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July '17

Opinions, suggestions, recommendations or ideas found on our site are applied at your own risk. 


Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
Mark Twain



PLEASE - Do not give control of your computer to ANYONE unless you are absolutely certain who they are!  For more information see our Self Help > Scams!   New to computers?  Our updated index may be useful.

In this newsletter

4th
  • Icons and Shortcuts (101)
    • Icons
    • Shortcuts
    • Creating a shortcut
    • Manually creating
  • Locked up computer?
  • Documents via email
  • Quickies
    • Outlook (application) hung?
    • Mac/Linux viruses
    • Ongoing scam
    • Android infection
    • Reinstall Windows 10
    • Encrypted files option
    • Saving passwords
    • Email to Text (SMS)
  • Opinion
4th

Icons and Shortcuts (101)

Icons

Icons are simply the images assigned to shortcuts, file types and applications.  A few icons you'll probably recognize:

They are typically small and dependent on your resolution settings and usage.  For example, the icons above are 30x30 pixels, icons in our system tray are 15x15 pixels, icons on our Desktop are 69x69.  You can change the size of icons by varying your screen resolution and other settings as discussed in our Desktop (101) article.

Changing icon assignments...

You can change the icon of a shortcut by right clicking, selecting Properties then Change Icon (button).  If you do not see a Change Icon button, just cancel as you are not viewing the properties of a shortcut (discussed later). 

Notes:

If there are multiple images, you are presented with those or you can click Browse for a variety of generic images.  right

Two Windows files that you can browse to containing many generic icons are: shell32.dll and imageres.dll, both found in the C:\Windows\System32 folder.

There are hundreds of files on the computer containing icons.  Many .exe and some .dll files have icons you can tap into and use, but change icons only for shortcuts and always heed any warnings that may appear doing so.

More icon locations, downloadable samples and other ideas here.

As mentioned, shortcuts can each have their own icon, e.g., below are two different Word document shortcuts each with their own icon...
different

create

Create your own icon...

Want to make your own?  It's not overly complicated but you'll need an imaging application like Irfanview that can save pictures and images as a Windows icon file.   right right right

Open/create whatever image you want to make an icon from then "Save as" a Windows Icon.

save as 

icon example

Save that .ico file in a location you know how to get at, perhaps a special Icon folder, then follow the above procedure to assign your new icon to a shortcut.

Shortcuts

Shortcuts are similar to Internet links but instead of a website, they go (point) to devices, files or folders

Example:  Here is our Computer Cleanup document which resides on our network storage unit in a folder named bcs\data (see Folder Sharing).  But rather than opening the Windows File Explorer and navigating to that document, we have placed a shortcut on our Desktop for quick access.  Just right click (hold) and drag to the Desktop or right click and Send to Desktop...

shortcut

Shortcuts can point to many things.  The more popular are:

You can have as many shortcuts to a particular device, file or folder as desired, e.g., one on the desktop, one in your Documents folder, one on the Taskbar.

Creating a shortcut

In Windows 10, generally you can right click the shortcut and Pin to the Start menu or Taskbar, but those two choices are not always available. 

If not available, select Open file location then follow the steps below...

right click options

From the file's location

Once you have located the file, right click and select Send to then select Desktop as shown here.  Or select another option such as Pin to Start or Taskbar.

Yes, you can have a shortcut of a shortcut as this ended up to be... 

See also:  Assigning shortcut keys to applications.

Manually creating

Used to be you could drag and drop a website on the Desktop creating a shortcut...
drag drop

But Microsoft in their infinite wisdom took that ability away in Windows 10 Edge*. 

If you want an Internet site shortcut on your Desktop, you now need to make one manually. 

Manually create one by right clicking a blank area on the Desktop > New > Shortcut.

Type the location of the desired item (examples below) or use the Browse button to find the desired file, click Next then give it a name. 

  • Internet address: www.google.com (or http://www.google.com)
  • A local program: Use browse and start looking in these common locations:
    c:\program files
    c:\program files (X86)

Drag and drop under Windows 10 still works if you are using Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 11 or others.

Internet Explorer 11 is available in Windows 10.

*In Windows 10 Edge, you may be able to open IE11 from whatever website Edge is currently on.  Open Edge's menu (Ellipse...) and look for Open with Internet Explorer.  If available, IE will open and you can then drag and drop as discussed above.

new shortcut

Locked up computer?

Is the computer truly locked up?  Perhaps you just have a hung application. 

If you can move the mouse and/or press the Windows key on the keyboard and open the Start menu, the operating system (OS) is not locked up.  But wait!  There's more... 

If you have a wireless mouse/keyboard, maybe it's just a battery issue.  Try changing batteries.

Look for lights: Power light and more importantly the drive activity light (most but not all computers have one).  If the drive light is on (nearly) solid, the computer is working on something, but that also could also indicate a hardware problem.  See our performance article for more information

Mouse and/or keyboard will respond

If the mouse/keyboard will react, the OS is not locked up and you will have to do a process of elimination to determine what is causing the problem.

Open the Task Manager and see what, if anything, is consuming a lot of the processor cycles and end the task/process.  More on that here.

Try ending the task (discussion) or open application(s) and/or try restarting the Windows Explorer.

Mouse and/or keyboard will not respond

If you cannot move the mouse or open the Start menu, the computer (OS) may* actually locked up and you will have no alternative other than holding the power button until it shuts off.  Doing that will of course discard any unsaved items and it is also very hard on the computer's drive.  Hard power off is always the last thing you want to do!  See drive failures.

If on restarting the computer quickly locks up again, there are many reasons but two common problems:

From there, take it to a repair shop!  It could be many possibilities such as a virus, drive failure, mother (system) board, CPU, thermal grease (CPU cooling) issue, RAM failure or power supply.  

*may  We say may because it it still could be alive and working on updates.  Especially problematic under Windows 10.  See our Sept '17 newsletter.

Documents via email

protected

*Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices are a little different than a simple external drive.  NAS devices act as a "server" on your network and are the ideal way to store and share data in an office situation.  But Word, Excel, etc., may complain about the location until you add that device (location) to the "Trust Center."

trust center

Quickies

Outlook (application) hung?
Referring to the installed Office version.  Depending on the size of your data file (number of messages stored), Outlook may become very busy archiving and will appear to be hung.  Check the statusbar before jumping to conclusions.  If it is archiving or performing some other operation, be patient. 
Not respond   >>>>   Not Respond 2
Titlebar (top)                                Statusbar (bottom)

Remember, nothing including Macs and Linux is exempt from cyberattacks!  Keep them updated and have a good antivirus.  Mac article Linux article.

ALWAYS question EVERYTHING!

Here's an email sent to us from one of our customers.  Everything looked (kind of) ok at least until we hovered over the Click Here button to see the true destination of that link.  It is not OneDrive.

If you use a web based email, the destination may or may not appear when hovering.  If not, you could right click the link, Copy (not open) the link, then paste it to a Notepad session to see the true destination.

Yes, one more step but better safe...

scam

Have an Android?  Did you download/install "colourblock"?  If so, you have a problem!  See this ZDNet article.

If you need to reinstall Windows 10, you can download the ISO (installer) from Microsoft.

If you are using, or going to use, Windows bitlocker to encrypt your hard drive and files, heed the sound advice from ZDNet: make multiple backups of the key!

Why paper password storage is (still) better than online:  OneLogin password storage hit by hackers.

Using the 10-digit phone number (no spaces, dashes or other characters), you can send text messages via email assuming you know the recipient's carrier...

Subject lines are ignored and you are (still) limited to the 160 characters so be sure to remove any "signature" lines, images, etc...

Opinion

Another politician saying something just to look favorable.  ‘Hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment,’ Portland mayor says. He’s wrong.   The article.

Perhaps the stupidest thing the government has done yet: US visa applicants will have to provide Twitter handles, Facebook username and any other online identity used over the past five years. 

Well, maybe not the stupidest, remember these?  In no particular order...

Any wonder why we're $20 TRILLION in debt?


Magnetic North Movement 

According to an ongoing temperature analysis conducted by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the average global temperature on Earth has  increased by about 0.8° Celsius (1.4° Fahrenheit) since 1880.  But here's a weird coincidence (or is it?)

Initial map from NOAA: https://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomag/GeomagneticPoles.shtml

Mag North
Click for large image.

Sources and other things we find interesting:

Leaving you with

 


Remember...

Thanks for all the help over these years, Jeff...