Select default programs to open files with in window mode in Windows 8

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!

Transparent window borders in Windows 8

With Aero gone, the options to customize the appearance of your Windows desktop have highly decreased. Though while you don't have the option to add transparency to window borders, you can still achieve them with a simple trick (you won't have the blur anymore - just transparent borders).

To do that,
- right-click your desktop and click on Personalize.
- Activate the High Contrast White theme and
- click on the Color options beneath the theme selection pane.
- Right-click your desktop again to open another personalization window (don't close the first one).
- Activate one of the default Windows themes again.
- Afterwards, switch to the first window again -
- click the Save changes button there.

You should now have transparent window borders without blur:

As you might have noticed this way of achieving transparent borders is not intended to be used - some machines may experience graphic corruptions when using this method. If you happen to have these, you can reverse the whole thing by chosing another theme again!

Rearrange button order and position of window menu buttons in Ubuntu Linux

Ubuntu, other than most distributions as well as MS Windows, decided to move its window menu buttons to the left side of the top window panel. This brings along many accustomization problems for people who are used to rush their mouses to the top right instinctively.

If you want to, you can revert this change with the help of gconf-editor.

Open it by entering gconf into Dash or


into a terminal. Browse the left pane for /apps/metacity/general and look for the value of button_layout which should be close,minimize,maximize: . This value defines where the buttons are positioned and in which order - the commands stand for the appropriate button whereas the colon determines on which side they will be. You can also add a menu button by including menu.

To move the buttons to the right and adjust their order, a value like


would be appropriate. Don't forget to set the colon or metacity will crash as soon as you have entered and confirmed your value!

Scroll the window directly under the cursor in Windows

The ones of you who ever tried a Linux distribution will have noticed the scrolling behavior on the system. While in Windows you can only scroll the active Window, even if your cursor is nowhere near it, in Linux you always scroll the Window that is right beneath the cursor which is far more intuitive and useful, at least to me.

Eduard Hiti on hast developped KatMouse, which provides you with exactly that feature and some more, which you can choose to disable if you don't need them (includes pushing windows to the back of the screen and custom functionality for special applications).

Download KatMouse here and install it. If you didn't put a shortcut to the Startup folder during installation you can find the folder in "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup" - just drop a Shortcut in there and KatMouse will start when your system starts up.

To edit settings, just right-click the tray icon and browse through the tabs. Find more information on the linked homepage!

How to Execute PowerShell Scripts Without Pop-Up Window

PowerShell scripts are hard to run without any kind of popup. Without a small workaround, it may even be impossible, even if you specify the -WindowStyle Hidden switch - this will only result in the PowerShell window blinking up for a split second and disappearing afterwards.

You can circumvent this issue by launching the PowerShell script from a small VBScript which looks as follows:

command = "powershell.exe -nologo -command C:\Users\howtoforge\Desktop\loop.ps1"
set shell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
shell.Run command,0

Save the script as .vbs file. The -command switch is followed by the location of your PowerShell script - give the full path here (my PS script is on C:\Users\howtoforge\Desktop and is called loop.ps1). This VBS frame will cause the PowerShell script to work silently; it will no longer display any cmd window.

Disable Automatic Window Arrangement (Aero Snap, Windows 7)

The window arrangement feature in Windows 7 (the one that maximises windows to full- or half-screen when you drag them to the screen's border) might appeal to many users, I however find it rather annoying than helpful.

Therefore I will show an option here that enables you to turn window arrangement off. Open the Windows Registry by entering regedit into a Run... prompt. On the left frame, browse the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop key and left-click it once. On the right frame, look for the WindowArrangementActive value - double-click it and change it from 1 to 0.

You may have to reboot your system, but afterwards window arrangement should be disabled.