Windoz Notes

Needed a place to record some notes on Windoz...

net use syntax

Here's how to map a drive in modern Windoz:

 C:\dev> net use Z: \\provo-data\builds\somewhere password /user:domain\russ

Windows 7 Start Menu

It's possible to modify the Windows 7 Start menu by...

  1. Start.
  2. Right-click on All Programs.
  3. Click Open All Users (in order to change for all users of the computer host) or Open (to change the menu only for this user).

The problem is that it doesn't appear you can specify which of Program Files or Program Files (x86) on Windows 7 64-bit.

Rid yourself of multiple sign-ins notices from Windows Messenger

  1. Launch Windows Messenger.
  2. Find the menu drop-down

    and choose Tools.
  3. Click Options, then Alerts.
  4. Clear the checkbox entitled Display alerts when I sign in at more than one place.
  5. Click OK.

Dell Audio drivers for Windows XP

On persistently getting a start-up error alert for an "IDT Audio Driver system tray, blah, blah, blah," I discovered that this is the driver that XP will locate automatically if you don't supply the right one (which I hadn't downloaded from Dell's site when I wiped and re-installed). You can get this driver, named "SigmaTel," from Dell. The best way is to type in your service tag number and then ask for the audio driver. When I installed it, it removed the bogus IDT driver.

Windows 7: turn off annoying auto-restart messages

See here.

PC Wizard: pretty useful sometimes

When you want to know every last thing about your Windows host's configuration, this tool is pretty cool: It can save you time rolling around on the floor with a flashlight and magnifying glass as well as having to open the case, for example, to figure out what kind of memory to buy when adding. Click here to see a sample.

Setting up Windows XP to use a network printer

This is for when you can't find the printer on the network (because the advertising protocols aren't understood by XP?). I have been able to set this up under Windows 7 (see illustration at right) by seeing the printer in "Searching for available printers...," however, this doesn't work under Windows XP.

The illustration at the right has this printer twice because I failed to prohibit its being advertised by my Windows 7 host after setting that computer up to print to it. So, it's as if my Windows 7 host were sharing it (which it is, but that's just silly, eh?)

Here are the steps for setting up a "local, IP printer" on Windows XP. It will work for all other printers that are nodes on your LAN (i.e.: have their own IP address).

  1. Go to Control Panel -> Printers and Faxes -> Add Printer.
  2. Select Local Printer and uncheck Automatically detect.
  3. Click Next.
  4. Select Create a new port. (This is the actual trick.)
  5. For Type of port: choose Standard TCP/IP. A new wizard dialog will come up.
  6. Click Next.
  7. Click Next.
  8. Fill in Printer Name or IP Address with the IP address. In theory, it could be a network name, but hey, only if you want to play around... For example, I've got an HP Photosmart wireless at, an address I've assigned statically.
  9. Port Name: will be automatically populated; if not, just enter IP_and the IP address just as in the field above: IP_192.168.1.103.
  10. Click Next and the wizard will go out to lunch while it looks for the printer.
  11. Click Next, Finish etc. and print a test page if you like.

Setting up Windows 7 to use a network printer

Similar experience to the above procedure. I've also followed this procedure when setting up to print from a Windows 7 VM running under Linux.

  1. Start -> Devices and Printers
  2. Add a Printer
  3. Add a netword, wireless or Bluetooth printer (wait forever, nothing shows so I stop it and...)
  4. The printer I want isn't listed.
  5. Find a printer by name or TCP/IP address
  6. Add a printer using a TCP/IP address or hostname
  7. Type a printer hostname or IP address
  8. Device type: TCP/IP Device
  9. Hostname or IP address: (sets the port name too)
  10. Next
  11. Install the printer driver -> HP and blah, blah, blah...

Switching to AVG for anti-virus protection

Suspect viruses are playing Romper Room™ in your computer? Been trying to avoid learning or thinking about that whole anti-virus thing? Hoping the problems would just go away or never happen in the first place?

Symantec is a very expensive subscription, about $30-$40 per year, that often comes with your new computer purchase. MacAfee is another, frequent choice software preload for computer vendors. Typically, these are 90-day free services and you are expected to begin paying after that in order to get updates. By the way, both those pieces of software are very good at what they do; I run them at work because my employer forces me to and pays for them.

Got good reason to think you're in trouble with a virus, worm or Trojan horse, or just being intelligent and checking up on how best to forestall disaster?

Your anti-virus protection dates back to 90 days after you bought your computer—if you were allowing it to update. I don't know what the update settings are by default with Symantec or MacAfee: I always remove them as soon as I get a new computer and replace them with AVG. Any new viruses created after that trial period could have infected your computer.

There are free options—very good ones. Here is a link to my favorite, AVG:

(If this links goes stale, try finding it on my free software page:

I personally use AVG free. It's from Germany. I've used it literally for years on every Windows computer (Windows XP and Windows 7) and have never had a virus infection. I leave my computers turned on permanently and they are set to receive updates every night around 1, 2, 3 o'clock or so, however, you can tailor the update process to begin when you turn the computer on, at the same time each day, each week, etc.—very flexible. At a minimum, you should try to update your computer's virus-pattern files weekly.

Installing AVG is easy, however, it's a bit tricky removing Symantec or MacAfee. Here's how I would do the removal and installation (I'm assuming you're running Windows 7):

  1. Go to the AVG link from my free software page (click then click on "Download Now" when you get to CNET
  3. Download the free version; somethings this can be tricky to avoid getting the paid version or a version that expires after a trial period (behaves like Symantec in other words). If you get the paid version, it's not the end of the world; you can endure the warning then start these intructions over when the trial period is up, or just start over immediately and pay closer attention.
  5. Put the download file on a path like C:\Users\me\Downloads so you can find it. Make certain you have the AVG download before removing Symantec (or MacAfee).
  7. Find how to remove Symantec; this can be done one of two ways:
    1. Find a special "Remove Symantec" program under Start -> All Programs -> Symantec (wherever you found it), or...
    2. Go to Start -> Control Panel -> Programs and Features; find it in the list, right-click and choose to remove it.
  9. Then install AVG by opening a File Explorer window and looking for C:\Users\me\Downloads, and double-clicking the AVG download.

    Be very careful to unclick (don't let it install) every free offer including and especially any extra software.

    Like many other software vendors, AVG augments their income by offering to put by default (so, automatically) one or two pieces of junk software that you will regret allowing them to install. A big one is the Yahoo search toolbar. (It's not just AVG that does this, installing world-class software like Adobe Acrobat Reader and Sun/Oracle Java will install crap if you're not careful.)

  10. Reboot your machine.
  12. Go to Start -> All Programs -> AVG -> AVG User Interface; find Tools -> Advanced Settings -> Schedules, then schedule when you want your computer scanned for viruses (you'll want to do this at least once fully—it's another setting I engage to run every night while I'm not at the computer) and set the program update schedule to go off when your computer's still running, but not necessarily in use (I do mine in the wee hours of the morning).
  14. Check also the AVG E-mail Scanner option: I would uncheck for out-going e-mail and leave the check for scanning in-coming e-mails.

Getting diacritics (accented characters) on Windoz

Not very complete, but most of what I care about. To compose these characters in Windows, use the number pad. Hold down the Alt key and type the number. Then release the Alt key. The character should appear wherever you're typing.

160 á     130 é     161 í     162 ó     163 ú     144 É    
133 à     138 è     141 ì     149 ò     151 ù
131 â     136 ê     140 î     147 ô     150 û    
132 ä     137 ë     139 ï     148 ö     129 ü     152 ÿ     142 Ä     153 Ö     154 Ü    
145 æ     156 œ     146 Æ     134 å     143 Å    
135 ç     128 Ç     164 ñ     165 Ñ    
168 ¿     173 ¡     174 «     175 »     248 °    

How to mount an ISO...

...ostensibly for use hosting VirtualBox.

Right-click on the ISO file and choose Mount.