Software Notes for Power Users

Windows, Office, Firefox, others


Startup Programs and Services: To configure startup programs and services, run "msconfig".

Snipping Tool: Screen-capture tool which is great for snipping a portion of screen, available in Windows Vista/7. It is a replacement for the print-screen key, which you have little controls.

Quick Launch Bar: I personally find the Quick-launch Bar (next to the START button) useful.

To add (or restore) quick-launch bar: Right-click on an open area of the taskbar ⇒ Uncheck "Lock the taskbar" ⇒ Again, Right-click on an open area of the taskbar and choose "Toolbars", "New Toolbar". ⇒ In the Folder box: Paste the following path: "%appdata%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch" and click "Select Folder" ⇒ Right-click on the "Quick Launch" dotted lines and uncheck “Show Text” and “Show Title” ⇒ Move it to your desired location ⇒ Check the “Lock the taskbar”.

How to Remove File Associations in Windows 7: Launch Register Editor (regedit), look for key "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts". Find and delete the association.

Windows' Registry: [TODO]

Backing Up Your System: [TODO]


Starting from Windows 7, you can issue shell command to open certain special folders (on explorer) directly from the start menu, or run dialog box, in the form:

// or
explorer shell:folder-name
   // This form can be issued from CMD shell

The frequently-used folders are:

   // Program startup folder for current user 
   //   @ C:\Users\puser\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
shell:common startup
   // Program startup folder for all users
   //   @ C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp
   // Controol Panel
   // Desktop for the current user @ "C:\Users\User-Name\Desktop"
   // Program Files @ "C:\Program Files"
   // Recent items @ "C:\Users\User-Name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent"
// ... more ...

The folder-name is NOT case sensitive (as the Windows common convention). The folder names are listed at registry location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\FolderDescriptions.

Reference: "Windows 7: Shell Command" @

Where is the Program Start up folder for Windows 8? See above note.

"run" Command

Starting from Windows 7, you can issue many commands directly from "run" dialog box, or CMD shell. The common-used are:

// Control Panel
Control Panel: control
Devices and Printers: control printers
Folders Options: control folders
Administrative Tools: control admintools
Task Scheduler: control schedtasks
System Properties: control sysdm.cpl

// Administrative
Group Policy Editor: gpedit.msc
Computer Management: compmgmt.msc
Event Viewer: eventvwr.msc
Local Users and Groups: lusrmgr.msc
Performance Monitor: perfmon.msc
Device Manager: devmgmt.msc
Disk Management: diskmgmt.msc
Services: services.msc
Windows Management Infrastructure: wmimgmt.msc
Registry Editor: regedit or regedt32
Microsoft Management Console: mmc
Resoure Monitor: resmon
System Configuration Utility: msconfig
Task Manager: taskmgr

// Programs
Calculator: calc
Command Prompt: cmd
Notepad: notepad
Snipping Tool: snippingtool 
Windows Explorer: explorer (Windows+E) 
Internet Explorer: iexplore
Windows PowerShell: powershell
Logs out of Windows: logoff

Note: The ".msc" files are knwon as It is the Microsoft Management Console Snap-in Control File, like "services.msc" (Local Services), "devmgmt.msc" (Device Manager). They are opened using Microsoft Management Console ("mmc.exe").

Reference: "A List of Run Commands for Windows 7" @

CMD (Command Prompt) Shortcut Keys

CMD is such as important tool for programmers. It is critical to know the short-cut keys.

// Command History
F3: retrieve last commmand
Up/Down (or F5): retrieve previous commands from the history
F7: list previous commands with command numbers
Alt-F7: clear command history
F8: autofill from the previous commands

// Miscellaneous
ESC: erase current line
Tab: Autofills matching file or folder names in current directory.
     Repeat to cycle through all matching names in current directory.
// Others
F9: Prompts you to "Enter command number" from command history.
F2: Prompts you to copy characters from previously ran command(??)
Windows Logo Shortcut Keys
Windows Key: opens/closes START menu
Windows + D: Desktop (toggle)
Windows + E (or explorer): Explorer
Windows + F: Find (Search)
Windows + L: Locks current Account
Windows + P: Projector
Windows + R: Run
Windows + T: Toggles thru programs in taskbar. Press Enter to open the selected
Ctrl + Windows + T: same as above, but backward

Windows + Left|Right Arrow: Docks/undocks current active window to the left/right side of the screen
Windows + Up|Down Arrow: maximum/restore current active window

Windows + +|-: zoom in/out (via Magnifier)
Windows + =: opens Magnifier
Launch "Local Services"

Type "services.msc" in run or from CMD shell.

How to run as program as Administrator (Command "runas")?
runas /user:administor program-name
   // From "run" or "cmd" 

// For example,
runas /user:root cmd
What is the "Power Shell"?


Process Explorer and Process Monitor

Download from:


Windows Maintenance

Paging: Control Panel ⇒ System ⇒ Advanced System settings ⇒ Advanced ⇒ Performance ⇒ Advanced ⇒ VM ⇒ twice the RAM size.

Defrag Hard Disk: select drive (from explorer) ⇒ right-click ⇒ properties.

Rebuild Index: Control Panel ⇒ Indexing option.

Repair OS and System Files:

// Launch cmd (admin)
> chkdsk /r/f c: 
    // Check Disk
    // /r: (recover) Locates bad sectors and recovers readable information
    // /f: (fix) Fixes errors on the disk
> dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth
    // Check for component store corruption,
    //    records the corruption to the log file,
    //    and FIXES (/restorehealth) the image corruption
    //    using Windows Update (/online).

> sfc /scannow
    // /scannow: Scans the integrity of all protected Windows system files and 
    //    replaces incorrect corrupted, changed/modified, or damaged versions
    //    with the correct versions if possible.


  • DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) is a command-line tool that can be used to service a Windows image or to prepare a Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) image (for Windows 8).
  • SFC (System File Checker).
Shrink a disk for free space

To shrink a disk for free space:

  1. Right-click "Start" button ⇒ Command Prompt (Admin) ⇒ diskmgmt
  2. Right-click the selected disk ⇒ Shrink Volume ⇒ ...
  3. Right-click the unallocated space ⇒ Add volume ⇒ don't assign drive letter ⇒ don't format ⇒ Shown as "RAW" Healthy (Primary Partition)
How to create new LOCAL user account (Windows 10)

Windows 10 Enterprise: Push "Start" button ⇒ Settings ⇒ Accounts ⇒ Other people ⇒ Add someone else to this PC ⇒ Select "I don't have this person's sign-in information" ⇒ "Add a user without a Microsoft account" ⇒ Enter the username/password.

To set user to administrator: Change Account type ⇒ Select "Administrator".

To login using local account: use .\username (where dot refers to the local machine)


Selecting Columns of Texts: Hold the "alt" key, you can use mouse to select columns of texts.

Format Painter: One of the most useful feature for formatting your word documents. Suppose that you wish to apply the same format of a paragraph or a character to another part of the document. Select the texts, push "Format Painter" (at the leftmost "Home" menu), and paste over the texts to be formatted. This is similar to copy/paste but copying the format instead of texts. The "Format Painter" icon looks like copy too and is usually group together with cut/copy/paste icons.

Table Formula: You can use formula such as sum for WinWord's table just like excel. Under "Table Tools" ⇒ Layout ⇒ Data ⇒ Fomula. The columns are named a, b, c, ... from left to right. The rows are named 1, 2, 3, ... from top to bottom. The address of the top-left table cell is a1. For example, sum(a1,a5) returns the sum of cell a1 and a5; sum(a1:b3) returns the sum of cells a1, a2, a3, b1, b2 and b3.

Sytles and Templates: [TODO]


How to locate your Firefox Profile Folder & Technical Information?

From "Firefox" icon ⇒ Help ⇒ Troubleshooting Information ⇒ Profile folder ⇒ Show Folder.

The profile folder can be referenced via environment variable %APPDATA%, i.e., "%APPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\xxxxxx.default".

Spell Check on Form Input Data?

Firefox support on-the-fly spell check on form data input (but form data input only). Right-click on input ⇒ Check Spelling. You can also choose the language dictionary.

To enable Spell Check, goto "Options" ⇒ Advanced ⇒ General ⇒ Browsing ⇒ Check "Check my spelling as I type".

Where is the Psrsonal Dictionary for Spell Check?

The personal dictionary is kept in "persdict.dat" in the profile folder, with one customed word per line.

  • Issue URL "about:config" to view the firefox configuration.
  • Issue URL "about:cache" to view the cache.
  • Issue URL "about:plugins" to view the plugins.
How to set the default page of new tab to blank page?

Type "about:config". Search for "browser.newtab.url" preference and change the url from "about:newtab" to "about:blank". Alternately, you can change it to "about:home" for the Firefox Google home page, or type in your preferred home page.

Adobe Acrobat

How to find out the font used in a PDF document?
  1. Open the PDF document using Adobe Acrobat Professional.
  2. Goto "Tools" menu ⇒ Advanced Editing ⇒ Select "TouchUp Text Tool" ⇒ Select a block of text and highlight selected word ⇒ Right-click to choose "Properties" ⇒ Information on the font will be displayed.

To enable smooth scrolling: View ⇒ Page Display ⇒ Enable Scrolling.

AcuStudio-Conference 6 for Video Recording

You need to run "as administrator" for recording video (to access the devices?!); but you can run as a normal user for editing and publishing video.

One-touch Recording
  1. Setting up:
    1. Start acuStudio-Conference ⇒ Options ⇒ Settings ⇒ Audio/Video Settings (under Recording mode) ⇒ Check "Single Video Input".
    2. Select "Single Video Input" (under Audio/Video Settings) ⇒ Under "Video Source", check "Screen" and choose "Screen Size" ⇒ Under "Audio Source", check "Audio device".
    3. Select "One-touch recording" (under "Recording Mode"), check "Prompt to pause recording" and "Prompt to stop recording" ⇒ Take note of the hot-key: F6 for Start/Pause, F7 for Stop.
    4. To enable one-touch recording, select "Options" menu ⇒ click "One-touch recording".
  2. Recording: Open the ppt slide in full-screen. Press F6 to start recording. A message appears indicating the start of recording. Press F6 again to pause. Press F7 to stop recording.
Normal Recording

(I prefer One-touch Recording. There is no reason to use the normal recording mode?!)

Select the Normal Recording mode: From "Options" menu ⇒ click "Normal Recording".

To start recording: Select "AcuSTUDIO" menu ⇒ click "QuickStart Recording" ⇒ Check "Video" and select "Screen Director..." ⇒ In "Screen Size", select "Screen Size" ⇒ Press the OK button ⇒ To start recording, push the record (red) button ⇒ To stop recording, press Shift-Escape.

Editing Video

Open the video file (.acm) to be edited ⇒ Play the video by pushing the "Preview" button ⇒ Note down the "start time" and "end time" of the video segment to be trimmed away.

Play the video again ⇒ Push the "Trim" button to start trimming, and "Trim" button again to stop trimming ⇒ In the trimming dialog, adjust the start time and end time for trimming ⇒ push the OK button.

Publishing the Video to Blackboard
  1. Login to the Blackboard and select the course ⇒ Tools ⇒ AcuStudio ⇒ AcuStudio starts.
  2. In AcuStudio, open the video file to be published ⇒ File ⇒ Publish ⇒ Network ⇒ Select the destination folder.
  3. In Blackboard, go to the destination folder, "edit" the video to make the video available.


Create an Assignment (Instructor)

In "Assignment" (or any area), Click "Assignments" ⇒ "Assignment". You can provide the description or attach a file. Set the "Point Possible" and "Due Date".

Submit an Assignment (Students)

Prepare the submission in one single file, e.g., Zip-up all source code (.java), or a pdf file.

Go to the "Assignment", open the appropriate assignment ⇒ "Attach" the file ⇒ "Submit". Wait for the online acknowledgement.

Grading Assignment (Instructor)