Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

How to safely turn off your computer without closing your work

Start menu

Image via Wikipedia

What is hibernate?

If you want to turn off your computer to save energy and time without saving your work and closing your applications, Hibernate is the best feature of Windows to use. Mac OS Lion will features similar function as Hibernate in a different way. Check its website to learn more. Hibernate works similarly with Sleep.

What is the difference between sleep and hibernate?

Even though sleep saves the current state of your computer so you can resume it quickly, it consumes little power to power its RAM (random access memory). Hibernate saves the contents of the RAM into the reserved space of your hard drive or SSD before shutting itself down so you can resume quickly afterwards. Even though your machine does not consume any power during hibernation. It takes longer amount of time for your machine to go into and from hibernation than sleep.

Why does hibernation takes longer time to resume than sleep?

It is because your machine needs some time to copy the contents of the RAM to and from your Hard Drive or SSD.

How do I get my machine to hibernate?

 There are a lot of ways to put your machine into hibernation mode.

A. Using Start Menu on Windows 7 and Vista

  1.  Click the Windows Logo on the corner of your screen to open Start Menu.
  2. Click the right button next to the Shutdown Button. Text or buttons shown vary.
  3. Click Hibernate.

B. Using Start Menu on Windows XP

  1. Click the Start Button.
  2. Choose Turn Off Computer.
  3. Select the Hibernate Button.

C. Using the keyboard

  1. While in desktop, Press Alt + F4.
  2. Press the down arrow repeatedly until you reach Hibernate.
  3. Hit Enter.

D. Using Task Manager

  1. Right Click the vacant space on your taskbar or press CTRL + ALT + DEL.
  2. Select Task Manager.
  3. Click Computer menu.
  4. Select Hibernate.

E. Using a Desktop Gadget

  1. Find the gadget in your desktop which includes Hibernate option if you installed that desktop gadget.
  2. Scroll to the Hibernate button and click it.

E. Using a third-party application

  1. It you have a utility application that includes a hibernate support, open it.
  2. Consult its user guide about hibernation.
  3. Follow its prescribed procedures.

The last two methods are other possible options for Hibernation. I recommend either using the Start Menu or using the keyboard.

What if hibernation doesn’t work?

You probably have disabled Hibernation using Control Panel/ other third-party utilities or you don’t have enough disk space for hibernation. Search for Hibernation on Help and Support to find ways on enabling Hibernation. You can find additional information about hibernation here.

What if my computer goes to hibernation automatically?

Most probably is that your notebook battery reached its Critical Charge Level. Your computer saves your work and goes into hibernation before your battery runs out of charge. Either charge or plug your machine into a power source before turning on your computer.

How can I  resume from hibernation?

To resume from hibernation, press the power button just as the same way you turn your computer. Your computer will display Resuming Windows animation. You may be required to enter your password if you preconfigured your account with a password. After that, you can start working just as the same way you left it.

Windows Help and Support

How to perform a simple drag using trackpad

Apple Macbook Pro (Early 2008) 17" Trackpad

Image via Wikipedia

Using trackpad may be more difficult to use and handle for some people. Even though it has some buttons for left and right clicks including drag and scroll, the mouse offers more freedom and flexibility. It is because people feel it more natural as they move their hand rather than finger around. However, trackpad also offers similar functionality as the mouse.

There are three ways people perform a drag on the trackpad.

A. Press and hold then slide

This procedure may require two fingers working at the same time. One finger needs an effort to press one of its buttons.

  1. Point into the item you wish to move or drag
  2. Press and hold the left trackpad button.
  3. As you hold down that button, move the cursor into preferred location.
  4. Release trackpad button.

B. Tap, tap then slide

This method is what I prefer to use. It only requires one finger. To do this:

  1. Point into the item you wish to move or drag.
  2. Lift your finger shortly then tap twice in succession.
  3. Instead of releasing your finger on the second tap from the trackpad, slide your finger towards the position where you want to move that item.
  4. Release.

C. Push then slide

If you are working with Mac notebooks, this method is the most convenient since the entire trackpad is a button.

  • Simply point into the item, push and slide your finger into the direction where you want to move that item then release.

What if I reach the edge of the trackpad?

Simply retain your finger into that position until the mouse pointer (supposed to be trackpad pointer) reaches its position then release. The pointer will continue moving even though your finger has stopped moving. It will work as long as you have not yet released your finger from the trackpad.

What if the pointer stopped moving when my finger reached its edge?

Your trackpad may not support continuous dragging. However, you may change a setting in your Control Panel to enable continuous dragging.

To enable continuous dragging,

  1. Simply search for Mouse in the Start Menu.
  2. Click Mouse to open the program.
  3. You will see an option usually a tab dedicated by your manufacturer. Click it to open. Some may see a settings button for trackpad. Click it to open.
  4. Find the option for Continuous Dragging or something similar and enable it by placing a check mark next to it.
  5. Click OK to save changes.

What I can’t find the setting customised for my trackpad?

A. Install software and drivers for your trackpad

If you can’t find any customised setting for your trackpad, the software designed by manufacturer for your trackpad is not yet installed. To install this,

  1. Go to Start – Windows Update
  2. Click Check for Updates
  3. Choose Optional Updates
  4. Look for the trackpad driver update and put a check mark next to it.
  5. Click Install.
  6. Your computer will download and install updates including your trackpad software.
  7. You will be prompted to restart. Select Restart Now to apply changes.

B. Repeat your preferred dragging method.

If everything above still won’t work, simply repeat the method you usually use or use another method.

How to fix Super Zoom Problem on iOS devices

The answer is simple. Simply use your three fingers to double tap on the screen.

Having accidentally turned on an accessibility option in the settings menu is the cause of the problem. The screen can be zoomed in for one to easily read screen contents. However, we may accidentally zoom in its screen in a way that you can’t navigate and use it that the text and screen contents are actually very large.

To fix it, simply follow the recommendation from its settings menu:

“To zoom, double tap with three fingers.”

Just use that method to zoom in and out.

Wish list for the Next Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office Excel 2007

Image via Wikipedia

Feature suggestions:

1. Object recognition and feature prediction system

-predicts what action the user is planning to do next depending on the selected item then suggests and displays object-related tools. (e.g. suggestions tab on ribbon)

-saves time on finding commands

-less clutter

2. Space or bar dedicated to pinned tools, recommended, frequently and recently used commands.

-changes dynamically

-option for auto hide or always show

3. Expand button on command groups instead of open dialog box.

-expands the selected command group sideward while displacing other command groups in the ribbon.

4. Autohide option in ribbon (and backstage too)

-autohides the ribbon to maximize space for documents

-hover over preferred tab (e.g. Home) to pull ribbon in a drawer-like sliding animation similar to activating handwriting pane on widows

-allows seamless jumping from tab to tab using only hover gestures without clicking one by one

-ribbon slides back after use

5. No save button

-autosaves file as user edits without sacrificing performance (note:

My pc lags as autosave starts.)

-OneNote style saving

-edit/changes history is saved along with the file so author can undo mistakes few days ago without affecting in-between changes

6. File encryption system

-adds password to open/modify/copy

-detects logged on/authorized Windows user to bypass password entry

-option for add digital certificates

7. Multiple dictionaries

-allows downloadable dictionary languages support

8. Flexible interface

-option for basic/essentials/advanced/touch screen interface and commands upon start-up

-suits user’s style according to ability (e.g. power user)

-option to select template upon start up

-saves loading time and conserves memory by loading only necessary commands and functions

-autosnap for in-application windows

-redesigned and optimized interface for user friendly touch screen use

9. Improved performance

-support for 64-bit with hyper threading processors

-utilization of graphics card for graphics and font processing

-simple yet intuitive and straightforward interface

10. Accessibility options

-support for third party speech recogntion and text to speech softwares

-white in black interface

-large fonts and icons

Can’t create a free iTunes account? There’s a solution for that!

App store countdown xacti med

Image by willc2 via Flickr

Have an iOS device but can’t get apps from its wide variety of 800,000 and counting apps to choose from the App Store?

There’s a solution for that. iTunes requires a credit card for a user to create an iTunes account to buy apps; however, free apps don’t need credit cards for a purchase to be taken place. Around 40% of the apps available in the App Store are free (9to5mac.com). That’s around (several) free apps available. So why not maximize your iOS device with that potential?

But why can’t I create that free account in the first place?

Apple has taken a marketing strategy to encourage users to buy apps from its store. Apple does this by hiding or moving its free account creation somewhere else.

Here’s why it don’t show up:

  1. Open iTunes application. If you don’t have iTunes installed, simply visit iTunes download then hit the download button.
  2.  Select iTunes Store on the left hand side of the display.
  3.  Click Sign In button on the upper right hand side of the display.
  4. Select ‘I don’t have an account’.
  5. Enter some personal user information then click Next.
  6. On the top of the display you see only three payment options namely Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Some may see different.

The fourth or last option which NONE is hidden.

So, how can I make the “None” option show up?

  1. Open iTunes application.
  2. Select iTunes Store on the left hand side of the display.
  3. This time, instead of clicking the Sign Up button, look for the Top Free Apps on the right hand side of the display. If you can’t see it, scroll down to see more.
  4. Choose from one of the free apps then click the free button.
  5. You will be presented with the Sign Up dialog box.
  6. Select ‘I don’t have an account’.
  7. Enter some personal user information then click Next.
  8. On the top of the display you will now see four payment options namely Visa, MasterCard, and American Express as well as NONE. Some may see different. Choose none.
  9. Continue entering some information on the required fields.
  10. When done, click Create Account. You have successfully created your iTunes account.

Activate your account

9. Go to your email client or website where you have entered your email address during the account creation.
10. Enter your log-in information.
11. Open your inbox and locate the email Apple has sent you. If you can’t find that email, it is either that email has not arrived yet or it was moved to the spam folder.
11. Open that verification email.
12. Simply click on the verification link found in the email. You will be redirected to another site.
13. On that site, enter your log-in information you have just entered during the registration process then click Verify.
14. You will be redirected to iTunes.
15. Log-in to iTunes if you are not logged in yet.

And you’re done.

With your new account, you now have access to 120,000 free apps available through the App Store. Just choose the app you like then click the Free button. iTunes will automatically download the app for you and is ready for syncing for your device.

What if I would like to buy an app?

If you find any app you would like to pay for, just enter your payment method in the Account Settings. It is found by clicking your email address on the upper right hand of the iTunes Store window.

How to use Genius Playlist and Genius Mixes on iTunes

iTunes Icon

Image via Wikipedia

Want to have a personal DJ even without a professional DJ around? Just turn on iTunes Genius music service in your Mac or PC, and carry it anywhere with your iPad, iPhone or iPod. Genius service actually searches songs in your music library that actually sound great together.

To get started:

  1. Open iTunes application. If you don’t have iTunes installed, simply visit iTunes download then hit the download button.
  2. On the left sidebar, click Genius. You need an internet connection for it to work.
  3. Next, click Turn On Genius button.
  4. Sign in with your Apple or iTunes account. If you don’t have an iTunes account, go to the App Store, click Sign in on the upper right portion, then select I don’t have an account. Follow instructions afterwards.
  5. Accept the Terms and Conditions if you agree then click next.
  6.  iTunes will now gather music information from your library and send it into Apple’s servers. When analysis is complete, Apple will send back your Genius results into your computer.
  7. Click Done.

To use Genius Mixes:

  1. Click Genius Mixes on the left hand side of the window.
  2. From there you will see your songs grouped together into different categories. Genius Mixes are based on genre, artists and others to create a list of songs that go great together. It is the best way to hear the songs you haven’t discovered.
  3. To hear a Genius Mix, hover your mouse cursor over the Genius Mix you want then click the play button. The album art of the current song is displayed in it.
  4. To play another song, click the next or back button on the Genius Mix panel itself or on the upper right controls.
  5. To play another Genius Mix, simply click the play button of another Genius Mix.
  6. To stop playing, click the Stop button.

To use Genius Playlist:

  1. Go to the song you like best and right-click. You may click the Genius button at the top (beside song name of the playing song) or at the bottom (lower left corner of the screen).
  2.  Select Create Genius Playlist.
  3. The generated playlist will appear. You can select how many will appear in a playlist using a drop down menu on the upper right corner of the screen. You may refresh the list.
  4. To save a playlist, click Save. The program will save the playlist based from the song you have selected upon. The playlist will appear just below Genius Mixes.

You can create as many Genius playlists as you want. Genius Playlist will work like your regular playlists.

To rename a Genius Playlist:

  1. Click the playlist you want to rename then enter the name you want for it to be.
  2. Press enter button or click anywhere.

To sync Genius Mixes with your iPad, iPhone or iPod:

  1. Connect your device to your Mac or PC.
  2.  Sync songs with your iTunes Library. Your Genius Playlist as well as Genius Mixes will be synced into your device. This will also enable your devices to create Genius Playlists on the go even you are away from your computer.

Note:

  • Genius will not work if you selected “Manually manage music and videos” from your device summary tab.
  • Only Genius Mixes will be synced on the 3rd and 4th generation iPod shuffle.
-from Apple Ads, videos and manuals

How to repair Windows 7 and Vista startup problems

Heading out to a computer repair shop because your computer won’t start?

You might be waiting for some time due to long queue of those who have the same problem as you. Not this time, because you are the only repair crew for now. Just sit in front of your computer and let yourself perform some simple tricks that will make your machine humming smoothly again.

 Snapshot was taken last April 30, 2011.

Does your computer disobey your order of turning on your computer by displaying a protest screen? I mean the ‘blue screen of death’?

If yes, there are different problems associated with it whether these are hardware related problems or software related problems. You need a technician for hardware related problems, but you may need yourself for software related problems.

Create a Windows Rescue Disk

If you have your original Windows installation disk or if your recovery options are stored on a recovery partition, then you can start repairing your computer. If you don’t, you need to create a rescue/recovery disk first from another computer running the same Windows operating system as yours.

    1. Simply type Create Windows Recovery Disk on the Start Menu or
    2. Go to Start – All Programs – Maintenance – Create Windows Recovery Disc
    3. Insert a blank disc into the disk drive on your computer. You can use either a CD or a DVD.
    4. Choose your Disk Drive on which you will burn your recovery data. Some computers have more than one disk recorders. Choosing the wrong one will result in an error.
    5. Click Next to start the burning process.
    6. When the burning process is complete click Finish and you may remove the disk from its drive.

To repair your computer using a Recovery Disk or Windows Installation Disk

    1. Insert your recovery disk into the disk drive.
    2. Restart your computer from the CD or DVD. Press the Boot From button (ESC, Del, F12, etc.) as indicated by the BIOS display then select CD/DVD/BD.
    3. Proceed with the process below.

If your computer came with a recovery partition,

    1. Restart your computer then press F8 repeatedly until Windows boot options appear.
    2. Select Repair your Computer then press Enter.
    3. Proceed with the process below.

To repair Windows startup problem,

4. The system will discover which operating system you are using and which location it is installed.
5. Select Startup Repair from the list.
6. The system will now detect any problem which prevents your system from starting properly.
7. If the setup finds any problem, it will replace missing, corrupted or modified system files which are necessary in starting Windows.
8. When the process is complete, click Finish.
9. Select Restart button to test whether everything is fine.
10. When your computer starts successfully, you may now remove the disk and store it in a safe location.

You may also be informed that setup did not discover any problems. If the above process did not work, then it is time to consult a technician or call customer support from your machine’s manufacturer.