’s how you can test drive Windows 7 directly from your browser. Whether you manage 10,000 desktops or simply manage your own laptop, it’s usually best to test out a new OS before installing it.  If you’re upgrading from Windows XP you may find many things unfamiliar.  Microsoft has setup a special Windows 7 Test Drive website with resources to help IT professionals test and deploy Windows 7 in their workplaces.  This is a great resource to try out Windows 7 from the comfort of your browser, and look at some of the new features without even installing it. Please note that the online version is not nearly as responsive as a full standard install of Windows 7.  It also does not run the full Aero interface or desktop effects, and may refresh slowly depending on your Internet connection.  So don’t judge Windows 7’s performance based on this virtual lab, but use it as a way to learn more about Windows 7 without installing it. Getting Started To test drive Windows 7, visit Microsoft’s Windows 7 Test Drive website (link below).  You will need to run the Windows 7 Test Drive in Internet Explorer, as it requires Active X support.  We received this error when attempting to run the Test Drive in Firefox: Now, click the “Take a Test Drive” link on the bottom left of the page. This site includes several test drives to demonstrate different features of Windows 7 and its related ecosystem of products including Windows Server 2008 R2, some of which, including the XP Mode test drive, are not yet ready.  For this test, we selected the MED-V Test drive, as this includes Office 2007 and 2010 so you can test them in Windows 7 as well.  Simply select the test drive you want, and click “Try it now!”   If you haven’t run a Windows test drive before, you will be asked to install an ActiveX control.  Click the link to install. Click the yellow bar at the top of the page in Internet Explorer, and select to Install the add-on.  You may have to approve a UAC prompt to finish the install. Once this is finished, click the link on the bottom of the page to return to your test drive.  The test drive page should automatically refresh; if it doesn’t, click refresh to reload it. Now the test drive will load the components.   Once its fully loaded, click the link to launch Windows 7 in a new window. You may see a prompt warning that the server may have been impersonated.  Simply click Yes to proceed. The test lab will give you some getting started directions; click Close Window when you’re ready to try out Windows 7. Here’s the default desktop in the Windows 7 test drive.  You can use it just like a normal Windows computer, but do note that it may function slowly depending on your internet connection.   This test drive includes both Office 2007 and Office 2010 Tech Preview, so you can try out both in Windows 7 as well. You can try out the new Windows 7 applications such as the reworked Paint with the Ribbon interface from Office. Or you can even test the newest version of Media Center, though it will warn you that it may not function good with the down-scaled graphics in the test drive.   Most importantly, you can try out the new features in Windows 7, such as Jumplists and even Aero Snap.  Once again, these features will not function the quickest, but it does let you test them out. While working with the Virtual Lab, there are different tasks it walks you through. You can also download a copy of the lab manual in PDF format to help you navigate through the various objectives. The test drive system is running Microsoft Forefront Security, the enterprise security solution from which Microsoft Security Essentials has adapted components from. Conclusion These virtual labs are great for tech students, or those of you who want to get a first-hand trial of the new features. Also, if you’re not sure on how to deploy something and want to practice in a virtual environment, these labs are quite valuable.While these labs are geared toward IT professionals, it’s a good way for anyone to try out Windows 7 features from the comfort of your current computer. Test Drive Windows 7 Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips Mount Multiple ISO Images Using Virtual CloneDriveHow To Delete a VHD in Windows 7Keyboard Shortcuts for VMware WorkstationMount an ISO image in Windows 7 or VistaHow To Turn a Physical Computer Into A Virtual Machine with Disk2vhd TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips DVDFab 6 Revo Uninstaller Pro Registry Mechanic 9 for Windows PC Tools Internet Security Suite 2010 If it were only this easy SyncToy syncs Files and Folders across Computers on a Network (or partitions on the same drive) Classic Cinema Online offers 100’s of OnDemand Movies OutSync will Sync Photos of your Friends on Facebook and Outlook Windows 7 Easter Theme YoWindoW, a real time weather screensaver

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  • How to Find Office 2003 Commands in Office 2010

    - by Matthew Guay
    Are you new to the ribbon interface in Office 2010?  Here’s how you can get up to speed and learn where everything is quickly and easily. Microsoft has made an interactive guide to Office 2010’s new interface to help users learn their way around the new version.  If you’ve already used Office 2007, then Office 2010 will be very easy to transition to, but if you’re still using Office 2003 you may find the learning curve more steep.  With this interactive guide, upgrading your Office skills doesn’t have to be hard. Learn Your Way Around the Office Ribbon Open the Office 2010 interactive guides site (link below) in your browser, and select the Office app you want to explore. The guides are powered by Silverlight, so if you don’t already have it installed you will be prompted to do so. Once the guide has loaded, click Start to begin. Select any menu or toolbar item in the Office 2003 mockup.  A tooltip will appear to show you how to find this option in Word 2010. If you click the item, the interface will switch to an Office 2010 mockup and will interactively show you how to access this feature.  The Thumbnails view isn’t available by default in Word 2010, so it shows us how to add it to the ribbon.  When you’ve figured this command out, click anywhere to go back to the Office 2003 mockup and find another item. Currently the guides are available for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, but the site says that guides for the other Office apps will be available soon.  Here’s the PowerPoint guide showing where the Rehearse Timings option is in PowerPoint 2010. Install the Interactive Guides to Your Computer You can also install the guides to your computer so you can easily access them even if you’re not online.  Open the guide you want to install, and click the Install button in the top right corner of the guide. Choose where you want the shortcuts, and click Ok. Here’s the Interactive Word 2010 guide installed on our computer.  The downloaded version seemed to work faster in our tests, likely because all the content was already saved to the computer.  If you decide you don’t need it any more, click Uninstall in the top right corner. Download Office Cheat Sheets If you’d like a cheat-sheet of Office commands that have changed or are new in Office 2010, Microsoft’s got that for you, too.  You can download Office reference workbooks (link below) that show how to access each item that was in Office 2003’s menus.  Here’s the Word guide showing where each of Word 2003’s commands from the help menu are in Word 2010. Learn Your Way Around Office 2007, Too! Microsoft offers similar interactive guides for learning the ribbon in Office 2007, so if you’re still using Office 2007 but can’t find a command, feel free to check it out as well (link below).  Guides are available for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and Outlook 2007.  You can also download cheat sheets for Office 2007 at this site as well.  Here’s the tutorial showing us where the font options are in PowerPoint 2007. Conclusion We have found the ribbon interface to be a great addition to Office, but if you’ve got years of Office 2003 experience under your belt you may find it difficult to locate your favorite commands.  These tutorials can help you use your old Office knowledge to learn Office 2010 or 2007 in a quick and easy way! Links Office 2010 interactive guide Download Office 2010 reference workbooks Office 2007 interactive guide Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips How To Find Commands and Functions in Office 2007 the Easy WayMake Excel 2007 Always Save in Excel 2003 FormatMake Word 2007 Always Save in Word 2003 FormatAdd or Remove Apps from the Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010 SuiteCreate a Customized Tab on the Office 2010 Ribbon TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips DVDFab 6 Revo Uninstaller Pro Registry Mechanic 9 for Windows PC Tools Internet Security Suite 2010 Outlook Connector Upgrade Error Gadfly is a cool Twitter/Silverlight app Enable DreamScene in Windows 7 Microsoft’s “How Do I ?” Videos Home Networks – How do they look like & the problems they cause Check Your IMAP Mail Offline In Thunderbird

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  • Create an iTunes Account without a credit card

    - by Matthew Guay
    iTunes Store offers a large variety of free content, but to download it you have to have an account. Usually you have to enter your credit card information to sign up, but here’s an easy way to get an iTunes account for free downloads without entering any payment info. Although iTunes Store is known for paid downloads of movies, music, and more, it also has a treasure trove of free media.  Some of it, including Podcasts and iTunes U educational content do not require an account to download.  However, any other free content, including free iPhone/iPod Touch apps and free or promotional music, videos, and TV Shows all require an account to download.  If you try to download a free movie or music download, you will be required to enter payment information. Even though your card will not be charged, it will be kept on file so you can be charged if you download a for-pay item.  However, if you only plan to download free items, it may be preferable to not have your account linked to a credit card. The following steps will get you an account without entering your credit card info. Getting Started First, make sure you have iTunes installed.  If you don’t already have it, download and install it (link below) with the default settings. Now open iTunes, and click the iTunes Store link on the left. Click the App Store link on the top of this page. Select a free app to download.  A simple way to do this is to scroll down to the Top Free Apps box on the right side, hover your mouse over the first item, and click on the Free button that appears when you hover over it. A popup will open asking you to sign in with your Apple ID.  Click “Create New Account”. Click Continue to create your account. Check the box to accept the Store Terms and Conditions, and click Continue.   Enter your email address, password, security question, and date of birth, and uncheck the boxes to get email if you don’t want it…then click Continue. Now, you will be asked to provide a payment method.  Notice now that the last option says None!  Click that bullet option… Then enter your billing address.  Simply enter your normal billing address, even though you are not entering a payment method.  Click Continue and your account will be created! If you get the Address Verification screen just verify your county and click Done. An email will be sent to you to verify your account… Click on the link in your email to verify your account, iTunes will launch and you’re prompted to enter in the Apple ID and Password you just created. Your account is successfully created! Now you can easily download any free media from iTunes.  Keep an eye on the Free on iTunes box on the bottom of the iTunes Store page for interesting downloads, or if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, watch the popular Free downloads on the Apps page. And of course there is always great content on iTunes U to grab free as well. Purchasing for-pay media If you want to purchase an item on the iTunes store later, simply click on the item to download as normal.  Click Buy to proceed with the purchase. iTunes will prompt you that you need to enter payment information to complete the purchase.  Enter your Apple ID email and password, and then add the payment information as prompted.   Remove Payment Information from an iTunes Account If you’ve already entered payment information into your iTunes account, and would like to remove it, click Store in the top iTunes menu, and select View My Account. Enter your Apple ID email and password, and click View Account.   This will open your account information.  Click the Edit Payment Information button.   Now, click the None button to remove your payment information.  Click Done to save the changes. Your account will now prompt you to enter payment information if you try to make a purchase.  You could repeat these steps after making a purchase if you do not want iTunes to keep your payment info on file. Conclusion This is a great way to make an iTunes account without entering your credit card, or to remove your credit card info from your account.  Parents may especially enjoy this tip, as they can have an iTunes account on their kids computer or iPod Touch without worrying about them spending money with it. Links Download iTunes Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips Quick Tip: Switch Between Signatures in Outlook 2007 the Easy WayRedeem Pre-paid Zune Card Points for Zune Marketplace MediaCreate An Electronic Business Card In Outlook 2007Understanding Windows Vista Aero Glass RequirementsSpeed up Your Windows Vista Computer with ReadyBoost TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips Revo Uninstaller Pro Registry Mechanic 9 for Windows PC Tools Internet Security Suite 2010 PCmover Professional Draw Online using Harmony How to Browse Privately in Firefox Kill Processes Quickly with Process Assassin Need to Come Up with a Good Name? Try Wordoid StockFox puts a Lightweight Stock Ticker in your Statusbar Explore Google Public Data Visually

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  • Turn A Flash Drive Into a Portable Web Server

    - by Matthew Guay
    Portable applications are very useful for getting work done on the go, but how about portable servers?  Here’s how you can turn your flash drive into a portable web server. Getting Started To put a full web server on our flash drive, we’re going to use XAMPP Lite.  This lightweight, preconfigured server includes recent versions of Apache, MySQL, and PHP so you can run most websites and webapps directly from it.  You could use the full XAMPP, which includes more features such as a FileZilla FTP server and OpenSSL, but for most purposes, the light version is plenty for a portable server. Download the latest version of XAMPP Lite (link below).  In this tutorial, we used the self-extracting EXE version; you could choose the ZIP file and extract the files yourself, but we found it easier to use the executable. Run the installer, and click Browse choose where to install your server. Select your flash drive, or a folder in it, and click Ok.  Make sure your flash drive has at least 250MB of available storage space.  XAMPP will create an xampplite folder and store all the files in it during the installation.   Click Install, and all of the files will be extracted to your flash drive.  This may take a few moments depending on your flash drive’s speed. When the extraction process is finished, a Command Prompt window will open to finish the installation.  The first prompt will ask if you want to add shortcuts to the start menu and desktop; enter “n” since we don’t want to create start menu links to our portable server. Now enter “y” to configure XAMPP’s directories automatically. Finally, enter “y” to make XAMPP fully portable.  It will set up the servers to run without specific drive letters so your server will run from any computer. XAMPP will finalize your changes; press Enter when everything is completed. Setup will automatically launch the command line version of XAMPP.  On first run, confirm that your time zone is correct. And that’s it!  You can now run XAMPP’s control panel by entering 1, or you can exit and run XAMPP from any other computer with your flash drive. To complete your portable webserver kit, you may want to install Portable Firefox or Iron Browser on your flash drive so you always have your favorite browser ready to use. Running your portable server Using your portable server is very simple.  Open the xampplite folder on your flash drive and launch xampp-control.exe. Click Start beside Apache and MySql to get your webserver running. Please note: Do not check the Svc box, as this will run the server as a Windows service.  To keep XAMPP portable, you do not want it running as a service! Windows Firewall may prompt you that it blocked the server; click Allow access to let your server run. Once they’re running, you can click Admin to open the default XAMPP admin page running from your local webserver.  Or, you can view it by browsing to http://localhost/ or http://127.0.0.1/ in your browser. If everything is working correctly, you should see this page in your browser.  Choose your default language… And then you’ll see the default XAMPP admin page.   Click the Status link on the left sidebar to make sure everything is running correctly. If you click the Admin button for MySql in the XAMPP Control Panel, it will open phpMyAdmin in your default browser.  Alternately, you can open the MySql admin page by entering http://localhost/phpmyadmin/ or http://127.0.0.1/phpmyadmin/ in your favorite browser. Now you can add your own webpages to your webserver.  Save all of your web files in the \xampplight\htdocs\ folder on your flash drive. Install WordPress in your portable server Since XAMPP Lite includes MySql and PHP, you can even run webapps such as WordPress, the popular CMS and blogging platform.  Download WordPress (link below), and extract the files to the \xampplite\htdocs folder on your flash drive. Now all of the WordPress files are stored in \xampplite\htdocs\wordpress on your flash drive. We still need to setup WordPress on our portable server.  Open your MySql admin page http://localhost/phpmyadmin/ to create a new database for WordPress.  Enter a name for your database in the “Create new database” box, and click Create. Click the Privileges tab on the top, and the select “Add a new User”.   Enter a username and password for the database, and then click the Go button on the bottom of the page. Using WordPress Now, in your browser, enter http://localhost/wordpress/wp-admin/install.php.  Click Create a Configuration File to continue. Make sure you have your Database name, username, and password we created previously, and click “Let’s Go!” Enter your WordPress database name, username, and password, leave the other two entries as default, and click Submit. You should now have the database all ready to go.  Click “Run the install” to finish installing WordPress. Enter a title, username, and password for your test blog, as well as your email address, and then click “Install WordPress”. You now have a portable install of WordPress.  Click “Log In” to  access your WordPress admin page. Enter your username and password, and click Log In. Here you can add pages, posts, themes, extensions, and anything else just like you would on a normal WordPress site.  This is a great way to experiment with WordPress without messing up your real website. You can view your portable WordPress site by entering http://localhost/wordpress/ in your address bar. Closing your server When you’re done running your test server, click the Stop button on each of the services and then click the Exit button in the XAMPP control panel.  If you press the exit button on the top of the window, it will just minimize the control panel to the tray.   Alternately, you can shutdown your server by running xampp_stop.exe from your xampplite folder. Conclusion XAMPP Lite gives you a great way to run a full webserver directly from your flash drive.  Now, anywhere you go, you can test and tweak your webpages and webapps from any Windows computer.  Links Download XAMPP Lite Download WordPress Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips BitLocker To Go Encrypts Portable Flash Drives in Windows 7How To Use BitLocker on Drives without TPMSpeed up Your Windows Vista Computer with ReadyBoostView and Manage Flash Cookies the Easy WayInstall and Run Applications from Your iPod, Flash Drive or Mp3 Player TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips DVDFab 6 Revo Uninstaller Pro Registry Mechanic 9 for Windows PC Tools Internet Security Suite 2010 OutlookStatView Scans and Displays General Usage Statistics How to Add Exceptions to the Windows Firewall Office 2010 reviewed in depth by Ed Bott FoxClocks adds World Times in your Statusbar (Firefox) Have Fun Editing Photo Editing with Citrify Outlook Connector Upgrade Error

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  • Install Ubuntu Netbook Edition with Wubi Installer

    - by Matthew Guay
    Ubuntu is one of the most popular versions of Linux, and their Netbook Remix edition is especially attractive for netbook owners.  Here we’ll look at how you can easily try out Ubuntu on your netbook without a CD/DVD drive. Netbooks, along with the growing number of thin, full powered laptops, lack a CD/DVD drive.  Installing software isn’t much of a problem since most programs, whether free or for-pay, are available for download.  Operating systems, however, are usually installed from a disk.  You can easily install Windows 7 from a flash drive with our tutorial, but installing Ubuntu from a USB flash drive is more complicated.  However, using Wubi, a Windows installer for Ubuntu, you can easily install it directly on your netbook and even uninstall it with only a few clicks. Getting Started Download and run the Wubi installer for Ubuntu (link below).  In the installer, select the drive you where you wish to install Ubuntu, the size of the installation (this is the amount dedicated to Ubuntu; under 20Gb should be fine), language, username, and desired password.  Also, from the Desktop environment menu, select Ubuntu Netbook to install the netbook edition.  Click Install when your settings are correct. Wubi will automatically download the selected version of Ubuntu and install it on your computer. Windows Firewall may ask if you want to unblock Wubi; select your network and click Allow access. The download will take around an hour on broadband, depending on your internet connection speed.  Once the download is completed, it will automatically install to your computer.  If you’d prefer to have everything downloaded before you start the install, download the ISO of Ubuntu Netbook edition (link below) and save it in the same folder as Wubi. Then, when you run Wubi, select the netbook edition as before and click Install.  Wubi will verify that your download is valid, and will then proceed to install from the downloaded ISO.  This install will only take about 10 minutes. Once the install is finished you will be asked to reboot your computer.  Save anything else you’re working on, and then reboot to finish setting up Ubuntu on your netbook. When your computer reboots, select Ubuntu at the boot screen.  Wubi leaves the default OS as Windows 7, so if you don’t select anything it will boot into Windows 7 after a few seconds. Ubuntu will automatically finish the install when you boot into it the first time.  This took about 12 minutes in our test. When the setup is finished, your netbook will reboot one more time.  Remember again to select Ubuntu at the boot screen.  You’ll then see a second boot screen; press your Enter key to select the default.   Ubuntu only took less than a minute to boot in our test.  When you see the login screen, select your name and enter your password you setup in Wubi.  Now you’re ready to start exploring Ubuntu Netbook Remix. Using Ubuntu Netbook Remix Ubuntu Netbook Remix offers a simple, full-screen interface to take the best advantage of netbooks’ small screens.  Pre-installed applications are displayed in the application launcher, and are organized by category.  Click once to open an application. The first screen on the application launcher shows your favorite programs.  If you’d like to add another application to the favorites pane, click the plus sign beside its icon. Your files from Windows are still accessible from Ubuntu Netbook Remix.  From the home screen, select Files & Folders on the left menu, and then click the icon that says something like 100GB Filesystem under the Volumes section. Now you’ll be able to see all of your files from Windows.  Your user files such as documents, music, and pictures should be located in Documents and Settings in a folder with your user name. You can also easily install a variety of free applications via the Software Installer. Connecting to the internet is also easy, as Ubuntu Netbook Remix automatically recognized the WiFi adaptor on our test netbook, a Samsung N150.  To connect to a wireless network, click the wireless icon on the top right of the screen and select the network’s name from the list. And, if you’d like to customize your screen, right-click on the application launcher and select Change desktop background. Choose a background picture you’d like. Now you’ll see it through your application launcher.  Nice! Most applications are opened full-screen.  You can close them by clicking the x on the right of the program’s name. You can also switch to other applications from their icons on the top left.  Open the home screen by clicking the Ubuntu logo in the far left. Changing Boot Options By default, Wubi will leave Windows as the default operating system, and will give you 10 seconds at boot to choose to boot into Ubuntu.  To change this, boot into Windows and enter Advanced system settings in your start menu search. In this dialog, click Settings under Startup and Recovery. From this dialog, you can select the default operating system and the time to display list of operating systems.  You can enter a lower number to make the boot screen appear for less time. And if you’d rather make Ubuntu the default operating system, select it from the drop-down list.   Uninstalling Ubuntu Netbook Remix If you decide you don’t want to keep Ubuntu Netbook Remix on your computer, you can uninstall it just like you uninstall any normal application.  Boot your computer into Windows, open Control Panel, click Uninstall a Program, and enter ubuntu in the search box.  Select it, and click Uninstall. Click Uninstall at the prompt.  Ubuntu uninstalls very quickly, and removes the entry from the bootloader as well, so your computer is just like it was before you installed it.   Conclusion Ubuntu Netbook Remix offers an attractive Linux interface for netbooks.  We enjoyed trying it out, and found it much more user-friendly than most Linux distros.  And with the Wubi installer, you can install it risk-free and try it out on your netbook.  Or, if you’d like to try out another alternate netbook operating system, check out our article on Jolicloud, another new OS for netbooks. Links Download Wubi Installer for Windows Download Ubuntu Netbook Edition Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips Easily Install Ubuntu Linux with Windows Using the Wubi InstallerInstall VMware Tools on Ubuntu Edgy EftHow to install Spotify in Ubuntu 9.10 using WineInstalling PHP5 and Apache on UbuntuInstalling PHP4 and Apache on Ubuntu TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips VMware Workstation 7 Acronis Online Backup DVDFab 6 Revo Uninstaller Pro Explorer++ is a Worthy Windows Explorer Alternative Error Goblin Explains Windows Error Codes Twelve must-have Google Chrome plugins Cool Looking Skins for Windows Media Player 12 Move the Mouse Pointer With Your Face Movement Using eViacam Boot Windows Faster With Boot Performance Diagnostics

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  • Change the User Interface Language in Ubuntu

    - by Matthew Guay
    Would you like to use your Ubuntu computer in another language?  Here’s how you can easily change your interface language in Ubuntu. Ubuntu’s default install only includes a couple languages, but it makes it easy to find and add a new interface language to your computer.  To get started, open the System menu, select Administration, and then click Language Support. Ubuntu may ask if you want to update or add components to your current default language when you first open the dialog.  Click Install to go ahead and install the additional components, or you can click Remind Me Later to wait as these will be installed automatically when you add a new language. Now we’re ready to find and add an interface language to Ubuntu.  Click Install / Remove Languages to add the language you want. Find the language you want in the list, and click the check box to install it.  Ubuntu will show you all the components it will install for the language; this often includes spellchecking files for OpenOffice as well.  Once you’ve made your selection, click Apply Changes to install your new language.  Make sure you’re connected to the internet, as Ubuntu will have to download the additional components you’ve selected. Enter your system password when prompted, and then Ubuntu will download the needed languages files and install them.   Back in the main Language & Text dialog, we’re now ready to set our new language as default.  Find your new language in the list, and then click and drag it to the top of the list. Notice that Thai is the first language listed, and English is the second.  This will make Thai the default language for menus and windows in this account.  The tooltip reminds us that this setting does not effect system settings like currency or date formats. To change these, select the Text Tab and pick your new language from the drop-down menu.  You can preview the changes in the bottom Example box. The changes we just made will only affect this user account; the login screen and startup will not be affected.  If you wish to change the language in the startup and login screens also, click Apply System-Wide in both dialogs.  Other user accounts will still retain their original language settings; if you wish to change them, you must do it from those accounts. Once you have your new language settings all set, you’ll need to log out of your account and log back in to see your new interface language.  When you re-login, Ubuntu may ask you if you want to update your user folders’ names to your new language.  For example, here Ubuntu is asking if we want to change our folders to their Thai equivalents.  If you wish to do so, click Update or its equivalents in your language. Now your interface will be almost completely translated into your new language.  As you can see here, applications with generic names are translated to Thai but ones with specific names like Shutter keep their original name. Even the help dialogs are translated, which makes it easy for users around to world to get started with Ubuntu.  Once again, you may notice some things that are still in English, but almost everything is translated. Adding a new interface language doesn’t add the new language to your keyboard, so you’ll still need to set that up.  Check out our article on adding languages to your keyboard to get this setup. If you wish to revert to your original language or switch to another new language, simply repeat the above steps, this time dragging your original or new language to the top instead of the one you chose previously. Conclusion Ubuntu has a large number of supported interface languages to make it user-friendly to people around the globe.  And since you can set the language for each user account, it’s easy for multi-lingual individuals to share the same computer. Or, if you’re using Windows, check out our article on how you can Change the User Interface Language in Vista or Windows 7, too! Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips Restart the Ubuntu Gnome User Interface QuicklyChange the User Interface Language in Vista or Windows 7Create a Samba User on UbuntuInstall Samba Server on UbuntuSee Which Groups Your Linux User Belongs To TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips VMware Workstation 7 Acronis Online Backup DVDFab 6 Revo Uninstaller Pro FetchMp3 Can Download Videos & Convert Them to Mp3 Use Flixtime To Create Video Slideshows Creating a Password Reset Disk in Windows Bypass Waiting Time On Customer Service Calls With Lucyphone MELTUP – "The Beginning Of US Currency Crisis And Hyperinflation" Enable or Disable the Task Manager Using TaskMgrED

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  • Sync Your Pidgin Profile Across Multiple PCs with Dropbox

    - by Matthew Guay
    Pidgin is definitely our favorite universal chat client, but adding all of your chat accounts to multiple computers can be frustrating.  Here’s how you can easily transfer your Pidgin settings to other computers and keep them in sync using Dropbox. Getting Started Make sure you have both Pidgin and Dropbox installed on any computers you want to sync.  To sync Pidgin, you need to: Move your Pidgin profile folder on your first computer to Dropbox Create a symbolic link from the new folder in Dropbox to your old profile location Delete the default pidgin profile on your other computer, and create a symbolic link from your Dropbox Pidgin profile to the default Pidgin profile location This sounds difficult, but it’s actually easy if you follow these steps.  Here we already had all of our accounts setup in Pidgin in Windows 7, and then synced this profile with an Ubuntu and a XP computer with fresh Pidgin installs.  Our instructions for each OS are based on this, but just swap the sync order if your main Pidgin install is in XP or Ubuntu. Please Note:  Please make sure Pidgin isn’t running on your computer while you are making the changes! Sync Your Pidgin Profile from Windows 7 Here is Pidgin with our accounts already setup.  Our Pidgin profile has a Gtalk, MSN Messenger, and Facebook Chat account, and lots of log files. Let’s move this profile to Dropbox to keep it synced.  Exit Pidgin, and then enter %appdata% in the address bar in Explorer or press Win+R and enter %appdata%.  Select the .purple folder, which is your Pidgin profiles and settings folder, and press Ctrl+X to cut it. Browse to your Dropbox folder, and press Ctrl+V to paste the .purple folder there. Now we need to create the symbolic link.  Enter  “command” in your Start menu search, right-click on the Command Prompt shortcut, and select “Run as administrator”. We can now use the mklink command to create a symbolic link to the .purple folder.  In Command Prompt, enter the following and substitute username for your own username. mklink /D “C:\Users\username\Documents\My Dropbox\.purple” “C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\.purple” And that’s it!  You can open Pidgin now to make sure it still works as before, with your files being synced with Dropbox. Please Note:  These instructions work the same for Windows Vista.  Also, if you are syncing settings from another computer to Windows 7, then delete the .purple folder instead of cutting and pasting it, and reverse the order of the file paths when creating the symbolic link. Add your Pidgin Profile to Ubuntu Our Ubuntu computer had a clean install of Pidgin, so we didn’t need any of the information in its settings.  If you’ve run Pidgin, even without creating an account, you will need to first remove its settings folder.  Open your home folder, and click View, and then “Show Hidden Files” to see your settings folders. Select the .purple folder, and delete it. Now, to create the symbolic link, open Terminal and enter the following, substituting username for your username: ln –s /home/username/Dropbox/.purple /home/username/ Open Pidgin, and you will see all of your accounts that were on your other computer.  No usernames or passwords needed; everything is setup and ready to go.  Even your status is synced; we had our status set to Away in Windows 7, and it automatically came up the same in Ubuntu. Please Note: If your primary Pidgin account is in Ubuntu, then cut your .purple folder and paste it into your Dropbox folder instead.  Then, when creating the symbolic link, reverse the order of the folder paths. Add your Pidgin Profile to Windows XP In XP we also had a clean install of Pidgin.  If you’ve run Pidgin, even without creating an account, you will need to first remove its settings folder.  Click Start, the Run, and enter %appdata%. Delete your .purple folder. XP does not include a way to create a symbolic link, so we will use the free Junction tool from Sysinternals.  Download Junction (link below) and unzip the folder. Open Command Prompt (click Start, select All Programs, then Accessories, and select Command Prompt), and enter cd followed by the path of the folder where you saved Junction.   Now, to create the symbolic link, enter the following in Command Prompt, substituting username with your username. junction –d “C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\.purple” “C:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Dropbox\.purple” Open Pidgin, and you will see all of your settings just as they were on your other computer.  Everything’s ready to go.   Please Note: If your primary Pidgin account is in Windows XP, then cut your .purple folder and paste it into your Dropbox folder instead.  Then, when creating the symbolic link, reverse the order of the folder paths. Conclusion This is a great way to keep all of your chat and IM accounts available from all of your computers.  You can easily access logs from chats you had on your desktop from your laptop, or if you add a chat account on your work computer you can use it seamlessly from your home computer that evening.  Now Pidgin is the universal chat client that is always ready whenever and wherever you need it! Links Downlaod Pidgin Download and signup for Dropbox Download Junction for XP Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips Add "My Dropbox" to Your Windows 7 Start MenuUse Multiple Firefox Profiles at the Same TimeEasily Add Facebook Chat to PidginPut Your Pidgin Buddy List into the Windows Vista SidebarBackup and Restore Firefox Profiles Easily TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips DVDFab 6 Revo Uninstaller Pro Registry Mechanic 9 for Windows PC Tools Internet Security Suite 2010 Download Free iPad Wallpapers at iPad Decor Get Your Delicious Bookmarks In Firefox’s Awesome Bar Manage Photos Across Different Social Sites With Dropico Test Drive Windows 7 Online Download Wallpapers From National Geographic Site Spyware Blaster v4.3

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  • Manage Your WordPress Blog Comments from Your Windows Desktop

    - by Matthew Guay
    Are you never more than a few steps away from your PC and want to keep up with comments on your blog?  Then here’s how you can stay on top of your WordPress comments right from your desktop. Wp-comment-notifier is a small free app for Windows that lets you easily view, approve, reply to, and delete comments from your WordPress blog.  Whether you have a free WordPress.com blog or are running WordPress on your own server, this tool can keep you connected to your comments.  Unfortunately it only lets you manage comments at one blog, so if manage multiple WordPress-powered sites you may find this a downside.  Otherwise, it works great and helps you stay on top of the conversation at your blog. Get notified with wp-comment-notifier Download the wp-comment-notifier (link below) and install as usual. Run it once it’s installed.  Enter your blog address, username, and password when prompted. Wp-comment-notifier will automatically setup your account and download recent comments. Finally, enter your blog’s name, and click Finish. Review Comments with wp-comment-notifier You can now review your comments directly by double-clicking the new WordPress icon in your system tray.  The window has 3 tabs…comments, pending, and spam.  Select a comment to reply, edit, spam, or delete it directly from your desktop. If you select Edit, then you can edit the HTML of the comment (including links) directly from within the notifier. You can approve or permanently delete any spam messages that are caught by your blog’s spam filter. Whenever new comments come in, you’ll see a tray popup letting you know how many comments are waiting to be approved or are in the spam folder.  Click the popup to open the editor. Now, you can directly approve that pending comment without going to your WordPress admin page.  When you’re done, just press Enter on your Keyboard to post the reply. Or, if you want to reply to the comment, click the reply link and enter your comment in the entry box at the bottom. If you ever want to double-check if there’s any new comments, just right-click on the tray icon and select refresh. Finally, you can change the settings from the Configuration link in the tray button or by clicking the gear button on the bottom of the review window.  You can change how often it checks for new comments, not to start the notifier at system startup, and edit your account information. Conclusion Whether you’re managing your personal blog or administer a site with millions of hits per day, staying on top of the conversation is one of the best ways to build and maintain your audience.  With wp-comment-notifier, you can be sure that you’re always in control of your blogs comments.  This app is especially useful if you review all comments before allowing them to be published. Download wp-comment-notifier Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips How-To Geek SoftwareHow-To Geek Software: WordPress Comment Moderation NotifierSave Time Commenting with Pre-Fill Comments Greasemonkey ScriptAdd Social Bookmarking (Digg This!) Links to your Wordpress BlogTools to Help Post Content On Your WordPress Blog TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips VMware Workstation 7 Acronis Online Backup DVDFab 6 Revo Uninstaller Pro Error Goblin Explains Windows Error Codes Twelve must-have Google Chrome plugins Cool Looking Skins for Windows Media Player 12 Move the Mouse Pointer With Your Face Movement Using eViacam Boot Windows Faster With Boot Performance Diagnostics Create Ringtones For Your Android Phone With RingDroid

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  • [MISC GEEKERY] Support for Some Versions of Windows is Ending

    - by Matthew Guay
    Are you sticking with your older version of Windows instead of upgrading to Windows 7?  There’s no problem with that, but here’s a quick reminder to make sure you’re running the latest service pack to stay protected. Microsoft offers security updates and more throughout the lifetime of a version of Windows, and periodically they roll all the latest updates and improvements together into a service pack.  After a while, only computers running the latest service pack will still get updates to keep them safe. Recently, Microsoft has been warning that support is ending for Windows XP with Service Pack 2 and the release version of Windows Vista.  When support ends, you will not receive any new security updates for Windows.  You can continue to use your computer the same as before, but it may not be as secure and if new security issues are discovered they will not be updated. However, it’s easy to stay supported: simply install XP Service Pack 3 or Vista Service Pack 2, depending on your computer.  Here’s how to do that: Windows XP To install Windows XP Service Pack 3, you can either check Windows Update for updates, or simply download it from Microsoft at this link: Download XP Service Pack 3 Run the download (or if you’re updating from Windows Update the installer will automatically launch), and proceed just as you normally would when installing a program.  Your computer will have to reboot during the install, so make sure you’ve saved all your work and closed other programs before installing.   To check what service pack your computer is running, click Start, then right-click on the My Computer button and choose Properties. This will show you what version and service pack of Windows you are running, and in this screenshot we see this computer has be updated to Service Pack 3. Please Note:  The version of XP shipped with Windows XP Mode in Windows 7 comes preconfigured with Service Pack 3, and does not need updated.  Additionally, if your computer is running the 64 bit version of Windows XP, then Service Pack 2 is the latest service pack for your computer, and it is still supported. Windows Vista If your computer is running Windows Vista, you can install Service Pack 2 to stay up to date and supported.  Simply check Windows Update for Service Pack 2 if you haven’t installed it yet, or download the installer for your computer from the link below: 32 bit: Vista Service Pack 2 32-bit 64 bit: Vista Service Pack 2 64-bit Run the installer, and simply set it up as a normal program installation.  Do note that your computer will reboot during the installation, so make sure to save your work and close other programs before installing. To see what service pack your computer is running, click the Start orb, then right-click on the Computer button and select Properties. This will show what service pack and edition of Windows Vista your computer is running right at the top of the page. Conclusion Microsoft makes it easy to keep using your computer safely and securely even if you choose to keep using your older version of Windows.  By installing the latest service pack, you will make sure that your computer will be supported for years to come.  Windows 7 users, you don’t need to worry; no service has been released for it yet.  Stay tuned, and we’ll let you know when any new service packs are available. www.microsoft.com/EOS – End of Support Information from Microsoft Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips Remove Optional and Probably Unnecessary Windows Vista ComponentsRequesting Hotfixes from Microsoft the Easy WayUnderstanding Windows Vista Aero Glass RequirementsAdd Network Support to Windows Live MovieMakerCustomize the Manufacturer Support Info in Windows 7 or Vista TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips Revo Uninstaller Pro Registry Mechanic 9 for Windows PC Tools Internet Security Suite 2010 PCmover Professional OutSync will Sync Photos of your Friends on Facebook and Outlook Windows 7 Easter Theme YoWindoW, a real time weather screensaver Optimize your computer the Microsoft way Stormpulse provides slick, real time weather data Geek Parents – Did you try Parental Controls in Windows 7?

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  • Customize your icons in Windows 7 and Vista

    - by Matthew Guay
    Want to change out the icons on your desktop and more?  Personalizing your icons is a great way to make your PC uniquely yours,, and today we show you how to grab unique icons, and default Winnows. to be your own. Change the icon for Computer, Recycle Bin, Network, and your User folder Right-click on the desktop, and select Personalize. Now, click the “Change desktop icons” link on the left sidebar in the Personalization window. The window looks slightly different in Windows Vista, but the link is the same. Select the icon you wish to change, and click the Change Icon button.  In Windows 7, you will also notice a box to choose whether or not to allow themes to change icons, and you can uncheck it if you don’t want themes to change your icon settings. You can select one of the other included icons, or click browse to find the icon you want.  Click Ok when you are finished. Change Folder icons You can easily change the icon on most folders in Windows Vista and 7.  Simply right-click on the folder and select properties. Click the Customize tab, and then click the Change Icon button.  This will open the standard dialog to change your icon, so proceed as normal. This basically just creates a hidden desktop.ini file in the folder containing the following or similar data: [.ShellClassInfo]IconFile=%SystemRoot%\system32\SHELL32.dllIconIndex=20 You could manually create or edit the file if you choose, instead of using the dialogs. Simply create a new text file named desktop.ini with this same information, or edit the existing one.  Change the IconFile line to the location of your icon. If you are pointing to a .ico file you should change the IconIndex line to 0 instead. Note that this isn’t available for all folders, for instance you can’t use this to change the icon for the Windows folder.   In Windows 7, please note that you cannot change the icon of folder inside a library.  So if you are browsing your Documents library and would like to change an icon in that folder, right-click on it and select Open folder location.  Now you can change the icon as above. And if you would like to change a Library’s icon itself, then check out this tutorial: Change Your Windows 7 Library Icons the Easy Way Change the icon of any file type Want to make you files easier to tell apart?  Check out our tutorial on how to simply do this: Change a File Type’s Icon in Windows 7 Change the icon of any Application Shortcut To change the icon of a shortcut on your desktop, start menu, or in Explorer, simply right-click on the icon and select Properties. In the Shortcut tab, click the Change Icon button. Now choose one of the other available icons or click browse to find the icon you want. Change Icons of Running Programs in the Windows 7 taskbar If your computer is running Windows 7, you can customize the icon of any program running in the taskbar!  This only works on applications that are running but not pinned to the taskbar, so if you want to customize a pinned icon you may want to unpin it before customizing it.  But the interesting thing about this trick is that it can customize any icon anything running in the taskbar, including things like Control Panel! Right-click or click and push up to open the jumplist on the icon, and then right-click on the program’s name and select Properties.  Here we are customizing Control Panel, but you can do this on any application icon. Now, click Change Icon as usual. Select an icon you want (We switched the Control Panel icon to the Security Shield), or click Browse to find another icon.  Click Ok when finished, and then close the application window. The next time you open the program (or Control Panel in our example), you will notice your new icon on its taskbar icon. Please note that this only works on applications that are currently running and are not pinned to the taskbar.  Strangely, if the application is pinned to the taskbar, you can still click Properties and change the icon, but the change will not show up. Change the icon on any Drive on your Computer You can easily change the icon on your internal hard drives and portable drives with the free Drive Icon Changer application.  Simply download and unzip the file (link below), and then run the application as administrator by right-clicking on the icon and selecting “Run as administrator”. Now, select the drive that you want to change the icon of, and select your desired icon file. Click Save, and Drive Icon Changer will let you know that the icon has been changed successfully. You will then need to reboot your computer to complete the changes.  Simply click Yes to reboot. Now, our Drive icon is changed from this default image: to a Laptop icon we chose! You can do this to any drive in your computer, or to removable drives such as USB flash drives.  When you change these drives icons, the new icon will appear on any computer you insert the drive into.  Also, if you wish to remove the icon change, simply run the Drive Icon Changer again and remove the icon path. Download Drive Icon Changer This application actually simply creates or edits a hidden Autorun.inf file on the top of your drive.  You can edit or create the file yourself by hand if you’d like; simply include the following information in the file, and save it in the top directory of your drive: [autorun]ICON=[path of your icon] Remove Arrow from shortcut icons Many people don’t like the arrow on the shortcut icon, and there are two easy ways to do this. If you’re running the 32 bit version of Windows Vista or 7, simply use the Vista Shortcut Overlay Remover. If your computer is running the 64 bit version of Windows Vista or 7, use the Ultimate Windows Tweaker instead.  Simply select the Additional Tweaks section, and check the “Remove arrows from Shortcut Icons.” For more info and download links check out this article: Disable Shortcut Icon Arrow Overlay in Windows 7 or Vista Closing: This gives you a lot of ways to customize almost any icon on your computer, so you can make it look just like you want it to.  Stay tuned for more great desktop customization articles from How-to Geek! Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips Change Start Menu to Use Small Icons in Windows 7 or VistaResize Icons Quickly in Windows 7 or Vista ExplorerRoundup: 16 Tweaks to Windows Vista Look & FeelRestore Missing Desktop Icons in Windows 7 or VistaClean Up Past Notification Icons in Windows Vista TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips Revo Uninstaller Pro Registry Mechanic 9 for Windows PC Tools Internet Security Suite 2010 PCmover Professional Change DNS servers on the fly with DNS Jumper Live PDF Searches PDF Files and Ebooks Converting Mp4 to Mp3 Easily Use Quick Translator to Translate Text in 50 Languages (Firefox) Get Better Windows Search With UltraSearch Scan News With NY Times Article Skimmer

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  • Add Free Google Apps to Your Website or Blog

    - by Matthew Guay
    Would you like to have an email address from your own domain, but prefer Gmail’s interface and integration with Google Docs?  Here’s how you can add the free Google Apps Standard to your site and get the best of both worlds. Note: To signup for Google Apps and get it setup on your domain, you will need to be able to add info to your WordPress blog or change Domain settings manually. Getting Started Head to the Google Apps signup page (link below), and click the Get Started button on the right.  Note that we are signing up for the free Google Apps which allows a max of 50 users; if you need more than 50 email addresses for your domain, you can choose Premiere Edition instead for $50/year. Select that you are the Administrator of the domain, and enter the domain or subdomain you want to use with Google Apps.  Here we’re adding Google Apps to the techinch.com site, but we could instead add Apps to mail.techinch.com if needed…click Get Started. Enter your name, phone number, an existing email address, and other Administrator information.  The Apps signup page also includes some survey questions about your organization, but you only have to fill in the required fields. On the next page, enter a username and password for the administrator account.  Note that the user name will also be the administrative email address as [email protected] Now you’re ready to authenticate your Google Apps account with your domain.  The steps are slightly different depending on whether your site is on WordPress.com or on your own hosting service or server, so we’ll show how to do it both ways.   Authenticate and Integrate Google Apps with WordPress.com To add Google Apps to a domain you have linked to your WordPress.com blog, select Change yourdomain.com CNAME record and click Continue. Copy the code under #2, which should be something like googleabcdefg123456.  Do not click the button at the bottom; wait until we’ve completed the next step.   Now, in a separate browser window or tab, open your WordPress Dashboard.  Click the arrow beside Upgrades, and select Domains from the menu. Click the Edit DNS link beside the domain name you’re adding to Google Apps. Scroll down to the Google Apps section, and paste your code from Google Apps into the verification code field.  Click Generate DNS records when you’re done. This will add the needed DNS settings to your records in the box above the Google Apps section.  Click Save DNS records. Now, go back to the Google Apps signup page, and click I’ve completed the steps above. Authenticate Google Apps on Your Own Server If your website is hosted on your own server or hosting account, you’ll need to take a few more steps to add Google Apps to your domain.  You can add a CNAME record to your domain host using the same information that you would use with a WordPress account, or you can upload an HTML file to your site’s main directory.  In this test we’re going to upload an HTML file to our site for verification. Copy the code under #1, which should be something like googleabcdefg123456.  Do not click the button at the bottom; wait until we’ve completed the next step first. Create a new HTML file and paste the code in it.  You can do this easily in Notepad: create a new document, paste the code, and then save as googlehostedservice.html.  Make sure to select the type as All Files or otherwise the file will have a .txt extension. Upload this file to your web server via FTP or a web dashboard for your site.  Make sure it is in the top level of your site’s directory structure, and try visiting it at yoursite.com/googlehostedservice.html. Now, go back to the Google Apps signup page, and click I’ve completed the steps above. Setup Your Email on Google Apps When this is done, your Google Apps account should be activated and ready to finish setting up.  Google Apps will offer to launch a guide to step you through the rest of the process; you can click Launch guide if you want, or click Skip this guide to continue on your own and go directly to the Apps dashboard.   If you choose to open the guide, you’ll be able to easily learn the ropes of Google Apps administration.  Once you’ve completed the tutorial, you’ll be taken to the Google Apps dashboard. Most of the Google Apps will be available for immediate use, but Email may take a bit more setup.  Click Activate email to get your Gmail-powered email running on your domain.    Add Google MX Records to Your Server You will need to add Google MX records to your domain registrar in order to have your mail routed to Google.  If your domain is hosted on WordPress.com, you’ve already made these changes so simply click I have completed these steps.  Otherwise, you’ll need to manually add these records before clicking that button.   Adding MX Entries is fairly easy, but the steps may depend on your hosting company or registrar.  With some hosts, you may have to contact support to have them add the MX records for you.  Our site’s host uses the popular cPanel for website administration, so here’s how we added the MX Entries through cPanel. Add MX Entries through cPanel Login to your site’s cPanel, and click the MX Entry link under Mail. Delete any existing MX Records for your domain or subdomain first to avoid any complications or interactions with Google Apps.  If you think you may want to revert to your old email service in the future, save a copy of the records so you can switch back if you need. Now, enter the MX Records that Google listed.  Here’s our account after we added all of the entries to our account. Finally, return to your Google Apps Dashboard and click the I have completed these steps button at the bottom of the page. Activating Service You’re now officially finished activating and setting up your Google Apps account.  Google will first have to check the MX records for your domain; this only took around an hour in our test, but Google warns it can take up to 48 hours in some cases. You may then see that Google is updating its servers with your account information.  Once again, this took much less time than Google’s estimate. When everything’s finished, you can click the link to access the inbox of your new Administrator email account in Google Apps. Welcome to Gmail … at your own domain!  All of the Google Apps work just the same in this version as they do in the public @gmail.com version, so you should feel right at home. You can return to the Google Apps dashboard from the Administrative email account by clicking the Manage this domain at the top right. In the Dashboard, you can easily add new users and email accounts, as well as change settings in your Google Apps account and add your site’s branding to your Apps. Your Google Apps will work just like their standard @gmail.com counterparts.  Here’s an example of an inbox customized with the techinch logo and a Gmail theme. Links to Remember Here are the common links to your Google Apps online.  Substitute your domain or subdomain for yourdomain.com. Dashboard https://www.google.com/a/cpanel/yourdomain.com Email https://mail.google.com/a/yourdomain.com Calendar https://www.google.com/calendar/hosted/yourdomain.com Docs https://docs.google.com/a/yourdomain.com Sites https://sites.google.com/a/yourdomain.com Conclusion Google Apps offers you great webapps and webmail for your domain, and let’s you take advantage of Google’s services while still maintaining the professional look of your own domain.  Setting up your account can be slightly complicated, but once it’s finished, it will run seamlessly and you’ll never have to worry about email or collaboration with your team again. Signup for the free Google Apps Standard Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips Mysticgeek Blog: Create Your Own Simple iGoogle GadgetAccess Your Favorite Google Services in Chrome the Easy WayRevo Uninstaller Pro [REVIEW]Mysticgeek Blog: A Look at Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 on Windows XPFind Similar Websites in Google Chrome TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips Xobni Plus for Outlook All My Movies 5.9 CloudBerry Online Backup 1.5 for Windows Home Server Snagit 10 Video preview of new Windows Live Essentials 21 Cursor Packs for XP, Vista & 7 Map the Stars with Stellarium Use ILovePDF To Split and Merge PDF Files TimeToMeet is a Simple Online Meeting Planning Tool Easily Create More Bookmark Toolbars in Firefox

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  • Convert a Row to a Column in Excel the Easy Way

    - by Matthew Guay
    Sometimes we’ve entered data in a column in Excel, only to realize later that it would be better to have this data in a row, or vise-versa.  Here’s a simple trick to convert any row or set of rows into a column, or vise-versa, in Excel. Please Note: This is tested in Excel 2003, 2007, and 2010.  Here we took screenshots from Excel 2010 x64, but it works the same on the other versions. Convert a Row to a Column Here’s our data in Excel: We want to change these two columns into rows.  Select all the cells you wish to convert, right-click, and select copy (or simply press Ctrl+C): Now, right-click in the cell where you want to put the data in rows, and select “Paste Special…”   Check the box at the bottom that says “Transpose”, and then click OK. Now your data that was in columns is in rows! This works the exact same for converting rows into columns.  Here’s some data in rows:   After copying and pasting special with Transpose selected, here’s the data in columns! This is a great way to get your data organized just like you want in Excel. Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips Convert Older Excel Documents to Excel 2007 FormatHow To Import a CSV File Containing a Column With a Leading 0 Into ExcelExport an Access 2003 Report Into Excel SpreadsheetMake Row Labels In Excel 2007 Freeze For Easier ReadingKeyboard Ninja: Insert Tables in Word 2007 TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips Revo Uninstaller Pro Registry Mechanic 9 for Windows PC Tools Internet Security Suite 2010 PCmover Professional Increase the size of Taskbar Previews (Win 7) Scan your PC for nasties with Panda ActiveScan CleanMem – Memory Cleaner AceStock – The Personal Stock Monitor Add Multiple Tabs to Office Programs The Wearing of the Green – St. Patrick’s Day Theme (Firefox)

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  • Add Microsoft Core Fonts to Ubuntu

    - by Matthew Guay
    Have you ever needed the standard Microsoft fonts such as Times New Roman on your Ubuntu computer?  Here’s how you can easily add the core Microsoft fonts to Ubuntu. Times New Roman, Arial, and other core Microsoft fonts are still some of the most commonly used fonts in documents and websites.  Times New Roman especially is often required for college essays, legal docs, and other critical documents that you may need to write or edit.  Ubuntu includes the Liberation alternate fonts that include similar alternates to Times New Roman, Arial, and Courier New, but these may not be accepted by professors and others when a certain font is required.  But, don’t worry; it only takes a couple clicks to add these fonts to Ubuntu for free. Installing the Core Microsoft Fonts Microsoft has released their core fonts, including Times New Roman and Arial, for free, and you can easily download these from the Software Center.  Open your Applications menu, and select Ubuntu Software Center.   In the search box enter the following: ttf-mscorefonts Click Install on the “Installer for Microsoft TrueType core fonts” directly in the search results. Enter your password when requested, and click Authenticate. The fonts will then automatically download and install in a couple minutes depending on your internet connection speed. Once the install is finished, you can launch OpenOffice Writer to try out the new fonts.  Here’s a preview of all the fonts included in this pack.  And, yes, this does included the infamous Comic Sans and Webdings fonts as well as the all-important Times New Roman. Please Note:  By default in Ubuntu, OpenOffice uses Liberation Serif as the default font, but after installing this font pack, the default font will switch to Times New Roman. Adding Other Fonts In addition to the Microsoft Core Fonts, the Ubuntu Software Center has hundreds of free fonts available.  Click the Fonts link on the front page to explore these, and install the same as above. If you’ve downloaded another font individually, you can also install it easily in Ubuntu.  Just double-click it, and then click Install in the preview window. Conclusion Although you may prefer the fonts that are included with Ubuntu, there are many reasons why having the Microsoft core fonts can be helpful.  Thankfully it’s easy in Ubuntu to install them, so you’ll never have to worry about not having them when you need to edit an important document. Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips Enable Smooth fonts on Ubuntu LinuxEmbed True Type Fonts in Word and PowerPoint 2007 DocumentsNew Vista Syntax for Opening Control Panel Items from the Command-lineStupid Geek Tricks: Enable More Fonts for the Windows Command PromptAdding extra Repositories on Ubuntu TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips DVDFab 6 Revo Uninstaller Pro Registry Mechanic 9 for Windows PC Tools Internet Security Suite 2010 Awe inspiring, inter-galactic theme (Win 7) Case Study – How to Optimize Popular Wordpress Sites Restore Hidden Updates in Windows 7 & Vista Iceland an Insurance Job? Find Downloads and Add-ins for Outlook Recycle !

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  • Make Your PC Look Like Windows Phone 7

    - by Matthew Guay
    Windows Phone 7 offers a unique and exciting UI that displays lots of information efficiently on the screen.  And with a simple Rainmeter theme, you can have the same UI and content directly on your Windows 7 desktop. Turn your Desktop into a Windows Phone 7 lookalike To give your Windows 7 desktop a Windows Phone 7 makeover, first you need to have the free Rainmeter application installed.  If you do not have it installed, download it from the link below and run the setup.  Accept the license agreement, and install it with the default settings. By default Rainmeter will automatically run when you start your computer.  If you do not want this, you can uncheck the box during the setup. Now, download the Omnimo UI theme for Rainmeter (link below).  You will need to unzip the folder first. This theme uses the Segoe UI and the Segoe UI Light font, so Windows Vista users need to install the segoeuil.ttf font first, and XP users need to install both the segoeui.ttf and the segoeuil.ttf font first.  Copy the appropriate fonts to C:\Windows\Fonts, or in Vista double-click on the font and select Install. Now, run the Rainmeter theme setup.  Double-click on the Rainstaller.exe in the Omnimo folder. Click Express install to add the theme and skin to Rainmeter. Click Finish, and by default Rainmeter will open with your new theme. When the new theme opens the first time, you will be asked to read the readme, or simply go to the gallery. When you open the gallery, you can choose from a wide variety of tiles and gadgets to place on your desktop.  You can also choose a different color scheme for your tiles. Once you’re done, click the X in the top right hand corner to close the Gallery.  Welcome to your Windows Phone 7 desktop!  Many of the gadgets are dynamic, and you can change the settings for most of them.  The only thing missing is the transition animations that Windows Phone 7 shows when you launch an application. To make it look even more like Windows Phone 7, you can change your background to black.  This makes the desktop theme really dramatic. And, if you want to add gadgets or change the color scheme, simply click on the + logo on the top. Windows Phone 7 Desktop Wallpapers If you’d prefer to simply change your background, My Microsoft Life has several very nice Windows Phone 7 wallpapers available for free.  Click the link below to download these and other Microsoft-centric wallpapers. If you can’t wait to get the new Windows phone 7, this is a great way to start experiencing the beauty of the phone UI on your desktop. Links Download Rainmeter Download the Omnimo UI Rainmeter theme Download Windows Phone 7 inspired wallpapers Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips Try out Windows Phone 7 on your PC todayTest All Features of Windows Phone 7 On Your PCHow-To Geek on Lifehacker: How to Make Windows Vista Less AnnoyingCreate a Shortcut or Hotkey to Mute the System Volume in WindowsMake Ubuntu Automatically Save Changes to Your Session TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips DVDFab 6 Revo Uninstaller Pro Registry Mechanic 9 for Windows PC Tools Internet Security Suite 2010 Norwegian Life If Web Browsers Were Modes of Transportation Google Translate (for animals) Roadkill’s Scan Port scans for open ports Out of 100 Tweeters Out of band Security Update for Internet Explorer

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  • Change Desktop Resolution With a Keyboard Shortcut

    - by Matthew Guay
    Do you find yourself changing your monitor resolution several times a day?  If so, you might like this handy way to set a keyboard shortcut for your most-used resolutions. Most users rarely have to change their screen resolution often, as LCD monitors usually only look best at their native resolution.  But netbooks present a unique situation, as their native resolution is usually only 1024×600.  Some newer netbooks offer higher resolutions which may not looks as crisp as the native resolution but can be handy for using a program that expects a higher resolution.  This is the perfect situation for a keyboard shortcut to help you change the resolution without having to hassle with dialogs and menus each time, and HRC – HotKey Resolution Changer makes it easy to do. Create Keyboard Shortcuts Download the HRC – HotKey Resolution Changer (link below), unzip, and then run HRC.exe in the folder. This will start a tray icon, and will not automatically open the HRC window.  You don’t have to install HRC.  Double-click the tray icon to open it.  Note: Windows 7 automatically hides new tray icons, so if you can’t see it, click the arrow to see the hidden tray icons. By default, HRC will show two entries with your default resolutions, color depth, and refresh rate. Add a keyboard shortcut by clicking the Change button over the resolution.  Press the keyboard shortcut you want to press to switch to that resolution; we entered Ctrl+Alt+1 for our default resolution.  Make sure not to use a keyboard shortcut you use in another application, as this will override it.  Click Set when you’ve entered the hotkey(s) you want. Now, on the second entry, select the resolution you want for your alternate resolution.  The drop-down list will only show your monitor’s supported resolutions, so you don’t have to worry about choosing an incorrect resolution.  You can also set a different color depth or refresh rate for this resolution.  Now add a keyboard shortcut for this resolution as well. You can set keyboard shortcuts for up to 9 different resolutions with HRC.  Click the Select number of HotKeys button on the left, and choose the number of resolutions you want to set.  Here we have unique keyboard shortcuts for our three most-used resolutions on our netbook. HRC must be kept running to use the keyboard shortcuts, so click the Minimize to tray icon which is the second icon to the right.  This will keep it running in the tray. If you want to be able to change your resolution anytime, you’ll want HRC to automatically start with Windows.  Create a shortcut to HRC, and paste it into your Windows startup folder.  You can easily open this folder by entering the following in the Run command or in the address bar in Explorer: %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup   Conclusion HRC- HotKey Resolution Changer gives you a great way to quickly change your screen resolution with a keyboard shortcut.  Whether or not you love keyboard shortcuts, this is still a much easier way to switch between your most commonly used resolutions. Download HRC – HotKey Resolution Changer Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips Create a Keyboard Shortcut to Access Hidden Desktop Icons and FilesGet Mac’s Hide Others (cmd+opt+H) Keyboard Shortcut for WindowsHide Desktop Icon Text on Windows 7 or VistaShow Keyboard Shortcut Access Keys in Windows VistaKeyboard Ninja: 21 Keyboard Shortcut Articles TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips VMware Workstation 7 Acronis Online Backup DVDFab 6 Revo Uninstaller Pro Use Flixtime To Create Video Slideshows Creating a Password Reset Disk in Windows Bypass Waiting Time On Customer Service Calls With Lucyphone MELTUP – "The Beginning Of US Currency Crisis And Hyperinflation" Enable or Disable the Task Manager Using TaskMgrED Explorer++ is a Worthy Windows Explorer Alternative

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  • Multitask Like a Pro with AquaSnap

    - by Matthew Guay
    Are you tired of shuffling back and forth between windows?  Here’s a handy app that can help you keep all of your windows organized and accessible. AquaSnap is a great free utility that helps you use multiple windows at the same time easily and efficiently.  One of Windows 7’s greatest new features is Aero Snap, which lets you easily view windows side by side by simply dragging windows to side of your screen.  After using Windows 7 for the past year, Aero Snap is one of the features we really miss when using older versions of Windows. With AquaSnap, you now have all of the features of Aero Snap and more in Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and of course Windows 7.  Not only does it give you Aero Snap features, but AquaSnap also gives you more control over your windows to make you more productive. Getting Started AquaSnap is a a free download for Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and 7.  Download the small installer (link below) and install it with the default settings. AquaSnap automatically runs as soon as it is installed, and you will notice a new icon in your system tray. Now you can go ahead and put it to use.  Drag a window to any edge or corner of your desktop, and you will see an icon showing what part of the screen the window will cover. Dragging it to the side of the screen expanded the window to fill the right half of the screen, just like the default Aero Snap in Windows 7.  You can drag the window away to restore it to its former size. AquaSnap works on any corner of the screen too, so you can have 4 windows side-by-side.  We already have 3 windows snapped to the corners, and notice that we’re dragging a fourth window to the bottom right corner. You can also snap windows to the bottom and top of the screen.  Here we have Word snapped to the bottom half of the screen, and we’re dragging Chrome to the top. You can even snap internal windows in Multiple Document Interface (MDI) programs such as Excel.  Here we are snapping a workbook in Excel to the left to view 2 workbooks side-by-side.   Additionally, AquaSnap lets you keep any window always on top.  Simply shake any window, and it will turn semi-transparent and stay on top of all other windows.  Notice the transparent calculator here on top of Excel. All of AquaSnap’s features work great in Windows 2000, XP, and Vista too.  Here we are snapping IE6 to the left of the screen in XP. Here are 3 windows snapped to the sides in XP.  You can mix the snap modes, and have, for instance, two windows on the right side and one window on the left.  This is a great way to maximize productivity if you need more space in one of the windows. Even AquaShake works to keep a window transparent and on top in XP. Settings AquaSnap has a detailed settings dialog where you can tweak it to work exactly like you want.  Simply right-click on its icon in the taskbar, and select Settings. From the first screen, you can choose if you want AquaSnap to start with Windows, and if you want it to show an icon in the system tray.  If you turn off the system tray icon, you can access the AquaSnap settings from Start > All Programs > AquaSnap > Configuration (or simply search for Configuration in Vista or Windows 7). The second tab in settings lets you choose what you want each snapping region to do.  You can also choose two other presets, including AeroSnap (which works just like the default Aero Snap in Windows 7) and AquaSnap simple (which only snaps at the edges of the screen, not the corners). The third tab lets you increase or decrease the opacity of pinned windows when using AquaShake, and also lets you increase or decrease the shaking sensitivity.  Additionally, if you prefer the standard AeroShake functionality, which minimizes all other open windows when you shake a window, you can choose that too. The fourth tab lets you activate an optional feature, AquaGlass.  If you activate this, it will make windows turn transparent when you drag them across the screen.   Finally, the last tab lets you change the color and opacity of the preview rectangle, or simply turn it off. Or, if you want to temporarily turn AquaSnap off, simply right-click on its icon and select Off.  In Windows 7, turning off AquaSnap will restore your standard Windows Aero Snap functionality, and in other version of Windows it will stop letting you snap windows at all.  You can then repeat the steps and select On when you want to use AquaSnap again. Conclusion AquaSnap is a handy tool to make you more productive at your computer.  With a wide variety of useful features, there’s something here for everyone.  Download AquaSnap Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips How to Get Virtual Desktops on Windows XP TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips DVDFab 6 Revo Uninstaller Pro Registry Mechanic 9 for Windows PC Tools Internet Security Suite 2010 Out of band Security Update for Internet Explorer 7 Cool Looking Screensavers for Windows SyncToy syncs Files and Folders across Computers on a Network (or partitions on the same drive) If it were only this easy Classic Cinema Online offers 100’s of OnDemand Movies OutSync will Sync Photos of your Friends on Facebook and Outlook

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  • Easily Add Facebook Chat to Pidgin

    - by Matthew Guay
    Want to keep in touch with your Facebook friends throughout the day?  Here we’ll show you how to easily add Facebook chat to the popular multi-protocol chat client Pidgin. Facebook has recently added support for XMPP chat, which means you can easily add it to popular chat clients such as Pidgin.  Previously you could only add Facebook chat to Pidgin through a plug-in that didn’t always work correctly.  Here we’ll walk you through setting up your Facebook account in Pidgin. Getting Started First, make sure you have a username for your Facebook account (link below).  This is a relatively new feature for Facebook, so if you’ve had your account for a while you may need to choose one.    If you already have one, you should see it listed instead. Now, open Pidgin, and click Manage Accounts. Click Add… Then select XMPP from the Protocol list. Now, enter your Facebook username without the facebook.com part (e.g your.facebook.username, not http://www.facebook.com/your.user.name).  Then, enter chat.facebook.com for the Domain, and enter your standard Facebook password.  You can check the “Remember password” box if you’d like Pidgin to automatically sign in to Facebook chat. Now, click on the Advanced tab, and uncheck the “Require SSL/TLS” box.  Also, make sure the Connect port is 5222.  Click Add, and your Facebook account is added to Pidgin. Now Facebook will show up in your list of accounts, with the username [email protected] Your Facebook friends will show up directly in your Buddy list, complete with their full name and Facebook profile picture.  Any users that are not in a group will show under your standard list, while ones in a Facebook group will be shown in a separate group.  You can move which groups your Facebook friends show up in, just like you can with other chat contacts.   And no matter if your friend is logged in on the standard Facebook website or through another chat application, it will work the same as always.   This is a great way to keep in touch with your Facebook friends throughout the day.  If you like Facebook chat and already use Pidgin, now you can keep from switching between programs and just chat with all your friends from a central location. Links: Download Pidgin Set your Facebook username Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips The How-To Geek is No Longer on FacebookWin a Free iPod Touch in the How-To Geek Facebook Giveaway!Block Those Irritating Facebook Quiz & Application MessagesPut Your Pidgin Buddy List into the Windows Vista SidebarHow to Lock Down Your Facebook Account TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips Revo Uninstaller Pro Registry Mechanic 9 for Windows PC Tools Internet Security Suite 2010 PCmover Professional Make your Joomla & Drupal Sites Mobile with OSMOBI Integrate Twitter and Delicious and Make Life Easier Design Your Web Pages Using the Golden Ratio Worldwide Growth of the Internet How to Find Your Mac Address Use My TextTools to Edit and Organize Text

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  • Use Advanced Font Ligatures in Office 2010

    - by Matthew Guay
    Fonts can help your documents stand out and be easier to read, and Office 2010 helps you take your fonts even further with support for OpenType ligatures, stylistic sets, and more.  Here’s a quick look at these new font features in Office 2010. Introduction Starting with Windows 7, Microsoft has made an effort to support more advanced font features across their products.  Windows 7 includes support for advanced OpenType font features and laid the groundwork for advanced font support in programs with the new DirectWrite subsystem.  It also includes the new font Gabriola, which includes an incredible number of beautiful stylistic sets and ligatures. Now, with the upcoming release of Office 2010, Microsoft is bringing advanced typographical features to the Office programs we love.  This includes support for OpenType ligatures, stylistic sets, number forms, contextual alternative characters, and more.  These new features are available in Word, Outlook, and Publisher 2010, and work the same on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. Please note that Windows does include several OpenType fonts that include these advanced features.  Calibri, Cambria, Constantia, and Corbel all include multiple number forms, while Consolas, Palatino Linotype, and Gabriola (Windows 7 only) include all the OpenType features.  And, of course, these new features will work great with any other OpenType fonts you have that contain advanced ligatures, stylistic sets, and number forms. Using advanced typography in Word To use the new font features, open a new document, select an OpenType font, and enter some text.  Here we have Word 2010 in Windows 7 with some random text in the Gabriola font.  Click the arrow on the bottom of the Font section of the ribbon to open the font properties. Alternately, select the text and click Font. Now, click on the Advanced tab to see the OpenType features. You can change the ligatures setting… Choose Proportional or Tabular number spacing… And even select Lining or Old-style number forms. Here’s a comparison of Lining and Old-style number forms in Word 2010 with the Calibri font. Finally, you can choose various Stylistic sets for your font.  The dialog always shows 20 styles, whether or not your font includes that many.  Most include only 1 or 2; Gabriola includes 6. Here’s lorem ipsum text, using the Gabriola font with Stylistic set 6. Impressive, huh?  The font ligatures change based on context, so they will automatically change as you are typing.  Watch the transition as we typed the word Microsoft in Word with Gabriola stylistic set 6. Here’s another example, showing the fi and tt ligatures in Calibri. These effects work great in Word 2010 in XP, too. And, since Outlook uses Word as it’s editing engine, you can use the same options in Outlook 2010.  Note that these font effects may not show up the same if the recipient’s email client doesn’t support advanced OpenType typography.  It will, of course, display perfectly if the recipient is using Outlook 2010. Using advanced typography in Publisher 2010 Publisher 2010 includes the same advanced font features.  This is especially nice for those using Publisher for professional layout and design.  Simply insert a text box, enter some text, select it, and click the arrow on the bottom of the font box as in Word to open the font properties. This font options dialog is actually more advanced than Word’s font options.  You can preview your font changes on sample text right in the properties box.  You can also choose to add or remove a swash from your characters.   Conclusion Advanced typographical effects are a welcome addition to Word and Publisher 2010, and they are very impressive when coupled with modern fonts such as Gabriola.  From designing elegant headers to using old-style numbers, these features are very useful and fun. Do you have a favorite OpenType font that includes advanced typographical features?  Let us know in the comments! More Reading Advances in typography in Windows 7 – Engineering 7 Blog New features in Microsoft Word 2010 Similar Articles Productive Geek Tips Change the Default Font in Excel 2007Ask the Readers: Do You Use a Laptop, Desktop, or Both?Keep Websites From Using Tiny Fonts in SafariAdd or Remove Apps from the Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010 SuiteFriday Fun: Desktop Tower Defense Pro TouchFreeze Alternative in AutoHotkey The Icy Undertow Desktop Windows Home Server – Backup to LAN The Clear & Clean Desktop Use This Bookmarklet to Easily Get Albums Use AutoHotkey to Assign a Hotkey to a Specific Window Latest Software Reviews Tinyhacker Random Tips Revo Uninstaller Pro Registry Mechanic 9 for Windows PC Tools Internet Security Suite 2010 PCmover Professional SpeedyFox Claims to Speed up your Firefox Beware Hover Kitties Test Drive Mobile Phones Online With TryPhone Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day, 3/23/10 New Stinger from McAfee Helps Remove ‘FakeAlert’ Threats Google Apps Marketplace: Tools & Services For Google Apps Users

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