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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

1609. Saving and Restoring Windows Application Settings

I’ve been having some serious slow down problems with my PC and a friend suggested I simply reinstall Windows as a means of cleaning up the mess on my computer. I’m okay with that but I hate to lose all those application settings. Every time I reformatted and reinstalled Windows I spend days resetting my application settings afterwards. Is there some way to save all those settings and restore them after my Windows reset?

Wiping your hard drive and reinstalling Windows can be a daunting process especially if you do it yourself. Even if you get the help of a professional doing that work that person isn’t going to reset all of your settings in all your applications that you lost when you reformatted your hard drive and reinstalled Windows. To do that, you have actually go to each application and reset your settings, for example, in Microsoft Word you might have stored away your initials and they would be gone once you have reformatted your hard drive. 

We ran across a new application recently that might save you some time, it’s called CloneApp and you will find a link to it on our website. This is a new application the purports to be able to save settings for most Windows applications. We tried it out for Microsoft Office, it seemed to work. We saved the settings to an external drive, reformatted the hard drive, reinstalled Office and restored the settings from that external hard drive. It’s a new application, we can’t guarantee that it will work in every case but it’s worth giving it a try. Check out CloneApp on the web and there is a link on our website.

1608. Add Power Chime to Macbook Air and MacBook Pro

When I plug in my iPhone it makes a little chiming noise so I know that I just gave it some power. I would love if my MacBook-Air did the same thing when I plugged it in. Is there a setting somewhere that I could make this happen?

This is such a common request among Mac users that it became a default on the new MacBook that just got released. When you plug in that computer it goes “chime” so you know it got plugged in. I wanted the same feature on my MacBook Pro so I looked it up and found there is a simple setting you can make that does add that chime when you plug in your computer. There is no simple way to set it using the user interface so you have to do it using the terminal application. This can be a little scary for first time users but we have a link to an article on our website that shows you exactly how to do it. It just involves copying and pasting a single line of text and then hitting return to enable this feature. Clearly, you might want to back up your computer before you do this but really there is very little harm that you can do if you just copy and paste that one line of text. The article also shows how you can then turn off the feature if you decide you don’t like it. Turning on a power chime for any MacBook-Air or MacBook Pro is simple given these instructions.

1607. Creating Smart Folders on the Mac

On my Mac I end up searching for the same type of files over and over. Is there some way to set up a save search so I don’t have to repeat the same steps.

This is actually my question, I made Doug ask it. The problem is I use a program called Sibelius and it lets me create sheet music from my keyboard and I often need to save files in various folders and then I lose them. I know I should be able to organize them better but I lose these files all the time. A few days ago I needed to find a very old Sibelius file and had no idea where to look so I created a Save Search on the Mac that’s called a Smart Folder. Now when you’re in Finder on a Mac and you press Command + N, you create a new Finder window. If instead you press Command + Alt + N, you create a new Smart Folder instead. You can get to the same place from the file menu. Creating a Smart Folder just involves creating a search and then saving it with a name so that should you ever want to find those same files again, it’s really easy. Now instead of searching for those Sibelius files every time I want to find them, instead I have a little saved search Smart Folder in my Finder window and I can find them all easily. It’s as if I had moved them all into the same folder but instead they are scattered out all over my hard drive because I can’t be bothered to organize them. Smart Folders make it easy to save searches so you can find any sort of file you want.

1606. What Does Google Know About You?

It bugs me that Google knows so much about me and my browsing habits. Is there some way to see the information they’re are storing about me?

Of course it is so easy to joke about this and wonder what kind of browsing history you don’t want Google to know about, but the fact is, Google does track a whole lot of information about each of us as we use the web. There’s an easy way to find out what information Google has about you and your browsing history by logging into your Google account, if you have one, and go to This brings up an account page that allows you to look at things like your account history, your ad settings, you can control your content, you can do a privacy checkup to turn on and off various features and a security checkup to make sure your passwords that you use with Google are all strong and in place. So, check out and make sure that you know what information Google is tracking about you.

1605. Creating Screen Shots on the Mac

I need to email a picture of a screen to a friend so she can help me with a problem. How can I do that on my MAC?

There are a ton of different options for taking screen shots on a Mac and some of them are free and some of them are not. But there is a built in way to do this, you don’t need to get any external utilities to take screen captures on a MAC. There are a few different keystrokes you can use, the ones I use involve Shift + Ctrl and the Command key along with a 3 or 4 to capture either the whole screen or a portion of the screen to the clipboard. For a full description of the keystrokes you can use check out the linked article on our website. In any case, you don’t need an external utility to take screen captures on a Mac.

1604. Scientific and Programmer Calculators on the Mac

I need a scientific calculator on my Mac and I prefer not to have to buy something. The built in calculator application is awfully wimpy. What do you suggest?

Yes, at face value the built-in calculator application on the Mac looks similar to something you might get for two dollars from your local drug store. But the fact is it has a lot more power than what you see by default. If you look at the view menu, you will find that it also supports scientific and programmer’s calculators and you can switch between modes either by using the menu or by pressing command one, command two or command three for each of the various modes. In addition if you are stuck in 1977 and need reverse Polish notation, you can get that on the calculator as well. So, although it looks like a little simple application the built in calculator app on the Mac is very full featured.  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

1615. Chrome message - He's dead, Jim.?

I was using Chrome the other day and got this very strange error message.  It said "He's dead, Jim".  I assume this has something to do with Star Trek but have no idea.  What is going on?

Ken you are right again.

“He’s dead, Jim!” came from
"Star Trek and was used whenever someone or something stopped working or died."
  • Specifically:
  • 1. You don’t have enough memory available to run the tab. Computers rely on memory to run apps, extensions, and programs. Low memory can cause them to run slowly or stop working. 
  • 2. You stopped a process using Google Chrome's Task Manager, the system's task manager, or a command line tool.
I know now that all of our listeners feel so much better that they know this.