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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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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Polish and other non-ASCII special characters in VBA and Excel’s macros

With introduction of the "new" Microsoft Office’s file formats (XML-based, i.e. DOCX, XLSX etc.) Microsoft has finally solved problem of Unicode support and storing and displaying special characters in documents, spreadsheets, presentations etc. The only problem is that they’ve forgotten about Visual Basic for Applications and macros which still are using dully ANSI encoding.

The fastest solution is out of Excel and is based on altering Windows 10 control panel settings to instruct Windows how it should interact with applications that do not fully support Unicode.

But, suppose you don’t want to or can’t change your system settings. Then what?

Quick Google search revealed some possible solution, including:

Since I failed on finding a correct solution, I had to dig myself own one. Here’s the deal…

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Find all e-mails sent or received in Gmail after office hours

Someone gave me a task to find all e-mail messages sent or received in Gmail:

  • in given period of day — after 16:00 given day and before 08:00 the next day and
  • in given period of week — between 00:00 and 23:59 during weekends,

so, generally speaking, outside office hours.

Gmail has a quite powerful filtering mechanism, but it:

For some internal reasons I couldn’t follow the “automatic way” suggestion (i.e. to upload messages from Gmail to Google Sheets and try to filter them there) and thus I decided into semi-automatic way.

Meaning that I wrote an Excel sheet which generated Gmail’s filtering queries for me for all required dates and I only have to manually copy-paste them into Gmail’s search box.

You can get similar results Epoch Converter’s batch tool, but I wanted to play a little bit with Excel instead.

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Using FreeBusy functionality to schedule meetings easily

The FreeBusy solution helps you organise and schedule meetings much easier, because you can see when invited employees or friends are already busy with other meetings and when they have free time slots.

It is a (less known) world standard, so it is supported by many mail clients and calendars (including Microsoft Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird). And, in addition, it is secure, because only time frame and no other details are published and shared with other parties.

To use this solution, you need a mail client or calendar that supports FreeBusy solution either directly or through some kind of plugin. All that is needed to start using FreeBusy is around 5-10 minutes for initial configuration. Once correctly configured, you need to do nothing else. Your time slots are automatically exported to FTP server and free/busy slots for other employees are automatically read from FTP server.

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ISO image locked in Windows 10

After 25+ years of glorious development of Windows, witch-doctors at Microsoft village finally managed to discover that you can mount .iso image as fully-featured drive directly in system and you don’t need extra tools for this purpose:

The same group of maniacs smoked out too much weed and figured out that it will be so cool to not automatically unmount this image during system reset or shutdown.

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My private Windows 10 check-list [updated]

Let’s say that I don’t like Windows 10. Mostly for the fact that a lot of things there are simply unusable or hard-to-use in the default configuration. And need to be changed in order to make them more usable. Since I have quite a few PCs to manage and have to go through this procedure on regular basis, I made my personal list of things you have to disable, uninstall, tweak up or change in Windows 10.

Look for the information in the corner — half an hour of a quick reading! This is really long and detailed article!

Update! Note that this article, written in April 2018 and targeting Windows 10 1511, is year later little bit outdated. If you’re using Windows 10 1903 then you may find certain things on these lists OK or otherwise not needing any change or tweak up.

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My private Microsoft Office check-list

Whether it is Office 2010 or 2013 (haven’t tried newer and already forgot about earlier) and whether it is on Windows 7, 8.1 or 10, the set of my preferred configuration options and elements is usually the same. So I decided to write it down here to keep track of it whenever I have to fresh-install Microsoft Office anywhere.

This article covers only configuration of each Office component that I use. For other things that I usually do or change during fresh-install of Office, please, refer to this article.

Notice that Office 2013 under Windows 10 is not the same as Office 2013 under Windows 7. It ships with a completely different configuration and thus many options listed in this article you will have to change only under Windows 10, because under Windows 7 they can be already in expected values.

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Remove garbage from Windows 10

Even after years since initial publication, being mature and stable operating system right now, Windows 10 comes to your computer literally bloated with unnecessary stuff. And you need to clean it up by yourself. Certain things can be uninstalled “the normal way” (i.e. using Add/Remove programs panel). Some other requires more sophisticated moves.

Update! Note that this article, written in August 2018 and targeting Windows 10 1511 is now (October 2019) a little bit outdated. The general difference is that many things listed here as not removable the usual way in 1511 may be easily uninstalled using Add/Remove programs panel in Windows 10 1903.

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Shift+click on taskbar to quickly open program’s copy in Windows 7

So far, to quickly open a new copy of already running program or task I was doing this:

Right-click on program’s item in Windows taskbar + select name of that program from the context menu. Turns out there’s an even faster way of doing so: Click on program’s item while holding Shift button pressed.

Works in Windows 7. May work in other versions (though not tested). You may safely ignore this post, if this is absolutely obvious for you (wasn’t that obvious for me).

Quickly forward Outlook message as a file

If you wish to forward any Outlook message as a file you can use copy/paste features:

  1. Find and select (on message list) message that you want to forward as a file.
  2. Press Ctrl+C to copy selected message to clipboard.
  3. Hit Ctrl+N to start a new message (or Ctrl+R to respond to some other message).
  4. Click anywhere within main text window (or press Tab three times to get there).
  5. Press Ctrl+V to attach copied message as a file (paste it from Clipboard).

That’s all, folks! :>

Sometimes, I need to forward message no x in my message list as a file attached in response to message no x-1 (the next coming in, since I have message list ordered by date). For this reason I use an ultra fast combination of: Ctrl+C | | Ctrl+R | Tab+Tab+Tab | Ctrl+V | Ctrl+Enter.

Getting rid of forsaken “winmail.dat” sent by Microsoft Outlook

In many situations or scenarios Microsoft Outlook, instead of regular (consumable by other mail clients) meeting invitations can start sending “windmail.dat” instead. This is a proprietary format that other mail clients (like Thunderbird, Mac mail clients, web clients) ignore as not readable.

List of situations and configuration switches that may cause Outlook to behave like this is long. And so is the solution list. In my case only the most aggressive solution worked.

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New Outlook’s calendar meeting with default signature

One of many wrongs, fuckups and things that are missing in Microsoft Outlook is the fact that you can’t set default signature for every new calendar meeting invitation, as you’d do for any new email message.

Things gets even worse as you dig through the problem and realize that Outlook developers were stupid enough to force you to design a whole new meeting template instead of just giving you an option to enable or disable this feature (as — again — it works in case of emails).

This guide is a redesigned version of this Stack Overflow answer (or actually this comment).

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The solution for Windows Update error code 8024200d

If your Windows Update process hits the wall with error code 8024200d then you may find really strange solutions, including suggestions to restart all services and boot system in a clean mode.

The truth is that error 8024200d means nothing more than the fact that Windows Update downloaded a malfunctioned version of update. And this is the only reason on why it is not able to install it.

And the solution is as simple as — install it manually by yourself.

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Prepare Windows 7 installation USB stick

I’ve got brand new Intel NUC Kit. With powerful processor, lots of RAM, M.2 disk and… absolutely no way to install Windows 7 except for using properly prepared USB stick. And so, for the first time in my life, I have a no-DVD computer and for the first time in past seven years (since I started using Windows 7) I was forced to figure out good, old Windows 7 USB installation way.

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Use own photos as desktop wallpapers in Windows 7

Using own images as desktop wallpapers in Windows 7 isn’t that easy and obvious task, because most of the time clicking Browse... button in Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Personalization > Desktop Background simply brings no effect.

And there are many solutions to workaround this problem. Of which the brute-force one I prefer the most.

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Rename mobile device in Windows 7

I’m testing my mobile applications on various number of mobile devices with Windows Phone system on-board. And Windows 7’s creators are stupid enough to develop this feature in the way, that all Windows Phone-based devices are named Windows Phone. Eventually, I ended up with four different mobile phones listed in Devices and Printers section under Windows Phone name. I needed a way to rename each of them to display correct model.

This is possible in Windows 7 and this is fairly easy, though pretty nice hidden, so some may claim that renaming mobile device is not possible.

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Ultra-fast method of creating hyperlinks in Microsoft Word

The most basic way of adding a “connector” from one part of Word document to another section, header or place is achieved by adding a bookmark followed by creating a hyperlink to that bookmark. This is a two-step process that involves using two different windows and a lot of typing and clicking.

There’s a much, much faster one-way method of achieving the same.

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Fix for Windows Update unable to find any update [updated]

This has been reported to be happening after fresh install of Windows 7 SP 1. But, it happened to me on an old netbook with Windows installed three years a go or more as well. There were also reports, that fix shown in this article can help for Windows Vista SP2 not being able to install any new updates. I’m also pretty sure, that certain Microsoft downloads (even those offline) are affected by this problem, i.e. until you fix it, you won’t be able to install .NET Framework (for example) on freshly installed Windows 7 SP1.

Anyway, if at any point of time on any Windows you’ll notice, that Windows Update hasn’t updated any new updates for past few weeks or if searching for new updates in Windows Update hangs forever or you run into some weird problems with installing Microsoft tools then you should read this article, as you may find fix for your problem and many useful links here.

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