Wednesday, 15 October 2014
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How to See Which App is Blocking Your PC from Going into Sleep Mode

Have you ever expected your PC to go into sleep mode only to come back and find it is still powered on? We know we certainly have, here’s how to check what’s keeping it awake.

How to See Which App is Blocking Your PC from Going into Sleep Mode

Press the Win + X keyboard combination or right click in the bottom left hand corner of your screen to bring up the Windows Tools Menu, then launch an admin command prompt.
When the command prompt opens, type the following command:
powercfg /requests
You can see from the screenshot above, that I have 1 Process (VLC Media Player) as well as 2 Drivers that are preventing my PC from going to sleep. That’s all there is to it.
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How to Use the Chrome OS Desktop on Windows 8 (and Why It Exists)

Chrome 32 now offers a new feature on Windows 8: A full-screen, Chrome OS-style desktop mode. The Chrome app launcher can bring Chrome OS to the Windows desktop, but Chrome can now replace the Windows desktop entirely.
Rather than create native Windows 8 apps, Google is choosing to shoehorn the a Chromebook-style desktop into Windows 8. Of course, you can continue to use Chrome on the desktop just like before.

How Does This Work? Doesn’t Microsoft Restrict Windows 8 Apps?

When Microsoft announced Windows 8, they said that there were three types of Windows 8 apps. “Metro apps” have very restricted capabilities and must be distributed through the app store. Windows desktop applications function normally, but can’t run in the new Metro (now “Windows 8-style”) interface. The third type of app is a “Metro style enabled desktop browser.” Such browsers can run as desktop applications with full access to anything a desktop application could do. However, when they’re set as your default web browser, they can present themselves as full-screen, Windows 8-style apps.
Prior to Chrome 32, Chrome’s Windows 8 interface was simply a full-screen version of the Chrome browser window. Google has now replaced this full-screen browser window with a Chrome OS-style desktop, complete with window management, a taskbar, an app launcher, and integrated Chrome notifications. They’ve done this using the “Metro style enabled desktop browser” capability Microsoft provided in Windows 8.  Microsoft has no way of stopping Google from doing this, short of changing the “Metro style enabled desktop browser” interface.
Other browsers can also take advantage of this. Firefox will soon gain its own Windows 8-style interface, which will be more like a typical browser. The Windows 8-style version of Internet Explorer is a different interface for the desktop version of Internet Explorer.

Accessing the Chrome Desktop on Windows 8

This feature won’t work on every system. You must have Windows 8 or 8.1, as this feature relies on the new Windows 8 app interface. You also need hardware graphics acceleration enabled, which the vast majority of computers should have no problem with. Lastly, this feature doesn’t yet work well on high-DPI displays. On our Surface Pro 2, the menu option is entirely hidden, preventing us from accessing the new Chrome desktop for now. If your computer doesn’t support this, you won’t see the option in Chrome’s menu.
The first thing you need to do is set Chrome as your default web browser. Only your default web browser can function in Windows 8′s new app environment. To make Chrome your default web browser, click Chrome’s menu button, select Settings, and click the Make Google Chrome my default browser button under Default browser.
You can now access the new Chrome desktop by clicking Chrome’s menu button and selecting Relaunch Chrome in Windows 8 mode.

Using the Chrome Desktop on Windows

The Chrome desktop will now appear, taking up the entire screen like any other Windows 8 app. To launch apps — or open new Chrome browser windows — use the app launcher at the bottom-left corner of your screen. It’s just like the Chrome app launcher you can install on the Windows desktop to integrate Chrome apps with your Windows taskbar.
One advantage of the new interface is that its lets you have multiple Chrome browser windows on screen at the same time and manage them in a windowing environment. You can use both standard Chrome browser windows and Chrome apps here. Each window will appear on your Chrome taskbar — but not on your Windows desktop.
You can easily snap a window to the left or right side of your Chrome desktop by clicking one of the buttons at the top-right corner of a window.
TheWindows 8 version of Chrome has limited plug-in support. You can only use Pepper API plug-ins such as Adobe Flash, Chrome’s PDF viewer, and Google’s Native Client. You can’t use Java or Microsoft Silverlight, so Netflix won’t function in this mode until Netflix enables HTML5 video support for Chrome. This is similar to the Windows 8-style version of Internet Explorer, which only allows you to use its built-in Flash plug-in.
You can leave the app like you’d leave any other Windows 8 app — move your mouse to the bottom-left corner of the screen and click the “Start tip” that appears. You can also use the app switcher at the top-left corner of your screen or the charms at the top and bottom-right corners of your screen to leave the app. Note that Google Chrome isn’t integrated with the charms at all, so you won’t find its settings under the Settings charm and you can’t share anything using the Share charm. Google clearly wants to pretend the new Windows 8 interface doesn’t exist.
As the Chrome desktop functions as a Windows 8 app, you can even use Windows 8′s new Assigned Access feature to restrict a Windows user account to the Chrome desktop, effectively turning a Windows 8 PC into a Chromebook.
You can also snap the Chrome desktop alongside one or more other Windows 8 apps. In fact, you could snap the Chrome desktop alongside the standard Windows desktop and use them side-by-side.
To get back to Chrome on the desktop, click the Chrome menu button and select Relaunch Chrome on the desktop. If you don’t see the menu button, you’ll need to open a Chrome browser window on the Chrome desktop first.

Why Would You Want to Use This?

It’s easy to see why Google wants you to use the Chrome desktop. They don’t want you to become invested in Windows 8 apps, and they also don’t want you using Windows desktop apps. This new environment encourages you to use Chrome, web apps, and Chrome apps rather than Microsoft’s new Windows 8 apps. It also gives Windows 8 users a way to see what Chrome OS would be like and get more comfortable with the idea of buying a Chromebook.
Compared to the previous “Windows 8 mode” Chrome offered, this solution is much more functional. It adds multiple browser windows provides a way to switch between them. But, when you can use Chrome and Chrome apps on the Windows desktop, why would you bother with the new interface? Google probably wants to convince you that the new interface is simpler, just as Microsoft wants to lure you away from the Windows desktop with Windows 8 apps. The Chrome desktop is competing more with Microsoft’s Windows 8 apps than the Windows desktop — if you still rely on Windows desktop apps, this probably isn’t for you. If you want a simpler environment — well, Google wants you to use the Chrome desktop instead of Windows 8 apps.
In the end, at least Google is providing some choice. If you don’t like the Chrome desktop, you never have to see it and you can use Chrome apps on the Windows desktop. You can’t use Microsoft’s Windows 8-style apps on the Windows desktop without ModernMix, a third-party application that costs money.

When this interface gets some better touch support, it could even compete with Microsoft’s Windows 8 apps for attention on tablets. Google has grand plans for Chrome and Chrome apps — they’ve also announced that “Chrome apps” that run within Chrome will be coming to Android and Apple’s iOS in the future.
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How to Tell If Your Computer is Overheating and What to Do About It

Heat is a computer’s enemy. Computers are designed with heat dispersion and ventilation in mind so they don’t overheat. If too much heat builds up, your computer may become unstable or suddenly shut down.
The CPU and graphics card produce much more heat when running demanding applications. If there’s a problem with your computer’s cooling system, an excess of heat could even physically damage its components.

Is Your Computer Overheating?

When using a typical computer in a typical way, you shouldn’t have to worry about overheating at all. However, if you’re encountering system instability issues like abrupt shut downs, blue screens, and freezes — especially while doing something demanding like playing PC games or encoding video — your computer may be overheating.
This can happen for several reasons. Your computer’s case may be full of dust, a fan may have failed, something may be blocking your computer’s vents, or you may have a compact laptop that was never designed to run at maximum performance for hours on end.

Monitoring Your Computer’s Temperature

First, bear in mind that different CPUs and GPUs (graphics cards) have different optimal temperature ranges. Before getting too worried about a temperature, be sure to check your computer’s documentation — or its CPU or graphics card specifications — and ensure you know the temperature ranges your hardware can handle.
You can monitor your computer’s temperatures in a variety of different ways. First, you may have a way to monitor temperature that is already built into your system. You can often view temperature values in your computer’s BIOS or UEFI settings screen. This allows you to quickly see your computer’s temperature if Windows freezes or blue screens on you — just boot the computer, enter the BIOS or UEFI screen, and check the temperatures displayed there. Note that not all BIOSes or UEFI screens will display this information, but it is very common.
There are also programs that will display your computer’s temperature. Such programs just read the sensors inside your computer and show you the temperature value they report, so there are a wide variety of tools you can use for this, from the simple Speccy system information utility to an advanced tool like SpeedFan. HWMonitor also offer this feature, displaying a wide variety of sensor information.
Be sure to look at your CPU and graphics card temperatures. You can also find other temperatures, such as the temperature of your hard drive, but these components will generally only overheat if it becomes extremely hot in the computer’s case. They shouldn’t generate too much heat on their own.
If you think your computer may be overheating, don’t just glance as these sensors once and ignore them. Do something demanding with your computer, such as running a CPU burn-in test with Prime 95, playing a PC game, or running a graphical benchmark. Monitor the computer’s temperature while you do this, even checking a few hours later — does any component overheat after you push it hard for a while?

Preventing Your Computer From Overheating

If your computer is overheating, here are some things you can do about it:
  • Dust Out Your Computer’s Case: Dust accumulates in desktop PC cases and even laptops over time, clogging fans and blocking air flow. This dust can cause ventilation problems, trapping heat and preventing your PC from cooling itself properly. Be sure to clean your computer’s case occasionally to prevent dust build-up. Unfortunately, it’s often more difficult to dust out overheating laptops.
  • Ensure Proper Ventilation: Put the computer in a location where it can properly ventilate itself. If it’s a desktop, don’t push the case up against a wall so that the computer’s vents become blocked or leave it near a radiator or heating vent. If it’s a laptop, be careful to not block its air vents, particularly when doing something demanding. For example, putting a laptop down on a mattress, allowing it to sink in, and leaving it there can lead to overheating — especially if the laptop is doing something demanding and generating heat it can’t get rid of.
  • Check if Fans Are Running: If you’re not sure why your computer started overheating, open its case and check that all the fans are running. It’s possible that a CPU, graphics card, or case fan failed or became unplugged, reducing air flow.
  • Tune Up Heat Sinks: If your CPU is overheating, its heat sink may not be seated correctly or its thermal paste may be old. You may need to remove the heat sink and re-apply new thermal paste before reseating the heat sink properly. This tip applies more to tweakers, overclockers, and people who build their own PCs, especially if they may have made a mistake when originally applying the thermal paste.
This is often much more difficult when it comes to laptops, which generally aren’t designed to be user-serviceable. That can lead to trouble if the laptop becomes filled with dust and needs to be cleaned out, especially if the laptop was never designed to be opened by users at all. Consultour guide to diagnosing and fixing an overheating laptop for help with cooling down a hot laptop.

Overheating is a definite danger when overclocking your CPU or graphics card. Overclocking will cause your components to run hotter, and the additional heat will cause problems unless you can properly cool your components. If you’ve overclocked your hardware and it has started to overheat — well, throttle back the overclock!
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What is the System Reserved Partition and Can You Delete It?

Windows 7 and 8 create a special “System Reserved” partition when you install them on a clean disk. Windows doesn’t assign a drive letter to these partitions, so you’ll only see them when you use Disk Management or similar utility.
The System Reserved Partition was introduced with Windows 7, so you won’t find it on previous versions of Windows. The partition is also created on Windows Serer 2008 R2 and newer Server versions of Windows.

What Does the System Reserved Partition Do?

This partition contains two important things:
  • The Boot Manager and Boot Configuration Data : When your computer boots, the Windows Boot Manager starts up and reads the boot data from the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) Store. Your computer boots the boot loader off the System Reserved partition, and it boots Windows from your system drive.
  • The startup files used for BitLocker Drive Encryption: If you ever decide to encrypt your hard drive with BitLocker drive encryption, the System Reserved partition contains the necessary files for starting your computer. Your computer boots the unencrypted System Reserved partition, and it will decrypt the main encrypted drive and boot the encrypted Windows system.
The System Reserved partition is essential if you want to use BitLocker drive encryption, which can’t function otherwise. Important boot files are also stored here by default, although you could store them on the main Windows partition if you preferred.

When Windows Creates the System Reserved Partition

The System Reserved partition consumes 100 MB of space on Windows 7 and 350 MB of space on Windows 8. It’s created during the Windows installation process when you partition your drives.
When you use the graphical partition manager in the Windows installer to create your Windows partition in unallocated space on a drive, you’ll receive a message saying, “To ensure that all Windows features work correctly, Windows might create additional partitions for system files.” Windows will usually create a System Reserved partition in the unallocated space before the main system partition.

Can You Delete the System Reserved Partition?

You probably shouldn’t mess with this partition — it’s easiest to just leave it be. Windows hides it by default instead of creating a drive letter for it. Most people will never notice they have a System Reserved partition, and Windows will only show it to you when you use disk-partitioning software. This partition is mandatory if you use BitLocker or want to use BitLocker in the future. On Windows Vista, a drive had to be specially set up with such a partition after the installation process — now every drive is made ready for BitLocker while installing Windows.
If you don’t want this partition on your drive, the ideal thing to do is prevent it from being created in the first place. Rather than create a new partition in unallocated space from within the Windows installer, you can create a new partition consuming all the unallocated space with another disk-partitioning tool. Point the Windows installer at the partition you created and Windows will happily continue — it won’t attempt to resize your partition and create a System Reserved partition. The Windows installer will accept that there’s no room for System Reserved partition and install Windows onto a single partition. Bear in mind that you’re not saving an entire 100 MB or 350 MB by doing this, as the boot files will instead be installed on the main system partition.
To do this, you’ll need to use any disk-partitioning software except the graphical one in the Windows installer. However, you can actually do this from within the Windows installer. Just follow the following steps:
  • Press Shift+F10 while installing Windows to open a Command Prompt window.
  • Type diskpart into the Command Prompt window and press Enter.
  • Create a new partition in the unallocated space using the diskpart tool. For example, if you have a single drive in the computer and it’s completely empty, you can just type select disk 0 and then create partition primary to select the first disk and create a new partition using the entire amount of unallocated space on the drive.
  • Continue the setup process. Select the partition you created earlier when you’re asked to create a partition.
It may be possible to remove a System Reserved partition after installing Windows. You can’t just delete the System Reserved partition. Because the boot loader files are stored on it, Windows won’t boot properly if you delete this partition. To delete the System Reserved partition, you’d first have to move the boot files from the System Reserved partition onto the main Windows system drive.
This is harder than it sounds. It will involve messing with the registry, copying various files between drives, updating the BCD store, and making the main system drive the active partition. On Windows 8, it will also involve disabling and then re-enabling the Windows recovery environment. You’ll then have to remove the System Reserved partition and enlarge your drive.
This may be possible, and you’ll find some guides walking you through the process on the web. However, it’s not officially supported by Microsoft and we don’t recommend it. You’ll gain a very tiny bit of space — less than the 100 MB or 350 MB used by the System Reserved partition — at the cost of potentially messing up your operating system and losing the ability to use BitLocker drive encryption.
For reference, here’s why you shouldn’t just delete the System Reserved partition. We used the GParted partition editor on an Ubuntu live CD to delete the System Reserved partition and made the main Windows 8.1 partition bootable with no attempt at copying the boot files. We saw a message saying our Boot Configuration Data was missing, and that we’d have to repair our computer with Windows installation media.

This partition may look like it’s cluttering your drive and wasting space, but it performs important functions and removing it will free up almost no space. You should learn to ignore the partition — if you really don’t want it, you should prevent it from being created while installing Windows.
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Browser Slow? How to Make Internet Explorer 9 Fast Again

Have you noticed your usually speedy IE9 browser slowing down, or even crashing on you? Unnecessary plugins, extensions, and even browsing data can slow your browser down to a crawl, or make it crash. Here’s how to fix it.
Note: Internet Explorer 9 is a lot faster than previous versions and even some other browsers–in fact, you’ll sometimes be prompted to to disable an add-on that is slowing down the browser startup. Still, it’s useful to know how to clean things up on your own.

Disable and Remove Add-ons

To disable add-ons, click the gear icon on the right side of the tab bar and select Manage add-ons from the drop-down menu.
NOTE: You can also open the menu by pressing Alt + X.
The Manage Add-ons dialog box displays. There are four types of add-ons: Toolbars and Extensions, Search Providers, Accelerators, and Tracking Protection. Click on the type of add-ons you want to view from the Add-on Types list in the left pane.
You can sort the add-ons in each category by selecting an option from the Show drop-down list at the bottom of the Add-on Types pane or by clicking the column headers in the right pane.
The Toolbars and Extensions add-ons are extra toolbars added to the browser, such as theGoogle Toolbar and the Bing Bar, and extensions, which add functionality to the browser, such as the Paper Shredder add-on and the Official Weatherbug IE Theme. There are also Active X Controls, such as the Adobe Flash Player, and Browser Helper Objects, which are add-ons that allow IE to render additional types of data directly in the browser, such as the Adobe Acrobat add-on that allows you to open PDF files in the browser.
To disable a toolbar or extension, select the add-on from the list and click Disable.
In some cases, there may be related add-ons that will also be disabled and the following dialog box displays. To disable all related add-ons, make sure all the check boxes are selected and click Disable.
NOTE: You can de-select an add-on you don’t want to disable by clicking the check box so there is NO check mark in the box.
NOTE: You can also disable an add-on by right-clicking on it and selecting Disable from the popup menu.
If you want to remove, or uninstall, an add-on, that’s a bit more complicated. For some add-ons, there is a Disable button but no Remove button (or Remove option on the right-click menu). If there is no Remove button or option, the add-on cannot be removed from within IE. You must uninstall the add-on in the Programs and Features list in the Control Panel.
Open the Control Panel and click the Programs category and then the Programs and Features item. If you are displaying the Control Panel items by small or large icons, click the Programs and Features item on the main Control Panel screen. Select the add-on from the list in the right pane and click Uninstall.
Search Providers add-ons allow you to add different search providers to IE. Whichever search provider is selected as the default, is used to perform searches on terms entered into the address bar. Bing is, of course, the initial default search provider in IE. However, you can install other search providers, such as Google Search, and select a different default provider.
Search Providers are easy to disable or uninstall from within IE. Right-click on the search provider in the list and select Disable suggestions to disable it or Remove to uninstall it.
Accelerators are add-ons that shorten the time it takes to do certain tasks, such as searching for an address on a map or emailing text from a webpage. To use an accelerator, select text on a webpage, right-click, and select the action from the popup menu. You can also click on the arrow button that displays just below the selection to access the Accelerators menu.
NOTE: You can also install additional Accelerators, such as Read it Later and Map with MapQuest.
To disable an accelerator, select it from the list and click Disable.
NOTE: You can also easily uninstall an accelerator by selecting the accelerator and clicking Remove.
Tracking Protection add-ons allow you to subscribe to “protection lists.” These lists block items, such as third-party cookies, on webpages such as online advertising and marketing technologies that track and profile you as you browse the web.
To disable a tracking protection list, select the list name and click Disable. To remove a tracking protection list, select the list and click Remove.
NOTE: You can disable or remove a tracking protection list by right-clicking on it and selecting Disable or Remove from the popup menu.
When you disable an add-on in any of the four categories, the Disable button becomes an Enable button. You can enable any add-on again by clicking the Enable button.

Delete Browsing and Download History

To delete your browsing history, click the gear icon on the right side of the tab bar and select Safety | Delete browsing history from the drop-down menu.
NOTE: You can also press Ctrl + Shift + Del to open the Delete Browsing History dialog box.
The Delete Browsing History dialog box displays. Select the History check box so there is a check mark in the box. Click Delete.
To delete your download history, click the gear icon on the right side of the tab bar and select View downloads from the drop-down menu.
NOTE: You can also press Ctrl + J to open the View Downloads dialog box.
To delete a specific item you downloaded, move your mouse over the item in the list and click the red X in the upper, right corner of the highlighted item.
To delete all items in the downloads list, click Clear list at the bottom of the View Downloads dialog box.
Click Close once you have deleted the desired items from the list.

Delete Browsing and Download History Using an Alternate Method

You can delete your download history along with other browsing data from the Delete Browsing History dialog box as well.  The Delete Browsing History dialog box can also be accessed by clicking the gear icon on the right side of the tab bar and selecting Internet Options from the drop-down menu.
On the General tab on the Internet Options dialog box, click Delete in the Browsing history section.
On the Delete Browsing History dialog box, click the check box for each type of browsing data you want to delete.
In addition to deleting browsing history and download history, you can also delete cookies stored on your computer and your browser’s cache. The cache stores information about webpages you visit so they’ll load more quickly in the future. To clear your cache, select Temporary Internet Files on the Delete Browsing History dialog box. To completely clear the cache, be sure you uncheck the Preserve Favorites website data check box.
Click Delete once you have made your selections.

Automatically Delete Browsing History When You Close IE9

You can choose to have IE9 automatically delete your browsing history every time you close it. To do this, click the gear icon on the right side of the tab bar and select Internet Options from the drop-down menu.
On the General tab on the Internet Options dialog box, select the Delete browsing history on exit check box so there is a check mark in the box.
You can also tell IE9 for how many days you want it to save your browsing history. To do this, click Settings in the Browsing history section.
If you don’t want IE9 to save any browsing history in the future, enter “0” (without the quotes) in the Days to keep pages in history edit box on the Temporary Internet Files and History Settings dialog box. This takes effect for any future webpages you visit. To delete any previous browsing history, follow the steps we outlined above.
You can also specify when IE9 should check for newer versions of pages stored in its cache, how much disk space to use for the cache, and where to store the cache. Once you’ve made your selections, click OK to close the dialog box.
You can also delete the Temporary Internet Files when you close IE9. To do this, click the Advanced tab on the Internet Options dialog box. Scroll down until you find the Security section in the Settings list. Select the Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed check box so there is a check mark in the box.
Click OK when you have made all your changes to close the Internet Options dialog box.
Enjoy speedier browsing with IE9!
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Why PC Games Struggle With Alt+Tab and How to Fix it

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You’re playing a game and you Alt+Tab to use another program, but there’s a problem. The Alt+Tab process may be extremely slow, the game may crash or freeze, or you may see graphical corruption.
If you’ve played games on Windows, this is probably familiar. Even when Alt+Tab works properly, it may take several seconds to move back and forth — something which can be frustrating if you want to quickly switch between applications.

Why is Alt+Tabbing Out of a Full-Screen Game So Problematic?

It’s not just pressing Alt+Tab that’s a problem — pressing the Windows key may do the same thing, as it takes you out of the game and back to the Windows desktop. This isn’t a problem when you play a game in windowed mode, where you can Alt+Tab easily. But full-screen mode seems to be different — full-screen games can’t be Alt+Tabbed out of as easily.
The real question here is why games run in this full-screen mode in the first place, if the full-screen mode itself is a problem.
When a game runs in full-screen mode, it can gain exclusive access to your graphics hardware — this is known as running in “Exclusive Mode.” Windows won’t render your desktop in the background, which saves on hardware resources. This means you can squeeze the most gaming performance out of your graphics hardware by running the game in full-screen mode, and that’s why games run in full-screen mode by default.
Windows doesn’t just have to switch from one window to another when you press Alt+Tab. It has to minimize the game and start rendering the desktop again. When you switch back to the game, the game has to restore itself and take control away from Windows. For a variety of reasons — especially problems with the way some games are coded — the game may encounter a problem while doing this.
You can see this in action when you have a game running in full-screen, exclusive mode. If you Alt+Tab out of it, you can hover over the game’s taskbar icon or press Alt+Tab again. You won’t see a preview of the game’s display area like you would for other windows. The game running in full-screen exclusive mode doesn’t redirect its output through the desktop’s display manager, so the desktop display manager can’t display a preview.

How to Quickly and Safely Alt+Tab Out of a Game

Let’s say you want to play a game but you also want to Alt+Tab and use other windows without the risk of crashes or delays while switching. There are several ways you can make this happen:
  • Play in Windowed Mode: Games often have a windowed mode, where they render themselves in a window on your desktop. Games running in a window won’t have exclusive access to your graphics hardware, so they won’t perform quite as well as they would in full-screen mode. However, you can more easily switch between windows. A windowed game probably runs at a lower resolution than a full-screen game, so you’re gaining some more performance there — at the cost of a smaller game screen with less graphical quality, of course.
  • Use Full-Screen Windowed Mode: Full-screen windowed mode, also referred to as “Full screen (Windowed)” or “Windowed (Fullscreen)” mode, compromises between the two. When you select this mode, the game will take up your entire screen, making it appear as if you were using Full-screen mode. However, the game is actually being rendered as a window — without title bars and above your task bar, but a window nonetheless. This means that Alt+Tabbing out of the game will be very quick — you can even have other desktop windows appear above the game. The game will run a bit slower as it doesn’t have exclusive access to your hardware, but this setting is often ideal if you have enough graphics power and want to easily Alt+Tab.
  • Disable Windows Key and Alt+Tab: You can also disable the Windows key so you won’t accidentally press it while playing a game. If you find yourself pressing Alt+Tab accidentally while playing a game, you may want to try changing the game’s hotkeys or even consider disabling the Alt+Tab keyboard shortcut.

Recovering From a Crash

If you ever find yourself staring at a frozen game or an empty black screen after pressing Alt+Tab or the Windows key, don’t panic! Pressing Alt+Tab or the Windows key again may not help you if the game is misbehaving. Instead, press Ctrl+Alt+Delete — this keyboard shortcut is special, and Windows will respond to it even if other keyboard shortcuts aren’t working. Click Start Task Manager when the menu screen appears, select the frozen application in the Applications list, and end it. If this doesn’t work, visit the Processes tab, locate the game’s running .exe file, and end the process.

Full-screen windowed mode offers a great compromise and is often the ideal setting if your hardware is fast enough and you want the freedom to Alt+Tab. Not every game offers full-screen windowed mode — it’s more common on newer games, so older games especially may not offer it.
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How to Disable the Splash Screens in Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)

Every time you open a Microsoft Office application, you have to wait for the splash screen to disappear. If you want this to go away, here’s how you can disable the startup screen.
Note: Since we are creating a shortcut this will only disable the splash screens when creating a new document, but it will not be disabled when you open a document by double-clicking on it.
This guide assumes you have the x86 version of Office 2010 installed on a x64 edition of Windows. However if your configuration is different you can find the files to create shortcuts to in the following locations:
x86 Office on x86 Windows
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14
x64 Office on x64 Windows
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14
Just remember if your binaries are in a different location, you mustn’t forget to add the switch to the end of the shortcut or it wont work Smile


Right-click on the your desktop and select new, then click on shortcut.
Now paste the following into the location box and then click next.
“C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\WINWORD.EXE” /q
Now give your shortcut a name and click finish.


Right-click on the your desktop and select new, then click on shortcut.
Now paste the following into the location box and then click next.
“C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\EXCEL.EXE” /e
Now give your shortcut a name and click finish.


Right-click on the your desktop and select new, then click on shortcut.
Now paste the following into the location box and then click next.
“C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\POWERPNT.EXE” /s
Now give your shortcut a name and click finish.