Category Archives: Windows

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 🙂

How to use your Windows Laptop as a second display

Windows 10 is full of surprises – one of which is its built-in capability to extend a monitor onto a second Windows device via WiFi. It’s called Windows Screen Projection I believe, a technology that also allows us to use remote displays like projectors without using any wires.

It’s basically like Apple’s AirPlay technology, or Avatron’s Air-Display, which works from Windows or macOS to an iOS device, or Duet Display, which works with a wired connection to an iOS device – except that it’s built right into Windows 10.

Here’s how to set it up.

Continue reading How to use your Windows Laptop as a second display

How to create a screenshot on Windows (shortcut)

I’m primarily a Mac user and find the convenience of the CMD + SHIFT + 4 shortcut an invaluable tool to write documentation. Sometimes I do need to write on my Windows system though, and my mind simply keeps forgetting how to create convenient shortcuts there with the same convenience. I usually end up searching for the Snipping Tool, followed by getting frustrated with it.

Before I forget again, here’s how to take a screenshot on Windows using a shortcut (or in true Windows fashion, several shortcuts).

WIN + SHIFT + S (Partial Screenshot)

The Windows + SHIFT + S shortcut will grey out the screen and lets you draw a rectangle of whatever you’d like to capture. The resulting screenshot is copied to memory. Hit Edit – Paste or CTRL + V to paste it into other documents.

PrntScn Key (Full Screenshot)

Every Windows keyboard has a PrintScreen key hidden somwhere. It’s often labelled PrntScn or something similar, either accessible on its own or via a Functions Key. Hunt for it somewhere near the number block on the right hand side of your keyboard. Pressing that key will take a screenshot of the full display and copy it into memory.

ALT + PrntScn (Active Window Screenshot)

A variation on the above full-screen capture is the addition of the ALT key. When pressed together with the suprious PrntScn key, Windows will capture the currently active window and copy it into memory, complete with status bar (but without those slightly annoying shadows around it).

Thanks to HowToGeek for these tips. PS: That link contains about 147 other suggestions on how to take screenshots on Windows.

Handy Tip for WordPress Users

When you paste a screenshot with any of the above options into WordPress, the system is clever enough to upload the file to your server in the background. Now that’s handy!

How to transfer files from your GoPro to your computer via WiFi

There is an iOS and Android App available to transfer files directly from a GoPro camera to a mobile device. Those apps transcode files and compress them for easier viewing, and to save storage space.

While that approach gets footage onto my iPhone, I still need to transfer the files to my Mac for editing. Plus, there’s an additional compression step involved which can’t be good for picture quality. Besides, it takes forever to do its job.

A much more useful approach would be to hook directly into the GoPro and transfer files that way. This leaves the SD card place and doesn’t disturb the (sometimes hard to reach or difficult to recreate) position of the camera.

Here’s how to do it.

Continue reading How to transfer files from your GoPro to your computer via WiFi

Thoughts on Windows 10 Upgrade Error 0xc190020e

My first generation Surface Pro only has 64GB of space, roughly 20 of which I’m allowed to use (the rest of it is kind of forever “lost in cyberspace” – or so it seems). It’s been running all Windows 10 updates fine until a few months ago, when Windows kept bugging me that the latest security patches needed to be installed.

I was happily running Version 1703 up to that point and never had an issue with space limitations or deferring updates. Until early 2018, when Microsoft started  aggressively forcing the Fall Creator’s Update down my throat.  Continue reading Thoughts on Windows 10 Upgrade Error 0xc190020e

How to shutdown Windows 10 without applying updates

Although most of Windows 10 keeps getting better with every iteration, some things just never change. Windows Updates are one of those. They always want to download and install when we really don’t have the time or the battery power.

What’s worst, Microsoft have removed the graphical option to simply shutdown the system – and all we’re left with are two choices: “Update and shutdown”, or “Update and restart”.

What if all we want to do is to shutdown or restart WITHOUT applying those updates? Perhaps we’re out and about, running on an already near-depleted battery? Or we’re in a hurry and would like to leave the update for when we have more time, or a power outlet?

Fear not, there is a way to do these things – even if they don’t come up in the Start menu anymore.

Continue reading How to shutdown Windows 10 without applying updates

Format a Linux system drive on Windows

The other day I tried to format a USB drive for use with Windows. I had previously tried this on my Mac to no avail. But now even Windows was telling me that it too could not format my drive.

I was stumped! I had in fact never seen anything like it before. Was that USB drive broken? Had I turned stupid overnight? Well perhaps… but more importantly, it dawned on me what I had used this USB drive prior to this formatting nightmare: it was a Linux installation that could run directly from the stick.

This is important, because as part of the installation, a protected EFI system partition is installed. This is used for booting if I understand correctly, and hence rather important. So important in fact that the ordinary user tools in both macOS and Windows do not allow us users (even Administrators) to erase such partitions.

Lucky for us, the friendly folks at WinAbility have provided a detailed guide on how to remove such a protected partition on Windows. Enjoy the article!

What’s the difference between the Logitech M325 and the M325c

The Logitech M325 and M325c are both wireless USB mice. Their design appears to be identical (except for the many different colourful variations of course), and their prices vary from anything between $12 and $60 – depending the layout and seller. Even the packaging is identical.

So what’s the difference between these two models? Is it precision? Is it the build quality? Is it the year of production? Is it something else?

Actually no, the two mice are absolutely identical and both work with Windows, macOS and Linux. The only difference is in the wireless receiver that Logitech give you with each model.

The difference is the wireless receiver

The M325 comes with a Logitech Unifying Receiver. You can tell by the little “sunshine” logo on the side. This type of receiver allows us to use the Logitech Unifying Software to operate several devices over a single receiver (say a mouse and a keyboard). It’s a little clunky to setup more than one device, but it certainly saves valuable USB slots on your machine.

Note that for this to work, all decides must be Logitech unifying devices, and all must display that little sunshine logo.

The M325c on the other hand does NOT come with a unifying receiver, and instead comes with a standard USB receiver. Only this one device will work with said receiver. As you can imagine, the receiver does not bear the unifying logo on the side. Therefore you may find the M325c a little cheaper than the M325.

Note however that the M325c mouse itself IS a unifying device, and it DOES bear the unifying logo on the underside. Hence you can use the M325c mouse with another unifying receiver just fine.

So there you have it – that’s the big secret difference between these two mice. I have both, and I couldn’t tell the difference at first. The mice are identical, just the USB receiver is a little different. Just in case this question was driving you crazy too 🙂