Decrypt a sheet or a workbook in Excel

Microsoft developers’ ignorance has hit jackpot one more time. If you encrypt a sheet or workbook in Excel, the file isn’t actually encrypted (as you’d assume). Excel only places a special tag inside .xlsx file.

You can remove it in a matter of two minutes using software like Total Commander or 7-Zip. By doing so, you can gain access to “encrypted” sheet or workbook without knowing encryption key (password). Something that in theory should never happen. If we’d talk about serious encryption not “the Microsoft way”.

In previous versions of Excel (Office) that were using old .xls file you had to work with some nasty, multi-level macro to unprotect a protected file. Now they have made even easier. Instead of using some dully macros all you need is a text editor and a file to unpack and repack archive.

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Correct steps order for getting rid of unfinished print jobs

If you have some documents hanging in your printer’s jobs list that I cannot get rid off, then remember about correct order of steps that you must undertake in order to resolve this issue.

These are:

  • reset printer’s spooler:
    • open Start Menu and type Services,
    • hit Enter to confirm running this app,
    • scroll down list to find Print Spooler item,
    • right-click it and select Restart from its context menu.
  • and clear the queue:
    • open Start Menu and type Printers,
    • hit Enter to confirm running this app,
    • find your printer and click Open queue,
    • use Printer > Cancel All Documents menu item.

That’s all folks!

HP LaserJet Pro M426fdn and printing A4 document on A5 paper

I have ended up with a huge pile of A5-sized pieces of paper and wanted to print some of my largest A4 documents using this paper size. Solving the problem was quite easy (after some serious digging) and narrowed to one of three options:

  • use native printer’s driver functionality, if it supports it,
  • convert document to A4 and print it to A5 paper in any PDF viewer,
  • change paper size to A5 directly in Word and do all the adjustments manually.

Even though I could use first and second option (nearly fully automatic) which saved me a lot of time using third option (nearly fully manual), but I still had a problem with my HP LaserJet Pro M426fdn breaking print on A5 in about 75% and reporting an error.

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Quickly find shortcut-related commands in Word

The Ctrl+Alt+D keyboard shortcut in Word 2010, for inserting endnote, was pissing me off quite much. I wanted to un-assign or re-assign it. But I had a real trouble finding it among all keyboard shortcuts. Mostly, because Word sometimes is using totally misleading codenames for corresponding operations.

By an accident I found a quick workaround to this problem.

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Dell Latitude 7290 keyboard backlight

Dell Latitude 7290’s keyboard’s backlight has a terribly short “on” period. It is set to 10 seconds only by default. Even on AC power. While industry standard is somewhere around 30 seconds or so.

This article shows how to resolve this issue in Dell Latitude 7290, but most other laptops and notebooks will most likely have a very similar solution — find in somewhere in BIOS.

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Can’t install any font. Windows claims that file is invalid

I just wanted to add my docs a little bit a feel of an old typewrite. I found some cool fonts for that, but — to my extreme surprise — I couldn’t install any of them on one of my Windows 10-based PCs (I did it successfully on two others). With Windows claiming that file is invalid whereas I was 100% sure that files are a correct.

Solutions as weird as enabling Windows firewall or installing a copy of file instead of original one didn’t work for me, so I had to figure out another one.

I managed to do so, but the answer was as weird and scary as Microsoft is — try to get yourself an administrator privileges and for all users instead of current one. Worked for me!

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Certain fields are not auto-populated in Word 2010 document

Nearly every version of Microsoft Word offers a cool feature of inserting fields into various parts of your document. These fields are auto-populated on various occasions and contains always up-to-date value with no need for you to manually update or write that particular value.

Most likely you’ve already seen that in action. Naming page numer or total pages count as first two out of a long row of examples.

You can have virtually every value in such field. The same functionality that counts pages of your document automatically can insert (and always refresh automatically) some document property, like author name, document title etc. You don’t need to write your title manually in many places. You just add a field that corresponds to this particular document property, everywhere you need, and that’s it. Anytime you hit Ctrl+A to select entire document and then F9 to manually refresh all fields (or anytime Word does this refresh for you), you always get most up-to-date value taken from your doc’s properties.

Problems starts when you try to insert some specific field, like Company Address or Company E-mail.

There’s either some bug or some weird logic in Microsoft Word 2010 which causes that you must insert this field in a very specific way. Otherwise you get a field which value is not being auto-updated.

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My first Zoom.us experience

Current situation forces us to switch from face-to-face meetings into on-line experience. I was forced to lead my courses this way. Today I had first attempt and wanted to share some info on how it went.

I decided to use Zoom.us, because I had some previous a bit less positive experience with Microsoft Teams and quite very bad experience with Cisco Webex. And thus I wanted to try something else or different. Zoom.us was first that came on my list after removing Teams and Webex from this list. It was also very important to me that free version offers quite a lot and paid version isn’t that expensive at all.

If you’re new to on-line meetings topic then this article might be useful to you. If you have been using this kind of services previously or have otherwise experience in this area then you may not find much value here.

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Remove phone from “Your Phone” in Windows 10

I just wanted to get rid of my current phone in “Your Phone” app in Windows 10. But, since this is Microsoft and 25+ years of experience in making users lives as hard as possible, you cannot expect a simple “Remove” button. And there is no easy way to do this.

I’ve went through two different guides of removing phone from “My Phone”. None of them worked. I’ve ended up uninstalling “Your Phone” app (which itself wasn’t too easy task).

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This operation has been cancelled… after clicking a link in Word 2010

I had the issue of seeing this nasty error message each time when I clicked any link in my Microsoft Word:

I was struggling with this issue in both Microsoft Word 2010 and Microsoft Word 2013.

I have correctly identified that this problem is related to me removing Internet Explorer 11 from my Windows 10 (an optional feature in this version of Windows). However, while bringing it back resolved this problem for my office computer with Office 2013, I was forced to do a little bit more to resolve this issue on my home computer with Office 2013.

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Enabling XML-RPC access to your WordPress.org blog

Many on-line guides (like this one) says to simply go to Settings > Writing and under Remote Publishing to check the XML-RPC protocol checkbox, in order to enable XML-RPC access to your blog.

After that you should be able to access http://yourblog.com/xmlrpc.php without any problems. When you try to do this via browser, you will most likely see “XML-RPC server accepts POST requests only” message. But, that is still a good news, which clearly confirms that XML-RPC access to your blog is enabled. Otherwise (i.e. without correct enable of XML-RPC) you would hit 403 Forbidden error instead.

If this isn’t working or if you need more fine-grained control over XML-RPC access to your blog then you may find some ideas worth to consider in this short article.

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Highlight current day or gray-out past days in Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook in each and every version is missing some obvious, yet very important functionalities and Microsoft’s dumb-asses are reluctant into hearing users voice and adding them. One of such very-missed features is greying-out passed days or highlighting current day.

Without them each and every day in Outlook Calendar looks just the same and ultra-fast distinction between today’s events and passed events is simply impossible.

Fortunately, some workarounds do exists. They may not be enough for all of us, but at least they allow you to learn a little bit about conditional formatting that you can use in Outlook Calendar or Outlook itself (for i.e. colouring events and e-mails etc.).

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Allow WiFi access without revealing the password

Ever wanted to share your WiFi’s SSID and password among friends, neighbourhood or family members without revealing the password? Now, it is possible with a standardised QR code for that purpose.

It may look like this:

To get QR code like that, all that you have to do is to visit a service (or run a program) like for example Pure JS WiFi QR Code Generator (qifi.org — probably the most recognisable one), provide essential data (SSID, encryption mode, key, whether SSID is hidden) and hit the Generate button.

Free of charge and we love you, Evgeni Golov, for that! :>

At the bottom of the main page for qifi.org you’ll find the list of mobile phones’ cameras supporting WiFi QR codes. To update this information — starting with Android with Android 7.0, default photo camera (at least on stock Android in Motorolas) offers native support for such QR codes.

Force certain contact to be always on top in Google Contacts

Google Contacts by default orders contacts in each group / label alphabetically. Because Google knows better than you what you need there is no sorting option or any other way to change it.

However, if you need certain contact to appear always as first (even if its name doesn’t start with “a”) there’s a small workaround to Google stupidity.

The idea is to add + (plus sign) as Phonetic first (name) to such contact. You can get access to this field after clicking Show more:

Phonetic first field in Google Contacts

Google Contacts gives Phonetic first field bigger priority than to First name and any contact that has anything except empty value or space in this field will appear over all other contacts.

New way of providing network subnet prefix in Windows 10

With Windows 10 you can have the possibility to setup most of the settings in two ways:

  • old, good Control Panel way,
  • new Settings way.

Most settings are accessible via both ways, but also most are configured differently in both cases.

The best example is network subnet configuration — a very key configuration parameter in a very key aspect of your PC (that is: access to network and Internet). It is expressed as “subnet mask” when configuring in Control Panel and “subnet prefix length” when using Settings. And it also accepts a way different values.

This is, of course, needed only, if you are connecting using static IP address. If you have DHCP server in your network, and it assigns dynamic IP addresses to your devices, you may safely skip this article.

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Change network name in Windows 10

In all Windows versions prior to Windows 10 changing the network name was as easy as going to Network and Sharing Center and clicking network name. In Windows 10 it is way, way more difficult (reasons, Microsoft?) and you need to be system administrator in order to perform this.

If you wish to change network name (but not connection name, as these are two different things) then follow these steps (source):

  1. Press Windows key + R, type secpol.msc and press Enter to confirm.
  2. In Local Security Policy window, find and click Network List Manager Policies in the left pane.
  3. In the right pane double click on the network name that you want to change.
  4. In the Properties windows under the Name section make sure that Name is selected.
  5. Enter the name that you wish to use for your connection to the field below.
  6. Click OK to confirm the changes.

You might have to log in again or to restart your computer before the changes are applied.

Visit source for this post to learn about an alternative way of achieving this (i.e. using Registry Editor).

Incorrect or missing icons or thumbnails in Windows 10

With the introduction of Windows 10 and significant changes in icons and thumbnails caching the issues of:

  • missing or incorrect applications or file types icons or
  • thumbnails being displayed incorrectly or also missing

is more than common.

In this article I present most often used solution for above problems. Not all of them must be run in you particular example and they will not help you for every icon- or thumbnail-related issue.

But, this is the most comprehensive solution that I found so far, since many of these attempts are spread in the Internet across many different sources. Here you have all of them in one place.

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Error 777 and other problems using D-Link DWM-157 GPRS modem

If you’re getting Error 777 when trying to login your D-Link DWM-157 modem to a mobile network of your choice then the quickest solution is to disable automatic logon through 26006 (HSPA) mobile connection, It is added (and enabled) by default and apparently by mistake when installing drivers for this GPRS modem. If this doesn’t help or if you have different problems with this modem then you may also find help in this article.

This blog post focuses on D-Link DWM-157, but it may turn out to be useful for other D-Link mobile modems or for other GPRS modems at all, because it discusses the most popular issues when connecting to the Internet through GPRS USB modem.

Please, note that there is a certain amount of magic in this article. As you play with D-Link DWM-157 (or other D-Link modems), it quickly turns out that many things aren’t that certain as they were supposed to be.

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Black screen after logging-in to Windows 10

This is just a memo on the quickest solution for above mentioned problem, in scenario, when you can run Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Delete on your keyboard + click Task Manager + click More details).

  1. Validate your shell:
    • in Task Manager: click File > Run new task + type regedit.exe + hit Enter,
    • paste HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon + hit Enter,
    • check Shell key, if it has explorer.exe value; “reset” it to this value otherwise.
  2. Restart shell: in Task Manager: locate File Explorer (explorer.exe) right-click it + select Restart.
  3. Restart computer: in Task Manager: click File > Run new task + type shutdown /s -t 01 + hit Enter.

Each run in Task Manager must be with Create this task with administrative privileges checked.

It is important to restart computer exactly this way (with executing these parameters), as described above. In my case this was an essential point into solving this issue, as shell was OK and restarting it didn’t help.

If this solution doesn’t work (shell is not restarted or no positive effect after restarting whole computer) then you must ask uncle Google for more help, because this quick memo won’t help you, sorry.

Your Phone app: You can control a mobile device from Windows 10. Really?

Newest edition of Windows 10 (tested on 1903 edition) comes with Your Phone application that should — at least by its designers’ mean — ease your day-to-day management mobile device.

Unfortunately, it is still quite new, meaning — buggy. And the list of functionality is not quite long. In fact, you may have problems finding it usable at all or counting scenarios in which using this app is plausible.

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Get rid of SkyDrive Pro from context menu

SkyDrive is a far ancestor of OneDrive. It can appear in your system with the installation of Office 2013, Office 2016 and Office 365. When it is installed, Windows 10 immediately “captures” this situation and replaces it with newer counterpart — OneDrive. Unfortunately, it is not able to purge corresponding context menu items and eventually you’re left with a disabled and not working “SkyDrive Pro” item.

This article shows you the quickest way to correct this problem. You can also use it to perform general clenaup of your context menu as it doesn’t narrow to SkyDrive Pro item only.

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The very introduction to Raspberry Pi

After a nearly five years of struggling with hardware and software for feeding data to Flightradar24, I have finally decided to give it a try with Raspberry Pi. On contrary to what some of you may think, this is not a guide on how to achieve it. The original text is very good and quite self-explanatory. No need to copy it here.

In addition to feeding data to Flightradar 24 there are hundreds of ideas how can you use your Raspberry Pi. With this article I wanted to show you (and remind to myself) just of a few IMHO most interesting ones.

If you’re just unpacking your first Raspberry Pi then better read these two articles:

before even continuing with this article.

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