Tech – for Everyone

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

Another Way To Install A Program On A Netbook

A Thumb Drive Can Be Used In Place Of An External Optical Drive

Light-weight and small size make netbooks very portable. But, to achieve their compact size, certain items are missing from netbooks — most notably perhaps, internal CD/DVD drives.

This “disc deficit” is usually overcome by the purchase of an external (USB cable-connected) optical drive.

Today I want to point out that should you not happen to have an external drive available, frequently you can substitute, and use a “thumb drive” (“memory stick”) instead.. such as using the following method to watch DVD movies — see, Tech Tip for Travelers – Make Your Movies More Portable!

Tip of the day: Use a thumb drive to install programs on to a netbook.
To install a program (you have a CD for) onto a netbook using a thumb drive, you will need two things; one, access to a computer that has a CD/DVD drive and; two, a thumb drive large enough to hold the contents of the Install disc. [note: CD’s are roughly 700 MB’s (.7 GB’s) and DVD’s are typically 4.7 GB’s]

1) Go to the PC with the optical drive and insert the thumb drive. Then insert the Install disc into the drive tray.
Cancel (stop) any setup/install process from starting, should it try to “autostart”.

2) If the AutoPlay window opens, select “Open folder to view files” (which should be the bottom choice).
If you have disabled AutoPlay: Click Start > Double-click Computer (My Computer in XP/older) > right-click on the optical drive (CD-ROM) and choose Explore.

3) Drag the entire contents (all the files) of the CD/DVD to the icon for “removable drive” that is the thumb drive. Take mental note of what the installer executable’s name is – typically, it is setup.exe.

4) Use “Safely remove” and remove the thumb drive, and then insert it into your netbook. If the AutoPlay window opens, select “Open folder to view files” (which should be the bottom choice), if you have disabled AutoPlay: Click Start > Double-click Computer (My Computer in XP/older) > right-click on the removable drive (your thumb drive) and choose Explore. Find and then double-click the setup.exe.

That will “launch” the set up process and install the program on to your netbook, just as if it had been run from a disc.

Bonus tip: When you’re all done, you can drag all those setup files to the Recycle bin.

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

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January 22, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, PC, Portable Computing, tech, thumb drives, upgrading, USB storage devices | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Google Gives Away Great Software

Top rated Anti-spyware Program Is Available From Google

One of this site’s more popular items is the Today’s free download link I post at the end of most articles. People like downloads.

Today I want to tell you about a “package” of downloads put together by Google. This “pack” of download includes some of the programs I have featured in my “Today’s free download”, and a couple that I haven’t yet.

The one (included) program that triggered me to write today’s article is Spyware Doctor. Spyware Doctor is a for-pay anti-spyware tool that has consistently ranked number 1, or number 2, on the Best Anti-Spyware lists. The full version is well-worth the $30 price, IMHO. (The full version includes antivirus.)

The Google Pack includes an effective, though non-AV, version of Spyware Doctor, (free!) as well as an impressive list of other applications.
gpackopts

The truly great features of the Google Pack is that you can pick-and-choose which of these programs to download to your machine. (You could, conceivably, download a “pack” of one.) The default selections are shown here, but I would do a little checking and unchecking before I clicked the “Download Google Pack” button.

First, uncheck the “make Google my Homepage” as you probably have already set your desired “Home” for your browser. Also, uncheck the box for Adobe Reader. If you must have a “reader” to open PDF files, use any other free reader (unless you enjoy being hassled while you compute, and prefer a slow boot, and having a security risk onboard), such as Foxit Reader. Do not check Real Player.
You probably don’t need another toolbar.. (see, Toolbar madness)

Those of you who are security conscious (hopefully all of you) should keep the checks in Norton Security Inspector (which includes antivirus and anti-spyware detection) and Spyware Doctor.

I have mentioned the others here before — except for Google Talk, which is Google’s Instant Messaging app, and Google Photos Screensaver. Those of you who want to take advantage of this unique download bundle (excuse me, “pack”) offered by Google, click here.

Today’s free download: (Yes. Another one!) Whenever you buy a new computer, it will come preloaded with all sorts of trialware (as it’s called) that most of us don’t want. If you have just purchased a new PC, download and run the wonderful PC Decrapifier and clean off that *stuff*.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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October 18, 2009 Posted by | anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, Google, PC, software, tech | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Compatibility Tricks for Old Programs, New Machines

How To Get Old Programs To Work On New Computers

So you went out and bought a new computer — congratulations! You got a good one, too: it has everything, including a dual-core processor. You have installed your favorite programs, and by that, I mean your games — great!

There’s just one catch — now some of your games misbehave and act like they’re in hyperdrive, everything moves at warp speed, and instead of three bloodthirsty hobgoblins, there’s thirty. You’re getting killed faster than you can press your “S” key… and that isn’t any fun! Or worse, the game will just freeze in mid-play.

I first noticed this on Battlefield 1942 (the whole series, actually). And then I noticed it on Call of Duty, but not so much on Call of Duty 2. And it was really bad on Quake. It became clear to me that the older the game, the more susceptible to this unplayability it was.

If this has happened to you, the odds are good you have a dual, triple, or quad core CPU. These processors weren’t available when these programs were written, and so the programmers didn’t factor in their ability to process multiple “threads” — basically what’s happening is these new processors are making two (or four) ‘events’ occur at the same time, where they are meant to happen one at a time.

But don’t worry… you need not say goodbye to your favorite games!

Tip of the day: Getting older programs to run smoothly on a new machine is just a couple of clicks away. Some of your programs are going to require you to “turn off” one of the ‘cores’ before it will run right.
To do this, launch the program and let it load (but don’t start using/playing it yet).
Now launch the Windows Task Manager by doing the “three fingered salute”, combination-press the Ctrl+Alt+Del keys (or Start >Run and enter “taskmgr” no quotes).
Click on (select) the Processes tab. tm.jpg

This shows a list of all the running processes on your machine, and how much RAM and CPU cycles are being used by each process. I have launched Battlefield 1942, which shows as the top (most recent) process.
* Right-click on the app that you want to adjust, in our case “BF 1942.exe”.

For some reason, the program-to-processor linkage is called “Affinity“, so from the menu of choices that appear due to our right-clicking, we want to click on (select) “Set Affinity”.
If you have a dual-core CPU, two CPU’s will be shown and checked, A quad-core, four.. We want to uncheck all but one… as shown below.

affin.jpg

With luck, now your program will run like it should. Unfortunately, you must do this each time you want to launch your game/program. Sometimes, the game manufacturer’s will issue a “patch” that will mitigate this issue. Visit their website and look for downloadable “patches” and/or “updates”.

For really old programs and games, you may need to set them to run in something called “compatibility mode“. Mostly these will be items you have left over from your Windows 98 (or Me) days… but if you’re running Vista, you may need to do this for programs that ran fine on XP. Right-click on the program’s shortcut (desktop) icon and select (click) Properties. Now click on the Compatibility tab, as shown below.
compat_mode

Use the drop-down arrow to select the operating system you would like the program to run in as if it were installed. Here I am telling a Vista machine to run a XP environment, but you may need to set it to “Windows 98”. A little experimentation will determine your best choice.

See also, Windows 7 – Old Games Won’t Play.. Help! (Updated) for more help.

Today’s free download: There’s a small app called Prio that allows you to “Save” priority and affinity, so you won’t have to set them at each launch.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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<a href=”https://techpaul.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/windows-7-old-games-wont-play-help-updated/&#8221; target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>Windows 7 – Old Games Won’t Play.. Help! (Updated)</a>

June 28, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, dual-core processors, Gaming, how to, PC, performance, tech, tweaks, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Troubleshooting Installing Programs On Win 7

How To Get Older Programs To Install In The New Windows 7

I have been using the various beta releases of Microsoft’s new OS since it was released to the public in January and I have reported it to be a remarkably smooth performer (to see all my Win 7 articles, click Windows 7 articles).

Currently I am putting Win7 x64 (64-bit) through its paces as I believe it will be Win7 that ushers us all into the age of 64-bit computing. And I wrote about my near-flawless transition (see, A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7 64-bit).

Yesterday, my undreamed of smooth ride came up against the cold hard potholes of reality when I tried to install a Logitec QuickCam webcam. No matter what, I could not get my QC Express to function properly on Win7 x64. So i plugged in a different webcam. (btw, I had no such trouble on the 32-bit.)
Now, this is in no way a critique! Windows 7 is still a beta, and won’t be released to the manufacturer’s and public for weeks and weeks yet.

But it the experience did inspire me to tell you, Dear Reader, the steps you can take to get programs installed on Win 7, should they prove resistant and/or fail altogether.

1) The first thing to do is, you will need access to the setup.exe, so for downloads you want to Save — and not “Run” — the download.
(note: this is a good habit to get in. Download any executable and then scan it for viruses before telling it to run!)

2) Double-click the setup (aka “install”) and let it run. Usually it will install just fine. But if it doesn’t, don’t panic. Close out any windows and prepare to try again fresh.

3) Right-click on the installer, and select “Troubleshoot compatibility”.
Compat

Windows 7 will analyze why the install failed, and a window will open with a click-able option for trying again with new settings.
Just click that and the installer will go again — and usually this will do the trick!
(Often an install will fail simply because Windows 7 isn’t on the installer’s whitelist of approved OSes. How could it be? Win 7 wasn’t written yet!)

4) Should that second try fail – as in the case of my Logitec software/drivers – you can try again, this time being a little ‘commanding’. Again, right-click on the setup.exe but this time select “Properties”.
App_prop

A new window will open. Click on the “Compatibility” tab, and place a check in the checkbox for “Run this program in compatibility mode”, and use the drop-down arrow to select which OS to trick the installer into thinking it’s working with. Make sure “Run as administrator” is checked.
(Programs of a rather recent vintage should accept Vista, and for older programs you might wish to try “Windows XP”.)

Now close the Properties window and double-click on the setup.exe and launch the install again. (As they say, third time’s the charm.)

Now the program should be installed and functioning properly. If not, you may have to do what I did and just try something else — in my case a LifeCam VX-1000.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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June 8, 2009 Posted by | advice, Compatibility Mode, computers, file system, how to, Microsoft, PC, performance, software, tech, troubleshooting, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Worldwide Telescope Now In Your Browser

A while ago now, I shared with my readers my visit to Microsoft Research headquarters here in the Silicon Valley, where I witnessed the “unveiling” of a new application called “the worldwide telescope”.
(please see, The WorldWide Telescope: An amazing app)

IMHO, this is simply the best exploration and education tool for astronomy (though you can explore our Earth quite impressively too) available.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Worldwide Telescope Now In Your Browser“, posted with vodpod

So, I was rather pleased to read on C/Net’s News that this terrific program has been ‘ported’ for use via a Silverlight-enabled web browser (Internet Explorer). Download the “client” (a plug-in) and you can now browse the heavens anywhere, anytime.

Instead of Copy > Paste-ing, I’ll just refer you to the C/Net article, for details.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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March 21, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, Internet, kids and the Internet, News, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Portable Word/Reader Questions*

One of my more popular articles discussed using a thumb drive to run applications (to read it, click here), and my two previous articles discussed Microsoft Word (click on “MS Word” in the Tag Cloud), which led to two reader questions which I think are worth posting — in the Q’s and their A’s format.

Q: Is there a version of Word I can run on my U3 thumb drive?
A: There are tremendous advantages to running programs from a thumb drive (particularly when using someone-elses’ computer), and there are many programs already developed that are designed to do this, which are called “portable”.
The answer to this question is: no… and yes. Microsoft has not released a portable version of any of the programs in the Office suite, and I have not read of any plans to do so in the future. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot find warez and hacks out there. Loyal friends and true of this blog know that I would never advocate advocate the use of this kind of software; aside from the question of legality, the security risks are simply too great.

That is not to say you cannot run a word processor from your thumb drive. If you have loaded your thumb drive with the Portable Apps suite, palogo.jpg(wildly popular, and previously recommended here) you already have the free Open Source suite of programs called Open Office which includes a “clone” of Word called Write. This works so much like Word that there’s practically a zero learning-curve.
Users of the U3 system of thumb drives u3logo1.jpgneed to download Open Office to add it to the installed programs. To do this manually, visit http://software.u3.com/, which will show you all of the U3 programs available– listed by category. But the easiest way is to plug in your thumb drive and launch the U3 “Launchpad” from the System Tray, and click on the “Add programs>>” link.

You might also want to consider using MS Works, which is Word compatible. For more on that, click here.

Q: Can I use portable Write to read Word documents?
A: The two main portable word processors (and there are others, if you’re the experimental sort) — Open Office’s Write, and the platform-independent AbiWord— allow you to open, and edit MS Word documents. They also allow you to save to HTML, PDF, and Word formats (this step is taken in the Save As menu) which allows you to send your documents to anyone.

Today’s free link(s): You needn’t put these word processors on a thumb drive to use them (and get to know and love them). Click the links in the paragraph above to get free word processing power for your regular computer as well.

* Original posting 10/19/07

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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January 21, 2009 Posted by | advice, Plug and Play, Portable Computing, tech, thumb drives, word processors | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7

Part 2 — Transferring Your User Account To Windows 7

In Part1 of this series, A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7, I described the install process for Microsoft’s new operating system, and today I will proceed to the next step of setting up a new computer.. transferring all your stuff from the old machine, and ‘tweaking’ things to just your liking.

Last year I wrote wrote about the fastest, easiest, user state migration I had ever had — New PC? Migrate Your User Account The Easy Way — and described a Microsoft download that allowed me to not only transfer settings and preferences (aka ‘tweaks’) and my files (.doc, .jpg, mp3, etc.), but my installed programs as well. (Which to me was about the neatest thing since sliced bread.)
[note: Microsoft has since removed the utility, Windows Easy Transfer Companion, referenced in the link/article above. Apparently, it doesn’t work on Vista SP1, and/or XP SP3.]

For the purposes of this article (and, simulating what the typical user will do with a new computer and/or OS), I took an older machine running XP that had been one of my “daily usage” machines before being relegated to testbed duty and re-attached it to my home network (LAN).

Easy Files and Settings Transfer: On my Windows 7 machine, I typed “File an” into the search area of my Start menu, and Windows Easy Transfer showed up in the results immediately. A click launched the Easy Transfer Wizard, and I was asked if *I was on the new machine or the old?
New.
* How did I want to make the transfer?
Over the network. (the other choices were an Easy Transfer Cable, or an external HD/USB flash drive.)
* Does the old machine have Windows Easy Transfer?
Um.. probably not, so, No.
It offered to provide the program if I would plug in a thumb drive, so.. I did.

It said “Finished” and told me to go plug the thumb drive into the old machine and let it “autoplay”, so.. I did.
The old machine (slow!) did its thing and presented me with a code, 123-456, and told me to go to the Windows 7 machine and enter the code, so.. I did.

Bingo, I was connected, and the Windows Easy Transfer tool started to scan the XP machine for “transferable items”.
transfr1.jpg

When the scan finished, I was provided with a result, and there were some default items already checked off — pictures, music, documents. No surprise there, but I was very pleased to see the “Programs” folder.. could it be?
transfr2.jpg
So.. I drilled down into the “Customize” section and selected the applications I wanted to try to transfer to the new machine (though, I could’ve just done the whole folder). That will save time.. and hunting down install CDs!

I clicked the “Save” button”..

transfr1plus.jpg

And presto. Seven minutes later my “user state” was now on my new machine. And so I have a new “easy champion”, and I confess.. I’m impressed.

Plus number five…

Well, I ran long. Tweaking the Desktop, and “Superbar”, and other personalization’s will have to wait for the next article.

Part 3 – Improvements over Vista?

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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January 13, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, dual boot, file system, how to, PC, performance, Plug and Play, software, tech, tweaks, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments