Archive for the ‘Windows’ Category


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.


Windows 10: Create new folder takes ages: Solved

October 28, 2016

I’d noticed that Explorer on my laptop was taking a good 60+ seconds to create a new folder, so I Googled the problem. I found all sorts of solutions requiring all sorts of techie knowhow, but one seemed easy enough to test — someone reported that disconnecting their external hard drive solved the problem.

I didn’t have an external hard drive connected — or so I thought! However, I did have my camera connected via a USB port. It wasn’t on, just charging via the laptop. So I pulled out the USB cable connecting it to the laptop, and lo and behold, I could create a new folder with NO time lag!!

A simple fix in my case. And a super easy one to try before you get caught up in more complex solutions. I hope it works for you.


Black screen on computer bootup

July 24, 2016

My computer wouldn’t boot up this morning. The lights were on, but the screens were black. I’d seen the manufacturer’s logo, but then nothing. No Windows login screen. Nada.

I tried a second reboot — same result. Then a third. No joy.

And then I saw that I still had my fancy Parrot Zik bluetooth headphones plugged in to a USB port to charge. Hmmmm…. Every time I’ve plugged them in, I get a message about a new device and do I want to open files, etc., so the computer thinks they are an external device. My husband has an external drive that won’t allow his computer to start up if it’s plugged in on bootup, so perhaps the headphones were the reason?

I unplugged the headphones, rebooted the computer, and everything booted up as it should. The headphones were the culprit!

Interestingly, I have an external hard drive that’s always plugged into this PC, but it’s ignored on bootup. I probably need to talk to my PC Guru guys to see if I can alter the startup sequence to look for the hard drive first, instead of any external drives.

Update 25 July 2016: I checked the BIOS boot sequence the next morning, and found that my hard drive is listed second, in front of USB storage devices, CD/DVD, onboard NIC, and the external HDD (last). However, ‘Diskette Drive’ is listed first (who’s used a floppy drive in the past 10 years???), so I’m pretty sure the PC thought the plugged in USB headphones were a floppy disk! Also, a quick Google search of “usb headphones boot sequence”gives many articles from others who have had this problem with various headsets/headphones.


Create a folder name with a period at the beginning

May 11, 2016

A tech writing colleague, Stuart B, sent me this information to share on this blog. He wanted to create or rename a folder in Windows that started with a period (e.g. .foo). Now, I don’t know WHY he wanted to do this, but he did. He found that Windows Explorer won’t let you create or rename a folder if you put a period at the beginning of the name — you get an error that tells you to type a file name, which of course you already did!

It seems you can do this in DOS using the mkdir command (mkdir .foo), but that’s clunky.

However, there’s a trick to getting Windows Explorer to create or rename such a folder — you add a period before AND after the file name (e.g. .foo.). Windows then strips the trailing period, but leaves the beginning one alone. And no error message.

Stuart said this trick seems to work in all versions of Windows he tested (Windows 10 back to Vista).

Thanks for sharing, Stuart!



Handy feature for presentations

October 2, 2015

My new laptop has Windows 8.1 installed. I’m still navigating my way around it…

However, one thing I found looks like it would be very useful when I’m giving a presentation from the laptop, or if I want to work uninterrupted, and that’s a quick and easy way to turn off notifications for a period of time for 1, 3, or 8 hours.

You point to the far top right of the desktop until the slider opens, then click the settings icon (the cog), then Notifications, then choose your ‘quiet time’.

Alternatively, search for Notifications, then either select Hide Notifications Temporarily or Notifications to specify a specific time range and notifications from specific apps.


Microsoft: Improve the OS, remove features

April 30, 2013

One of my readers, Steven, has made a short video on how Microsoft have ‘improved’ Sound Recorder — one of the products bundled with Windows — by removing its features. Yep, all of them.

In Windows XP, Sound Recorder had several options; in Windows 7 (I don’t have Windows 8 so can’t test that), Sound Recorder has NO options. All you can do in Windows 7 is record. You can’t edit, mix, insert, copy/paste, use special effects, etc., all of which you could do in Windows XP’s Sound Recorder.

Here’s Steve’s video comparing the two:

[Links last checked April 2013]