No media key buttons on my keyboard: quick fix

How to add media key buttons adding customizable shortcuts on a standard keyboard (working example attached).

Not all keyboards have media keys but you can fix this issue adding a global shortcut for your Windows system:

  1. Download and install AutoHotkey
  2. Download the media keys shortcut zip file  and extract on your Desktop
  3. Double click to add the media shortcut to your systray: the shortcut are added
  4. Open your media player and
    1. Tracks
      1. AltGr+Right arrow: Next
      2. AltGr+Alt+Down arrow: Play / Pause
      3. AltGr+Alt+Left: Previous
    2. Volume
      1. AltGr+Shift+Right: Volume Up
      2. AltGr+Shift+Down: Mute
      3. AltGr+Shift+Left: Volume Down
    3. AltGr+Shift+F1: open this howto with the default browser
  5. Alternatively you can use Ctrl+Alt in place of AltGr

Remember to launch the script each time you start the system or to add on automatic execution on start. To do so, Start > Run paste the following:

%appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

And then Enter. In the opened folder Right Click > New > Shortcut and paste:

%UserProfile%\Desktop\media_keys_shortcut.ahk

And Next to add the shortcut every time you login.

Download media_keys_shortcut
MD5:
5595F1686DE184A817A0261297003415

You can also read the file as a simple text file with your file editor to add new shortcuts.

See also

Media Keys on superuser

Advertisements

Boycott Anti-AdBlock websites: the blacklist

Many users are using AdBlock and similar software to block ads. Since all the websites owner are experiencing a proportional decrease in ads impression, some of them are blocking the visit from AdBlock users intimidating them to disable the plugin or even change the browser configuration.

This decision is a huge interference in the user experience and it’s harmful to user freedom for the sake of money. Since other automated methods exists, the traditional way to solve this issue is to make a list, spread it and boycott all websites listed and contact the website owner until website owners abandon this practice.

There are 2 classes: the explicit AdBlock political warning (W) and navigation block and the misconfiguration (M). The following list comprehend only the website that are blocking or obstruct the navigation at all for all or some contents.

This is a list of fully blocking websites. Alert about AdBlock and suggestions to disable it are absolutely correct!

Do you know any Anti-AdBlock website? Write in the comment the URL displaying the message and I’ll ad it to the list.

See also

A comprehensive list about AdBlockers, open4adblocking

8 steps to speed up slow Windows

Your system worked well. Then, one day, the startup after login is very slow and you cannot figure out why. There are 4 diagnosis steps and 8 steps to follow to make your PC faster in these cases.

Diagnosis

  1. Windows orb > Search for “event”
  2. Click on “Event viewer”
  3. Take a look to critical and errors
  4. Go to Administrative events and explore errors to look for malfunctioning drivers or applications

How to fix

  1. Download Autoruns for Windows by Microsoft
  2. Extract Autoruns and enter the directory
    1. Right click on Autoruns64.exe (Autoruns.exe on 32 bit systems)
    2. Run as administrator
  3. Click on the Logon tab
  4. Remove check from all entries you think are slowing down the system
  5. Click on Services tab
  6. Remove check from all services you think are slowing down the system: be aware that some services are essential to some applications so if you don’t need them you have to unistall the application to avoid malfunctions
  7. Do not touch the driver tabs! Disabling the wrong driver you can compromise your system
  8. If you have more than one antivirus software, e.g Avira and Microsoft Security Essential update the one you want to keep and uninstall the other in order to avoid conflicts

Disable any application or services you don’t need, uninstall unwanted or malfunctioning applications, restart the system and check the time elapsed after login and the Event viewer.

If you think a USB device is the culprit you can try USB Oblivion to remove unused USB drivers.

Usually you can solve many issues this way but if you haven’t you can try a strongest method using an utility disk.

Tested on:

  • Windows 7

How to fix freezed Windows 7

If your Windows system is slow and you’ve already tried to clean up the autostarts you may have other issues. To do a global check on your system you can follow these steps:

  1. Download Hiren’s Boot CD (list of software installed here)
  2. Extract the zip file in a new folder (the zip contains many files)
  3. Use the shipped CD creation tools BurnCDDC or use the excellent cdrtools Frontend going to CD image > Write image and choosing the Hiren’s.BootCD.x.x.iso file inside
  4. Restart the PC with the CD in and boot from disk: after the boot a screen will be presented, usually you have to press a key like F12 to choose a boot device or press a key like F2 to go to BIOS and choose the boot order putting the DVD first
  5. Choose Start Mini Windows XP and press Enter
  6. After boot, you’ll see an interface similar to Windows XP: on Desktop click on My Computer to view if all drives are listed. Take a look at the space left on devices
  7. Start > Programs > Check disk, insert the letter of the drive to check and then Enter
  8. (Optional) After the disk check, you can also use other disk tools from Desktop > HBCD Menu > Programs > Hard disk tools if needed. Be careful, some tools can be dangerous and you have to know what you’re doing
  9. Now that disk error are fixed, go to Desktop > HBCD Menu > Programs > Antivirus/Spyware and choose Avira or Malawarebytes’ Anti-Malaware
  10. Choose the units and the scan mode and then run the tool
  11. Repeat these steps with all tools you need in the Antivirus / Spyware section
  12. Go to Desktop > HBCD Menu > Programs > Cleaners > CCleaner or ATF Cleaner and clean temporary files and entries from your system. Warning: personal data like browser saved password could be lost, choose the cleaning options carefully
  13. On Desktop > HBCD Menu > Programs > Cleaners > MyUninstaller uninstall all application you don’t need
  14. Check the space left on the disks on Desktop > My Computer. If little space is left on the main drive use Desktop > HBCD Menu > Programs > Cleaners > Windirstat to find big files (about Windirstat)
  15. Now it’s time to look at the apps in autostart: go to Desktop > HBCD Menu > Programs > Startup tools > Autoruns: this is a Microsoft app that lists all application executed automatically. Look for suspicious entries and disable what you don’t need
  16. You can explore other tools on this bootable CD depending on your needs

Tested with Hiren’s BootCD 15.2

Screencapture to GIF: how to record desktop and save screencast as animated GIF

This is a step-by-step howto to record your desktop and then save it as animated GIF using free software. The resulting file will be very small compared to video files, e.g. a 2 minutes long screencapture of a webpage browsing can be less than 1MB.

Requirements:

  • Windows
  • CamStudio
  • VirtualDub
  • Gimp
  • Gigabytes of free space in the destination drive for the intermediate video screencapture

How to:

  1. Install CamStudio
  2. Install VirtualDub (if you have a 64bit OS install the 64 bit version)
  3. Prepare the window you have to screencapture
  4. Capture the video
    1. Open CamStudio
    2. Options > Video Options > Codec Intel IYUV (lossless) and then OK
    3. Select Region > Windows (or other as needed)
    4. Press the record button and select the Window to record
    5. Press stop to stop recording
    6. Select a destination directory and filename: make sure you’ve enough free space
  5. Convert to GIF
    1. Decompress VirtualDub and launch the Veedub64.exe (user interface) or equivalent
    2. File > Open video file and then select the previously generated file (step 4.6)
    3. Video > Frame rate > Frame rate conversion
    4. Select Convert to fps and specify a low value like 2 and then OK
    5. Video > Color Depth
    6. From Output format to compressor / display select 16 bit RGB (555) or greyscale (0-255): it will downsize the output GIF file
    7. File > Export > Animated GIF
    8. Select Play once, infinite loop or specify a loop number
    9. Save the resulting file
  6. Edit the GIF
    1. Launch GIMP
    2. Optional: Select Window > Single window mode to keep all tools in one window (useful for PhotoShop users)
    3. Open the generated GIF (step 5.9)
    4. Crop, rescale and alter the image as you like
    5. Optional: Image > Mode > Indexed to change colors reducing filesize
    6. File > Export as… > Animated GIF
    7. Check the “As animation” flag
    8. Export

The GIF can now be published on forums, WordPress.com or any image hosting provider.

PuTTY freezes on OpenVPN on Windows

Issue: Opening PuTTY no login information are returned and then the connection is closed.

Solution (Windows 7):

  1. On the taskbar Right click and then Disconnect the VPN
  2. Look for the VPN icon and then Right click on VPN shortcut icon > Properties
  3. Select Compatibility tab and then check Run as administrator
  4. Launch OpenVPN: a message will be prompted to allow the app to run as administrator

Stop to send Microsoft information about your system

These steps will help you to block some of error reporting to Microsoft.

To help you in the task of finding error reporting issues install and run the free Kaspersky Security Scan: you will be notified by a list of issue affecting the PC the other antivirus usually don’t tell.

One of it is the notification to Microsoft of system states in situations like crashes. To stop sending Microsoft information like this you can follow these steps.

  1. On Windows 7, search “Action Center” in Windows > Search (or in your language, e.g. “Centro operativo” in Italian)
  2. Go to the 2nd voice on the left bar “change settings”
  3. Go to 2nd voice of related settings about error notification
  4. Check the very last element (Never check for solutions)
  5. In the previous screen check the first element about software use is disabled

Now take care about Microsoft Internet Explorer:

  1. On Windows 7, Run gpedit.msc
  2. Go to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Internet Explorer
  3. Double click on Turn off Crash detection and then “Enable”
  4. Under Browser Menu Disable “Turn off the ability to launch report site problems using a menu option”

If you don’t use Internet Explorer as your main browser, disable also this under User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Internet Explorer:

  1. On the starting page option, check disable and set starting page as about:blank
  2. Run Internet Explorer and confirm the dialog about the about:blank as default page
  3. Now standard user cannot change the default starting page

Now go to Internet Explorer:

  1. Go to Gear (top right on IE 11) > Internet Options > Advanced > Security
  2. Select “Do not save crypted pages on disk”

Now go to Kaspersky Security Scan, go to Reports and refresh the list of issue. Note that if you have an antivirus, like Avira, Kaspersky will tell you autorun are active even if Avira block it so you can ignore these warning in this case.