Microsoft Insider Anonymous Survey

July 1, 2015

I recently received the following email:

Hello, Windows Insider –

We hope you’re enjoying the Windows Insider Program.

We want to continue to provide the best Insider experience we can, so we’re asking Insiders like you to take a few minutes and complete a short survey. This survey will help us update the Insider experience since the survey we sent out last year – and it includes several new questions to help us deliver even more of what’s important to you.

Survey results are anonymous <emphasis mine> unless you choose to provide your name.

To proceed with the survey, please click the link below or copy into your Internet browser:
<link removed>

Thanks again for helping make Windows – and the Windows Insider Program – even better,
The Windows Team

I clicked on the link was taken to the survey site:

Microsoft Insider "anonymous" survey

You must include your email address, the country you live in, the city you live in and your zip/postal code.

Thank goodness I have the option of not giving them my name.  They’ll never know who I am.




Install HP Print Drivers In Linux Mint

June 15, 2015


So…  You just bought a new Hewlett-Packard printer, took it home, hooked it up to your Linux computer and the damned thing doesn’t work.  WTF?

You installed the HPLIP drivers from the repository.  So why doesn’t it work?

Because the drivers in the official repository are out-of-date.  You bought the latest and greatest printer, but now you need the latest and greatest print drivers.  It’s a simple process that can be done by anyone.

Step One:

Download the latest HP drivers installation file.

HP Print Drivers Installation File

Step Two:

Right-click on the file and select “Properties” from the menu list:

Right-click and select "Properties"

Step Three:

Under the “Permissions” tab, make sure that the “Allow executing file as program” option is checked:

Properties Dialog Box

Click the Close button.

Step Four:

Right-click on the file again and select “Open” from the menu list:

Right-click and select "Open"

Or just double-click on the file.

Step Five:

Select “Run In Terminal” from the dialog box:

Select "Run In Terminal"

Step Six:

Please choose the installation mode (a=automatic*, c=custom, q=quit) : a

Hit the [Enter] key.

Step Seven:

Is “Linux Mint (version number)” your correct distro/OS and version (y=yes*, n=no, q=quite) ? y


Step Eight:

Please enter your sudoer password:

Type in your password and hit [Enter].

Step Nine:

Please read the installation notes.  Press <enter> to continue or ‘q’ to quit:


Step Ten:

Do you want to install missing dependencies (y=yes*, n=no, q=quit) ?  y


Step Eleven:

Do you want to (‘i’=remove and install*, ‘o’=overwrite, ‘q’=Quit)? :i

Your safest option is to remove (uninstall) the old drivers and install the new drives.


Step Twelve:

Do you want to check for HPLIP updates?. (y=yes*, n=no) : y


Step Thirteen:

Restart or re-plug in your printer (r=restart, p=re-plug in*, i=ignore/continue, q=quit) : r

Make sure your printer is plugged in and turned on.


Step Fourteen:

Restart now (y=yes, n=no*, q=quit) ? y

Hit [Enter] and reboot.

You’re done!  The new drivers are installed and your new HP printer should work perfectly.

Upgrading To Windows 10

June 4, 2015

Windows 10 Logo


Free upgrades for Windows 7 and 8.1 users to Windows 10 will be available beginning July 29th, 2015.  You may be temped to be first in line.  Don’t!  Wait at least six months (February 1st, 2016) to do the upgrade.  Giving Microsoft’s developers some time to work the bugs out of the system will save you many headaches and heartaches.

If you are happy with your current version of 7 or 8.1, you can remove the upgrade reminder by simply uninstalling a recent Windows update.  Keep in mind that Windows 7 will be supported until January 14, 2020 and Windows 8.1 will be supported until January 10, 2023.

You have up to one year to complete your free Windows 10 upgrade.

However, if you just can’t live with Windows 8.1, reserve your upgrade now.  I’ll understand.

Before Upgrading:

Is your computer capable of handling Windows 10?

Does your system meet the minimum requirements necessary to run Windows 10?

The minimum system requirements are just that.  This will allow Windows 10 to run but the performance may not be very smooth.  The carnal rule is to take the minimum system requirements and double it.

* Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC (System on Chip)

* Processor: 2 gigahertz (GHz) dual-core or faster processor

Windows 10 can run on single-core processor, but the performance is sluggish.  Even running the 32-bit version in VirtualBox works better when allowed to access two CPU cores.

* RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit

* RAM: 2 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 4 GB for 64-bit

The minimum requirement is just to run Windows.  Additional programs (word processor, media player, games, etcetera) also need a fair amount of RAM.

* Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver

If you are upgrading from Windows 7 or 8.1, your graphics card or chip shouldn’t be an issue.  The drivers, however, may be a problem.

Windows 10 is basically Windows 8.x.  Any drivers loaded in 8.x should be compatible with 10.

Windows 7 software drivers may or may not be compatible with 10.  It’s best to check with your hardware manufacturer for updated Windows 10 drivers before upgrading.

What’s still in Windows 10?

Long-time Windows power users will find some familiar utilities that are still integrated into the newest version of Microsoft’s operating system.


Run msconfig on Windows 10

msconfig dialog box in Windows 10

The Task Manager:

Task Manager in Windows 10


regedit on Windows 10

And, believe it or not, a holdover from the dark days of DOS/Windows 3.1x.


sysedit still in Windows 10

Missing In Action:

There are a few programs and features that past versions of Windows users may find annoying.  These can be easy replaced or transferred from Windows XP.

Solitaire can be copied and moved.  Spider Solitaire (spider.exe) can be extracted from XP using the same method.

Spider Solitaire from Windows XP running on Windows 10

Spider Solitaire from Windows XP running on Windows 10 (click to enlarge).

The Start Menu will be the biggest disappointment for those moving from XP or 7 to 10.

Windows 10 is a compromise between those who hate Windows 8.x and those who developed the Metro user interface.  The Start Menu is the Metro UI with links to installed programs, apps and functions.

The free solution is to install Classic Shell:

Classic Shell running on Windows 10 (click to enlarge).

Classic Shell running on Windows 10 (click to enlarge).

To remove those ugly short cut arrows from your desktop icons, use Ultimate Windows Tweaker 3.  Although this free software was designed for Windows 8, the registry structure of Windows 10 has changed little since its predecessor.

To create an automatic log in account, use method one.  This will allow you to undo the automatic log in if you should ever change your mind.

 The Bottom Line:

Windows 8.1 users should strongly consider upgrading to Windows 10.

Windows 7 users who are content with their current operating system should not upgrade to Windows 10.  Wait until you need to purchase a new computer before making the switch.

Windows XP users need to buy a new computer as soon as Windows 10 machines become available.

Anyone still running Windows 95, 98, 98SE or ME — what the hell is wrong with you?

Mac users who overpaid for a computer that does less than any other system on the market can rejoice in the fact that they own a useless status symbol.

And finally, Linux users can gloat to their heart’s content since they got it right the first time and don’t have to deal with all of Microsoft’s nonsense!


The New (and Old) Screen Savers Wallpaper

May 28, 2015

The TWiT Webcasting Network premiered The New Screen Savers on May 3rd, 2015 to the delight of geeks everywhere!

The show is partly based on the original ZDTV television program that ran from 1998 until 2005.

The original Screen Savers wallpaper 640x480 (click to enlarge).

The original Screen Savers wallpaper 640×480 (click to enlarge).

The original Screen Savers computer wallpaper was later updated to a more streamlined logo and formatted for newer widescreen monitors.

The old New Screen Savers wallpaper 1920x1080 (click to enlarge).

The old New Screen Savers wallpaper 1920×1080 (click to enlarge).

The new New Screen Savers wallpaper incorporates elements of both previous designs to create a familiar, yet distinctive aesthetic that combines the nostalgia of the old show with TWiT’s own modern take on this classic program.

There are two small problems with this new wallpaper.  First, it’s proportioned for a 4:3 aspect ratio computer monitor.  My computer monitor is 16:9.  So I resized and cropped the image to fit my desktop resolution (1920 x 1080).

The TWiT New Screen Savers green wallpaper 1920x1080 (click to enlarge).

The TWiT New Screen Savers green wallpaper 1920×1080 (click to enlarge).

That’s better, but not really what I wanted.  As they have said on Star Trek several times, “It’s green.”  My desktop theme is predominately blue.

The solution to this second problem is to use a free and open source graphics manipulation program (available for Linux and Windows) called mtPaint.

Once installed, simply launch the program and open the file.  Then go to Effects > Transform Colour:

mtPaint colour tramsformation dialog box

Move the Hue slider right or left until the desired colour is achieved.  Click the OK button and then use Save or Save As from the File menu to complete the project.

The TWiT New Screen Savers blue wallpaper 1920x1080 (click to enlarge).

The TWiT New Screen Savers blue wallpaper 1920×1080 (click to enlarge).

Or perhaps red is more to your liking:

The TWiT New Screen Savers red wallpaper 1920x1080 (click to enlarge).

The TWiT New Screen Savers red wallpaper 1920×1080 (click to enlarge).

No?  Purple then:

The TWiT New Screen Savers purple wallpaper 1920x1080 (click to enlarge).

The TWiT New Screen Savers purple wallpaper 1920×1080 (click to enlarge).

Whichever custom colour you want, mtPaint can create.  It’s not called a Personal Computer (PC) for nothing.

You’re welcome, TWiT fans!

That just leaves one unanswered question:  Which classic ZDTV program will the TWiT Network revive next?

Call For Help Logo

We can only hope.


Running Classic Solitaire On Windows 10

May 12, 2015

Okay, what’s the big deal?

Running the classic Microsoft game Solitaire on Windows 10 requires only two files extracted from any Windows XP installation.

Files needed to run Solitaire on Windows 10

These two files (sol.exe and cards.dll) placed in any folder together on a Windows 10 computer will allow users to play Solitaire.  No installation is needed.  Just double-click on the EXE file and it launches.

Windows 10 in VirtualBox running Solitaire

Windows 10 in VirtualBox running Solitaire (click to enlarge).

Winning Solitaire on Windows 10

Not a big deal!



Can I extract game files from Windows 7 and run them on Windows 10?


Coping the the folders (Minesweeper, Solitaire, SpiderSolitaire) from the Windows 7 directory C: > Program Files > Microsoft Games and running the EXE file within these folders on Windows 10 results in the following error message:

Error message on Windows 10

Extracting game files from Windows XP is the simplest solution.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.