I Reduced Windows 7 Startup Time To Two Minutes

Introduction

I have wanted a way to get a reduced windows 7 startup time for a while. I was concerned about the time it took from switch on to the point where all apps that start automatically were ready for use. This has generally increased over the years during the time I had previous versions of Windows and on into the time I have had Windows 7.

There are those who would say I have too many apps starting. Well I didn’t buy a cheap computer and that’s what computers are for. To have apps running that a person can use at any time without much notice.

How I Reduced Windows 7 Startup Time

In the hope I would get reduced Windows 7 startup time I bought a Crucial Adrenaline solid state cache in 2012. It was controlled by NVELO Dataplex v1.1.3.0. I questioned how good it was because it still took a long time to start. However if I left it for a while after starting Windows, prior to logging on to my desktop, there was a noticeable improvement on the start-up time for the multitude of programs that loaded after log-on. So I continued to use it.

Yesterday (6th March 2013) I was notified by NVELO of a new version of Dataplex v1.3.0.0. I followed the process carefully to perform the upgrade. After the upgrade, and following restart, there was a very long startup time (5mins or more) while the cache was sorted out. Everything was OK but I didn’t restart again that day.

Today (7th March 2013) I started and the logon screen appeared after 1min 25secs. I logged on by 1min 30secs and my extensive range of icons, toolbars and gadgets had all loaded within 2mins from switch on. It took at least 4mins before. There must have been a problem with the previous version. I don’t think it’s wholly due to the improvements in the new version.

IE9 Zero Day Vulnerability Fixed

For a week now it has been known that there is an IE9 Zero Day Vulnerability.

Get This Zero Day Vulnerability Fixed

Now Microsoft have published a fix which came to me today in the form of an update as follows (for Windows 7):

Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer 9 for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB2744842)

Update type: Important

Security issues have been identified that could allow an attacker to compromise a system that is running Microsoft Internet Explorer and gain control over it. You can help protect your system by installing this update from Microsoft. After you install the update, you may have to restart your computer.

More information: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=255505

Help and Support: http://support.microsoft.com

Zero Day Vulnerabilities are those which have already been exploited by the time the software developer finds out about them.

Visual Basic .NET Radio Buttons get auto-clicked

I was up until 01:20 this morning debugging code in VB.NET 2010. For hours I thought there was something amiss with my math or logic when a calculation in a secondary window which was affected by Radio Buttons kept giving an erroneous result.

The Problem – Visual Basic .NET Radio Buttons

At first I thought I was trying to use public variables in the wrong way and completely re-wrote the code only to get the same error. Eventually I found for myself by debugging with several breakpoints that when the secondary window was opened there was an automatic click on one of the Visual Basic .NET Radio Buttons (RadioButton1). Continue reading “Visual Basic .NET Radio Buttons get auto-clicked”

My Excel Jump List stopped adding Recent Files

Transparent Boundary LineMy Problem

Excel Jump List stopped adding Recent Files
Excel Jump List shown above the Task Bar.

I had a problem where I had MS 2010 Excel pinned to the Task Bar but the Excel Jump List stopped adding Recent Files. The Jump List is the one you see when you right click on an icon of an application pinned to the task-bar. Some programs (not all) show recently used files on this list. The user can then choose to permanently pin them to the Jump List. On the right is an example of an Excel Jump list.

In my case new recently used files stopped appearing on the MS Excel Jump List. I read through various bulletin board threads on the Internet but their suggestions did not resolve the problem.

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My Fix when the Excel Jump List stopped adding Recent Files.

This is how I resolved it. I repaired my MS Office application. The application has this facility built in. To repair it go to Control Panel > Programs and Features and right click on MS Office Professional Plus 2010 (in my case). The options are Uninstall or Change. Choose Change and the following window opens:

Excel's Jump List stopped adding Recent Files

Select Repair and click continue. This will start the repair process which will take several minutes. I think it more or less re-installs Office but doesn’t interfere with your settings. Beware that you may find other Office Jump Lists get cleared. But they all work afterwards.

Microsoft Garage Mouse without Borders

I have just found this amazing software, Mouse without Borders from Microsoft Garage, that allows me to move my pointer off the right-hand edge of my desk-top screen and onto the left-hand edge of my laptop to take control of it. I can then use my desk-top keyboard to type on my laptop. The process works in reverse too (i.e. I can control my desk-top PC from my laptop touchpad & keyboard.) I could do this with up to four PC’s if I wanted. These are the controlling windows:

mouse without borders

mouse without borders

Initially when you install the software on PC1 you are given a security key and the name of that PC so you can enter them on PC2 when you install the software on that one.

You can get the software for free here: Microsoft Garage – Mouse without Borders

What are the benefits you ask: Well I can just drag a file from one PC to the other. I don’t have to keep moving to the keyboard of the other to control it.

The Faster-than-Fast Fourier Transform

Improving The Fast Fourier Transform

The Faster-than-Fast Fourier Transform can replace the Fast Fourier Transform to save processing time when digitising an analogue signal.

For a large range of practically useful cases, MIT researchers find a way to increase the speed of one of the most important algorithms in the information sciences. – Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office.

You can read it all here: MIT News Office.

Well this might be the case but it could so easily be that everyone takes it at face value and embodies this algorithm into all new electronic sound and video processors. We may then find all our music and video content degraded as a consequence. Then it will be too late. With the Faster-than-Fast Fourier Transform processing sound and video is quicker and cheaper so we’ll be stuck with it. Musicians who prefer analogue sound reproduction may find this degrades digital sound further. On the other hand it could improve the quality.

Using the Character Map application in Windows

Accessing The Character Map Application

It reminds me of an unusual dice when I see this icon. It has a beauty about it. What is it? It’s the icon representing the Character Map application in Windows 7, found on the Start Menu under Accessories > Ease of Access > System Tools.

The Character Map application is stored in the Windows\System32 folder and is entitled Charmap.exe. I keep a shortcut on the desktop or Dell Dock so I can get at it quickly.

If you want to do something similar on a Mac try this.

Continue reading “Using the Character Map application in Windows”

Changing Text Styles on Windows 7 Sticky Notes

Windows 7 comes with Post-it® style Sticky Notes which can be stuck all over the desk top. Although you can change the background colour from a context menu and format the text from within the application, using Ctrl+Shift+[various keys] as per the Microsoft Instructions, the text style and colour can’t be changed from within. However you can change many things by cutting the text from the note and pasting it into Microsoft Word, if you have it, or WorPad if you don’t. (Use whichever starts quickest for you.) Most people are familiar with Notepad but not all are familiar with WordPad which is a cut down version of Word and is included with Windows. WordPad resides on the Start menu in the Accessories folder. Here is an example of what can be achieved:

windows 7 sticky notes
Sticky Note Example

From within Word or WordPad you can also do the things that the Microsoft Instructions suggest you can do using Ctrl+Shift+[various keys], e.g. Make a bulleted or numbered list, embolden, underline, italicise, strike through, increase text size incrementally and decrease text size incrementally. This may be the only way to change these things if you run a hot-key program which has been used to re-allocate the Ctrl+Shift keys required.

Perpetually editing your notes in Word or WordPad can be time consuming. All you need to do is have some notes formatted in the way you like and then copy and paste the already formatted text from an existing note to a new one and then edit it.

Excel Templates for Body Weight Records

Excel Templates for Body Weight Records
Excel Graph of Helpful Colin’s Weight 2011. (Select it to enlarge it.)

“Happy New Year! In 2012 I resolve to lose weight (again).”

Well I resolved to lose weight every year since at least 2005 and some years I succeeded. One tool I require for this is an accurate record of my weight on a DAILY, yes DAILY, basis. I know all those slimming clubs advise against measuring weight daily but to me that is unscientific. High definition pictures are better than low definition ones and weighing every day gives a good weight definition. Anyone would think that the act of measuring weight caused it to change. (I know Quantum Physicists have their doubts.)

Being scientific requires not just the measurements written down somewhere but a graph to give a picture of what is happening over time. I want to see if my weight is actually heading down or up or staying put. During this time I have come down from my heaviest of 15st (95.25kgs) in 2005 and again in July 2007 to 13st 4lbs (84.36kgs) in the same year. Then I rose again to 14st 7lbs (92kgs) and came down to 13st 2lbs (83.46kgs) in February 2010. Now I have risen again to 14st (88.9kgs) a weight I swore I would never see again.

(Note to self: I need to be more scientific about regulating the calories I consume.)

For me as a Microsoft Excel user for many years, Excel was my tool of choice for recording and plotting the data. The rest of this post explains my method for collecting the data and the use of Excel to record it. Ultimately it offers Excel files that you can download to use as templates with your Excel software so you can record your measurements in like manner.

Having decided on the tool for recording the data I then had to decide when I would measure my weight. I chose first thing in the morning, before eating or drinking, after visiting the bathroom and without clothing (I keep my hat specs on). This way I get the feel-good-factor of seeing my lowest possible weight each day. (We lose up to 1.5kgs at night due to exhaling moisture in our breath and urinating.) The point here is not to come up with an exact daily weight – it’s impossible. Our weight fluctuates up and down 2 or 3 pounds throughout the day. The point is to try and arrive at a consistent set of measurements that can be used to display a meaningful average weight situation, over time, on a graph.

Continue reading “Excel Templates for Body Weight Records”

A Counterfeit Microsoft DVD Crops Up Again

Another Counterfeit Microsoft DVD

Remember how a few days ago I told you how I found I had a counterfeit Microsoft DVD. (See that post here). Well another one bought from another Amazon reseller has proved to be counterfeit. It’s one I bought to install on the computers of a friend soon after I bought the first one.

Now I see that Comet is in trouble with Microsoft. They’ve been producing their own Windows recovery discs for PC’s they sold – see here at PC Pro.