Smartcard Needing Drivers In Order To Be Smart

My company laptop dual-boots between Windows 7 x64 and Windows Server 2008 R2. This is for the simple reason that Hyper-V is an indispensible tool for a consultant, but the comfort of a desktop OS like Windows 7 means that I don’t want to do without either operating system. I keep the R2 installation fairly…

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Family IT Nirvana

Working in I.T. also means fixing the computers of family members, friends and neighbours. Trying to do this over the phone (especially with my father, who consistently asks “but where is the Start menu?”) is pretty much impossible because they just can’t follow the basic instructions you try to give… 😉 In the past I…

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Wasted Space, Begone!

A few months ago I won an 8Gb Zune in an internal Microsoft competition. I really like the device and use it all the time on the train to work to help with the monotony. The interface is simple to use, I like the way the music is organised in the library, and the Zune…

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Slimming Down Office Documents

Being a consultant means that I always have to write bucket-loads of documentation, and the documents tend to be rather long and include plenty of images.  Writing a 50 page document is not uncommon, not because I like to waffle (believe me, I don’t), but mostly because I need to include step-by-step instructions for something,…

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Converting Windows Error Codes To Something More Friendly

I can never remember how to do this, so I always end up looking it up.  Therefore, I am posting it here partly for me as a reference, but also in case anyone else finds it useful 🙂   Sometime the error codes that are returned by Microsoft Windows are accompanied by a rather cryptic…

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Ooops, that’s not right…

I have been asked twice this week if this is possible and if so how to do it, so I guess either the information is not readily available on the Internet, or the two people who asked me just couldn’t be bothered to look it up…!   I’m sure you’ve seen the below screen appear…

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Wallpapering your Windows 7 computer

As some of you may know, certain countries have personalisation packs for Windows 7 that are activated on during the installation of the operating system, depending on the regional settings you first set.  So, if you tell Windows 7 setup that you are in the United Kingdom, one of the wallpapers that will be available…

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Putting iexplore.exe on a diet

I have gotten very used, very quickly, to the excellent tabbed browsing feature that was introduced with Internet Explorer 7.  This feature was tweaked a fair bit for Internet Explorer 8, but the most noticeable change is that now each tab opens in a separate memory process; this really is great because if the content…

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Benchmarking Windows 7

A very common request that clients make when starting a Windows deployment project is that we must reliably and accurately demonstrate that Windows Vista or Windows 7 is worth upgrading to from Windows XP, especially if the purchase of new hardware is not part of the project; often, and logically, clients will try to re-use…

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Creating Your Own Search Provider in Internet Explorer

For me, this is possibly one of the most overlooked, but invaluable, features of Internet Explorer 7 and 8.  I actually only discovered it a few days ago, but I now use it pretty much daily. First introduced with Internet Explorer 7, the Instant Search box in the top right-hand corner of the browser allows…

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