You have a laptop and want to use it as a second monitor to mirror or extend your Windows Desktop? Here are some options for the different Windows versions.
Continue reading How to use a Laptop as second Monitor on Windows
Windows 7 has hidden away some features and options pretty neatly but nonetheless they still exist. Such as the option to change the system fonts. To get there try searching for Change window colors and metrics in the Start menu (metrics is also sufficient).
Hit enter if you have found it and you will be guided right to the fonts window where you can change the font and size of all the Windows fonts. And since we all love Comic Sans, why not use that on every option?
You can only do this to view passwords of connections that you are or have been connected with, you cannot use it to retrieve passwords of connections you have never been logged in with! That makes it a tool to remember what password you set here or there.
To view a password, left-click the connections icon in Windows' taskbar and go to the Network and Sharing Center:
On the left pane, click Manage wireless networks. You will see a list of items here, these are all the wireless networks you have been in so far with your machine. Right-click any of then and select Properties. In the appearing window, switch to the Security tab. You can see the encryption type as well as your password here. Just click on Show characters so the clear text will be visible:
After establishing a bluetooth connection with another device from your computer the other device will propably stay in the Devices section of My Computer even after the connection is cancelled.
To remove that device follow these steps:
Open the control panel and head to View devices and printers under Hardware and Sound:
You will be presented with all the devices that are connected to your machine: printers, hard drives, input devices etc. Find the one that you want to remove, right-click it and remove it:
If you have some peculiar program installed that you need to have but want all its internet communication blocked you can do that easily with Windows' built in firewall. On Windows 8 just hit the Windows key to get to the main menu and
- type Firewall.
- Click on Settings on the right pane and
- go to Windows Firewall.
- Click on Advanced settings on the left side of the window.
- On the left pane of the new window, right-click on Outbound Rules and
- select New rule...
Now follow the setup wizards few steps to set the rule up. That's it! If you happen to need to deactivate the rule for a short time, you can just right-click it and do so:
The screen-keyboard is a useful Windows feature on some occasions, e.g if you want to find out if it's the new keyboard's drivers that suddenly make your machine crash, or when you just need to unplug your keyboard for other reasons.
However it can happen that, if you turn on the screen-keyboard a few times on the login screen, it will stick to the desktop and open up every time you log in (be it a bug or adapted behavior). This is annoying if you just unplugged your keyboard to test stuff.
But fortunately we can turn that behavior off easily in the Control Panel:
Open it up and go to the Ease of Access section. Under Explore all settings, click on Use the computer without a mouse or keyboard:
Now uncheck the Use On-Screen Keyboard check-box under Type using a pointing device:
Click OK to save the settings and you're done!
Taking ownership of files in Windows is necessary to edit or delete system or program files that you have no access to by default. There are multiple ways to achieve that goal, like doing everything manually through the Properties menu, applying a registry tweak or, as described here, executing a command in the Command Prompt. Note that taking ownership will not let you edit every system file. Windows has set precautions so that you don't edit any of the most important files which may be helpful in some cases but can be really, really annoying in other.
To start off, you need an elevated command prompt which is simply a command prompt opened as administrator. In Windows 8 you can open that by right-clicking the bottom left corner of the screen and selecting Command Prompt (Admin). In Windows 7 and previous, search the main menu for cmd, right-click it and select Open as administrator.
You need two commands now: one to actually take ownership of the file or folder and one to grant yourself access rights. These are the two commands you will want to use:
For folders, use:
takeown /f folder_name /r /d y
icacls folder_name /grant username_or_usergroup:F /t /q
For files, use:
takeown /f file_name /d y
icacls file_name /grant username_or_usergroup:F /q
The commands basically only differ in a few switches that make the folder procession run recursively. If you want to edit only one folder instead of the whole recursive lot, remove the /r and /t switches from the commands. For more info on the commands, simply enter takeown /? or icacls /? into the command prompt.
If I wanted to take control of my Program Files folder, I'd need to enter the following:
takeown /f "C:\Program Files" /r /d y
icacls "C:\Program Files" /grant christian:F /t /q
Windows takes a nice precaution for us when it comes to installing a clean Windows system on a hard drive or partition that already has a version of Windows installed: If you forgot to backup files from your old installation but already have the fresh one installed you still have a way of getting what you want:
When installing Windows onto an already existing Windows, most of the old files are stuffed into a folder called windows.old which is placed on your newly formated C:\ drive. That folder contains the most important data from your previous installation, which is the Users folder as well as the Windows and Program Files folders. This way, you have an automatic backup of your files that you can get back to if you forget to backup yourself.
Now there is one downside to this procedure: the folders that are backed up tend to get very large. They can take up several gigabyte of data, depending on how large your folders were. So if you don't actually need that backup, why keep it?
All of you who have ever tried to delete Windows system files will already see where this is going: part of the windows.old folders are old system files and Windows still recognizes them as those. But Windows actually has a neat little trick to delete them anyway!
Open up the Control Panel and head to the System and Security section. Now click on Free up disk space under Administrative Tools:
A window comes up that is usually used to cleanup temporary files and stuff. But we need to clean up system files, so click on the appropriate button in the Description panel:
A similar window will upon but this time we'll have different cleanup options. Previous Windows installation(s) is the one that we want to remove:
As you see it is 25 GB large on my machine which is a lot of space for files i don't need anymore. That's why, after we have double-checked if we really, really don't need them, we check the box next to it and click on the OK button. Confirm by clicking Delete Files on the next window and you are good to go with a whole lot of free space.
The library folders where your documents, music, videos, contacts, etc are stored in are located in the users' folders by default. This is fine as long as you have everything on your computer on just one partition, but it may be helpful to relocate those libraries if you want to split your operating system from your data files on a separate partition because these folders tend to become the largest on the average home computer.
Before you start moving, you need to create new folders that will be used as libraries later on. Go to the location where you want to move your libraries to and create folders to replace the old ones (Desktop, Downloads, Favorites, Links, My Music etc.).
Now to get going, open your user folder, in my case that's C:\Users\christian. This is where the library targets are that you want to move. Start with any of them and right-click it, then click on Properties. On the Location tab, you'll see the path to the folder that the library is using right now, which points to our Users folder:
Click on Move... and a folder browser appears. Browse the corresponding folder that you have just created and click Select Folder. Now click Apply - if you had files in your old library target, it is recommended to move them to the new folder; Windows will do this automatically upon clicking Yes on the appearing prompt:
By default Windows installs all programs into the C:\Program Files and C:\Program Files (x86) directories. If the hard drive you have the operating system installed on is running out of space though, or you just want to have the OS on a separate SSD, you might want to consider changing these default installation paths.
Be warned before you go on though! Microsoft does not officially support changing installation directories (see here). You are responsible for all consequences.
Furthermore, since we are going to edit the Windows registry for our causes, you should have that backed up first in case something goes wrong. Here's how: http://www.faqforge.com/windows/backup-your-windows-registry/
Now that you have been warned, let's get started: Open a Run... prompt and enter regedit. I will be referring to our new installation path as E:\Program Files and E:\Program Files (x86), so replace these paths with the ones you want to have (you can choose other names as well). Now browse the left registry pane for the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion key. Click on that key once to show its contents and locate the ProgramFilesDir and ProgramFilesDir (x86):
Double click those values and change C:\Program Files to E:\Program Files as well as C:\Program Files (x86) to E:\Program Files (x86). Furthermore it might be safe to change all other paths directing to the old directories to point at the new ones as well. That's it if you are on a 32bit system, close the registry and reboot your computer.
64bit users have one more step to go. Close the registry and open another Run... prompt. This time, enter %systemroot%\sysWOW64\regedit. Another registry windows will open. Repeat the exact same steps here that you have done before. Afterwards, close the registry and reboot your computer.