Tech – for Everyone

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

Methods For Making Text Larger

A How To for Windows 7, Vista, and XP

Sometimes I find the size of the print on certain websites a bit too small for comfortable reading. When that happens, I simply hold down the Ctrl key, and use the mouse scroll wheel to increase (or decrease) the text size. This “zoom” (or shrink) only affects the current window.

[The “keyboard shortcut” Ctrl + “+” (bigger font size) and Ctrl + “-” (smaller) works the same way.]

If this is a constant problem for you, there are a couple of quick settings adjustments you can make that will make the items on your computer screen bigger, without pushing everything off of the edges.

Microsoft calls these adjustments “Accessibility” settings.. which makes a certain amount of sense, if you think of reading your screen as “accessing” the information.

Tip of the day: Enlarge your fonts and icons for easier reading. The first and easiest way is to change the screen settings to a larger dpi (dots per inch), which, strange as it sounds, is not the same thing as changing your screen’s resolution. Your screen resolution is determined (usually) by your monitor’s size, and should be set to the highest setting your monitor allows. This is the number of ‘lines’ drawn to create your screen image, and the more lines you have the crisper (sharper) your image will be, reducing the blocky effect called “pixilation.
However, increasing you resolution has the consequence of making the items on your screen smaller. But, that is what you want to do anyway; the higher the resolution the better.

To offset the shrinking effects of high resolution, (or simply to aid those with less than terrific vision) you may want to increase the dpi number.

Step 1: Right-click on any blank (non-icon) area of your Desktop. Then, click on the bottom menu choice — “Personalize” in Vista/Win7, and “Properties” in older versions.

I will demonstrate Windows 7 first. For older versions, scroll down:

Windows 7
On the bottom left, click on “Ease of Access Center“. Then click on “Make the computer easier to see“.
EoA

Then click “Change the size of text and icons“.
Win7opts

And, finally, you can use one of three presets, or set a ‘custom’ dpi size.
Win7_1

Click Apply, and you’re done.

Vista
dpi.jpg

Click on the menu link (on the left) “Adjust font size (DPI)”, and then click on the lower radio button and change the number from 96 to 120.
scale.jpg

Click Apply, and you’re done.

Windows XP
In XP (and older), there are a few more steps to get to the right menu. From the Display Properties window, click on the Settings tab. In the lower right is an “Advanced” button, click on it. This opens a new Properties window.
scrnprop.jpg
Here you will use the drop-down arrow under “DPI setting:” which allows you to choose 120, or “Custom”. The Custom offers a sliding scale to set the dpi, and you can fine tune your setting here.. perhaps you prefer 112 dots-per-inch. Make sure the “Apply the new settings without restarting” radio button is selected to avoid a un-needed reboot.

These steps will change the over-all appearance of items on your screen, and everything will be larger and easier to read. And things will not get pushed off the edges, which a magnification, or “zoom” tool can sometimes do. If you try this, and do not like the effect, or look, of 120 dpi, simply repeat these steps and set it back to 96.

• For more vision-related settings adjustments, read this article as well.

[addenda: If you have tried these options, you may want to consider the purchase of a 22 (or larger) inch LCD monitor. Sure they’re more expensive, but It really does make a tremendous difference. I recently did this for my mother, and she can’t stop commenting on the “wonderful” improvement.]

Today’s free link(s):
• Authors, researchers, and teachers know the wonderful depository of information that is the Library of Congress. It is THE place for reference materials, digitized films, and everything ever published in the US. Much of it (if not all) is available online. Check it out, and be amazed.

Five tips for becoming a superstar blogger (humor)

Want to increase traffic to your blog by five thousand percent? These simple tips are guaranteed to work!

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


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July 20, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, how to | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

How To Restore The Menu Bar In Vista And Windows 7

In older versions of Windows, the menu bar was always visible in Explorer. In Vista and Windows 7 the menu bar is now hidden by default, and you must press the ALT key to see it. These simple steps will cause it to always be visible.
(The “menu bar” gives you the familiar File | Edit | View |Tools | Help ‘drop down’ menus)

1) Launch Explorer by opening Computer (or Documents, or Pictures..), then press ALT to access the menu bar.

2) Click on Tools and then on Folder options.

3) In the Folder Options window, click on the View tab, and click to place a check in Always show menus.

menus

4) Click on Apply and then OK.

That’s it. You’re done. (Should you decide you prefer the “more screen real estate” no menu bar look, simply repeat the steps and un-check the box.)

Today’s quotable quote:Action without study is fatal. Study without action is futile.” ~ Mary Beard

Today’s free download: (an “oldie but a goodie”) It has been a while since I have mentioned one of my fave little computer protection apps – WinPatrol.

Clean up your Taskbar, ActiveX, Brower and Startup programs. WinPatrol monitors and exposes adware, keyloggers, spyware, worms, cookies, and other malicious software. This program puts you back in control of your computer with no need for constant updates.
Download WinPatrol 20.5.2011 (Window XP, Vista, Windows 7 including x64 support)

Have a great weekend everybody!

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


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June 18, 2011 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Enlarge your text and icons for easier reading

A How To for Windows 7, Vista, and XP

For those of you who find themselves squinting at your screen, or having to lean in real close, just to be able to read that darn small text, there are a couple of quick settings adjustments you can make that will make the items on your screen bigger, without pushing everything off of the edges.

Microsoft calls these adjustments “Accessibility” settings.. which makes a certain amount of sense, if you think of reading your screen as “accessing” the information.

Tip of the day: Enlarge your fonts and icons for easier reading. The first and easiest way is to change the screen settings to a larger dpi (dots per inch), which is not the same thing as changing your screen’s resolution. Your screen resolution is determined (usually) by your monitor’s size, and should be set to the highest setting your monitor allows. This is the number of ‘lines’ drawn to create your screen image, and the more lines you have the crisper (sharper) your image will be, reducing the blocky effect called “pixilation.
However, increasing you resolution has the consequence of making the items on your screen smaller. But, that is what you want to do anyway; the higher the resolution the better.

To offset the shrinking effects of high resolution, (or simply to aid those with less than terrific vision) you may want to increase the dpi number.

Step 1: Right-click on any blank (non-icon) area of your Desktop. Then, click on the bottom menu choice — “Personalize” in Vista/Win7, and “Properties” in older versions.

I will demonstrate Windows 7 first. For older versions, scroll down:

Windows 7
On the bottom left, click on “Ease of Access Center“. Then click on “Make the computer easier to see“.
EoA

Then click “Change the size of text and icons“.
Win7opts

And, finally, you can use one of three presets, or set a ‘custom’ dpi size.
Win7_1

Click Apply, and you’re done.

Vista
dpi.jpg

Click on the menu link (on the left) “Adjust font size (DPI)”, and then click on the lower radio button and change the number from 96 to 120.
scale.jpg

Click Apply, and you’re done.

Windows XP
In XP (and older), there are a few more steps to get to the right menu. From the Display Properties window, click on the Settings tab. In the lower right is an “Advanced” button, click on it. This opens a new Properties window.
scrnprop.jpg
Here you will use the drop-down arrow under “DPI setting:” which allows you to choose 120, or “Custom”. The Custom offers a sliding scale to set the dpi, and you can fine tune your setting here.. perhaps you prefer 112 dots-per-inch. Make sure the “Apply the new settings without restarting” radio button is selected to avoid a un-needed reboot.

These steps will change the over-all appearance of items on your screen, and everything will be larger and easier to read. And things will not get pushed off the edges, which a magnification, or “zoom” tool can sometimes do. If you try this, and do not like the effect, or look, of 120 dpi, simply repeat these steps and set it back to 96.

For more vision-related settings adjustments, read this article as well.

[update: a reader comment has prompted me to make it clear that these Options have been a part of Windows all the way back to Windows 95]

[addenda: If you have tried these options, you may want to consider the purchase of a 22 (or larger) inch LCD monitor. Sure they’re more expensive, but It really does make a tremendous difference. I recently did this for my mother, and she can’t stop commenting on the “wonderful” improvement.]

Today’s free link: Authors, researchers, and teachers know the wonderful depository of information that is the Library of Congress. It is THE place for reference materials, digitized films, and everything ever published in the US. Much of it (if not all) is available online. Check it out, and be amazed.

Orig post: 10/22/07

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


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October 9, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows, Windows 7, XP | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fix Laptop Low Battery Shutdown

Yesterday it came to my attention, in a rather distressing way, that my laptop’s battery had gotten too low –> my screen went black and the fan stopped. I looked at my power button and the blue LED was not lit. In a word, my laptop was “off”. (Or, dead.)

My first thought was “*Cripe!* What happened?! What button did I press!?!”.. as I had been happily typing away mere milliseconds ago. Chatting on IM, I confess.

After my initial panic, and my heart started beating again, I pressed the power button and nothing happened — which I know is an indicator that the battery does not hold enough charge for a safe bootup… (or, laptop is dead) and I realized that I had been running on battery for longer than I had thought.
So I took my laptop and plugged it in to the wall outlet.

The blue power LED came on, and Windows tried to load, and then gave me the classic white-text-on-black-screen “Windows did not shut down properly. Select a …”
I told it to “Start Normally” (the default), and luckily it did so. Computers don’t like sudden power interruptions, and sometimes such events can corrupt Windows beyond simple repair.


See, I had been operating under a misconception: to wit, I thought my laptop would warn me when my battery was getting low.. and I thought that if I let it get too low, it would automatically do a shutdown process – that it was programmed to do so.
Because sudden “off” is bad.
(And suddenly disappearing from a chat is rude.)

Well, yes, Windows laptops are supposed to. But I was using a “Power Plan” option that – to me, “must have” – setting was not enabled. Here’s how I turned it on again:

1) Double-click the battery icon (down by the clock) or press Windows key+X to open the Mobility Center and double-click the battery icon (see, Travelers’ Tips for Maximum Laptop Battery Life).

2) click “More power options”.

adv_pwr_stgs

3) click “Change advanced power settings”.

adv_pwr_stgs2

4) Scroll down until you see “Battery” and click the little “+” sign.

5) Click the little “+” sign next to “Critical battery action”
This is what you want your laptop to do when your battery becomes “critically” low.. and sudden off is imminent.

6) Locate the “On battery” option. Click on “do nothing”, and change it to “Shut down” – then click Apply.
Then “OK” your way out of those windows. You are done. Now your laptop will do a nice, safe, proper shutdown when your battery gets too low.. instead of the sudden black of a dangerous “off”.

Note: by default you have three “power plans”. I happened to be in “ultra-turbo full speed ahead” mode (aka “High performance”) so I needed to modify that one, but it pays to check all three!

That was drama I could have done without.

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


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September 11, 2010 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, mobile, PC, performance, Portable Computing, tech, troubleshooting | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Sleepy Laptop*

My mail is telling me it is time to repost an article..

Reader Asks How To Adjust Sleep Mode

Q: My laptop goes to sleep too soon. How do I give myself more time?

A: You can quite easily adjust the length of the “inactivity” time allowed before your computer goes into a power savings mode, such as “sleep”. For those of you really concerned with power savings, you can make it kick in after 5 minutes of idle time – and power users can turn it off completely (It will still be available from the Start >Shut Down menu).

Vista and Windows 7 users will find the settings by clicking Start > Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power Options

In XP it is Control Panel > Power Options.

powrplan

Here you can quickly choose from one of three power policies, (aka “power plan”) to fit your current usage — Balanced, Power Saver, and High Performance. In the picture above, I am plugged into the wall and I want every ounce of performance. When it is time to go mobile and I will be running on my battery, I want to sacrifice some of the bells and whistles, conserve battery, and stretch my time between recharging’s to the maximum, so I will click on middle radio button.
(Vista/Win7: A quick way to do this to launch the Mobility Center by pressing the Windows key + X)

To set my own times, I click on the “Change plan settings” link under the “Power plan” (Or, “Change when the computer sleeps” link in the left column).

powrplan2

Use the drop down arrows to select the length of time your machine is idle before the power is cut to your monitor, and when it general goes into the power-saving sleep mode. I have set a fairly typical policy here, but my advice for the reader who asked the question was leave the setting for the monitor (screen) to a short time, but extend the sleep time to an hour.. or longer.

[note: by using the “Change plan settings” link, I get a window that allows me to set different times for when I am plugged into an outlet and when I am on battery.]

Today’s free link: a good way to tell if your machine has picked up some malware – or some has slipped by your onboard AV – is a visit to Panda’s Infected or Not website and get a free scan.

* Orig post: October 16, 2007

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


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June 22, 2010 Posted by | computers, how to, Microsoft, mobile, PC, Portable Computing, tech, troubleshooting, Vista, Windows, Windows 7, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

How to Avoid Facebook and Twitter Disasters

Take Some Practical Steps To Control What Others See About You

Folks, today I want to refer you to a well-written, entertaining, and informative article which gives you a wonderful introduction to the etiquette of, and is a great How To on, the ‘smart’ use of social networking.seasons greetings

“…we’ve outlined here a handful of common disastrous scenarios in which one (or both) of these social networks was misused, as well as the best way to prevent or remedy the problem. But in the end you’ll find that the fundamental lesson is invariably the same, and that’s to remember the golden rule of all social networks: Never forget that the whole world is watching…

To read the rest, please click here. (Even if you are not a “social networker”, you might enjoy this read..)

Facebook users should be aware of recent changes to the “settings” and privacy features. See, Five Facebook Privacy Issues You Should Know About

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

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December 27, 2009 Posted by | advice, Internet | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Smart Printing Habits Save Money

Reduce Your Ink and Paper Costs With These Simple Tips

Printer paper is dear, and ink cartridges are outrageous.

Can you tell I recently went to the store? Sheeze! Yes, I know all about “generics”, and refills, and refill kits.. but ouch! The price tags still hurt an old skinflint like me. (Call me Captain Cheapdate.)

Tip of the day: reduce your ink and paper consumption with these simple tips.

* Open your printer’s Preferences and set your printer to default to its lowest quality setting — usually referred to as “Draft” — and set it B&W (or, “Grayscale”).

Click Start > Control Panel > Printers and right-click on your printer. Then select “Printing Preferences” from the context menu. Make your changes, and then click the “Apply” button.
PrntrPrefs

This setting will suffice for the majority of your printing needs. For certain documents that require better quality, you simply come back here and change them back. (or.. keep reading)

* If possible, use “double-sided printing” to save paper. Also, in some cases, you may be able to print many (small versions of) pages onto a page.

* Use Print Preview to see what your output is going to look like ahead of time. Make sure your “portrait” page isn’t being printed as “landscape”! And use the the “Print Range” setting to make sure you don’t print more source pages than you intend.

* When printing out Web pages, select just the areas you want (you don’t want the color banner ads, right?) to print. This article may help, Extracting text from Web pages*; and/or, Firefox users can install the Aardvark add-on, and IE users can download Canon’s Easy WebPrint.

Today’s free download: Well, I count two already, so.. let me change that–
Today’s free links: Watch a video tutorial which demonstrates making these changes, and shows you how to set up “virtual printers” as a quick and easy shortcut to different quality settings.

Printer maintenance–how to avoid printer problems Read how to keep that printer performing like new, and troubleshoot minor issues.

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

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March 2, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, how to, performance, printers, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments