How to Configure AutoPlay in Windows

AutoPlay is a feature in Windows that will automatically scan a device when it is connected to your computer and based on your settings, will either perform a specified action or do nothing at all. In order to understand AutoPlay, though, you also have to understand another very similar feature called AutoRun.

 

Most people think AutoRun and AutoPlay are just two terms for the same thing, but that is not accurate. AutoRun is a feature that first came out in Windows 95, It's intended to make installing apps for non-technicians easier. If a CD contained a file called autorun.inf in the root directory, Windows would detect it automatically and follow the instructions in that file.

 

This file is normally very simple and basically just points to a file on the disc, usually the setup file or install file. Here is an example of one below:

 

 

In Windows XP and earlier, the file would be read and automatically run without any kind of prompt. If you have ever popped in an install CD/DVD for a piece of hardware or a program in Windows XP or earlier, it would just start running the setup program.

 

This obviously posed serious security risks and Microsoft introduced AutoPlay as a way to fix the problem. AutoPlay’s job is to examine a newly connected media device, determine what kind of content is on it, and then display a dialog that allows the user to launch an application to play, run or display the content.

 

Now depending on the operating system you are running, AutoRun and AutoPlay will work differently. In all versions of Windows earlier than Windows Vista, AutoRun is executed before AutoPlay, unless AutoRun is disabled. If it’s not disabled, AutoRun will execute and it will search for the AutoRun.inf file.

 

In Windows XP, if the autorun.inf file is found, AutoRun can go ahead and bypass AutoPlay altogether and launch the application without asking the user first.

 

In Windows Vista and higher, AutoRun cannot skip past AutoPlay. If there is an AutoRun.inf file, it will still be read, but instead of the application being launched automatically, a dialog box will pop up with a list of choices, some of which could be from the autorun.inf file.

 

AutoRun vs. AutoPlay Example

 

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Keeping sensitive files Encrypted with you

How can you encrypt sensitive files that are stored on a flash drive or external hard drive?

 

Flash drives are easy to lose. And anything lost can fall into the wrong hands. So if you’re carrying around sensitive information in your pocket, you need to make sure those files are encrypted.

 

Below are three easy solutions:

 

 

1. Buy an encrypted drive

 

You can buy a flash drive with built-in encryption, such as the DataTraveler Locker+ G3. When you plug the Locker+ in, it comes up as a 13MB, read-only drive. But once you launch the program file on that drive and enter the password that you previously setup, another drive opens up with all the storage space you paid for.

 

That drive, of course, is inaccessible without the password. The software runs off the drive, and it can be used on multiple computers and operating systems.

 

 

But I strongly recommend against using this drive’s optional cloud backup feature. It uses Dropbox, OneDrive, or whichever cloud service you pick, which at first glance seems like a nice convenience.

 

 

But this feature uploads the files without its own encryption. That means you’re trusting your sensitive files to the encryption capabilities of Dropbox and similar 3rd party services and you have no control over the encryption methods. Find another way to backup these files—preferably one where you can can control the encryption.

 

The DataTraveler Locker+ G3 starts at about $15 for the 8GB drive, and we've looked at other encrypted USB drives as well. 

 

2. Install specialized software on your drive

 

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Forcefully Clear the Print Queue in Windows

Most of us have run into the situation where you try to print something and nothing happens.

 

There are many reasons why a print job may not actually print, but one of the common causes is that the printer queue has a stuck print job.

 

This can happen for a number of reasons.

 

 

Let’s say you tried to print something a few hours back, but the printer was off. You ended up not needing the document and you forgot about it. Then you come back and try to print. The print job is added to the queue and if the previous job didn't get removed automatically, it will be waiting behind that print job that never got printed.

 

The most common fix is to double click on your printer and delete the print job, but sometimes it will refuse to delete. In this scenario, you have to clear the print queue manually.

 

Clear Print Queue in Windows

 

In order to get the printing services back up and running, follow these steps:

 

1. Go to Start, Control Panel and Administrative Tools. Double click on Services icon.

 

 

2. Scroll down to the Print Spooler service and right click on it and select Stop. In order to do this, you need to have Administrative privileges, or be logged in as Administrator.  It will notify you if you lack the necessary credentials.

 

 

3. Next you need to press the Windows button & R at the same time,

 

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How to Setup Dual Monitors in Windows

Setting up dual monitors used to be an expensive and complicated task, but thanks to cheap graphics cards and cheap Monitors, nowadays, pretty much any modern computer can support dual monitors.

 

In addition, the latest versions of Windows support a lot of features natively that you previously could only get using third-party dual monitor software.

 

For example, each monitor can have its own taskbar and Start button.

 

Also, each monitor can have a different background or you can use a single panoramic picture and have it span both desktops.

 

In this article, I’ll talk about the requirements for dual monitors in Windows and how you can configure all the settings in Windows once you have the monitors connected.

 

Dual Monitor Requirements

 

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Use an iPad as a Second Monitor for PC or Mac

Use an iPad as a Second Monitor for PC or Mac

 

Use an iPad as a Second Monitor for PC or MacDo you happen to have an extra iPad laying around the house that you no longer use?

 

Luckily, with some ingenious software, you can use your older iPads (2nd, 3rd, or 4th generation), iPad Airs (1 & 2), or iPad Pros as a second screen or second monitor to your Mac or Windows PC. This involves installing an app on your iPad and on your computer and then connecting the two directly using either a lightning cable or 30-pin cable (dock connector).

 

 

We recommend is Duet Display. There are other options like Air Display and iDisplay, but both cost about the same and don’t work nearly as well. The direct connection between the computer and iPad make the experience virtually lag-free, which is very important when using a second screen. Trying to do this over WiFi (i.e. Air Display) is slower and not a good implementation.

 

Duet Display

 

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factory defaults 

How to Restore Windows to Factory Settings

How to Restore Windows to Factory Settings

 

Factory DefaultsFactory settings also known as Factory Defaults, mean getting the computer back to the state when you first bought it. This includes the OS with all the third-party software they like to install with it. However, this may not be the most ideal choice.

 

Another option to think about, is to perform a clean install of the operating system, so that you are working with a bare bones version of the OS, then setting it up to your needs. The difference is that the clean install not include any junk or third party software.

 

Alternatively, performing a system restore reverts the OS to a previous state, which is like a clean install, but could help you get your system working properly.

 

There is also a repair install, which replaces all of the Windows system files, but keeps your data intact. This is a good option if your system has become infected with a virus or malware you can’t remove, but your data is clean. Windows and all apps will be wiped, but your data will be kept.

 

We'll expand on each one of these methods in the article below.

 

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Transfer Files to iPad

How to Copy and Transfer Files to your iPad

How to Copy and Transfer Files to iPad

Transfer Files to iPad

 

Do you love using your iPAD but still find the process of transferring files to the iPad quite unintuitive? Two reasons, Apple is quite particular about the file formats and they don’t have an official tool for converting your files to iPad format.

 

Cloud Drive is a great way to get content onto your iPad, but it’s a tool many users are unaware of.

 

In this article, we’ll show you a couple of different ways you can get data from a computer onto your iPad. If you have to transfer a very large file, like a movie, you should use the iTunes direct connection method. The iCloud Drive method is best for smaller files like documents and pictures.

 

Transfer Files to iPad

iTunes Direct Transfer

 

 

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mac

What to buy, a Mac or PC?

macCan’t decide if you should buy a Mac or PC? It’s a tough decision because both platforms have different advantages and disadvantages. It really also depends a lot on external factors like what other devices you own and what kind of software you use.

For example, if you own an Xbox One, a Windows Phone, a Surface tablet and all the other computers in your home are Windows PCs, then it might be more convenient to stick with a PC.

On the other hand, if you own an iPhone, an iPad, an Apple TV, and an AirPrint enabled printer, then a Mac would fit in really well with those other devices.

Mac Pros and PC (Windows) Cons

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3 Ways To Make Your Downloads Faster

3 Ways To Make Your Downloads Faster

By Sumai de Beer / James Henry Johnson

Slow downloads are not only annoying but can also cost you a lot of time and effort.

 

Fortunately, there's a very simple way to fix this problem which even a beginner can do.

 

Here are the steps you should take to fix the slow downloads on your computer:

 

 

Step 1 – Check Internet Speed 

 

The speed of your Internet connection is essential if you want fast downloads. Nowadays, a typical broadband connection is considered fast if it's over 1mb/s in speed. This basically means that the connection has the ability to download files at 100kb/s (the download speed is 1/10th of your overall connection speed).

 

To test what speed you're getting to your computer, you should Google "Broadband Speed Test" and then click on the first link. Run the test on the website and if it's below your expectations, you should contact your Internet provider.

 

Step 2 – Check Download Server Speed
 

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Startup Programs

Disable Unneeded Startup Programs in Windows 7, 8 & 10

Startup Programs

Disable Unneeded Startup Programs in Windows 7, 8 & 10

By Stephan Stemmett / Aseem Kishore
Startup Programs

It is irritating when you start up your computer and have to wait 10 minutes while all kinds of software loads up: Dropbox, antivirus, Chrome, Java, Apple, Adobe, graphics & printer drivers drivers, etc. If you have a lot of programs loading up that you don’t use immediately, then they are just slowing your computer down and should be disabled.

 

Most software prefer to load into memory as soon as Windows starts up, so that when you use it, it loads quicker. We would prefer your computer working sooner, rather than have a program you use once a week slow you down every day.

 

Disabling startup programs can increase the speed of your computer and usually will not adversely affect your computer because the software is loaded manually when you open a program.

 

Managing Startup Programs

 

You can manage your startup programs by opening the System Configuration Utility. Click on Start and then Run, type in msconfig and click OK. In Windows 7, you can just click on Start and type in msconfig. In Windows 8, the msconfig command brings up the System Configuration utility, but the Startup section now appears in Task Manager.

 

msconfig start

 

system configuration

 

Clicking on the Startup tab in Task Manager on Windows 8 or in the System Configuration dialog will bring up the list of startup items. In Windows 8, the list looks a bit different and it also gives you some extra info like the estimated impact the process has on the startup time.

 

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