Deleting unwanted entries from the “New” submenu of Windows Explorer

 Batch, Windows  Comments Off on Deleting unwanted entries from the “New” submenu of Windows Explorer
Apr 092019
 

Microsoft Office has the annoying habit of adding itself to various places in the Windows user interface. One of them is the popup menu of the Windows Explorer. It adds one entry for each of the installed programs to the “New” submenu.

Have you ever used them? I have only used that submenu for creating folders, shortcuts and text files, but never ever (apart from trying it once I think) for creating new MS Office documents.

So I have removed these entries several times (every time having to google the process) but every update recreates the entries and today I’ve had enough.

So here is a cmd file which will delete them (works for Office 2016 only). You will have to run it as administrator to work.

@echo off
echo This batch file will delete the Registry entries for
echo the "New" submenu of Windows Explorer
echo added by MS Office 2016.
echo This batch file must be run as Administrator.
echo Continue?
pause
reg delete HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.docx\Word.Document.12\ShellNew /f
reg delete HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.xlsx\Excel.Sheet.12\ShellNew /f
reg delete HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.pptx\PowerPoint.Show.12\ShellNew /f
pause

download link

It uses the built in reg command. The /f switch forces the deletion without confirmation. Maybe you want to remove it.

As always: Check any exectuable code you download from the Internet! It might damage your computer.

 Posted by on 2019-04-09 at 11:27

How to defeat useful tools

 Windows  Comments Off on How to defeat useful tools
Apr 042019
 

Sizer is a very useful tool for sizing and positioning windows. It adds a right click menu to a window’s title bar where you can select one of multiple configured window sizes and positions. It also displays the current window size while you are resizing it by dragging its frame.

Now, why would somebody try to defeat the usability of this tool?

Because they can?

Google and Mozilla did exactly that: By moving the tab bar into the window title. In Chrome, Thunderbird and Firefox right clicking on the title bar no longer brigs up the Sizer menu. In Chrome at least clicking on the window frame still gets this menu. Both browsers also prevent the size display while dragging the frame which at least works for Thunderbird.

And now guess which windows I would like to use Sizer the most?

Some software developers should be shot, just so they don’t have a bad influence on others.

(Since nowadays it apparently is necessary to explicitly say that: No, I don’t want anybody to take this as an ecouragement to commit a felony or act of terror.)

 Posted by on 2019-04-04 at 10:16

Don’t give the user any information!

 Windows, Windows 10, Windows 7  Comments Off on Don’t give the user any information!
Mar 282019
 

… seems to be the motto of Microsoft.

How else can you explain that a recent update of Windows 7 and Windows 10, that broke older versions of one of our programs (no idea yet what exactly is the problem, but the error code indicates an out of memory error) has different effects.

Windows 7 shows a dialog that the program could not be started and even gives some additional information. But that’s not good enough, the user could be irritated by telling him a program has crashed. So Windows 10 goes a step further and simply does … nothing. The program starts (as you can verify in the task manager), but nothing appears on the screen.

If you have administrator privileges, you can look into the event log (If know how to do that). If you haven’t or don’t know how to, you are lost.

<sarcasm>Great feature, guys!</sarcasm>

 Posted by on 2019-03-28 at 16:04

DeltaChat Messenger

 Android, Linux, Windows  Comments Off on DeltaChat Messenger
Jan 272019
 

DeltaChat is a messenger that uses email as the transport medium, so potentially almost everybody already has an account for it. Today, a they announced a new release, not only for the existing Android app but also for Desktop (Mac and Linux only so far) and iOS.

I think that is a very interesting project since it does not require yet another central server. It also supports encryption using the Autocrypt Level 1 standard, if both ends use DeltaChat. It is possible to use the same protocol (but without encryption) between DeltaChat and a regular email program.

In my tests with the older Android release it worked well. I created a new email address specifically for DeltaChat. That’s what I would suggest to everybody who wants to use it. I plan to replace Google Hangouts with DeltaChat when Hangouts gets shut down later this year. But I would need a Windows client first.

 Posted by on 2019-01-27 at 13:06

Completely disable Windows 10 telemetry collection

 Windows, Windows 10  Comments Off on Completely disable Windows 10 telemetry collection
Jan 072019
 

So I don’t forget: According to an article in c’t magazine, disabling the “DiagTrack” service (“Connected User Experience and Telemetry”) will completely disable user tracking in Windows 10. They also say that they did not see any negative effects.

Source: Telefonierverbot in c’t 01/2019 page 172 (in German)

 Posted by on 2019-01-07 at 15:57

If Ctrl+Alt+F8 disables your secondary monitor

 Windows  Comments Off on If Ctrl+Alt+F8 disables your secondary monitor
Nov 182018
 

I just pressed Ctrl+Alt+F8 and wondered why all of a sudden my secondary monitor went blank. Turns out that this is a “Feature” of the Intel HD graphics driver.

It restores the graphics default.

And since it is such a great feature, you can’t disable or customize this hotkey. Great work Intel!

Again StackOverflow was helpful. It also provided a workaround: Using AutoHotkey you catch that hotkey to do something else, e.g. show a dialog. And since I already use AutoHotkey, I added the following to my default script:

; Disable the shortcut of the Intel Graphics driver for resetting the graphics settings
; Whoever came up with this functionality and made it impossible to disable the shortcut
; is an idiot!
^!f8::msgbox, You hit Ctrl+Alt+F8 which would have reset the Intel graphics card settings to default.
 Posted by on 2018-11-18 at 16:52

USB tethering a OnePlus One phone to Windows XP

 Android, Windows  Comments Off on USB tethering a OnePlus One phone to Windows XP
Jun 102018
 

For whatever reason my old Windows XP netbook doesn’t connect to our holiday flat’s WIFI while my OnePlus One Android phone does. So I thought I’d simply tether it to the Netbook via USB to get around this problem. I tried that before with other phones and other computers and don’t remember ever having a problem. This time I got a prompt to install a driver for a rndis device, which failed because I had no Internet connection (It might also have failed if I had one but I couldn’t try.)

So I turned to Google and found multiple posts suggesting to download a tetherxp.inf file and simply use that to install the drivers which apparently are already available in a standard Windows XP installation.

I downloaded that file from one of the links, put it in an empty folder and tried to install it. No luck. It took me a while to find this post on quora, which contains an additional point:

4. Now this is where some of you will get lost, you need to open up the tetherxp.inf file with your favorite code editor (Start->Run->Wordpad). Create a new line below “[AndroidDevices.NT.5.1]” containing your Device Instance Id.

This turned out to be the important part: The tetherxp.inf file contained entries for several widely used phones, but of course not for my rather rare one, so I had to add two lines to it:

[AndroidDevices]
; OnePlus One without adb
%AndroidDevice%    = RNDIS, USB\VID_05C6&PID_676A

[AndroidDevices.NT.5.1]
; OnePlus One without adb
%AndroidDevice%    = RNDIS.NT.5.1, USB\VID_05C6&PID_676A

The part after “USB\” is taken from the details pane of the “rndis” device in the hardware manager.

After adding these two lines I switched back to the “Driver” tab and clicked “Install Driver”. In the following Wizard, I selected “No, not this time” -> “Next” -> “Install from a list or specific location” -> “Next” -> “Don’t search, I’ll choose the driver to install” -> “Next” -> “Have Disk” -> “Browse”. Then I selected the modified tetherxp.inf file and pressed “Open” and “OK” and “Next” again. I then had to tell Windows to ignore that the “Driver” was not digitally signed to finally really get it to install it.

Diesmal funktioniert alles. (Spliff, “Computer sind doof”).

 Posted by on 2018-06-10 at 21:55

VirtualBox and Windows 8.1: This 64-bit application couldn’t load because your PC doesn’t have a 64-bit processor

 Windows, Windows 8.1  Comments Off on VirtualBox and Windows 8.1: This 64-bit application couldn’t load because your PC doesn’t have a 64-bit processor
Aug 172017
 

I just moved a Windows 8.1 installation in Virtual Box from one computer to another. When booting up, Windows told me:

This 64-bit application couldn’t load because your PC doesn’t have a 64-bit processor

The host computer is an Intel Xeon CPU which definitely is a 64 bit CPU (the previous computer was an older AMD 6 core CPU which was also 64 bit).

Oddly enough I could not find any solution on the interweb tubes (my Google fu seems to have weakened or maybe Google search isn’t as helpful as it used to be because it tries to guess what the user is searching for rather than simply searching for what he has typed).

It took me a while to figure out what the problem was: For some reason the virtual machine’s configuration had changed on the “General” -> “Basic” page from Version = “Windows 8.1 (64-bit)” to “Windows 7 (32-bit)”. Which apparently means that the CPU reported to the OS is a 32 bit CPU. Changing this back to the original value solved the problem.

 Posted by on 2017-08-17 at 16:55

Adding a Windows 8.1 computer to a SAMBA domain

 Windows, Windows 8.1  Comments Off on Adding a Windows 8.1 computer to a SAMBA domain
Jun 262017
 

Note to self: If adding a Windows 8.1 computer to a SAMBA domain fails with the error “The specified domain either does not exist or could not be contacted” the following changes to the Registry might help:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\LanmanWorkstation\Parameters]
; Enable NT-Domain compatibility mode
; Default:
; [value not present]
; "DomainCompatibilityMode"=-
"DomainCompatibilityMode"=dword:00000001

; Disable required DNS name resolution
; Default:
; [value not present]
; "DNSNameResolutionRequired"=-
"DNSNameResolutionRequired"=dword:00000000


[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\Netlogon\Parameters]
; Disable requirement of signed communication
; My Samba (3.0.33) works with signed communication enabled, so no need to disable it.
; Default:
; "RequireSignOrSeal"=dword:00000001
; Disable the usage of strong keys
; Default:
; "RequireStrongKey"=dword:00000001
"RequireStrongKey"=dword:00000000

source: the answer from gigiga in the social.technet.microsoft.com forum.

 Posted by on 2017-06-26 at 12:13

SyncThing for Android

 Android, Windows  Comments Off on SyncThing for Android
May 282017
 

I blogged about SyncThing before, when BitTorrentSync started to annoy the hell out of me. SyncThing is an open source tool for synchronizing directory trees between different devices without requiring a cloud service (it needs a discovery server though in order to actually find these devices).

There is also an Android app for it as well as a tool called Anyplace Sync Browser that does not sync but allows you to selectively download files from SyncThing directories to your phone.

Unfortunately SyncThing is far from easy to install and configure. It seems easy when you read the documentation (OK, not easy, really, it’s too technical for the average user and is missing a lot of information for professionals) but if anything goes wrong, you are on your own. And something goes wrong every so often, especially when there is an update.

By default, it is a console program that runs in the background (daemon) and on Windows can be made into a service by using e.g. NSSM – the Non-Sucking Service Manager. Configuration is then done via a web interface provided by that program. But there are also native GUI front ends.

The Android app also comes with a UI, but that GUI is atrocious. I have rarely seen a tool with so confusing a UI.

On the bright side, there are programs for Windows, any flavor of Unix you can think of and the aforementioned Android App. When it works, it is great.

I use it for:

  • Sync photos from my phone one way to my desktop PC
  • Sync text files with notes and checklists both ways between my pone and my desktop PC

So, even though I think it is overly complicated, I still like the idea and am using it.

 Posted by on 2017-05-28 at 13:44