Posts filed under 'MS Windows'

How To Speed Up Microsoft Outlook

Repair your .pst file!

Rather than copy the instructions here, refer to How To Fix Your Broken PST File.

It’s not just for use when Outlook stops working – it’s a useful preventative action you should run occasionally to repair little problems before they become big problems. Anytime Outlook starts running slower than normal, give this a try.

March 11th, 2008

How To Disable Yellow Print Confirmation Popups In Windows

The Problem: When I send anything to my networked printer, Windows XP pops up a yellow confirmation bubble telling me the item printed. How can I turn that annoying option off?

The Solution: In Control Panel, choose Printers and Faxes. Click File, Server Properties, and select the Advanced tab. Near the bottom, uncheck the box for “Notify when remote documents are printed” and also uncheck the box for “Show informational notifications for network printers”.

In Vista, follow the same steps, but uncheck “Show informational notifications for network printers”.

5 comments March 9th, 2008

How To Stop Internet Explorer Opening Office Documents In The Browser

By default, Internet Explorer opens Excel and Word files within the browser window. This can be annoying if you want to work with them in the real applications. To get IE to always open these files using the correct application:

  • click Start >> Control Panel >> Folder Options
  • click on the File Types tab
  • find the XLS file type in the list and click on it
  • click on the Advanced button
  • uncheck the “Browse in same window” option
  • click OK to close the Edit File Type dialog
  • find the DOC file type and repeat the above three steps
  • click OK to close the Folder Options dialog

5 comments March 7th, 2008

Samsung SyncMaster 940UX 19″ LCD Supports Video Over USB

Here’s an interesting development. A company called DisplayLink has come up with a technique to send video over a USB link, rather than the conventional VGA or DVI. It doesn’t require an extra graphics card – it’s all done in the device driver.

Samsung’s SyncMaster 940UX 19″ LCD is the first monitor to use the technology, although competitors are sure to be hot on their heels. A couple of good reviews of the 940UX can be found here and here.

The video quality over USB is not quite as good as DVI, but it’s apparently a lot better than you might expect. It’d be fine for office apps, web browsing, etc, while you could still run full-screen video on your conventional DVI monitor.

A lot of people around the net are shrugging their shoulders and saying “so what?”. Just add another graphics card to your PC and you don’t need the fancy/expensive monitor, plus you’d get better performance.

I think they’re missing the point. This isn’t for the knowledgeable desktop user. It’s a simple way to add a second monitor to an office PC without needing to open it up. It’s an easy option to add a second external display to a laptop. It’s a way to add a second monitor to small-footprint PCs that don’t have room for another graphics card.

The DisplayLink site has more information that promises some very interesting future products. Using the same techniques as the USB interface, they can send video over ethernet, WiFi, and wireless USB. FireWire wouldn’t be hard, if they found a need. A really interesting product idea is their USB-to-DVI dongle – you wouldn’t need a monitor that supports DisplayLink, as the dongle would convert the USB signal to standard DVI for display on the monitor.

A wireless version of this would be fantastic for conference room projectors. You’d just plunk your laptop on the desk and display stuff on the projector without any messing about with cables.

I’d love a dongle that could convert from wireless USB or WiFi (or even ethernet) to a standard TV signal. Then I could output video from my laptop on the lounge to the TV across the room without having to drag a cable across the floor. Nirvana!

The DisplayLink USB interface currently supports Windows XP and Vista – no word yet on an OS X driver, so Apple users will have to wait to see what develops. This does now look like the most likely way I’ll get to run a second external monitor from my MacBook, though.

August 29th, 2007

Taskbar Shuffle – Windows Software

Is it overly geeky to want to rearrange the order of the applications in your Windows taskbar?

I’ve installed Taskbar Shuffle to do this. You simply drag and drop to arrange their ordering.

On my PC at work, I tend to have many windows open at the same time – email, todo list, multiple telnet sessions, multiple browsers, Framemaker, Visio, multiple Explorer windows, etc. Keeping related windows together helps me switch between tasks and work more efficiently.

Taskbar Shuffle also lets you rearrange system tray icons, but I’ve never bothered doing that.

July 18th, 2007


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