Carl T. Holscher fights for the customers.

Tag: Windows Page 1 of 3

You may have seen Janet Jackson can crash your laptop, but has it ever played classical music at random?

In trying to help a friend with computer troubles remotely, I jokingly asked if he was playing Janet Jackson albums near his laptop. He thought I was joking but no. Computers and requencies are weird. Rhythm Nation has the power to crash computers (with spinning hard drives.)

It turns out that the song contained one of the natural resonant frequencies for the model of 5400 rpm laptop hard drives that they and other manufacturers used.

The manufacturer worked around the problem by adding a custom filter in the audio pipeline that detected and removed the offending frequencies during audio playback.

Janet Jackson had the power to crash laptop computers – The Old New Thing
Careful playing near old hard drives.

This reminded me of the time in college I had a roommate who’s computer would play classical music at random. One of the weirdest things I’ve ever encountered in my years of computing.

I had to look for an archived version of this support article because it last affected Windows 2000. (Which was like, 7 years ago, right?)

During normal operation or in Safe mode, your computer may play “Fur Elise” or “It’s a Small, Small World” seemingly at random. This is an indication sent to the PC speaker from the computer’s BIOS that the CPU fan is failing or has failed, or that the power supply voltages have drifted out of tolerance. This is a design feature of a detection circuit and system BIOSes developed by Award/Unicore from 1997 on.

Microsoft KB Archive/261186 – BetaArchive Wiki

Credit to fuzzynyanko on reddit for linking to a video of this in action.

Windows Writing Environments

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.

Remove Windows 8 Wireless Profiles an easier way

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.

Microsoft Security Essentials

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.

Windows Quick Tip – How to hide desktop icons

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.

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