CD/DVD (Recording) Session Left Open

CD Session openand surprisingly enough, Windows 7 couldn’t read it.

We suggested that the customer “finalize” their recording session if they plan on distributing their CDs to others.

The screenshot (right) is from IsoBuster, my go-to tool for this sort of troubleshooting.

“Tell the supplier to use an older format”
Cheap CD’s and laptops – the color is important.

Windows Mobility Center

is one of those utilities which 3rd party vendors, such as Lenovo, offered.  If your laptop vendor didn’t offer it, you were s*** out of luck.  Thank you Microsoft for including something like this in Windows 7.

Windows Mobility Center

The downside?  Microsoft have not assigned a Windows hotkey combination to it, so you need to launch it by either: (corrected information courtesy of Andrew Cole)

The easiest way to launch Windows Mobility Center is by holding the Windows key down, and pressing X (thanks Andrew).  Other ways of launching Windows Mobility Center:

  1. entering “Mobility Center” into the Start Menu ‘Search programs and files’ box, or
  2. entering mblctr in the Windows Run box (Windows key + R key).

The advantage of option 2, is that you could create a desktop shortcut for later use.  Either for yourself, or for those users who give corporate presentations and don’t remember the Windows + X key combination.

Semi-regular web-link clearance – September 2010

Automatically increasing the system font size in Windows 7

… That year, the top-of-the-range machines we were giving out to these undeserving gits weren’t coming with 1024×768 screens any more; they had nice, crisp, state-of-the-art 1400×1050 screens. While I thought they were gorgeous, not everyone agreed, insisting that the higher resolution made the fonts too small to read. This complaint was most prominent among the middle-aged salesmen who I quickly worked out were too vain to admit they were now of an age at which they needed reading glasses …

Creating a SteadyState like Windows 7 Environment

Windows SteadyStateWindows SteadyState does not support Windows 7. However, many of its features can be replicated by using native Windows 7 features and free tools from Microsoft. This document is intended primarily for IT pros who configure shared-computer access in business environments, but partners who support shared-computer access in schools, libraries, and Internet cafes will also find the information useful.

Faronics Deep Freeze is a commercial alternative to Windows SteadyState.

Repair Windows Installer Errors

I ran into a problem recently where I tried to install a program on my Windows XP machine and I got an error related to the Windows Installer service, namely
The Windows Installer Service Could Not Be Accessed
After trying  many solutions, I finally got the program to install and fixed the Windows Installer error. Depending on your OS, the solution could be different. In this article, I will go through all the solutions I tried and hopefully one of them will work!

Windows 7 & Location Awareness

Location became ubiquitous!

It’s almost two years now since people have heard about new revolution in building context-aware applications – Windows 7 & it’s context-aware APIs.

As you know, in Windows 7 Microsoft shipped a platform known as “Windows 7 Sensor Platform” and set of APIs for location awareness. Together the platform is known as “Windows 7 Sensor & Location Platform”. You can read more about the platform, progress of work on it in team’s blog here:

Location remains one of the most critical assets of context-aware computing area for next decades. The biggest problem of location is that until it’ll become ubiquitous and cheap it can’t be a game changer and bring context-aware computing vision to live.

No desktop error

Network error - Windows cannot access \\...\...\Desktop - 0x80070035

Windows 7 gets really annoyed when you
a) redirect the Desktop folder
b) then stop the Windows 7 client from accessing that Desktop folder.

Windows Explorer will complain every time you start it.  Excel 2007 just won’t open files.

The thing to learn from this, if you are going to use Folder Redirection, you need to make sure that your network is able to be up all the time.

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Last Tuesday I blogged about the great free scripting tools from Sapien.  Well here’s another set of free tools/modules/call them what you will, from Microsoft.

The Windows 7 Resource Kit PowerShell Pack!  From the Microsoft MSDN Code Gallery:

About the Windows 7 Resource Kit PowerShell Pack

The Windows 7 Resource Kit PowersShell Pack is a collection of Windows PowerShell scripts included with the Resource Kit. The PowerShell Pack comes in the form of several Windows PowerShell modules, each containing anywhere from 3 to 600 functions.

To get started with the PowerShell pack, run InstallPowerShellPack.cmd from the directory on the CD, open up Windows PowerShell, and run Import-Module PowerShellPack . After you run this command, you will have hundreds of PowerShell scripts loaded to play with.

The Windows 7 Resource Kit PowerShell Pack contains 10 modules to do all sorts of interesting things with PowerShell. Import-Module PowerShellPack actually imports 10 modules for you to use. Here’s a brief overview of each of the modules.

Module Description
WPK Create rich user interfaces quick and easily from Windows PowerShell. Think HTA, but easy. Over 600 scripts to help you build quick user interfaces
TaskScheduler List scheduled tasks, create or delete tasks
FileSystem Monitor files and folders, check for duplicate files, and check disk space
IsePack Supercharge your scripting in the Integrated Scripting Environment with over 35 shortcuts
DotNet Explore loaded types, find commands that can work with a type, and explore how you can use PowerShell, DotNet and COM together
PSImageTools Convert, rotate, scale, and crop images and get image metadata
PSRSS Harness the FeedStore from PowerShell
PSSystemTools Get Operating System or Hardware Information
PSUserTools Get the users on a system, check for elevation, and start-processaadministrator
PSCodeGen Generates PowerShell scripts, C# code, and P/Invoke


While you might not use all of these modules in every situation, they represent solid families of commands you can use in any PowerShell scripts you like. The examples below should also help you start to “think in PowerShell”. Most of the tasks you will do in Powershell will not use a single command, but will instead combine many commands in one or more pipelines to get the job done. Each step of these pipelines is a rich object, with properties, methods, and events. This set of commands gives you a number of tools for working with some rich objects that were already lying in the operating system, just waiting for you to discover.

You can download the PowerShell pack here.

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Semi-regular web-link clearance – April 2010(2)

Using Alternate Credentials with WMI and PowerShell

The other day I was reading a post on Tore Lervik’s site and noticed that he had written some PowerShell scripts that would allow you to connect to a remote server using different user credentials than the ones you are logged in with.  This is something that I need to do quite often – and I have been doing it by just starting PowerShell using “runas” – but this approach is a heck of a lot more elegant.

Online dating: Brilliant or Embarrassing?

Recently I came across an article by Siarhei Karotki called ‘It’s time to take online dating seriously’, claiming that in the US, online dating is ‘booming and might even be bigger than porn’.

Any claim that uses the word ‘might’ suggests it doesn’t really hold any water, but since I met my husband on it sparked my interest.

I had mixed feelings when I started online dating. I didn’t like the idea of selling myself online (self promotion doesn’t come naturally to me), but on the other hand my friends who were on sites like dating direct were having great fun and had such entertaining stories it made sense to be proactive about it.

How To Read Your Camera’s Histogram And Take Perfectly Balanced Images

Furthermore, sometimes viewing photos on the camera’s LCD screen might not show a loss of detail in the shadows or dark areas of an image, nor in the white or bright areas. When we’re really concerned about getting the best exposure for our photos, we might use the camera’s zoom-in feature to assess exposure and sharpness of our images. Additionally, we could use the Histogram tool of both our digital camera and image editor to see how well exposed our images are.

Why does a High DPI Setting Make My Application Look Fuzzy and Have Clipped Text?

If you increase your DPI setting in Windows 7 (or Vista), you may notice your application doesn’t look the way you intended.

Extra Settings for the RDP file – Enables Glass!

University of Illinois – Stain Solutions

PHP on Windows Training Kit Support for Windows 7 Released

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Windows 7 TV Ads – Back to the past?

If you’re going to advertise your computer operating system on TV, it’s a good idea if the software being displayed is current.  And not take a shortcut because you’ll think no one will ever notice.

Let’s take Miriam and Kevin, who have been flogging Windows 7 on Australian TV.

Now if we zoom in on the Outlook email clients, Miriam has unread emails from September 2007, and Kevin from February 2009.  Emails from Microsoft people.  I expect the Microsoft Australia have used “demo” accounts.

Miriam - Outlook 2007 emails from Sept 2007Kevin - Outlook 2007 emails from February 2009

Conclusion: Microsoft Australia couldn’t be bothered going to the effort to have current emails.

The proof: Microsoft America DID take the effort with the equivalent US ads:

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Windows 7 + 4GB RAM + NVidia USB chipset = FAIL

hotfix_icon Which summed up my Windows 7 PC.

The FAIL bit was that when I’d do a large USB file copy, without fail (no pun intended), I’d get a DRIVE IS NO LONGER RECOGNIZED error.

Then all my USB ports would fail to work.  To recover, meant rebooting my computer.

The problem got REALLY annoying.  I’d be copying podcasts to my MP3 player, and it’ll fail.  Or when I was trying to sync my Windows Mobile phone, and it’ll fail.

Microsoft released a patch late January, and since then I have been USB crash free.  You can read all about the patch here:
You encounter problems when you move data over USB from a Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2-based computer that has an NVIDIA USB EHCI chipset and at least 4GB of RAM

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Semi-regular web-link clearance (3) – January 2010

How to Install GPMC on Server 2008, 2008 R2, and Windows 7 (via RSAT)

Can You See Me – Open Port Check Tool

Is a free utility for remotely verifying a port is open or closed. It will be useful for users who wish to check to see if a server is running or a firewall or ISP is blocking certain ports.

Setting up a Windows 7 Media Center

Windows XP Power Management and Group Policy Preferences

Windows XP only has one active power scheme for the entire computer and that scheme is based on the current or previously logged on user—that is to say Windows XP power schemes are only user-based. This means the power scheme can change as each user logs on. Also, it means that last logged on user’s power settings are the settings that remain once the user logs off. And yes, each user has its own power configuration; however, the entire operating system only has one active power scheme.

PHP and IE8 Web Slices

Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) shipped with a new feature for web users called Web Slices. … Essentially it lets you add enhanced links to your favorite bar that allow you to preview snippets of content from websites that you frequently visit without having to open up the page. It’s really useful to do little tasks like check on your web based Inbox, check the weather in cities you live or visit, traffic status, stock tickers, headlines, sports, the list goes on and on and you can check the IE add-on gallery for more examples of useful web slices and for inspiration.

How to customize default user profiles in Windows 7 (KB973289)

To customize a default user profile or a mandatory user profile, you must first customize the default user profile. Then, the default user profile can be copied to the appropriate shared folder to make that user profile either the default user profile or a mandatory user profile.

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Microsoft SMS 2003 goes extended support

SMS 2003 going extended support is not a real surprise.  It’s replacement, Microsoft SCCM 2007, has been out in the market place since November 2007.

It isn’t that big a problem for the IT Shop I work in.  Our SMS 2003 infrastructure is mature, and we’re running stable client operating systems.

And as I wrote in “Lonely little SMS 2003 PCK files”, SCCM is on the (distant) horizon, so I have hope.

When I say hope, I mean that Windows 7, which all our customers want, will force the replacement of SMS 2003.

Windows 7 is not compatible with SMS 2003.

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