Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

Dell Storage Volume Cleanup with PowerShell

If you’re new to PowerShell with Dell Storage, be sure to take a look at this post.  Depending upon the size of system that your managing, over the course of time, you might have experienced some challenges in managing disk resources, especially if you’re using an array in a lab-type environment.

Here’s an easy way to inventory volume objects on your SC Series array which are not currently mapped, and also find out how much actual space they’re consuming. Continue reading

Stupid Windows Tricks – Taskbar Labels

I actually stumbled across this setting recently, and it reminded me of a Windows “throwback”.  It seems to simple, but I forgot that things actually used to be like this.

Somewhere along the way, probably with Windows 7, Microsoft started to try to utilize the taskbar space more efficiently.  With that, you saw the use of combined taskbar icons, meaning that if you had three separate documents opened in Word, you’d see a single Word icon in the taskbar, but see that there were icons/instances “combined” underneath it and also the text label for the icon was hidden or collapsed.  This saves screen real estate, but can make it harder to know what is open at a glance.

Continue reading

Stupid Mouse Tricks with the Dell XPS13

I love my Dell XPS13.  It’s by far my favorite machine ?that Dell has created.  Prior to the acquisition of Compellent by Dell, I regularly used a MacBook Pro as my primary machine for both home and work.  I like using the Mac OS, but I found the hardware to be my favorite.  Battery life was better than most PC notebooks I had used, and "things just worked."  Although I used a Mac, most of my work was with Windows applications so I either made use of Parallels or VMware Fusion.  I had gotten used to the MacBook Pro trackpad and the use of gestures.  Being able to scroll with two fingers, click with one finger, or right-click with a two finger tap.  It made the trackpad much more enjoyable to use.

?When I got my XPS13, the hardware was such a change from what I had been accustomed to with previous Dell laptops.  The craftsmanship was much improved, and overall the experience reminded me of using a Mac.

Let’s get to the point of this post.  The XPS13 trackpad supports one finger tap to click.  It also has lots of multi-finger gestures, but the one that seems to be missing is two finger tap to right-click.  Doing a little online search, I found that Cypress (the brand of trackpad in the XPS13), had special registry settings that enabled this functionality.  The keys were actually already in the registry and just had to be enabled…Or at least I thought it would be that easy.

I tried turning on the following values in the registry (Set to 1)

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Cypress TrackPad Driver\Gestures\2FTap
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Cypress TrackPad Driver\Physical\TwoFingerRightTapClickEnabled
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Cypress TrackPad Driver\Physical\TwoFingerRightTapClickGui

Even after a reboot, these keys didn’t seem to make sense.  I tried this with several versions of the XPS13 Cypress driver to no avail.

Further research found that the XPS15z ?uses the same type of trackpad with a different driver from 2011.  It also happened that this driver supports the registry keys above.

If you?’re interested in enabling this functionality, you can find the XPS15z Cypress Trackpad driver here.

Remember, running the XPS15z trackpad driver on the XPS13 is probably not going to be to supported by Dell, so run this as your own risk.

Cleaning Your Dirty Keyboard

I have a Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro that is probably close to 10 years old and really until last night was starting to show it’s age.  Dust, dirt, and grime (and probably several strains of H1N1) had gathered on the majority of the keys and the wrist rest.  Things were so grimy that no level of computer cleaner would take it off; no matter how hard I would scrub.

I had read online all the different options for cleaning keyboards including popping all the keys off (take a picture of it before you start) and wash them in the silverware basket, to using harsh straight alcohol and a toothbrush.  The other method I had seen quite a bit was throwing it in the dishwasher.  A little scary, but I figured it was worth a try.

I put the keyboard in the top rack.  It seems like the temperature and proximity of the heat source would cause problems if I placed on the bottom rack.  I wasn’t willing to have to scrape a heap of plastic out of the bottom of the dishwasher, or worst case, have to buy a new dishwasher.  Also, the extreme heat could cause the case of the keyboard to warp.


Here are a couple of pointers when it comes to using your dishwasher for cleaning your keyboard:

1. If you really, really love your keyboard and don’t want to risk wrecking it – then don’t wash it in the dishwasher.  There is a chance that it may not work when it is done.

2. Wash alone.

3. Use only about 1 tbsp of dishwasher detergent.  Less is more in this case.  For reference, I used Cascade Complete powder detergent.

4. After washing, shake the keyboard out and dry as thoroughly as possible with a towel.  Then place it keys down on a towel to finish drying for a couple of days.  Don’t plug it in till it has completely dried.  If you lack patience, refer to Pointer #1.

5. I didn’t do this, but others have also recommended to drill a couple of small drain holes.

I was really impressed with the outcome.  I am still waiting for it to completely dry, but the washing definitely makes it look like a new keyboard and given me a new germ-free surface for typing.  I wish I would’ve taken a picture of the grossness before I started.

Update (11/12/2009)

I waited about four days and the keyboard was completely dried out.  I plugged it in and everything worked flawlessly.

Tip: Connect to Console Session with RDP for Mac

There is no option in the preferences to connection to the console session of Windows machine from Remote Desktop Connection for Mac. So how do you do it?

It’s pretty simple. Just add ‘/console’ after the name of the server that you specify to connect to.