Archive for the Category ◊ Vista ◊

Have you ever clicked on a link, and Internet Explorer opens up full screen, or small and in a weird spot on your desktop?

It happens to me sometimes. The reason it happens is that you closed the window and left it at that particular size. Windows remembers that and the next time you open IE, it opens to the last saved size.

Here is a problem. If you open a saved link or favorite, it will open to the weird size, and you cannot change that permanently through that link.

The way you have to change this is to open IE to your home page, for example, click on the blue e just to open Internet Explorer. Once you do, size and place the window where you want it to be. Once you are done, click on the X, and it will save the size and position.

Now next time when you open a link or your home page, the window will be in the same place, same size that you last left it.

If you try to re-size, and close when you opened a link, and not just IE with your home page, it will not work. It will keep going back to that last saved size until you change it by opening IE from the Icon (like above). Then you can size, position and close, and your results will be saved.

I hope this helps those like me who like Windows they way they want Windows to look and act!

I work too fast sometimes for my own good. Sometimes I just click on things without paying attention, and that can get me into trouble!

One of the cool things about Windows way back from the old days, you can undo stuff you did, that you didn’t really want to do!

Undo is in almost every program running on Windows today. Usually it is in the menu EDIT and you click on UNDO. Pretty Simple.

Some programs have a left handed arrow, which means Undo or Go Back (just like your web browser, it takes you BACK a page).

Some programs even have a redo, an arrow pointing to the right. Just like in Photoshop pictured here.


That means you can undo something, then change your mind and say, O.K. forget the UNDO, and REDO that back.

Another cool thing is that Windows itself uses the UNDO Command. Let’s say you move a file from a folder, and like me accidently let go too soon and dropped it in the wrong folder. O no, how are you going to find it?

Go to the top menu under Edit>UNDO or you can use the handy keyboard shortcut Control+Z keys. That will put the file back where you moved it from and you can start over.

Another thing that can be annoying is if you are selecting multiple files with Control+Click. If you are not careful, if you move them slightly and let up on the mouse, you have now made a copy of everything selected. I hate this, and it happens.


Just hold Control+Z and viola! You have undone that little mess you just made. The trick is not to do anything else. One good thing is, if you went ahead and did one other thing, you can do UNDO and UNDO again, and it will step back one action at a time.

There are some rare cases where UNDO will not work, like deleting files from a USB Flash drive, because that drive is not on the computer, it will not restore those files.

But if you goof up, it is worth a try. UNDO is like your little computer angel.

I have been using Custom Guide’s Reference Guides for a couple terms now in my Photoshop Elements class at school when teaching, and they are really helpful.

This company has online training and other services for companies. They have a whole page of free cheat sheets (That is what I call them) with commonly used commands and tips and tricks.

Very nice visually, and very colorful. If you open it in Adobe as a .pdf, and print it in color, you can put it in a nice sheet protector, or even laminate it, and keep it at your desk when working on the particular program.

I especially like the Photoshop Elements one, because it is hard to remember the short cuts and other commands.

There are more than 75 different quick ref guides to help you. From Windows 98 to Win 7, Microsoft Office programs to Adobe Photoshop, Elements, Internet Explorer, Firefox and much more is available.

The Windows 7 guide is great if you are just upgrading or getting a new computer with Windows 7 installed, it can really help to get started using 7.

What is cool about these, is you may use the program every day, but not realize some of the shortcuts and quick things you can do with the program.

The best thing is, they are free and you can share them with others.

Check it out at Custom Guide


There is a new virus running around, and when you are using Internet Explorer, a window can pop up telling the user to press F1 to view a file. Once you press F1, it will load the virus.
This virus will affect Windows 2000 and XP, it is not supposed to affect Vista, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008.
The good thing is that F1 is mainly used for help, and not many programs use that any longer. This happens specifically when on a website with Internet Explorer.
DO NOT PRESS F1 if prompted, while using Internet Explorer in Windows XP or Windows 2000.
Close your browser if you get a message like this. If it will not close and the “press F1 Window” still shows up, you can try the following:
Hit Control + Alt + Del, and bring up the task manager. Highlight the Internet Explorer program that is running, and click the END TASK button. This will force the window to be closed.
For more technical details,
(Thanks to my deputy Geek Harry, for bringing this to my attention!)

I have been using Windows 7 for about 4 days now, and I can honestly say, this upgrade from Vista was awesome. The install went easy, all my devices installed easily, and everything set up easy. Note the common denominator – EASY.

I have been working with computers for years and nothing has ever been easy. I worked with Tech support in the 90′s when “Plug and Play” was invented, and was immediately dubbed “Plug and Pray!”

Plug and play always has had issues, and that has been helped a lot by USB, and development of newer technologies. Finally Version 7 of Microsoft Windows has really helped things along (the same people who have been partially at fault for not helping in this area…)

I have been installing Windows 7 in all the new computers in the past few months, and I am not getting any complaints, other than the usual, “It is different” and “It is hard to get used to.” When you use XP and jump to Windows 7, it is quite a bit different on the interface, but so was it when we went from DOS to Windows 3.1, that was like changing someones pillow or favorite chair.

There are a lot of cool new features in Windows 7, and so many, it is hard to know them all. I am going to highlight helpful and cool tips and tricks in the next couple of weeks that Windows 7 has. If you have 7 it will help you out, and if you are thinking about upgrading to 7, you might peek in to see some of the nice features.

First of all, if you are interested in upgrading to Windows 7, If you have XP, your machine (if it is more than a few years old) is probably not powerful enough and may need some upgrades or it may just not be powerful enough. If you have Vista, it might be worth the upgrade.

If you want to check to see if you can upgrade to Windows 7, here is a cool program that will evaluate your system and see if your system has the horsepower to run Windows 7, and it provides a good report for you.

Just download the program and run it, and see if you can run Windows 7.

Next time, I will start with some really great Tips and Tricks in Windows 7

To my loyal, local readers. This entry is quite advanced and for a very specific problem. This will not be for most people, but I wanted to put this out there to help others with this problem.

I had a machine running Vista that would not start up and was in a boot loop after Microsoft Updates. I tried all the tricks, and it just got worse. Windows updates and Vista have become a real problem, and most of the time the problem is repairable.

Not this time. I needed to wipe the hard drive and reinstall Vista. The customer did not have the code from the bottom of the laptop because it wore off and you cannot read it any longer. Very frustrating, not to mention a stupid place to put the code where it gets daily wear and tear.

Important Note for ALL laptop owners, it is a good idea to avoid this problem, write down or type and print out your Windows Certificate of Authenticity 25 character code and keep it in a safe place in case it wears off your laptop, like this one did, and this is the second one I have seen in the past month like this.

If Windows is running, you can run one of the key retrieval programs, but when Vista is not booting, you are pretty much stuck. I have found a process that is advanced but it can be done, if followed step by step.

If you are not familiar with working in the registry, I HIGHLY recommend AGAINST attempting this. Also, I am posting this fix ONLY to recover a legitimate code that a customer already had so they do not have to buy a second copy of Windows due to stupid placement of a sticker on the bottom of a laptop. All of these steps are at your own risk, and again are not for illegally obtaining codes, only for people who actually own the product key code.

There are some cool software programs out there to retrieve codes from your operating system, but the OS needs to be running. It is very hard if the system is not running properly.

How to recover a product key in Microsoft Windows Vista when it will not boot but the hard drive is still accessible. This also works with XP.

This can be done on the machine itself, if you can at least get the Windows Install DVD to start

Put in Vista DVD and start up the Install process. Get to Command Prompt option and choose that.

Run Regedit from the command prompt. (this does not load the registry on the hard drive, but a temp one that is loaded from the DVD)

Click on HKEY Local Machine

Click on File>Load Hive (to load the Hive from the Hard drive)

Browse to the C: Drive directory C:\windows\system32\config

Choose the Software Hive with no .ext or if that does not work, try the Software.sav hive.

When it asks what key name, type in something like BackupSoftware

Click OK

Open the BackupSoftware Key and drill down to the
Microsoft>NT>Current Version key

Look at the key to the right, DigitalProductID

Double Click the key

Got down to the row under 0030 and note the 15 sets of 2 digit numbers from row 0030 to 0040.

Get those 15 pairs of numbers, and go to this decrypter tool that was made just for this need.

Double check the numbers, and that should be your code for that machine.

Kudos and thanks to Dagon Design for the basic instructions in XP which allowed me to find this fix for Vista. Here is his original post with information and other help.

Even though this is not for my normal readers, I posted this to help out others who might be dealing with the same circumstances that I was. I like to give back as so many like Dagon Design and many others give out help freely.

Important Security Vulnerability Updates from Microsoft
Monday, August 17th, 2009 | Author:

Late last month Microsoft released numerous security vulnerability updates that are critical. These updates are as important as your Anti-Virus Programs updates. There were holes found in the Microsoft operating systems, and these are patches to shore up the holes!

If you have the small yellow update icon that has an exclamation mark, near the clock, then you have updates that are waiting to be updated. If you click on that, you can allow the updates to happen. It is VERY important to make sure the updates from Microsoft happen.

I have a good description on how to manually check for Windows updates to make sure you are secure, just check out my previous blog entry on Security Help for XP.

If you have Vista, here are the steps to check your Microsoft updates. Microsoft released Service Pack 2 for Vista in July. This is a large update, so it might take a bit to download and install.

Click once on the Start menu (Microsoft Ball on the bottom left of the task bar)

Click on Control Panel

Click on Windows Update

If there are updates waiting, you can click on Install Updates. You can also View Available Updates, or check your Update History.

Vista: Goes Down Smooth & No Bad After Taste
Monday, March 23rd, 2009 | Author:

I am sitting here in shame. My new computer is very fast and very cool, but that is not why I am so bad. I have done it. Finally. I went to the dark side.
Yes, I have moved to Vista on my personal/work computer. Now Dawn and I both are using Vista here, and we are now a two Vista family!
Does that mean I am anti-XP now?
I still love XP, and have a special place in my heart for it, and will still build computers with XP running on them.
We tend to get so comfortable and used to using something all the time, that it is hard to change. I don’t mind change, but stay away from my computer! So this was a big change, and it took a lot of time to get everything converted over to my new machine.
I am sure you know what I am talking about when you get a new machine, or we have to reformat a machine and start from scratch. They run fast and are so sweet, but for about 2 weeks, you keep finding things that you forgot to install or set up.
My computer was getting a bit old, I built it back when I worked at Valnet, about 4 years ago. For normal use, I am sure it would have lasted a couple more years. But I have to be a geek or my reputation will do down in flames! So I built the newest, fastest and coolest computer that I could muster up (and afford!) It was a lot of fun, and now I have an awesome computer, and have upped my geek quotient at least a point.
This system has the brand new Intel Pentium i7 Quad Core processor (CPU) and 6 Gigabytes of screamin’ fast RAM! It has a 500 GB and a 1 Terrabyte hard drives, with room for lots more! The CPU fan is so big This type of system is a bit extreme, but one of the reasons/excuses I built this for, is to get to know the newest stuff that is coming down the road for my customers. This will be the stuff in the next couple years that will be going in all the new computers, so I am getting ready!
I have found some really cool things in Vista and in Office 2007, both programs I have worked on when needed, but generally avoided for my personal use. Honestly, I am quite pleased and really having fun finding some cool new stuff, now that I am past the “I am not going to VISTA or Office 2007″ syndrome!
I still do not recommend moving to Vista if you have XP on a machine that is a year or more older. If you are buying a new machine, or have a machine or laptop that came with Vista, it runs really well with enough RAM and a good CPU. The main problem with Vista (now that the bugs have been worked out) is having a new enough and powerful enough computer to run it.
If you want to upgrade to a new operating system, I would recommend waiting for Windows 7 in the next year or year and a half. Stick with the OS you have or what comes with the computer, and then after Windows 7 has been out about 9 months, then upgrade. If you are happy with what you have, no reason to upgrade.
I have to get back to copying over my documents and business stuff before the office opens tomorrow!
Category: office, Quad Core, upgrade, Vista, XP  | 3 Comments
Tips on Extending the Life of Laptop/Notebook Batteries
Tuesday, March 03rd, 2009 | Author:

The Life of a Battery

I have been working on so many laptops lately, and have seen customers buying new ones; I thought it would be a good idea to give some tips about the batteries. Our good ‘ol towers do not have the battery power option, so most of us are not as familiar with the Wall power vs. battery power that a laptop utilizes.

Battery life in a laptop is usually about 18-24 months! New batteries in some older models can cost near $100.

Get ‘em while they are HOT!

Buy a second battery within the first year of owning the laptop. Batteries will be in full supply. After a couple years the batteries get scarce, and can cost double the original price.

Squeeze some extra battery juice out of a charge:

  1. Disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi if you are not using them. Bluetooth usually has an icon in the control panel. The Wi-Fi usually has a switch or button on the computer that you turn on or off. These are like using a radio, they take power.
  2. Drop the screen brightness down. The LCD Screen has a light bulb that uses a lot of power. This can usually be done with the good old function key that is labeled “Fn” usually in a different color, on the lower left of the keyboard. The Fn key in combination with the key that has the brighter/darker icon, usually a sun or what looks like a light bulb.

    You can adjust this and other power settings:
    in XP with Start Menu > Control Panel > Power Options.
    In Vista go to Start Menu>Control Panel> Click on Classic View, then Power Options.

  3. Do not play music or DVDs directly from the DVD/CD player. The motor uses a lot of power. Copy them onto the computer and play them from there. Also with movies or shows, view them online on places such as HULU or another download service.

How to extend the life of your battery

Batteries will loose their charge over time, even the better new type batteries. If you leave your laptop plugged in most of the time, you can speed this process up a lot, and your battery will die much faster. The battery rarely gets a chance to recycle it’s charge, and thus looses it’s ability to hold a good charge.

If you are using your laptop mostly plugged into AC wall current, take the battery out when convenient. This will allow the battery to discharge and not always be charging. Just make sure you charge it up when you hit the road.

Vista Shutdown vs. Sleep

Have you ever noticed that on Vista when you hit what looks like the power button from the start menu, it is yellow, and it says “Sleep”? This means the computer is still using power, and you can stop that. I always like to shut down my computer when I am done using it, especially if you are putting it in a case.

Here is how to change this setting. It is really hidden, but when you change it, the button turns red and will now say “Shutdown”, which is what you want it to do. I have changed this on many customers’ laptops, so make sure to check yours and see if you need to make this change.

  1. Open the Control Panel and go to Power Options.
  2. Click Change plan settings for your selected power plan.
  3. Click Change advanced power settings.
  4. Expand Power buttons and lid.
  5. Expand Start menu power button.
  6. Change the setting from Sleep to Shut down.
  7. Click OK.

Now you have a real shutdown button!

Troubling Touchpad Torment!
Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 | Author:

I have big hands, and I always have problems when I am typing on my laptop, and I somehow activate the touchpad, and mess up what I was typing, and end up opening a web page or the start menu!

There usually are some settings that can help you. Here are a couple tips to help stop the touchpad annoyance.

On older laptops with Windows XP, open the Control Panel and then double-click Mouse. If you see a Device Select tab, click it and enable Disable TouchPad when USB pointing device is present.

On a Vista notebook, there is a Tapping tab in the Mouse Properties window. If you enable Tap off when typing, this will keep the touchpad from recognizing taps while you’re typing.

If your laptop doesn’t have this option, look for something similar, many times there is a program specifically for your laptop brand.

On a Toshiba, you can double click on the icon in the system tray by the clock, or the mouse properties in Control panel, and go to Advanced Settings/Features > and Detailed Touch Pad Settings.

Find the enable tap settings on that menu. Click on Tap Settings. Then find the tapping menu. Locate disable touchpad during key input. Put a check in that box to disable the touchpad while using the keyboard.
On some Acer Aspires, you can use the hotkey Fn + F7 keys to turn off and on the internal touchpad.

There are several other laptops that have this feature, using the Fn in combination with another key to turn off the touchpad. The Fn key is usually located on the lower left of the keyboard, usually in a different color than the regular keys.