All posts tagged Control Panel

Getting a proper Start button back even when Microsoft doesn’t want to give one

Are you putting off switching to Windows 8.1 because you don’t want to relearn everything from scratch that you’ve known since 1995? I saw Windows 8.1 on Thanksgiving, and you have to do some asinine downward swipe with the mouse to bring up Control Panel. Yeah, that’s easier. But even though Microsoft insists on shooting […]

How to check what version of Java you’re running on Windows

Sometimes, especially on Windows servers, it’s difficult to check to verify what version of Java you’re running while you’re making your rounds. If you don’t have a scanning tool to check it, here’s how to do it by hand, even if the Java control panel doesn’t show up: Navigate to C:\Program Files\Java\jre7\bin\javacpl.exe, run it, and […]

How I accidentally found a way to mess with “Peggy”

“Peggy” from “Computer Support Department” just won’t give up. He called me again at about 8 PM this evening. This time, I played along. I had a thrift-store junker PC for him to infect with his malware. The only problem was, the hard drive wasn’t connected and neither was the power cord. So I quickly […]

Non-derailing Marx switches

The Marx 1590 is the best O27 switch ever made. It’s durable, works well with all makes of trains (just put a track pin in the center rail where the switch pivots so that Lionel trains can pass), and can run off accessory power without modification. The only downside is that it (allegedly) can’t be […]

The Insignia Flex’s long-lost brothers

I had a chance to take a look at the Insignia Flex tablet, Best Buy’s $249 house-brand Android tablet. If you need a basic dual-core tablet that’s reasonably well-built, it’s not bad. I found it responsive and usable–there just wasn’t anything flashy about it. The two things I found I didn’t like were that the […]

Toggle between two registry settings with another simple script

On the heels of yesterday, the same technique that swapped hosts files can be adapted to toggle registry settings too. Perhaps you want to be able to toggle your screen saver timeout from the default of 1500 to a value of 9999. That way, you can easily choose between the screen saver interrupting you or […]

Upgrade diary: Compaq Presario C552US

The Presario C552US shipped from the factory with a 1.6 GHz Celeron M single-core CPU, 512MB of RAM, and Windows Vista Home Basic. It’s the most miserable computing experience I’ve seen in a very long time, if ever. I don’t know how they ever sold a single one of these machines, performing like that. Fortunately, […]

How I fixed an infuriating printer problem

Windows 0.7 Windows 7 and my HP Laserjet 4100 weren’t getting along. And I was pretty livid about it. I paid $125 for my Windows 7 upgrade, and for that money, I got to mess around for 4 days trying to get better-than-1997 functionality out of what’s supposed to be the latest and greatest. I […]

Fixing choppy audio in Windows XP SP2

So I’m sitting at this 2 GHz PC with 2 GB of RAM and a reasonably fast video card, and the audio in Railroad Tycoon 3 skips and sounds a little bit distorted.

It’s maddening when the game played fine on 400 MHz systems. I did some digging, and bad audio seems to be a common problem in XP SP2, but solutions are rare.

Basic Windows printer troubleshooting

I "fixed" a printer this weekend. It took me about a minute.

Chances are I can teach you how to fix printers in minutes too–assuming the problem is more software than hardware, like it was in this case.

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