Tag Archives: windows

HowTo: Install Windows Vista in 2 Minutes

Do you have a new computer that doesn’t run Windows Vista? Do you need step-by-step instructions on how to install it? Then watch this great YouTube video for instructions.

Then go download and install a proper OS, like Ubuntu.

Windows Heck

On Easter Sunday, my wife and I went to her sister’s for lunch1. While we were there, the relatives sprang a couple of broken computers on me asking me to fix them2. Since we were getting really good grub3, I figured I could at least take a look. Of course, neither person with a broken machine had any useful CDs with them, though one did run home to see if she had any there (nope). I ended up taking both machines home and working on them in my spare time. Today, I finally fixed one of them and I fixed it by following the instructions I found in this article: Windows XP Crashed? Here’s Help. That worked really well in helping me fix the XP laptop dumped on me, but the other machine is an older WinME desktop. I’m still working on that one, but fortunately there’s no rush on the WinME box. Still I’m thrilled that I’ve got one of them fixed and can relax a bit4.

1 We had an extremely yummy lamb roast.
2 For the record, I’m a database guy these days not a support tech. *sigh*
3 And free, never forget free! *grin*
4 Yes, I’m still reading those wretched fun Wheel of Time books.

Windows Tips

This post was inspired by a recent article over at LifeHacker. But before I get into the tips, I’m going to bore you with a slight digression.

LifeHacker is one of the very few blogs that I actually check daily for new content. And I’m not talking about using an agregator, I will actually pop up a webbrowser to hit them up. I read their site so often it wasn’t until today that I realized my portal page didn’t1 link to them. As a general rule, the articles there are interesting and/or useful. I don’t have a Mac, so some articles don’t always help me, but overall they have a really good mix. I suppose given how much use I’ve gotten out of their site, I should be a bit nicer about this…. But the tip posted today was so shockingly lame that I feel the need to compile my own list of tips for windows users. Sorry, justrick but this one shouldn’t have made it past the editor’s desk!

Right that’s more than enough complaints, here’s my favorite Windows tips (in no particular order)

  • Reformat your drives and load your favorite linux distro (I suggest either Kubuntu or OpenSuSE).2
  • Use the Windows Key shortcuts:
    • Win + E: Launches Windows Explorer
    • Win + D: Pressed once, shows your desktop. Pressed twice, restores your windows to their prior positions. The same effect can be achieved with Win+M and Win+SHIFT-M, but Win+D takes less effort.
    • Win + R: Launches the Windows Run Box. True, this isn’t as powerful as the Linux cli but you can do some good tricks with it (I’ll cover some of those later).
    • Win + L: Locks your computer, good for corporate environments.
    • Win + BREAK: Launches the System Properties window.
    • Win + F: Launches the Windows Explorer Searach function, useful in locating files3. Of course, if what you’re really looking for are other computers on the network then you could use Crtl+Win+F.
  • If you use the Windows Command Prompt frequently, then setting up some aliases for your most commonly used commands is helpful. the one I like to do on evey Windows machine I use is to create C:\Windows\X.BAT. This batch file contains only one command and that’s EXIT. Since the batch file is in the Windows directory, it’s in the system path on a default configuration. When I’m ready to close any command prompt, I just hit “x” (minus the quotes) and I’m out.
  • If you don’t have a fancy keyboard with extra keys for macros or launching other programs, you might want to use things like:
    1. Press Win+R
    2. Type in “notepad” (minus the quotes)
    3. Press enter or click ok. This will launch the Windows Notepad accessory, great for editing small text files or making quick notes to yourself. the other app I frequentally launch this way is the Windows Calculator (use “calc” instead of “notepad”).
  • If your Quick Launch bar is overflowing but you still need quick access to more programs and you don’t have a fancy macroing keyboard, then you can setup shortcut keys for your programs by right-clicking on their icon/shortcut, selecting Properties, clicking in the Shortcut Key field and pressing the key combo you want to launch the program. For example…
    1. Go into Start -> Accessories.
    2. Right-click on Paint and select Properties.
    3. Click in the Shortcut Key field and press Crtl+Alt+P
    4. Now whenever you press Crtl+Alt+P Microsoft Paint will launch. Keep in mind that this can cause problems with other programs if you try overwriting a keyboard shortcut that the other program already uses (e.g. Ctrl+C).

Those are all of the Windows tips that immediately come to mind. If any of my readers have additional ones they like, please post them in the comments.

1 As soon as I realized this, I added the link.
2 If this tip offends, I’d apologize but you should know by now from reading this blog, that I vastly prefer Linux.
3 Though installing Google Desktop and using hitting Crtl twice is easier overall and GD does a better job searching.

Pukka’s Links of the Week

The last PLotW never happened because I was too lazy to post it. :p Sorry about that.

From Pukka:

Not from Pukka:

Feeling Better & Mumbling Randomly

*blech* I hate being sick. Sure, it’s paid time off from work (121.5 hours of sick time remaining) but I’d rather be feeling good and taking vacation time. I am mostly over the bug I’d caught, but still feeling a bit congested. That being the case, I’m skipping coffee today in favor of hot tea1. This being Wednesday, my preference for tea caused a bit of confusion.

Let me ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Buttercup is marry’ Humperdinck in a little less than half an hour. And every Wednesday, myself and a few co-workers head over to the Terrapin to get a cup of real coffee2. Almost without fail, I order a “Grand Canyon” which is 2 shots of espresso, steamed milk, a shot of dark chocolate syrup and a shot of mango syrup. *yum* When I got there today, I picked up their tea menu and Rob (one of the owners) ordered me to put it down. I explained about the congestion and he accepted it, but I wouldn’t say he was happy about it. Then I ordered their Chinese Breakfast tea, as the description sounded similar to the yunnan jig tea I’ve mentioned before. Hot caffeinated beverages acquired, we headed back to the office and I headed back to the mountain of email that had arrived while I’d been out. After clearing out that mess (most of it went straight to the trash), I started/continued testing a problem I’d been working on Friday. I’m still processing the data for that test now, but I’m also starting to wonder if I should have stayed home again.

Today, like Sunday, I woke up feeling better than the day before. The problem is like Sunday, I didn’t stay home. Sunday, Ariesna & I were invited to go to Niabi Zoo over in Illinois with some of her family. It was a fun day and I took quite a few pictures3 but by the end of the day, I was totally wiped out and realized I should have stayed home. Now I’m not wiped out (so far) but I do feel more tired than I should from just sitting at a desk, staring at a computer screen. Ah well, not much I can do about that now.

BTW, last night I upgraded Cath‘s site to the current version of WordPress. I was kind of annoyed at how long it took but then most of that time was taken up my crappy ftp client having problems deleting the files for the old version from the webserver. Mind you I was booted into Windows at the time4 which undoubtably was part of the problem. But I did eventually get it done and wouldn’t you know it looks nearly identical to what it did before. I’d call that a good sign for a seamless upgrade, but I’m waiting to hear back from her before I call it a success. So why the upgrade? In part to patch some old security holes and in part because all the new/interesting stuff for WP is happening on the newer versions. This way if she feels like going out and picking a different theme5; it should be trivial to install it.

Anyway, one of the reasons I was annoyed with the amount of time it took was last night also happened to be the season premier for NCIS. I’ve been a fan of this show for a while now, but season 2’s finale was murder. Quite literally, as they killed off one of the NCIS agents. I was very much looking forward to seeing where they’d take the show next, but with upgrading the site and some other things I didn’t get to watch the show as thoroughly as I would have liked. From what I did see, I’m not sure how enjoyable season 3 will be. I don’t care for the new characters they introduced into the NCIS office (Director Jenny Shepard and Agent Ziva David). The romatic background between Gibbs & Shepard could be an interesting subplot but they seem to be pushing it too hard in an episode which should be dealing more directly with the remaining NCIS agents working to find Kate’s killer. And then to make the episode a 2-parter leaving us on another cliff-hanger is distinctly annoying. *sigh* I guess we’ll have to wait and see if they can pull this up with next week’s episode.

1 Next to chicken noodle soup, hot tea works best for clearing up congestion and helping me feel better.
2 The first part of this paragraph is a quote from The Princess Bride. And when I say coffee, I mean flavored espresso.
3 I’ll see about posting some of them later. Incidentally, there was a classic car show being held on the zoo’s premises so don’t be surprised if you see more car than animals photos.
4 I had some work to do that required M$ Word, as OpenOffice Writer couldn’t properly edit the fancy formating in the document (originally created in M$ Word).
5 By perhaps looking through the themes in Alex King’s Theme Browser….

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