Showing posts with the label Windows 7

Replaced my Macbook with a PC

For the last 4 months I've been using a Macbook at work... my first Mac since the late 90s. I did this so I could enjoy all the benefits Mac lovers rave about. Today I replaced the Macbook with a Lenovo Win7 laptop, because there were more hindrances than benefits. The funny thing, I'm not sure if it's caused by Microsoft or Apple. Here's what I'll miss about my Macbook: Slightly lighter weight Scrolling using two-fingers on the touchpad My Lenovo does that too (though not as smooth). Here's why I gave up my Macbook: Several features of Outlook unavailable Date difference in Excel No Visio or Project Some websites require IE So the Mac fanatics could say it's because Microsoft has purposefully lagged behind in Mac versions of their software. Microsoft people could claim it's too costly to develop for an additional platform when Windows runs on 80%+ of all desktops and laptops. Regardless, I have a job to do and it's much easier on Wi

Dates differ for Excel between Mac and Windows

Who knew? The default date system in Excel for a Mac is different than that used on Windows. I was working across spreadsheets, referencing a column from one to a column from another and my results were driving me crazy. First it appeared my results column was just not formatted for dates as I was just getting numbers. But when I changed the column to be formatted for dates, I got dates but they were off by about 4 years. After checking my formula, which I've used countless times ( Lookup values in Excel ), I finally went searching and found this article, Microsoft Excel Date Systems for Windows and Mac . Sure enough, one of the spreadsheets I had created on my Mac while the other came from a Windows user. Bottom line, Windows uses the 1900 date system while Macs use the 1904 date system. Before you create a spreadsheet you can change the date system, but if changed afterward it will also change your dates, so be careful. Read Microsoft Excel Date Systems for Windows and Mac

Command Prompt on Right-Click

In Windows XP it was fairly easy to add a link to the right-click menu in Explorer, so when clicked it would open the Command Prompt at that location . I posted a how-to in April 2008 on how to accomplish this. With the release of Windows Vista and Windows 7, the Tools >> Folder Options is no longer available, so the task required a new solution. I've identified 3 possible alternatives: All 3 options in use Hold the Shift-key while right-clicking. This is built-in behavior. Update the Registery. Open the Registry by entering "regedit" at the Run prompt. Navigate to the following key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell. Create a new key called "Command Prompt." For the default value, add the right-click menu name, such as "Open Command Prompt Here." Navigate down to your new "Command Prompt" key (HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\shell\CommandPrompt). Create another new key called "Command." For the default value, add

Insert Clipart causing install loop problem for MS Office apps

On my work laptop, running Win7 Pro, all of my MS Office apps are all 2007 except for Visio 2003. When Visio was installed, for whatever reason the clipart was not installed. If I tried to use the clipart, it would start the install wizard, ask for a path to the install disk and eventually fail as I didn't have the disk. This is unfortunately is expected behavior. But, when I go to insert clipart from my other Office apps, they run into a problem due to Visio. It goes through the same Microsoft Office Visio 2003 install wizard, and after failing, it will open the clipart that WAS installed for 2007. I search for solutions, but never found one. This works for some install loop type problems, but not my specific case. Enter one of the following using Run... . Substitute Excel, Visio, or PowerPoint for Word as necessary: Office 2007: reg add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Options /v NoReReg /t REG_DWORD /d 1 Office 2003: reg add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\

Odd Behavior When Moving an Application Window within Windows 7

Windows 7 has a nice feature where using the Windows key + the right- or left-arrow button you can move an application window to be maximized on half the screen. Recently I noticed that when I tried going right, it wouldn't cover the last 1/6th or so of the screen -- it was as if that portion of the screen didn't exist. I could still drag a window over to the edge, but even while dragging I would get some odd behaviors. It turned out the problem started when I installed Pidgin (2.6.5) instant messaging client. My particular version came with 1 plug-in already enabled which was causing this weird behavior. The plug-ins can be found at Tools >> Plugins (or CTRL-U). The culprit was "Windows Pidgin Options 2.6.5." Once disabled, the windowing (Windows key + the right- or left-arrow button) movement again operated as expected.

Using the Windows key in Windows 7

With the release of Windows 7, there are new keyboard shortcuts to learn (as I'm sure some actually came in Vista). One day I'll duplicate the shortcuts cheatsheet I had created for Windows XP , but in the mean time, here are a couple that I've started using. Toggle through open windows Most of us are familiar with Alt-Tab to toggle through your open windows, and Alt-Shift-Tab to toggle in reverse order. Some of us used an add-on to XP to display a thumbnail of the window as you toggle. With the familiar Alt-Tab in Windows 7 you now see thumbnails without the add-on. But if you want to see a bit more detail of what's contained within each window, try Windows key-Tab and Windows key-Shift-Tab to get a better view of the windows as you toggle through them. Set window position Using the Windows key with the arrow buttons allows you to position the active window on the screen. This works great when you want to view two windows simultaneously. Click on the window you want

Recent Items in Windows 7 Greyed Out

I recently got a new Windows 7 machine, and when I tried to use Recent Items, there was nothing listed. Worse, when I went to configure it... it was set at 0, it was greyed out and I could make any changes. As it turns out, there's any easy fix for this. Go to the Properties dialog: Click Start | Right-click and select Properties Go to the Start Menu tab Click the two check boxes within the Privacy section (items and programs) Click Apply Click the Customize button At the bottom of the dialog you can now adjust the number of items to display as well as the recent programs.

Move Off Screen Window in Windows 7

Back in Windows XP, I found it easy to recover a window that the Title Bar was off the screen. When this occurred in Windows 7, I was surprised to find the same trick didn't work (right-click the icon in the Task bar, select Move, and use the arrow keys to grab and move the window). In Windows 7, it's not difficult, just different. Select the program in the Task Bar. Hold the Windows key and press an arrow key. Repeat the arrow key movement as necessary. The Windows key + arrow key offers other interesting options even with fully visible windows. Try Windows key + right or left arrow to get the window to take 1/2 of the screen. Use Windows key + up or down arrow to maximize or minimize, respectively, the window.

Analyze your computer and reveal software keys

I've been using Belarc Advisor , a free personal tool for analyzing your Windows computer, for some time now. It will provide a detailed analysis of several items: Installed hardware Installed software and version number Windows Updates, and indicate if any are missing Checks for virus protection and last scan Software keys Software usage (frequency) User accounts and last login What I like best is that it reports the software keys of my installed software. While it doesn't appear to grab all software keys on my personal computer, it lists all of them from my work computer including Microsoft, Adobe, Corel and TechSmith. I recently used it before rebuilding my Dad's computer. In addition to being certain to have his software license keys, I was able to also view what programs he hadn't used in sometime -- therefore I didn't reinstall them. Considering adding more RAM to your PC? Instead of taking the cover off to do a visual inspection, use Belarc Advisor to identi

USB Headset on Windows 7

I found when I plugged my USB headset (Plantronics DSP 400) into Windows 7, it didn't work. I went through the normal stuff, trying a different port, making sure it wasn't on mute, etc. I finally determined that you need to tell Windows 7 that the headset is your default device before it will work. The good news is that you only have to do it once. Upon removal, it returns back to the external speakers, and upon reinsertion, the USB headset worked again. To make the changes, the default configuration of the Control Panel makes it nearly impossible to make the settings change. Here are the steps: Plug-in the USB headset. Go to Control Panel. Likely you will see 8 categories, and if you click "Hardware and Sound" you wont find anything to help you. In the upper-right area of the Control Panel, it says: "Viewed by: Category". Change Category to Small- or Large icons. This now presented many Control Panel options. Click on "Sound". A window should open

Fonts not displaying or printing correctly

Ever have a Word (or other) document given you by someone else, and it didn't display the fonts correctly? Perhaps they sent you a PDF or image of the file, and it displayed correctly there, but not in the file that you want to now update. The first thing to check is to make sure you have the same fonts on your system. An easy check is to look at the font list in your application. For example, if you're supposed to display Frutiger 45 Light, but its not in the list, then it's likely not installed. If you don't have the font, and can get access to it, Microsoft has a process for installing it to your Windows machine. In some cases, you may have the font, but it still doesn't display correctly nor is it in the list of fonts in your application. This is likely due to the original file being created on a Mac. It may even occur in some applications, such as Word or QuarkXpress, but not in others, such as Photoshop. The reason is that Windows uses style-linking, while th

Unable to Sync iPhone and Unable to Sync Photos to iPhone

Another issue I found moving my iTunes and iPhone to a new PC, was Sync'ing was hanging, though I did have my Apps, Podcasts, and Music. Upon further investigation, I discovered that if I did not sync my photos, then it no longer got stuck. First I was thinking it was a permission issue with Windows 7 -- but I made no progress. I finally figured out how to solve the issue. Stop the sync'ing Delete the iPod Photo Cache in my photo folder(s) Resync I can only assume the iPod Photo Cache had pointers to the location of my photos on my old computer.

Stop Unwanted Programs from Starting in Windows 7

Regardless of the OS, some programs insist on loading themselves every time you start your computer. The most friendly ones will have a configuration option, while others will use the Startup folder. Unfortunately some are even more sneaky. All but the very worst offenders can be managed through msconfig , the same program we used with Windows XP. Go to the Run... dialog and type in msconfig to launch it. If Run... isn't in your Start menu list, try searching for it. This opens a System Configuration dialog box. Within the dialog box, go to the Startup tab. Search through the tab and uncheck any programs you do not want starting up each time you reboot. You're prompted to restart your computer, but its not required. Just manually kill the ones that started the last time, and next time they wont come back.

Windows 7 is (finally) here

Congratulations to Microsoft for their delivery of Windows 7! You can search about anywhere and read stories from all the news outlets. Of course the industry experts have been talking about it for longer, and have reported good things. I think it's worth mentioning a couple good practices when considering new software, particularly when it's an OS. Unless you have a compelling need, don't be first. In the case of Win7, I think we can be fast followers, but give it a few weeks to be sure there are no significant, unforeseen problems. Wait and get the OS on a new machine. Why? You're likely running XP, which means there's no clear upgrade path -- you need to re-install. It's possible your machine is 3 or more years old -- you bought one just before Vista came out, because you knew it had problems, so it's likely underpowered for Win7. Benefits include: Drivers will (should) work on the new hardware. You wont have to go through the painful install yourself. (

New PC? Buy basic and build out as needed

Gizmodo's Prof. Dealzmodo takes a similar approach to buy PCs as I do. Buy a low-end machine and then buy third-party components if/when required. You can read the Gizmodo article to get an idea, but I'll also throw in some of my own thoughts. First, you must get at least 2 GB of RAM. If you can still get Windows XP, then you can stop at 2 GBs. If you are stuck with Vista, add at least 1 more GB -- if you add 2, giving you 4 total, 0.5 GB will go to waste unless you go with a 64-bit Vista. This introduces potential compatibility problems with older hardware and games, so likely you will want to stick with the non-64-bit versions. For monitors, it's likely you already have 1 or more. If it's time to get a new one, look for 3rd party deals. Sometimes running 2 side-by-side can be more effective than one large display -- putting them at an angel can be easier to view than turning your head from side to side (avoid the 30" displays). In terms of a video card to drive

Get a glimse of Windows 7 and the multi-touch UI

Ballmer and Gates promise a late 2009 release of Windows 7 (and not a minute too soon). Here's a brief look at the UI. Video: Multi-Touch in Windows 7 I think it looks good, but I don't like the idea of reaching over my keyboard to the screen -- I think it needs to be a tablet PC to really enjoy the multi-touch screen, not unlike the Microsoft Surface product. (Of course it works well on the iPhone, too.) I also wonder how it'll work for handicapped people -- those missing fingers, hands, or even just tremors.