Lessons

Create an instant shutdown and/or restart icon on your desktop.

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You will need to use the windows program shutdown.exe (which is normally located in C:\Windows\System32\) and its parameters.

The table below is a shortened list of the parameters needed for instant shutdown and/or restart plus the help parameter to display all the parameters defined within your windows system.

Parameter Description
/s Shuts down the computer.
/r Restarts the computer after shutdown.
/t <sec> Sets the time-out period or delay to sec (seconds) before a restart or shutdown. This causes a warning to display on the local console. You can specify 0-600 seconds. If you do not use /t, the time-out period is 30 seconds by default.
/? Displays help at the command prompt, including a list of the major and minor reasons that are defined on your local computer.

This is what the instant shutdown command line would look like:
C:\Windows\System32\shutdown.exe /s /t 0

And the instant reboot command line would look like this:
C:\Windows\System32\shutdown.exe /r /t 0

As you can see the only difference is the use of “/s” or “/r” parameter

Now that we know what to use, how do we get it onto the desktop?
Easy! By creating a desktop shortcut icon containing the shutdown/restart command line as follows.

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  1. Right click anywhere on an empty space on your desktop to open a menu where you can find “New”.
  2. Hover over “New” and another menu appear, near the top of this is “Shortcut
  3. Select/Click on “Shortcut” to open the Shortcut creation wizard.
  4. Enter your command line and parameters
  5. Click Next
  6. Type a title/name for this shortcut – e.g. “Shutdown”
  7. And click Finish

I like to have a pretty self-explanatory icon’s because it’s easier to find than reading the titles – and here is how to do this:

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  1. Right click on the Shutdown icon, to open a menu
  2. Select and click on “Properties” to open the “Shutdown Properties” window
  3. It should automatically open in the “Shortcut” tab where you will find – near the bottom – the Change Icon… button.
  4. Click the Change Icon… and another window with lots of icons opens.
  5. Scroll through these until you find an icon you like.
  6. Click on it; followed by clicking the OK button to close that window.
  7. Now all you have to do is click the OK button in the “Properties”
    window and that’s it.

One last thing:

You might also want place Shutdown icon on your “Taskbar” and/or your “Start menu”
this action is called “Pin to …” – and here is how to do this:

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  1. Right click on the Shutdown icon (as before), to open a menu
  2. This time you are looking for “Pin to Taskbar” or “Pin to Start Menu” (near the top)
  3. Just click either and that’s it.

Note you don’t lose the original shortcut.

To unpin an icon from the taskbar/start menu, just right click on it and click “Unpin this program from Taskbar” or “Unpin from Start Menu” and they are gone; not uninstalled nor deleted because what you unpinned was a shortcut and NOT the actual item.

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My Chromecast Saga

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For once the “Getting started” documentation was clear and correct.

I plugged the Chromecast #1 (upstairs) into my TV via HDMI; then I had to go online on my smartphone to do the “Setup”, this involved downloading and installing “Google Home” this was so beautifully easy. Before the Chromecast could be used it needed to update its software. I was prompted to link it to my router; and after that, it didn’t take long before it was up and running.

While I was at it I also installed “Google Home” on my live smartphone (Samsung S4) and on my tablet (Samsung Tab 4), great, the Chromecast can now be controlled by any of the 3 gadgets.

I then wanted to install another Chromecast #2 downstairs.
It hooked up ok, but the update just looped – it stayed on 0% for hours on end until I “x’ed” the upgrade. Thinking about it decided that maybe the “Google Home” apps needed to be re-installed, so I uninstalled “Google Home”, cleared the cache and data in “Play Store” – but alas – my Wi-Fi network is now refusing to let me install anything from “Google Play Store”. It was a faulty “Chromecast” and it has been returned and refunded.

It was not my applications/gadgets that were faulty; because when I went to my neighbour and use their Wi-Fi to download from “Play Store” it worked fine. It took about 3 weeks before my Wi-Fi was working correctly again.

 

Google is following Microsoft’s example

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I feel like swearing!!!
Google has changed its programs/apps so that they now only work to their full extent when used through Google Chrome.

clip_image002 To use voice commands (providing you have a microphone attached to your PC) in searches; click on the microphone icon and the speak something like: “how to use Google chrome”
clip_image004 In Translate, first click on the language tab, this will make the microphone symbol visible,
then click on the microphone and start talking; another little boxed symbol opens and blinks at you, as long as this is there you are being recorded – click the red speaker and your recording stops.
clip_image006

This is a great tool if you don’t know how to spell something and the spell checker will not give you the answer when you, like me, have used too many wrong letters and your spell checker can’t guess what you are saying eg: “foring” “foreign” .

This is also a great tool to communicate in foreign languages. I use it regularly to communicate with my a Polish cleaning lady, as I don’t speak a lot of Polish.

My pc-muse never arrived

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My pc-muse never visited me for the first U3A meeting after the summer break; but I managed to talk about emails and virus “pass-on” when replying, thanks to one member sending in a question about it.

This led to talking about Office Outlook 2010 and Microsoft forcing users to change to MS-Exchange Server. By telling them about my experiences, I touched on a couple of features in Outlook 2010 that the members were not aware of: Filters, Task, Appointments and recurrence. This will now become a topic for the next U3A meeting.

I also talked about backup; because I was annoyed that some backup programs don’t warn the user NOT to backup onto the same device where the data is held. This led to questions about how to backup Outlook 2010 and a physical demo of said as a topic for the next meeting.

When I was talking about my email system I demonstrated the way I had managed to move my system from Outlook 2010 to Mozilla Thunderbird; and vaguely touched on the difficulties of syncing the calendar from my PC to my mobile phone and tablet. Some members were interested in Thunderbird; like how to get started, download, install, and setup the email accounts. So here is another topic for a later U3A meeting.

I can’t remember how it came about; but somehow we managed to talk about OCR and I stated that most three-in-one printers came with some sort of OCR software; most members were not aware of this; so I requested they send me the name of their printer and I would check their software packages. This will become a short topic for another U3A meeting.

While talking OCR I also mentioned that the software I am using (OmniPage Pro) will let me open a picture of text, scan it and create text that can be imported into Word or Excel. This is quite a snazzy feature but I think one has to pay for that feature.

Somewhere along the many thoughts that were flying about we also spoke about using “Google Translate” to capture speech and convert it into text for Word. I tried it on the laptop but the microphone wasn’t available. Why? Because some laptops don’t have microphones installed. But if you add an external microphone to the laptop; Google Translate will display the mic-symbol.

I promised that I would find some Win10 problems pages:
First something positive about Win10: http://windows.about.com/

http://betanews.com/2016/04/25/windows-10-update-problems/

How to Fix Problems Caused by Windows Updates (Updated September 08, 2016)
http://pcsupport.about.com/od/system-security/a/fix-problems-caused-by-windows-updates.htm

How to Prevent Windows Updates From Crashing Your PC (Updated November 19, 2015)
http://pcsupport.about.com/od/system-security/a/prevent-windows-update-problems.htm

Windows 10 Update Fail (Updated August 20, 2015)
http://windows.about.com/od/securityprivacy/fl/Windows-10-Update-Fail.htm

 

Summer is over

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Back to reality. Get into work mode!
Start thinking of what to present to the U3A computer group that meets the second and fourth Thursday of the month.
The first meeting after the summer break is tomorrow, and I don’t yet know what to talk about.
Hopefully my pc-muse will come visiting before tomorrow.

Backup your system to your desktop, is not a good idea

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I have just spent 2½ hours cleaning a Win7 system that had run out of space.

My first thought was to back-up all the photos from the pc onto DVDs – yes I did need 2 DVDs there were 8.3 GB of photos; and once finished I found a handful of more photos but I left them on the PC – only about 1 GB.

I checked and I checked, but just couldn’t find 65 GB of data. I started to check installed programs and looking at the desktop to find and remove old installation programs. Lo and behold I found the offending file on the desktop.

The clever user had used his desktop as his backup media – because that wasn’t in his documents! – Hmmm – so if the hard disk crashes he could recover his data??? NO, NO I THINK NOT!

So with a 160Gb HDD and used approx. 85Gb for system, programs, Temp files & Recovery files – adding 65Gb and 10Gb swap file space – OOPS there is NO more space left to do anything! Clever – hum – NOT! I also think this is the 2nd time I have had this PC back for the same problem! Swear. #!$**##

I moved the backup to an 80 GB external HDD, ran CCleaner, and ADWcleaner and the system is happy.

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Microsoft Exchange Server in Outlook 2010

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I noticed that I was receiving email on my mobile that I wasn’t receiving on my desktop through Microsoft Office Outlook 2010 Pro. The last mail I had received was on the 9th of July. I searched high and low (for 2-3 days) and couldn’t find the reason why. There just wasn’t any useful explanation on why outlook.com emails weren’t received in Outlook 2010.

I remembered some Microsoft emails way back in Feb. / Mar that was talking about not receiving emails after their server upgrade. This email stated that I delete the existing IMAP account and create a new Microsoft exchange account. That sounded easy enough. What I didn’t do was to back up the old system and that’s where all my problems started.

I had a beautiful automated system that worked with three POP3/SMTP accounts all embedded into one primary, plus five separate IMAP (one hotmail.com, one live.co.uk, two outlook.com and one gmail.com) accounts. The whole email system was controlled by approximately 360 rules that would move my emails into relevant folders depending on contents and where they came from.

I also had a fantastic task setup that would automatically create a new task when completing the old one.

This is what happened when I changed the first of the four Microsoft accounts to “Microsoft exchange server” my system was destroyed! The reconfiguring of that account merged itself into my primary account with the other POP3/SMTP accounts.

I could NOT uninstall it without uninstalling the perfectly good POP3 accounts. Not only did it not want to be uninstalled it also became the master of the group, and because it didn’t have any rules and tasks, guess what; I lost the work I had created over the years, no rule, and no tasks. What a mess! Thank you Microsoft another brilliant software manipulation! I also lost the use of my shared linked Hotmail calendar (again).

As you can see I have had a brilliant week trying to solve problems introduced by Microsoft converting (forcing) everybody to use Office365.

NO, NO, NO I am not going there! There is harvesting, and there is harvesting of user data; but sorry not with me!

So what was the solution with Outlook 2010? I have recreated everything (I hope) in Mozilla Thunderbird. The only outstanding topic is my tasks. I must admit that the task handling in Outlook 2010 was quite brilliant.

Again the calendar was a little tricky to get working as Microsoft doesn’t permit Thunderbird to sync both ways with their calendar; but they do let Google sync both ways (I think but it doesn’t seem to work anymore), so I loaded Google calendar with my Microsoft online calendar; then I loaded Thunderbird with “Provider for Google Calendar add-on” and imported the Google calendar – without any problems and now I can update my Microsoft calendar from my desktop, my mobile and my tablet. Brilliant!