You know what I write in most days? Windows.

I like MarkdownPad because it’s simple. It lets me type away and see any styling in real-time. It shows the styles as I type.

It can do so much more than I need it to, but I ignore the extras and use it as a place for words. It’s free to use and $15 to upgrade and get a host of added, useful features like auto-saving and session-management.

It’s never crashed on me. knock wood. It’s a solid little app that does what I need it to do. I save files to .txt or .md and put them in Google Drive. I appreciate the app’s simplicity. It also pairs nicely with another app I love to write in.

Writemonkey is big, black canvas where I can put my words. There’s something about the black page and green text that reminds me of the old days of computing. It has a ton of options and plugins. But I use it as you see it. A big black page with lovely green text.

It feels comfortable to me. I am not saying this is the way all writing should be done. I am saying this works for me.

Find what works best for you and do it. I have found a color scheme and font that please me. It’s not a requirement for me to write. I don’t have to be seated just so with the proper writing tool in the perfect environment.

I just need time and head space to compose words. And these are the tools I’m using these days. On the Mac and iPhone, I have Byword set to the dark mode but I don’t remember the last time I used either.

This morning a friend Tweeted in horror that managing wireless profiles in Windows 8 required using the Command Line. Windows had decided to hand on to a wireless network so she couldn’t connect to a new access point.

I was shocked this was the method prescribed by Microsoft so I had to look. And she is right.

Some tasks, such as deleting a profile, must be done at the command
prompt. To do these tasks, open Command Prompt, and then type the
appropriate command from the following table.

Manage wireless network profiles – Windows Help

At the command prompt you need to type netsh wlan delete profile name=”ProfileName”. This is how you can remove a wireless profile in Windows 8. There had to be a better way.

And there is.

Up to Windows 7, previously connected wireless networks were saved and
viewable via the Preferred Wireless Network List, but this feature seems
to have been removed in Windows 8. Microsoft probably  removed it as
they have added a supposedly smart feature, that handles wireless
profiles by how much you connect to it.
WiFi Profile Manager 8: View Preferred Wireless Network Profiles in Windows 8

Wifi Profile Manager 8 is a freeware application released Lee Whittington for The Windows Club.

Wifi Profile Manager 8

The author notes some people have had success with the application while others have not. But if the command line scares you or if you think it’s absurd to have to use it to do something that was very easy in Windows 7, try it out.

Please top me if you’ve heard this one before.

I have _________ anti-virus installed on my computer but…

But I thought the subscription was up to date. It wasn’t and I got infected.
But I thought I had paid for protection. But I hadn’t and I got infected.
But I got a virus anyway because it wasn’t up to date.

Stop paying for Anti-Virus protection.

Microsoft has a product called Security Essentials. It’s free to download and install. The updates are free and they are pushed along with Windows Updates. You are installing Windows Updates at least once a week, right?

Download Microsoft Security Essentials.

This will keep your computer protected against viruses. Your updates will never stop. You never have to pay for them. As long as you’re updating your computer, your anti-virus will stay up to date too.

Stop paying for what you can get free. Don’t find yourself paying a local computer tech or bribing a family member to clean the virus off your computer. Don’t allow yourself to be without your computer because it’s infected.

Download Microsoft Security Essentials and don’t give it another thought.

I first learned Windows could hide desktop icons after answering Help Desk tickets. I would get calls and emails from people saying, ALL OF MY FILES ARE GONE!!! When I would get to their desk, sure enough, their desktop would be empty. Completely empty.

Now there are some people who keep a clean desktop, but even they have a couple of icons there. A folder or shortcut to something they often use. Or they’ve got a shortcut they’re unable to remove due to the lack of admin rights.

There are also uses for hiding the desktop’s icons. When I want to record a screen cast or capture screenshots without the clutter of my desktop, I will hide the icons to give it a much cleaner look.

Whether you’re trying to answer a help desk ticket, or simply want a clean desktop, it’s very simple to hide them.

Hide desktop icons

  1. Right click on your Desktop.
  2. Select View
  3. Under the drop down menu, uncheck Show desktop icons
  4. Enjoy an empty desktop.

To bring them back, repeat the first two steps and click Show desktop icons so there is a check mark next to them.

And now you know how to hide Windows desktop icons.

As a matter of profession and interest, I have always tried to keep current on both side of the Great Computer Divide. I have Windows running with my Mac at home. I support both and I’m fluent in both operating systems.

I try to keep up on the latest developments, ongoing issues, and a running list of interesting applications or ones that play nice across the divide.

Empty seats
Empty seats

And while the Mac is seemingly in a class by itself in terms of the quality and quantity of excellent software available for it, Windows is catching up. The biggest thing the Mac App Store ever did was to collect all the great applications in one place so the normal user could find and use them.

Windows is on its way there and given a few years, may have a competitive store. For now, seeking out great Windows applications is more difficult because there is no one go-to place to find them all.

Technibble is a one-stop shop for PC techs. I’ve found most of my tools from the site and it’s a great resource for all things related to computer repair and troubleshooting.

Another post place I refer to is Scott Hanselman’s Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List for Windows. It’s been a couple of years since he wrote one. But he just published his list for 2014.

While I am not a Windows developer, his list of Power User resources is second to none. It’s well worth the bookmark. I’ve found that even if it didn’t have the answer I was looking for at the time, I will often return to it and find something to fill a need I have later.

Thomas Brand got me thinking about it this morning. He makes the point in his excellent post Banished to Bootcamp.

I wish more technology enthusiasts would do the same. Using the product you love is not enough. You must first banish yourself to the alternative before you can confirm your beliefs.

Where are the great Windows writers? Maybe I’ve spent too much time in the Mac world so I know that circle better.

I know Paul Thurrott‘s out there. The podnutz network has some good Windows shows. But they’re for repairing and maintaining Windows. I don’t want to learn how to repair Windows.

Writemonkey and Haroopad are good markdown editors. Notepad2 one of my first changes to Windows once I get it installed. SyncBack is a wonderful file backup/sync tool and Scup recently filled a wish I had to take a screenshot and upload with one click. I should be better about writing up these finds and I intend to in the new year talk more about what I use and what I’ve found to do somthing I wanted ot needed.

I’m tuned into a good set of Mac power users who share tools and tips and tricks. But where are their Windows counterparts? Are we all slogging through the tech support trenches without the time or desire to write-up our finds? That’s certainly how I feel many days.