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.

 

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.

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.

“File Too Large for Destination File System”

This message came up today. I needed to transfer an 8GB file to a USB drive I’d just bought. The new drive had stacks of space, so it didn’t make sense to be told the drive wasn’t large enough.

A quick check of the USB drive’s properties supplied the explanation. It was using FAT32 rather than NTFS. FAT32 file sizes are limited to 4GB. (FAT = File Allocation Table; NTFS = New Technology File System.)

I’m surprised that manufacturers still use the old FAT32 file system for devices with today’s large capacities. However, it’s not difficult to convert them to NTFS. Microsoft provides a conversion utility for that purpose and it’s easy to use.

Go to the Start menu and in Search enter cmd.exe. This will bring up the Command window. Enter convert x: /fs:ntfs where x: is the drive letter of the target file.

In this example, drive J:  is to be converted:

Convert file system example
Convert file system example

The files are not affected by the conversion.

Intuos 5 Installation Problem

I’ve had the Wacom Intuos 5 graphics tablet and pen for a few years and it’s worked a treat, but a few months ago, following a software update, it was left with limited function. I installed a later update but that made no difference.

To ensure that the hardware was not at fault, I installed the software on a Windows 10 laptop, connected the tablet, and it worked fine. I compared the Wacom  folder with the 8.1 folder and noticed that the laptop had an extra service. Clearly the issue was 8.1-related.

I reported the problem to Wacom, and over a few weeks followed suggestion after suggestion from their support team. Just as I was resigning myself to never using the tablet again on my PC, Wacom came up with the solution.

Following their instructions, I turned off the Malwarebytes Premium antivirus* and re-ran the install. This time it set up everything it was supposed to. The tablet is fully functional again.

* The strange thing is that the laptop also had Malwarebytes Premium running.

Windows 8.1 Taking Too Long to Shut Down

This is a problem I experience from time to time. I click Restart and then sit looking at a screen that says it restarting or shutting down for seemingly ever. Sometimes there’s an open program, say Outlook, that won’t shut down, and you get an opportunity to force a close. But even after those programs close, it seems the system has gone into an infinite loop. The problem is that I’ve no idea what’s happening.

To help, I’ve added a setting in the Registry to display some clues. Here it is:

Open RegEdit from  Start > Run…

Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System

In the right side of the window you may see an entry called VerboseStatus with a value of zero. If so, click Modify and change it to 1. If not, you can create it by right-clicking on a blank area and select New and DWORD(32-bit) Value. Create an entry called VerboseStatus and set its value to 1.

Close RegEdit. Next time you restart or shut down, you’ll see some information about what programs and services are closing. It’s not as detailed as I would like it, but it helps.

 

Slow Opening of Folders

A problem I’ve had since moving to Windows 8.1 (I skipped 8.0 and have yet to move to 10) is that Explorer can take a while to open the folder I click on. It turns out that the problem goes back to the days of the infamous Vista, when Microsoft decided to optimise folders according to their contents. To get round this issue, you need to select the folder, right-click to choose Properties, and click Customise. You will see a dropdown list headed Optimise this folder for:

Folder Properties


The options for optimising are:

Customise Options

To avoid the delay, select General items and click OK.