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How to slipstream IE9 and hotfixes into Windows 7, step by step

Normally, after you install any version of Windows, you have a ton of patching to do. And that patching takes as long, or longer, than the installation takes, while leaving the system vulnerable to exploits in the meantime. Slipstreaming your hotfixes into your installation media sidesteps those issues, and reduces fragmentation. You get a faster performing system, you get the system up and running a lot sooner, and you save a lot of unnecessary writes to your SSD.

So I wholeheartedly recommend slipstreaming.

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Fix weird Internet connection problems with ipconfig

One of the most maddening things that can happen when you’re using a computer is that a web site you visit routinely quits working. Your Internet connection appears to be fine, but suddenly, for some reason, you can’t go to the site you were just using. Try to go to another site you haven’t visited in a while, and it’s fine. But whatever site you were using a minute ago doesn’t work anymore. The site becomes accessible again immediately after you reboot, but that’s a really big hassle.

There’s a much less drastic fix. It’s easy too, but non-obvious.

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My first really bad day in IT

Next weekend is Labor Day weekend. I can’t remember if it was one Thursday or two Thursdays before Labor Day weekend in 1997, but one of those two days happened to be the beginning of the first crisis of my career.

Whichever Thursday it was, it was getting close to midnight when my phone rang. It was Max. The print server wasn’t working. That happened a lot. That server had IBM’s Services for Macintosh on it, which never worked all that well, and, worse, tended to make the rest of the server act up a lot. That in and of itself shouldn’t have been a crisis. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
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How to power your computer up from away from home

The low-tier, DIY VPN has proven popular. The biggest drawback with its approach has been that it requires you to keep a PC on at home. But if your computer is configured to hibernate after a period of inactivity, or if the power goes out, you’ll have a problem.

If you’re willing to do some work, you can use Wake-on-LAN over any Internet connection to solve that issue and power on the computer at will.
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How to use Sticky Keys to change/unlock a forgotten password

This isn’t a particularly new trick, nor did I invent it. But it’s a good trick for breaking into a Windows system when you don’t have a lot of tools at your disposal, and have legitimate reason to do so–like a lost or forgotten local administrator password. I’ve talked about some of those reasons before. I’d also add someone locking themselves out of their own computer to the list. It happens, just like people locking themselves out of their cars, or their houses.

Not every writeup I’ve seen of this trick goes into what I would call sufficient detail. So I’ll take a shot at it.

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How to check your downloaded files’ integrity

On some web pages offering programs to download, you may have seen something called an MD5 near the program link, consisting of a long, weird code like 6cbfd919baa7c9e03c8471ae4d8f8bb.

You can use that code to make sure the file you downloaded is what the author intended you to get and wasn’t corrupted during the download process or, worse yet, booby-trapped by someone else. Here’s how.

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Using Robocopy to root out PST files

So the word came out that the office is migrating to Windows 7 at some yet-to-be-determined time, but soon. It’s in testing now. (Too bad they didn’t recruit me as part of the testing team, because breaking Windows 7 is one of my superpowers.)

We’ve been told to back up our data. Lots of people are paranoid that they’ll lose their Outlook PST files, and with it, their ability to do top-drawer work. Frequently we have to search our archives to find forgotten details about old projects. It helps to make the new projects go more smoothly.

I came up with a surprisingly easy solution. It doesn’t even require admin rights–which is good. I won’t elaborate.
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