Filed under “I didn’t know you could do that”.
Something I discovered recently I thought it was one of those things I’d just missed over the years but after a conversation I had in the office I thought it might be worth sharing here too.
Normally when working with the command prompt if you want to copy some output you have to switch from the keyboard to the mouse.
Which is fine, but if you’re working with the keyboard (because you know, command prompt!) switching between that and the mouse can break your flow, well it does for me.
Turns out you can redirect output straight to the clipboard by piping to clip.exe
Ping google.com | clip
The output goes to the clipboard ready for pasting elsewhere.
This is also particularly useful if the output is long and topamax fills the visible area of the screen.
This is the output from “DriverQuery”, you’d have hard time copying all of that with the mouse
Useful thing to know!
This works in PowerShell too and it’s where I use it most.
Up until this point my tablet of choice was an original Surface RT.
Unfortunately, in recent months I’ve used that tablet more and more just for Office.
It’s immensely useful for OneNote and Outlook on the go but I’m not really using many apps from the store and the apps I do use aren’t great. The Facebook app for example is so slow and unwieldy I frequently give up on it and just use Facebook in the browser.
I’ve also had some performance problems with it recently too that made it unusable for extended periods of time.
So having heard about various low cost tablets running a regular version of Windows 8.1 I was intrigued to see how it performs.
First off, what is it?
8 inch screen
Quad Core Intel Atom Processor.
32GB Hard disk (with an SD slot to add up to another 64GB)
1 year of Office 365 Personal
800 x 1280 resolution
Front and rear facing 2MP cameras
Micro USB and HDMI ports
Bluetooth and 801.11 N WiFi
You can pick them up for around £80 so on the face of it that’s a pretty decent package.
Especially when you consider Office 365 Personal (with 1TB of storage!) itself is worth £59.99
After a couple of days usage I was pleasantly surprised. I honestly didn’t think 1GB would be usable but as long as you’re not trying to do too much at once it’s nice and responsive. You do need to be realistic though. Running a few demanding apps all at once will become noticeable pretty quickly.
Also it’s pretty light and I can’t complain on the battery life.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t any downsides. It’s not really powerful enough for HD video, the screen resolution should make that obvious but as test I installed the BBC iPlayer app and tried to play some HD programs offline. That’s half an hour of life I won’t get back.
It’s been fine with standard definition stuff though and I’ve had no problems with regular content on YouTube and Netflix.
I miss the kickstand my Surface has for propping it up. It’s easily rectified with a case but it nice was having it as part of the package.
You’ll also need an USB OTG cable for connecting USB drives, keyboard, mice, etc.
None of this is to show stopping though if you’re looking for something relatively cheap for doing some basic tasks.
All in all as long as you make sure you’re using for what it’s intended for, one or two apps at a time, light web browsing, some Office work, then it’s value for money. Anything more than that and you should be looking at something like a Surface Pro.
With a Windows 10 upgrade due in the coming weeks it’ll be interesting to see how this works out too.
I felt like such a noob when I realised what this was I thought I’d publicly shame myself so it doesn’t happen again.
For a few weeks I’d been getting pop-ups on my computer warning about low memory and impending data loss!
Internet Explorer or Chrome were usually the programs it reported needed to be closed but checking in Task Manager and Resource Monitor seemed to indicate I wasn’t particularly low on memory.
As well as this I was getting a lot of crashes in Google Chrome. It became stupidly unstable to the point where I couldn’t use it. I disabled all extensions, re-installed and created a new Chrome profile.
I didn’t really put the two problems together (noob)
So what was it in the end?
Low disk space.
This is my laptop and it has an SSD which is great for performance but not so great for capacity. I keep it pretty full but try to save about 1gb free. The drive space dropped down to a couple hundred megabytes and the page file It was set to “system managed” so was unable to grow when there was no free space. The page file is still used even if you’ve got free physical RAM.
I cleared up some space and manually set the size of the page file. This meant that that space was fixed and whatever else i did around that wouldn’t matter.
The excellent Mark Russinovich has a really good post on this.
Once I’d done that the memory warnings disappeared, that was when I noticed Google Chrome became more stable. A program crashes under a low (virtual) memory condition. Not a massive surprise!
I wrote about how to achieve this way back in 2007! It’s one of the more popular things I’ve written about and I still refer back to it pretty often.
The steps were for Windows XP and mostly worked for Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
That said there are more options available now when setting up your PC for remote desktop and the defaults now mean you usually have some extra things to do.
So the first thing you need to do with your favourite remote registry editing tool (such as regedit!)
Change the fDenyTSConnections to 0
This enables remote desktop itself.
If you want to disable Network Level Authentication (NLA)
Set the SecurityLayer value to 0
Finally you may also need to create a exception rule in Windows Firewall. My preference is to use PSEXEC to run this command.
netsh firewall set service remotedesktop enable
There are variety of ways to manipulate the firewall, group policy for example, but depending on the environment as a quick easy thing psexec is your friend.
Finally if the person who will be connecting isn’t a local admin they’ll need to be added to remote desktop users group.
Easiest way to do this is with computer management.
I’m not breaking new ground here but I’ve been asked about it a couple of times recently so thought it was worth putting this together.
Do you have any other methods for achieving the above?
I was visiting a clients remote office earlier this week doing some PC replacements. They have a multi-function printer that has “scan to folder” functionality and it previously worked quite happily on the Windows XP machines they were replacing.
The end user presses a button and the scanned document ends up in a folder on the computer.
After having setup the share, the NTFS permissions and the corresponding details for the path, username and password on the printer it refused to work. I needed to make a change on the PC to get it working.
Open the Network and Sharing Centre by clicking the Start button and typing “Network and Sharing” (or just enough to get the result you want!)
From here in the top left corner click “Change advanced sharing settings”
Scroll down the page and in the “File sharing connections” section select “Enable file sharing for devices that use 40- or 56-bit encryption”
Be aware that this is lowering the security of your system. You’ll need to decide if you’re happy about that!
The specific device I was working with was a Ricoh Aficio MP 171. It’s possible a newer device would have been happy with the default Windows 7 settings.
Had a bit of weird problem this week I wanted to write down somewhere in case it happens again!
A call came in from a client to say the laptop wouldn’t boot. On starting the laptop the usual Windows 7 boot animation was missing.
The screen was black apart from a series of coloured lines in the top left hand corner.
Turns out there is an option that controls that!
On the boot tab from MSCONFIG is a “No GUI Boot” option.
There is plenty of debate on the Internet as to what this actually does and doesn’t do – I’m not going to get into that here – the end result was that clearing this made the boot animation return.
At this point I couldn’t actually toggle that option since the system wasn’t booting. I had to use a Windows 7 install disk and boot into the recovery tools and run the command
bcdedit /set quietboot on
The next time the system rebooted the logo reappeared. It then became apparent the disk checker needed to run – the laptop had been actually booting after all, but the disk checker wasn’t visible. If it had been left for long enough it would have eventually arrived at the logon screen. After letting the disk check complete (it took about 20 mins) the system eventually booted and I was able to logon ok.
So that was it that right?
Upon next reboot the logo had disappeared again.
After logging in again I checked the “No GUI Boot” option and it was indeed cleared. Odd? What happened to the logo?
After a bit of experimentation we found out that making any change to the boot entry, via BCDEDIT and other similar tools caused the logo to reappear. After logging in and restarting it disappeared again!
Since the problem resurfaced after logging back on we had to assume something was making a change. Using the very useful Autoruns tool we disabled just about every non-Microsoft/Windows program and service that runs when the system boots.
After doing this (and resetting the boot entry) the logo appeared and stayed there after a series of reboots. Progress!
Then it was just a matter of isolating which program or service was causing the issue. This took a while!
Eventually we found the culprit
HP Day Starter
The HP Day Starter service is supposed to read the contents of your Outlook calendar and display your upcoming appointments during the boot process. Since the Windows 7 boot animation would normally be there it would need to get rid of that for it to do it’s thing.
The end user had never used Day Starter and wasn’t interested in using it so we disabled the program and disabled it as on option in the BIOS for good measure so as to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
HP do have full details for configuring the program.
It’s an interesting idea but I’m not sure how useful it would be in practise? Is anyone else using Day Starter?
It’s safe to say I’m a multiple monitor fan. It’s a setup I’ve been using for a long time and I really notice the difference when I have to use a single screen. (I use three in the office and two at home)
Working remotely though can have an impact on this.
Up until the recently the only option for multiple monitors was span mode.
From the run dialog enter:
When you connect, the screens you’re using are treated as one huge entity. It’s a subtle difference that still makes use of your extra screens but you lose some of the benefits you get when managing multiple windows. For example, if you maximise an application it fills both screens instead of just the one. Some of the nice Windows 7 features such as “snap” don’t work in the same way either.
So because of this I was really interested in the “Use all my monitors for the remote session” option in the latest version of the Remote Desktop Connection client.
However, just ticking the box doesn’t seem to do anything.
You can also use MSTSC /multimon if you’re so inclined.
After a bit of digging it turns out that it’s reliant on the RDP 8.0 protocol which needs to be specifically turned on.
To enable RDP 8 in Windows 7:
Install updates KB2574819 and KB2592687 on the Windows 7 system you’ll be connecting to. If you’re connecting from Windows 7 machine install them there too. Windows 8 is good to go without any changes.
Enable RDP 8 via group policy
- “Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Remote Session Environment\Enable Remote Desktop Protocol 8.0” should be set to “Enabled”
- “Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Connections\Select RDP Transport Protocols” should be set to “Use both UDP and TCP”
All of this is explained in the depth along with how the span options works in this really good Remote Desktop Services MSDN post:
What it neglects to mention is that you only get multiple monitor support if the Windows 7 machine you’re connecting to is running Windows 7 Ultimate or Windows 7 Enterprise..
I wasted a couple of hours trying to figure out why it wasn’t working for me…
However, I can report it works quite happily when you’re connecting to Windows 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 Pro (no Enterprise edition needed)
This will be a big help to me when working remotely but I wanted to make a note of the Windows 7 version restriction somewhere as I’m pretty sure I’ll have forgotten this in a few weeks time, plus it may help someone else out.
Some other useful Remote Desktop and multiple monitors I found while looking into this are:
Came across a bit of a weird issue today I thought was worth repeating here.
I took a support call where the end user could print documents in Word, Excel, Outlook without issue but as soon as she tried to print something via Internet Explorer no document appeared and Internet Explorer was non-responsive.
What struck as weird first of was how Internet Explorer was “non-responsive”.
Normally when a program locks up in Windows it’s pretty obvious. The program visibly changes and Task Manager reports the program as not responding and Windows will give you the option to end the task. In this case it was as thought there was a dialog box hidden somewhere so the rest of the application was off limits.
After quite an amount of time trying various things I managed to find the problem
Internet Explorer Protected Mode
Protected Mode for Internet Explorer is a Windows 7 feature there to prevent webpages running applications it’s not supposed to. If it attempts to run a program you get a warning.
In this case the print driver itself was kicking off one of those warnings (this is something I’ve never seen before and I’m still looking into why).
At some point the user must have click “Don’t Allow” and put the tick in the box for “Do not show me the warning for this program again”. This meant the printer driver was waiting for input, permission to run and never getting it.
Unfortunately you can’t re-allow a single application (as far as I’m aware anyway) so you have to reset Internet Explorer to defaults.
To do this click, Tools, Internet Options, Click the Advanced Tab, click Reset and then in the dialog box that pops up click rest. (Instructions from the Microsoft site are here)
Once that was done I was able to click “Allow” and put the tick in the box for “Do not show me the warning for this program again”.
Alternatively if there is a new browser to upgrade to (IE 8 to IE 9 for example) you can do that and it’ll have the same effect as part of the upgrade.
After that everything started to print ok!
If you make any changes to settings in Windows you’ll have seen three buttons at the bottom.
OK, CANCEL, APPLY
I’ve been asked a couple of times recently about difference between the ok and apply buttons so thought that I thought it was worth posting about!
It’s not all that complicated.
If you make any changes and press the APPLY button the settings are put into place and the window stays open.
If you make any changes and press the OK button the settings are put into place and the window is then closed.
Both are supposed to be time saving functions depending on what you are doing. If you are making multiple changes but want to see what effect it has as you are working the apply button means you don’t have to constantly reopen the settings window each time.
The OK button is there for one off operations and means you don’t need an extra click to close the window manually.
I very often see people who click the Apply button and then immediately click the OK button which says to me it’s not obvious what the difference is.
I’m hoping it’s obvious what the cancel button is for.
This a note for me as I always have to lookup which group policy setting I need.
When using the Remote Assistance tool to help someone running Windows 7 (or Vista!) if you need to elevate via UAC you’re not able to do this as the “helper” out of the box. The end user is supposed to respond to the UAC prompt. It’s intended as security feature to prevent remote helpers making admin changes but what if you’re the network admin and the end user doesn’t have local admin rights?
As the helper you just end up with a black screen displayed and the user is prompted for credentials they don’t have and you probably don’t want to give them.
The solution is to allow remote assistance users to interact with the UAC prompt.
It’s a simple change in group policy. (or via local security policy if you really wanted to do it by hand!)
Local Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Option
This setting needs to be ENABLED
User Account Control: Allow UIAccess applications to prompt for elevation without using the secure desktop
If you are a little worried about security there are still some restrictions in place that prevent just any old application from getting around UAC.
UIA programs (User Interface Accessibility) are designed to interact with Windows and application programs on behalf of a user. This policy setting allows UIA programs to bypass the secure desktop to increase usability in certain cases; however, allowing elevation requests to appear on the interactive desktop instead of the secure desktop can increase your security risk.
UIA programs must be digitally signed because they must be able to respond to prompts regarding security issues, such as the UAC elevation prompt. By default, UIA programs are run only from the following protected paths:
- …\Program Files, including subfolders
- …\Program Files (x86), including subfolders for 64-bit versions of Windows
If you really wanted to lower your security you can disable this requirement too but it’s probably not worth thinking about!