Archive for the ‘Windows’ Category


Fixing a file association issue

July 1, 2019

Somehow after the latest Windows updates, a file association for a particular program got lost. Forums suggested modifying the Registry, but I was hesitant to do that. I tried all sorts of other stuff, but still Microsoft kept telling me to look in their apps store for another program.

However, my IT guys came to the rescue and sent me a link for another way to associate a file type with a program:

In my case, according to Microsoft, the file type already associated with the program, but I reassigned it anyway, following the instructions in that link. Everything then worked as it had before the update.

(Note: I can’t say for certain that the update caused the problem, but the file association worked before the update and not after. After finding out it didn’t work and trying a few things, I shut down that PC and rebooted it the next day then did the reassigning as per the link. Because I didn’t check if it worked after the reboot, I can’t say for certain that reassigning the file type worked, or whether the reboot fixed the problem anyway, without me having to reassign the file type with the program.)


Windows 10: Microphone not working

June 30, 2019

I’ve got an online consultation with an overseas client later this week. I need to use my Windows 10 laptop as it has the relevant software installed on it. Because I’ve never plugged a headset into that laptop, nor installed Zoom on it, I figured I should test that everything worked before we meet.

I plugged a new headset in, clicked my Zoom link, and tested the audio using Zoom’s test settings. I could hear the test output very well, but no matter what I did, Zoom wouldn’t recognise my microphone. I then checked the sound recording settings in Windows 10, and clicked the troubleshooter, which found no possible solution. I removed the new headset and connected my trusty old one that works fine on my Windows 7 PC. Again, good audio through the headphones, but no microphone. So it wasn’t the headset, as I KNOW the old one works just fine.

I’m not sure how I found it, but there’s a setting in Windows 10 that if turned off, means you get NO sounds registered from the microphone. The troubleshooter certainly didn’t tell me about it, yet once I turned this setting on, everything worked fine, with both headsets. I must have turned this setting off when I first got the laptop.

So how did I solve it?

  1. In Windows 10, go to Settings.
  2. In the search box, type microphone.
  3. In the microphone settings, select Choose which apps can access your microphone.
  4. If Allow apps to access your microphone is turned off, turn it on. (If it’s already on, go to the next step.)
  5. Scroll down the list of apps, and turn on those that you need—in my case, I turned on Voice Recorder (this one works with Zoom) and Skype.

Word: Can’t open a template in Office 365

February 15, 2019

I installed Office 365 on a test Windows 10 machine and wanted to change the language setting in the normal.dotm template from US English to Australian English (this determines which autocorrect [*.ACL] file is used for any documents based on that template).

But when I right-clicked on normal.dotm and selected Open, I got a message telling me that a default app hadn’t been associated with this file type and to do so in the Default Apps settings. When I went to those settings, I found that Word was already associated with *.dotm files, and there wasn’t anything more I could do about that. I also noticed that some usual document file types weren’t associated with Word and I couldn’t associate them either, no matter what I did in the Default Apps settings.

I thought something might have got scrambled when I installed Office 365 and then (on the advice of my IT guys) uninstalled Office 2016, which was already on that PC. So I contacted my IT guys, and they told me to run a quick repair of the Office installation to see if that fixed it. It did! Once the repair had been run, I could open normal.dotm and all my other Word templates without a problem.

Just a quick note about repairing Office 365—you don’t get a Repair option in the list of programs, despite the user interface text telling you so. Instead, you have to click on Change, say Yes to allow the app to make changes (if asked), then choose Quick Repair from the list. It only takes a few minutes. Once the repair was done, my IT guys told me to reboot the PC, which I did, then I tested the repair by successfully opening normal.dotm.

Windows 10 steps for repairing Office 365:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Select Programs and Features.
  3. Select Microsoft Office 365.
  4. Click Change at the top of the list of programs.
  5. If asked, say Yes to allow the app to change the program.
  6. Select the Quick Repair option.
  7. Click Repair.
  8. When finished, restart your machine and test that what you were trying to fix has been fixed.

Update May 2019: This happened after a Windows 10 and/or Office 2016 update on my laptop too. Running the repair fixed it. But it should never have broken in the first place!

[Links last checked February 2019]


Windows: 100% disk usage

September 15, 2018

A few weeks ago one of our computers had a 100% disk usage issue. I can’t remember how my IT guys solved it, or the cause, but they did.

If you have the same issue, then try the instructions in this YouTube video: — the critical information starts about 1 min 50 secs into the video.

To summarise the video:

  1. Open Resource Monitor, and check the Disk tab for what’s using the most resources.
  2. If it’s something called DiagTrack (with a bunch more information), open Task Manager, go to the Services tab, and stop DiagTrack (the Description has something like Connected User Services and Telemetry). This stops it from running for now, but when you reboot, it will likely start again.
  3. To stop it for good, you need to disable it. Open Services.msc, and find Connected User Services and Telemetry. Right-click on it and open Properties.
  4. Select Disabled from the Startup Type drop-down list, then click Apply and OK.
  5. Check Task Manager again to see if your system resources have been freed up.
  6. Reboot your computer.

[Link last checked September 2018]



Microsoft hell with personal and business accounts

August 21, 2018

I’ve been going through Microsoft’s version of hell with changes to their Partners services. That’s a long story for another time, but in the several hours spent going in endless loops on their website, in an online chat with a support person, on a call that kept breaking up, and finally in a couple of calls and emails with a woman who actually knew what she was talking about and was able to explain it to me, I came across this article:

I think it’s required reading for anyone with one or more Microsoft accounts. It certainly helped clarify some things for me.

[Link last checked August 2018]


Word: The things you learn – scroll tabs on the ribbon

August 14, 2018

Just when I thought there wasn’t much new to learn about the Word for Office for Windows interface… (NOTE: I tested this technique in Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Excel, and it works the same in all of them, so it must be a Microsoft Office thing.)

Over on an editors’ Facebook group today, one of the members posted a trick that was new to her—it’s new to me too, but may well have been in Office for Windows ever since the ribbon interface came in with Office 2007.

That trick is quickly moving between tabs on the ribbon by hovering over one tab, then rolling the scroll wheel of your mouse. It’s another way to minimise wrist movements using a mouse.

Whether you go left to right through the tabs, or vice versa, depends on which way you roll the scroll wheel—roll it towards you and you go from left to right; roll it forward and you go from right to left. You can only roll to the first or last tab; further rolling doesn’t ‘wrap’ around the tabs.



Pin a folder to the Explorer folder in the Windows taskbar

August 14, 2018

These instructions are for Windows 7, but likely work the same for earlier and later versions of Windows.

If you have an Explorer folder on your taskbar, you may have noticed that when you right-click on it you get a list of Pinned and Recent folders. Adding another folder to the list of pinned folders isn’t easy to figure out, so here’s what to do:

  1. Navigate to the folder you want to add to the Pinned list of folders.
  2. Drag and drop it on top of the Explorer folder icon on the taskbar.

That’s it! Very simple, but not obvious.