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.

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:

Alt-spacebar

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.

Special Characters NOT to Use in IMAP Folder Names

As I discovered when switching from a POP3 account to IMAP for Office 365, importing folder names containing certain characters will abort the process. These are:

~ ` ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ + = { } | [ ] \ : ” ; ‘ < > , . ? /

Some may get through, but I discovered two I was using certainly didn’t.

I used the tilde character (~) at the start of some folder names to indicate the contents were old and should soon be deleted. I also used the slash (/) within other folder names.

I had to clean up the PST account and re-export it before I could import it into the OST account (see PST vs OST).

Change Outlook Folder Sort Order

For many years, the sort order in Outlook was alphabetical, A to Z, and couldn’t be changed. However, after numerous calls by users for an option to allow free ordering, Microsoft finally introduced the feature in Outlook 2013.

The option is available in the Folders tab. It’s a toggle, and it retains your chosen sequencing should you temporarily revert to alphabetical.

Outlook folder sort order toggle
Outlook folder sort order toggle

Unselecting A to Z enables folders to be moved anywhere in the list, either by dragging the folder or using Move Up or Move Down when right-clicking the folder name:

Move Up/Down folder
Move Up/Down folder

PST vs OST

I use a POP3 mail server, so I’ve always opted for a PST file when setting up a new account in Outlook. PST stands for Personal Storage Table. Outlook uses it to store all your email items, contacts, and calendar. It may be designated Outlook.pst or something like user@example.com.pst. Either way, it resides in the Outlook Files folder of your Documents folder.

I recently installed Office 365 on a laptop and discovered that instead of PST I had an OST file. OST is the initialism for Offline Storage Table.

Because PST files are local, you can copy them to other PCs that have Outlook that uses a PST, provided you change the transferred file’s name to the existing one before replacing it. This isn’t possible with OST files, which are copies from the exchange server. When you disconnect from the Internet, the local copy gives you continued access to all the files. Once the Internet connection is restored, the local file is synced with the server’s file.

Unlike PST files, OST files cannot be backed up.