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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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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4 Common Computer Problems you can fix yourself

4 Common Computer Problems you can fix yourself

By Jeandre de Beer /  Kim Komando

 

pc repair 2Computers always act up at the worst times. You’re in the middle of a major report or playing your best game ever …

Often, users get so frustrated that they needlessly go out and buy a new computer.

With a cool head and a little know-how, however, it’s easy to fix the most common computer problems. In fact, the solutions I recommend below are free.

1. The Blue Screen of Death

 

Thankfully, Windows’ dreaded “Blue Screen of Death” is getting to be a rare event, but it still occurs. When it does, it isn’t very helpful in helping you hunt down the problem.

The problem can often be traced to bad memory modules. Memory is cheap and buying extra RAM capacity is usually worth it for the performance boost. 

It’s not difficult to remove and install memory modules. You’ll find video tutorials at all the major online memory stores.

Just remember to ground yourself when you open your computer. You don’t want to fry sensitive electronics with static electricity.

2. The Spyware plague

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8 Easy steps to get your email under control

8 Easy steps to get your email under control

By Jeandre de Beer / Kim Komando

Postman with envelope and e-mail sign

Despite the rise in popularity of texting and social networking, email is still the preferred way for many to communicate, especially with co-workers and business associates.

A recent study by the McKinsey Global Institute found that the average knowledge worker spends 28 percent of the work-week either writing, reading or responding to email.

You probably know some colleagues who spend more than half of each day dealing with the influx.

A high volume of email can make you feel overwhelmed and overloaded. And a cluttered inbox is a major productivity killer.

Follow these 8 steps to tame the daily barrage.

Then, you can spend a few more hours a week not glued to a glowing screen – or perhaps glued to a glowing screen for a more entertaining reason.

 

1. Send less email

The more email you send, the more you’ll get. Look for opportunities to use another form of communication that cuts down on the noise.

Could a quick IM chat, phone call or walk down the hall answer your question or resolve the issue? Face-to-face communication is better when you need to make a point or debate which direction to take.

It’s also the only choice when the subject is touchy. With body language, there’s less chance that your tone will be misconstrued.

It’s also a good idea to call an impromptu meeting if it looks like you’re headed for a confusing three- or four-way email conversation. Chats, on the other hand, are good when just a few words will do.

 

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How to delete files for good

How to delete files for good

By Jeandre de Beer / Kim Komando

You don’t leave credit delete 2card and bill statements lying around where anyone can get to them. So why would you leave your digital data out for anyone to find?

It may be time to get rid of that old computer, or maybe it’s just time to free up some hard drive space. Whatever the reason, that data has got to go.

 

So now you’ve deleted your sensitive and classified financial information. No hackers could possibly steal your personal data, right?

 

Wrong! You might think your files are deleted, but really they’re only hidden.

New data will eventually replace it, but until then hackers could still read it. And even after that, magnetic field patterns could still be read from the disk surface.

If you want to get serious about your personal security, you need to erase sensitive data for good.

 

If you want to permanently delete data – you need to do more than just deleting the file and emptying your recycle bin. 

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How do I protect my eyes when using my computer?

How do I protect my eyes when using my computer?

By Jeandre de Beer

eyes

 

When using our computers for an extended period of time – our eyes can become sensitive and irritated.

 

 

 

What can you do to minimize these negative effects?

 

1. Clean your monitor on a regular basis.

Monitors can become dirty from dust and finger prints. Make sure the monitor is clean to reduce strain on your eyes – especially when reading text.

 

2. What is the ideal distance between your monitor and your eyes?

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