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  1. Windows 10 hacks: 11 hidden tricks to master after you upgrade. Your guide to taking screenshots, shutting down background apps and a useful battery-saving tip Whether you've been using Windows 10 for years or have only recently upgraded, there are plenty of new and old tips, tricks and hidden features to learn that will make using your laptop every day faster and smoother. For example, finding the secret Start menu and saving battery power with a simple trick. Microsoft doesn't typically publicize its hidden features the way Apple does, which can make it more difficult to know how to get the most out of the machine you use day in and day out. Even learning how to upgrade to Windows 10 for free can be tricky. You'll want to do this ASAP, by the way, since support for Windows 7 ended in January. So no matter which Microsoft, Dell, HP or other Windows 10 rig you have, these clever tips will help you stay organized and get more done. Plus, here's everything you need to know about the upcoming Windows 10 April 2020 update. All the latest tech news delivered to your inbox. It's FREE!1. Minimize all windows except the active one If your desktop screen has gotten too crowded with open windows, you can quickly minimize them all except the one you are currently working in. Just click the title bar of the window you want to remain open to select it. Then, hold the mouse down and move the window back and forth quickly -- shaking it, essentially. After a couple of quick shakes, all other open windows will minimize, leaving only the one you've shaken open. Neat, huh? 2. Open the 'secret' Start menu You know that to get to the Start menu, you hit the Windows icon at the bottom left of the screen or on your keyboard. But Windows 10 includes a lesser-known second Start menu that makes accessing important features like the Command Prompt, the Control Panel and the Task Manager much easier. You can access it two different ways, either by pressing the Windows key + X, or right click the Windows icon/Start button. 3. Create an event without opening the Calendar app Windows 10's latest update lets you quickly add events to your Microsoft calendar directly from your Taskbar -- without actually having to open the calendar at all. Here's how to do it: 1. On your Taskbar, click the box with the time and date in it in the right corner. 2. Click the date when you want to schedule an event. 3. Enter the event name, time and location. (If you have multiple calendars, click the down arrow next to the event name field to choose the one you want to add it to.) 4. Click save. The event should appear in your Calendar app across your devices. 4. Take a screenshot I know, it's a basic one -- but it's amazing how easy it is to forget how to take a screenshot on your laptop or desktop when you don't do it often. There are at least eight different ways you can take a screenshot with Windows 10. If you want to capture and save a picture of your entire screen, the easiest way is to hit the Windows key + Print Screen key, and that picture will be saved to the Pictures > Screenshots folder. To capture just one part of your screen, hit the Windows key + Shift + S to open a tool called Snip & Sketch, which allows you to click and drag to create a screenshot, which is saved to your Clipboard. 5. Open items on your Taskbar with keyboard shortcuts If you've pinned programs to your Taskbar at the bottom of your screen to create a shortcut, you don't have to click the icons to open them. Instead, use the keyboard shortcut Windows key + [Number key], with the number key corresponding to the position of the program on the Taskbar. For example, Windows key + 2 will open the second item on the Taskbar. This is especially useful if you're typing furiously and don't want to lift your fingers from the keyboard. It may feel more natural to reach for the Windows key. 6. Figure out how much space apps are taking up Computers start running slower as they grow short on space. One quick way to speed them up may be to get rid of apps that take up more space than they should, especially if you don't regularly use them. To see how much space an app uses, navigate to Settings > System > Storage. Click on the drive you want to search (likely the local storage, "This PC"), and click Apps & games to see a list of apps installed on your machine and how much space they are taking up. You probably won't get rid of your browser, but you might find that a game you haven't played in years is some good dead weight to drop. 7. Get rid of ads in your Start menu When you run Windows 10 with default settings, you may sometimes see apps on the right side of your Start menu. Microsoft calls them "suggestions," but they are actually ads for Windows Store apps you can buy. To get rid of the ads in your Windows 10 Start menu, go to Settings > Personalization > Start. Toggle the setting called Show suggestions occasionally in Start to the off position. 8. Shut down background apps Apps that run in the background can receive info, send notifications, and stay updated, even when you aren't using them -- which can be useful, but can also suck your battery and your data, if you're connecting via a mobile hotspot. To control which apps are running in the background and save some battery power and data, go to Settings > Privacy > Background apps. To stop all apps from running in the background, toggle Let apps run in the background to Off. Or, you can choose which apps to run in the background individually by going down the list on the same page. 9. Use background scrolling With Windows 10, you can scroll up and down on any window -- even if it's not the one you're directly working in. This is a useful tool when you have a lot of windows open that you want to look through at the same time -- for example, if you want to open new sub-menu options in new windows to save you time clicking back and forward on the same page. Try opening two programs -- say, an internet browser page and a notepad or Word document. Arrange both on the screen so you can see at least some of the text on each. While you are in one window, hover your mouse or use the touchpad to move to the second window, and scroll. Even though you aren't active in that window, it should allow you to move up and down the page. The feature should be on by default, but if it isn't, go to Settings > Devices > Mouse, and toggle Scroll inactive windows when I hover over them to On. Then you can place your mouse over a window that's in the background and use the scroll wheel to scroll. 10. Show file extensions in File Explorer Microsoft hides file extensions by default, which makes life difficult for people who need to look for specific types of files, like JPEGs and JPGs. To see file extensions in File Explorer, do the following: 1. Go to the Search bar at the bottom of the screen, and type in File Explorer Options, and click it. (There are a number of other ways to get here too, but that one seems fastest.) 2. In the window that pops up, click the View tab. 3. Uncheck the box that says Hide extensions for known file types. Click Apply, and OK. You should now see file extensions for all files in the File Explorer. You can also use the File Explorer Options menu to choose to show empty drives, hidden files and folders, and more. 11. Cut down on distractions with Focus assist It's frustrating to try and get work done when you keep getting interrupted with notifications. You can determine how many you get with Focus assist, a tool Windows 10 added in the April 2018 update. Set it up by going to Settings > System > Focus assist. Choose from three options: Off (get all notifications from your apps and contacts), Priority (see only selected notifications from a priority list that you customize, and send the rest to your action center), and Alarms only (hide all notifications, except for alarms). You can also choose to automatically turn this feature on during certain hours, or when you're playing a game. Source
  2. A behind-the-scenes look at the cat and mouse game played by publishers and devs Analysis Netizens may choose to block unwanted content – such as intrusive and misbehaving ads – but some advertising companies do not to accept that choice. Instart Logic describes itself as a content delivery service and much of that content happens to be advertising. The California-based biz is determined to help its clients present online ads despite the technical choices made by internet users to avoid that content – adverts bypassing ad blockers, in other words. The company's technology disguises third-party network requests so they appear to be first-party network requests. This allows ad services used by website publishers to place cookies and serve ads that would otherwise by blocked by the browser's same-origin security model. Raymond Hill, who maintains the popular uBlock Origin content blocker, on Wednesday updated his uBO-Extra add-on software to prevent Instart Logic's code from bypassing uBlock Origin. In an explanatory note on UBO-Extra's GitHub repository, Hill describes UBO-Extra as follows: "To foil hostile anti-user mechanisms used to work around content blockers or even privacy settings in a browser." It defends against anti-content-blocking code, in other words. Efforts to push back against content blocking have taken on greater urgency as adoption has increased. Last year, the technology became more of an issue for mobile devices when Apple introduced support for a Content Blocking API in its Safari browser. According to PageFair, a digital publishing consultancy, content blocking grew 30 per cent last year and is now practiced by 11 per cent of internet users around the globe. Facebook last year took steps to disable content blocking on its network, and companies like Instart Logic, PageFair, Sourcepoint, and Uponit aim to provide similar anti-blocking capabilities to other online publishers. Uponit provides publishing clients with JavaScipt code that attempts to bypass content blocking. "Our JavaScript detects all blocked ad calls, fully recreates them (including targeting) and communicates them to our servers through a secure, undetectable channel that bypasses ad blockers," the company explains on its website. According to Hill, Instart Logic's code attempts to conceal the way it disguises cookie files. "Instart Logic will detect when the developer console opens, and cleanup everything then to hide what it does," he says. Detecting when a browser developer console is open for the purpose of concealing code from the technically inclined has been flagged as a bug in Chromium. 'Hostile' "I consider this to be extremely hostile to users, even those not using a content blocker, as it allows third-party servers to read/write cookies even if a user chose to block third-party cookies," Hill explains. Luke Mulks, a developer who works on the Brave browser, reports Instart's code also detects network analysis tools Wireshark and Charles Proxy. Attempts to bypass content blocking decisions turn out to be fairly common. Hill sees websites increasingly turning to the WebRTC API to bypass content blockers. In a phone interview with The Register, Peter Blum, VP product management at Instart Logic, said there's a battle going on between "quality publishers like The Register" and people who block ads. "The problem has been over the past few years, the amount of people coming in with ad blockers has risen dramatically," he said. "If it keeps up, it's going to put publishers out of business and it's going to cost reporters their jobs." Blum said other approaches haven't worked. Most people won't pay for content and they ignore polite requests from websites to disable ad blockers. And he said companies like Eyeo that make ad blocking software and sell advertisers access through whitelisting make some publishers uncomfortable. "What we do is we work with publishers to help them create a better experience," said Blum, who attributes the desire to block ads to companies that market obnoxiously. There are other reasons people cite, such as security, privacy, bandwidth, page load time, disinterest, a desire not to be manipulated, and fundamental antipathy to an industry does not guarantee the effectiveness of its product. Asked to address how his company rationalizes overriding the technical decisions of users who have expressed their preference not to see ads by deploying a content blocker, Blum demurred by suggesting that was up to publishers. "We provide this tool and we let the publishers have a lot of control over how they use it," he said. "I don't really get into it. We give the publishers a bunch of options." It is perhaps worth noting that Google did something similar several years ago when it ignored content settings in Apple's Safari browser to place tracking cookies. The FTC fined Google $22.5 million – a paltry sum for the company – but the Chocolate Factory's sin was going back on a previous promise to avoid such behavior rather than, say, hacking Safari users. Asked why Instart Logic attempts to conceal the activity of its software when a browser's developer console is active, Blum cited the open nature of JavaScript code and said, "Like other companies we just want to protect our IP." Article source
  3. From finding information on vintage synths to finding scores to aiding DIY projects, DuckDuckGo could give you a reason to dump Google for search. First – DuckDuckWhat? DuckDuckGo is an independent, privately owned search engine. It can be a drop-in replacement for search like Google. And it’s now a default option in browsers like Firefox and Safari, and easy to add to others – even on mobile. I’ve been using it for a couple of years now and rarely turning back to Google, and for anyone who knows me, I’m a very heavy search user. DuckDuckGo has a number of characteristics that set it apart from competitors. Privacy is the big selling point the service likes to advertise, in the form of anonymity and (optional) advertisements that work without using tracking. Privacy concerns aside, there’s reason to appreciate the fact that search results lack personalization. While we normally think of personalization as a good thing, with search, there’s some advantage to seeing generic results, not weighted to your own previous searches. It can create a filter bubble and prevent you from seeing new information. But, okay, that’s not a whole lot of fun. So let’s instead try some tricks with DuckDuckGo that make it really useful for electronic musicians. Some of this is possible with Google, to be sure, but part of what makes DuckDuckGo a unique alternative is its community engagement. There are tools for creating custom integrations, clever original content pages, resources for developers, and even open source-licensed access to some of the code that makes the search engine work. Oh, yeah, and there’s a dark theme. (Not music-specific, but necessary to me.) 1. Get formatted Wikipedia offerings – including on gear. Wikipedia structures meta-information in a way that makes it really easy to read, and if you look for a classic synth, for instance, you reap the benefits, like so: (I just tried that in Google – no dice.) 2. Look up vintage synths quickly, with a bang. DDG also offers the ability to search particular sites directly with a shortcut, called a “bang.” https://duckduckgo.com/bang There’s one for the ever-useful Vintage Synth Explorer. Just type !vse followed by your query. 3. Find music chord diagrams. Enter a chord, get a diagram by instrument. Details: https://duck.co/ia/view/chord_diagrams 4. Convert frequencies and musical pitches. There are actually several features in DuckDuckGo that handle this sort of data. If you enter any frequency in Hz, you’ll get some conversion tools. (There’s even supposed to be some functionality with frequency spectrum, though that wasn’t working for me as I wrote this.) But the most useful for musicians is the ability to convert between pitch and frequency. Enter “Note Frequency Of E4” and you get the conversion in Hz. Note, again, the utility of having Wikipedia answers pop up. (Google normally gives you ads instead. Ahem.) 5. Find resistors for electronics projects. Type in colors, (“Red Yellow White Gold Resistor” or “Resistor Red Yellow White”), and get values. Or type in values, and get colors. And since this works on mobile, too, it’s worth keeping DuckDuckGo at the ready on your phone while working. For more advanced projects, you’ll also find tools like binary logic operations and a binary/ASCII converter. 6. Access a rhyming dictionary and write some lyrics. I’m up for a songwriting project after all that other stuff. Just type in “rhyme” and the word you want to rhyme, and you get a rhyming dictionary. (“rhyme orange” sadly returns nothing – sorry. Everything else works, though.) … and find lots of other surprises. DuckDuckGo is packed with knowledge about where to look for answers to music theory questions, information about musical artists, easy links to audio and video (especially via SoundCloud and YouTube, respectively), and lots of other musical information. It’s also clearly made by nerds, for nerds, with really useful results when you look up, for instance, GitHub projects, you get useful results. (There’s some nice data on our own MeeBlip hardware synth, for instance!) And so that’s another reason to use DuckDuckGo – you get regular, clever surprises, because the people running the service and the wider community developing for it are constantly inventing stuff. You get that from Google, too, but always with some strong commercial flavor. It’s cool when that service anticipates what you want to do, but a lot of times it feels like it’s trying to sell you something in the process. DDG feels like it was built just by other people who love using the Internet. With that in mind, if you come up with your own tool or know some interesting tricks, we’d love to hear about it. https://duckduckgo.com/ Article source
  4. Thanks for the info
  5. Hi, this is for Windows 8 and 8.1 Anyone know of a way to remove the default checkmark (tick) from the tick box labled "use this app for all (extension) files" within the "How do you want to open this type of file?" dialog box? (found by using "open with, choose default program..." right-click context menu in file explorer) By default this box is always checked, and creates unintended file associations if you do not uncheck it before choosing a program Would be less of a nag if it defaulted as unchecked, as in this image: thanks for any solutions found! p.s. for perspective, in older versions you could do this: http://www.askvg.com/how-to-enable-disable-always-use-the-selected-program-to-open-this-kind-of-file-option-in-open-with-dialog-box/
  6. hitminion

    Useful Registry Hacks

    1- Prevent Windows Update from Forcibly Rebooting Your Computer Open up regedit.exe through the start menu search box or run dialog and navigate down to the following key creating new keys if they don’t exist HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU Create a new 32-bit DWORD value named NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers and give it a value of 1 to prevent automatic reboot while users are logged on. Delete the value to put things back to the way they were. Or just download and extract the registry hack files and double-click on WUNoAutoReboot.reg to disable automatic reboots. The other script will remove the hack. 2- Add "Open with Notepad" to the Context Menu for All Files Open regedit.exe through the start menu search or run box and then browse down to the following key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shell Right-click on “shell” and choose to create a new key calling it “Open with Notepad”. Create a new key below that one called “command”. Double-click on the (Default) value in the right-hand pane and enter in the following: notepad.exe %1 The change should take effect immediately just right-click on any file and you’ll see the next menu entry. Or just download, extract and double-click on the OpenWithNotepad.reg file to enter the information into the registry. There’s also an uninstall script included. 3- Disable All Notification Balloons in Windows 7 or Vista Open up regedit.exe through the start menu search or run box, and then browse down to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced Right-click on the right-hand pane and create a new 32-bit DWORD with the following values: Name: EnableBalloonTips Value: 0 You’ll have to logoff and back on in order to see the change or to be more correct, you won’t see any popup balloons anymore. Or simply download, extract, and double-click on the DisableNotificationBalloons.reg file to enter the information into the registry. There’s also an included EnableNotificationBalloons file that will reverse the change. 4- Add Any Application to the Windows Desktop Right-Click Menu Open up regedit.exe through the Start Menu search or run box, and then browse down to the following key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\Background\shell Right-click on the “shell” key, and then choose New \ Key from the menu. Give the new key the name that you want to show up on the desktop context menu. For this example we’ll be using Notepad. Create the command key that will actually hold the command used to launch the application. Right-click on the new Notepad key, and then choose New \ Key from the menu. Give this key the name “command” in lowercase. To complete this step you’ll need the full path to the application that you want to launch. You can use Shift + Right-Click to get the Copy as Path menu item to find this more quickly. Now click on “command” on the left side, and then double-click on the (Default) key in the right side to edit the string value. Paste in the full path to the executable that you got from the “Copy as Path” step above, or you can put in the full path yourself if you’d like. 5- Add Registry Editor to Control Panel After installation you’ll need to choose System and Maintenance in the control panel. Perhaps most useful it’s now available through the start menu search box. Just extract and double-click on the installation script. You can remove using the included removal script. 6- Remove "Shortcut" Text From New Shortcuts in Windows 7 or Vista Open up regedit.exe through the start menu search box, and then browse down to the following registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer On the right-hand side you’ll find a key that is just called “link”, with a default value of 1e 00 00 00. Open this key up and change the 1e to 00 instead, leaving you with 00 00 00 00. You’ll have to log off and then back on to make this change take effect. Please note that this won’t affect existing shortcuts, only shortcuts that you create from now on. To change the setting back, just change back to the 1e value, log off and back on. Or just use these ready-to-use registry keys 7- Hide Drives from Your Computer in Windows 7 or Vista Open up regedit.exe by using the start menu search box, and then browse down to the following key. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer If the Explorer key does not exist, you can right-click on Policies, select New Key and name it Explorer. The NoDrives key most likely does not exist by default, so you’ll need to create it with right-click \ new 32-bit DWORD and name it NoDrives. This value is a 32 bit number, and the bits are arranged in reverse order with a value of 1 hiding that drive. For example, if we wanted to hide drives A: and F: we would arrange it like this: A = 1 B = 0 C = 0 D = 0 E = 0 F = 1 G = 0 H = 0 I = 0 J = 0 K = 0 L = 0 M = 0 N = 0 O = 0 P = 0 Q = 0 R = 0 S = 0 T = 0 U = 0 V = 0 W = 0 X = 0 Y = 0 Z = 0 Converting 100001 to decimal we end up with a decimal value of 33 or a hex value of 0×21, so if you double-click on the key in the registry editor, choose Decimal and then enter 33 into the value field. In order to see these changes, you’ll need to restart explorer.exe, which you can do easily from Task Manager or the longer way by just logging off and back on. To disable this tweak, simply remove the NoDrives registry key entirely. Here’s a list of the values you’ll want to enter for a few different drive letters. Drive Letter - Decimal - Hex A 1 1 B 2 2 C 4 4 D 8 8 E 16 10 F 32 20 G 64 40 H 128 80 If you want to hide multiple drives, you’ll need to use the table of all the drive letters to figure out the correct binary code, and then convert that to decimal or hex. 8- Add Recycle Bin to “My Computer” in Windows 7 or Vista Open up regedit.exe through the start menu search or run box, and then browse down to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MyComputer\NameSpace Right-click and create a new key. Name the key with the following text: {645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E} Or simply download the file, extract it, and then either double-click on the AddRecycleBinToMyComputer.reg to add Recycle Bin or RemoveRecycleBinToMyComputer.reg to remove it.
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