Archive for category Tweaks

Stop duplicate texts with Google Voice

Here’s a quicky for you.

I finally got a Google Voice number and started playing around with it today.  I was playing with the text messaging feature and noticed that I was getting duplicate messages sent to my GV number and then to my main phone number.  I don’t see the point in having them forwarded to my main phone number if I’m getting them through GV. The whole point is to avoid the charges from my carrier since I don’t want to pay more for unlimited texts.  I guess maybe if I don’t have a smart phone and don’t have the app on my phone I’d need it forwarded.  Anyway, simple solution to this problem is to go to your settings and uncheck a box that says “Receive text messages on this phone”.

This option makes it sound like I’m disabling text messages on my GV number altogether, but apparently it just stops it from forwarding them to your regular phone number.

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Batch script to delete temp files

Normally I would send an email about once a month, if I remember, to tell people to use the disk cleanup tool so that the temporary folders don’t get too bloated.  But yesterday, I discovered that it apparently isn’t emptying the windows temporary folder.  I guess I incorrectly assumed that was part of what it was doing.  I had 2 computers with windows\temp folders over 30 gigs.

This prompted me to hunt for a little batch script that I could use to clear out the user’s temporary files folder and the Windows temporary file folder when they log in.  I’ll just have to make a note to myself to do it on a regular basis.   The first script I put together was pretty simple and worked, kind of.  The only problem was that it didn’t delete the subfolders in either temp folder, it just deleted all the files.  That’s fine because it solves the main problem, but I don’t like having those empty folders there either.  I couldn’t find a switch that said to delete subfolders too, just one to delete the entire folder – which wasn’t what I wanted.

I found a post in the SpiceWorks forum that had a script somebody threw together that deletes all the files and the empty subfolders.  I definitely do not understand all the switches and variables that are in it, but I’ve tested and it works perfectly.

First script: Deletes only the files in the temp folders and the files within the subfolders.

rem clean up user’s temp folder
cd %tmp%
del /q /f /s *.*

Rem clean up windows temp folder
cd %systemroot%\temp
del /q /f /s *.*

Second script: deletes the files and empty subfolders.

echo off

REM clean up user’s temp folder
set CAT=%tmp%

dir “%%CAT%%”/s/b/a | sort /r >> %TEMP%\files2del.txt
for /f “delims=;” %%D in (%TEMP%\files2del.txt) do (del /q “%%D” & rd “%%D”)
del /q %TEMP%\files2del.txt

REM clean up windows temp folder
set CAT=%systemroot%\temp

dir “%%CAT%%”/s/b/a | sort /r >> %TEMP%\files2del.txt
for /f “delims=;” %%D in (%TEMP%\files2del.txt) do (del /q “%%D” & rd “%%D”)
del /q %TEMP%\files2del.txt

To change the folders these scripts are cleaning out you want to change the “cd” lines in the first one and the parts after “CAT=” in the second one.

 

There are some issues with this script that could potentially cause problems. I haven’t experienced any problems with it, but others have. Please see the comments below. I’ll update the post when I have a chance to actually work on it.

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Disable the annoying beeps your computer makes, even with sounds muted

A co-worker asked me how to turn off the annoying little beeps her computer makes even when she has her sound muted.  The beeps were coming from the speaker on the motherboard and happened when she closed a document or whenever some sort of prompt would come up.  I know this works for Windows XP.  I’m not sure about Vista or Windows 7.

  1. Go to control panel (in classic view).
  2. Then go to system.
  3. Hardware tab, then device manager.
  4. Go to the view menu and click on show hidden devices.
  5. Click the + next to non-plug and play devices.
  6. Double-click on Beep and go to the driver tab.
  7. Click stop to disable it now.
  8. Under startup select disabled on the drop-down list.  This will permanently disable it.

Source: www.computerhope.com

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Disable the restart now prompt

restartnow

I’m sure you recognize the reminder we all love to hate.  I could easily disable automatic updates altogether so I don’t get the prompt at all, but knowing me, I’d forget to check for months at a time.  I went searching for a better solution mainly because I was playing a game online one day when the prompt came up in the middle of the game, which forced the game to minimize.  There’s nothing like being in the middle of an attack by a horde of zombies (Left 4 dead, ftw!) when the game suddenly minimizes to remind me to restart my computer!  Ahhh!

Permanently stop Windows Update from both restarting your computer automatically and reminding you to restart:

  1. Go to start -> run (for Vista type this in the search bar), type gpedit.msc.
  2. Navigate to Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components – > Windows Update.GroupPolicy
  3. Double-click No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations and enable it.
  4. Then to stop that irritating reminder from popping up every 10 minutes, double-click on Re-prompt for restart with scheduled installations.  You would think that disabling this would disable the reminder, but it does the same leaving it not configured would do – allows the reminder to popup to interrupt you every 10 minutes.  I don’t quite understand that.  But anyway, after opening the box for this, click on enable and type a 1440 in the box.  This will set it to remind you once a day so you can restart it whenever you want.Re-promptForRestart

I don’t have a Vista box here to test it on, but I’m fairly certain the directions are the same.  If not, leave a comment and I’ll update them.

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Unnecessary Internet Explorer add-ons

This is related to a previous post I did back in March about add-ons slowing down my Aunt’s computers. I don’t use IE so I never payed attention to them before. After working on her computer I messed around with mine a bit to see how the add-ons impacted the application loading time and discovered that there are a handful of add-ons that are, more than likely, completely unnecessary for the typical user.

I went through the add-ons for IE on my computer and disabled 10 out of the 15 in there. I noticed a major difference in the loading time and haven’t had any issues since disabling them. Depending on what programs you have installed on your computer, you may have different add-ons and might have more that can be disabled without causing problems.

Go to the Tools menu -> Manage add-ons and wait a couple seconds for it to load the list. The ones I highlighted in the picture below I would say are perfectly safe to disable. If you later notice something weird, you can always go back in and enable them again. On the far right it shows you how long it takes each add-on to load. Some of them may not sound very long (.29 sec), but they add up and you definitely notice a difference even when you’re saving yourself only a few seconds.

disabled add-ons

disabled add-ons

If you’re noticing Internet Explorer being slow and can’t figure out what’s going on, try this, it made more of a difference than I expected it to.

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Free utilities for tweaking Windows part 2

A few other utilities I got from the PC World article linked to in the previous post are RocketDock and Ultimate Windows Tweaker.

RocketDock
RocketDock
Being the multi-tasker that I am, I found this little tool to be pretty handy along with VirtuaWin. I have a few programs in my quicklaunch bar, but I don’t want to overload that so I use RocketDock for a few more shortcuts that I access on a regular basis. I have it set to auto-hide so that it isn’t always a distraction – it’s only there when I need it.

RocketDock2RocketDock3

There are different skins for it that you can use and you can go to their website to download icons, more skins, and docklets. I can’t think of a complaint about this, I’ve been pretty happy with it.

Ultimate Windows Tweaker
This is actually an easier way to adjust things that I posted about in my trimming Vista’s fat post. The three sections of the tweaker that I like the most are the personalization, system performance, and additional options.

In the personalization section you can choose which items will show in the start menu, remove some or all icons that show in the taskbar, change the window padding, along with some other features.
UltimateWindowsTweaker1

The changes I made in the system performance section have made the biggest difference. In there you can change the time the computer waits for services to shut down, the time it waits to end non-responsive applications, and waiting time to kill applications timeout during shutdown. My computer shuts down MUCH faster now.
UltimateWindowsTweaker2

Finally, the additional options section just has a few things in there that I changed. You can add some useful options to the context menus for files and folders and drives. Also, being able to remove the arrows from creating shortcuts was nice. Definitely not anything that improved performance, but useful changes for me.
UltimateWindowsTweaker3

There are a lot of other things you can edit with this. I only highlighted the sections that were the most useful to me.

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Free utilities for tweaking Windows Part 1

I decided to come up with a list a programs I use to maintain my Vista laptop.  I got some from this PC World article and others I found on download.com.  Instead of making one massive post I’ll break it up into two or three.

First on my list and the most exciting to me is a cool thing called VirtuaWin.

I use Linux all the time at work, the only time I use Windows is when I have to do some maintenance for those in the office who use it. I fell completely in love with the multiple workspaces that you can use in Linux. I have a separate space for email, another for my browser, and another for whatever else I happen to be playing with or troubleshooting. Having multiple workspaces is absolutely necessary for my job, I do way too many things at once to not need that feature.

I got so excited when I heard from a friend of mine about a nifty little program that allows you to have multiple workspaces in Windows. I then read an article somewhere, that I can’t seem to find the link for, about it so I thought I’d give it a try. I was a little worried about how much memory it would suck up and whether it would slow down the start-up and shutdown process of my laptop. I noticed a bit of a slowdown but the benefits outweigh it since it really doesn’t make that much of a difference.

You can have up to 9 workspaces, which I find to be way too many. I have 4 set up but probably only use 3 of them on a regular basis. By default, the hotkey to move between desktops is the windows key + arrow key. There’s an option to make it so that when you’re mouse is against the edge of your screen it switches to another workspace, but I found that to be incredibly irritating so I stuck to the hotkey.  Another thing I like about it is that I finally have a use for the ability of the wheel on my mouse to click.  If I click on the title bar of a window with the mouse wheel it gives the option to move that application to one of the other workspaces – I use that all the time.  You can also add modules from their website to add features, although there aren’t very many.  That’s another plus, they didn’t add a bunch of useless features to the basic installation, if you want extras you can install them yourself.  This is compatible with Vista all the way back to Win98, so if you have a Windows machine this will work for you.

VirtuaWin1VirtuaWin2VirtuaWin3VirtuaWin4VirtuaWin5

I need a nap, more to come.

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