Odds n’ Sods

Okay, a few bits and pieces in my life recently, but nothing major (or interesting) enough to warrant a blog post. Instead, I bring more useful Windows (and general) tidbits:

  • If you want to bring up the original (read: less bloated) Media Player in Windows, click Start, Run and type mplayer2 then click OK. This was the one that was the main player in Windows 98 I think…
  • If you’re programming using ODBC and the thing is running painfully slowly, check that you haven’t got ODBC tracing switched on. Click Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Data Sources (ODBC) then click the Tracing tab. If it’s on switch it off. ODBC Tracing is phenomenally slow!
  • The progress bar in Internet Explorer is quite often faked and has no bearing on reality. If you’re loading websites (particularly dynamically generated ones) and the progress bar looks like it’s going up at a fairly even pace, view it with suspicion.
    Basically in many cases, websites don’t bother telling the browser in advance the size of the page. If the browser doesn’t know this, there’s no way for it to tell whether the page is almost done, or whether there’s a whole load more to come. So, it fakes it!
  • For a rundown of all the important parts of your computer (including system uptime, network cards, memory, etc.) go to Start > Run, type cmd to bring up the command prompt, then type systeminfo and then Enter. It’ll list a whole bunch of useful information.
  • If you want to drag and drop a file, but you realise immediately that the window you want to drop it to isn’t visible, drag your thing down to the taskbar and leave it over the window you want for a few seconds. The window will pop up and you can ‘drop’. Don’t ‘drop’ onto the taskbar itself; Windows will moan if you do this.
  • More drag and drop: did you know that you can (in many places) drag and drop text. It’s sometimes quicker/more convenient than using the clipboard. If you hold down Ctrl after you’ve started dragging (but before you drop) it’ll make a copy. This is also normally true if you drag and drop files.
  • If you have a tabbed environment (Firefox, for example) Ctrl+F4 will normally close just that tab. Ctrl+TAB will actually switch to the next Tab. Ctrl+Shift+TAB will go backwards!

One thought on “Odds n’ Sods”

  1. Here are some more for you:

    A shortcut to the run command is holding down the Windows key and pressing R.

    A quick way to rename a file in Explorer is to highlight it and press F2.

    You can quickly get to the status bar by pressing Contrl + D.

    Mouse not working and you want to minimize, restore or maximize a window? Press Alt + Space and the active Window’s control box will come up. From there you can press R, M, S, N or X to perform various Windows actions.

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