Q&A - 2019

Retrieving an "invisible" dialogue box
by Chris Taylor (09-May-2019)

What do you do if a dialogue box requiring you to click on a response button “pops up” but isn’t visible on the display screen or the control button just isn’t accessible? Using the “Alt-space” key combination will display a context menu from which you can select “Move”. You can now use the mouse to drag the dialogue box window and its control button onto the visible area of the screen.

However, the move-arrow key combination will only work if the dialogue box has common controls and this is not always the case. So, another idea is to change the resolution of the monitor, at least temporarily. Even if it is beyond the capabilities of the monitor being used, it is safe to try because Windows will revert the resolution to what you had after a few seconds (unless you click the OK button after the resolution changes).

A final idea was to check with the vendor (or a user forum for the software) to find out how many hits on the Tab key will get the focus to the non-visible control button and then press Enter.

Change the drive letter on a USB drive
by Alan German (09-May-2019)

One of the features in using drive letters in Windows is that the OS will assign the next-available drive letter to a storage device that is plugged into a computer. The potential problem with this is that if two such devices, e.g. USB flash drives, are plugged in together, the resulting drive letter assignments may not be what the user expects.

For example, the flash drive that I routinely use for file synchronization normally shows up as Drive E:. The reason for this is simple – Drive C: is the hard disk partition for Windows and the installed applications, Drive D: is a dedicated data partition, so the next available drive letter is E:. However, suppose that I boot the machine, plug in my 4TB external USB drive and then insert my backup flash drive. Windows, in its infinite wisdom will now assign E: to the external USB drive so that my backup flash drive becomes Drive F:.

This isn’t a huge issue. In FreeFileSync, I can simply browse to Drive F: as the target drive and my backup file synchronization will work as advertised. But, suppose, I really want my backup drive to always display with the same drive letter, how can I achieve this?

In Windows 10, the answer is to right-click on the Start button and select Disk Management. When the list of available drives is displayed, right-click on the drive of interest and select “Change Drive Letter and Paths…” In the subsequent dialogue box, select “Change”. Now, the drop-down menu for “Assign the following drive letter” will allow any available drive letter to be selected. Choose “X” for example since it is unlikely that any drive on the system will ever have this drive letter by default. Click “OK” and – bingo – Windows will now always refer to your flash drive as Drive X:

Is your password on this list?
by Lawrence Patterson (21-Apr-2019)

Safe passwordsThe United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre has worked with Troy Hunt, from the “Have I Been Pwned” web site, to come up with a list of the top 100,000 most-used passwords. Everyone should review this list (copy available below) and make sure that you are not going to be an easy target!  See Lawrence’s list of the top-100 passwords in the following file: Top100kUsedPasswords

Removing sensitive information from photos
by Chris Taylor (12-Apr-2019)

The EXIF information embedded in image files can contain a wealth of information including things like the make/model of the camera, and camera settings such as the aperture of the lens and shutter speed. It can also contain more sensitive information like the GPS coordinates where the photo was taken. It is always a good idea to consider if you want such information shared when you post the photos online or otherwise share the files.

Windows 10 has a built-in feature to “Remove Properties and Personal Information” from files. In the case of JPG files, this is the EXIF data in the file. In File Explorer, right-click on an image file, select “Properties” and. on the “Details” tab, click on “Remove Properties and Personal Information”. The default is to “Create a copy with all possible properties removed”. Oddly, Windows cannot remove all properties. If you select the radio button “Remove the following properties from this file”, you can scroll through the list and put a check in the box beside any property you want removed. Note that not all properties have check boxes.

If you want to remove all EXIF information, there are a number of free programs that you can use including: IrfanView (http://www.irfanview.com) and BatchPurifier LITE (http://www.digitalconfidence.com/downloads.html).

A future article in the newsletter will go into more detail.