Archive for the ‘Windows’ Category
If you did not yet notice: There is a new feature in Windows 8 concerning disk images. Instead of using third-party software for it, you can now mount .iso files and more with a native Mount function. To access it, just right-click the image file in an explorer window and select Mount – or left-click the image and get there via the ribbon menu: after clicking it, select Manage from the Disc image tools menu point and click on Mount.
The disk image will then be mounted in a virtual disk drive (which will also be listed under My Computer) and you will be able to see all of its contents. To unmount the virtual drive again you can either do it with the ribbon menu just as before or just do it as you do for any other drive by right-clicking the drive and selecting Eject.
Since Windows 8 applications do not have any obvious means of minimizing or closing them, most people might just leave them opened and continue working with lots of apps opened in the background. You can check if and how many apps you have currently running by pointing your mouse to the upper left corner and swiping it down afterwards. A sidebar will open with all your running apps in it:
To close an app, bring it up and go to the top of the screen where the cursor will change into a hand symbol. Now click and hold the left mouse button and drag the window to the bottom of the screen:
Release the mouse button and the app will close!
SkyDrive is a cloud service native to Windows 8 and can be accessed right on if you are logged in with your Windows live account. Since you don’t do that naturally on Windows 7, accessing your SkyDrive from the Windows explorer is a little harder than in Windows 8. However you can still map it as a network drive if you know how (this is also possible in Windows 8 if you prefer using it as network drive instead of going in with the Windows 8 interface).
To link your Windows 7 account to your Windows Live account, you need to download and install an “Online ID Provider” which in our case comes with Windows Live essentials. You can download it easily in the Control Panel’s submenu User Accounts and Family Safety > User Accounts > Link online IDs. Click on the Add an online ID provider panel:
You will be directed to following website where you can download Windows Live Essentials:
After installation,WindowsLiveID should be listed as online ID provider:
After you have arranged that, head to the SkyDrive homepage where you log in with your Windows Live credentials. When you get to see the contents of your SkyDrive, take a look at your browser’s URL bar. It should have a cid in it (I will examplarily use 5555555555 as my CID from now on):
Note that CID, because you will need it in a second. Head back to My Computer where all your drives are listed and click on Map network drive:
A window will open where you need to specify a drive letter and the folder which the drive shall be mapped to. Select an unused drive letter, enter the following into the folders path and click the Finish button (replace my examplary CID with yours):
You will be asked for your Windows Live credentials once more. Once you entered them, the drive will be available among the listed drives and can be accessed the same way as one of your hard drives:
If you want to do the same for Windows 8, you basically only need to map the drive, since you are connected with your Windows Live account all the time.
DirectX Diagnostic tool dxdiag is a useful tool on Windows that gives you loads of information about your system, such as GPU, CPU and BIOS info. It is common that tech support asks you to attach your dxdiag report to support requests since it helps to narrow down the problem.
Before Windows 8, dxdiag was installed whenever you installed any version of DirectX – in Windows 8, it is installed right on with the operating system.
To open the Diagnostic tool, press the Windows button to open the main menu and type run. In the Run prompt, enter dxdiag, hit Enter and the tool will open. You can now browse through the tabs as well as save a report on your system as text file by clicking on the Save All Information… button. This report is what is requested by tech support when you are asked to ‘attach the dxdiag output’.
Errors concerning a missing d3dx9_26.dll usually come up in connection with games and have to do with DirectX. If you are facing such an error, there are two steps you can try out to fix the issue. Before we get to these however, be warned:
Do not download any dll files separately from websites offering dll downloads. It is not safe to do this! Here are the steps you can try out to make things work:
1. Install the version of DirectX that comes with the game you try to play. In most cases, some version of DirectX is included on the game disk. Usually these are versions that have been tested for compatibility with the game they come with and contain everything you need.
2. If there is no DirectX installer included on the game disk or the error comes up in a different context, you can just try to update DirectX from Microsoft’s website. This way you can be sure you are downloading safe content that usually gives you a complete package of the dlls you need.
Windows 8 has set some file types to open in full screen Metro applications which can be really annoying, especially if you just wanted to have a quick look at a photo or something. To stop this, you can determine certain applications to open all types of files they are able to open (e.g. Windows Photo Viewer for picture files – jpg, png, etc.).
To do so, hover your mouse over the top right corner to open the Charms menu and open the Search charm. Enter default programs into the search bar and open the search result with the same name. In the appearing window, click on Set your default programs (the first menu option).
In the new window, select one of the programs on the left that you want to use as general default options for pictures, videos, music or another type of files and click on Set this program as default afterwards:
Your files will now be opened in comfortable window applications!
With some help of the Windows registry you can now change the width of Windows explorer borders. This can be nice in terms of style but also really handy since it will become far more easier to grab borders to resize a window.
To change border width, point your cursor to the bottom left corner of the screen and right-click it to open a menu where you choose Run from. In the appearing prompt, enter regedit to get to the registry editor.
In the editor, browse to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics key in the left pane and left-click once. On the right pane, look for the BorderWidth and PaddedBorderWidth values set to -15 and -60. Change these to your likings: 0 will give you really small borders, while -200 will give you very thick ones. Don’t meddle with too high numbers though, otherwise you will have a hard times changing the values back!
When moving an item to the recycle bin in older versions of Windows you were asked to confirm that step – this dialog was removed in Windows 8 but can be brought back with a simple tweak:
Right-click the Recycle Bin and select Properties. Afterwards check the Display delete confirmation dialog checkbox. You should now be asked to confirm on delete again:
One of Windows 8′s specialties on the desktop seems to be the disproportion of size of elements (hilariously large tiles, small text…) – so if you find yourself in need of enlarging the font size of window titles on the desktop, here is how to:
- Right-click the desktop and select Personalize.
- On the lower left corner of the appearing window, click Display.
Under Change only the text size you can choose elements of text that you want to change the size of – select Title bars here and choose a size from the next drop-down menu.
If you want to further reduce the time it takes your Windows 8 system to boot one of the most efficient options will be to automate the login process – this saves you the time you usually spend on wiping away the lock screen and entering your password.
Be careful though! Not having to enter the password at startup leaves your machine vulnerable to direct access by strangers. This should not be done to portable or public machines!
If you choose to do so anyway you need to edit the User Account settings – the fastest way to get there is to point your cursor to the bottom left corner of the screen, right-click and open a Run prompt. Enter netplwiz into it:
First off select the user you want to log in with automatically – then remove the Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer checkbox and apply. You’ll be prompted for the account’s password, so enter it and confirm once.
Afterwards, the machine will log into the account automatically!