Q&A - 2017

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Computer won't wake up from sleep mode

Do you press a key on the keyboard or move the mouse only to find that your computer won’t wake up from sleep mode? Check the power management settings for the two devices. Navigate to Control Panel – Hardware and Sound – Display Manager. Scroll down to Keyboard. Left-click on the chevron on the left side of the list of devices to display a list of the available keyboards. Double-click on the name of your keyboard. Navigate to Change settings – Power Management. Select the check box for: Allow this device to wake the computer. Follow the same procedure in Display Manager for Mice and other pointing devices.

Useful options for Google searches

You know that somewhere on OPCUG’s web site there is a newsletter article about toggling JavaScript but, how do you find it? If your search term in Google is “javascript toggle”, you’ll have to sift through pages of hits on all sorts of other web sites before you find the OPCUG article (if you ever do locate this listing!) However, if you use “javascript toggle site:opcug.ca”, the site-option tells Google to only search opcug.ca and the required article will be easily found. [Hint – It’s currently the first hit among those that are returned!]

When you obtain search results from Google, are many of the listings seriously out of date? You can easily refine the list of hits to only include results for the last year, or the last month, or even a custom period of time. Click on “Tools” and use the drop-down arrow on “Any Time” to select a time period of your choice.

Google search by time
A really simple way to access Google’s search options, and to use multiple criteria for the same search, is to use the advanced search feature: https://www.google.ca/advanced_search

Prevent videos from running automatically on web pages

When you scroll down when reading certain web pages, do your speakers suddenly boom out a voice advertising some product (for which you have zero interest)? The problem is likely that a video has automatically started up in part of the page that you have just scrolled by!

Most of these items are controlled by JavaScript, and one way to stop them in their tracks is to simply turn off JavaScript. But, sometime we need JavaScript to be available to do other (more useful) tasks on web pages. What we need is a toggle switch so that we can turn off or turn on JavaScript with a single mouse click.

That’s the purpose of the JSOff browser add-in. There are versions of this add-in available for different browsers (e.g. Firefox, Chrome). In Firefox, a green circle in the tool bar means that JavaScript is turned on, and a red circle means that it’s turned off. A side benefit is that turning JavaScript off also disables many pop-up ads.

For more information, see: Toggling JavaScript in Firefox

Desktop icons disappearing and then re-appearing

Every time a member booted up his computer, all the icons on the desktop would briefly disappear and then get rebuilt. A suggestion to remedy this situation was to delete the icon cache file.

In Windows 7 through 10, this can be done as follows:

(1) In File Explorer, navigate to Folder Options, and turn on the options to View and Show Hidden and System Files

(2) In C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local folder delete the hidden IconCache.db file

(3) Reboot

In Windows 10 you also have to:

(4) Go to C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer

(There are a bunch of files like iconcache_32.db, iconcache_48.db, iconcache_96.db, iconcache_256.db, iconcache_1024.db, iconcache_1280.db, iconcache_1600.db, iconcache_1920.db, iconcache_2560.db, iconcache_exif.db, iconcache_idx.db, iconcache_sr.db, iconcache_wide.dd, iconcache_wide_alternate.db, etc.)

(5) Delete these files

One time not to downgrade
by Chris Taylor (15-Apr-2017)

Kaby Lake and Ryzen CPU's

So you bought a shiny new computer running a 7th generation (Kaby Lake) Intel Core-i processor or the latest Ryzen processor from AMD. And you really don’t like Windows 10. So you are thinking of installing Windows 7 or Windows 8 on the machine instead.

Don’t do it.

For quite a while Microsoft has been saying they will only support Windows 10 on the latest processors from Intel and AMD. I thought that meant that, although older versions of Windows would likely work, if there were any “issues”, Microsoft would do nothing to fix them.

But it appears to go beyond that. Reports coming in from the web are that Microsoft is actually blocking Windows updates on computers running Windows 7 and Windows 8 that have Intel Kaby Lake or AMD Ryzen processors.

Like it or not, if you want to run Windows, and you have a computer with the latest silicon, your only choice is to run Windows 10. This may only affect a very few consumers, as they (you) are likely to buy the computer with Windows 10 preinstalled and leave that version installed.

This may be a big problem with corporations. Typically, they want to standardize on a single Windows platform. Many are still standardized on Windows 7 and may be years away from a migration to Windows 10. They will have to be careful not to buy new computers with Intel Kaby Lake or AMD Ryzen processors until they are ready to use only Windows 10 on them. Can you imagine being in the position of buying new computers and, rather than future-proofing by buying the latest & greatest, having to choose to buy computers with older processors?

Of course you do have other options if you have a computer with the latest silicon and don’t want to run Windows. I have not heard any reports of other operating system manufacturers refusing to permit older, supported versions on the latest processors.

Windows Update Stalled (Windows 10)
by Alan German (15-Apr-2017)

After updating Windows 10 to the Creators Update, the first set of regular updates under Windows Update stalled.  In particular, KB4015583 stopped downloading when only 15% complete.  Leaving the machine on overnight had no effect.  After rebooting the machine, a second attempt to have Windows Update download the update stalled at 2%.  This was not going well!

The fix was to manually download and install this update from the Microsoft Update Catalog web site (http://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com). Choose the 32- or 64-bit version of the update that is appropriate for your machine and choose “Open With (Windows Update Standalone Installer)” to download and install the package directly.  

In-Place Upgrade to Windows 10
by Alan German (09-Apr-2017)

The start menu disappeared on a friend’s Windows 10 machine. In addition, it wasn’t possible to enter anything in the search box. This made it somewhat difficult to do very much!

Some of the fixes suggested on the Internet, including booting into safe mode and then back to regular mode, or setting up a second administrator’s account, failed miserably. Running the Windows 10 Start Menu Troubleshooter also had no effect.

The solution proved to be an “in-place upgrade”. This effectively overwrites the installed version of Windows 10, but the trick is to do so while selecting “Keep personal files and apps”.

There is an excellent tutorial on the Windows Ten Forums web site – Windows 10: Repair Install Windows 10 with an In-place Upgrade – with detailed instructions on how to proceed.

My choice was to download the Media Creation Tool and create a bootable installation disk. I then ran setup.exe from this drive, making sure to select to download and install updates, and opting to retain the personal files and installed applications.

Five Scams That Won't Make You Laugh on April Fool's Day

Graham Cluley, writing in The State of Security Newsletter points out five common Internet scams that you should avoid:

  1. That email from your friend wasn’t sent by your friend
  2. Is that link going where you think it’s going?
  3. Is that an L or an I in that URL?
  4. Is that an attachment or a link?
  5. Bogus virus warnings
Lloyd's Bank?
  As Graham says: “April Fool’s day is almost upon us. Take care on the big day, but more than that – keep your guard up every day of the year.

The strange case of the disappearing icons

A member reported that all of the icons on the desktop had disappeared. A couple of possible solutions were suggested.

Firstly, the laptop may have inadvertently been switched into tablet mode. This setting can be changed by navigating to Settings – System – Tablet mode. Another way to access this setting is to left-click on the task bar icon for the notification bar (in the bottom-right corner of the screen), expand the list of options if necessary, and select the “Tablet mode” option.

Desktop icons
The second possibility was that desktop icons were hidden. To toggle this setting, right-click anywhere on the open desktop, select “View” and “Show desktop icons”.

Keyboard shortcut for multi-language keyboards

For users who have keyboard setups for multiple languages, Alt-Shift can be used to toggle from one language to the next. For example, with English and French keyboards, Alt-Shift will toggle from English to French. A second application of Alt-Shift toggles back from French to English. With more than two languages, Alt-Shift cycles from one language to the next.

How do I burn an ISO file?

Burning ISO filesAt a recent QA session, Jeff Dubois discussed ISO files – what they are, how to download them from the Internet, and how to burn them to create bootable media. Jeff pointed out that an ISO file is a single file that is “a perfect representation of the entire contents of a CD, DVD or Blu-ray disk”. Most operating systems (e.g. Linux distributions) and large applications (e.g. Microsoft Office) can be obtained by downloading an ISO file.

To create a live-CD/DVD of a Linux distro, the trick is not to simply copy the ISO file to a physical CD or DVD since this would not create a bootable disk. Rather, one has to use burning software to burn a disk image to the optical disk. In Windows 10, this is achieved very simply by right-clicking on the ISO file and selecting “Burn disc image”. The resulting disk can then be used to boot the computer and either run Linux as a live session or install the operating system from the CD or DVD to the computer’s hard drive.

Note that double-clicking on an ISO file (or using right-click – Mount) results in the contents of the ISO file being displayed in File Explorer. Here you can see the individual components of the operating system or application that are contained within the single ISO file.

Download Jeff’s PowerPoint presentation on ISO files (947 KB PDF)



Tweaking File Explorer
by Alan German

In Windows 10, the default setting for File Explorer is “Quick View” which provides an ever-changing list of recently-used files and folders. An alternative is to set the viewing mode to “My PC” (View – Options – Change folder and search options – Open File Explorer to – This PC) which displays a list of standard folders (e.g. Documents, Pictures, etc.) and all of the available drives. If neither of these views suits your particular needs, you can customize File Explorer to open a specific drive and/or folder.

Navigate to C:\Windows\explorer.exe. Right-click on the file name and select “Send to Desktop” to create a desktop icon. Now, right-click on this icon, select “Properties”, and change “Set Target to:” to something like “C:\Windows\EXPLORER.EXE /n, /e, E:\alan” (Replace “E:\alan” with the drive and/or folder name that you wish to use on your computer. For example, I simply use “E:” to display the contents of my data drive (partition).)

Now, right-click on the File Explorer icon (the small yellow folder) on the task bar and select “Unpin from taskbar”. To replace this item with the customized version of File Explorer, simply right-click on the desktop icon you just produced and select “Pin to taskbar”. You can now delete the desktop icon since your customized version of File Explorer is readily available by means of a single click on the task bar icon.

A secondary advantage to the customized icon is that, when it is used to launch File Explorer, a second icon is displayed on the task bar. The original icon can now be used to launch a second instance of File Explorer so providing two windows that can be used as a source of files and a target folder respectively for drag-and-drop operations to copy or move files between folders.

Note that, when tweaking File Explorer was described at a recent Q&A session, there were two further suggestions:

Phil Dawes suggested a method for creating a shortcut to any specific folder. Run File Explorer, right-click on any desired folder, select “Create shortcut”, then drag the shortcut onto the desktop. Double-clicking on this icon launches File Explorer and displays the contents of the specified folder.

Norm Dafoe provided another tip to launch a second File Explorer window. Once, File Explorer is running, simply press Ctrl-N. This launches a second instance of the customized version of File Explorer.