Internet Explorer’s Meet your new browser page keeps coming up

Internet Explorer (version 11 in my case) keeps popping up the “Meet your new browser” page every time I opened the application.
Use these steps to stop it:

  1. GPEDIT.MSC from the Start button search bar
  2. Expand User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, Internet Explorer
  3. Double click “Prevent running First Run wizard” (in the right pane)
  4. Set it to Enabled and set Go Directly To Home Page from the drop down.

Activate Office 2010 manually


To force Microsoft Office 2010 to activate manually open a command prompt (I assume with elevated privileges):

For 32bit:

cscript “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\ospp.vbs” /act

For 64bit:

cscript “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\ospp.vbs” /act

This is assuming that you’ve given Office a product key.  I also think this will work for Office 2013 by changing the Office14 to Office15 because that same ospp.vbs script is present in my copy of Office 2013.  I’m not sure if this works for retail versions of Office.  I only deal with volume licenses in my environment.

Outlook issue: Calendar sharing is not available with the following entries because of permission settings on your network.

We use Exchange 2013 and Outlook 2010 at my work.  I had a few people trying to share their calendar to others in the organization.
When they tried this they received the following error message:

“Calendar sharing is not available with the following entries because  of permission settings on your network.”

Well I’m the network and Exchange admin and I know I haven’t intentionally setup anything to block sharing of calendars.  After a bit of playing around I found a strange but easy fix.

When you select the person you want to share the calendar with make sure you click the to button and select the person you want to share with from the global address list.If you simply start typing the users name in the to box you’ll get Outlook’s cached version of a user and that will give you the permissions error.

I found this issue to be present in Outlook 2010 as well as Outlook 2013.

How to launch XBMC on startup in Windows 8

I’ve yet to find a device or software that I like as much as XBMC for streaming videos from a local network on a TV.
My Roku tends to get used mostly for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Pandora.  There still not a good local network streaming app on the Roku that doesn’t rely on transcoding.  I like the pure experience of viewing a video file, no matter the type (avi,mpg,mp4,mkv,etc.)   XBMC does this and gives my videos a good looking interface.  For this reason I use a small PC (Intel NUC with Core i3, model DC3217IYE) for streaming videos from my local network.

I recently upgraded my HTPC to Windows 8 which like a lot.  The problem is the Windows Start Screen gets in the way and doesn’t easily let a desktop app run full screen at start up.  I poked around the web and found a few methods for getting it running but didn’t really like any of them too well.  Putting a shortcut in the start up folder doesn’t necessarily work.  There’s a group policy you can change that sets XBMC to be the default interface but then you can’t easily get back to the desktop when you want to.  Then I found XBMC launcher and it took care of my whole setup with minimum configuration.

The application is perfect and super easy to use.  It even adds some power icons to the desktop and or start screen.

Because of the nature of the internet and how things tend to disappear sometimes I have a copy of the current install (version 4.0) on my site here.  You should try to get it from the XBMC site itself though to make sure you have the most recent version.

Outlook won’t open Internet links – Operation cancelled due to restrictions…


Microsoft Outlook started displaying the following error message when clicking on links within emails on one of my PCs.


“This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator.”

So I get “contacted” but have no idea why it’s doing that!  So a Bing search later and I find a registry fix.
It has something to do with Google Chrome being uninstalled from a PC and it doesn’t set the links back to the right defaults.

The following instructions (found here) fixed the issue for me:

If you received this error after uninstalling any application that takes over the HTML open command (including, but not limited to, Chrome & Firefox browsers) you may also need to change the HTM/HTML association in the registry.

  1. Start, click Run, type Regedit in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. Browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.html
  3. Right click the value for the .html key and select Modify…
  4. Change the value from “ChromeHTML” to “htmlfile” (or from FireFoxHTML to htmlfile)
  5. Repeat for .htm, shtml, .xht, .xhtml, .xhtm keys

Stop Firefox from scanning files at the end of a download

I don’t like the pause that occurs at the end of a download in Firefox.  It’s some sort of security or virus scan but it’s annoying.
I have anti-virus installed and running all the time so I don’t need it.  It’s never actually stopped anything anyways.

To turn it off type about:config in the address bar.
Answer yes to the question warning you about messing up your computer.

In the search bar type “”Change the setting to false and there you go.  No more pausing.

Security is such a pain sometimes.

Create Instagram like images in Photoshop

If you are like me and enjoy the filters that Instagram uses in it’s iOS and Android apps but would like to create the look in Photoshop you are in luck!  Daniel Box has created a set of Photoshop actions that mimic the filters found in Instagram.
I know there are lots of people who absolutely hate these types of effects, but I rather enjoy them.  :)

They can be found here on his blog.

This sample is the “Brannan” action.

Copy Excel fields without changing formula

I had a row of formulas I wanted to copy to a separate row but retain the formulas as they were.
Excel wanted to change the formulas and update the cell references.
To keep it from doing this add a $ before the row and column reference.

So if a formula was =’4Q2011′!N6 meaning get the value from the 4Q2011 worksheet cell N6.
Make the formula =’4Q2011′!$N$6

This way when you copy it the formula will stay the same instead of what it was doing which was changing it to =’4Q2011′!N7