Category Archives: Windows

How to delete a Windows Recovery Partition

I re-utilise my hard drives from time to time, and as such I need to re-purpose partitions when I do. Operating systems have a habit of adding additional protected partitions when they’re installed as a boot drive, and when we want to use them as storage drive we don’t need those. So let’s delete them.

Thing is, protected Recover Partitions aren’t so easy to get rid of. In this article I’ll show you what worked for me on Windows 10, using a second drive that once was a boot drive.

Disk Cleanup (Prep Work)

The first few partitions (System Reserved and the Primary Partition) can be removed with the Disk Management Tool. Search for it in the bottom left hand corner to find it.

In this screenshot I’m dealing with Disk 1, and I’ve already removed the two additional partitions simply right-clicking on them and choosing Delete Volume. This doesn’t work with the Recovery partition though. We need to use a tool called DISKPART for this.

Continue reading How to delete a Windows Recovery Partition

How to type German Umlauts in Windows with a US/UK Keyboard

For years I’ve had several keyboard layouts installed on my systems. Switching between them makes it easy for me to quickly hit the correct keys to type in English and well as German. A handy keyboard makes it easy to switch between them, and a little icon in the Windows task bar shows me what’s currently in use.

This setup worked fine when I mainly worked on a single system and wrote in two languages, but nowadays I work across so many systems and it’s cumbersome to install a second (or third) keyboard layout on each one of them. So I was looking for a way to write out those pesky Umlauts like ä, ö and ü, not to mention the ß (Eszett we call it, rather than “little B”).

macOS has implemented a super easy solution for this: you simply hold down the letter you need an accent on, and an overlay menu pops up that lets you select one for any Western language you can think of. On Windows however… the situation is rather sad. NO native solution exists, and many suggestions I read about offer hack implementations that I’ve not been able to get working.

Until I came across Nancy Thuleen’s website with the following super easy table of ASCII codes:

ALT 0223  =  ß
ALT 0228  =  ä
ALT 0246  =  ö
ALT 0252  =  ü
ALT 0196  =  Ä
ALT 0214  =  Ö
ALT 0220  =  Ü

To use them, hold down the LEFT ALT KEY on your keyboard, while typing out the number on your NUM PAD. Num Lock should be enabled for this, and as soon as you let go of the ALT key, your magic letter shall appear.

Thanks for sharing, Nancy!

Pairing an Apple Keyboard with Windows 10

In this episode I’ll show you how to successfully pair an Apple Wireless Magic Keyboard (first generation, MC184B/A) with Windows 10 (Version 1809). I’ve found so much conflicting information on the web, so I’m showing you what worked for me – in May 2019.

I’m using a HP Z800 Workstation here, with a no-frills Belkin F8T013 (early millennial vintage).

Installing Windows 10 on a MacBook Pro (2011) without Bootcamp

I love my old MacBook Pro. It does everything I want for a portable coding, writing and occasional editing device. I’ve had it since 2011 and it’s still going strong.

Apple however doesn’t want to suport it anymore. I’m stuck with macOS High Sierra, without an option to upgrade without shadowy patches. Even if I could keep up with Mojave and beyond, the hardware might just not be fast enough anymore to give me an enjoyable experience.

So I thought, perhaps I’ll put in a new hard drive that I had in another old laptop and install Windows 10 on it. Apple’s recommended way is to do all this from macOS, using their own Bootcamp setup. However, being the hacker that I am, I thought perhaps I’ll try the “Windows Only” experience.

I did this in two live streams the other night, and continued the process over the following days – and now I’ve got a (more or less working) Windows 10 installation on my MacBook Pro (early 2011 Edition). I thought I’d take some notes on how I did this step by step, and give you my opinions if this was an adventure worth undertaking.

Continue reading Installing Windows 10 on a MacBook Pro (2011) without Bootcamp

How to switch from JFIF to JPEG on Drag-and-Drop in Windows 10

I’ve recently noticed that when I drag an image out of Firefox, it saves itself as a JFIF image on Windows 10. Choosing to save the same image via the right-click context menu will save it as JPEG image as expected.

This perplexed me, so I did some research and found a fix that would let me save images with a .jpg extension when dragged out of a web browser. I did this by associating the correct file format in Registry Editor.

Let me show you how it works in this article.

What is JFIF again?

JFIF is apparently the JPEG File Interchange Format. Apparently it’s been around since 1991, but I’ve only heard of it in the summer of 2019. It just goes to show that you always learn something new. This Wikipedia article has a little more information about the format.

As to why on earth Windows is setup for this by default, or why Firefox is saving images with this format when dragging them out into a folder, or since when images are in fact stored as this format is anybody’s guess.

How do we make this “normal” again?

In Windows 10, search for “reg” at the bottom left corner until you find the Registry Editor. Open it.

This is a slightly intimidating database tool that associates many Windows-internal values with its settings and behaviour towards other apps, but don’t be discouraged by that. At the top left corner you’ll find the following menu. Open the first item on this list, namely HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT. It’ll open an amazingly long list of scary things.

Of course there’s no way to search through these 900 million entries, that would be too easy. However, they’re alphabetically ordered, which does help us out a little bit. I guess this tool is not exactly designed to be used by humans. Scroll down to the MIME folder and open it.

We’ll find another folder called Database, under which there’s one called Content Type. Open the latter to find yet another long list of scary things. This one will list all so-called MIME Content Types, which lets Windows determine with what extension it should save a file of a particular type.

Find the entry for image/jpeg and take a look at its contents by clicking on it. Notice that – shockingly – the Extension field is set to .jfif. This would explain why Windows keeps saving JPEG files with the .jfif extension. Who authorised that?!

It stands to reason that if we simply change this value from .jfif to .jpg, all our dragged-out images would henceforth be saved as regular JPEG images. Let’s double-click the word Extension (under Name) and change .jfif to .jpg then press return. That’s all we need to do.

Your entry should look like this:

Now you may close the Registry Editor and drag as many JPEG images out of your browser as you like. No restart is necessary.

Where is Stream Deck profile data saved

I wanted to move my Stream Deck Profile Data over to another machine. I had previously setup several shortcuts and actions and wanted to sue the same setup on another system.

Turns out Elgato’s Stream Deck software saves such data in a similar location as OBS Studio does. Here’s the full path:

Windows

On Windows 10, you’ll find those files in the following location. For this example, imagine your user name is “you” and replace it with your correct one.

  • C:\Users\you\AppData\Roaming\Elgato\StreamDeck

macOS

On macOS, you’ll find those files in the following location:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/Elgato/StreamDeck

The Tilde Symbol means “your home folder”. If my user name was “you”, then the full path to the OBS Settings would be

  • /Users/you/Library/Application Support/Elgato/StreamDeck

Note that for either profile to work on another system, make sure all applications and their respective settings are also replicated. For example, if you’re switching OBS Studio scenes with your Stream Deck, both OBS Studio and the scenes/collections need to be configured the same was as before.

Windows does not recognise new CPU – SOLVED!

I acquired a new HP Z600 Workstation from eBay recently. I was thrilled to get a unit in such condition for such a good price. It was equipped with a single (and relatively slow) E5605 Xeon processor, but the motherboard supports two Xeons by default. So I bought a pair of faster hexacore X5675 Xeons and made my new Z600 even better.

Before I did so, I decided to install Windows 10 to see if the unit was working as expected – which thankfully it did. After Windows had updated itself several times, I decided to replace the CPUs and check if the BIOS was happy with the new processors. It was, showing them correctly before Windows booted.

However, after Windows had loaded, all I saw in the Device Manager was a single CPU, namely the slower E5605. What was going on? Why was Windows not recognising the new dual-CPU setup that I clearly had?

Turns out this can happen sometimes when a CPU is replaced with a very similar model. In essence, to Windows it looks the same, and the correct procedure for updating the hardware is not triggered. Thankfully there is a manual way to do this:

  • in Device Manager, head over to Processors
  • select each logical processor (the “old and incorrect” one in the list)
  • hit delete to remove each and every one
  • restart Windows

When Windows loads, it will see that it should have some processors installed, and will call the correct update procedure – usually resulting in the correct CPU detection. This is actually a tip from the Microsoft Support Website, but it does not specifically give these instructions for Windows 10.

Turns out that Windows 10 will also detect the new CPU(s) correctly when a major update is being installed. In my case, before I had a chance to delete the processors, Windows had updated from the 1607 to the 1803 build.

How to connect from your Mac to your Windows 10 Computer

Networking sucks, particularly when Windows is involved. I’m not actually sure why, but I guess it has to do with the fact that deep down, manufacturers and software developer really don’t want us to connect arbitrary devices to suit our needs. It’s just a fact of technological survival I guess.

I’ve recently re-installed Windows on my desktop, and now my Mac cannot connect to Windows anymore. I had to set this up again from scratch. While I remember how to do it, here’s how it (once) worked for me:

Continue reading How to connect from your Mac to your Windows 10 Computer

Using Multiple Desktops in Windows 10

Ever since I’ve discovered how useful Spaces are on my Mac, I’ve been wanting a similar functionality in Windows. I’ve come across this feature in KDE and Gnome on Linux, but not in Windows.

Until yesterday evening, when I wanted to switch between applications that were stacked on top of one another, using the familiar ALT + TAB shortcut. By where accident I’ve pressed WINDOWS + TAB, and imagine my surprise when I found this:

This super exciting feature is actually a new addition to the Windows 10 Fall Creator Update if I remember correctly, called the Task View. It’s the same view that opens when we click that little icon to the left of the Cortana Search bar in the Task Bar.

Besides a history if everything we’ve been doing, we get to create new independent Desktop environments at the top. This allows us to launch different apps on different Desktops, instantly decluttering our already all too crowded workflow. For example, have a browser open in one Desktop, and a full screen app in another, without having to stack them on top of each other, or using separate monitors. Your neck will be forever grateful.

I find this functionality particularly useful for streaming purposes: to switch scenes live in OBS, I really need a second monitor… but my desk is too small for that. By operating OBS on an independent Desktop, I can quickly switch over there and do what I need to do, without interrupting whatever is happening on my main Desktop that’s going live to air

Here’s Microsoft’s Support Article about Multiple Desktops.

Enjoy Mac Spaces – now available in Windows 🙂

How to swap displays with a Shortcut in Windows 10

On my Windows 10 system, I frequently connect other monitors and display devices to my various graphic card outputs. This often happens “ad hoc” and only temporarily, and because my configurations seem to vary by situation, Windows inevitably chooses an option that’s not right for me.

One example is that I plug a monitor in that’s switched off, with the intention of duplicating the displays, and all I see now is a “blank screen”, because Windows thinks the “switched off” monitor is probably my main one. As a result, I can’t see anything or change the display settings to what I’d like to do. Right clicking on the desktop brings up the Display Settings dialogue, but of course that shows up on the wrong desktop. Sigh!

The solution would be a keyboard shortcut with which I could toggle how Windows uses this second display: duplicate, extend, replace and switch off, that sort of thing.

And guess what? That keyboard shortcut actually exists! Drumroll please: it’s…

Windows + P

Pressing the Windows Key and the P key together switches modes, just like the ones we get when we use the Project option from the Task Bar (on the right). The options are

  • PC Screen Only
  • Duplicate
  • Extend
  • Second Screen Only

Make sure you wait a few seconds between each key press so your displays and GPU have a moment to react accordingly. Eventually, a display configuration you can at least work with (like Duplicate) will appear that lets you adjust your Display Settings more appropriately (either from the Cortana Search Box or a right-click on your empty desktop).

This shortcut works intuitively well with two displays… but when you have THREE attached to a system, it can get hairy. Either way, happy Display Swapping 🙂