All the tips/hints/fixes/other information posted here are at your own risk. Some of the steps here could result in damage to your computer. For example, using a Windows registry editor like RegEdit could result in unintended serious changes that may be difficult or impossible to reverse. Backups are always encouraged.

25 May 2008

New Software Picks

Since moving to Vista, I have switched around my favorite programs. More are forthcoming, but I'm no longer featuring the following since they're better for XP:
  1. FolderICO
  2. FastStone Image Viewer
  3. ToolTipFixer
  4. Tweak UI

Beware If Taking the AHCI Plunge

With a recent BIOS update, I noticed a new option for AHCI vs. IDE mode. Even though Vista has support for this new supposedly feature-rich disk technology, those drivers are disabled after installation. Vista won't even boot after making the change in BIOS to AHCI unless you first do the following:
To resolve this issue, enable the AHCI driver in the registry before you change the SATA mode of the boot drive. To do this, follow these steps:
1.Exit all Windows-based programs.
2.Click Start, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.
3.If you receive the User Account Control dialog box, click Continue.
4.Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
5.In the right pane, right-click Start in the Name column, and then click Modify.
6.In the Value data box, type 0, and then click OK.
7.On the File menu, click Exit to close Registry Editor.
From KB 922976

24 May 2008

Restore Default NTFS, Etc. Permissions for Vista (and XP)

This was difficult to find online, so I thought I'd write a post about it. Here's the bottom line:

secedit /configure /cfg %windir%\inf\defltbase.inf /db defltbase.sdb /verbose

More info and instructions for XP: KB 313222

10 May 2008

Quickly Insert Unicode (Greek, Symbols, etc.) into Any Application

Perhaps someday I'll write one killer article all about AutoHotkey and how it can accelerate your productivity, but for now I'll just discuss one problem it can (help) solve: inputting special characters such as α or → with ease. I put "help" in quotation marks, because AHK does not have an easy, built-in way of inputting Unicode characters (yet), but it can do effective text auto-replace (a.k.a. hotstrings). There are several clever solutions on the AHK forums for the Unicode deficit (SendU, etc.), and here's mine:

Add the following string entry to the Registry for the Alt-Plus method of entering characters:
Key: HKCU\Control Panel\Input Method
String name: EnableHexNumpad
Value: 1
After a restart, you can enter Unicode characters by their hexadecimal value. [That's the alphanumeric number U+03c3 in the left part of the status bar in Character Map.] Hold down Alt and press the + key on the numeric pad and then the hex code for the character you want, without the leading zeroes if you like and then release the Alt key. Convoluted, huh? Here's a script that show's how to make light work of it with AHK: specialchar.ahk

With this kind of script running, "/alpha" immediately becomes "α"

Bonus tip: you can use a "raw" hotstring for faster entries:
#IfWinActive HiEditor ; or whatever editor you use for editing AHK scripts
#Hotstring R
::<<::{alt down}{numpadadd}
::>>::{alt up}
#Hotstring R0

BTW, I should mention that AHK has a {ASC nnnnn} function for the alt-numpad method of entering special characters, but it has 2 main problems: it can enter only the decimal and not the hexadecimal code for a character (which is fine for ASCII and ANSI but less convenient for Unicode), and only certain applications using the RichText framework can interpret Unicode characters entered this way (decimal).

08 May 2008

Uninstall a Service

If you want to delete/uninstall/remove a Windows service, perhaps left from an incomplete installer, you can use the sc command from an Administrator control prompt: sc delete [servicename]

04 May 2008

Folder2Junction now on Softpedia

Well, this is cool: