Archive for the ‘Windows 7’ Category

Place a Fully Functional Recycle Bin on your Windows 7 Taskbar

Tuesday 15 September 2009

Method of bringing a fully functional Recycle Bin to your Windows 7 Taskbar.

Toolbars and click New toolbar.

When prompted to provide a folder directory, enter the following string of text: %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

After doing so, a labeled Quick Launch bar should appear near the clock. Odds are it will have several icons onboard, but since we won’t be using this bar for anything apart from hosting the Recycle Bin I would just delete all of the shortcuts.

Right click on the Taskbar and uncheck Lock the taskbar if it isn’t already. Now, right click on your Quick Launch bar and uncheck Show text, as well as Show title. Finally, right click and hover on View to select the size that your Recycle Bin icon will be — I chose large to match my Superbar icons.

With the Quick Launch bar configured, all you have to do is drag and drop the Recycle Bin onto it. Feel free to grab the dotted lines and drag the Quick Launch bar to your preferred location. I would recommend either pulling it all the way to the left near the Start menu, or all the way right near the clock.

When you are satisfied with the position of your Quick Launch bar, relock the Taskbar and hide the Recycle Bin on your desktop by right-clicking an empty space and selecting Personalize, then clicking Change desktop icons in the left column of the Personalization window and un-checking the appropriate box.

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The Windows 7 Taskbar

Tuesday 15 September 2009

Pinning Commonly Used Applications

The taskbar displays open applications, but it can also show applications that are not running – remember “Quick Launch” bar in Windows and Vista? -. By default, Windows 7 comes with three icons that are lying there on the taskbar even when the applications are not open. These are the icons for: Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player and Windows Explorer.
These applications have been pinned to the taskbar. This means that they are always there regardless of whether they’re running or not. Why? To allow users to open them directly from the taskbar. You can run a pinned application by just clicking on its icon.

Windows 7 Taskbar - Active and Inactive Icons

Windows 7 Taskbar – Active and Inactive (Pinned) Icons

You can tell whether the application is running or not from its icon. If the icon has a border frame around it, then it’s running. Additionally, if you hover over it with the cursor, a glowing effect appears. To sum up, by pinning an application that you frequently use, you can easily access it, since it’s always lying there on the taskbar. Not to mention that you can use keyboard shortcuts to do so. Here’s how:
To open, or switch to, an application on the taskbar, you can either:

  • Simply click on its icon!
  • Or press: Windows Key + Number. (The number corresponds to application’s position on the taskbar. For example in the above screenshot, to open “Windows Media Player”, press Windows Key + 2.

To pin an application to the taskbar, you can either:

  • Right-click on its icon –> Choose “Pin to Taskbar”,
  • Or drag and drop it into the taskbar

If the application you want to pin is already running:

  1. Right click on its icon
  2. Choose “Pin this program to taskbar”
Pinning a Running Application to the Taskbar

Pinning a Running Application to the Taskbar

To remove a pinned application from the taskbar:

  1. Right-click on its icon
  2. Choose “Unpin this program from the taskbar”.
Unpinning an Application from the Taskbar

Unpinning an Application from the Taskbar

As you can see, interacting with the new taskbar is quite easy. You should now understand how to pin commonly used applications to the taskbar and access them. Nevertheless, if you are still unhappy that “Quick Launch” is no longer available in Windows 7 and would like to restore it, check out below

How you can enable the quick launch toolbar in Windows 7.

  • Right-click an empty space on the Windows 7 taskbar and select Toolbars > New Toolbar.
  • Enter the following path: %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch
  • Click on Select Folder
  • The Quick Launch toolbar should appear.
  • Right-click the Windows 7 Taskbar again and select Lock The Taskbar from the menu.
  • Drag and drop the Quick Launch toolbar into the location where you want it to be.
  • Select Lock The Taskbar again to lock the Windows 7 Taskbar in place

The result could look like this:
windows7 quick launch
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Block Windows 7 Themes From Changing Mouse Pointers And Icons

Monday 14 September 2009

Windows 7 gives users more freedom in creating and distributing custom Windows 7 themes. A theme in Windows 7 is made up of various elements that include a desktop background, sounds, window colors, screen , mouse pointers and desktop icons. All of these elements can be changed by Windows 7 themes.
Some users might prefer that themes do not change the mouse pointers or desktop icons by default. Microsoft has – thankfully – added the means to block Windows 7 themes from changing mouse pointers and desktop icons in Windows 7. The items can be blocked individually, here is how you do it:
The easiest way to access both options is to right-click the Windows 7 desktop. This opens a context menu with the Personalize link at the bottom. Clicking that link will lead to the Personalization control panel menu with links to desktop icon and mouse pointer settings in the left sidebar.
Blocking themes from changing mouse pointers
A click on the Change mouse pointers link in the left sidebar will open the options. The screen should look like the one below.
Uncheck the option “Allow themes to change mouse pointers” to block Windows 7 themes from changing mouse pointers during theme installations.
Blocking themes from changing desktop icons
A click on the Change desktop icons link in the left sidebar opens a similar menu for configuring desktop icons.
desktop icons
Uncheck the “Allow themes to change desktop icons” option to block Windows 7 themes from changing desktop icons during theme installations.
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Search in Windows 7

Saturday 12 September 2009

Search is built into every aspect of Windows 7, and as we get more and more files, documents, photos, music and videos in our personal libraries it can become harder to find things, especially if we haven’t looked at them in a while.
Search in Windows 7 works in a contextual way depending on what you’re searching in.  For instance, search in the Start Menu will prioritise Start Menu items and programs, search in Explorer will prioritise documents and pictures, search in Internet Explorer will prioritise Favourite websites and browsing history and so on.
Alas, gone is the simple search of previous versions of Windows to be replaced by a more text-based search.  When you start a search a drop down will ask if you want to add a search filter.
There and a great many of these which I shall detail but the basic ones Name: and Type: for file name and file type respectively would be used in the format…
Type: pdf
…if you were looking for Adobe Acrobat files.  This is a way to help narrow down searches.
Kind: used to search the properties of a document type
Datemodified: to search by the date a file was modified
Type: to search by file type
Name: searching by file name or by a property name for a file
Unfortunately the search syntax doesn’t let you double-up on search terms.  For instance typing type:.docx, .pdf won’t bring up search results for all Word and PDF files.
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Microsoft’s Windows 7 ads

Friday 11 September 2009

Microsoft has released its first Windows 7 advertisement, Good News 1, on several TV stations in the US. The advertisement shows Kylie, a 4½ year-old girl, who finds “happy words” about Windows 7 on her dad’s laptop. The “happy words” are actual press reviews of the operating system. She then creates a slideshow using Windows Live Movie Maker of them. You can watch it below: The spot closes with her saying: “I’m a PC and more happy is coming.” As for the song played during the slideshow, it’s “The Final Countdown” by the rock band “Europe” in 1986.

Kylie had appeared in a previous advertisement for Windows Live Photo Gallery in “The Rookies” advertising campaign, which aims to show that the program is very easy to use.

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Managing remote desktop management

Friday 11 September 2009

There have been many great steps forward in the world of computing: The mouse, the desktop and folder metaphor, object-oriented languages and … well, the list is long and highly debatable. I would like to offer up another entry to this roll call of genius: Remote desktop access technology.
When I were a young un’ the only remote access you had was Telnet and you had to walk uphill both ways with barbed wire ’round your feet to get anything done. But I digress.
Today, we have a variety of technologies that allow us to remotely access graphical desktops and see more-or-less exactly what’s going on. The only industry to suffer as a consequence of this has been a handful of companies that make tennis shoe soles because people stopped wearing out their footgear quite as quickly.
So, what are your choices? Well, there are, in fact, quite a few products to choose from, with the majority based on either Microsoft’s proprietary Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) or something called RFB (remote framebuffer), which was developed in 1998 by the now defunct Olivetti Research Laboratory.
The details of the RDP protocol used to only be available under license, but when Microsoft started (grudgingly) to embrace openness, it made the details available under its Open Source Interoperability Initiative.
In contrast, the RFB protocol specification has been open and free since its inception. A more ambitious version of the documentation, announced earlier this year, is also available.
The two protocols are quite different architecturally. While RDP is built into all Windows operating systems as a kernel-level driver that sends display primitives for a Windows RDP client to render, RFB is layered on the top of the system and sends compressed images of screen updates to a RFB client to render independently of the underlying operating system. This means that RDP is Windows-specific while RFB operates cross-platform.
If your shop is like most IT operations you probably use products that are based on both protocols and, where RFB is concerned, you probably use some flavor of Virtual Network Computing, most usually called “VNC” (VNC is both the name of a product line and an implementation of RFB). There are scores of VNC-derived products available, mostly for free, and they all interoperate because they are all RFB-based. How weird is that?
Now, if you have a lot of remote machines to manage then you really need something to make your life easier and I have just the tool for you: VNCScan Enterprise Network Manager for VNC and RDP published by Bozteck Software.
VNCScan is not only a directory and launcher of your VNC and RDP desktop connections, it can also capture remote screen shots into thumbnails, execute scripts on remote computers, install and update remote VNC server components, monitor the up/down state of VNC and RDP, and ping for availability and uptime. As the company claims, “VNCScan is like the Swiss Army Knife for anyone who manages computers on a network.”
The VNCScan user interface allows you to group remote machines (very useful for managing large numbers of devices) and logs all connection activities.
My only complaint: VNCScan’s documentation isn’t well organized; it’s a series of well-written articles but they aren’t ordered; you have to search for what you’re looking for. On the other hand, I noticed something that Bozteck has in its support articles that few companies bother with: details about which files need to be backed up and how to restore them. Very smart.
What is crazy about VNCScan is its price: $59 for a single admin license and $995 for a full site license. VNCScan gets a rating of 4.5.
Source : Click here.

Stop Windows from Rebooting After Automatic Updates

Friday 11 September 2009

You step away from the computer for a little while, and when you come back, all your windows and work are gone. Why? Because Windows downloaded some updates and took it upon itself to reboot without your permission.
Gah! This happened to me just yesterday, and I lost some in-progress work as a result. (Note to Microsoft: beyond inexcusable, guys. Beyond inexcusable.)
Actually, I’d instructed the Windows Update pop-up to postpone rebooting for four hours–and just happened to be away from the PC when that timer ran out. Unlucky me.
There’s a ridiculously easy fix for this, and I’m kicking myself for not applying it sooner. If you’ve been plagued by the same problem, here’s what you need to do:
1. In Vista, click Start, type Windows Update, and then hit Enter. In XP, head to the Control Panel and seek out Windows Update.
2. Click the Change Settings option at left. (That’s where it appears in Vista; not entirely sure about XP.)
3. Change the setting to Download updates but let me choose whether to install them.
4. Click OK.
That’s all there is to it. Windows may still nag you about installing updates, but at least it won’t reboot without your permission.
Source : Click here.

Microsoft pushes Silverlight for HD video

Thursday 10 September 2009
Microsoft is taking a stand as a leader in HD video distribution, announcing Tuesday a new product for hi-def streaming via the Internet and announcing Wednesday an overseas partnership for expanded media downloads.

The platform? Silverlight, Microsoft’s rival to the ubiquitous Adobe Flash.
Microsoft on Tuesday introduced Internet Information Services (IIS) Media Services 3.0, which can stream video at 1080p quality and logs data in real time for analysis. Built using Silverlight 3, IIS Media Services streams video in Microsoft’s proprietary format as well as H.264 and ACC, according to a news release.
The software giant released the IIS Smooth Streaming Transport Protocol and Protected Interoperable File Format (PIFF) under the Microsoft Community Promise, which allows others in the industry to use the technology without fear of being sued by Microsoft.
A number of media companies, mostly in Europe but including NBC Sports, are adopting the technology, Microsoft said. They will be showing it off this weekend at the International Broadcasting Conference in Amsterdam.
At the conference, Microsoft will also unveil features included in Silverlight 4, which is expected to be released sometime in 2010. Microsoft released Silverlight 3 this past July.
Live Smooth Streaming, the cardinal feature of IIS Media Services 3.0, was new to Silverlight 3. Many broadcasters used the technology, then in beta, to stream events such as the Tour de France and the Michael Jackson memorial, the release states.

Silverlight 4 also will support offline PlayRight digital-rights management (DRM), Microsoft said.
“These features will enable movie studios and retailers to provide the same rich interactive experiences via digital copy and Internet distribution as consumers get with DVD or Blu-ray,” the release states.
On Wednesday, Microsoft announced a partnership with U.K. online retailer Tesco to start offering HD video downloads that include special features. These “virtual DVDs” can include, among other Web-enhanced features, movie trailers that update automatically via the Internet.
“Tesco is excited to be the first retailer to partner with a broad range of major movie studios to offer this next-generation movie experience,” Rob Salter, Tesco’s category director for entertainment, said in another news release. “For the first time, consumers will be able to enjoy a DVD equivalent experience with digital movies, which paves the way for more advanced viewing experiences enabled through Silverlight.
“This is just the beginning. In the future we expect to offer our customers innovative digital solutions that far exceed the DVD experience and deliver exclusive content, Web events and services wherever and whenever they want them.”
Source : Click here.

How to Remote Control your Windows PC with Email or SMS

Wednesday 9 September 2009

It’s a long weekend and you’re happy because you’ll get to spend the next three days with your family. You left the office in an excited mood but as the cab was approaching home, you suddenly realized that you forgot to shut down the Office PC. Oops!
computer worries
It’s a sinking feeling because there’re so many confidential documents on the computer and since most of your trusted colleagues have also left for the day, there’s no point calling them for help.
So what do you do? Drive back to Office? Well that’s not required – just take out your cell phone or switch on the laptop at home, send an email (or an SMS or a tweet) and that will instantly lock your Office workstation. And if you share the same computer with multiple people, you can use another email command to remotely log off or even shut down the computer from anywhere in the world.
twitter commandsThere’s no magic here, it’s the power of TweetMyPC utility that lets you remote control your computer from a mobile phone or any other Internet connected computer.
It works like this. You first install the free TweetMyPC utility on any Windows PC and associate your Twitter account. The app will silently monitor your Twitter stream every minute for any desktop commands and if it finds one, will act upon it immediately. The initial version of TweetMyPC was limited to basic shutdown and restart commands, however the current v2 has a far more robust set of commands, enabling a far more useful way of getting your PC to carry out certain tasks especially when you’re AFK (Away From Keyboard).
Before we get started, it may be a good thing if you can set up a new twitter account for remote controlling your desktop and also protect the status updates of this account to ensure better security.
Protecting the account means that you prevent other users from reading your tweets which in this case are email commands that you sending to the computer. To protect your Twitter profile, log in to Twitter with the credentials you want to use, click Settings and check the box next to “Protect my Updates”.
Let’s get started. Install the TweetMyPC utility of your computer and associate your Twitter and Gmail account with the application. It will use Twitter to receive remote commands (like shutdown, log-off, lock workstation, etc) from while the email account will be used for send your information (e.g., what process are currently running on your computer).

How to Send Commands to the Remote Computer

Now that your basic configuration is done, it’s time to set up a posting method. You can use email, SMS, IM, web or any of the Twitter clients to send commands to the remote computer.
By Email: Associate you Twitter account with Posterous (auto-post) and all email messages sent to will therefore become commands for the remote computer. (Also see: Post to Twitter via Email)
By SMS: If you live in US, UK, Canada, India, Germany, Sweden or New Zeleand, you can send associate Twitter with your mobile phone (see list of numbers) and then control your remote computer via SMS Text Messages.
By IM: Add the Twitter bot – – to your list of Google Talk buddies and you can then send commands via instant message.
By Web:If you are on vacation but have access to an internet connected laptop, just log into the Twitter website and issue commands (e.g., shutdown or logoff) just as another tweet.
lock computer shutdown

Download Files, Capture Remote Screenshots & more..

While the TweetMyPC is pretty good for shutting down a remote computer, it lets you do some more awesome stuff as well.
For instance, you need to download an unfinished presentation from the office computer so that you can work on it at home. Or you want to download a trial copy of Windows 7 on the Office computer while you are at home.
Here’s a partial list of commands that you can use to remote control the PC – they’re case-insensitive and, as discussed above, you can send them to Twitter via email, SMS, IM or the web.
Screenshot : This is one of the most useful command I’ve come across after the shutdown command. Want to know what’s happening within the confines of your PC when you’re not around? Just tweet screenshot and TweetMyPC will take a screenshot of your desktop and post it to the web (see example).
ShutDown, LogOff, Reboot, Lock : The function of these useful commands is pretty obvious from their names.
Standby, Hibernate : Don’t want to shutdown the remote PC? Save power by entering standby mode with this command. Or hibernate your PC with a tweet, thereby saving even more power.
download files via twitter
Download : You can download any file from the Internet on to the remote computer using the download command. For instance, a command like download will download the CIA Handbook so you have the document ready when you resume work the next day.
GetFile : The Download command was for downloading files from the Internet onto the remote computer. However, if you like to transfer a file from the remote computer to your current computer, use the GetFile command. It takes the full page of the file that you want to download and will send that you as an email attachment. If you don’t know the file page, use the command GetFileList to get a list of file folders on that drive.
GetProcessList : This is like a remote task manager. You’ll get a list of programs that are currently running on the remote computer along with their process IDs. Send another command kill to terminate any program that you think is suspicious or not required.
TweetMyPC is a must-have utility and you never know when you may need it. And if you have been trying to stay away from Twitter all this time, the app gives you a big reason to at least create one protected account on Twitter.
twitter whale gmail whale
That said, there’s scope for improvement. For instance, the app will wait for a minute to check for new messages in your Twitter stream so it’s not “instant”. The developers can actually increase that limit because the Twitter API now allows upto 100 checks per hour.
And since the app is dependent on Twitter and Gmail, it will not work during those rare fail-whale moments.
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7 New and Improved Windows 7 Features That Shouldn’t Go Unnoticed

Wednesday 9 September 2009

I’ve been playing around with Windows 7 since beta version 6801, I must say that I am quite pleased everything that I have experienced. There are tons of lists highlighting some of the new features found in Windows 7, specifically the new task bar, extended wireless capabilities, a friendlier User Account Control, and other changes/additions. However I feel that some of the really interesting things are not mentioned or fully covered, so I’ve decided to put a list down which describes some of the lesser known enhancements and additions. I hope you find this article useful. What other obscure features have you encountered, please post them below to share with others.
Note: I used Windows 7 RC1 for this article.
7 Windows 7 Features
1. Math Input Panel – Quit fighting with symbols and other software to enter equations into Word documents. Use the new Math Input Panel to easily convert your writing to equations with the appropriate formatting. The Math Input Panel can be found under Start > All Programs > Accessories
7 Windows 7 Features
2. Modify the Shut Down Button Action – If you don’t like the default action for the shut down button, Windows 7 now includes an option that allows you to customize it. Follow this guide for instructions on how to change the option.
7 Windows 7 Features
3. WordPad’s Face lift – In this version of Windows 7, WordPad received a complete facelift. The interface resembles Word minus the advanced features. Locate WordPad by opening the Start menu and typing WordPad in the search box.
7 Windows 7 Features
4. Microsoft Paint Evolves – Microsoft paint has gone from very basic painting tools and options in previous versions to a highly functional paint program. You now have options for multiple brushes, additional shapes, and a cleaner interface. Locate Paint by opening the Start menu and typing Paint in the search box.

7 Windows 7 Features
5. Sticky Notes Everywhere – You no longer need to dig for the Sticky Notes application to add them to your desktop. Now you can post Sticky Notes by simply opening Start > Sticky Notes > New Note.
Note: This feature is a carryover from Vista (you’d be surprised how many people didn’t know it was available in Vista to begin with, hence its place here) Sticky Notes in Vista was not available in Home Basic, I have not been able to confirm if they will be included in all Win7 versions or just Premium and above. Will update as soon as I find out.
7 Windows 7 Features
6. A Calculator for Everyone – Windows 7 includes 4 different calculators; Standard, Programmer, Scientific, and Statistics calculators. In order to access the other calculators, click on View located on the menu and choose the calculator you wish to use.
7 Windows 7 Features
7. Use Windows Vault to Store Your Credentials – Windows’ Credential Manager uses the Vault for storage and backup. According to a Microsoft spokesperson, “…in Windows 7 we’ve added the ability to back up or restore this information.  The default storage vault for the credential manager information is the ‘Windows Vault.’” I hope that resources like Gmail, Twitter, Meebo, NAS devices, network locations, and other resources requiring credentials can be integrated with this feature. Time will tell.
To access the credential manager go to Start > Control Panel > User Accounts and Family Safety > Credential Manager

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