Tech

indulgences into my geek side

Open SkyDrive as a Desktop Folder in Windows RT

With limited storage capacity, it’s not surprising that RT tablets do not sync your cloud-stored files for offline access. Take my SkyDrive for example, which holds over 60 GB of my stuff. While Windows RT does provide a SkyDrive app for access, there are times when it would be useful to open this cloud storage as if it was a local folder or drive.

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Pin Your Stuff All Over Windows

Today it occurred to me that the pin action has really taken off at Microsoft across all products and divisions.  Just like the physical version, pins are used to personalize and post your stuff in-place, wherever you want to place it.  Here’s just a few places you can find this metaphor in Windows, and how to use it effectively.

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Sync Unmoveable Folders to SkyDrive

I’ve shown you how to make SkyDrive the storage location for your Windows libraries, as well as sync your desktop and other shell folders to SkyDrive and your other PCs. But what if you have files that need to stay on another drive, or that can’t be moved to the SkyDrive folder?

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Sync the Desktop across all your PCs with SkyDrive

If you’ve been following me here or on twitter, you know I’m a huge proponent of SkyDrive, the online storage space service from Microsoft. SkyDrive makes sharing files a breeze – whether it privately among your private personal computers and devices, discreetly with individuals and colleagues, or publically with the world. SkyDrive is a great addition to (or starting point for) backing up your personal files and documents, safely off-site and yes, in the cloud.

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Visual Effects and Performance Options in Windows 8 and 10

I’ve written before about the non-intuitive nature of visual effects in recent versions of Windows, where offloading the desktop rendering duties to the graphics card can result in considerable performance improvements.  While this is true for nearly any modern PC, including those with ‘integrated’ graphics cards, there are still steps one may take to enhance performance.

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Windows Phone group chat options

Verizon Cripples Group Communication

Sorry Verizon, there’s no easy way to say this. For a communications company, you really suck at enabling your customers to communicate with their world.  In a day where real-time collaboration is a necessity, consumers expect a certain level of functionality. This includes the ability to communicate in text conversations with a group of colleagues.

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Remove Recycle Bin from the Desktop

I do not suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder, but I do display some OCD tendencies.  One of these is habitually emptying the Recycle Bin on my desktop — I just cannot stand to see those virtual papers in there (if only I took out the trash at home with as much fervor).

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Consider Services as Gifts this Christmas

This Christmas, consider tech services gifts for your non tech friends and family. Because they provide access to services and content year-round, they’re sure to be gifts that keep on giving. You don’t need to be a geek to appreciate these fine services that make great gifts for anyone.

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More Commands in the Quick Access Toolbar [Video]

Pinning submenu commands to the toolbar not only provides more direct access, but also serves as a status indicator to a state that may otherwise be hidden. For example, now I can tell at a glance the status of my Excel workbook calculations, and change it if necessary before I make an edit that would trigger a lengthy calculation.

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Sync Your Libraries to SkyDrive [Video]

With this tip, you can tell your Libraries to save to SkyDrive for seamlessly enabling any app to save to the cloud.  SkyDrive lets you keep your files in the cloud and your computer in constant sync, and allows for access anywhere from your smart phone or any browser.  You can even remotely fetch files that you didn’t sync as long as the remote computer is powered up. To have your files on your computer automatically sync up to the…

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Changing the Xbox Keyboard Layout [Video]

Did you know the Xbox on-screen keyboard can be placed in different orders to suit your preference?  If you’re a touch typist that already knows the positions of keys as they exist on a standard keyboard, you might be slowed down when typing on the default Xbox keyboard that places keys in alphabetical order.  Or you might be the opposite entirely.  Here’s how to switch it up. On your Xbox home screen, go to Settings, System Settings, choose Language and…

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Bring Gmail-style workflow to Outlook

Among the top features called out by any gmail fan is the archive button, which acts as a simple dismissal of a message.  Archiving removes an entire email conversation thread from your inbox, while keeping it accessible under all mail, or any number of labels.  It’s an extremely efficient hybrid method between piling and filing, because it rescues the user from obsessive organizing, and later, searching… ‘where did I put that message from the boss, his folder or the one for the…

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Ask a Geek: Bloated Computers

If you’re looking for a new PC, you can ask any geek and they’ll tell you to build clean.  Their reason is simple: the manufacturer’s cripple their own products before they ever send it to you. Even if you buy direct, original equipment manufacturers make money by pre-installing trials, games, bundles, even spyware on to their computers. Resellers from BestBuy to Walmart are even worse. Make no mistake: you’re being sold out before you even buy.

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Windows Search Icon overlaid on search window

Boost Windows Search in Two Steps

Many of even the most infrequent of Internet users has experienced instant searches by now, where search suggestions (or even full results) appear live while you type, before you even press Enter.  It seems like magic, searching the entire world as fast as you can type.  But did you know your Windows PC has the same power?

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Microsoft MVP Award 2012

I’m thrilled and honored to have been re-awarded as a Microsoft MVP for 2012.  My award date is April 1, so you’ll understand the delay my boasting — would you have believed me last week? The award box arrived yesterday evening, where I promptly ripped the box apart like a kid on Christmas morning.  Here’s a look at what’s inside: There’s the new certificate and ID badge for the new year, along with a 2012 year disc to stack into…

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Set Microsoft Office Name for Friendlier File in Use Messages

Has this ever happened to you? At best an annoyance, this can be a real productivity killer as you hunt around to find the user that has the file locked. You could save a copy of the file and try to clean up or reconcile later, and while collaboration solutions like SharePoint limit these cases, most businesses still rely heavily on network storage that makes this impractical. So, help make the word — or at least your office — a better…

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Reminder to update drivers in Windows 8

I just finished installing Windows 8 natively using a VHD, as discussed in my previous post, and while exploring I noticed some fonts were not quite as crisp as I would like. Others may not notice this subtle nuance, but it is likely that in aggregate you’ll be affected by stretched images, poor font and color quality, and even poor performance without proper hardware accelerated graphics. Let this post serve as a reminder to update your drivers and check your resolution so that you can…

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MVP Summit Schedule Sync without Outlook

Hey fellow MVPs, I’m sure most of you have downloaded your itinerary from the schedule builder and probably added the events to Outlook. For those of you that either don’t have Exchange Active Sync capabilities or wish to keep these events off their Outlook Calendar, you can still sync your schedule with your smart phone using subscriptions in the cloud (such as Hotmail or Google Calendars).  Unlike importing the downloaded .ics file, the method below will allow your phone to…

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