Monday, 21 November 2011

Podcasts are playing too fast

You may encounter an issue when listening to podcast via your iPhone, where they appear to playing too fast (making whoever you are listening to sound rather like a chipmunk!)

This however is a really easy fix, simply tap on the cover image on the 'Now Playing Screen' and you will see the playback speed options, simple tap these to toggle between  2x, 1x & 1/2x

Removed a virus - now I've lost my desktop and only have the recycle bin!

You may encounter an issue where you remove a virus from your machine only to discover that you've lost all the icons on your desktop bar the recycle bin, this is due to the virus/spyware applying the 'hidden' attribute to your user profile.

This is however rather easy to get back by following the steps below:

1. Open an explorer window and press the  Alt key to bring up the toolbar.

2. Go into Tool s > Folder options > View and set it to Show Hidden Files.

3. You should now see all your files/folders in C: drive again but they will be greyed out.

4. Select all files and folders, right click and select Properties.

5. Uncheck the Hidden attribute, choose Ok and apply to all files and sub folders.

Voila, after it has finished applying the attributes your desktop will be restored.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Language Settings won't stick / One or more of the characters you typed in this field are invalid. Try typing different characters.

You may experience an issue when trying to update/amend regional settings in Windows, where the settings do not seem to stick or you receive the message 'One or more of the characters you typed in this field are invalid. Try typing different characters'

This usually occurs if you are missing a registry key

To resolve this issue, add the following registry key and its associated string values, and then restart your computer:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\International
iMeasure "1"
iNegCurr "0"
Locale "00000409"
sShortDate "MM/dd/yyyy"
sLongDate "MMMM dd,yyyy"

Obviously this adds the registry key to default US Settings, if you are in another locale simply go into Regional Settings and change to the locale that you are in and you will now find that this change sticks and the error does not appear.

Friday, 1 July 2011

tsadmin change in Windows Server 2008 and above

Terminal Services Manager is an extremely useful tool when supporting users remotely, which I've always brought up by Clicking Start > Run > and typing tsadmin into the box and pressing enter, however frustratingly from Server 2008 onwards this shortcut does not work.

It's not just much, but just enough to be annoying! The tool is now an MMC snap in rather than an executable so you just need to type tsadmin.msc to bring up the tool.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Quick Fix: Unable to open PDF Files in Web Browser

You may encounter an issue when trying to open PDF Files within your web browser (Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox) the file appears to download but a blank error message appears and the system does not display the file.

There is a simple permanent fix for this:

1. Open up Adobe Reader
2. Click Edit from the bar at the top, and click Preferences
3. From the screen that appears choose Internet
4. Untick the box that says 'Display PDF in browser'
5. Click OK and close Adobe Reader

You should now find that you are able to view any PDF files on websites.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Images do not appear in thumbnail view after updating Microsoft Office

You may find that after installing/updating Office on a Windows 2000 machine that images do not appear in the thumbnail view, there is however a way of resolving this issue that involves making changes in the registry, so please ensure you are happy to do this before proceeding and always backup the registry just in case!

  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. In Registry Editor, expand the following subkey:
  3. Click .gif.
  4. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click Key.
  5. In the New Key #1 box, type ShellEx, and then press ENTER.
  6. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click Key.
  7. In the New Key #1 box, type the following:
    Note Include the braces in the above key name.

    Note The above key name contains zeros, and not the letter O.
  8. Press ENTER.
  9. In the right pane, right-click Default, and then click Modify on the shortcut menu.
  10. In the Value data box, type the following:
    Note Include the braces in the above value.

    Note The above value contains zeros, and not the letter O.
  11. Click OK.
  12. In the folder list, click .jpeg.
  13. Follow steps 5 through 12 to add the same keys and value to the .jpeg registry key.
  14. In the folder list, click .jpg.
  15. Follow steps 5 through 12 to add the same keys and value to the .jpgregistry key.
  16. Quit Registry Editor, and then restart the computer.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Quick Fix - Lotus Notes: An Error was Encountered While Opening a Window

When closing Lotus Notes (or if notes has crashed) and re-opening the software, you may receive the following message 'An error was encountered while opening a window' preventing you from using the Software.

There is a quick fix for this however:

1. Close Lotus Notes
2. Open Task Manager by right clicking the task bar and clicking Task Manager
3. Choose Processes
4. Find and select ntaskldr.exe
5. End the process
6. Close Task Manager

You should now be able to open Lotus Notes as normal.

Quick Fix: Sent Items not appearing in Sent Items Folder

You may find in Microsoft Outlook that sent items have stopped appearing in the 'Sent Items' folder

A quick fix is available to resolve this issue:

1. Click Tools > Options > E-Mail Options
2. Untick 'Save Copies of messages in Sent Items Folder'
3. Click OK then OK to save the settings
4. Click File > Exit to leave Outlook
5. Open Outlook once again
6. Click Tools > Options > E-Mail Options
7. Tick 'Save Copies of messages in Sent Items Folder'
8. Click OK then OK to save the settings
You should now find that sent items are appearing in the sent folder as normal.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Quick Tip: Print Screen on a Dual Monitor Setup

If you are working on a system with 2 or more monitors you will find that when pressing PRINT SCRN to take a screen dump, that the images from both monitors are copied to the clipboard.

If you just want the output of your primary monitor simply holding down ALT while pressing PRINT SCRN will achieve this .

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Delegation Error - Cannot activate send-on-behalf-of list

You may receive the following error message when trying to amend delegate permissions in Outlook:

'The Delegates settings were not saved correctly.
Unable to activate send-on-behalf-of list.
You do not have sufficient permission to perform this operation on this object'

In order to resolve this you need to give Write Personal Information permission to the SELF account on the user who is trying to add the delegate. To do this, follow these steps:-

1. Log on to your mail server
2. Open Active Directory Users and Computers (run dsa.msc from Start > Run) and choose Advanced Features from the View menu.
3. Expand your domain and then locate the user’s Organisational Unit (OU).
4. In the right pane, right-click the user who is experiencing the delegate issue, and then click Properties.
5. Click the Security tab, locate the SELF account, and then click Write Personal Information .
Make sure the Write permissions check box is selected, and then click OK

You should now find that you are able to amend the delegate permissions.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Print Job stuck Deleting in Queue

I think we've all faced the frustrating situation where a print job seems to be stuck in the print queue, marked deleting or cancelling, you can usually find that by restarting the print spooler or restarting your machine that this clears, however you find that this is not succesful, or in certain situations (such as on a server) you may not be able to restart.

There is however another way of removing the pending corrupt documents from the queue,

1. First of all stop the print spooler - open services.msc from the run dialogue or command prompt
2. Scroll down til you find the print spooler - Right click on the entry and choose stop, you will then receive confirmation that the service is stopping.
3. Next up navigate to the System32 directory on your machine (this is typically c:\windows\system32) and look for the SPOOL folder, and delete all of the items inside this folder (if the print spooler service has stopped correctly you should have no problems)
4. Return to the services window, right click on the printer spooler and choose START, you will now receive confirmation that the service is starting.

You should now find that the corrupt document has been removed from your print queue.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Quick Fix: Office Button not working while using Dameware

If using Dameware to work on a users machine, you may find you have issues using the Office button in Office 2007, this is easily remedied:

Simply go to view menu in Dameware, and ensure 'Disable Show Transparent Windows' is switched off and you will find the Office button now functions correctly.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Quick Reference: Running Control Panel Items from the Command Prompt

Lovely as Windows may well be, it's sometimes far easier to run your control panel items from the command prompt, and if you're logged on to a users machine and need to run these as an administator, you can always right click on the command prompt (on the start menu) and choose 'Run As' to open the command prompt as ad admin user.

You can use the handly list below to launch the desired tool:

Accessibility Options - control access.cpl
Add/Remove Programs - control appwiz.cpl
Date/Time Properties - control timedate.cpl
Display Properties - control desk.cpl
Fonts Folder - control fonts
Internet Properties - control inetcpl.cpl
Keyboard Properties - control main.cpl keyboard
Modem Properties - control modem.cpl
Mouse Properties - control main.cpl
Multimedia Properties - control mmsys.cpl
Network Properties -control netcpl.cpl
Password Properties - control password.cpl
Printers Folder - control printers
Regional Settings - control intl.cpl
Scanners and Cameras - control sticpl.cpl
Sound Properties - control mmsys.cpl sounds
System Properties - control sysdm.cpl

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Downloading / Installing Skype without Logging in or Registering

You may have found that when attempting to download the latest version of Skype that it requires you to either enter your log-in details or to register, not particularly convenient if you are installing the software on a clients machine.

If you would like to bypass this requirement and simply download the software, click the link below relevant to your operating system, and this will take directly to the download page on the Skype Website.


Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Finding a Dell Asset Tag without the label

You may find that when trying to obtain any kind of support from Dell, whether just downloading drivers from the website, or speaking to an engineer, that they require the Asset Tag. Now if you are working remotely, if the label has peeled off the machine or is this has faded you may not have the information to hand.

You can however obtain this information with a simple command line:

wmic bios get serialnumber

To use this you will need to open up the command prompt, to do this:

1. Click the Start Button
2. On Windows XP Systems click Start (on Windows Vista/7 Systems click in the Search box at the bottom)
3. Type CMD and press enter

The Command Prompt will now appear

4. Type wmic bios get serialnumber to obtain the Dell Service Tag

Monday, 18 April 2011

Installing Flash Player without Adobe DLM (Adobe Download Manager)

You may have found that when trying to install Adobe Flash Player and indeed other pieces of software from the Adobe stable, that you are forced to use their Download Manager to do this, this however can cause problems particularly if you are trying to use the Run As dialogue.

There is a way of downloading the software manually, though Adobe do keep this well hidden, simple follow the following steps:

1. Go to the Adobe Flash Player Help and Support page at
2. Click on 'Windows Troubleshooting'
3. Click on 'Download Flash Player with the manual installer'
4. Choose the appropiate version of Flash Player for your system (i.e. ActiveX for Internet Explorer or others if you are Running Firefox or Google Chrome)
5. This will then download the appropriate version of the software for your system without using the Adobe Download Manager.
6. Simply run the downloaded file to install this on your system.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Quick Fix: Changing Desktop Icon Size in Windows 7 & Windows Vista

It's really easy to change the size if your desktop icons in Windows 7 and Windows Vista without going through menu after menu.

Simply go your desktop, hold down the CTRL key and move your mouse wheel up and down to change the size of the icons.

If you want to return to the default size and aren't sure which this is then right click on your desktop, point to view and choose Medium Icons.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Importing IE Favorites - Not a valid bookmark file

Came across an incident today where a user was having issues exporting bookmarks from Internet Explorer to another machine.

The export seemed to work correctly, however the import on the destination machine was slightly more difficult and displayed the error message 'Not a Valid Bookmark file'.

This is generally caused by a coding issue, and can be easily resolved by opening the bookmarks.htm file into Notepad, and changing the encoding.

To do this:

1. Open the file in Notepad (right click the file, choose open with and select Notepad)
2. Choose File and Save As
3. Edit the name for something new (in this case we have called it bookmarknew.htm)
4. Change the encoding to ANSI using the drop down box

5. Click Save and attempt your import again.

You should now find that this imports successfully.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Quick Reference: Launching the Event Viewer from the Run box

The Event Viewer in Windows is a really useful tool if you are troubleshooting issues with your system, it keeps a log of any significant system, program and security events.

These logs can help you determine the underlying cause of an existing issue or to circumvent an issue from occurring in the future.

You can either launch the Event Viewer by accessing Control Panel and the Administrative Tools option, alternatively you can launch this from the run dialogue following the steps below:

1. Click Start
2. On Windows XP Systems click Run
3. In the box that appears (or on Windows Vista/7 machines in the box search programs and files box) type eventvwr.exe
4. Press the Enter key

This will bring up the event viewer, use the categories on the left hand side of the screen to view applicable events to that category.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Quick Fix - Screen turned sideways

Screen turned sideways or upside down? You may have accessed a feature present on systems running Intel graphics, to restore your screen to it's correct position simply hold down CTRL + ALT + the up arrow.

This is a feature commonly used by graphics designers, but more often than not only seems to be discovered when users accidentally launch the key combinations (or if the kid's start playing with the keyboard).

Identifying and Updating your Video Drivers

Having problems with your favourite game? Playing Video and finding things aren't looking how they should? It may be time to update your video driver. Luckily this is quite a straightforward process but one many people neglect to complete, you may find after doing this your games look much better and perform at a better frame rate, you may even find that your machine runs a bit faster, it's amazing how many parts of your system this can affect.

First of all we need to identify what video card is installed on your system, to do this:

1. Right Click on My Computer (For many users this will be on your desktop, for Windows Vista/7 users you can also find this on the Start menu).
2. Click Properties
3. For Windows Vista/7 users click the Device Manager button the left hand side of your screen, for Windows XP users you will need to click the hardware tab to see the Device Manager Button. This should display a screen similar to the one below

4. Click the drop-down arrow next to Display adapters, and this will display the name and model number of your Video Card, write this down you'll need this.
5. If you want to see how old your driver is, right click on the entry, choose properties and click on driver.

So now that we've identified your Video Card, you just need to download and install your new driver, so using the information we've obtained so far you need to visit the website of your Video Card manufacturer, I have enclosed links to the most popular below. These links will take you directly to the download pages of the manufacturer.


Please note if you are using a Dell PC, you may not be able to download drivers directly from Intel, in this case you will need to visit the support pages of the Dell website to download the appropiate driver.

Once you are on the appropiate website, enter your video card and operating system details (i.e. Windows XP/Vista/7) and download the new driver.

Running the downloaded file should then take you through a relatively painless installation procedure, after which you will be prompted to restart your machine, and your drivers are updated.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Choosing and Remembering a Password

One of the biggest gripes that people seem to complain of, almost on a daily basis is passwords. It seems to be that we have so many nowadays, coupled with the fact that we have to change them every few weeks or so, and also the complexity requirements that many of them have, but how can we choose an easy to remember but hard to guess  password?

I always advise people to think of a phrase, a favourite quote or favourite song for example, and choose the first letter of each word, and use numbers and or capitals/small letters where appropriate.  For instance, you could use 2 instead of 'to' and you could capitalise a country or name, if there are no obvious places to use a number in the phrase, use something memorable such as the month of your birthday, or the year you were born.

For example you could use 'The Rain in Spain is mainly on the plane' as your phrase, and as a memorable number your birthday is in March, so in this case your password would be 'triSimotp3' (with the 'S' capitalised as the country name).

So there we have a it, a password you won't forget in a hurry that will be more difficult for others to guess.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Finding the Model/Serial Number of your PC

Ever been asked to find the model/serial number of your PC? There is a very simple of way of obtaining this information.

Bring up a command prompt -

On Windows XP systems click Start, Run and type CMD in the box that appears followed by the Enter key.

On Windows Vista/7 Click Start, Type CMD in the Search Programs and Files box followed by the Enter key.

Enter one of the following command lines, followed by the enter key -

To get the serial number of your machine: wmic bios get serial number

To retrieve the model number: wmic csproduct getname

This will then bring up the required information for you.