GEEK SQUEAK – Avoid A Long Chain Of Mouse Clicks With These 56 Need To Know Windows Commands (featuring my favorite — msinfo32)

January 8, 2015

There are numerous Windows command-line commands available to the power user. I came across 56 WINDOWS COMMANDS EVERY USER SHOULD KNOW ABOUT that jumped out at me at the Chemtable Software Blog… While you are at the Chemtable site, you may want to check out their FREE utility called AUTORUN ORGANIZER – ADVANCED AUTORUN MANAGER FOR WINDOWS (to manage the autorun priorities on your PC).

Doing the same tasks over and over encourages finding a quicker way to accomplish them. Windows has such a thing as the command-line that allows executing certain applications with a single command avoiding a long chain of mouse clicks. You simply need to press the Win + R combination and type the corresponding command. Here is a list of 56 commands you may find useful in your everyday work with Windows… READ MORE

My favorite command-line command is msinfo32 as shown in the Run dialog box below… I typically run this command, especially on any system that I am not familiar with (when troubleshooting) to acquire a comprehensive overview of the OS, hardware, system components and software environment.

If you are new to command-lines, this one is an easy one to run that is quite useful. Simply press the Win + R combination on your keyboard (to bring up the Run dialog box), type msinfo32, and click on OK.

Run Dialog - MSInfo32

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How To Activate the Floating Assistant Menu On The Samsung Galaxy Tab S

January 7, 2015

I recently purchased the Samsung Galaxy Tab S (8.4 inch) Android tablet; AND, after having owned several Android tablets, this one is definitely the cream of the crop.

I continue to learn to navigate the tablet and came across a setting that I have found to be very useful that many users most likely will not try (because they do not know it is there or how to turn it “on”). It is called an Assistant Menu, that once activated, creates a small (square) floating icon (that can be moved around the screen) that will give you the ability to launch various actions, such as:

  • Home
  • Back
  • Recently Opened Apps
  • Lock and Turn Off Screen
  • Brightness Adjustment
  • Volume Adjustment
  • Screen Capture
  • Open Notification List
  • Power Off
  • Restart
  • Device Options
  • Settings
  • Cursor
  • More Options
  • Rotate Screen
  • Zoom

SPECIAL NOTE: If you notice on the list above there is one option that will give you the ability to grab screenshots, which is worth its’ weight in gold. I used that option to create the screenshot below.

The neat thing about all of this is that this floating assistant menu can be edited; and, the functions you find that you would use the most, can be reordered. The menu is easy to turn “on” and if you find you do not like it, simply go back and turn it “off”.

To turn this menu “on” and to get you to the place to where you need to be, here is how to turn “on” and edit the menu:

  • On the Apps screen, tap Settings > Device > Accessibility > Dexterity and Interaction
  • Tap the Assistant Menu Switch to toggle the switch to “on”. The Assistant Menu icon will appear at the bottom right of the screen (at which point it can be moved around).
  • To edit the menu, simply tap where it says  Assistant Menu > Edit (see screenshot below). At this point you can drag the icons around and place them in the order you desire. The order you see below is the actual order I set for my menu.  You can also remove various components from the menu.  For example, using the screenshot below, I opted to remove Cursor, More Options, Rotate Screen and Zoom from the menu.

Assistant Menu

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Using The Windows Command Line Service Control (SC) to Delete A Windows Service

December 30, 2014

While reviewing the Windows Event log on my Windows 8.1 computer, an error was being produced each time I booted the computer to indicate that a Windows Service was not loading. After researching the name of the service I found that the service was related to a software application that I had installed; and, then subsequently uninstalled. The service was still hooked into the Windows registry and was not removed during the uninstall process. I needed to find a way to remove the service that I positively knew was not part of the operating system.

To remove the service I had to open the Windows 8 command prompt (run as Administrator) and type the following Service Control (SC) command line syntax:

sc delete <and the name of the service>

NOTE: Do not type or include the characters < or >

Please keep in mind, once you delete the service, it is gone; so, it is important that you know what you are looking for and what you are doing. In my case, as I do in most cases, I use the power of the internet to research issues such as this to ultimately find the solution. In this case, I thought I would share this one with you.

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KPC – “Keeping Parents Clueless” With Text Messaging

December 10, 2014

For a 57 year old techie, my texting skills are pretty good compared to others in my age group; but, put me up against today’s teens and I am clearly no match (not even close). Part of the problem may be that I do not know the text message acronym system that is used by today’s kids to shorten (and hide) what they type. As a matter of fact, the first time I received a text “LOL = laughing out loud”, from my daughter, I was scratching my head.

I often stand back and wonder who determines the standard for any particular text message acronym and how does this become an accepted standard???  It is almost like the kids are born into this type of secretive messaging system that KPC – Keeps Parents Clueless. As a matter of fact, the kids are the teachers in this case and as student parents we need to know and learn this special language (to help keep our kids safe).

The point of this article is to let you know, especially if you are a parent, that these types of text communications can be closely related to those raging hormones and possibly to a hidden problem.

I happened across an Arizona based website, called azcentral, that had a piece (and video) on this very topic, and featured the “Top 28 Internet and text message acronyms every parent should know… (Source: azcentral)

I hope this list provides insight and makes us more sensitive in knowing what our kids are doing and saying (in coded words) to each other:

1. IWSN – I want sex now

2. GNOC – Get naked on camera

3. NIFOC – Naked in front of computer

4. PIR – Parent in room

5 CU46 – See you for sex

6. 53X – Sex

7. 9 – Parent watching

8. 99 – Parent gone

9. 1174′ – Party meeting place

10. THOT – That hoe over there

11. CID – Acid (the drug)

12. Broken – Hungover from alcohol

13. 420 – Marijuana

14. POS – Parent over shoulder

15. SUGARPIC – Suggestive or erotic photo

16. KOTL – Kiss on the lips

17. (L)MIRL – Let’s meet in real life

18. PRON – Porn

19. TDTM – Talk dirty to me

20. 8 – Oral sex

21. CD9 – Parents around/Code 9

22. IPN – I’m posting naked

23. LH6 – Let’s have sex

24. WTTP – Want to trade pictures?

25. DOC – Drug of choice

26. TWD – Texting while driving

27. GYPO – Get your pants off

28. KPC- Keeping parents clueless

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Having Problems Cloning A Windows 8 PC Hard Drive? Read These Articles, Download This FREE Software and Watch This Video

December 2, 2014

I recently purchased a new Windows 8 Box (see this article) and decided I wanted to make a bootable cloned drive. Being old school I went to work using the cloning software I had on hand and I immediately noticed something different in the drive partitions. The free software I was using was not getting the job done; and the drive, after the cloning process, did not boot. My tech instinct told me I was missing out on something and went to work researching terms I was seeing, such as GPT and UEFI.

I had been out of the field for nearly 7 years, have kept up with things (more as a hobby), but was not real familiar with the new GPT and UEFI terms that I was seeing. I had heard of the terms, but really did not pay any attention to them. Besides I always was a more of a software guy than a hardware guy (so it really did not hit high on my priority list, until now).

I soon discovered that all Windows 8 machines nowadays support the new GPT and UEFI ; AND, that it is real important to know what GPT and UEFI are when you get into the hardware side of a Windows 8 based computer.

In real simple terms GPT is the new replacement for MBR – Master Boot Record and UEFI is the new replacement for the BIOS – Basic Input/Output System.

To define GPT and UEFI in more complex terms (and to get a full understanding), I went to Wikipedia for a definition and found two really good articles that will bring this all together.

GUID Partition Table (GPT) is a standard for the layout of the partition table on a physical hard disk, using globally unique identifiers (GUID). Although it forms a part of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) standard (Unified EFI Forum proposed replacement for the PC BIOS)…  source: wikipedia:GUID Partition Table 

If you read this article “What’s the Difference Between GPT and MBR When Partitioning a Drive?” you will see that MBR is old school and GPT is new school… source: How-To Geek

If you read this article “UEFI boot: how does that actually work, then?” you will see where the author adamantly is telling us UEFI and BIOS are two completely different beasts. This article in my opinion really nails down all of this stuff to the point where I found a lot of what I had been reading was off base due to people using the terminology incorrectly.

You do not have a ‘UEFI BIOS’. No-one has a ‘UEFI BIOS’. Please don’t ever say ‘UEFI BIOS’. BIOS is not a generic term for all PC firmware, it is a particular type of PC firmware. Your computer has a firmware. If it’s an IBM PC compatible computer, it’s almost certainly either a BIOS or a UEFI firmware… source: AdamW on Linux and more

Getting back to my original problem of cloning my Windows 8 hard drive, I now knew I needed to find cloning software that supported GPT and UEFI. This is where I found Macrium Reflect (FREE Edition), which supported the cloning process for GPT and UEFI based systems. Macrium Reflect is a free disaster recovery solution for your home computer that primarily specializes in making drive images.

Also, during my research, I came across this instructional video “How to Clone Windows 8” , where the person in the video will clearly walk you through the cloning process using the FREE Edition of Macrium Reflect…

When it comes to cloning Windows 8 or 8.1 you need to use the right software for the job, whats even better you don’t have to pay. Here is a free option that lets you clone Windows 8 or 8.1 with ease. The program is called Macruim Reflect, it supports the new GPT and UEFI BIOS that all windows 8 machines come with now days.

In the end, once I educated myself about GPT and UEFI, had the right software, and watched how to do it; I walked away with a successfully cloned (and bootable) hard drive. Due to my real life experience working through this, I decided to help others out in the event they start pulling their hair out, like I did…

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Learn To Tie Knots At Animated Knots By Grog

November 15, 2014

Learn to tie knots for a variety of purposes at Animated Knots By Grog. As the title of the site indicates, you can select a knot of interest, and then watch an animated presentation on how the knot is made.  Really neat site…

Animated Knots


Google Chrome Tip – How To Open Links In New Tab In Background

November 8, 2014

Google Chrome TipGoogle Chrome user?  Try this handy tip. Not sure if this will work in the other browsers; but, you may want to give it a try. To me this tip is pretty handy, especially if you are researching something and you need to open another browser tab in the background.  I found two ways this will work:

1 – Hover your mouse on a link on a web page and CLICK your MIDDLE MOUSE BUTTON and the link will open in a new tab (in the background). For some reason, the type of mouse that I have, this did not work; however, other mice I have used, this does work.

2 - A workaround, if your middle mouse button does not work (like in my case), is to hover your mouse on a link, is to push down the CTRL key on the keyboard and LEFT MOUSE CLICK the link. Again, this will open the link in a new tab (in the backgound).

 


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