Monday, January 27, 2014

Windows 8: Change File Explorer Default Open Location

Did you know you can change the File Explorer's (formerly known as Windows Explorer) default behavior of opening the Libraries folder?  Its just of matter of changing the shortcut's properties to something that you would prefer instead.

Follow the instructions below:
  • Press the WinKey + D to show the desktop.
    • Note: Its important to close all the File Explorer windows.
  • Hold down Shift and Right-click on the Explorer icon in the taskbar, and select Properties.  
    • Note: you can also make your own shortcut by right-clicking an empty area on the desktop and selecting New > Shortcut, just follow the instructions in the wizard.  Paste any of the command paths below into the Type the location of the item field, press the Next button, give your new shortcut a name, and press the Finish button.
  • In the Shortcut tab, in the Target field you can specify the path to the new location that you want to use. For example, use one of the following paths (by default its: %UserProfile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Libraries):
    • To open Computer folder (show all drives attached to the computer):%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /root,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}.  The Control Panels folder is: %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /root,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}\::{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}
    • To specify a specific path, use: %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe C:\Users (change C:\Users to be any path you want)
  • Press the OK button when done.
Bonus tip:
  • Use the /select,"object": To specify a file or folder to receive the initial focus.
    • For example: %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /select,c:\windows\system32\calc.exe (To select the CALC.EXE in the C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 folder)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Windows 8: Checking Activation Status

Are you a user of Windows 8 Professional or Enterprise edition and would like to check the status of activation on the local computer? Want to make sure that the computer is connected properly to the Key Management Server (KMS) or used your Multiple Activation Key (MAK) properly? Or are you a home user and just want to make sure your computer is fully activated?

Included in Windows 8 (this tool was first made available in Windows Vista, so this tip will work on earlier versions of Windows) is very useful utility that will help you check the status of activation of your computer:
  • From the Start screen, type CMD and press the Enter key
  • At the command prompt, type slmgr.vbs /dli and press the Enter key (for a more detailed report run slmgr.vbs /dlv).
After a few seconds you will be presented with a pop-up message with your activation status.
Note: Windows 8 supports a new command called: LICENSINGDIAG (e.g. licensingdiag.exe -report c:\output\license_report.xml -log c:\output\, that generates a report about the activation and registration data on the local computer.  This tool appears to be some type of technical support diagnostic tool based on the way it runs.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Windows 8: Tracking Boot/Shutdown/Standby Time Length (Troubleshooting)

Is your computer taking a long time to boot up, shutdown or go to standby?  In the Event Logs it is possible to find the length of time it took for the computer to finish one of these operations.

You might ask why this is important? If this issue just started happening you can track down the specific time when this problem started.  Once you have the time when the issue started, check the Application and System event logs during that time and see if there were any problems.

If this has been happening for a long time this information might not help you because the first time it might have occurred could have been cleared out. Its still worth checking the Application and System event logs during the last boot/shutdown/standby time too see if there were any problems.
  • Open the Start screen and type Event viewer into the Search box and click the application icon. 
  • In the left pane of the Event Viewer, navigate the folders to Applications and Services Logs/Microsoft/Windows/Diagnostics-Performance
  • Expand this entry and double click on Operational (it should be the only item in this folder) this will display full diagnostic report of the computer's boot operations. 
Its possible to filter the current log to make it easier to find these events.  Click Filter Current Log... in the pane to the right. In the dialog that appears, change "<All Event IDs>" (the text box above the one labeled Task category) to "100" (for boot events, 200 for shutdown events  and 300 for standy events) . Press the OK button to apply the filter.
Note: For total boot time: Look in the pane that appears below this list; the value next to "Boot Duration" is the amount of time (in MS) that your system took to load from start to finish. Just divide by 1000 to get the time in seconds.

Log Name:      Microsoft-Windows-Diagnostics-Performance/Operational
Source:        Microsoft-Windows-Diagnostics-Performance
Date:          9/13/2011 8:01:02 AM
Event ID:      100
Task Category: Boot Performance Monitoring
Level:         Critical
Keywords:      Event Log
User:          LOCAL SERVICE
Computer:      SOMEMACHINE
Windows has started up:
     Boot Duration              :        215730ms
     IsDegradation              :        false

     Incident Time (UTC)        :        ‎2011‎-‎09‎-‎13T14:56:39.702800400Z

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Windows 8: General Keyboard Shortcuts

Below is a list of general keyboard shortcuts that can be used in most programs.  For most people, most of these shortcuts are already known, but its suggested that you review the list to see if you can discover new ones that you were not aware of.
  • CTRL+A: Selects everything (all editable objects) in the current window.
  • CTRL+C: Copies the selected object to the clipboard.
    • Tip: In some dialog boxes CTRL+C allows you to copy the text from it.
  • CTRL+X: Cuts the selected object to clipboard.
  • CTRL+V: Pastes the selected object from clipboard.
  • CTRL+Y: Redoes the last command or change.
    • Note: This function is not supported in all applications
  • CTRL+Z: Undoes the last command or change.
    • Tip: Use this shortcut to undo file or folder moves or deletions to the recycle bin.
  • DELETE: Deletes the selected text or object
  • ESC: Cancel the current task
  • F1:  Displays help for that application
  • HOME: Puts the cursor at the beginning of a line.
    • Note: CTRL+HOME (takes the cursor to the beginning of a document) and CTRL+SHIFT+HOME (selects all text from the cursor to the beginning of a document).
  • END:  Puts the cursor at the end of a line.
    • Note: CTRL+END (takes the cursor to the end of a document) and CTRL+SHIFT+END (selects all text from the cursor to the end of the document).
  • ALT+ Spacebar:  Opens the shortcut menu for the current window.
    • Tip: This feature is handy when the window's title bar is off the screen and you can't get to it.  You can press the  ALT+Spacebar keys then use the arrow keys to move the title bar into a visible area.
  • SHIFT with any of the arrow keys: Selects more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or selects text in a document.
  • CTRL+RIGHT or LEFT ARROW: Moves the insertion point to the beginning of the next or previous word.
    • Note: CTRL+SHIFT with any of the arrow keys: Highlights a block of text.