Showing posts with the label Windows Vista

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

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

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

Fix corrupt Outlook.pst (2007) in Vista

Unlike XP, Vista does not provide the same privileges by default, and therefore it can be difficult to repair your PST file. The trick is to run the scan and repair program with Admin privileges. Here are the steps: Close Outlook -- likely it's already closed, because if the PST file is corrupt, Outlook wont run. Find the Command Prompt, right-click, and run as Administrator. At the command prompt, enter "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\SCANPST.EXE", including the quotes. If you have a different version of Outlook, you may still have a repair program -- find it and replace with the string I have here. When prompted to Repair, select Repair. Enter 'Exit" at the command prompt to close the Command Prompt window, and run Outlook again. That should do the trick. Some folks may not have an Admin password for Vista. If that's the case, check out these instructions for further help.

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

Cannot format new hard drive

I got a new external hard drive to use for backups. Before starting, I wanted to format the drive as NTFS, instead of the default FAT32. When I tried though, the system always gave me an error message,"volume is in use by another process." Of course I checked and checked, and was certain nothing else was using the drive. It turns out that the drive when initial setup was added to the System Restore Monitoring; I needed to remove it to format the drive. Here's how to do that: Go to Start >> All Programs >> Accessories >> System Tools >> System Restore Click the System Restore Settings in the right pane Highlight the drive Click Settings Check "Turn off System Restore" on this drive Click OK Click OK again Click Cancel (to close the Welcome to System Restore dialog) For a drive that I am using as a backup drive (a data only drive), there is no reason to use System restore, so after formatting, I did not re-enable. Note that if you are a Win

You're keeping up with Microsoft updates, aren't you?

Ars technica reported yesterday that a recent Microsoft update, with its Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT), removed nearly 1 million fake anti-virus programs from users' machines. This is a good reminder to us all -- make sure you're keeping up with the Microsoft patches, which are typically released the second Tuesday of every month. Unless you're technically astute enough to critically review each and every patch, I would recommend you set it for auto-update. Here's how to do it. Go to Control Panel Click on Security Center If not already set to "ON", click on "OFF" next to Automatic Updates to change it In the "Manage security settings for category" click on "Automatic Updates" Click on the radio button next to Automatic (recommended) and set the frequency to every day at an hour when you rarely or never use your computer This is a great example to why security protection is the number one reason you should be running a

Tweak Windows without Regedit

I ran across a nice program that makes it very easy to tweak many Windows settings that normally could only be done by manually making changes to the Registry. TweakNow WinSecret is a free Windows XP and Vista application that has tweaks in 12 categories. The categories are as follows: Applications Control Panel Desktop Miscellaneous Network & Internet OEM Info Special Folder Start Menu User Accounts Windows Core Windows Explorer Windows Startup Here are just a few of the many tweaks you can make. Enable or disable Desktop icons such as Internet Explorer and Printers and Faxes Disable the Desktop Cleanup Wizard prompt from showing every 60 days Move special folders such as the location of My Music or Internet Explorer Cookies Change the menu display speed, i.e. length of pause before a menu expands Hide submenus Add context menu ites such as Copy to Folder and Move to Folder Disable Startup programs Add text to the message box that appears before log on This is just a small list o

Is your Windows environment secure enough?

I found a new tool from Microsoft that will evaluate the security of your PC, and give instructions on how to correct potential vulnerabilities. Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) is an easy-to-use tool designed for the IT professional that helps small- and medium-sized businesses determine their security state in accordance with Microsoft security recommendations and offers specific remediation guidance. You don't need to be an IT professional to use MBSA , as instructions for correcting potential vulnerabilities are easy to follow. MBSA examines the following areas on your Windows computer: Security Updates Windows Administrative Vulnerabilities and System Issues, e.g. is Windows Firewall enabled, is the Guest Account disabled, and if are unnecessary Services turned off Internet Information Services (IIS) Administrative Vulnerabilities and System Issues, e.g. are the sample applications removed and has the IIS Lockdown patch been applied Note, many folks do not realize t

Dell sucumbs to the pressure from the RIAA -- Hmm, one more reason to buy a Mac

First it's Microsoft that bloats Vista with MPAA DRM protection software , and now PC manufacturers such as Dell are bowing down to the RIAA . These manufacturers seem to forget who their customers are, and are ripping off unsuspecting buyers. Can you imagine spending $1000 of your hard earned dollars on a laptop to find out later that you cannot record audio -- even though the sound card supports it? Of course teech savvy people like Chad are going to find a solution; and the real copyright violatetrs are going to as well. But the average consumer who wants to dabble in a little audio and video, perhaps for their church or their son's or daughter's sports team, are left with a bag of bolts. So next time you need a new computer, start with your objectives -- what do you want to use it for -- and then do your homework before you buy to make sure the hardware will support it. If you're thinking about audio, photos, and video, you might give Macs a hard look. Using their

Vista's failures and it should be a Mac

Industry pundit John C. Dvorak recently release an article on Vista's 11 Pillars of Failure . John makes some good points including the code bloat, missing drivers, and the confusion around the number of versions. On the other hand, Robert Strohmeyer of PC World in his article 18 Features Windows Should Have (but Doesn't) , covers items as if the shortcomings are because it's not a Mac. Where John points out valid issues, Mr. Strohmeyer uses the Mac as an example instead of identifying real issues. So if you you want a refresher on why you should stick with XP until Microsoft releases the next Windows version, read John C. Dvorak's article ; If you want to see what features you're missing by not having a Mac, read the article by Robert Strohmeyer .

Switched to Vista yet? Not me.

The New York Times just released an article that indicates the problems within Microsoft with Vista. “It would be a lot less costly to do the right thing for the customer now,” said Robin Leonard, a Microsoft sales manager, in an e-mail message sent to her superiors, “than to spend dollars on the back end trying to fix the problem.” This is just one of the many quotes found in this article. How about the 3 strikes of Vista Capable branding? It's there too. If you bought one of these products, you should know that "Last month, Judge Marsha A. Pechman granted class-action status to the suit, which is scheduled to go to trial in October." And they wonder why so many folks are thinking Mac...

Vista may be the beginning of the end of Windows dominance

With Microsoft's pending release of the consumer version of Windows Vista, there have been many blogs and articles about the pros and cons of moving to Vista. Before I discuss some of the details, need I remind you as I did with iTunes , you DO NOT want to be the first to adopt new software. Let others use it first and see if the reported issues play out or not. Okay, so you are not going to be an early adopter to Vista. If you were recently in need of a PC, you bought one while you could still get XP, right? If you didn't, now is the time to give Apple another shot. Why am I taking this position? Well for one thing, Microsoft completely re-wrote the security layer for Vista, and there certainly will be bugs (and their track record for fixing bugs in a timely manner is abysmal). But don't just take my one reason, let's consider some other compelling arguments. franticindustries recently posted a good article on why power users will hate Vista. Case in point, with the

Activate Windows Vista for Free

Vista has not even been released to the consumers, and already there is a work-around to keep you from having to activate your copy. As you may recall, if you do not activate your copy of Vista within Microsoft's specified time, you will be reduced to an OS that lets you access the Internet for an hour at a time. On December 20, 2006, KezNews posted an article on how to fool the activation clock, and therefore allowing you to run Vista without activation indefinitely. If that is not enough, KezNews has a synopsis of the eWeek article on how hackers can buy Vista exploits for $50,000. I am not suggesting you steal or try to hack Vista; rather, I am suggesting you be careful in seriously consider before upgrading to Vista. With a completely new platform, Microsoft can claim that Vista is the most secure Windows platform ever (the same claim they made about XP), but the fact is, Microsoft has no idea how Vista will stand up to hackers -- only time will tell.

Firefox Doesn't Work on Vista

The new release of Firefox, version, which was released December 19th, still has problems running on Vista . The biggest problem is that it cannot be set as the default browser. It almost seems as if Microsoft purposefully changed things to make it more difficult for Firefox. According to W3Schools , Firefox had nearly a 30% market share in November, number two after IE 6's 50% share.

A Free Vista Upgrade May Not Be Free

I recently posted that I would recommend staying with Windows XP as long as possible. Well if you buy a PC now, it is likely that you will get a coupon for a free upgrade to Vista when it ships. I would be very leery of what "free" really means. As you may also recall from my prior posting, I suggested you should wait as long as possible so that Microsoft can correct all the security issues -- there will be security issues. PC World published on October 24th a good reminder about the new Vista Home Edition -- it will have less features than XP Home. So, for your free version, you can upgrade to an OS with fewer features. Why would you want to do that? PC World makes another good point... upgrading your OS may not be an easy task either. Unless you are very comfortable troubleshooting your PC issues, I would recommend you avoid that chore -- wait until you buy your next PC in 2009. (Average users should be fine getting a new PC every 3 years.)