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Archive for the ‘Windows’ Category

Turn off your LCD in a couple of keystrokes

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Few days back I was studying math and listening to music on my laptop. Now the screen was distracting so I needed a solution. Although my power settings ensure that the screen goes off after one idle minute, it wasn’t easy to wait for one minute.

And so I found TurnoffLCD on Redmond Pie, thanks to Google. This small lil utility can sit anywhere in your computer and clicking it turns off the screen.

Now to increase the usability of the tool I used autohotkey a script based utility that lets you create shortcuts for anything on your machine. I set ctrl+win+alt as the shortcut and booyah, it worked like a charm.

-For newbies, after you instal autohokey, right click anywhere in your Windows explorer, select New and then Autohotkey Script. Paste the following in order to keep ctrl+win+alt as your shortcut.

^#aLT::Run (file location)\Turn Off LCD.exe

You might have read about this on Lifehacker recently. Did I copy it? No. Actually I tipped them via email. For some reason, they didn’t give the credit. Or maybe they don’t give the credit for email tips. Whatever, screw the credits but if you still think I compiled this piece from theirs, here’s a snapshot of my email to LH 🙂

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Written by rahulbhagchandani

March 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Posted in Windows

Tagged with ,

The best ever free antivirus suite

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One question that I many a times encounter from people is, “What is the best antivirus suite?” To which I have given fluctuating answers since awhile. I used to give suggestions based on the user’s usage of the machine, usage of the web and of course the importance of the data their machines held. But that was only until last year when I finally found an antivirus program that was totally anti-annoying, and fulltoo cool.

Before that, though I tried antivirus (security) suites I never stuck on one. You see, then, these suites more than keeping your system secure were meant for annoying you, frustrating you and making you all nauseous because of all-time popping pop-ups, continuous offers of kinky upgrades, and freakishly perky behavior when some bad ware was detected.

Now I don’t say it wasn’t a bad thing after all. But the annoyance index was bad and so I never used an antivirus system.

And then I found Avira Antivir Personal. This lil awesome bastard is the KING of antivirus programs. It generated all the attention somewhere back in 2o08 when it’s free version was rated better than the paid versions of Norton, Kaspersky et al.

And since then I’ve been using and recommending this program to one and all. It’s free, it’s awesome. No bloody colored interface that makes your eyes all blur. No freaking pop-ups. Yeah there are pop-ups but only when required, the important ones.

The concept behind Avira is – simplicity. They haven’t tried to be sheeny and as far as detection goes, well it’s pretty awemazing. The free version is par Norton and all others any day. You shouldn’t even care about viruses hitting your files if you have Avira resting in your system.

And while I’m talking about antiviruses, I should speak some words about firewall too right? Okay then.

I think personally that Windows Firewall does more than enough job for a normal PC user but if you are very worried about your computer’s security, I’d suggest you to not shell bucks for some firewall or suite but I’d suggest you use ZoneAlarm Free.

Zone Alarm has been around for like years and it’s been the top firewall ever since. My cousin is a B2B ISP and well he uses Zone Alarm Free for his server machines. Take that as an advise!

So then, if you’re looking for a security suite, Avira and Zone Alarm should be it. Love them tender and download them now…

Download Avira here.
Download Zone Alarm here.

Update: Never get me started on the system resources that other antivirus suites use. I missed babbling about that part! Avira and ZoneAlarm FYI are right now using 1604K and 4876K of memory and these are in fairness real good numbers for security programs. So in case if you had second thoughts about the suggested programs, don’t. They unlike other security programs don’t slow your machine.

Written by rahulbhagchandani

December 13, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Posted in Windows

Tagged with , , ,

Top Windows keyboard shortcuts

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Here’s a list of top Windows shortcuts which can make your life more easier.

Just a note, “Win” beneath refers to the Windows key.

F5: Refresh the system. Also works for refreshing browser web pages.

Win+R: Opens the “Run” Command. Pretty nifty especially in Windows 7 whose Start Menu doesn’t boasts the Run button.

(In-post tip: To restore the Run button in the Start menu, right click on Start button and select Properties. Under the Start Menu tab click the “Customize” button. Scroll down and check “Run Command.” And there you go, you have your Run Command restored!)

Shift+Delete: Hate Recycle bin? Or do you want to kick some file straight outta your system bypassing the Recycle bin? Well, pressing Shift+Delete helps; it sends files straight outta the system.

(In-post tip: You can permanently bypass Recycle bin and send files straight out of the system by just pressing Delete button. To do this, Right click the Recycle bin icon and select, “Don’t move files to Recycle bin. Remove immediately when deleted.”)

Win+F: Windows search.

Win+L: Locks the system. Pretty useful if you’ve password protection switched on.

The Windows Mobility center (can be accessed by Win+X)

F10: Pressing F10 key enables toggling the menus . After the menu bar is highlighted, use the arrow keys to navigate.

Alt+Tab: Navigate through your open windows. Pretty wondrous shortcut if you are working with multiple windows at a time – reduces the use of mouse drastically.

Win+Tab: An extension of Alt+Tab shortcut. Here you need an OS with Aero 3D functionality. It’s very handy if you want a preview before jumping to another window.

Win+X: Opens the Windows Mobility center. I personally find the mobility center a great tool, see the image and decide whether is good enough for you.

Win+Home: Minimizes all other windows except the active window. Minimizing can be redone by again pressing Win+Home.

Win+D: See the desktop.

Win+M: If you use Desktop gadgets, you can get annoyed when clicking “Show Desktop” button or Win+D hides the gadgets too. Well, Win+M can help. It minimizes all open windows but not gadgets. Cool, eh? You can restore all windows by pressing Shift+Win+M.

Win+G: Speaking of Gadgets, press Win+G to immediately toggle between all the open gadgets.

Win+Spacebar: Ever wanted to just take a peek at the desktop and come back to work? Well, here’s how. Press Win+Spacebar and take a peek. Its extremely useful when you just wanted to peek at your gadgets – maybe check some scores, some stock quotes and of course check the calender.

Win+T: Toggle between taskbar items. Use arrow keys to navigate.

Win+B: Toggle between the notification icons.

So, that’s my list of personal favorite Windows shortcuts. If you think I missed something, please leave a comment!

Written by rahulbhagchandani

December 1, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Posted in Windows

Tagged with , ,

Forget System Restore, forget registry backups; use ERUNT!

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There are times when your PC might act unexpectedly and then there are times when your PC might just like a jerk – a jerk that is continuously increasing your crankiness factor.

If at these junctures you visited some website for help, or perhaps if you tried reaching out to some one-to-one tech support, people might have advised using System Restore.

What is System Restore?

In simple words, System Restore can help you back up your computer’s registry to an early stage. Or in simpler words, system restore can help you make your computer look like, like say the way it did two days ago.

To be clear, System Restore renders no effect on your files, and folders but it does on your programs, your programs’ settings and system updates.

You see there are times when your PC might start behaving erratically just due to something. Now this something more often than not is a software change in your system. It can be a system software change or an application software change. System software change mostly includes system updates whereas application software changes include installing/removing new software (program) or making changes to them.

Now having a registry backup means what? It means you can get your system to an initial stage by the click of few buttons.

Now Windows has its own System Restore utility and it create restore points (backups) when you install/uninstall software. It also lets you manually create restore points, just in case!

But the problem is – when it comes to malware (viruses), these bad pieces of software initially target such Windows apps and make them useless. And then they become utterly ineffective.

The point is why doesn’t Windows allow saving the restore points (backup files) to a remote location or let’s just say, save into your HDD? Maybe because Windows is just like that. But then there are good people out there solving such problems.

A similar good guy named Lars Hederer so made ERUNT – The Emergency Recovery Utility New Technology and made it available for free online.

What ERUNT does? It creates a system restore point just like Windows does but ERUNT makes a folder of the same and lets you choose where to save it. You can keep it in your HDD and/or a flash drive, a DVD, on your online storage, anywhere!

It also has an Auto Backup feature which makes a restore point whenever you switch on your PC. It is an excellent feature and eliminates the need of making restore points everyday by yourself. You can however disable this option. There’s a pop up asking you about the same while the installation and so you can always suit yourself.

You can download ERUNT here. Mind me, you’re gonna love. Its freaking productive.

Written by rahulbhagchandani

November 26, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Need help? First learn how to ask for help

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No I’m not kidding neither I’m drunk but you know there’s a decorum to everything; and so there’s even a decorum to follow when you’re asking for tech help.

Neat and simple. You can add comments at instances once you start recording. You can even directly email the file via your system's email client. Niche right?

Indeed.

Now here by tech help I mean PC help. So if you’re looking for help for your cell phone, sorry not so soon.

Okay back to the topic. If you’re asking for help to a geek, you have to be specific. You need to tell what exactly you do (did) and what exactly happens (happened) cos you see geeks are no one but just a bit more experienced than you are.

And if you can’t explain every bit of thing you just don’t have to! Let Windows help you to help you.

Confused, eh?

You see when Microsoft developed Windows 7, I don’t know what actually happened while the developing stage but the final package was pretty awesome, just like this blog.

In simple words, there’s a program pre-installed in Windows 7 which can save bucks and can help your geek friend to easily understand your problem in detail.

The program is called – ‘Problem Steps Recorder.’

To run the program, type “psr” in the start menu search bar or alternatively type “psr.exe” in Run command.

(In-post tip: Don’t know where is that lovely Run Command in Win7 or Vista? Press Windows Key + R and voila, there you have it. Don’t have Windows key? No worries. Right click on the Start button, go to properties. In the ‘Start Menu’ tab, press the ‘Customize’ button. In the pop-up dialogue box, drag down and check the “Run Command” box, and you will now see a ‘Run’ button in Start menu)

So once you start the program, all you need to do is press the “Start recording” button in the program; then do your steps which lead to the problem or error or whatever, and once you are done showing off, press “Stop recording”. Doing so will pop up a ‘Browse’ dialogue box and the program will ask you to save a file. Save this file to any location on your machine. This is a .zip file and it has a compressed version of a .mht. Opening this .mht file can take you by surprise for once, cos this file has all the screenshots in one place along with the technical description of steps.

Now how good is that?!

For solving your problem, all you need to do is fire in this .zip file to your geek mate’s inbox and now that he knows what exactly is going on at your end, there are all chances he helps you in a much better way!

If you are a Windows XP and/or a Vista user, don’t fret because Microsoft gives away PSR even for these operating systems though not pre-installed. You can download the app from here.

If you are a Mac user, I haven’t found exact alternatives as simple as PSR but you can use Jing which is also available for Windows but Windows users know what to do!

PSR can be also helpful for creating quick and cracking tutorials 😀

I think PSR is a pretty handy utility unless you use some OS as old as Win 2000 or if your problem occurs before (or while) your OS actually boots. In all rest cases, PSR can be the savior.

Mind me, it has saved bucks of my friends and saved my mind from mindless explanations that it was very habituated to!

Written by rahulbhagchandani

November 11, 2010 at 5:38 pm

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