Posts Tagged ‘windows’

Got a new computer? Let Ninite help you out.

Just received a new computer?  Need to find an updated version of some of your favorite software?

If you have either of the above, and a live internet connection, look no further than Ninite (

The install screen

The install screen

This tool  lets you pick which applications and software you want to install on your computer, then puts it all into a downloadable program.  The program will then download and install the latest version of programs without any further prompts, allowing you to do other things while the installer does its job.

Ninite applications available for download

Ninite applications available for download

Are you a network administrator or an IT professional?  Ninite Pro offers network  support, additional programs, and a behind the scenes command-line interface.   This can let you keep all of your workstations up to date with the latest technology and applications available. Pricing plans are available on the site. (Ninite Pro)

Tips & Tricks for Boot Campers

Recently put Windows on your Mac? This one’s for you. Now that you’re not floating between using a virtual machine and Mac OS, there are a few tips that may come in handy when running Boot Camp.

The first thing you’ll notice is the difference between the Mac and Windows keyboards. Instead of the windows key, it has a command key; there isn’t a Print Screen key, and you’ve probably found that the backspace key is missing, too. The most important ones to know are the following:

Key mappings for Microsoft Windows features

Apple Wireless Keyboard special keys

  • The Command key is the Windows key.
  • The Windows Print Screen key is F14 on an external Apple keyboard.
  • The Delete key is the equivalent of Backspace. To forward delete with it on built-in Apple keyboards (on your Mac laptop), use Fn-Delete. (External Apple keyboards have a forward Delete key.)
  • The Option key is the Windows Alt key.
  • When restarting your computer, the partition will automatically boot into the Windows side of your hard drive. If you need to return to your Mac OS, all you need to do is hold down the Option key directly after rebooting. Choose the Macintosh HD image and your computer will boot into your Mac side.

    Connecting to Wireless Networks with Windows 7

    Nothing can be as frustrating as when you have your laptop, your coffee and you are ready to do some and you get an error saying you have no internet connection.  So here are some instructions to help you get connected to a wireless network and back to work.  These instructions are for Windows only.

    First look for an icon in the lower right corner of your taskbar that looks like a very small bar graph.


    The yellow overlay indicates that there are available wireless networks detected.

    If you place you mouse over the icon you will see this pop-up.  You want to click on it to view the available wireless networks.


    Your list of available networks will vary based on your location.  If you are at a Starbucks or an Airport your network list will be different than if you are at home.

    This is what a list of connections should look like.  If the network you are trying to attach to is not listed click on the refresh button (the two blue arrows) to re-detect wireless networks.

    img3The details of the detected wireless networks (SSID, signal strength, security type, radio type) will be shown if you hold your mouse for 1 second on the selected network.

    If there is orange bubble and exclamation mark on wireless network symbol, that is open or unsecured wireless network without any wireless encryption. This type of connection will be present in an open environment like Starbucks or a place that is offering Free Wi-Fi.

    Once you decide which network you want to connect to simply click on it.

    If you are in an environment that is offering free Wi-Fi you might get a connection notice like this one.  Basically Windows is trying to make sure you really want to connect to an insecure network.


    If you are comfortable with connecting to an unsecured network, click “Connect Anyway” and when you are connected you will get the following message.


    If you are at a Starbucks or another location such as a hotel or airport, you will need to open your browser and accept their terms and conditions or user agreement to continue on with your Internet session.

    With any new network connection you will have to choose what type of connection it is which is very easy.  If you are out at home choose “Home” otherwise choose “Public”.


    Now after all that your wireless icon should have signal bars denoting how strong the signal is like this:


    When the network you want to connect to is a secured network, like your Verizon FiOS or Cable connection at home you will need your password.  The password is usually on a sticker on the router and it will have the SSID (the name of your wireless network) and it will have the security key information (the password).

    Again, choose your network and put a check mark in the “Connect automatically” box so that your laptop automatically connects the next time it sees this network.


    Click connect and then when prompted type in your security key and click “Ok”.


    Again if this is a new connection you will get the choices for Home, Work or Public. This time choose the Home network.

    If the laptop connects you will see the full bar graph icon that indicates the signal strength of your network.


    If you have issues with connecting, here is an explanation of the different types of Windows 7 network icons and what they mean.

    The following icon means no wireless networks are available.  This could be because you are out of range of the wireless network.  Make sure that you are in an area that has wireless access; also make sure that your wireless is turned on. On some laptops there is a way to turn the wireless on and off. It can be a button on the side or top part of your keyboard area. Some laptops also have it as a function key on the keyboard.


    This icon means you are connected to the network but have no Internet access, try resetting your router if you are at home. If you are not at home, try rebooting your laptop and see if the connection will re-establish itself. This can also happen if you are at a location that has Wi-Fi but you have not finished the login process for the network or accepted the terms of use.  Open up a web browser and see if you are directed to a login page.


    While this isn’t a comprehensive guide to all of the possible problems that you may experience when trying to connect to a wireless network, hopefully it will provide you with some basic troubleshooting steps and get you connected more easily.  Remember, if you are experiencing problems, your HouseCall systems administrator is always available to help.

    Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

    Knowing how to navigate Windows with only a keyboard can be quite valuable.  Not only can it enable you to get around Windows faster than using a mouse, it can allow you to continue being productive in the event your mouse decides to die on you.  Here are a few general keyboard shortcuts for you to remember:

    Word Processing

    When creating documents, I find it easier to maintain the flow of typing by keeping both hands on the keyboard at all times rather than stopping frequently to use the mouse for mundane tasks.  You may find the following shortcuts rather helpful in this regard:

    • CTRL+C – Copy text
    • CTRL+X – Cut text
    • CTRL+V – Paste text
    • CTRL+Z – Undo changes to a document
    • CTRL+RIGHT ARROW – Move the cursor to the beginning of the next word
    • CTRL+LEFT ARROW – Move the cursor to the beginning of the previous word
    • CTRL+DOWN ARROW – Move the cursor to the beginning of the next paragraph
    • CTRL+UP ARROW – Move the cursor to the beginning of the previous paragraph
    • CTRL+SHIFT with any of the arrow keys – Highlight a block of text

    Desktop or Window Interaction

    These shortcuts come in handy when using a mouse is not an option. They can also be considered time saving as well. The following can be used generally for most interactions with Windows:

    • DELETE – Delete text, files, folders or other objects that can be interacted with
    • SHIFT+DELETE – Delete the selected item permanently without placing the item in the Recycle Bin
    • CTRL while dragging an item – Copy the selected item
    • CTRL+SHIFT while dragging an item – Create a shortcut to the selected item
    • F2 key – Rename the selected item
    • SHIFT with any of the arrow keys – Select more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or select text in a document
    • CTRL+A – Select all items
    • F3 key – Search for a file or a folder
    • ALT+ENTER  – View the properties for the selected item
    • ALT+F4 – Close the active item, or quit the active program (handy for dealing with pop up windows)
    • ALT+ENTER – Display the properties of the selected object
    • ALT+SPACEBAR – Open the shortcut menu for the active window
    • CTRL+F4 – Close the active document in programs that enable you to have multiple documents open simultaneously
    • ALT+TAB – Switch between open items
    • ALT+ESC – Cycle through items in the order that they had been opened
    • F6 key – Cycle through the screen elements in a window or on the desktop
    • F4 key – Display the Address bar list in My Computer or Windows Explorer
    • SHIFT+F10 – Display the shortcut menu for the selected item
    • ALT+SPACEBAR – Display the System menu for the active window
    • CTRL+ESC – Display the Start menu
    • ALT+Underlined letter in a menu name – Display the corresponding menu
    • Underlined letter in a command name on an open menu – Perform the corresponding command
    • F10 key – Activate the menu bar in the active program
    • RIGHT ARROW – Open the next menu to the right, or open a submenu
    • LEFT ARROW – Open the next menu to the left, or close a submenu
    • F5 key – Refresh the active window
    • BACKSPACE – View the folder one level up in My Computer or Windows Explorer
    • ESC – Cancel the current task
    • SHIFT when you insert a CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive – Prevent the CD-ROM from automatically playing
    • CTRL+SHIFT+ESC – Open Task Manager

    By learning some of these shortcuts, you will be amazed by how fast you can get around windows and how your productivity will increase.

    Dead Mouse

    Record and Edit Audio Free with Audacity

    The internet is full of free software and can be hard to find applications that are useful amongst all the rubble. Audacity is a genuine diamond in the rough, an exceptional audio recording and editing software.

    AudacityThe program is even used by Speech-Language Pathologists to record and analyze variations in accents and voice disorders. It also has a number of other features and possibilities for other lines of work, including:

    Recording live audio.
    Converting tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
    Editing Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV, and AIFF sound files.
    Cutting, copying, splicing or mixing sounds together.
    Changing the speed or pitch of a recording.
    Removing static, hiss, hum, or other constant background noises.
    Quickly editing even large audio files.
    And more!

    Audacity is available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux/Unix operating systems. To see if your computer will run Audacity, view the system requirements for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

    Once you’ve determined that Audacity will run on your system, go to the download page to install Audacity. Be sure and click on your operating system to download the correct file. Follow the instructions provided for installing the program.

    After you’ve installed Audacity, you can try recording a file. Open audacity and hit the record button (the red circle). You will need a microphone to record your own voice. To stop recording, you can press pause (the two blue rectangles) or stop (the yellow square) but note that they work differently. If you press pause and then press record again, you will start recording right where you left off. But if you press stop, Audacity will create a new sound layer, and once you press record again it will start from the beginning. For example if I recorded myself whistling a tune and then pressed stop, and pressed record again and sang the tune, when I played it I would hear myself singing and whistling the tune at the same time. When you record the second layer, you can hear what’s playing in the first layer when you record.

    You can also use Audacity to edit audio files that were recorded by other means. Audacity can open most any type of audio file. M4P is a common file type that is an exception. If you want to open an M4P file you will need to convert it, which you can do in iTunes by following the instructions here.

    Once you’re finished with your file you will need to save it. If you might want to continue working on it in the future, you should save it as an Audacity file to keep the layers in tact. To do this, go to the File menu and choose Save Project. If you want to distribute the file, by burning it to a CD, emailing it to a friend, or putting it on your webpage, you will need to export it as a common type of file. Otherwise people will only be able to listen to it if they have Audacity.

    Here are the types of files that you can use to export your completed Audacity projects:

    Ogg Vorbis – A free and un-patented audio compression format used for storing and playing digital music, similar to the MP3. For more information, see the vorbis website. To export to this type of file, go to the File menu and select Export as Ogg Vorbis.
    MP3 – The standard for storing and playing digital music and other audio files. To export to an MP3 file you will first need to download and install the LAME MP3 encoder. Follow the instructions here. Be sure to download the correct version for your operating system. Once it is installed, export to MP3 in Audacity by going to the File menu and selecting Export as MP3.
    WAV – An audio format that uses raw or uncompressed audio and is ideal for creating audio CDs. To export to this type of file in Audacity, go to the File menu and chose Export to WAV.

    Want to do more with Audacity? The Audacity Wiki includes a page filled with tutorials for creating all sorts of projects with Audacity. Many off-site tutorials are included as well.