Making things easier
Sep 30, 2013 / 5:00 am
Windows can be frustrating or fun. Or sometimes both. Here are three tips that might make things more fun, and will almost certainly make things easier. Learn a great keyboard shortcut, purge icons from obsolete programs, and use a website to do the math for hours, minutes, and seconds.
I’ve written before about using the Windows Key shortcuts (http://rlis.com/columns/column415.htm). I find them especially helpful in Windows 8 without a touch screen because it means I don’t have to monkey around with the mouse or scrollbar as much. But there is a really useful shortcut that works in all versions of Windows from Windows 8 to Windows XP, and I find that most people don’t know about it.
If you press the Windows Key and the letter E (WinKey+E) simultaneously, you’ll open up the Computer window. Sometimes that comes in handy. When it comes in REALLY handy is when you already have one such window open and you want to drag and drop files into a different folder or different drive. You can easily open up a second Computer window without having to go through any hoops.
There’s a list of Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/new-keyboard-shortcuts, and a more extensive list here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/new-keyboard-shortcuts. But again, WinKey+E works on any modern version of Windows.
When I set up a brand new computer for a customer I usually remove the trial version of whatever antivirus program came with the computer and replace it with Avast! Free (http://www.avast.com/en-ca/index) or with Microsoft Security Essentials/Windows Defender (http://www.7tutorials.com/windows-defender-windows-8-and-windows-7-what-s-new-and-different?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+7tutorials%2FKVoP+%287+Tutorials+-+Help+%26+How+To+for+Windows%29). But the little icon for Norton (or Mcafee, or whatever) lingers in the Notification Area list, even when the program is uninstalled.
A long time ago someone wrote and asked me how to get rid of the icons from these obsolete programs. It was so long ago I have no idea who it was.
Whoever you are, I finally found something that would do that! It’s a free utility called Notification Area Cleaner for Windows 7, which you can get here: http://www.itsamples.com/notification-area-cleaner.html. This thing works perfectly on Windows 7.
Download the correct version for your computer (32- or 64-bit), unzip the file and run the utility. Breathe a sigh of relief. Besides working like a charm, the other thing to like about this utility is that it doesn’t try to foist a load of crapware on you along with itself. What a welcome change.
One night I was burning a CD. I know, I know. That’s soooo 1980’s. But I still needed this particular music on a CD. I was in a hurry, so I used Windows Media Player to burn the music CD. I made a note of what each track was called and its duration. Then I realized that I didn’t know the total playing time of the CD.
That might not be a problem for anyone reading this, but it just drove me crazy. I had 9 tracks to add up. I know I could have sat there with a pencil and paper and figured it out, but I wanted an easy way to do it. OK, I admit it: I wanted a way to do it without having to do arithmetic. Apparently Excel 2010 can do this if you format the cells properly, but apparently I’m an idiot because I never could get that to work. My husband can do this in his head, bless his heart, but not me.
I found a great website that does this with an absolute minimum of human effort and no drama whatsoever. Time Math Calculator (http://www.csgnetwork.com/timeconv.html) made my day. I just put in the time for each track, told the thing to add it up, and got my result. It was awesome.
Got a tip? Email [email protected] and I’ll share with everyone.
Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!
Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna (http://computercarekelowna.com/) a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected].
You can read previous columns here: http://rlis.com/column.htm . If you'd like to subscribe to this column by email, please visit this link: http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Sub=20618 . It's easy, and free. If you'd prefer the RSS Feed, click here: http://rlis.com/rlis.xml.
Read more Computers articles
- A little something extra Dec 2
- The lighter side Nov 25
- Thank you! Nov 18
- Odds and ends Nov 11
- Windows 8.1 - a slight improvement Nov 4
- Answers to your questions Oct 28
- Microsoft Security Essentials Oct 21
- Laptop tips Oct 14
(Click for RSS instructions.)