Category Archives: How To

How To Create and Use System Restore Points

I often create backups of my registry files when I’m getting ready to try out new software. Lately, I’ve been setting System Restore Pointsas well. Why would I do this? Let’s ask Microsoft.

Quote from Microsoft: Every time you download or install a new game, application, or software update, you make changes to your computer. Sometimes that change may make your system unstable. Have you ever wanted to go back to the way it was? With System Restore, you can.(source)

What is a System Restore Point?

System Restore is a Windows feature that takes snapshots of the system files and registry at regular intervals or during important system events. The snapshots are stored as System Restore Points (SRP). If you run into a problem, you can often use a previous SRP to undo many of the changes to your system that created the problem.

It’s not fool proof. Sometimes it didn’t correct the problems I had. Most of the time, it does a good job as long as the Restore Point isn’t very old. Since it seems to be important to use a recent SRP, I often set my own SRP just before installing software. I’ll show you how to do this below.

How to Create a System Restore Point

In Windows XP, use your start menu to go to Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore.

You should see this:

system-restore-point-create-xp

Set the button on Create a restore pointand click Next. At the next screen, you’ll be able to type in a name or description for your restore point.

system-restore-point-name-xp

In Vista and Win7, you can set an SRP just as easily.

Click your Start button, then type restore, then click the entry that says Create a restore point.

create-a-restore-point-win7

Next you’ll see a screen like this:

advanced-system-settings-protection-tab

Click the Createbutton and you’ll get a window that will let you choose a description for the new SRP.

create-a-restore-point-name-win7

How to Use a Restore Point to Recover from a Problem

In WinXP, you can use the Start menu as shown above to find the System Restore settings.

When you get to the System Restore panel, select Restore my computer to an earlier time.

You’ll get a window that will let you select a restore point.

system-restore-select-a-point-xp

Once you have an SRP selected, hit the Nextbutton to start the recovery. You’ll get a screen with some info on it and you’ll have to click Nextone final time. The computer will restart.

In Vista and Win7, you can click the start button and type restore. You’ll need to click the entry labeled Restore your computer to an earlier time.

image

You’ll get a window up that let’s you start System Restore. Then you’ll be able to select an SRP to recover.

system-restore-point-list

Once you have one selected, hit the Nextbutton, and then the Finishbutton to confirm it. Your computer will reboot and hopefully everything will be better.

Conclusion

Now that you have the general idea, don’t forget that setting a System Restore Point could save you time and trouble when you try out new software. If you have any suggestions or questions, be sure to comment below.

Disable Google Buzz Profile and Delete It Forever

After a bit of a problem and complaints to the FTC by a public group over Buzz, Google has finally decided to give users a way to completely disable and delete a profile.

Delete Google Buzz Profile or Disable It

The new feature to disable and delete a Google Buzz profile is now part of Gmail Settings. So if you are someone who wants to send Google Buzz into oblivion just head over to Settings -> Buzz and make the changes you require. Good riddance :-).

If you are a Google Buzz user, do tell us your experience about it. It definitely has a long way to go and we hope to see significant changes in the future. you are a new Google Buzz user, check out our of Tips and Tricks for Google Buzz.

Note: Google is gradually rolling this out to user accounts, so not everyone will be able to see Buzz in their settings right away.

How to Speed Up Windows Disk Cleanup

disk-cleanup-icon Cleaning out the junk files on your PC is something you should do on a regular basis. Microsoft has included a file cleaning utility in Windows, and it’s called Disk Cleanup. Running Disk Cleanup will often make your system a little snappier and you can also free up a large amount of used disk space.

You can find the Disk Cleanup utility in the following locations:

WinXP: Start > Program Files > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup

Vista/Win7: Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup

disk-cleanup

If you occasionally clean out your unwanted system files using Windows “Disk Cleanup”, you may have seen that the Disk Cleanup utility takes a long time scanning for “Compressed Folders”. I have seen this many times and it makes me impatient every time.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine at work (Bill M), told me that there’s a registry hack to make Cleanup skip the long wait. He was right, I found it using a simple Google search.

Here’s the registry hack (works in XP, so far – have not seen this work in Vista and Win7):

WinXP: Open up the registry editor by clicking the Start Button, then choose Run, type in “regedit” and press the OK button.

Vista/Win7: Hit the Start button and type regeditin the quick search.

Once you have regedit running, find the following location:
“HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows
\CurrentVersion\Explorer
\VolumeCaches\System error memory dump files”

The “Flags” value must be set to “0”.

For 64-bit Windows only:

“HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows
\CurrentVersion\Explorer
\VolumeCaches\System error memory dump files”

The “Flags” value must be set to “0”.

You may not   notice any difference until you reboot, but the next time you use Disk Cleanup, you should notice a substantial decrease in the amount of time it takes.

Hate The New Facebook Layout? Here Is How You Can Change It

recently rolled out a new design to users, some of them liked it, some did not. In fact even I am one of the people who did not like the new Facebook layout. However, like always there is no official way to go back to cleanup the new design and get a cleaner look for Facebook.

Most of the solutions are accomplished using scripts. Firefox and support the user scripts out of the box, you can learn how to use Greasemonkey scripts in Opera, IE and Safari.

Unfuck Facebook Layout

UnFu*k Facebook – Previously mentioned Unf*ck Facebook is good to go again with the new Facebook layout. Just download the script and install it and you should see a simple Facebook layout as seen in the screenshot above. Download script here.

Undo Facebook – Another userscript which is similar to the earlier one, Undo Facebook will clean up your Facebook profile page and display a much more simpler and cleaner version of the layout. Download script here.

Better Facebook – Cleans up Facebook and removes the right hand side navigation, ads and more. Try out any of the three scripts and choose the one you like. Download script here.

Facebook Old Navbar – This userscript rearranges the top Nav bar to bring some semblance to the old design. It can be used in conjunction with any of the userscript’s above. Download script here.

Replace Profile with Name – Removes the Profile link and replaces it with your name as it was in the older Facebook layout. Download script here.

Note: The above changes will only reflect in your current browser, it will not be available on different browsers or on multiple computers.

Do you know of any other useful userscript that will help get back the older layout on Facebook? Do feel free to share them in the comments.

How to Keep the Same Notes Everywhere – Synchronizing Tomboy with Dropbox

dropbox-icon The other day, I wrote about a free note taking application called Tomboy. As I mentioned there, Tomboy is now available for Linux, Mac and Windows. Since I frequently move between machines and jump in and out of Linux and Windows, I wanted to have the same notes in all places.

After some research, I found out that I could set Tomboy to use a local folder to synchronize notes. I am an enthusiastic Dropbox user and I have it installed on every PC that I use. To me, the next logical step was to point my Tomboy sync at Dropbox so that I was getting the same notes on all my PCs, no matter what system was running.

Here’s how it’s done.

If Tomboy is running, you can access the preferences by a right click to it’s system tray, or from the Search All Noteswindows under Edit – Preferences.

tomboy-right-click-systray

Make sure the pull-down menu is showing Local Folder, then hit the Browsebutton to choose a folder on your PC. Naturally, in this case, we will choose a folder inside of the Dropbox folder so that the files will get synchronized by Dropbox.

tomboy-preferences

Once you have the folder selected, be sure to hit the Savebutton to save the folder path.

Now you only need to do this on every PC that you have Tomboy installed on and you’re ready to go. Whenever you need to update your notes, you can find the Synchronize Notescommand in the systray icon right click or in any note window under Tools.

tomboy-sync-menu

That’s it. Have fun taking notes in Tomboy.

Enable or Disable Google Buzz

Quite recently we gave you options to disable Google Buzz emails and Buzz update counts in Gmail. However. it turns out Google does provide a much more easier to disable completely for users who do not want to use it.

turn_off_google_buzz

If you are a user who has no use for Google Buzz, login to your Gmail account and scroll down to the bottom of the page. In the footer links you will see a link which says "turn off buzz".

Just click on that link and Google Buzz will disappear from your Gmail account forever. If you want to turn on Google Buzz again, scroll down to the bottom and click on the "turn on buzz" link.

Thanks @touserpandi

Hide Google Buzz Update Count and Icon in Gmail

Last night, we told you how to hide the email updates from Google Buzz, however if you want to further sanitize your Gmail account and get rid of the Buzz updates, the best way is to treat it like just another label.

Unfortunately, Gmail does not provide users with an option to hide the Buzz label, or hide the updates in them. If you are one of the annoyed users who do not want to see updates and the cute icon in your Gmail sidebar, the Hide counter is the best way out.

Google Buzz Counter and Icon After Hiding Google Buzz Counter and Icon

Google Buzz Hide Count is a script which will hide the Google Buzz update counter and the Buzz icon in your Gmail account. I tested the script in both Firefox and without issues. So if you have been waiting to get rid of all the buzz, go ahead and download the Google Buzz Count Hide userscript.

Hide/Archive Google Buzz Updates In Gmail Inbox

was launched today, and people have already begun complaining about the lack of options to disable Buzz from sending you email updates. If you are a Google Buzz user, here is how you can hide updates from Google Buzz from showing up in your Gmail Inbox.

Google Buzz Email Update

Google has a reserved label for Google Buzz updates called "buzz", in order to hide email updates from Google Buzz, you will have to create a filter using "label:buzz" and then archive all the emails automatically. To create the filter, follow the steps given below.

Create label:buzz filter in Gmail

Step 1: Create a filter in Gmail, and use the and enter "label:buzz" in the "Has the words" text box. Ignore the alert that is shown by Google and click the Ok button to continue to the next step.

Step 2: On the next screen, select the checkbox next to "Skip the Inbox (Archive it)". You might also want to select the checkbox next to "Also apply filter to xx conversation below." to archive the current Google Buzz updates.

Step 3: Click on Create Filter and you are all done, new updates from Google Buzz will be automatically archived the next time.

If you want to search for new Google Buzz updates in Gmail, you can search for "label:buzz" and all the Google Buzz updates will be displayed to you.

[via Life Hacker]

Update: An easier way to do this is to go to Settings -> Labels in Gmail and unselect "Buzz" under the system labels.

What Is a VOB File? How To Open VOB Files?

If you have gotten your hands on a VOB file somehow, chances are they have been copied/extracted from a DVD. VOB stands for DVD Video Object and is the core file of a DVD containing the actual movie data, an MPEG movie stream and the supported audio.

To play the VOB files, you need to have a DVD player that supports VOB format. However, if you have the Windows Media Player (version 12 or higher) or VLC Media Player, it is good enough to play the file. Note that you will see a prompt telling you that it is an unsupported format, don’t worry about it and just play it anyways. It will play just fine.

If you want to obtain the VOB file from a DVD for some reason, just open the DVD in Windows Explorer instead of playing it through a media player. The VOB file would most likely be under the VIDEO_TS folder. Some other files that you will also see in the folder are IFO and BUP. The IFO files are the information files containing meta data about the DVD and instructions for the DVD player on how to handle the disc. The BUP file is simply a backup copy of IFO files.

If you want to convert VOB file to AVI or a similar format, aviNET is a great tool to do that.

Move Out-of-Focus Windows in Windows 7

If you use a multi-monitor setup, there are chances that you might forget to move the applications windows back to main monitor before disconnecting it. In such cases, when you try to access the window you might now be able to do it as it may still assume that it is on the secondary monitor.

Windows 7 Default Taskbar Right Click

does not have a direct option to move the window back to the main monitor using the taskbar. When you right-click on the taskbar icon you will only see the jumplist and not the regular options.

Windows 7 Taskbar Move Menu

However, if you want to see the other options like Move, Maximize and Minimize, just hold the Shift button while you right click, this will in turn show you the other regular right click options. Once you do that you can easily move the window from the non-existent secondary monitor back to the main monitor using either the arrow keys or your mouse.

How To Repair Your Default Image FileTypes

I can’t explain how disappointed I was. I was angry too. I had just tried out a new freebie image viewer and decided I didn’t like it. Most good applications will remove their custom settings when you uninstall them. This time I was foiled because the uninstaller decided that it couldn’t read the install.log file it had created.

broken-image-icon What could I do now? I had let the new application take over all of the image filetypes. I could manually delete the program, but that wouldn’t change all the system registry entries it would leave behind. The Windows registry is what controls the filetype settings and I wasn’t looking forward to making all of those changes manually.

After I mentally kicked myself for not using an installation monitor like Z-Soft, I manually deleted the program from my Program Files folder. Then I opened regedit and used global searches to remove all entries containing the name or the former path of the now dead image viewer. It took me awhile to do this and I was still kicking myself for not being more careful. Warning: Editing the Windows registry to remove entries is risky and can leave your PC in worse shape than it started out.

Naturally after I’d removed all of the registry entries, none of my images were opening up like they used to. I decided to do a Google search for restore default image typesand sure enough, someone had solved this problem. I found the answer I was looking for at a trustworthy site. The site is owned by Ramesh Srinivasan, an old acquaintance of mine, an all around nice guy and a Microsoft MVP. About 5 years ago, I’d written about one of his websites and he was kind enough to link back to me after we exchanged a few emails.

So, what did I find there? I found a tiny little application called imageditor.exe. The app’s name doesn’t really give you a clue about what it does. Take a look at the interface and you’ll get a good idea how to use it.

Note: This utility is intended for Windows XP systems only. Ramesh said that he is working on similar fixes for Vista, which may also work in Windows 7. (Update: Here are default file type fixes for Win7 and Vista)

imageditor-exe-screenshot

Okay, it isn’t super simple to figure out by just looking at it. I’ll explain it to you now.

The top pull-down menu allows you to choose individual image filetypes such as – BMP, DIB, EMF, GIF, JFIF, JPG, JPE, JPEG, PNG, TIF, TIFF and WMF. It lets you restore each filetype individually, as needed, when you click the button beside it.

You may not like the image viewer that Windows assigns by default. The center text field let’s you force Windows to use the viewer you want. Just choose a filetype from the pull-down at the top. Hit the Browsebutton and then select an image viewer that you’d like to assign as the default image viewer for the image type you have selected.

Finally, the bottom section let’s you re-assign all of Windows image types to the Windows default viewers in one quick action. Add checkmarks to the boxes you’d like to change, then hit the Repair associationsbutton.

I used this last option after checking every one of the 12 image types. It worked perfectly.

• Thank you Ramesh you are awesome. I hope to talk to you again some day.

• To the people behind CoffeeCup Free Image Viewer thank you for your defective uninstaller. It led me to find this cool tool.

• For the rest of you out there – don’t do what I did. It’s not smart to install new applications without running an install monitor or at least setting a Windows Restore point. Good luck, and I hope you never have to edit the registry. It isn’t fun and it’s not always safe.

Download Imageditor v1.1 from windowsxp.mvps.org

http://windowsxp.mvps.org/imgassofix.htm

Techie Buzz Verdict:

If you’re image filetypes get all mixed up, imageditor may be exactly what you need. It’s free, it’s small and it’s easy.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Run Opera Mini 5 On Your Desktop

Opera Mini is the most popular browser for mobile phones and smartphones and has been making navigation on phones much more easier with tabbed browsing and touchscreen navigation. Now what if you want to test out Opera Mini, but can’t install it on your phone because it is not supported?

Well, thanks to a Mobile emulator, you can now run and test the Opera Mini browser on your desktop including Windows, Linux and Mac because it is based on Java and will run on any system which supports Java. Here are the instructions on how you can run Opera Mini on your PC, courtesy My Opera and Kabatology.

Step 1: Download and extract the Micro Emulator to your PC.

Step 2: Download the Opera Mini (.jar and .jad) files to your PC from http://www.operamini.com.

Mobile Micro Emulator

Step 3: Navigate to the folder where you extracted the Micro Emulator and double-click on microemulator.jar. A new application should open up as seen in the screenshot above.

Select Resizable Devices

Step 4: Now go to "Options -> Select Devices" and select Resizable devices from the available options and click on the "Set as default" button, finally click on the Ok button.

Step 5: Now click on the "Resize" button and set your preferred size.

Opera Mini 5 on Desktop

Step 6: Now click on "File -> Open MIDlet File" and select the Opera Mini .jad file you downloaded earlier, once the file is loaded just click Start and you can start experiencing Opera mini on your desktop.

You can also use the emulator to run other J2ME apps on your desktop PC. Enjoy!!

Install Gnome 3 Shell in Ubuntu Karmic Koala [How To]

The Gnome 3 desktop for Linux is planned to be released in early 2010. But you can experience it in Ubuntu Karmic Koala through Gnome 3 Shell. We will show, how you can try out all the features of Gnome 3 thorugh Gnome 3 Shell.

Here is a screenshot of Gnome 3 shell:

Gnome 3 Shell

Step by step instructions:

  1. Open a Terminal and run this command to install the Gnome Shell:
  2. sudo apt-get install gnome-shell

  3. After the installation is complete, you can start it by running the following command in the Terminal:
  4. gnome-shell --replace

  5. If your graphics is rendered by the Intel GPU and you are getting a blank screen after running the previous command, you can fix it by running this command in the Terminal:
  6. export GNOME_SHELL_DISABLE_TFP=1

Note: Gnome Shell is still in the development stage and there is always a possibility that if may break some parts of your Ubuntu installation. We do not take any responsibility for that, and request you to try it on your own risk.

[Image Credit]

How to Enable Windows Media Player Taskbar Toolbar in Windows 7

If you have used past versions of Windows, you are probably familiar with the Windows Media Player taskbar toolbar (or taskband). The taskbar toolbar used to be triggered whenever Media Player was minimized and provided a quick and convenient way to control playback. Unfortunately, this feature was dumped in Windows Media Player 12, which ships with Windows 7. However, Justin from WinMatrix has found a way to enable Windows Media Player toolbar even in Windows 7.

Windows-Media-Player-12

  • You will first need to get a copy of the %programfiles%\Windows Media Player\wmpband.dll file from a WMP 11 installation. You can obtain it from your friend’s system or you can use the download links provided at the end of this post. Remember that you must copy from a system with the same OS architecture (i.e. 32 bit or 64 bit).
  • Paste this file in the %programfiles%\Windows Media Player directory.
  • Type services.msc in the Start Menu and hit Enter. Ensure that Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service is stopped.
  • Start command prompt as administrator by typing cmd in the Start Menu and pressing Ctrl+Shift+Enter.
  • Type regsvr32 “%programfiles%\Windows Media Player\wmpband.dll” and press Enter.
  • Restart the Windows Media Player Network Sharing service (if you had stopped it earlier on).
  • Windows-Media-Player-12

  • Run Windows Media Player and minimize it. Right click on an empty spot in the taskbar and select Toolbars –> Windows Media Player. Ignore the warning and you should get the Windows Media Player taskbar toolbar.

Install a FTP server in Windows 7 [How To]

If you already have a web server up and running, installing a FTP server along with it has many advantages. Using a FTP server, you can transfer files to and from your web server very easily.

We will show you, how you can install a FTP server in Windows 7. The FTP server installed in this way, will work perfectly fine with Windows IIS server.

Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Click and goto Start> Control Panel> Programs. Then click on Turn Windows features on or off.Installing FTP server in Windows 7
  2. Now you will get a list of many features. Each feature can be installed or uninstalled. You have to locate the option for Internet Information Services (IIS), and select FTP server. Click on Ok and wait for the installation to complete; it will take a considerable amount of time.Installing FTP server in Windows 7
  3. Now your FTP server will be installed. If you need to check that your FTP server is working properly or not, you can do so using a FTP client like Filezilla. To check, open your FTP client and try connecting to the server with following details:
    Hostname: localhost
    Port no: 21

If you have repeated the steps mentioned above correctly, you will have an easy and working FTP server installed in Windows 7.

For more useful How-To articles, keep checking Techie-Buzz regularly.

Image Credits