Finds of the Week: Muting Google Chrome / Black Desktop Icons Fix / Windows Patch List / 7 Neat Email Tricks


Finds of the WeekFinds of the Week is a list of websites I've come across lately that are interesting, fun, or useful (or all three). I hope you enjoy them. -Rhiannon

The complete Google Chrome audio muting guide
Sometimes you want to see and hear audio and video in your browser, sometimes you don't. Most of us don't want to see or hear auto play audio or video advertisements - the ones that start automatically where there's often no pause button that will stop or mute the ad, leaving you the option of hearing and/or seeing the whole advertisement,closing the page the video is playing on or muting the system volume. If you use Google Chrome, here are all the ways you can mute, block, and control playback on web sites.

How to Rebuild a Broken Icon Cache in Windows 7, 8, 10
Every now and then the icons on my desktop and some of the folders in File Explorer (Windows Explorer in Windows 7) turn into black squares. This stems from the icon cache becoming corrupted. There are a few ways to fix it. You can delete the icon cache manually, you can delete it using the command prompt, or you can use a program or batch file to delete the icon cache. I've been using the batch file to clear the icon cache for several months now and have been happy with how it works. The instructions for the batch file say to reboot your computer after using it, but for whatever reason, executing the batch file causes the desktop icons to show up again on my system so I wait to reboot.

Master Patch List for Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office
Susan Bradley (aka the Patch Lady) maintains a detailed list of the patches (updates) issued by Microsoft each month, along with recommendations on whether to install them (or not) along with any issues or tips on each patch. Each patch has a link to its Microsoft Knowledge Base website. If you want to be up to date on what's going on with Windows Update this is a great place to check. I like to wait for some time to pass before I download any updates and this site helps me decide when to install run updates. No testing is done on the weekend so it may be a few days before any recommendations come out on any given patch.
If you're running Windows 10 and want some control over the Windows Update process, I like and use Windows Update MiniTool.You can download it from Major Geeks (where there's a video on how to use it) and there's a good overview of what it does here.

7 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do with Your Email Inbox
Here's a list of interesting things you can do with your email Inbox. Send text messages, upload files, post to social media, start a video call (Gmail only),
control your smart home, recall email (Gmail and Outlook only) and storing files are all covered. I've only tried a few of these but the ones I tested worked fine. It's not listed but if you have an amazon account and use a Kindle you can send documents to your Kindle as an email attachment. Some of the supported formats you can send to a Kindle are Word docs (.doc and .docx), HTML files, PDF files, JPG, MOBI and more.
(Note: site contains some inline ads that may be confusing)

You can find more Tech Treats here.


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I would simply like to voice a thank you for this substantive post to both! ~ Alan

Thank you, you're more than welcome. :)

Thank you Rhiannon for informing us about 'Windows Update MiniTool'
The ability to just download all Windows 10 Security Updates, and block all other Windows 10 updates, would be tremendous

Is there a TechSupportAlert section soley focussed on 'Blocking Windows 10 telemetry; and Windows 10 update management utilities' ?

One of my concerns, is that over time, the Windows 10 OS will be display an increasing number of advertising and advertising links. It is also likely that Microsoft intends to install even more telemetry onto Windows 10 computers

I have not changed my essential hardware nor software for at 12-24 months
I am also perfectly happy with the current Windows shell / design, and I dont want any changes or updates or "new improvements"
If I purchase any new hardware, its preferable that the hardware vendor (and Microsoft) make the appropriate drivers available on their websites. This way, huge additional Windows update are unnecessary

The public should therefore be offered the Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB edition, "long-term servicing branch", made available to banks and other large institutions.
This version ONLY receives security patches updates, with no disruptive other updates. Its time Microsoft made it more available for those who prefer purchasing a Windows OS and not being a beta tester over time.

You're welcome. I have limited bandwidth speed with small data caps, so allowing Windows 10 to update itself would leave me tossed off the internet every time it downloaded something because my ISP throttles my slow connection to the point that websites won't load. I can barely get email when they throttle bandwidth.
As a result, I have my internet connection set to metered to control updates:
How, When, and Why to Set a Connection as Metered on Windows 10
There isn't a dedicated area on the site to Windows 10 privacy and security. We've posted some articles with resources and I have some sites I find useful.
Here's a partial list:
The Ultimate Windows 10 Security Guide
The Easy Way To Disable Windows 10 Telemetry | Gizmo's Freeware
Tune Your Windows 10 Privacy With This Free Tool | Gizmo's Freeware
I personally prefer a program called Blackbird, but we haven't written it up here because VirusTotal flags it with one or two cautions - not unusual for good programs due to the large amount of programs that VirusTotal runs .exe files through.
I haven't had any trouble with the program and I've recommended it to several people and they use with no issues. You can find it at [getblackbird dot net].
For keeping an eye on what's going on with Windows 10 and Microsoft I like these two sites:
Woody on Windows
The Ed Bott Report | ZDNet
I agree that Microsoft is heading towards customers as advertising targets, possibly with more telemetry.
I think this recent article by Ed Bott is a good indicator of what we'll be seeing:
Microsoft's steady retreat from consumer products is nearly complete | ZDNet

Edit: adding this article: Microsoft forces Win10 1709 upgrades on PCs set to restrict telemetry | Computerworld

I run Windows 10 on a laptop that I don't use much. My production machine runs Windows 8.1. I'll likely switch over to Linux when Microsoft ends extended support for Windows 8.1 in 2023. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Wow, what a comprehensive response.

If Microsoft can be convinced to release a Windows 10 LTSB version more widely (not just large institutions), we may well restore your enthusiasm for Windows. However, constant Windows 10 operating system tinkering and modification (often without the consent of the purchasers of Windows 10) seems to be the new business model. The 'Windows as a service' model is something many of us will continue to reject

Thank you for helping make TechSupportAlert the most clutterfree, and useful, freeware information site on the internet. The TechSupportAlert website, since its beginnings, has done more to transform my computing habits than any other resource, by far. It has been truly lifechanging

And thank you for mentioning a number of the Windows blogs you read
It is truly challenging to find media news about Windows not tainted by marketing gloss.
Ed Bott and Woody Leonhard tell the unvarnished truth about Windows. Windows users need to know about the privacy threats that currently exist, and those that are on the near horizon

Um, wow, thanks. [blushes]

I forgot to include this overview of Windows 10 privacy tools:
Comparison of Windows 10 Privacy tools

I'm with you that it would be good for consumers to have the stability of Enterprise classes of Windows.
But there's a Catch 22 there - to ensure stability for Enterprise class users, Microsoft needs a large base of users to test updates so they can fix the issues and then update Enterprise class versions. As far as I can tell, they aren't expanding the Insiders program or increasing the amount of early adopters.
What is happening now, from what I can ascertain, is that Microsoft turns all the updates loose on consumer level users (Home and Pro) and after most the bugs and issues are worked out, they upgrade the Enterprise level editions.

I agree that Microsoft turning Windows into SAAS (Software As A Service) doesn't seem to be working very well at the conusumer level.

I understand the security (and convenience for Microsoft) reasons behind the forced updates, but Microsoft has a long history through several versions of Windows of updates causing issues with computers, from minor issues all the way to completely bricking a computer, requiring a complete reinstall.
Their track record on that seems to be getting worse with Windows 10, while I would like to see it improve to the point where there are few issues for consumer level users.

I've been a fan of Woody Leonhard and Ed Bott for years, because they like and use Windows and they also aren't shy about bringing up issues. They don't bash Microsoft, and they don't coddle them or gloss things over.
I like to know what new features are here now or on the way, and I like to know what issues are cropping up widely enough to be a problem for many users so I can avoid those updates.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯