What is an MVP?

I have been fortunate enough to be a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) in the ‘Windows Desktop Experience’ category (formerly Windows Shell/User) since October 2003; almost five years now. Even still, I often find it difficult to describe to people just what a Microsoft MVP is (or does). The usual answer I give is that […]

Before Upgrading to Service Pack 3 for XP….

Here’s a great run through of things to consider/prepare for before upgrading your XP installation to Service Pack 3 (SP3). It was composed by “Lil’ Bambi” a friend and forum administrator at Scot Finnie’s Newsletter forums. I reproduce it here with her kind permission. Please take a moment to have a look at her blog, […]

Looking Under the Hood of Your PC

“The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.” (Anais Nin) This is certainly true of computers. How they work remains a mystery for some and many users are just not that interested in how their PC works, just that it works, period. However, there will […]

Slipstreaming CDs, CD Problems, Tips

“Slipstreaming” is the combining of the original Windows installation files with the latest Service Pack. Some versions of MS Office can also be slipstreamed. Manually creating a slipstreamed XP SP2 CD SP3 instructions are here. Autostreamer: automatically create a slipstreamed XP SP2 CD (alternate download here). Special instructions for a DELL slipstreamed CD Slipstream Office […]

The Desktop Files: Leaving the Administrator Behind

This is an article by Wes Miller that appeared in the May 2008 print issue of TechNet Magazine. While the focus is for the Enterprise environment, it is (I think) plainly enough written for the average user to understand the security reasons behind not running Windows with Administrator priviledges, as well as the much misunderstood […]

OS Wars on the Home Front

“OS Smackdown: Linux vs. Mac OS X vs. Vista vs. XP”, that’s what the title of an article over at PC World states. It claims that since Windows Vista has been so poorly received, the OS (operating system) wars of days gone by are renewed with more fervour than ever, what with Linux, Mac OSX […]

Possible Vista ‘Speed-up’?

Jeff Alexander has posted on his blog about the new version of Windows Search appears to speed up not only searches (of course!), but Vista itself!In his words: “Windows Search 4.0 was quietly released for free download for Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2003. This one kind of came under […]

Windows Vista Recovery Disc

This is a great CD to have as part of your PC toolkit, and it will save you from searching for your Vista DVD should you ever need to try to repair or recover your present installation. It’s like the Vista DVD, only without the installation files, so it fits easily on a CD and […]

Import Outlook PST into Windows Mail

From the James.Random () blog: Outlook must be installed on the computer that the .pst file is to be exported. Individual messages from Outlook (.msg) cannot be dragged and dropped into Windows Mail (or even Outlook Express on XP for that matter) In Outlook on Windows XP export the PST to Outlook Express then import […]

Driver Inventory for Windows

For the highly organized (or curious) user: Open a command prompt and type the following: Driverquery /v /fo csv > drvlist.csv This file (found in Windows/System32 folder) can be opened in Excel and will give you a nicely formatted and detailed list of all your hardware.

Adjust System Restore’s Allocated Space in Vista

In XP, this was a straightforward task, but in Vista, it requires a simple registry hack. By default, SR (System Restore) is allocated 15% of a drive’s available space. The minimum space SR needs is 300MB, which is not much space on today’s monster drives. To see how much space SR is currently using, open […]

Free Support for Vista Service Pack 1

Free unlimited installation and compatibility support is available for Windows Vista, but only for Service Pack 1 (SP1). This support for SP1 is valid until March 18, 2009. Chat and e-mail support is available only in the United States and Canada.More…

Logging on Vista as Administrator (Tip)

Sometimes you want to perform several administrative tasks and don’t want to be bothered by UAC (User Account Control) every time. This is especially true when installing programs after a clean install of Vista, for example. To log on as Administrator, you need to open an elevated command prompt. The easiest way to do this […]

Favourite Freeware

Here’s a list of some of my favourite freeware.It’s all good! EditPad Lite: Better than Notepad that comes with Windows, EditPad Lite is a general-purpose freeware text editor, designed to be small and compact. Works with Windows NT4, 98, 2000, ME, XP and Vista. Restoration: A freeware file undelete utility. NTREGOPT: A freeware NT Registry […]

How do I take a picture of what is on my screen?

“A picture is worth a thousand words” so the saying goes. Often it is very helpful for those of us who are trying to help answer your question in an online forum if we could actually “see” what you are seeing on your computer screen. This could be an error message, or something else the […]

Review: CATraxx Music Collection Database Software

Do you have a large collection of music: CDs, MP3s (or other audio files) cassettes, even LPs? Have you ever thought of keeping an inventory of your music, either for your personal reference, or for insurance purposes? Perhaps you have tried doing this either with paper and pen or by using a spreadsheet application such […]

Review: Cryptainer PE File Encryption Software

Cryptainer PE is encryption software which I had never even heard of until a friend brought it to my attention. It will encrypt any type of data on a Windows (95/98/Me/2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista) PC on any type of media including hard drives, CD ROM’s, removable drives, flash disks and even the memory card on your camera. Additionally, Cryptainer PE allows you to send encrypted email files. It can even be used as a type of backup for your most important files which is a good habit to get into!