Category Archives: Windows

How to fix problems with Logitech Unifying Receivers

screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-17-12-10I’ve recently bought a new Logitech K360 keyboard for my HP Z600 workstation. I also had a Logitech M325 mouse, both of which came with Unifying USB receivers. I could plug both receivers in, and both devices would work great.

However, I heard good things about these little receivers and wanted to free up a USB port, and thought I’d connect both devices to the same receiver. Apparently you can connect up to 6 devices to one receiver and store any spare ones inside the mouse or keyboard. Being an all-efficient belt-and-braces kinda guy, I tried my luck.

Turns out it was relatively easy to pair both devices to the same receiver, thanks to a small piece of software that can be found here, along with instructions on how to use it:

It all worked fine on my Windows 10 machine, until I wanted to use the mouse (not the keyboard) with my Mac. I know, it’s exotic, and perhaps I should have just bought another mouse. But there’s only so much space on my desk, and I really don’t need more clutter in front of me for just an occasional switch.

I regretted pairing both devices to the same receiver and wished I hadn’t done that, for this very eventuality. So now I had to figure out how to UN-pair both devices again and put them back to how things used to be (before I started messing with them). Continue reading How to fix problems with Logitech Unifying Receivers

How to setup Plesk Mail in Mozilla Thunderbird for Windows

In this episode I’ll show you how to setup Plesk Mail in Thunderbird for Windows. Unlike most email clients, Thunderbird can figure out the correct settings by itself – something neither Outlook nor Mac Mail can do. Therefore, the real magic with Thunderbird is figuring out how to get to the account settings.

To do so, click the three little lines next to the search box. It will bring up a fly-out menu. Under Options – Account Settings, setup a new account or change the settings for an existing one.

TB-Demo

Thunderbird is clever usually enough to detect the settings it needs to connect to the Plesk server. In case it fails, use the following:

  • STARTTLS as encryption
  • Authentication: use encrypted password
  • your full email address as user name (such as you@domain.com)
  • Port 143
  • Outgoing Mail Server: Port 587
  • Incoming Mail Server: Port 143 OR 993

Good luck!

Catch this episode on my WP Guru Podcast:

How to setup Plesk Mail in Microsoft Outlook for Windows

In this episode I’ll show you how to setup Plesk Mail in Microsoft Outlook on Windows. It’s often a big stumbling block for users. The instructions will also work for Microsoft Essentials, the predecessor of Outlook Express. I’m using Outlook 2010 here, but the instructions are also applicable to later versions.

The two important windows are under Account Settings, there’s a window with six tabs. One of which is labelled Outgoing Server and the other one is called Advanced:

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 18.16.03

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 18.16.13

Make sure Outlook is set to use TLS for both incoming and outgoing connections. The Root Folder Path needs to be set to INBOX (in all capitals).

Good luck 😉

Catch this episode on my WP Guru Podcast:

How to show file extensions in Windows

Windows IconThere are several ways to make the Windows Explorer show full file extensions.

The most consistent method I like to use is the following:

Windows 7 and 8

  1. click Start to find a Search Box
  2. type Folder Options and select it
  3. click the View Tab
  4. find the option “hide extensions for known file types”
  5. untick it and hit apply

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 15.38.10

Windows 10

  1. click Start to find a Search Box
  2. type File Explorer Options and select it
  3. select the View Tab
  4. find the option “hide extensions for known file types”
  5. untick it and hit apply

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 15.48.29

How to find your CPU details from the command line

It’s often necessary to know what the exact type of CPU that’s installed on your system. For example, you may need to know if you’re dealing with a dual core or quad core system, or a 32/64 bit system. Only the CPU can tell you this.

Here’s how to find out the string you need for further investigation.

 

Windows

From the command line, execute the wmic command with the following parameters:

Thanks to Jonathan @ Next of Windows for this tip!

Windows also gives you an accurate result via the GUI: open Windows Explorer and head over to Computer – Properties:

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 19.04.01

Mac OS X

On the Mac you won’t get a very accurate result from the Apple Icon – About this Mac. It will tell you what CPU type you’re using, but not the exact model number.

To find that out, head over to Applications – Utilities – Terminal and enter the following command:

There. Much better than this:

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 19.15.09

Linux

You can take a look at the /proc/cpuinfo file which holds a plethora of information about your system’s CPU. So much in fact that it’s difficult to find what you’re looking for. Filtering the output of this file for ‘model name’ gives you an exact match:

 

Where can I find more information about my CPU?

Google is of course your friend when trying to find out more information about your processor, but there are two tools provided by Intel and AMD that may also be of help. Intel’s ARK website is particularly helpful:

How to change your DNS Servers in Windows

DNS is a service that translates a domain name into a numeric IP so that one computer can talk to another. We deal with it all the time, but most mere mortals are not aware of their importance. In this article I’d like to show you how to change your computer’s DNS entries in Windows.

 

Why change DNS Servers?

In a nutshell, if all works well on your system, perhaps you don’t need to tweak those settings. However, if you can consistently see some websites but not others, or you get weird intermittent connection problems, then your DNS entires may be querying servers that are not as “hot” as others.

Faster DNS Servers can provide quicker answers, resulting in faster results when browsing.

When the IP address of a domain changes, it takes a while for this change to propagate through the world. Some servers know changes quicker than others. Some servers may not see new data at all for several days.

ISPs and corporate networks usually provide their own DNS Servers, but it’s never clear how good they are. Google and OpenDNS provide very fast and free services which usually outperform those provided by your ISP or corporate network.

 

Change DNS Servers in Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10

It’s not easy to find this hidden option, but the good news is this works on all flavours of Windows.

Search for “Network and Sharing Center” which will bring up a window that lets you choose the option “Change adaptor settings”. This will bring up the list of networks, one of which is likely connected to the internet.

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 15.15.01

 

In my case it’s a LAN connection, but it could also be a WiFi connection. Right-click the appropriate one and choose Properties.

The next window looks rather scary and isn’t very intuitive for humans. Scour the list for something that relates to Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) as highlighted here:

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 14.10.08

Select this item and click Properties. Another scary window opens. This one has two parts on the General Tab, and it’s the lower one about DNS that we’re interested in (the top part is for obtaining an IP address – let’s leave it alone).

The default is “Obtain DNS Server automatically” which means we have no idea who is being queried. Instead, select “Use the following DNS server addresses” and add both DNS Servers of your choice. In this screenshot I’m using Google’s DNS:

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 14.11.25

As soon as you hit OK the changes will be in effect. You can close all other windows we opened during the course of this setup.

 

Popular DNS Servers

Google’s DNS Servers are:

  • 8.8.8.8
  • 8.8.4.4

The OpenDNS Servers are:

  • 208.67.220.220
  • 208.67.222.222

There are many other free and premium DNS Servers you can use. Search for “free dns servers” and see lists like these: http://pcsupport.about.com/od/tipstricks/a/free-public-dns-servers.htm

Have fun 😉

How to boot Windows into Desktop Mode, bypassing the Metro Start Screen

I’ve just installed the Windows 10 Technical Preview on my Samsung NC10. During the installation I was offered to transfer my settings from another PC, so I chose my Surface Pro running Windows 8.1.

All settings were copied truthfully, including the fact that Windows boots up with the Metro Start Screen. It’s not what I had expected, mainly because my other Windows 10 installations don’t do this. So how do we change this behaviour?

It’s very simple, let me show you how. This works on both Windows 8.1 and the Windows 10 Tech Preview.

Enter Desktop Mode, then right-click the Task Bar at the bottom of the screen. Anywhere will do, as long as it’s not over an icon. Select Properties, then choose the Navigation tab at the top. You’ll see something like this:

Screenshot (85)

Tick the box that says “When I sign in, go to the Desktop instead of the Start Screen”. Windows may sign you out on this occasion, and when you’re signed in you’ll boot straight into Desktop mode.

Windows 10 Start Menu

New in Windows 10 is the Start Menu, as seen from Windows 95 to Windows 7. Microsoft have brought it back in Windows 10, but its use is optional. The Start Menu is enabled on new installations by default, but since I had copied all settings from a Windows 8.1 it was disabled.

To bring it back, choose the Start Menu tab and tick the top box that reads “Use the Start Menu instead of the Start Screen”.

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 16.13.05

Don’t look for this option in Windows 8 – it’s only available in Windows 10.

How to restart Windows via RDP

Windows IconWhen you’re connected via RDP to a remote Windows machine, the Restart and Shutdown options are not there. Instead they’ve been replaced with only a lonely disconnect option to end your session.

To restart or shutdown your remote machine we’ll have to use the command line’s shutdown command. Here’s how.

 

At the Command Prompt (searching usually brings it right up) type

This will restart Windows. /r means “restart”, and /t specifies the time in seconds (zero in our case).

If you’d like to shutdown the machine instead, type

 

How to auto-start programmes in Windows

Windows7

Remember the humble Autostart folder in Windows 3.1? You could simply add shortcuts to your favourite “apps” or documents to it which would automatically launch when Windows started. Except we didn’t call them “apps” in those days.

It’s still possible to use this handy feature in Windows XP, Windows 7 and even Windows 8.1 – however the way to accomplish the same goal has changed slightly over the years.

In this article I’ll show you how to do it. Before we start, have a shortcut to the programme in question ready on your Desktop. We’ll drag it into the appropriate folder in a moment.

 

Windows XP

  • right-click START, then select EXPLORE
  • double-click Programs, revealing several shortcuts and a Startup Folder
  • double-click Startup
  • drag your shortcut into this folder

The next time you restart Windows XP, your shortcut will be executed, starting the programme. Likewise, if you’d like to remove something from the auto-start routine, simply remove the shortcut from this folder. Happiness.

PS: Windows XP has had its day and is no longer supported since April 2014.

 

Windows 7

Very similar to Windows XP (see the animated gif at the top for a demonstration):

  • click START, then select All Programs
  • find the Startup folder and right-click it
  • a new window will open up
  • drag your shortcut into it

Next time you start Windows 7 your “app” will be started automagically. Remove the shortcut if you no longer need it to prevent it from being launched on startup.

 

Windows 8.1

Things have drastically changed in Windows 8.1, but with a bit of finesse we can get there just the same:

  • open Internet Explorer (not a joke)
  • type the following into the URL bar shell:startup
  • a new Explorer window opens up
  • drag your shortcut into it

And again, if you no longer need it, simply remove the shortcut from that folder. This also works on Windows 8.

 

Further Reading