Tag Archives: Control Panel

Curing random errors when installing Office 2013

I got lots of random errors installing Office 2013 when I went to do it, including error code 112-4 and error code 0-4, and some other install errors mostly ending in 4 that aren’t documented on Microsoft’s web site. Although previously undocumented, these errors are fixable. Continue reading Curing random errors when installing Office 2013

Accessing the Programs and Features control panel app from the command line

From time to time I have to pull up Programs and Features (formerly known as Add and Remove Programs in obsolete versions of Windows), but I’m not an administrator. Not normally, at least. When I need to do so, I run cmd.exe using my administrative ID–I created a shortcut and pinned it to my Start Menu so I can right-click cmd.exe and select “Run As”–and then, from the command prompt, I type appwiz.cpl. Then I can make all the changes I need to make, without the hazards associated with logging in as an administrator and running everything with admin rights.

How to add a TCP/IP printer in the Windows 10 Technical Preview

Windows 10 still has some unfinished business when it comes to printers. I have an older HP Laserjet 4100 with a Jetdirect card in it that I use to print from all of my PCs. Getting Windows 10 to print to it isn’t difficult but it’s hardly intuitive at this point, either.

Continue reading How to add a TCP/IP printer in the Windows 10 Technical Preview

The Enerlites HOSS occupancy sensor switch – no ground required

One of the most common questions I get is whether there’s an occupancy sensor light switch that doesn’t require a ground connection. I finally found one: The Enerlites Top Greener HOSS, and it’s pretty cheap too, at $12. A Lutron switch costs almost twice as much.

But the HOSS does come with some compromises. The HOSS does require a neutral (white) wire, but most switch boxes will have the whites in there and accessible, so that’s not a big deal. It’s also a bit trickier to wire than a Lutron, and it doesn’t look as nice.

That said, it’s nice to have an option for older houses that may not have a ground connection available. People in older houses need energy savings too. Continue reading The Enerlites HOSS occupancy sensor switch – no ground required

IE gets patched and XP gets a reprieve

In case you haven’t heard, Microsoft released an emergency patch yesterday afternoon for the bad Internet Explorer bug that prompted the Department of Homeland Security to tell everyone not to use IE until further notice. That was no surprise, given the amount of publicity behind this bug.

What was a surprise was that they went ahead and released the patch for Windows XP as well. So, unless something really weird happens, the very last patch for Windows XP is MS14-021, issued 1 May 2014.

If you run Windows and your PC didn’t tell you this morning it applied updates automatically, go to Automatic Updates in Control Panel and download the fix.

How I turned a junker PC into a trap for scammers

Note: I wrote this almost a year ago. It wasn’t good enough to publish then, I thought. This week I’m slammed, and it’s better than anything I can write this week, so, it’s time to release it. -Dave

As my regulars will be aware, for the past few weeks I’ve been getting lots of phone calls from “Peggy” from “Computer Maintenance Department.” What I’ve found during these phone calls is that debating with them does no good, and saying that your computer is crazy fast gets them to hang up on you, but they’ll call back again in a few days anyway.

Last week, I had lunch with a group of future coworkers–I’ll be joining them once my background check results come in–and I mentioned these phone calls. The guy sitting across the table from me said he wants their malware, so he can reverse-engineer it. So I said I would cooperate the next time I got a phone call. Continue reading How I turned a junker PC into a trap for scammers

How to downgrade a Log Logic universal collector

If you’ve ever upgraded a LogLogic universal collector and had it fail to work, it’s very disconcerting to see the error message when you try to reinstall the previous version: Downgrades aren’t supported. But there is a solution. Continue reading How to downgrade a Log Logic universal collector

The Phoenix Project: A must-read book for anyone who aspires to IT leadership

After a bad day at work last week, I went home and ordered The Phoenix Project (or here it is on Amazon), started reading it, and felt better. Like Office Space, but there’s more to learn from it.

Phoenix is more realistic. Every problem every shop I’ve ever worked in is in that shop, plus some I’ve (luckily) only heard about. But unlike Office Space, it has solutions beyond burning the building down. Continue reading The Phoenix Project: A must-read book for anyone who aspires to IT leadership

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 itself in the foot with a nuclear missile, Classic Shell fixes what Microsoft refuses to fix. Want Windows 8 to act like Windows 7? No problem. Want it to look like XP? Yeah, you can even do that.

So I highly recommend it. Yes, Windows 8.1 with Classic Start. Here’s why. Continue reading Getting a proper Start button back even when Microsoft doesn’t want to give one

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 click “About.” A dialog box including the full Java version number (both major number and update number) will appear.

If you’re running a major version of Java other than Version 7, the portion above in italics will vary.

You may also note one or more directories in C:\Program Files\Java that look like version numbers (such as 7u21), but that’s not a reliable indicator of what’s on the system now. It’s just a holding place for installation files, and indicates that someone at some point has installed or tried to install those versions. Keep in mind that update numbers are incremental but not necessarily consecutive. The current version as of this writing is 7u21, and the previous version was 7u17.