Thursday, 6 April 2017

Tips & Tricks (April 2017)

Tips & Tricks (April 2017)

01 [Windows] Delete non-executed print commands from the printer memory

It is already annoying enough when Windows does not print a document but it gets even worse when the print job cannot be deleted. You can bring this issue to order with some manual intervention. First, terminate the service "Print queue”. Open the "Run” window using the shortcut [Win] + [R] or via the Windows Start menu and type "services.msc”. In the "Services” windows, search for "Printer Queue”, right click on it and go to the command "End”. Subsequently, delete the file to be printed, from the printer memory. Open the path "C:\Windows\system32\spool\PRINTERS” and delete the files in this folder. Thereafter, restart the "Print Queue” service. For this, open the Windows services as described above, where you type the command "services.msc” in the "Run” window. Right-click again on the service "Print Queue" and click on "Start” in the context menu.

02 [Windows 10] Repair the failed Internet connection in the Registry

Occasionally, you get the error message under Windows 10 "Ethernet does not have any valid IP configuration”. If restarting the PC and router does not help, then, as described in tip 1, open the "Run” window and type "regedit”. In the registry, navigate to the folder "Parameters” via "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE | SYSTEM | CurrentControlSet Services | TCPIP”. Here, you can create a new "DWORD value (32 Bit)” via the context command "New” after a right-click on it. Type the name "IPAutoconfigurationEnable” for the entry and enter the value "0” after double-clicking on it in the "Edit” window. After restarting the computer, the LAN or Internet connection should start working properly again.

03 [Word] Individually configure Autocorrect

The autocorrect in Word should not be trusted blindly. It is better to check the individual options and activate them as per your requirements. The path to the correction options differs slightly, depending on the Office version. In Office 2016, open the "File” menu, click on "Options” in the left column below and navigate to the entry "Proofing” in the "Word Options” window. After clicking on the it, you will find the "Autocorrect Options” right at the top. In Office 2013, the path is identical with clicking "File” and selecting the "Word Options” in the 2010 version. Under "Document check”, you will find the "Autocorrect options”. In Office 2007, it is expected to click on the Office button on the top left and select the "Word Options” on the bottom right. On the left in the menu, you will now find the "Document check” under which you will see the "Autocorrect” options. Finally, in Office 2003, click in the menu on "Extras” above and select the option "Autocorrect options”.

In the "Autocorrect” window, you can now determine how Word will correct and format your text during input. If you do not wish to use autocorrect at all, then you can remove all the check marks. If you find some functions annoying, like the capitalisation of words at the start of the sentence or the conversion of punctuation marks to smileys, then you can remove the respective checkmarks. Finally, incorporate the settings by clicking on OK. In the same manner, you can configure the autocorrect in Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint and other Office programs.

04 [Windows] Deactivate network throttling to speed up gaming

Windows uses a throttling mechanism that limits the network traffic to ten packets per milliseconds as long as it does not deal with multimedia data. Thereby, Microsoft wants to ensure that multimedia programs get priority access to CPU power. However, in case of online games, it is logical to disable this restriction to guarantee maximum throughput.

This is recommended only for Gigabit-LAN environments where you do not want to prioritise the rendering of multimedia. Open the registry by typing "regedit” in the "Run” window and go to the path "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Window NT\CurrentVersion\Multimedia\SystemProfile”. Here, you can change the value for "Network Throttling Index” from "10” to "ffffffff”. Deactivating the throttling generates exceedingly long response times (lag spikes), particularly for games like Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead or Counter Strike: Source.

05 [Excel] Prepare tables for printing

Some preliminary work is often needed while printing an Excel spreadsheet so that you will get proper results. Usually, you work in the normal view in Excel. If you wish to see how Excel will print your spreadsheet, then you have to first switch to page view. For this, click on the status row under the spreadsheet on the icon "Page Layout” in one of the tabs on top. If you see the print stretching over several pages or breaking the images, then go to the tab "Page Layout”. Here, by default, "Automatic” is entered for width and height in the group under "Scale to fit”. If you wish to print one page, then select "1 page” under width and height. Excel will now scale your tables and images so that they adjust to a page. Nevertheless, it is logical to switch from the portrait to landscape format. For this, open the dialog window in the group where you click on the small arrow in the right lower corner of the group. If your Excel sheet is too large for a page, then adjust your specifications. In the dialog window "Page Setup”, you can switch between portrait and landscape format and determine other dimensions. In this window, you can also check the results of your settings by clicking on "Page View”. If you are satisfied with the same, then you can start printing by clicking on "Print” after you have confirmed the settings by clicking on OK. If you do not wish to print the entire spreadsheet but only a part of it, then first select the section to print, in the normal view. Subsequently, open the dropdown menu under "Print area” in the tab "Page Layout” by clicking on the small triangle and selecting the command "Set print area”. In the print preview under "File | Print”, you will now see that Excel will print only the selected section of the table.

06 [Windows 10] Install Solitaire etc. from Windows 7 to Windows 10 PC

After the changeover to Windows 10, many users are missing the well-known Windows 7 games. The nerve-stressing bomb searches with Minesweeper and the skillful movement of cards in Solitaire was very popular. However, Microsoft has removed these and other classics from Windows 8. You can get all these games back for free with the help of the tool Winaero for Windows 8 and 10. Once done, you will find them as usual in the Start menu. Chess Titans, FreeCell, Hearts,  Mahjong Titans, Minesweeper, Purble Place, Solitaire, Spider Solitaire, Internet Backgammon, Internet Checkers and Internet Spades should be included. Right click on the zip folder and unpack it. After double-clicking on the application, confirm with "Run”. Then, click on "Next" and select the games you want and click "Next" again. As soon as Windows 10 completes this process, you can get back to sweeping mines in Windows 10.

07 [Word] Enter mathematically correct fractions and formulae

Fraction printouts can be written very easily and in a mathematical correct form in Word. In order to type a fraction, open the tab "Insert”. After double clicking on "Equation” under the "Symbols” tab in the menu group, you will see many icons and operations from the Mathematics domain which will also include fractions. Your last cursor position will be the field where the mathematical formula or computing operation can be entered.

08 [Windows 10] Extend small system partition using a tool or built-in tools

Over time, Windows will need more and more space on the hard disk - for regular updates alone. If the system partition is gradually pushed to its limits, then you should extend it. This will work very comfortably with a program like the EaseUs Partition Master. Start the tool and select the partition which you wish to reduce to free up space. Subsequently, click on the option "Move the partition whose size is to be changed” on the left. You can now modify the size of the partition using the slider or by entering the desired values. After clicking on OK, the tool will show you the new free space. Now select the system partition (mostly drive C:), click again on "Move the partition whose size is to be changed” on the left and add the new space using the slider. Subsequently, confirm your entry by clicking on OK and click on the button with the check mark on the top left to trigger changes.

Partitions can also be redesigned using built-in Windows tools. However, the free space under Windows cannot be moved, it must be present directly behind the partition to be expanded. Open the context menu using the shortcut [Windows] + [X] and go the "Disk Management”. You have to reduce another partition first so that you can extend the system partition C:, in our example it is D:. Right click on partition D: and go to the option "Reduce volume”. Windows will now show you the maximum available memory. You can now decide how much space you wish to free up.

Start the downsizing by pressing the "Reduce” button. After completion of the shrinkage, the storage space released should appear as "Non-allocated”. You can now enlarge the system partition by this space. Right-click on the partition C: and go to the context command "Expand volume”. The maximum value is already preset there too. Click on "Expand” and Windows will start redesigning partition C:

09 [PowerPoint] Insert a table of contents in a presentation

Since Office 2007, it is no longer possible to create a table of contents from PowerPoint slides. However, it does not matter when it comes to manual work. After you have prepared all the slides of your presentation, the next in line is the table of contents. Open the tab "View” and go to "Outline view”. If you wish to incorporate only the titles in the table of contents, then right-click the outline and select "Reduce outline} Reduce all levels”. Now select and copy the outline on the left side and create a "New Slide” via a right-click. You can now insert your outline. You can also write the slide number at the end of the line. Finally, decide on a title and move the slide to the correct place.

10 [Windows 10] Specifically uninstall individual system updates

Occasionally, there may be problems under Windows 10 after updates are installed. In this case, uninstalling the troublemakers would be helpful. This can be done by using Windows tools. Click on the Windows icon on the bottom left and open the "Settings”. Under "Update and Security | Windows Update”, click on the link "Update history” in the area "Update status” on the right. Here, go to "Uninstall updates”. Finally, search for the update in the list which is causing the problems. Right click on it and click on "Uninstall”.

11 [Outlook] Reset to standard settings and empty the cache

If Outlook is always creating problems, then resetting to standard settings could be the solution. Thus, you can avoid a complete re-installation. First delete your Email profile. You will also find your "Account Settings” under "File | Account information”. After clicking on it, select the account profile which you wish to resolve and then click on "Delete”. Finally, confirm the action with "Yes”. If you have more than one profile which you want to delete, repeat these steps. In older Outlook versions, you have to open the tab "Extras” to remove Email accounts.

While optimising your Outlook, you can also delete the Cache at the same time. Outlook will discard all the mail attachments like images, Word or PDF documents. However, this buffer is wellhidden. To root it out, open the Outlook Explorer using the shortcut [Windows] + [E] and click on the address line on top. Here, type the path "C:\Users\XXX\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook”. Replace the place holder "XXX” by your username. You will now see a subfolder inside the folder you are navigating. This subfolder is named by Outlook with a randomly generated letter and numbers combination. Here, the mail program has stored all your cache data which can be now deleted.

12 [Windows] Compress files and folders in one ZIP archive

If you wish to bundle files and folders into one file to save space, then converting them into a ZIP archive would do just that. This works with one or several objects; the process is always the same. For example, if you wish to compress a folder then select it and right-click on it. In the context menu, take the mouse over "Send to” and click on "compressed(zipped) folder” in the expanded menu. After a few seconds, Windows will create the ZIP archive for you. It is now present under the same path and with the same name. By simply double clicking on the ZIP archive, you can easily access the folders, elements and files in it. In the Explorer window, Windows will display the compressed size of the files also and the compression factor in percentage.

13 [Excel] Present data with a diagram more clearly

Excel data can be visualised better with the help of a diagram than in a table form. To create a diagram, select the relevant values of the table, open the tab "Insert” and go to the group "Charts” in the menu group. Here, you will find a multitude of diagram forms, such as pillars, pie charts, balloons, ring or bar diagrams. Once you have selected a diagram type, Excel will automatically display the selected values as the diagram.

The graphics can be edited and added anytime. To add more data to the diagram, click on the table, enlarge the blue rectangle and extend the table by new data. You can also modify the design of the table later. Clicking on the brush on the right of the highlighted diagram, you can, select another format template next to the image or change the colours of the bars. You can hide more elements like titles, lines or add a legend.

14 [Windows 10] Attach web pages as tiles to the Start menu

Apart from apps and programs, you can also add web pages as tiles to the Start menu in Windows 10. If you are using Edge as your browser, then just a mouse-click would be enough. In Edge, open the website which you wish to integrate as a tile in the Start menu, click on the "More” icon (the icon with three horizontal dots) and go to the command "Pin this page to Start". Subsequently, you will find a separate tile for this webpage in the Start menu. You can move and scale this tile as you like.

In case of Chrome, Firefox, etc. there are no functions to directly integrate a website into the Start menu. But there is a way that will help you emulate this. Open the desired website in your standard browser, click on the icon on the left next to the URL and drag it on to the desktop, which creates a link. Now, using the shortcut [Windows] + [E], open the Windows Explorer, enter the command "shell:programs” in the address bar above and confirm by pressing the Enter key. Copy the link created in this path to add the Start menu programs as an app. Next, open the Start menu and search for the link to the website copied under "All  apps”. Finally, right click on the link and go to the command "Pin to Start” in the context menu.

15 [Word] Hide individual page numbers in the document

It is not easy to hide individual page numbers in Word as changes to the page numbers always affect the entire document. But this can be done with a small trick. To cancel the pagination, you must classify the text as individual sections. To hide pages, first open the tab "Insert” and then select position and appearance of the page numbers under "Insert”. Thereafter, click on the last position on page 2 to let the new section begin on page 3. Go to the tab "Page Layout” and select the option "Continuous” under "Breaks”. As soon you double-click on the footer, two fields with the name "Footer - Section 1-” and "Header - Section 2 -” will appear on the left. Repeat these steps at the end of page 4 so that the third section begins on page 5. Now select the page number on page 1, right click and select the option "Format page numbers”. Activate the option "Start with” below, enter "1” in the field and confirm with OK. Now go to the footer of page 3 and deactivate the option "Link to previous” above. You can now delete the page numbers on pages 3 and 4. If this doesn't work, simply colour the page numbers in white.

16 [Powerpoint 2010] Pep up PowerPoint presentations with music

With a few bars of music, presentations can be mellowed down and have more interesting designs. For this, open the "Insert” tab, then navigate to "Media” menu. Click on it to reveal the "Audio” button, which allows you to record or add a file from your PC. Click "Audio on my PC”, then search for a suitable song and confirm it by clicking on the button "Insert”. If the song has to be played at a specific point, then simply click on the Play button during the presentation. You can also start the music as soon as you bring up the slide using the menu option "Animations”.

17 [Windows 10] Highlight program events with new sound

You can readily change the start sound under Windows 10. However, you have to first activate this option. Open the registry by typing "regedit” in the "Run” window and go to the path "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\AppEvents\EventLabels\SystemExit” Here, right click on the key "ExcludeFromCPL” and go to "Modify”. Now enter "0” as the value instead of "1” and close the window by clicking on OK. Repeat this step for the "WindowsLogon” folder and, if you want, for "WindowsLogOff” and "WindowsUnlock”. If there is no sound heard after the activation, then this may be due to the quick start of Windows 10, because Windows 10 skips the start sound during quick start.

In order to define a new musical accompaniment, go to the category "Hardware and Sound” in the Control Panel. Open the applet "Sound” there and click on the tab "Sounds”. Here, set a check mark for the option "Play Windows start sound”. You can now insert a new sound in WAV format via "Search”. Use a free Audio Converter tool to convert MP3 and video files to WAV. Finally, restart the computer and test the new sound.

18 [Headphones] Use an in-ear headset as a microphone for the PC

An In-Ear headset can also be used as a microphone if you wish to record something or use voice detection. Prerequisite: The headset should have an integrated microphone. Under certain conditions, you will need a jack adapter (jack that splits into two plugs).

If your PC has only one port for the headset and microphone, then connect the headset directly to the PC. If only one input is provided for headset and microphone, then use the adapter. Connect the headset to the jack and then connect the coloured connectors to your PC. If you wish to use the headset not for sound playback but exclusively as a microphone, then you can connect it directly to the microphone input. Subsequently, right click on the loudspeaker icon in the system tray on the bottom right and open the "Recording devices” in the context menu. The "Sound” window will now appear where you have to double-click on the option "Microphone”. In the "Properties of Microphone”, go to the tab "Levels”. Here, you can configure the microphone and microphone intensity. Finally, in the "General” tab you should note that the option "Use (activate) device” is selected.

19 [Numeric Pad] Enter numbers and operators faster

The numeric pad on a PC keyboard isn’t always used. However, if you need to enter numbers more often and in a specific quantity, then you can do this very fast using it.

You can switch on/off the numeric pad using the [Num Lock] key which is present in the first row on the extreme left of the numeric pad. You can take your time to look at the layout and then memorise it as much as possible. The best option is to compose mnemonics for the keys of the numeric pad. While doing so, start with the numbers. First, you should note that the numbers on the numeric pad get smaller from top to bottom. Then try to memorise the four number rows. This works best using mnemonics, for example:

- 789 is when the first Bremen Dom was inaugurated.

- 456 is the name of the extra-terrestrial species in the British Sci-Fi TV series "Doctor Who".

1+2=3 stands for the third row of numbers The Zero and the Comma (or dot) in the last row of the numeric pads and can be remembered without a lot of problems. You should practice a lot if you want to memorise typing on the numeric pad. For example, make longer lists of numbers which you can type on it; this is the best exercise. In the future, make it a habit to use the numeric pad to type every number, even in standard text. The best way is not to use the normal number keys at all so that you get used to the numeric pad as quickly as possible. Once you have memorised the numbers, you can also memorise the mathematical operators [/], [*], [-] and [+] (or [÷], [×], [+]) on the numeric pad using the same concept.

20 [Powerbank] Supply power again to a weak powerbank

If your powerbank is no longer charging, then the cause may be that it is too old or defective. In order to get the device charging again, first try using another USB cable or another power adapter. Clean out dirt particles, which have collected in the charging jack and caused charging blockage. You can bend bend a paper clip and very carefully clean it. Discharging the powerbank completely may also help in this case. After you have consumed all the power, try to charge the powerbank fully.

21 [Mobile Stand] Convert an empty chewing gum box into a stand

You can shoot amazing pictures even with your cellphone camera. Using a small stand in this case will ensure shake-free pictures. The money to purchase such a stand can be saved by making a stand for yourself using household items. All you need for this is an empty chewing gum box made of plastic, a scissor, a ruler, a pen and a piece of cardboard.

Take the ruler, measure your smartphone and note the depth and the width. Then place the chewing gum box on its head and make two marks each at the underside of the box. They should be exactly opposite to each other and show the following dimensions - as wide as the cellphone depth and as deep as one-third of the smartphone width. Now connect the two marks and cut the marking completely. The chewing gum box now has a slit, in which you can insert your smartphone. It is extremely important that you have the precise measurements and cut so that it has a secure hold in the notch. To make your smartphone stand move back and forth as easily as possible, fix a piece of cardboard or similar at the bottom of the box.

If you wish to tilt the stand, adjust the clasp of the chewing gum box, However, always pay attention to the stability of the design so that your phone does not fall. If the stand is too small for you, then simply stick more chewing gum boxes on top of the other and remove them later if needed.

22 [Streaming-Stick] Integrate Fire TV stick everywhere in the new wireless networks

If you wish to integrate the streamingstick, Amazon Fire TV, into a new WiFi network then you only need to find the correct setting. The WiFi network function itself is permanently active; you can neither activate nor deactivate it. Start Fire TV and go to "Settings” in the menu on the bottom left. You will find the option "Network” above in the category "System”. You can select the new wireless network here and enter the relevant password. The Fire TV will then set up the connection to the new WiFi network network via the "Connect” button.

23 [Keyboard] Revive stubborn USB keyboards

Even such a simple thing like connecting a USB keyboard does not go smoothly sometimes. If the input device does not respond, then first try another USB port. If this also does not work, then restart your PC. For the next step, reinstall the keyboard. Go to the Control Panel and open the "Device Manager” in the applet "Hardware and Sound” under "Devices and Printers”. If you see the USB keyboard there, then right-click on it and go to the context command "Uninstall”. Subsequently, disconnect the USB keyboard and plug it in again. Windows will now try to install the keyboard again. If this approach also fails, then search for the keyboard in the Device Manager. Select "View” in the menu bar and activate "Display hidden devices”.

24 [Smartphone] Reduce power consumption for Super Mario Run

Since mid-December 2016, iOS has the first Super Mario game for smartphones. Android users recently just got it. However, the battery of your smartphone will quickly discharge if you are addicted to Mario games and play Super Mario Run a lot. Power-saving actions can extend gaming fun in this case.

For iOS, the most effective method of reducing the power consumption is by dimming the display. The brighter the screen, the heavier the load on the battery. Touch the lower screen edge and pull it upwards. In the menu, you can adjust the brightness as you need. Under Android, you will find the option when you swipe from the upper screen edge downwards.

If you have activated Bluetooth and do not need it at the moment, then disable this feature. And if you are on WiFi connection, you can disable the cellular network by going to Flight mode. On the contrary, if you are travelling and surfing using the mobile network, just switch off the WiFi. Every little tweak can help reduce the power consumption. All of these settings can be found under iOS and Android near the brightness slider. Carrying a fully charged powerbank can also ensure uninterrupted gaming fun while you are travelling.

25 [Photography] Print official passport photos yourself

You do not need any professional photographer for good passport photos. A photo printer, photo paper and a software like Passport Photo Maker can help you create photos that the authorities will accept. Open a portrait photo that appeals to you, using the program and now review all the specifications with the help of the templates of the tool. The eyes and nose area, the jaw line and the upper part of the face are important. Position the photo so that you meet all the requirements. On the right, you will find all the buttons to adjust the photo to the correct format and size. It is also possible to rotate and zoom-in the photo, if necessary. You can also print an entire page with passport photos. Once you've printed the photos, cut them out carefully using a tool for this.

26 [Firefox] Repair the non-working print function of Firefox

If the Mozilla browser refuses to print a webpage out of the blue, there are many causes responsible for it. The initial solution will be to update the browser and the printer's driver. If this does not work, then open the Firefox menu via the 'Hamburger' icon (three horizontal bars on the top right), click on the button "Print” and check the configuration of the printer. Here, check whether Firefox is using the correct printer - the names of available printers can be selected from a drop-down list. Also, check the settings in the print preview. The option "Reduce to page size” for "Scaling” and the alignment "Horizontal” should be set to "Format” after pressing the "Align page” button in the window with the same name, under the tab "Format & Options”. In the tab "Margins & Header and Footer”, you should check whether the page margins are correctly set. The standard value here is "12.7” millimetres. Finally, check the status of the option "Output to file” in the "Print” window. If this is activated, remove the check mark. If the printing still does not work, then reset the printer settings. Type "about:config” in the address bar and press the [Enter] Key. Then type "print_printer” in the search bar, right-click on the result and select the context command "Reset” before you restart Firefox.

27 [Photoshop] Optimise landscape photos through brightness

Individual image areas, for example, in landscape photos, can be specifically improved using the "Correction Brush” in Photoshop Lightroom CC. To brighten, choose a soft tip and set the value of "Exposure” to about "0.3”, then paint the area as you like. Press the letter [O] to see the edited area as a reddish overlay. You can display the screen in green, white and black using the shortcut [Shift] + [O]. If you press [O] again then you will hide the colour. Reduce the selection with the help of the "Delete” brush if needed. You can also reduce the value of "Exposure” to "-0.5” to further darken some places and paint over it. Zones that you wish to emphasize can be brightened, or you can also darken less important motifs - because our eyes naturally focus on brighter areas first.

28 [Smartphone] Free up space by moving Spotify playlists

The internal memory of your smartphone can be quickly emptied where you can move your offline playlists from Spotify to the SD card. For this, open the Spotify app and tap on "Library” to go into the menu. Next, open the settings where you can tap on the gearwheel on the bottom right. Scroll down to the point "Other contents” and tap on "Memory”. Now change the storage location of your downloads to the SD card. The playlists will be moved after you tap on OK. This process may take some time depending on the size of the playlists.

29 [Web browser] Delete cache of individual websites in Chrome and Firefox

If you see old contents on individual websites, then you need not delete the entire cache. Resetting the website data for this special site is often sufficient. In the Chrome browser, open "Settings” via the icon with the three dots on the top right and extend the view by clicking on the link "Show advanced settings” at the bottom. Open the "Content Settings” in "Privacy” and click on the button "All cookies and website data” under "Cookies” in the window with the same name. A view with all saved cookies will then appear. You can search for a specific website in the search field on the top right. You can delete either all the data or the individual entries separately from the browser. Confirm the changes by clicking on "Finished”.

In case of Firefox, click on the 'hamburger' icon (the three horizontal bars on the top right) to go to the menu and open the "History” by clicking on the icon. Firefox will then show you all the saved website data via "Show all history” button at the bottom. Search for a specific page in the text field on the top right and you can proceed to deleting a website's data by right-clicking on its entry on the history list. You can delete all the data which this homepage had saved, via the context command "Forget entire website”.