Tech Tips


Short PC tips and tricks

How to Find Out What Is on Your Computer

I often help people with computer problems and very frequently it turns out that they know very little about what is actually on their computer. If you want to know things such as how much RAM you have, what hardware and software are installed, and many other interesting details about your PC, you can use a built-in Windows utility called System Information. Here is how to access it.

Windows XP

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Things You Never Knew Notepad Could Do

Plain old boring Notepad, the text editor that comes with Windows, is not quite as stodgy as you might think. It has a couple of tricks up its sleeve. Here are three things you might not have known Notepad could do.

Create a log file with an automatic date and time stamp

You can create a file that adds the current date and time each time the Notepad file is opened. For example, this could be used to create a log of any changes you make to your computer.

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How to Manage Internet Explorer Favorites the Easy Way

I have a lot of favorites (bookmarks) and I like to organize them in folders. I also like to prune out the dead links from time to time or rearrange Favorites. Internet Explorer (IE) comes with a function called “Organize Favorites” but it is pretty primitive and I find it a pain to use. So I use a better way.

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Quick Ways to Open the Windows Vista/7 Command Line with Administrator (Elevated) Privileges

Many of the applications of the command line are involved with administrative tasks. In Windows XP systems, that generally presents nothing new. In Windows Vista and Windows 7, however, User Account Control (UAC) will require that you elevate the command line to run as administrator even when you are logged into an administrator account. I described one way to do this in a previous tip. If you need to use the command line frequently with administrator privileges, you might want a quicker method.

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Three Shortcuts for Using Windows Explorer More Efficiently

Windows Explorer is the main interface to files and folders so anything that makes its use more efficient is welcome. Here are three shortcuts to help make managing files and folders easier.

Resize a single column in Details View

If you are using Windows Explorer in Details View, you may find that the columns are not wide enough to display the entire length of entries. An individual column can be changed to the proper width by double-clicking the separator bar at the right-side of the column.

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Use the Command Line to Easily Create a List of Your Personal Files- Your Music, Your Pictures or Whatever


If you have ever wanted to make a list of all the files contained in a particular folder, you will have discovered that the Windows Explorer interface provides no easy way to do this. It is very straightforward, however, when using the command line. Furthermore, the command line provides a simple way to list all the files of a certain type- for example, all your MP3 files. The method uses the directory or "dir" command. This command will be old news to many but it remains one of the most useful for average PC users.

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How to Open the Windows Command Prompt from any Folder

Before I start giving tips about specific applications of the command line in Windows, I want to point out a way to open the command line prompt that will often simplify things. If you are working with files from a particular folder, it can save a lot of typing if you open the command prompt so that it points directly to your working folder. If you use the general method of opening the command line, you will have to enter the complete path for files

Windows XP

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How to Get to Safe Mode in Windows XP/Vista/7

There are times when it is better to run Windows in what is known as “Safe Mode,” which is a diagnostic setup. Its purpose is to help troubleshoot computer problems by operating with a bare minimum of drivers and Windows components.

Open Safe Mode with the F8 key

All Windows versions can be booted into Safe Mode by this method. Note that it is somewhat tricky to time this procedure and it may take several attempts.

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Perhaps the Most Under-appreciated Tool in Windows: the Command Line

Many readers of Gizmo’s Freeware know and use the Windows command line. However, a large number of PC users are only vaguely aware that Windows has a command line or have never heard of it. As a result they are missing out on a powerful tool for helping to manage and configure Windows. There is also a popular misconception that the Windows command line is just the old DOS but that is far from the truth.

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How to Insert an Image into a Gmail Message

Did you ever want to insert a picture into a Gmail message? The facility to upload a picture from your PC and place it into the body of a message is available in Gmail but it is well hidden. Here is the procedure.

1. Go to your Gmail page
2. In the top right side of the Gmail page, click on "Settings"
3. In the Settings box that opens, click on “Labs.”
4. Scroll down the list of options until you come to “Inserting images.” (It was a long way down on my system.)
5. Click “Enable.”
6. At the bottom of the page, click the button “Save changes.”

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