Tech Tips


Short PC tips and tricks

How to Prepare for Boot or System Problems by Creating a Windows 7 Repair Disk

One fine day you sit down at the computer to turn it on and suddenly the day is not so fine anymore—Windows won’t boot. Or maybe you get a screen full of error messages.

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How to Restore the Run Line to the Start Menu in Windows Vista and Windows 7

You may have noticed that many of the tips that I give use the Windows Run line. In fact, I use the Run line a lot and sometimes wish that it was back on the Start menu in Windows Vista/7 like it is in Windows XP. Of course, the keyboard shortcut Windows key + r will always bring up the Run box but if you would like to have Run reinstalled on the Start menu, here is how to do it in both Windows Vista and 7:

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How to Change the Name of the Registered Owner in Windows

One well-known Registry edit may be appropriate in this holiday season when many will be getting new computers. When you give away or sell your old Windows machine, you will want to change the name of the Registered Owner (not necessary if you have wiped off the operating system, of course). This is easily done in the Windows Registry with the Registry Editor. Administrative privileges are required. Here is the procedure:

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How to Quickly Find a Key, Value, or Data in the Windows Registry with Regedit

This tip is for more advanced users. It applies to Windows XP / Vista / 7

Entries in the Windows Registry can have very long paths and navigating to a particular entry with the Registry editor Regedit can be tedious.  Fortunately, Regedit has a “Find” feature that can simplify many (but not all) searches. Here is how to use it:

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How to Send the Output of the Command Line to a File

This tip was stimulated by a question from Donavan about the previous tip.

When you use the command line, the output is normally sent to the screen. However, you can send the output to a file instead by using one of the two redirection symbols ">" and ">>". This can be handy when you want to keep a record of the output. For example, the command:

ipconfig > C:\newlist.txt

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The Easy Way to Check If Your Computer Is Connected to the Internet

It happens sometimes. You sit down at the computer, fire up the browser—and nothing connects. Is it the computer or the Internet that is not working? Is it the router? Get some help from the command line to find out.

Use "ping" in the command line to test connections

Windows comes with a substantial set of command-line tools for managing networks. Among these is the very old command called "ping" that is included in all common operating systems. It is a simple command that is indispensable for checking network and Internet connections.

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Quick and Easy Way to Resize Windows Icons

Every time I think I have seen all the Windows shortcuts, still another one comes along to prove me wrong. Here is one that I just heard about. It is a mouse-keyboard combination for resizing icons on the desktop or within a Windows Explorer window. It requires a scroll mouse. I have used it in Windows Vista and 7 but it didn’t work for me in Windows XP.  However, my Windows XP icons have only one size available so the failure was not a surprise. Here is the procedure:

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More Nifty New Tricks in Windows 7

In the previous tip, I wrote about the new Windows 7 feature called “Aero Shake”. As promised, here are more "Aero" tips. This time it’s “Aero Snap”. Either mouse movements or keyboard shortcuts can be used to arrange and resize open windows on the desktop.

Using mouse movements to resize or arrange windows

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Three Nifty New Tricks in Windows 7

 Windows 7 comes with new features and along with them are some new tricks. Included in the new “Aero” desktop themes are some things that are unlike anything in previous versions of Windows. Here are three of these new tricks that I think you’ll like. They work in all versions of Windows 7 except Starter. They do require reasonably up to date graphics processors, however.

Keyboard shortcut to minimize all open windows except one

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How to Create a Custom Hotkey for Your Favorite Application or Folder

Hotkeys are keyboard shortcuts that save time and effort. A number of them are built into Windows as well as into various applications and they are the subject of many of the tips in this section. Windows also has a feature that makes it possible to assign your own custom hotkeys to an application, folder, or file so that it can be opened with a minimum of effort.

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