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.