Windows 10: Change the color of the title bar from white to a contrasting color

August 10, 2019

Another Windows 10 annoyance is the paleness of everything. Case in point are title bars on open windows—they are white by default (unless you’ve set your color scheme to dark) and get lost among all the other windows you might have open. It’s hard to see where the title bar is, which you have to click to move a window. A bit of digging, and I found out how to set a colour for the title bars. Note: This is a system-wide setting, so you may find the title bars/tabs of your browser change too; also, some windows will revert back to white if they aren’t the active window.

  1. Go to Settings > Personalization > Colors.
  2. Make sure Custom is set (you may have to adjust the default Windows and app modes too to get it right)
  3. Go to the Choose your accent color section and pick a colour from the swatches. (If none of the colours suits, click Custom color and choose a colour from the colour picker)
  4. Scroll down further and check the Title bars and windows borders checkbox
  5. Optional: Check the Start, Taskbar, and action center checkbox.

For better contrast, I chose a dark colour (steel blue) for better contrast. Any title bars that were in black text will change to white text if you choose a dark colour, so you don’t need to worry about losing dark text on a dark background.



Video cables don’t seem to work

August 10, 2019

I’ve been having a big refresh of the computer hardware in my office—new server, new PCs, etc. Some of the previous hardware was more than 10 years old, and nothing was less than 6 years old, so it was time. All PCs now have Windows 10 and Office 365.

I spent quite a bit of time on my back underneath desks plugging everything in. But for some reason, the video cables weren’t working for the second monitor. I tried them all—VGA, DVI, and HDMI (yes, I have quite the collection!). Nothing. Darn—maybe the video card was faulty, but I doubted this was the case as it happened on each PC. I rebooted the PCs, but that didn’t help. I could see the first monitor, but not the second.

Then I tried turning the second monitor off and back on again—aha! That worked!

It wasn’t the video cables or the video card at all. The monitor had to restart to recognise the cable.

Simple, once I’d figured it out.


Windows 10: Show scroll bars

August 10, 2019

One of the Windows 10 annoyances is auto hiding the scroll bars—they only appear when you hover over them, and even then they’re fairly pale and disappear again when you move your mouse away.

Fortunately there’s a setting you can adjust that will show these scroll bars again, for the most part (they’re still pale, but it’s better than the auto hide):

  1. Go to Settings > Ease of Access > Display.
  2. Under the Simplify and Personalize Windows settings, turn off Automatically hide scroll bars in Windows.



Windows 10: Permission error messages

August 1, 2019

I have a new Windows 10 PC I’m trying to install programs onto. I’m logged in under the Administrator account, but despite that, I encountered a couple of permissions errors with two things:

  • when trying to print a test page from my installed printer via Settings > Devices > Printers and Scanners > [select printer] > Manage >Print Test Page, I got a system32\rundll32.exe permission error
  • when trying to uninstall a program I’d installed incorrectly via Settings > Apps > [select app] > Uninstall, I got a system32\msiexec.exe permission error.

I Googled both, but the second one had an option I hadn’t considered—do the uninstall via the old-style Control Panel (Control Panel > Programs and Features > [select program] > Uninstall). It worked!!!

So I thought I’d try printing a test page from my printer via Control Panel too, and that worked too (Control Panel > Devices and Printers > right-click on the printer and select Printer Properties, then Print Test Page). I then tested printing from Microsoft Word, and that worked too.

When I went back to print a test page via Settings, I still got the error message. So Windows 10 screws up something when you try to do these things via Settings instead of good old Control Panel.


Should you use capitals for job titles?

July 23, 2019

Back in May 2019, I attended the biennial IPEd Conference for Australian and New Zealand editors. One of the things I took away was a snippet about capitalising job titles from Penny Modra’s plenary on Day 2 (https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2019/05/12/iped-conference-2019-day-2/) and how that can represent (consciously or subconsciously) hierarchies of greater and lesser jobs.

For example, if you cap Chief Executive Officer, Managing Director, or Senior Geologist, do you also cap Cleaner, Plumber, Sewage Truck Driver? If not, why not? Why should some job titles get capped and others not? What’s the implied social stratification here?

I’ve kept that in mind when working on the corporate reports I deal with, and today I queried an author who had used ‘truck operator’ when referring to a particular occupation, yet in the same sentence had used ‘Production Coordinator’ and ‘Site Supervisor’ when referring to other occupations in the same company.

My opinion: If you capitalise some job titles, then for consistency you need to cap them all, so a cleaner or truck operator needs to have the same recognition for their job as a production coordinator, otherwise you’re implying a hierarchy of ‘good’ or prestigious jobs over those that are less well-paid or recognised (less ‘worthy’). Either cap them all, or cap none of them (my preference). This may seem a trivial thing, but every time someone sees their job diminished by no caps when other positions are capped, it just further affirms (perhaps only subconsciously) that their job is less important. Yet if you took away all the sanitation workers, society would soon realise the importance of these jobs and the people who do them, and not give two hoots about any of the managing directors until the waste was sorted out.

Most style guides will have a section on when to capitalise occupational titles when referring to an individual (e.g. Doctor Sally Jones) or to a generic position (Sally Jones, a doctor). Just keep in mind that capitalising ‘Principal’ or ‘Doctor’ doesn’t make that job any more important than the uncapped ‘teacher’ or ‘nurse’—and ask yourself why you are giving some job titles more prominence than others.


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: https://www.digitalcitizen.life/how-associate-file-type-or-protocol-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.