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Posted by on Feb 3, 2015 in Blog, Microsoft Windows, Software | 0 comments

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.
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Posted by on Oct 29, 2013 in Blog, Microsoft Windows, Software | 0 comments

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.

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Posted by on Oct 8, 2013 in Blog, Microsoft Exchange, Software | 4 comments

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.

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Posted by on Aug 16, 2013 in Blog, Microsoft Windows, Software | 0 comments

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.

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Posted by on Jul 22, 2013 in Blog, Microsoft Windows, Software | 0 comments

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
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Posted by on Jun 17, 2013 in Blog, Software | 0 comments

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.

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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Blog, Photography, Software | 2 comments

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.

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Posted by on Mar 9, 2012 in Blog, Computer Tips, Software | 0 comments

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


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Posted by on Jan 4, 2012 in Blog, Software | 0 comments

Better Windows file copying and moving with Teracopy

I’m not sure how I missed this one.  I remember trying Teracopy a couple of years ago but for the life of me I don’t remember why I didn’t keep using it.
Now that I’ve installed it again I wonder how I’ve got along without it all this time!  I have my usual utilities I install (Notepad++, Filezilla, Firefox, VNC, etc.) and now I’ll add Teracopy to that list.
Windows file copying is better than it used to be for sure but Teracopy just puts the polish on this highly used task.
I’m always copying files here and there and moving them and Teracopy just does a better job of it.  It’s faster, it has error recovery (one of the biggest frustrations with the built in Windows copying), pause and resume and more.  Head over to their website and check it out.  It’s free though there is a paid version that adds a bit more functionality that I haven’t tried but am very tempted to.

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Posted by on Oct 31, 2010 in Blog, Computer Tips, Microsoft Windows, Software | 0 comments

Launch XBMC from Windows Media Center remote

I like Windows Media Center, but lately I’ve been liking XBMC more for streaming media to my TV. I bought a Roku player and love it, but (for now) there are things it doesn’t yet do that I want. Namely Hulu Plus (coming soon) and reliable, easy network streaming of my own content. PlayOn is not bad but just there yet for me plus it costs $49.99 plus $19.99 a year.
XBMC has an excellent interface and works well with streaming music and video from Windows shares.
I have a Windows Media Center remote that also works well with XBMC but the green button on it launches Media Center. A web search came up with Jacob Johnston’s blog who wrote a cool little tool for fixing this dilemma.
Get it here.
Jacob also has a launcher for Boxee if you prefer it to XBMC, available at the link above.

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Posted by on Jul 21, 2010 in Blog, Software | 0 comments

Firefox keyboard shortcuts and tips

This is just a refresher for myself.  I’ve started using Firefox Beta 4.0b1 without the menu bar and navigation bar for a very minimalist view.
Using it this way makes keyboard shortcuts that much more important for efficient browsing.

Go to your default search engine = ctrl & k
Go to a URL = ctrl & l
Open the downloads sidebar = ctrl & j
Go to your home page = alt & home
Find in the current page = ctrl & f

To set your default search engine to something else: hit ctrl & l, type about:config.
search for and change it to whatever you want, in my case Bing.


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Posted by on Oct 16, 2009 in Blog, Software | 0 comments

Enable Domain authentication for intranet sites in Firefox


To enable windows authentication on your domain.
1. Open Firefox
2. Navigate to the url about:config
3. Locate the following preference names and put as the value the comma separated values of the address roots.
Your value should look something like this:, server3,
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Posted by on Mar 14, 2008 in Blog, Computer Tips, Microsoft Windows, Software | 0 comments

Super simple free cd/dvd burning

I’ve been a long time Nero user, but lately it seems even my favorite burning software has become so bloated and overfilled with extras that it’s a hassle to just install the beast.
So, when I reloaded my laptop recently I started poking around for an alternative and I found this little free gem called BurnAware Free.

The software is made by GloryLogic.  They also have a paid version that has more features like UDF data discs, bootable discs, writing files larger than 4 gig and more.  The free version does your typical audio discs, data disks, burn and create iso images and more.  Here is a list of differences in the versions.

I like to make my own bootable XP install cd’s and dvd’s so I’ll likely purchase the Home version but for now I’ve been using the Free version and  love the less is more approach to the interface.  That’s me, less is more.  Keep it simple stupid.

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Posted by on Dec 26, 2006 in Blog, Computer Tips, Microsoft Windows, Software | 0 comments

Firefox keyboard shortcuts


First off I saw the above icon on Google images and thought it was cool.

Secondly I was listening to cnet’s Buzz Out Loud podcast and they mentioned a couple of cool Firefox keyboard shortcuts that I’m digging. Here are some of them:

Close a tab = Ctrl + W

New tab = Ctrl + T

Move to address bar = Ctrl + L

Move to Google Search box = Ctrl + K

Open downloads tool = Ctrl + J

Those are the major shortcuts that I use. Here are a bunch more.

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Posted by on Dec 16, 2006 in Blog, Software | 0 comments

Cool program – Ninotech Date Edit


This isn’t a new program, but it’s new to me.  I was searching for an easy way to edit the created, modified and accessed date in a file in Windows.
This little program does it beautifully.  You just right click on the file or files you want to change the date and click edit date.  I found it on a site called Ninotech and they have another cool program for adding a copy path shell extension for Windows files as well that is pretty cool.  It’s little programs like this that make using computers easier.

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Posted by on Nov 22, 2006 in Blog, Software | 0 comments

New XP Theme – Zune


While poking around the website I found that Microsoft has released a new desktop theme called Zune. I like it, it’s got an orange start button and makes the taskbar and windows black. Speaking of Zune, I picked one up and have been using it for about a week now and I dig it! I like it better then the iPod, plus I don’t have to use the evil iTunes! :) I’m going to write up a more indepth review later, but for now I really like Microsoft’s first attempt at a MP3/Video player. You can get the desktop theme from the Microsoft Zune site or from my site here.

FYI…you might see some wierdness going on here at my blog because I’m in the process of rolling my other site up into this one. I also write over at, that site is for computers and tech related stuff, but I’m finding it too much work to maintain two sites plus my photoblog, so I’ll be moving the content from there over here.

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