Tech – for Everyone

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

How To Turn Off "Recent Documents"

Folks, today a ‘quick tip’- The Windows Start menu can show you a list of the files you have recently opened, which is a handy shortcut for returning to works-in-progress. This feature is called “My Recent Documents” and you can quickly and easily turn it on or off.

Tip of the day: Customize your Start menu to show your most recently opened files or, if you’re a ‘minimalist’ and want a leaner, cleaner Start Menu, do the opposite of [un-check] these steps to disable the Recent Documents feature).

Step 1:Right-click on a blank area of your Taskbar, and select “Properies” from the context menu.

Step 2: Select the Start Menu tab, and click on the “Customize” button.

Step 3: Select the “Advanced” tab, and Place a check in the checkbox labeled “List my most recently opened documents.” Now click “OK”, and “OK” again.
That’s it. You’re done. Now when you click on the Start Button, you will see the last things you were working on, and can quickly launch them by clicking their icon.

For Vista: Vista users can do this too, and actually have a little more control..

.. but the steps are the same. Select the “Start Menu” tab, and place the checks.

Today’s free link: TweakUI, a Microsoft “Power Toy”, is an applet for XP that allows for a remarkable amount of, well, “tweaking” of Windows’ behavior and appearance. “This PowerToy gives you access to system settings that are not exposed in the Windows XP default user interface, including mouse settings, Explorer settings, Taskbar settings, and more.”

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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October 14, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, PC, performance, Taskbar, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows, XP | , | 6 Comments

How to repair/tweak your "Send To" menu

A handy time-saver is the Send To feature, found in the right-click menu (called the “context menu”). By using the Send To command, you can quickly send a file to different locations such as a ‘zipped’ folder, another person using e-mail, or the My Documents folder.

This image shows the default places you can send your file in Windows XP: compressed file, desktop, mail recipient, My Documents, and 3½” floppy disk. You can remove Send To destinations you never use — such as the floppy drive if your machine doesn’t have one (most newer PCs don’t) — or add destinations you use frequently, in a few simple steps.

Tip of the day: Take control of your menus. This process is much like adding/removing shortcuts from your Start Up folder, which I’ve discussed in this prior article. First, we need to open the Send To folder, which is a “hidden” folder inside your Documents and Settings folder (to read my article on hiding/unhiding folders, click here). Open your Run dialogue by hitting Windows key+R, or Start >Run, and type in “sendto” (no quotes).
Here you see the Send To shortcuts which appear on your right-click submenu. To remove an item you never use, just drag it to your Recycle bin (I have already deleted the floppy drive). I frequently send files to a folder on another computer on my network, and for purposes of example I am going to demonstrate adding that to my Send To menu — but this method can be adapted for any location you’d like to send files.
[update 10/1/07: this can method can also include a printer.] Right-click on any blank area in the Send To window and select (click) New, then Shortcut.
Now the Create Shortcut Wizard opens. We need to browse to our new destination so click on the browse button. To choose a destination, click on it and then click OK. To find my folder on the other computer, I ‘drilled down’ by expanding the plus signs until I could see my folder. Now complete the Wizard by clicking OK, Next, Finish. Now my new shortcut appears in my Send To window.
Now all I have to do to send a file from this machine to my ‘storage’ machine is right-click on it…
and select “downloads on P3”.

Today’s free link: Today, some fun: Knight Online is an extremely popular online fantasy game. From site: “Knight Online is the critically acclaimed medieval fantasy MMORPG developed by Mgame and Noah System. Since its introduction in Korea several years ago, Knight Online has thrilled millions of players in over 80 countries. Players choose between El Moradian Humans and Karusian Tuareks, adventuring as rogues, warriors, mages, and priests.”

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix 

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June 14, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, file system, how to, PC, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

IE’s Menu bar, Taskbar icons, and bad Updates*

Reader questions this week bring me back to IE 7 and the Taskbar, and a new topic: what to do when an Update causes crashes and other troubles. So today I will not post my usual Tip of the day, but the (hopefully) now familiar “Q’s and their A’s” format.

IE 7 Questions:   (you may want to review my post on IE7 Security zones, and Questions answered, as well.)

Q: My Explorer menu bar disappeared, how do I get it back?
A: In IE version 7, the old familiar menu bar (File, Edit, View, etc.) was removed from the default configuration to ‘streamline’ IE’s look, and quite possibly because Microsoft was aware that people were installing their own toolbars (see “toolbar madness“). To get it back, use a method similar to the one used for Windows’ Taskbar. Click on the down arrow next to the gray “gear” icon marked “Tools” and click on the Menu bar option. Now a checkmark will appear next to it, and your menu bar is back. To keep it there, hover your mouse over the option below Menu bar, “Toolbars”, and click on (select) the “Lock the toolbars” option.
While you’re there, you may want to play around with the “Customize” option and tweak which buttons appear on your bars.

Q: I can’t add a site to my Trusted zone:
A: I answered this in the previous answers post, but this detail is worth repeating: The person was on their personal machine and was running as an administrator, so there’s no problem there. The trouble was they hadn’t cleared the checkbox next to “Require server verification (https:) for all sites in this zone”.https.jpgThe difference is the “s” at the end of “http”, which indicates a special, secured Internet protocol. You will know if you’re on such a Website by the gold lock icon that appears in the URL window (and/or elsewhere on the page). It is an encrypted connection generally only used for electronic payment sites. A check here prevents you from adding regular websites.

Q: Can I make IE block sites when my child is browsing, but allow them for me?
A: This is a great question! And the answers are: yes, sort of, and … how many sites are we talking about? There are a couple of ways to go about this, but I want to spend more time on this topic than there’s room for here today. Protecting your children from the dangers of the Internet is a huge subject. Please see my page on this topic. 

Taskbar question:

Q: What happened to the icons in my Taskbar?
A: These “my icons disappeared” questions depend on if we’re talking about the Notification area (on the right, by the clock), or the Quick Launch area (on the left, by the Start button).
In the Notification area, an icon’s disappearance usually indicates that the “process” has gone idle and is not “running” at the moment.That means it isn’t needed, and hasn’t been needed for quite some time. It will run when it’s needed so, in this case don’t worry about it. In some instances, such as the speaker icon or the the two PC’s network icon,
speaker.jpg
a checkbox has become unchecked and you simply need to check it again. Click on Start >Control Panel >Speakers and Audio devices, and select (check) the “Place an icon in the Taskbar”.

If the Quick Launch icons have disappeared, right-click on a blank area in the Taskbar and select Properties. Click on the Taskbar tab, and place a check in the checkbox labeled “Show Quick Launch”. As I have mentioned before, these Quick Launch icons are simply shortcuts. You can add more shortcuts here by simple drag-and-drop, or remove the ones you never use.

NOTE: If your icons have always been there and then, suddenly, some (or all) of them are gone — you may have picked up some malware. I recommend that you run “deep” antivirus and an anti-spyware scans immediately.

Windows Update:

Q: An Update is causing BSOD’s, what do I do?
A: From time to time a Microsoft security Update will not be compatible with the software and/or device drivers on your machine and the instability will trigger the Blue Screen Of Death (for more on BSOD’s and what to do, see “When good computers go bad“). Usually, Microsoft will repair this and issue a new Update … eventually. In the meantime, remove the Update (If you’re not sure which Update is the perp, remove the most recent ones) by going to Add/Remove Programs in your Control Panel. (Start >Settings >Control Panel >Add/Remove Programs) Now look to the top area and place a check (select) in the “Show updates” checkbox. Now you will be able to see the list of installed Updates.

Click on the Update you want to remove, and click on the Remove button.

Today’s free link: I do NOT recommend uninstalling security updates unless they cause your machine to become inoperable. I am a big fan of security updates and want all my vulnerabilities patched. If you’re like me in that aspect, Secunia’s Personal Software Inspector is for you. While this software is still in beta, it is very good at scanning all your programs and reporting any missing updates and open vulnerabilities. (Thanks Ryan!)

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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May 20, 2008 Posted by | advice, BSOD, computers, how to, IE 7, PC, removing Updates, tech, troubleshooting, tweaks, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

More tweaks for weak eyes/readability

Yesterday I demonstrated a quick adjustment to your screen settings that will enlarge your screen’s objects (icons, windows, fonts, etc.) and make things easier to read. (If it does not appear directly below this article, click here.) Today I am going to describe additional steps that can assist those of you who need even more help, or/and suffer from such maladies as color blindness.

Tip of the day: Use Windows’ Accessibility options to make your screen easier to read. Start by accessing your Control Panel: Start >Settings >Control Panel, or Start >Control Panel.
cp1.jpg
Now click on “Accessibility Options”, which will open one of the more important Windows Properties windows: one that I consider to be the most overlooked.
accessopts.jpg
Since we are discussing vision today, we’re going to work with the “Display” tab; but I want to point out that you can make adjustments here that will assist if you have some hearing loss, have trouble typing due to arthritis, and such.
For today, we are going to enlarge things for easier reading so put a check in the checkbox marked “Use High Contrast” and then click the “Advanced” button.
hcsettings.jpg
Click on the drop-down arrow to see all the High Contrast “color schemes”. If color blindness is not an issue for you, you will be interested in the normal Windows themes at the bottom of the list. The Windows “Standard” is the XP or Vista theme (depending), and the “Classic” is the look of Windows 2000 and older.
Choose “Large”, or “Extra large”, and then click “Apply” and “OK”. The screenshot below shows how the choice “Standard, Extra large” looks when applied to an XP machine.
highcontrast.jpg
I have also made two adjustments to the cursor which will help you keep your eye on its location; increasing the “blink rate” to the maximum, and thickened its width.

If you have some difficulty differentiating shades of color, or perhaps have true color blindness, refer back to the list of of High Contrast themes — you may have to try a few until you find just the right one to remedy your particular difficulty, but there is quite a few options.. one should be right for you. Below, I have applied an extremely high contrast theme, which would take some getting used to…but is easy to read.
hc.jpg
If you have applied any of these settings and do not like the results, unchecking the “Use High Contrast” checkbox will restore your settings to where you were before.

Today’s free link: Today I’m going to re-post a tool I just don’t think enough people know about. CCleaner (“crap” cleaner) not only increases your privacy and security by removing Histories, cookies, and “temp” Internet files, but it includes a Registry cleaner/repair and a Startup manager and Uninstall tool as well.

Copyright 2007 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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October 23, 2007 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, PC, tech, Uncategorized, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , | 3 Comments