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Monday, March 3, 2014

Organizing Tips - Shortcuts

Most users are familiar with Shortcuts.  These are icons that may be created to point to a file or program or folder.  They use very little memory and may be placed in any other folder or the desktop.  Often we want to be able to run a program or launch a specific document easily and have often placed a shortcut for this program on the desktop.  And the tiles on the Start screen actually point to shortcuts.

The great thing about shortcuts are we are able to create many shortcuts of a single file or folder and place them in different locations on our computer, to be able to reach the same associated program, file or folder from a multitude of locations.

Normally, shortcuts are created by right-clicking on the file and selecting Create Shortcut. A new icon with appearance like the original with an arrow and the word "- Shortcut" appended to the name will be created in the same folder.

What you may not know is there are additional ways to create a shortcut:
  1. You may right-click on the file and select Send To: Desktop  and the shortcut will be created on the desktop.
  2. You may hold the alt key and click-drag the original file.  A shortcut will be created to wherever you drag.

Adding Files to the Start screen using Shortcuts

If you want to add a program or a folder to the Start screen, all you need to do is right-click on the desired icon and select Pin to Start.  If, however,  you want to add a document or other file, you must first create a shortcut and add that to the Apps Drawer folder described in How to Love Windows 8.1 under Adding Web Shortcuts. Create the Apps Drawer, as described, then:
  1. Create a shortcut of the desired document on the desktop as described in #1 above.
    - You may first wish to rename this without the "- Shortcut" suffix, since the Tile you create will be named the same as the shortcut is named.
  2. Drag this shortcut to the Apps Drawer. Permissions will be requested and should be granted
  3. Go to the Apps View (from Start screen, click the Down-arrow or press Ctrl-Tab)
  4. Find the shortcut you dragged into the Apps Drawer, right-click, and select Pin to Start
  5. Return to the Start screen (Up-arrow or Ctrl-Tab) and the new tile will be at the right. Click-drag where you want it.

Automatically Removing - Shortcut Suffix from Shortcuts

I find I never really want the word "- Shortcut" added to shortcuts. I can always tell it's a shortcut with the arrow on the icon.  There is a simple way to always create shortcuts without this suffix. It requires a small change of a special file on your computer called RegEdit. This can be dangerous to modify, so  I've created a small script which will take care of it for you.  You may:
  1. Download Shortcut.reg  and save on your desktop 
  2. Once downloaded, double-click on the file. It will ask you for permissions... grant them.
  3. Once it is complete, Sign out (Win-X:Sign out), then Sign in to your computer account. 
From now on, the name of your shortcuts will be the same as the original, without "- Shortcut" added.
Now that you know how to easily make Shortcuts, we can talk more about Organizing Your Windows 8.1 Computer further in upcoming posts.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Protect Your Data With a Disk Partition

One of the things we all fear is losing the data on our computers... documents, photos, music, and other files that may not be replaceable.  If we lose a program, we can generally re-install it.  Likewise, if something happens to the operating system (OS), that too may be re-installed.

Recent computers have huge hard drives... 750GB to 1 TB and greater.  Generally the entire hard drive is set as Drive C:. What this means is that we have our OS, all of our programs, and all of our data/files on the one drive.

This can create a bit of a program.  First, if something happens that we need to re-install the OS, everything on the drive may be erased. (Windows 8 does have a Refresh installation, that is intended to preserve the data. But that may not always be adequate.)  Secondly, most  backup procedures require that the backup be made to a drive other than C:, so an additional drive would need to be purchased and installed. (Windows 8 has a very nice automatic backup routine called File History that must have a target other than Drive C:)

Consider that the size of the default Drive C: on these newer computers is huge.  The OS and programs could easily be happy on a drive of 200GB.  What this means is that we could divide our huge drive into 2 or more 'logical drives' (as opposed to 'physical drives', which are separate hardware drives.) These logical drives are called PARTITIONS, and any hard drive may be partitioned to many drives.  On the big hard drive we can modify it so Drive C: is 200GB and the remainder of the drive (550GB and higher) would look like a separate drive. This would have it's own drive letter (for example, Drive D: or Drive E:), and would be treated by the computer as though you purchased and installed an additional physical drive.

Of course, all of the data is on the same physical drive, so if the hard drive mechanically fails, neither of the 'Drives' may be accessible. But this really doesn't happen too often, compared to software errors.  If this is really a concern, you could purchase and install a separate drive.

A nice feature is that Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 have a very simple partitioning capability built right into the system.

If you attempt the following, BE VERY CAREFUL. Read all of the instructions completely and follow the steps precisely. This may not be for the 'feint of heart'.

There are other programs that can do partitioning, but if they don't work properly, you could lose everything on the hard drive. If you have an earlier version operating system (Vista, XP), you would need a specific program to do this, and some programs can mess things up big time. Be Careful!

Should you decide to partition your hard drive, here are the steps in Windows 8 to follow:

Create a New Partition
  1. Decide on how large you want to retain as Drive C:.  As I mentioned earlier, I find that 200 GB is more than adequate for the OS and programs.
  2. Right-click in the lower left corner of the desktop or press Win+X to display the Quick Access Menu (QAM).
  3. Select Disk Management and a new window will open that displays a list of existing Volumes (partitions) and a graph of Disk 0 (the entire physical hard drive). Note that each of the volumes in the list are displayed as separate areas (PARTITIONS) in the graph. Windows (C) shows that it's size is nearly the entire size of your hard drive. Other partitions have been created by the operating system for computer support and Recovery (NEVER DISTURB THEM).
  4. Right-click on the Windows (C:) partition and select Shrink Volume. A new page will be displayed that shows (in MB)
    1. Total Size before shrink
    2. Size of available shrink space
    3. Enter the amount of space to shrink
    4. Total size after shrink
  5. Subtract the amount you decided upon in Step 1 from the total size of Windows (C:) partition displayed and enter this number into the field after Enter the amount of space to shrink.  This should show the amount of Step 1 in Total size after shrink
  6. Click the Shrink button.  The computer will process your request... this may take some time. Be patient. When it is completed, you will see a new area in the graph called Unallocated.
  7. Right click on the Unallocated area and select New Simple Volume. A new Wizard window will display. Click Next, then Next again.
  8. In Assign the following drive letter, select the next HIGHEST letter greater than C available and click Next. Don't use A or B.
  9. Select the following and click Next.  You may change the Volume Label to Data if you like.

  10. Click Next, then Finish.  You will now see your new partition showing in the graph.
 You now have a new partition of your computer. If you look on My Computer, (This PC), the new drive will show.

Move Your Data to the New Partition.
We will now show you how to move your existing files and the folders in My Documents, My Music, My Downloads, My Pictures, My Videos to the new partition.

  1. Open the new partition so you see the empty window on your desktop
  2. Create a new folder in this partition named Users, with another folder within named the same as your Windows Sign in name. Within the latter folder, create additional folders named:
        Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos   
    • If you would like to perform Step #2 automatically, run the batch file you can download here: SetupFolders and will be done for you*
  3. Close the partition window and open My Computer (This Computer). In the upper area of this window you should see folders 
    • Desktop
    • Documents
    • Downloads
    • Music
    • Pictures
    • Videos.
  4. Starting with the Documents folder, right-click on it and select Properties.
  5. Choose the Location tab
  6. Click Move... and find the Documents folder you created on the new partition defined in Step 2. When queried to Move files to new location, select Yes.
  7. Repeat Step 4-6 for all the folders listed in Step 3 except Desktop
You have now moved your primary data files to the new partition.  Whenever you click on the Documents or My Documents folder, you will display the new location on the new partition.

I'll show you how to setup backup to this new partition in an upcoming post.

* In general, never click on batch files from unknown sources.  Nasty people can do nasty things. To be safe, right click on any batch file before running and open with an editor (Notepad, etc). Look at the instructions in the file and be sure nothing looks suspicious or destructive.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Win 8.1 Hibernate and How to Add to Quick Access Menu (QAM).

If you have a Windows laptop, you have an option as to what happens when you close the lid. A lot of people select Sleep, but I prefer Hibernate.  The difference is Sleep requires you have power applied to the computer and Hibernate does not...it stores all your settings on the hard drive.

I prefer Hibernate, as I have developed the habit of removing my laptop battery when I'm going to have it plugged in for a long time.  Heat shortens the life of the battery, and when the computer is plugged in and turned on, the battery is subjected to heat.  When I remove it, I normally store it in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of our refridgerator. It keeps it's charge, and if I need it for some 'remote' computing, it's ready to go.

In Windows 8.1, they added the Quick Access Menu (QAM) with Shut Down or Sign Out option.  To access this menu, right-click in the lower left corner of the desktop or press Win+X.  Near the bottom of the menu, you'll see the Shut Down... link. Running your mouse over it, you'll see all the options other than Hibernate.  If you wish to add this, follow these steps:

  1. Open Power Options. The simplest way to do this is go to the Start screen and type Power Options. You can also right-click on the power icon if it is displayed in your system tray (bottom right of desktop)
  2. Click on Choose what the power button does link at the left
    At this point, you can also set what happens when you press the power button or close the lid. I select Shut down for pressing power button and Hibernate for close lid (battery and plugged in)
  3. Click on the Change settings that are currently unavailable link near the top of the page
  4. Scroll down to Shutdown settings and check the box that says Hibernate
  5. Save changes
You will now see Hibernate in the Shut Down... list of the QAM.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Create Keyboard Shortcuts To Open Programs

Have you ever wanted to be able to open certain programs with a keyboard shortcut? Say, for example, call up a calculator instantly?

You can easily create keyboard shortcuts to open programs. Before you get started, you need to create a shortcut for the program to which you want to assign a keyboard shortcut. In the case of Windows 8/8.1, you probably already have the shortcut created in either your Start  screen or Apps View. 

Find the tile for the program and right click on it. At the bottom of the page, select Open File Location.  A folder will open and the shortcut will be highlighted.  (If you're not using Win 8 or can't find it in the Apps View, open the folder that contains the program's executable file, right-click it, and then click Create Shortcut.)
  1. Locate the shortcut to the program that you want to create a keyboard shortcut for.
  2. Right-click the shortcut, and then click Properties.
  3. In the Shortcut Properties dialog box, click the Shortcut tab.
  4. Click in the Shortcut key box, press the key on your keyboard that you want to use in combination with Ctrl+Alt (keyboard shortcuts automatically start with Ctrl+Alt), and then click OK.  If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation
From now on when you want to launch the selected program, just press Ctrl+Alt+your selected key.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Block Unwanted Areas on Facebook, Google +, other

Are you as tired of sites like Facebook and Google Plus shoving things at you, like ads, Hangouts and areas they want to promote.

Firefox has a great feature called Add-Ons, where extra features people have developed can be added.

In Firefox, Go to Tools:Add-Ons. Search for AdBlock, and look for "Adblock Plus 2.4.1" and "Element Hiding Helper for Adblock Plus 1.2.3". Install both, and you will see a new round red ABP icon  at the top of your Firefox window.

 When you are on a page that has annoying areas, click on this icon and "Select an element to hide". Move your cursor over the areas you want to hide and when it is shown with a red border, click the cursor. These areas will automatically be hidden in the future.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Useful Programs

The following is a list of some of the programs that I have on my computers that you may find useful. Most of these programs are free, via Open Source development. I have found that these programs are superior to their paid counterparts. The paid programs are noted with an asterisk (*) and reason for buying them is generally given. You likely will not need all of these programs, but you have here a list to learn about some of the extended functions you can perform with your computer.

Download desired files to your Download folder by clicking on the name.  Install by double-clicking on the downloaded file.

Always be careful whenever you download software from the Internet.  The links shown below go directly to the creator of the software. There are many sources other than the creator for software, and these often embed bloatware or viruses with the files you want to get. Even Adobe, for Reader and Flash, tries to get you to download McAfee, which you don't need with Windows Defender, built into Windows.

Reading, Writing, Arithmetic

  • Web Browser
    •  Firefox: Great functionality and security that you can tailor to your preferences. See my review on Firefox on this blog.
  • Word Processing, Spreadsheet, Presentation
    • Apache Open Office: Free alternative to Window Office like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access. Compatible with all Word, Excel, Powerpoint, so you can exchange files with those who have MS Office.
  • Email Client
  • PDF
    • Adobe Reader - displays any pdf (Portable Data Format documet on your computer. Uncheck the Optional Offer for McAfee Security before downloading
    • CutePDF Writer  - Create a pdf file from any program by simply printing
    • pdfMerge - Combine or split pdf files into separate documents
  • Outlining:  
    • Treepad Lite for Windows - Sometimes it's easier to figure things out by creating an outline and rearranging the various items.  If you are like me, this program does a good job.  There is also an Android app - Outliner - that will sync with it via Dropbox

Graphics and Multimedia

  • Photography Organize, Edit
    • Picasa: Excellent photo organizer, touchup, and sharing software. Recommend you decline to load other programs, such as Chrome, when installing this.
  • Video Display: 
    • Adobe Flash: Add functionality to your browser to play most videos, such as YouTube, etc. If you don't have it, your browser will request it when it is needed.Uncheck the Optional Offer for McAfee Security before downloading
    • Windows Media Player:  Included with Window; set it as your default program. A full featured Audio and Video player, that can organize and play your favorite media. 
  • Media Server
    • KooRaRoo* - Have you ever wanted to easily display the photos, videos, and music on your TV that is currently on your computer.  This program allows you to do so, using DLNA which is a standard with many DVD players,  TV's and DirecTV DVRs. Terrific customer support, and reasonably priced.
  • Win 8 Tile Creator
    • OblyTile -  Create your own Windows 8 Tiles from any image for files, folders, web addresses. You can also create your own custom tiles and share with others using export and import.
  • Graphics/Image Editor:
    • Gimp is the Open Source alternative to Photoshop. Edit, touch-up, create images with special effects and layers. This is an incredibly powerful program that can do just about any graphics action, if you take the time to learn how to use it.
  •  Screen Capture:
    • Snipping Tool comes with Windows 8. It lets you capture any area of the displayed screen to an image file it will will store in your Pictures folder, under Screenshots.  Just go to the Start screen, start to type Snipping Tool, then right click on the icon, and Pin to Taskbar.
    • TIP... Press the + Prt Sc key and you will capture whatever screen is currently  be displayed into the Pictures:Screenshots folder.

Communication / Sharing Between Computers and Smart Phones/Tablet

Some of the programs below (marked with **) operate via the "Cloud", meaning someone else is maintaining a server on the Internet.  No matter how secure this is claimed to be, it is highly advisable to never put sensitive information onto these servers. This includes financial information, SSA #, passwords, or anything else that could cause hardship if was know by others or the public.

  • Notes Share: 
    • Evernote**: Write notes on one device and they are available on all the others. You can organize by notes and notebooks. Set up a free account and download to each of your computers, smart phones, and/or tablets
  • File Share: 
    • Dropbox**: Share files easily between computers, smart phones, tablets, as well as others you specify. Set up a free account and download to each of your computers, smart phones, and/or tablets.  This performs the sames functions as GoogleDrive, MS Skydrive, and others, but I prefer Dropbox due to it's track record and security. You won't need the other "Drives".
  • File Syncronization: 
    • FreeFileSync: If you have multiple computers in your home or location, it's likely you have these networked together to share programs and files.  FreeFileSync allows to you automatically keep specific files synchronized between the computers by always selecting the newest file and copying to the other computers.
  • Remote Control: 
    • UltraVNC:   I have both a desktop and a laptop computer. I often want to do something on my desktop when I am running the laptop.  UltraVNC (Virtual Network Controller) allows me to literally run the desktop from the laptop as if I were actually sitting at the desktop keyboard.  Requires installation of specific parts of software on both client (laptop) and server (desktop).  I also use it to help people fix things at a remote location.


  • Virus Protection:
    • Windows Defender comes with Windows 8.1 and does an excellent job.  Be sure it is working by typing Defender in the Start screen and opening the program. In my opinion, there is no need to purchase commercial products like McAfee or Norton; the windows does a fine job without effecting the performance of your computer.
      In fact, I would recommend removing other Virus protection software from your computer. Never run more than one virus protection software at a time.

  • Password Vault:  
    • Keepass Classic Edition: You can prevent identity theft...never use the same password on more than one website. This password vault eliminates the need to remember passwords. If you can't remember your password, it's more likely someone else won't be able to crack it. This program enables you to securely keep all of your user ids and passwords under lock and key. Everyone should use this to easily store and retrieve your user ids and passwords by remembering only one very secure passkey.
  • Firewall:  
    • Comodo Firewall - Windows Firewall is generally good enough for most users; if you are a geek like me, you may want to have the ability to have more selective control over traffic in and out of your computer. This program has great flexibility. Never run more than one firewall on your computer at the same time... they will interfere with each other.
      Be careful if you decide to download this program. It will try to install a number of other programs. Watch each step carefully and be sure to use the Customized install to uncheck ALL other programs.
  • Full Backup:  
    • EaseUS ToDo Backup - This program allows you to create a full image duplicate of your entire hard disk onto an external portable hard drive, like a WD Passport drive.In the event of a total disk crash, you can restore to exactly the system and settings you had at the time of backup.

Ebooks and Audio Books

Did you know that there are thousands of books available for free or to borrow that you can read on your computer, tablet, or smartphone?  Your local library likely has an Ebook site where all you need is a library card to borrow books. Furthermore there are many websites that list books that are free on every subject you can imagine.
  • Kindle - One of the first Ebook readers, there is free Kindle software to load on your laptop or desktop, with which you can read Kindle formatted books purchased or borrowed from libraries. You'll need a Kindle account, but you don't need to enter a credit card if you don't want to.
  • Adobe Digital Editions -  Transfer and read ebooks in Epub format from your library or other sources. Requires you set up a free Adobe account, which will be used to decode the DRM (Digital Rights Management) that libraries put on borrowed ebooks to enable automatic expiration after 2 or 3 weeks.
  • Calibre -  The best program to exchange the different formats in the Ebook world. If you have open (non-DRM) books, you may change between Kindle and Epub format. Also good for adding cover art.

Social Communication

  • Trillian - A very versatile chat program that enables you to chat among all of the standards: GoogleTalk, AOL, Yahoo, Facebook. All in one program, you can have multiple chats running at the same time. Also available for Android devices.
  • Skype -Video chatting standard for Computer-to-Computer via the Internet. Also available for Android.


  • Genealogy: 
    • RootsMagic 6 - an outstanding family tree software for a very reasonable price. Free trial. In my opinion, much better and less expensive than Family Tree Maker.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Having Fun With Windows

OK..I'm not talking about the OS. I mean the windows you're displaying on your desktop. In Windows 8.1 (I believe also in Win 7, Win 8),  there are some neat ways to position multiple windows.

For example, let's open a browser window. If this is 'maximized', it will fill your entire desktop. You can immediately tell by looking at the top-right of the window and you'll see the maximize icon (the one in the middle) shows 2-stacked documents.

 You can 'restore' it to it's partial size by clicking on the middle icon, and it will change to a single window icon, and the window should shrink.

If the window is not the size you want, just click on one of the four corners when the icon changes to a diagonal 2-headed icon, and drag for the desired size.

This is all basic Windows, and has existed for many versions. But here's the new part.
  • Make sure the browser window is selected.
  • Hold the key and press the Up arrow. If the window was not maximized, it will change to full screen. (If it was already maximized, nothing should happen)
  • Now, hold the key and press the Right arrow.  The window will move to the right and resize to one-half of the screen. 
  • + Left arrow, and the window goes to reduced size
  • + Left arrrow, again and the window moves to the left and resizes to one-half the screen.
  • Now, try +Right arrow, and the window goes first to reduced size and then, on the next press, back to half-screen right.
  • +Up arrow goes to full - maximized screen.
  • +Down arrow... to reduced size, and pressing again, to Minimized size in the taskbar. This is the same as clicking the 1st of the 3 icons shown above.
  • You must click on the icon in the taskbar to restore the window size.
Another way to perform the same functions using just the mouse is to click and hold in the Title Bar of the window (the very top of the window where the name of the program or page is displayed), AND:
  • Drag up to the top of the screen and release to Maximize
  • Drag down to position the reduced window where you want it
  • Drag all the way to the right and release to fill the right half of the screen
  • Drag all the way to the left and release to fill the left half of the screen
Let's suppose you want to view two windows at the same time, perhaps for comparison.
  • Select the browser window and + Right arrow
  • Hold Ctrl + N  (or File:New Window) to create an additional browser window
  • Select this new window, and + Left arrow
  • You should now have two windows, equal size, side by side.  You can then load the second window with any bookmark.  Or this could be a word processing window and a spreadsheet window, or any other type windows you want.
  • You may rearrange the windows to opposite sides by click dragging on the Title bar, as explained above, from left side to right side.
If you have more than 2 windows open that you want to be able to easily see for comparison, you may right click on the taskbar at the bottom of the screen, and select  Show windows side by side.

Hope you find these features as useful as I do.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

How to Love Windows 8.1

In my opinion, Windows 8.1 is one of the best Operating Systems Microsoft has presented, but lack of understanding and poor default configuration has led to intense dislike of it.

Once you understand the philosophy behind this new OS and the many benefits it provides, I think you will , as I do, prefer it over former versions of Windows.  Learn how to convert the "dreaded default start screen" into a useful launcher to simplify and organize your computing. Click on the link under Pages in the right column of this page, How to Love Windows 8.1

Monday, February 10, 2014

Windows 8.1 Quick Start

Make your confusing Windows 8 computer a useful, desirable tool in minutes! A step-by-step guide is presented  at the link under Pages in the right column of this page, Windows 8.1 Quick Start.

Firefox Browser - Why and How?

My preferred web browser is Mozilla Firefox.  This is a free browser, available online at http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/  for most platforms.

Like any software, it should be have the ability to accommodate the user's preferences. Firefox has the following functions that are easily established that I find important in a browser:
  • Tab Display: (Tools:Options:Tabs) Open multiple webpages in a single browser and switch between them by clicking on the tab displayed at the top.  Tabs can be rearranged by click-dragging. Each can be independently closed, or all but current tab can be closed.  Also, when a new webpage is opened, it can be sent to a new tab, which will automatically be displayed.
  • Selectively Remember Passwords for Web Pages - ( Tools:Options:Security ) For all but critical financial sites, it's nice to have the browser populate user id  and password fields by web page on sites I want, and not on sites I don't want. In addition, one can delete any one at any time. Furthermore, all information is stored on MY computer, not in a cloud server which could be hacked.
  • Customized Menu Bar - ( Right-click on empty area next to a tab:Customize... ) I like to have specific buttons that I use most arranged a certain way, with the web address/search field displayed at the top. Firefox enables complete customization.
  • Selective updates - ( Tools:Options:Advanced:Update )Although I will generally update my software when a new version comes out, I like the option to decline, as some releases are not an improvement.
  • Cookie Control - ( Tools:Options:Privacy )Cookies are not inherently bad. They enable information to be passed from one web page to another within the same site and I use them extensively when I create websites to simplify the user's experience. What I do not like at all are TRACKING COOKIES. These are called 3rd party cookies, which are set by code that website owners are paid to put into their websites and enable independent marketing sites to track your website viewing between sites.  Some browsers do not let you block 3rd party cookies at all; some make it difficult.  Firefox enables several features, among them Block Tracking Cookies, and Only allow 3rd Party Cookies from Previously Visited Sites.  The importance of the latter occurs with websites from many small banking or credit unions who provide services from companies like Intuit.  The web code to access these sites  is often embedded in the Financial institutions's website, and functionality is limited if all 3rd party cookies are blocked.  One can temporarily enable all cookies when first visiting these sites (if things aren't working right), and then set them so only the ones that were visited previously will operate.  Firefox is unique in this function.
  • Synced Cookies and Settings - ( Tools:Options:Sync With this option you may setup, all of your cookies are synced automatically between different computers and specific browsers on Smart Phones and Tablets (I use the Android Boat Browser Advanced, which syncs to my Firefox computers)
  • There are many more features available, including Add-On's which provide enhanced functionality.  Will report on those at some future date.
I don't care for Internet Explorer as it does not have the same functionality as above, as well as being integrated with the operating system, security risks are more likely.

Chrome is interesting, but does not provide as much customization, especially in easily enabling the undesired cookie blocking.  I don't believe you can disable Updating with Chrome. Also, Chrome uses considerably more memory than the other browsers.

Easy Configuration of Firefox
You can change the setup of your browser to fit your needs.  I've created a pre-configure script that you may use that will easily modify your configuration the way that I prefer. You may
  1. Download the following zip file to your computer  Setup Firefox  by clicking, using the File:Download link on the page opened OR pressing Ctrl-S.
  2. Close Firefox
  3. Extract the folder and files
  4. Double-click on ffsetup.bat to automatically apply the configuration to your Firefox installation.
  5.  Open Firefox
 This will not effect your existing bookmarks or other settings.


The intent of this blog is to give back... to the many people who have posted incredibly useful information on the web that was there when I needed it. I tend to delve into various technical topics, and would like to share my findings when I believe they will be useful to  others.

My current subject of study has been Windows 8 (or specifically 8.1), of which terrible reviews were being communicated.   I wanted to find out for myself what was the problem, as I had several XP computers that would no longer be supported.

What I found is that Microsoft design team had developed an excellent operating system in Windows 8... far better and faster than previous OS's... BUT, the group that determined how it would be presented to the customer as a default installation on PC's and Laptops totally messed up.

Through a lot of research and testing, I found how this can be overcome - quite easily - and how to set up your computer to enjoy, not avoid, the many functions and features of Windows 8.1.
Check out the following and find out for yourself:

As other subjects catch my eye, I hope to share them as well.

Thanks for listening.