How to Delay Startup Programs

When booting up your system, all the startup programs load up one after another. Depending on how many programs there are, this could take some time. However, some of these programs aren’t needed straightaway. For example, I don’t need to have OneDrive active immediately, as I rarely use it, so I delay its start.

I use WinPatrol to do this. WinPatrol is a program I have used for years. It protects my registry and prevents unwanted system changes by alerting me to any attempt to do so, such as inserting an unwanted program into the startup sequence.

The program provides control over various aspects of the system. Cookies, services, scheduled tasks, IE helpers are a few of them.

Here’s how I delay OneDrive:

I open WinPatrol and select the first tab: Startup Programs. In the list of programs, I select OneDrive.

WinPatrol select
WinPatrol select

Right-clicking the line brings up a context menu with the delay option:

WinPatrol move to delayed start
WinPatrol move to delayed start

After I select that option, OneDrive disappears from the list. The next tab, Delayed Start, now has the OneDrive entry, but it’s set to delay by only 30 seconds.

WinPatrol delayed start
WinPatrol delayed start

Right-clicking the line brings up another context menu. In this one, options are available for changing the default time.

WinPatrol delayed start options
WinPatrol delayed start options

When I select that, a dialog box appears. I set my preferred delay to 20 minutes:

WinPatrol delayed start time
WinPatrol delayed start time

That’s all there is to it. From now on, whenever I restart the system, OneDrive won’t be loaded until 20 minutes later.

Can’t Read .webp Image Files?

Recently, I downloaded a file with the file extension .webp. However, WordPress didn’t recognise that format, so I needed to convert it to JPG or PNG.

Webp is a Google file format for images. It’s not widely adopted, so if you receive a file with a .webp extension and can’t open it, here are a few ideas.

I used Affinity Photo to export the file I received to the required format. My copy of Adobe Photoshop CS6 said it was an unsupported format, as did Corel PaintShop Pro 2018.  There is a plugin to handle .webp for Adobe Photoshop, but I don’t know if it applies to older versions.

Other programs that can read .webp files and allow you to save as JPG or other formats are:

ACDSee

Affinity Designer

GIMP

IrfanView

 

 

 

Search Utilities

There are two programs I use for searching my system. One searches for files and folders, the other searches within files.

Everything

Voidtool’s Everything is a free program that has little effect on system resources. Its icon sits in the system tray. I use it everyday, sometimes repeatedly. What I like most about is its instantaneous response as I enter search text. Here’s a screenshot for a simple query:

Everything results
Everything results

It provides results that are progressively refined as the search text is typed in. If you want to find all files of a particular type, e.g. mp4, search for *.mp4. If you have multiple criteria, say all files named “john” and “mary”, just enter “john mary” (the search is case insensitive). There are other options, too.

It works by indexing all your files, including mapped network files, when it is first installed. It does this remarkably quickly.

Notepad++

Whereas Everything finds files and folders, Notepad++ finds text strings within files. It is free and the search function is quick and simple to use.

Start by selecting Search from the menu and clicking Find in Files…

Find in Files...
Find in Files…

Choose a search term and location. The search can include sub-directories, as shown here:

Notepad++ Search screen
Notepad++ Search screen

Click Find All.

Notepad++ search results
Notepad++ search results

 

Each file containing the search term is highlighted in green, with the individual entries listed below with line numbers to make it easier to locate them.

Click on any highlighted line to be shown that file.

 

Copyright and Social Media

Did you know that when you post an image to Facebook, you are giving non-exclusive rights to Facebook to use the image as they please. Same applies to Twitter and Instagram. To understand what this means, we need to examine copyright.

Copyright

When you create a work, as for example a painting, sculpture, novel, piece of software, etc, you automatically have copyright to it. That includes photos you have taken or images you have created. The only exceptions are where you are under a constraint such as that which may be applied by your employer or client.

Rights

Copyright gives you exclusive rights the moment it is acquired. You can assign these rights or some aspect of them to other parties. For example, you could give one publisher local territorial rights and another international rights. You could also place limits on how long those assigned rights will last.

The rights assigned can be exclusive or non-exclusive. If the latter, you can continue to exercise them for your own benefit.

Facebook requires you to give it non-exclusive rights to images and other IP content that you upload. This is what it says:

For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

So you get no royalties. Note that term sub-licensable. That means they can transfer the licence to another company, and without your permission. I find that a very one-sided deal, especially as, like most people, I don’t read all the small text. I just assume good faith. However…

Opting Out?

Not at the moment. Whether Facebook, given its current exposure to regulatory inquiry, will soften its stance on this and similar issues, remains to be seen. If you don’t want your photos being used elsewhere by Facebook, I’d suggest deleting them. However…

Image Protection

You could make your images unattractive, not only to Facebook but to all those who believe that anything on the web can be copied for their own purposes. One way is to apply a watermark, which is what I do for some of my own material. You can also lower the picture quality: keep the size small and drop the DPI (dots per inch). It will look grainy if used at a larger size, making it unsuitable for posters.

 

Notes and To-do Programs

I use four programs to keep me organised. On my desktop and laptop it is Swift To-Do List; on the desktop : Hott Notes 4; on my desktop, laptop, and mobile phone: Google Keep; and mobile only: Color Notes. I know many others use Evernote or OneDrive, but I find them too cumbersome for my needs.

Swift To-Do List

I’m a long-time user of STDL. It’s a sophisticated repository of permanent data, reminders, and tasks I need to carry out. I use it to store all my personal data,  my software licences, passwords, and anything else I need at my fingertips. It sits in the Windows taskbar ready to be summoned whenever I need it.

Check out the website to get an appreciation of its many capabilities.

Hott Notes 4

This is a sticky notes program. It’s old. The last update I think was in 2017. However, it does a simple job very effectively. See the website for features.

Google Keep

If you have a Google account, this program is well worth considering as a notes program that synchronises desktop and mobile.

Color Notes

Using two programs on my phone to provide essentially the same purpose may seem overkill, but I have a tendency to stuff up my mobile. mainly as a result of forgetting to turn it off. My subsequent movements trigger all sorts of actions, including calls to unsuspecting people in my contacts list. More than a few times I’ve managed to corrupt the contents of Color Notes and Keep.

I tend to use Color Note for permanent data and Google Keep for transient information, like shopping lists.

 

Where Can I Delete Passwords in Firefox?

If you have opted to save logins and passwords for the sites you visit, there may be times when you wish to delete that information for a particular site. Here’s how.

Begin by clicking on the hamburger menu icon at the far right of the toolbar and selecting Options.

In the screen that appears, select Privacy & Security.

Select Saved Logins…

Scroll to the site that you need to delete.

Click Remove, then Close.

Importing Passwords

Firefox also provides an option to import passwords from Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. In the screen above, click the Import… button and follow the instructions.

Where Do IE11 and Edge Keep Passwords

If IE11 or Edge asks if it can save your login id and password (assuming you have that option set) when you sign in to a site but you decide later that you don’t want them saved for that site, how do you change that? Here’s how:

Select the Tools icon (that cog icon on the far right of the toolbar) and choose Internet options. In the Content tab select Settings in the AutoComplete section.

In the AutoComplete Settings window, select Manage Passwords,

This brings up the Credentials Manager screen, with the web credentials.

Click the down arrow  for the website you no longer want login information to be saved.

Select Remove.

Click Yes.

Where Does Google Keep Passwords?

When you sign up to a new site using Google, if you’ve elected to use the feature, it’s likely you will be prompted to save your user id and password to avoid logging in the next time you use that site. This is a useful feature, but there may be times when you need to prevent it from doing that.

Recently, I discovered a plugin I use had deactivated my licence key and a shorter entry had been inserted. I re-entered the key, but as soon as I saved it, it reverted to the shorter entry, which I rightly guessed was my login password for that site. I needed therefore to tell Google to stop doing that. The problem was that I didn’t know where Google stored this information.

I eventually discovered the location and was able to exclude the site. If you have the same need,  here’s how you fix it.

Select the icon with the vertical three dots at the far right of the toolbar and click on Settings.

This displays the Settings page. Scroll to the bottom and select Advanced. Then scroll to Passwords and Forms. Choose Manage passwords.

Scroll to the site you want to remove.

Click the vertical three-dot icon. Select Remove.

And that’s it.

A Backup Strategy

A repair shop manager I spoke to the other day told me that many machines they repair are infected. And not with just one virus. One PC had so many that the owner thought he must have a hardware problem because of the erratic performance. At least it still worked. He could so easily have fallen prey to a ransomware attack, in which case his entire system would have been locked down until the ransom was paid.

Strategy

I have a four-step process for backing up.

  1. Make sure all software updates have been applied, especially anti-virus programs.
  2. Empty the Recycle Bin.
  3. Run an anti-virus deep scan (I don’t want to back up malware).
  4. Back up an image of the system disk.

Steps 2 and 3 aren’t needed for daily scheduled backups.

Software

The first requirement is to select a good backup program or service. My preference is True Image 2018 by Acronis. I’ve used it for years and the latest version is stable and fast. I’ve had problems with previous versions, but the latest is holding up well so far. That said, I’ve heard of an issue with recovery times, but other factors could have been at play.

Though I have no experience of it, StorageCraft ShadowProtect is also highly regarded. I believe it is limited to disk image backups only. True Image, on the other hand, provides disk image, file, and folder backups. (A disk in this context is a partition, e.g. C:/.)

There are other programs, some free, but what you most need in a backup program is certainty of execution. It’s one thing to back up your sensitive data, quite another to find it won’t restore when you most need it.

Scheduled Backups

The starting point for a good backup practice is to identify what data and programs you can ill afford to lose. These should be backed up on a regular basis. In my case, I run a number of overnight backups because I work with clients’ data, and daren’t risk losing it. Same applies to work-in-progress and to personal information. In fact, anything that changes regularly and is needed.

Disk Images

As frequently as needed, take a complete disk image of your system drive. I work on the basis that if nothing much has happened in the meantime, I’ll do this every two or three weeks. However, if I’m about to make significant changes to my system, I’ll take a full backup first.

Backup Storage

Once you have backed up your system, you need to ensure the backup is available when needed. Because malware like ransomware can encrypt all attached devices, you should disconnect backup media. I have separate portable hard disks and USBs on which I store cloned disks.

Restore to Different Media

Acronis provides a feature that enables your cloned disk to be restored to another physical drive. It’s called Acronis Universal Restore. Download and run it to install the software on a portable medium (e.g. a USB). This is your key to ensuring you can restore a cloned disk should the original disk image ever be compromised.

How Many CPUs Do You Have?

CPUs

Most people regard the central processing unit (CPU) as the square-shaped microprocessor that fits into a single socket on a motherboard. However, some chips contain two or four or even more CPUs. Each of these may contain separate processors.

To answer the question in the title, we will start by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc to bring up Task Manager. Select the Performance tab.

The image above shows that I have a single socket on my server and that it has two cores. However, if I go to Start and search for and select dxdiag, I see this:

So the Intel i7-4770K chip contains 4 CPUs. Or does it? Well, not according to the Device Manager. It says it has 8!

Logical Processors

To explain these variances, we need to understand Logical Processors. These are parallel threads that execute a single instruction. A CPU can handle two or more of these at the same time. Imagine a program that calculates a complex equation (e.g. a spreadsheet operation). It could process each step in a serial fashion, but by sending instructions via different channels (threads), the time taken to finish calculations is cut significantly.

In the case of the i7-4770K I mentioned above, there are four CPUs, each capable of supporting parallel operations. Theoretically, a program could make use of all 8 logical processors, but only if it’s designed to do so.

The extent to which a multiple processor such as the i7-4770K can be put through its paces is entirely up to each program, many of which still settle for a single processor. The ones that do exploit a multiple processor’s capacity are mostly games, graphics, and video apps.