How to Wrap Cables

Wrapping cables is a regular activity for some of us, especially when travelling. If they're not coiled up properly, cables may develop kinks, which can lead to erratic performance, or, worse, break. Roadies face this task with audio cables each time they take down after a session, and they have a technique that may be applied to all items that coil, such as hosepipes, though I'd probably not try it out on snakes.

The method is best explained in a video:

Locating the Gmail Spam Folder

When I couldn’t see certain mail sent to my Gmail account, I thought the sender had made a mistake with my Gmail address. When they assured me it had been correctly addressed, it dawned on me that it must have been treated as spam, but where was the Spam folder?

It appears the Spam folder is not shown by default and has to be enabled if you want to see it. Here’s how:

Hover the mouse over a folder name in the left column. This reveals all the possible folder options.

In this example, the highlighted folders are the ones I see by default and by choice. If Spam is not highlighted, click the name to see the folder contents.

If you decide that a mail item isn’t spam, click the check box next to the item. Then select the Not spam button. The item will move automatically to your Inbox.

If you want to have the Spam folder available permanently, you need to select the gear icon in the upper right corner. Click on Settings from the dropdown list, and then the Labels tab.

Choose show or show if unread.




Enabling Multi-processors

If you have a dual or quad microprocessor installed, there's a good chance you're running only one of them, as that seems to be the default, in which case you're losing out on performance.

Multi-core processors range through 2, 4, and 8 cores. Each core handles two processing threads. Not all programs take advantage of multi-cores, but most games and other processing intensive programs do.

You can check whether your PC is set up correctly by typing msconfig into the Start menu's Run box. Select the Boot tab.

msconfig general tab

In the Boot tab, select the Advanced Options button.

msconfig boot tab

At the top left is the Number of processors checkbox. Select this and the dropdown.

In my case, I have a 4-core processor, so I set it to the maximum. If your PC has a dual core processor then it will show only 1 and 2 in the dropdown list.

msconfig boot advanced tab

Then continually click OK until you've exited msconfig.


Totalling Cells in Word Tables

There was a time when, to sum a column or row of numbers in a table, you probably did it manually or used a VBA macro. These days, Word has a nifty little function called Formula in the Layout tab.

To use the function, you need to position your cursor in the cell in which the total is to be placed and select Formula.

Sample table showing cursor placement

Here is the function with a description:

Formula function in Layout tab

For our purposes we need SUM(LEFT):

Formula text entry

Select the number format and hit OK. The total is now showing in the last column.

Total shown in final column

To get totals for the cells below, you will need to repeat the process. However, the formula offered will assume SUM(ABOVE), because it thinks you’re totalling a column, so you need to change it to SUM(LEFT).

When you’re finished, you can if needed sum all the columns, like this:

Row and columns totalled

If any of the values are changed, the totals adjust automatically.



God Mode in Windows

God Mode is a special folder that gives you access to an array of system tools, including Administrative Tools (Disk Management, Event Viewer, Services, Task Scheduler, etc) and a host of functions that you would otherwise need the Control Panel to access. The beauty of the God Mode folder is that they are all listed together rather than in separate tabs.

To create the God Mode folder:

  1. Make sure you’re logged is an admin user.
  2. Right-click on the desktop, select “New” and click “Folder”.
  3. Now the important step. Rename the folder as “God Mode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}” (without the quotes).
    You can replace “God Mode” with another name, but everything that follows must remain (e.g. “Admin stuff.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}”)
  4. If you now double-click the folder, you will see a list of tools covering more than 200 functions.
  5. Enjoy!





Format Thyself

I have a laptop with Windows 10 on the single drive. Because I was lending it to a friend, I needed to clear the drive so they could install their software. I backed up an image of the drive, and was ready to reformat it. Clearly, I couldn’t do that from within Windows.

The first step was to make sure I had a Windows repair disk. I did, on a USB complete with system files.

The next step was to change the boot sequence so that it tried the USB device before the hard disk.

Then it was just a matter of restarting the system.

Once the USB had loaded the repair/recovery screen, I chose Troubleshooting from the menu:

Windows 10 Repair/Recovery screen

From the Troubleshoot menu I selected Advanced Options, followed by Command Prompt.

I entered the format command: format C: /fs:NTFS

(NOTE: If the C: drive has a volume name, e.g. OS, it will prompt for this.)

The reformat didn’t take long, as it resets the indexes rather than wiping the drive. In other words, using the right tool, the data is recoverable, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen.

Outlook 365 Manage Rules and Alerts not working

This morning, when I selected Manage Rules and Alerts, this popped up:

Outlook Manage Rules and Alerts error message

The problem did persist. I reinstalled Office using online repair and the problem remains.

I discovered the problem is quite new. Microsoft is aware of it and working on a solution. For those affected by this issue, we can only wait until the fix is made.

WordPress 5.0 causing “Updating failed” messages

On one of my sites, having updated to WordPress 5.0 and its new Gutenberg editor, I found I couldn’t update a new or changed post. Instead, an “Updating failed” message appeared.

To remedy this, I installed Classic Editor and Classic Editor Addon to replace Gutenberg. In other words, back to how it was in 4.9.

(The Classic Editor Addon prevents accidental activation of Gutenberg.)

Both plugins are available from WordPress. Select Add New from the Plugins menu and enter “Classic” for the Keyword search.

Using the Keyboard to Enter Symbols

When typing, having to remove your hands from the keyboard to insert a symbol can be avoided by using a simple trick, though it only applies to the copyright, trademark, and registered symbols by default. These are set in AutoCorrect.

Instead of pausing to use the mouse to select Insert and then Symbol from the ribbon, type the following (add space after in Excel):

“c” for ©
“tm” for ™
“r” for ®

Another approach is to hold down the Alt key and enter a value using the numeric keypad. For example:

0169 for ©
0153 for ™
0174 for ®

To add a symbol to AutoCorrect, select File > Options > Proofing > AutoCorrect:

The default symbols are shown:

To add a symbol, use the Alt key and numeric pad. For example, to auto-correct (l) to become the sterling symbol, press Alt-0163. Click Add.

AutoCorrect is available in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, but not Outlook.

Dealing with an Oversized Window

Ever found yourself facing an oversized window, where you cannot locate an edge to drag to shrink it?  It occasionally happens to me, especially when I’ve been changing screen resolutions.

There’s a simple solution, and it’s as old as Windows itself, but few are aware of it.

Press the Alt key and the spacebar together. You will see in the top left corner of the screen this tiny window:


To resize the window, press S. The cursor will transform into a four-arrowed star. Use the arrow keys on the keyboard to shorten, lengthen, widen, or shrink the window until the edge you need is revealed, and press Enter.

You can also move the window around by pressing M and using the arrow keys to move it in the required direction. Press Enter when finished.