Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

How To Remove Windows 8 From Dual-boot (or Multiboot) Machines

Easily Remove Windows 8 Beta from Your PC

The time has come for me to uninstall Windows 8 Developer Preview (I just could not adapt to Metro). Here’s how I did it.

To test out the new Windows operating system, I had created a 3rd partition on the machine’s hard drive and installed the Win8 DP there. The other 2 partitions held a Vista and a Win 7 operating system. My concerns about removing Win 8 centered on the fact that Windows 8 had installed its own bootloader — would simply deleting the (Win8) partition prevent the other OSes from booting? To eliminate that possibility, I started the operation by editing the machine’s BCD file ¹.

** Backup Your Important Files To Another Location Before Doing Things Like This! **

1) Download BootICE (or EasyBCD) and extract it. ¹ It is a “portable” app, so you can run it from a thumb drive, or your Desktop. Double-click to Run (aka Open) the bootice.exe file.

2) Click on the BCD Edit tab, then click the “View / Edit” button.

3) In the left column, click on the “Windows 8” entry and turn it blue (aka “select” it)…

.. and then click the “Del” (delete) button.

4) Reboot the machine. You should now see the old style multi-boot menu. Choose one of your older OSes (in my case, I chose Windows 7).

5) Now you can go into Disk Management and delete the partition where you had installed Windows 8, and reclaim the space it took up.

5a) Press the Windows Key + “R” key to launch a Run dialogue box, and type “diskmgmt.msc” (no quotes) into the run box.

5b) Right-click on the appropriate drive in the list, and click on the Delete Volume option in the context menu. You will be prompted and warned that all data will be lost, select “Yes” to continue. (You did make a copy of anything important, right?)

5c) You should now see “empty” space.. and the top bar has turned black. Right-click on the the partition the partition with the blue header, directly before it, and select Extend Volume from the context menu.

A “wizard” will open – simply click “next”, “next”, OK.

That’s it. You’re done. Windows 8 is gone, and your machine is back to how it was before you installed the beta.

¹ Note: This is for machines where at least one of the other operating systems is Vista/Win 7 (which uses a bcd boot loader). If the only other OS in your multiboot setup is XP, you might try the msconfig method instead of Steps 1 – 3. A tutorial for that is here.

 Today’s quote:A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.” ~ Mark Twain

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

May 17, 2012 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, tech, Windows 8 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

No Tricks (and at least one Treat!)

First up, let me wish you a Happy Halloween!

• Are you interested in making your computer run as fast as it did when it was new?

Okay.. I admit, that was kind of a ‘trick question’. It seems every single human on the planet is looking for some magic answer to the at fact that their computer has gotten slower and slower. (Maybe.. taking all morning just to start up.)

I have said here many times that the reason your computer was as “fast” as it was when it was new is because there was basically nothing on it. (It was “lean and mean”) Now you have installed anywhere from 27 to 270 programs; 1,214 “updates”; amassed 500 songs and movies.. have Skype running.. online backup..
Of course it’s slower: it has more to do and keep track of.

Fortunately there are things you can do and steps you can take to improve your computer’s performance. (We Über Geeks call this “maintenance”.) Some are easy, some are free, and some are free and easy — keep reading! (yes.. there’s a treat coming..)

Step 1 is to open your Control Panel, go to Programs and Features, and uninstall every program you recognize and realize you never use anymore (if you do not recognize it, leave it be .. or research it).

That’s the most important thing to do, but there’s more – much more you can do.

Free: Windows comes with the tools (we Über Geeks call these “utilities”) you need (Windows 7 users have many of these enabled already [by default]). Please see, Revitalize Your PC With Windows’ Utilities

Free And Easier: I have found that a few people prefer to download some “optimizer” and do all their “maintenance” with a single click. Fortunately for these folks, there’s a gazillion of these out there. But of these, I recommend the (free) Glary Utilities, or the (free) Advanced SystemCare.

Easiest: The easiest method for keeping your computer “running like new” is a paid, “always running” tune up program — and again, there’s a gazillion of these out there. These programs run in the background, and do all your maintenance work for you. Surprise! I have a reco on this type as well!

Some time ago now, I reviewed (and had a very popular license giveaway) TuneUp Utilities 2010, an award winning tune up program (see my review, here). I have had this running on one of my machines ever since.

Now there’s the brand-new TuneUp Utilities™ 2012! Which includes two new features.

The Most Powerful TuneUp Utilities of All Time!

  • Boosts PC speed by up to 50%, all thanks to Program Deactivator 2012
  • Extends battery life with an all-new TuneUp Economy Mode
  • Saves power by up to 30% and upgrades PCs with an enhanced power management
  • over 30 tools in 1: more speed, better stability, less problems

I received a copy and have been running TU2012 for about a week now, and I have to say I agree with this reviewer’s article, which includes screenshots (and referring you is easier than typing!). And again, my original review is here. TU2012 retails for $50, and a license can be used on 3 machines.

Finally! A Treat! I happen to have an extra license (thank you, TuneUp Utilities!) which I am going to give away to a lucky reader, this week, by means of a random drawing. Residents of the US and Canada only may enter the contest drawing by simply by leaving a comment – click on “comment” (below), and enter a name and a valid e-mail (so I can send you the license key) in the form. Actually commenting is optional. And, I shouldn’t have to say this, but multiple entries will result in disqualification.
Again, the license can be used on up to three PC’s.

Also again, I thank the folks at TuneUp Utilities for making this giveaway possible. A 15-day free trial of TuneUp Utilities can be downloaded here. Try it out yourself. (And then leave a comment. You may just win an activation key..)

*** More Treats ***

BDLot is having a Halloween Sale on their DVD Clone Ultimate and DVD Ripper titles. Act now and save, details here.

• Remember my review of Genie Timeline? You can take advantage of a special 50% off savings here (and, if you like, my review is here).

Today’s quote: “When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers,
‘tis near Halloween.
~ Unknown

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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October 31, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, performance | , , , , , , , | 53 Comments

How To Keep Your Images In A Specific Order

Reader Asks A Good Question..

Q:I have a folder with 200 pictures which I have arranged in a very specific order. I want to burn them to a CD, but when I try to burn them in Roxio they burn to a cd but not in the order that they are in the folder. Any help is appreciated. ”

A: The trick for resolving this puzzle is to understand that computers will do their own arranging (and assigning), using a pre-configured, rigid, logic — generally alphabetical order. So even though you have carefully nudged the icons representing (for human viewing) your photos (actually JPEG files) around into an arranged order of your liking, the machine will still think of the files in terms of IMG0001.JPG, followed by the “greater than” IMG0002.JPG (2 is “greater than” 1) which will be followed by the “greater than” IMG0003.JPG.
Etc.

So the answer is to rename the files , and do so in an order that matches your order.

If you had just a few files, you could manually rename the first image by giving it a name and adding a one. Repeating for the second image, but adding a 2. And, repeating for the third image, but adding a 3. As I did for this collection of screenshots that were going to be a slideshow (and needed a certain ‘order’)

But since you have so many, you need an easier way – what is called a “batch rename” by us Über Geeks.

1) Arrange the photos into the order you like.

2) Click on one of the images to turn it blue (aka “select it”)

3) Hold down the Ctrl key and press the “A” key (or Edit > Select All). This will turn all the images blue (all are now ‘selected’).

4) Right-click on the first image, and choose Rename from the context menu (the name of small side window that pops open).
Your cursor will now be blinking inside the file name ‘box’.

5) Type in a ‘name’ — preferably something related to your project, or the subject matter.
(This one might be “fishtrip”, for example.)

IMPORTANT  Do NOT add a number — this is done automatically during the rename process

Press Enter.

Note: If for some reason you are unhappy with the result.. say you made a mistake, you can Undo the rename you just did by pressing Ctrl+Z (or going to the Edit menu and choosing the top choice – “Undo rename”. (I love Ctrl + Z!)

Now that you have put your ordering in terms a computer cannot argue with, your CD burning software, or “import”-ing into PowerPoint, or whatnot, will respect and follow your arrangement.
Because “fishtrip (4).jpg” is ‘greater than’ (aka “alphabetical”) “fishtrip (3).jpg” … right? Right.

Remember folks, machines are kinda dumb: they can only “think” in binary (a 1 or a 0)(aka “true or false”, “on or off”). They cannot “see” your photo – they see C:\User Name\Pictures\IMAG0001.JPG.

Sorta related: Make Your Photos and Videos Automatically Fly From Your Camera to Your Computer

I spend much of my obsession for technology, by looking for the latest technology in computers and computer accessories on Amazon .. Today, I came across a technology that I did not know about that is just downright impressive.” Read more..

Today’s quote:A little learning is a dangerous thing, but a lot of ignorance is just as bad.” ~ Bob Edwards

(There’s something about this quote.. something.. “off”, I think)

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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October 24, 2011 Posted by | computers | , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Customize Your Taskbar

Recently, a geek friend* mentioned to me to me a free, handy utility that lets you ‘tweak’ (aka “customize”) your Windows 7 Taskbar easily.

7 Taskbar Tweaker is portable utility and easy-to-use as well. It features some of the best tweaks available for Windows 7 Taskbar. Below is the list of tweaks available in 7 Taskbar Tweaker:

# Disable grouping of windows by file path or application ID

# Open with while dropping a file on a Taskbar button instead of pinning

# Close or focus a window on middle click instead of running a new instance

# Show standard window menu on right click instead of jump list

# Cycle through windows of a grouped button on left click instead of showing a thumbnail preview

# Disable thumbnail preview

I have not tried it yet myself, but it is recommended in PC World and elsewhere as one of the best ‘tweak tools’. My geek friend also tried to get me to move my Taskbar to the vertical, arguing that on widescreen monitors (in particular) doing so frees up valuable “screen real estate”, and really helps, as he likes to have two window panes open side-by-side when he’s working.

Doing so is easy, simply:
1) right-click on a blank area of the Taskbar..
2) Click on “Lock the Taskbar” to uncheck it.
3) Left click on a blank area of the Taskbar (to “grab” it) and “drag” it to the right, or left, edge of your screen.
(Then, right-click on a blank area of the Taskbar and click on “Lock the Taskbar” to check it again, and keep it in place.)

If this should prove to be “too weird” for you, and you want to revert to ‘normal’ .. simply repeat the process and drag-and-drop to the bottom edge. But my friend swears, once you try it, you won’t go back…

* Here at T4E Headquarters, “geek” is a compliment.

Do you have a ‘tweak tool’ you simply love, and want me to know about? Tell me about it. Leave a comment!

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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February 9, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, software, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Chosing The Best Security Programs – For You

A Quick & Easy Way To Choose The Best Free Security Programs

“..different people have different security needs.

Choosing security programs for your PC can seem overwhelming. There’s antiviruses, anti-spywares, and “security suites”.. and they all claim to be the best.

I am constantly asked for my recommendation on what is the “best” free antivirus, or “most effective” anti-Spyware, and, “which security suite should I buy?” Who has the best firewall? Makes sense: I am a Tech, as well as a World Renown Tech Blogger (ahem).


I have posted my advice here several times (use my “Search” tool) over the course of 1,000+ Tech – for Everyone articles. I also have published a list, including links, of free AV’s (click here) and AS’s (click here). But my advice has always been quite general.

There’s a reason for that –> you. I don’t know you. I do not know your Geek skilz level. I do not know if you are a pirating/Bit Torrent-ing maniac. I don’t know if you’re still on Windows ME and all you do is e-mail, or if you are on Windows 7 64-bit and you have a Run as command prompt shortcut in your QuickLaunch… or you fit somewhere in between.
Do you watch online porn?

Needless to say, different people have different security needs. How you answer the questions above will have a huge impact on how I would advise you. Fortunately, I have found an answer –  Gizmo’s Security Advice Wizard. And I have added it to my Blogroll.

gizmo's logoGizmo’s Security Advice Wizard asks you a series of questions, analyzes your answers, and then provides you with a customized, personal recommendation — a complete recommendation — including download links to free solutions. Bottom line? I have run through the Wizard several times, as various types of users, and each time the recommendations the Wizard provided was spot on with how I would answer. Great minds really do think alike.

I enthusiastically endorse Gizmo’s Security Advice Wizard and encourage you to go there and give it a try. Odds are good you will learn something. The folks there at Gizmo’s freeeware get a tip of my geek hat, and my thanks for going through the effort of creating this wonderful advisor “wizard”.

Because, yes folks, in today’s world you need security when on the Internet.

Today’s free link: Gizmo’s Security Advice Wizard
This Wizard has been designed to help you select the best free security software for your PC based on the version of Windows that you use, your technical computer skills and your general level of security risk.


** Software License Giveaway Drawing **


The folks at SPAMFighter have generously donated 5 licenses for SPAMFighter Pro to me, to award to my readers.

SPAMFighter is a community-based spam filtering tool for Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail and Thunderbird that automatically and efficiently filters spam and phishing fraud – keeping it out of your Inbox.
For contest details (and to enter), click here.


Copyright 2007-2010 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.


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September 15, 2010 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, firewall, free software, how to, Internet, PC, security | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Web to PDF – Quick Reading Reco

Fellow tech blogger Rick Robinette has discovered a free service I think you, Dear Reader, might like to know about..

Easily Convert Web Pages to a PDF File

“I have always been one where I try to find ways to avoid using the printer by electronically converting and storing my documents on my PC so that they can easily be retrieved later. As a result, I very, very seldom go to the printer to print anything. One example is when I need to print a web page…”

PDFmyURL is a new tool that lets you convert any url / webpage to a .pdf and download it instantly. The online tool is free and easy to use – simply enter the url you want converted, click the button, and receive the .pdf on your desktop.

Please read the rest of Rick’s article, here, and find out more. While you’re there, explore his site a little bit. Discover why What’s On My PC.. is one of my daily reads.

February 9, 2010 Posted by | cloud computing, computers, how to, Internet, PC | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Quick Tip: Easy Trick Creates A File List

This quick and simple trick will produce a list of the files in any folder, which you can then paste into any text editor, then Save and/or print. (Possibly a handy way to keep track of your music/videos collection.)

1) Open the folder you would like to list.

2) Click on one of the files to “select” it (turn it blue), and then hit Ctrl+A (the keyboard shortcut for “Select all”) to highlight all the files in the folder.

3) Right-click on any of the (now highlighted) files, and click on “Send To“, and then “Mail Recipient“.. as shown below. (This right-click menu is called the “Context menu”, btw.)
send_to

4) This will open your computer’s default e-mail client (Outlook Express, for example) and the ‘body’ of the e-mail will be your list of files.

5) Highlight (aka “select”) the list, and then press Ctrl+C (or, in the Menu bar: Edit > Copy) to copy the text to the clipboard.

6) Open your text editor (Word, Notepad, etc.) and press Ctrl+V (or, in the Menu bar: Edit > Paste) to ‘paste’ the list into your document.

Now you can Save this text file, or simply print it out.

[note: you can ‘paste’ the list into other programs as well, such as a spreadsheet program – like Excel.]

Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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February 2, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, e-mail, how to, tech | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments