Archive for December, 2017


A geoblocking variation

December 30, 2017

Spotted when I tried to go to a website the other day. This takes geoblocking to a new level, though at least it very quickly tells you that they don’t sell their products outside the US/Canada! Would I even consider their products? Based on this, NO WAY!


All phone contacts added to car

December 30, 2017

When we got my husband’s new car a couple of weeks ago, the sales guy paired our phones. However, despite me saying I didn’t want all my 1000+ contacts downloaded, it happened automatically before he could change the setting.

My phone’s contacts are paired with Exchange Server, and Outlook on my PC had been happily creating ‘Suggested contacts’ for years (yes, you can turn this off in Outlook 2010 [under File > Options > Contacts]; I believe later versions don’t have it turned on automatically). Even though I may have deleted contacts from the main list, the ‘suggested contacts’ and subfolders I’d created in Outlook had heaps more people. Arrghh! And they ALL went into the car’s system — people who live outside Australia (the car won’t travel outside Australia and may not even go interstate), people who have died, businesses I contacted ONCE xx years ago. I purged these last week in preparation for slimming down the 1000+ contacts list (it’s about 550 now!).

After reading the car’s manual, I got it sorted out, and now have about 10 of my contacts in the car’s system!! In essence, what I did was:

  1. Turn on the car and wait for the Bluetooth to connect with my phone.
  2. Go into the settings in the car for my connected phone and turn off the option to download contacts automatically. THIS STEP WAS CRITICAL. Note: I can’t tell you where this is on your car — every brand/model is different. If you have trouble with this, read your manual, or go back to your dealer for help. Or ask a 12 year old…
  3. Delete the car from my Bluetooth devices in my phone.
  4. Delete my phone from the car’s Bluetooth devices.
  5. Re-pair the Bluetooth connection between my car and the phone.
  6. Once they were re-paired, I manually shared the selected contacts on my phone with the car. There was a bit of a black art in getting the sequence right to upload one contact at a time (it couldn’t deal with multiples, but that might be more me not knowing what to).

Now I have another issue — deleting contacts from Exchange Server via Outlook DOESN’T delete them from my phone or tablet, so even though I now only have ~550 contacts on Exchange Server, my phone still has the 1000+ contacts from a few weeks ago. I couldn’t find an easy way to delete them so spent some of the Christmas break deleting them manually from those devices. It only took a couple of hours and is now done.


MalwareBytes: Context menu lost

December 28, 2017

This post is for me in case this ever happens again. If it helps you too, great. But if it doesn’t work for you, don’t ask me for help as I don’t have any knowledge of the MalwareBytes AntiMalware (MBAM) program — instead, contact MalwareBytes directly (

NOTE: Start with the info at the end of this post under ‘Update June 2018’ first. If that doesn’t solve it, then try the Registry thing immediately below.

What happened

MalwareBytes notified my husband of an upgrade (to v3.3.1) and he did the right thing and downloaded and installed it. But he lost the right-click menu option to ‘Scan with MalwareBytes’ in Windows Explorer. We reset the MBAM setting for the context menu (this will often work — turn it off, then on again; if it works, read no further!), rebooted the machine, downloaded and installed any upgrades (there were none), and gave up in despair as it was Christmas and my IT people were on leave and only available for emergencies. This wasn’t an emergency — just an inconvenience to have to manually scan a folder via the main MBAM interface.

Today, my IT people were back on deck so it was time to get it sorted out.

After checking user forums etc. my IT guy got back to me and checked the Registry settings. Nothing seemed untoward. Then he uninstalled MBAM (there’s a specific process he did for this, including using the proper MBAM clean-up tool, stopping MBAM and other services such as SuperAntiSpyware and Webroot, rebooting the machine, reinstalling a new copy of MBAM from their website, rebooting, enabling the other services etc. — I left him to it!).

But the end result was the same — still no right-click option to ‘Scan with MalwareBytes’ in the context menu.

Then he had a brainwave — I had told him earlier this afternoon that my MBAM upgrade to v3.3.1 went through successfully a couple of days ago AND that I had the right-click scan option. Both were Windows 7 machines.


He checked the Registry on my PC and found a setting for the context menu for MBAM, which wasn’t on my husband’s PC and which wasn’t where he’d expected to find it. He saved that setting, copied it to my husband’s PC, then merged it into my husband’s Registry. After a reboot, we had the context menu back!

For anyone else who has this issue, check for this Registry entry:

  • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AllFilesystemObjects\shellex\

If it’s missing, you’ll probably need to contact MBAM to get the details for it.

Update June 2018: It happened again, and the Registry fix didn’t work. However, my IT people found there’s a known bug in MBAM — if you have notifications turned off, and there’s an upgrade, the program thinks you don’t want the context menu (and/or web protection?) either, so turns it off. The solution if you lose either of these functions is to:

  1. Turn off the context menu setting.
  2. Quit MBAM (exit, not just close it).
  3. Open MBAM.
  4. Turn on the context menu setting.
  5. Quit MBAM.
  6. Open MBAM.
  7. Turn on the notification setting.
  8. Quit MBAM.
  9. Open MBAM.
  10. Check if the context menu is back by right-clicking a desktop icon or a file/folder in Explorer. If so, continue.
  11. Quit MBAM.
  12. Open MBAM.
  13. Turn off notifications.
  14. Quit MBAM.
  15. Check to see if the context menu is still working.

You may have to repeat this each time MBAM is updated, until the issue is fixed.



Word: Transpose Surname, Firstname to Firstname Surname

December 26, 2017

I came across a heap of names styled ‘Surname,<space>Firstname’ (e.g. Smith, Jane) and needed to change them to ‘Firstname Surname’ (i.e. Jane Smith).

As with any find/replace operation, identifying the pattern is the first step. Once you’ve done that, the rest is pretty easy. In this example, the pattern was clear — each surname and first name started with a capital letter followed by one or more lower case letters, there was a comma after the surname, and then a space before the start of the first name. Each surname only had a single first name. Because names vary in length, I needed to use wildcards to specify matching the pattern for any number of letters.

Below is what I came up with for this swap — others more clever than me may have a more elegant way to do this, but this worked for me.


  • I don’t advise doing a ‘replace all’ with this — if there’s anything else that matches the pattern that ISN’T a name, it will get changed too.
  • This find/replace only finds whole names with a single capital letter (i.e. it finds Smith, Jones, Haythornthwaite, Jane, Rosemary, Jonathan). It does NOT find names with more than one capital (e.g. McDonald, AnnMarie) or with an apostrophe (e.g. O’Malley).
  • Hyphenated words are found, but transpose incorrectly (e.g. Smith, Jane-Ann changes to Jane Smith-Ann not Jane-Ann Smith; similarly Jones-Brown, John changes to Jones-John Brown).
  • Surnames with a first and middle name or initial will be found but transposed incorrectly (e.g. Smith, Jane K. Susan will become Jane Smith K. Susan instead of Jane K Susan Smith). Surnames with an initial letter instead of a first name will not be found (e.g. Philips, A. is not found)
  • Names separated with anything other than a comma, or that have two or more spaces between the comma and the first name will NOT be found.
  • Names with accents, umlauts, and other diacritical marks over letters (e.g. René) are found and transposed correctly.

Despite all the cautions and warnings above, if you have a long list of names to change, then you could run this find/replace, replacing one at a time and manually fixing the others that aren’t found or that will transpose incorrectly. It’s still quicker than doing them all manually.


  1. Save your document.
  2. Press Ctrl+H to open the Find/Replace window.
  3. Click the More button.
  4. Select Use Wildcards.
  5. In the Find What field, enter this (copy it from here and paste as there’s a space in the string of characters): (<[A-Z])([a-z]@>)(, )(<[A-Z])([a-z]@>)
  6. In the Replace With field, enter this (again, copy/paste as there’s a space in here that’s hard to see): \4\5 \1\2
  7. Click Find Next.
  8. Click Replace if it finds a name you want to transpose; if not, click Find next to go to the next one. (Note: Replace All is super powerful and you could change things you don’t want to, so err on the side of caution and click Find Next > Replace > Find Next until all are done).


  • Parentheses surround each ‘element’ of the find. These are represented by numbers in the replace (i.e. the 4th set of parentheses in the find becomes \4 in the replace)
  • < indicates the beginning of a word; > indicates the end of a word
  • [A-Z] looks for any upper case letter; [a-z] looks for any lower case letter
  • @ looks for any number of the instruction immediately previous (e.g. [a-z]@> looks for any number of lower case letters up to the end of a word — this covers the varying length of names)



Word: Find duplicated words

December 6, 2017

This find/replace is based on Paul Beverley’s work, so full acknowledgement to him for teaching me how to do this via his YouTube videos and his free book.


Some of my authors inadvertently type the same word twice (e.g. is is, the the), and it’s often hard to pick these up when editing. If you run spellcheck, you may find them, but there’s no guarantee of that. The find and replace below uses wildcards to find any instance of duplicated words, followed by a space or a common punctuation mark, and then replaces that with a single word and the trailing space or punctuation.

NOTE: This find/replace only finds words with the exact same case, so it will find ‘the the’, ‘THE THE’, and ‘The The’, but it won’t find instances where each word has the same letters but with different cases (e.g. ‘the The’, ‘The the’, ‘tHe thE’ etc.)


  1. Press Ctrl+H to open the Find and Replace dialog box.
  2. Click More, then select the Use wildcards option.
  3. In the Find field, type: (<[A-Za-z]@)[ ,.;:]@\1>
    (Note: There’s a space in there, so I suggest you copy this Find string.)
  4. In the Replace field, type: \1
  5. Click Find Next then click Replace. Repeat.


How this works — at least how I *think* it works:

  • Find: Look for the start of any word (<) made up of any number (@) of letters ([A-Za-z]) followed by a space or punctuation ([ ,.;:]) then repeat that find (@\1) until you can’t any more words that match the pattern (>).
  • Replace: Replace the first element (the first of the duplicate words) with itself (that’s the \1 bit), which effectively deletes the rest.

[Links last checked December 2017]