Aug 30 2015

Deleting Temporary Files in Windows

Category: WindowsTeknovis @ 4:49 pm

I often get orphaned temporary files in Windows. Typically they are associated with an Office file that I have, and they normally have the same name, except that it is prefixed with a tilde.

I find them very annoying!

I never knew how to search for them until recently. It is actually very simple – just use the following command in the search box in Windows Explorer!

name:~"*~*"

It works great!


Jan 23 2015

Notepad++ Message

Category: WindowsTeknovis @ 6:44 pm

Wow – it has been a long time since I blogged!!!

I updated my favourite text editor recently – Notepad++. I was very impressed when the following message appeared slowly on my screen as if somebody was typing it:

Notepad++ Message

Notepad++ Message

And just because I too believe in free speech (and equally the right not to agree with the speech being expressed):

Charlie Hebdo Covers

Charlie Hebdo Covers

#JeSuisCharlie

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Jun 20 2011

Merging Word Documents

Category: WindowsTeknovis @ 6:30 pm

Somebody recently showed me how to merge Microsoft Word documents that have been reviewed by several different people! See Merge comments and changes from several documents into 1 document and Compare and combine documents in Word 2007.

I could have saved so much time if I had know this for the last six months!

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Jun 02 2011

Windows 8 Frontend

Category: WindowsTeknovis @ 6:29 pm

Microsoft has been demonstrating Windows 8, and there is plenty of reporting online. For example, see Windows 8 Brings Entirely New Look And Feel, Unifies Touch And PC Interfaces and Windows 8 Is Gorgeous, But Is It More Than Just A Shell? (Video) (the latter has a good video).

I do not see how a single operating system can span so many different types of devices, and I think it is likely that they will end up with the worst of all worlds! Maybe I am too sceptical!

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Sep 22 2010

Stupid Windows 7 File Explorer

Category: WindowsTeknovis @ 9:52 pm

As I previous wrote, I am using Windows 7 as my main Windows operating system on my laptop.

To date, I dislike it intensely! I have not found a single useful feature that would really cause me to upgrade a Windows XP computer.

So today I am going to compain about the Windows Explorer! The following issues really annoy me, and I have been unable to find any solutions or workarounds online:

  • The Windows Ribbon drives me nuts! It occupies a lot of area, and it does not give me any useful options that are not already available in the toolbar! I want it to vanish!
  • Unfortunately, the entire toolbar area at the top of each window has grown very big :( I loved the way that I used to be able to put the address bar on the toolbar.
  • I find the favourites that insist on appearing at the top of the panel on the left hand side to be useless to me.
  • Why is there no button to allow me to “Go up one level” in the directory hierarchy?
  • The status bar no longer contains useful information, such as the total file size when more than one file is selected!

Great, now I feel better :)

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Sep 20 2010

Goodbye Windows 2000 Server

Category: Linux,WindowsTeknovis @ 6:12 pm

I have been happily using Windows 2000 in my home network for many years. My setup was fairly simple – I had a Windows 2000 Server that acted as a domain controller with roaming profiles enabled, and as a file and printer server for approximately six computers and six mobile devices. It also doubled up as a workstation.

All of this worked very well in my home network, although it was starting to show its age and limitations. However, about two weeks ago the server refused to boot properly after it crashed :( Instead of getting the normal login screen, I got the following error message:

Security Accounts Manager initialization failed because of the following error: Directory Service cannot start. Error Status: 0xc00002e1. Please click OK to shutdown this system and reboot into Directory Services Restore Mode, check the event log for more detailed information.

It appears that the reason for this is that my Active Directory became corrupted due to the crash (see Directory Services cannot start” error message when you start your Windows-based or SBS-based domain controller and Err Msg: Security Accounts Manager Initialization Failed Because of the Following Error: Directory Service Cannot Start).

Unfortunately, I do not have a backup of my Active Directory. More importantly, I do have a complete backup of all my data :)

Rather than rebuilding everything in the same way I have decided to use the opportunity to do some upgrading :)

So now I am going to install Ubuntu Desktop on my server. I am then going to install VirtualBox. This will be my host server.

Next I will create two virtual machines to run on my host server:

  • The first virtual machine will be Ubuntu Server, and it will act as my domain controller (using Samba).
  • The second virtual machine will also be Ubuntu Server, and it will act as my file server (again using Samba).

My main motivation in doing this is that it will make backup trivial (just copy the entire virtual machine), and it removes my dependence on hardware!

Now all I need to do is start implementing this great plan :)

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Jul 27 2010

Non-Contiguous Ranges in Microsoft Excel

Category: WindowsTeknovis @ 5:12 pm

I was going mad today trying to select a non-contiguous range in Microsoft Excel until I came across this tip:

Any range can be non-contiguous. All you do is, as you are selecting cells with the mouse, hold the Control key down. You will be able to select as many disjoint blocks of cells on one sheet as you like. All Excel ranges can only be on one sheet, so your non-contiguous blocks cannot be on separate sheets, and cannot span sheets.

It is taken from Excel’s Non-Contiguous Ranges.

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May 03 2010

Microsoft PowerPoint Overkill

Category: Humour,WindowsTeknovis @ 10:55 am

I read this great article about Microsoft PowerPoint: We have met the enemy, and he is PowerPoint.

The direct link to the slide mentioned in the article is Afghanistan Stability/COIN Dynamics.

I think that it is priceless!

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Mar 14 2010

Virtualising my Laptop

Category: Hardware,Linux,WindowsTeknovis @ 2:41 pm

I want to buy a new laptop for myself. I need it! My old one is too big and heavy, the screen is losing its contrast, and the battery lasts for approximately 30 seconds :(

In the past I tended to buy high-end laptops on the basis that they would last for longer. This worked to a certain extent, but this time I want to try a new approach. I am going to buy a relatively low-end laptop, but replace it more frequently. The disadvantage of this approach is that it is very time consuming to setup a new computer.

Last year I started experimenting with using Ubuntu within VMware as my main desktop operating system on and old computer. I was very impressed with its speed and stability. So I have decided that I am going to virtualise my entire desktop on the new laptop. The advantages of this approach are:

  • Moving my computer from one piece of hardware to another becomes trivial. This is useful for when I want to upgrade my laptop in the future. It also means that I can put my computer onto an external hard disk.
  • Backing-up my computer also becomes trivial. I am thinking about backing it up automatically every night!
  • Snapshots can be taken before I install any software on a test basis. I can then roll-back my computer if I do not like the new software.
  • It provides my computer with a lot of extra security from network based attacks.

My overall requirements for my new laptop are that it supports three different virtual machines:

  • I want to start using the Ubuntu based virtual machine as my main computer. I am waiting for Lucid Lynx 10.4 LTS.
  • I am currently using Windows 2000 as main my operating system. I think it is great ;)
  • Unfortunately, I have one program that I need to use regularly, and this program requires Windows XP (or later) :(

I will use NAT to network all three virtual machines most of the time. However, sometimes I will need to use the Windows 2000 virtual machine in bridged mode so that it can be a first class member of my domain.

Therefore, the overall architecture of what I am trying to achieve should look like this:

Laptop Virtual Architecture

Laptop Virtual Architecture

Now that I know what I want to achieve, I just need to find the best way to realise this!

Hardware

I am currently considering buying either a Dell Inspiron 1545Inspiron 15 Intel Core i, or a Studio 15. I am a Dell fan, and a 15″ screen is the best size for me. I will get 4GB of RAM, and either a 350GB or a 500GB hard disk.

I will get one of the cheapest processors available. I am currently considering either the Intel Pentium Dual-Core Processor T4400 or the Intel Core i3-330M. I will probably choose the latter, because it seems to have better support for virtualisation because it supports VT-x according to its specification. In practice I do not know if this will provide a noticeable benefit.

In terms of form-factor, I dislike the idea of a number keypad on a laptop. Therefore, I will probably go for a Studio 15.

I am going to have to buy an external card reader, because none of these laptops support Compact Flash cards :( My cameras all use Compact Flash :o

I wonder how the host operating systems sees the integrated web camera. I hope that it appears as a standard USB device, so that it can easily be shared with the virtual machines.

Host Operating System

My requirements for the host operating system are:

  • It must be very secure, because I will use my laptop in a lot of public networks.
  • It must be easy to connect to file servers. This is important, because I will need to back-up my virtual machines.
  • It must have a software based firewall that is very easy to configure precisely.

I think that the clear winner here is Ubuntu with Firestarter. If my Linux skills were better I would use Debian instead :o

The only question I have is whether I should use the 32bit or the 64bit version of Ubuntu?

Virtual Machine Software

The two options that I am considering for this are VMware Workstation and VirtualBox. My main requirements are that the virtual machine software is secure, and that it supports VT-x. I think that both do!

However, there are still some issues that I have not resolved:

  • Should I use the 32bit version or the 64bit version?
  • Which offers better performance?
  • Will they both support my hardware equally well?
  • Is there a risk of becoming locked into one of these products?
  • How is Hyper-threading supported? Presumably, the virtual machine software would think that it has four cores to distribute to the virtual machines. However, in reality it would only have two. This makes me think that I should disable Hyper-threading.
  • Does the virtual machine file format change with each new release of the virtual machine software?

Cost is not really an issue here.

Guest Operating Systems

As I wrote above, I will use Ubuntu, Windows 2000, and Windows XP on my virtual machines.

My questions relating to the guest operating systems are:

  • Should I choose the 32bit or the 64bit version of Ubuntu?
  • Will the OEM version of Windows XP that I got with a previous Dell computer install into a virtual machine without lots of registration issues?

If anybody has any opinions, experience, advice, or answers relating to any of this then I would love to read them!

Thanks!

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Jul 17 2009

A Frustrating End

Category: WindowsTeknovis @ 4:33 pm

I have recently been trying to use the Home and End buttons regularly when I am viewing large documents within Windows. However, it has been a bit frustrating, because their behaviour seems to vary depending on the application that I am using them within :(

For example, they pan to the beginning or end of a document within Firefox.  Whereas in Notepad++ they move the cursor to the beginning or end of the current line.

:(

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