Stupid Windows Tricks – Taskbar Labels

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Tips and Tricks, Windows

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.

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Upgrading a Dell Venue 8 Pro to Windows 10

Posted 16 CommentsPosted in Dell, Windows, Windows 10

If you’re unable to get the automatic upgrade for Windows 10 to work with your Dell Venue 8 Pro, try using the Microsoft media creation tool to get there.  Depending on how much free space you have, an SD card may be required for the download to be stored.  The media creation tool will prompt you if you’re short on space for this operation.

For my upgrade, I opted to have the media creation tool and Windows 10 setup wipe everything so I could start fresh.  Since all of my important files, pictures, etc. are sync’d online, I wasn’t concerned about the loss of any local content.  This is probably not the case for most people, so back up your files before you start.  Note that although this was written with the Dell Venue 8 Pro in mind, this process works on an activated Windows 8.1 setup as well.  The key is it must be an activated instance of the operating system, or the tool will prompt you for the appropriate product key.

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What to do when SkyDrive takes a faceplant

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Windows

I have a number of machines that synchronize with SkyDrive.  Last week, things went sideways and one of my machines was reporting errors and quit synchronizing.  After the next reboot (which naturally fixes most issues), the SkyDrive application would initialize, trying to start processing the changes, and then do a faceplant in the form of a crash and generating an event in the event log like this:

skydrive_event

This looks and sounds bad.  I wasn’t sure how to resolve it, but it’s actually pretty simple.  There is a catalog or index of everything that is synched and it is stored on each machine in a hidden location.  You need to delete that file and restart SkyDrive.

After doing some searching, I found a thread on the Microsoft Help forums.  It’s as simple as deleting %localappdata%\Microsoft\SkyDrive\settings\3e2972b1aa909a0c.dat.  After you delete that, restart the SkyDrive client and you should be back in business.

Windows 8 in 3 minutes

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Windows

Quite honestly, having been in the TAP for Windows 8 and having logged a lot of time using the product, I was frustrated because I felt lost when it came to finding something or executing a task.

I shy away from the “Start” screen, the screen you see after you’re logged in to Windows 8.  As with a lot of people who have used the product, I saw this screen as something only useful to those who were running a tablet, and I found myself never leaving the “Desktop”, and trying to run Windows as I always had since the beginning.

I’m trying to get better at it, after all, I still use it everyday.  What I maybe find the most frustrating still, is the feeling of “who moved my cheese.”  It’s interesting I felt that way, cause at first, Scott Hanselman felt the same way.  Scott has a huge following in the development community, so I was interested to hear what he had to say about it.

About a week ago, Scott posted a video that intends to teach you the basics, or at least what you need to know (and understand to make sense of it) to get around Windows 8 on your desktop (not necessarily a tablet, Surface, etc.)

Scott’s blog post does a great job of covering the main aspects from a user perspective.  He also has a video (you’ll find that in the blog post too) that he created that gives you what you need to know about Windows 8 in 3 minutes.

Thanks to Scott for this valuable content.  I started my search this morning looking for “intro to Windows 8”, and this was by far the best find.

If you’re an IT Pro, or someone that manages (or will be managing) Windows 8 in your environment, then check out this free eBook from Microsoft Press which provides an introduction to this new OS.

Is Your PowerShell Slow to Start?

Posted 7 CommentsPosted in Development, PowerShell, Windows

I ran into a scenario last week where we had loaded the Compellent Storage Center Command Set for Windows PowerShell on a server.  When we launched the shell shortcut, the window opened but took a long time to get to a PowerShell command prompt.

So, what causes slow start-up when loading PowerShell?

The most common reason seems to be that machines experiencing this slowness are not connected to the Internet.

What?

Well, when Since PowerShell is loading the Compellent Command Set DLL externally, .NET has a security feature to check Microsoft’s CRL, or Certificate Revocation List.  This process verifies the authenticity and validity of the software publisher’s certificate.  If this check can’t reach the Internet, the process will time out after several minutes.  Now, this doesn’t prevent anything from loading (which seems odd), but it takes a couple minutes for a process that should take only a couple of seconds.

The easiest resolution at this point appears to allow Internet access to the server.  If that is not possible, you can disable the check for the publisher’s certificate revocation.  You can do this from Internet Explorer (or Control Panel, Internet Options) by clicking on Tools, Internet Options.  Under the Security section of the Advanced tab, uncheck “Check for publisher’s certificate revocation”.

image

NOTE: These type of security features are in place for a reason.  Take extreme caution when considering disabling these.