Windows 10 How to make File Explorer open in ‘This PC’ view

I’ve been playing further with Windows 10 and working on little tricks to get it working how we want it. Many people have been complaining that they now have to click on ‘This PC’ to access network drives etc. So I decided to find a way to make File Explorer open with ‘This PC’ as the default view. Luckily I didn’t have to look to far until I came across this great blog post.

http://libsyn.net/how-to-open-file-explorer-to-this-pc-by-default-in-windows-10/

I have used method 3 with a replace command for a user registry setting in the Domain Group Policy. Now when ever users logon this policy is set and the registry is altered to make File Explorer open in ‘This PC’ view by default. More happy customers and another job ticked off the list!

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Windows 10 Useful Tools – Uninstalling Windows 10 Built-in Apps

I’m currently trialing out Windows 10 in our environment and working out little tricks to get things how we want them. I found that Windows 10 comes with many built-in Apps which we don’t need. So I decided  to find a way to remove them and stubbled across this cool article on HowToGeek.

How to Uninstall Windows 10’s Built-in Apps (and How to Reinstall Them)

What does the end of Windows 2003 mean for you?

What does the end of Windows 2003 mean for you?
On July 14th 2015 Microsoft will officially end support for Windows Server 2003. Many schools and businesses are still using this outdated OS on their servers and with the end of product support I thought I’d write a short blog post to help you understand what this means.

 

windows server 2003 end of life

windows server 2003 end of life

 
Well first of all, I will point out that your servers won’t suddenly stop working. They will continue to work as normal and you won’t notice anything different. Files will be served, logins will be accepted and IP addresses will still be distributed. However this doesn’t mean you can sit back and ignore this important event. After the 14th July you will no longer receive updates from Microsoft. This means your server which is the brains of your IT network/system will be open to vulnerabilities. If someone finds a security hole in Windows Server 2003 then Microsoft will not send you the annoying updates to block the hole and keep your server secure. Plus, if you get an error or bug in any of your applications running on Server 2003 or even in Windows itself, you will not be supported! So if you decide to ignore this and continue running Server 2003 your whole system will become vulnerable and open to attacks/viruses/security issues and bugs/errors. Is it worth ignoring this and risking it? No!

What next? Unfortunately most servers running Windows 2003 have old server specs and won’t run Windows 2012 Server (the latest version) or at least won’t run it to its full potential. So the answer is to purchase a new server. This also means the fancy migration tools that are built in to windows server 2012 can be used to Migrate all your settings, files etc. If you are in the UK and would like a quote for a new server please get in touch. Plus if you are based in Leicestershire or surrounding areas we can quote for a full install!

Managing Google Chrome via Group Policy and creating a Chromebook style Windows Laptop

Over the last few days I’ve been working at turning an old laptop into a Chromebook style laptop. Obviously its not a 100% chrome OS but I feel I’ve managed to achieve the best of both worlds. So here is a brief description of what I’ve done.

First I installed a fresh copy of Windows 8.1 onto the laptop and connected it up to my Domain. I then put the laptop into a new org unit on my Domain for testing and created a new group policy object in the org unit. Before I can use the group policy with Chrome I had to install the Chrome group policy templates. These are available from the site below along with a list, description and examples of all the policies you can set.

https://www.chromium.org/administrators/policy-list-3

After I’d installed the policies I opened up the group policy and set up the computer configuration to install Chrome via MSI (available here) and then setup my computer policy. How you set the policy depends on how you want it to work but I included things like

  • start up pages
  • enforcing safe modes
  • preventing developer tools
  • setting Ephemeral profile (forces chrome to log out on browser close)
  • hiding the web store
  • preventing incognito mode
  • restrict chrome to only my google apps domain users
  • forcing extension installs (more help on gathering update url for this here)

I then created a new user and a group policy for the user where I set the user configuration to lock down the windows laptop including preventing access to control panel, locking taskbars etc.

Finally I setup the laptop to auto logon as the new domain user and told chrome to automatically start on logon.

Now I have a laptop which is locked down, loads up quickly, auto loads chrome, sets chrome restrictions and then when a user has finished using Chrome they are auto logged out upon browser close. This can also be further enhanced by using Google Apps and setting the Chrome User Settings for different org units within your Google Apps Domain. Then each user will receive their own apps upon logon to chrome and access to their own Drive, Email etc etc.

Although this is only a brief explanation I hope it gives you an idea and points you in the direction of turning old laptops into chromebook style machines in your environment.

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Thanks

AirServer Review. Apple TV Airplay Alternative

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Following on from my Reflector Review I decided to spend the last few weeks trialling out Airserver on the PC. Airserver is another true alternative to Apple TV and in education where you don’t need the extra apps found on the Apple TV then it’s also a much cheaper option.

Installation
The installation process for Airserver is fairly simple but it does need iTunes or Bonjour installing first. This obviously means it uses some of these features to connect. After the installation you need to enter your activation code (you can get a 7 day free trial) and then it asks if you want all users to have access to the software. Selecting yes means who ever logs onto the machine can easily connect their iOS device. A bonus feature of Airserver is that it installs as a service. This means it can run from windows boot allowing it to be always ready for a connection.

Connecting the iPad
Connection the iPad to Airserver works in exactly the same way as if you are using a normal Apple TV. A quick flick up at the bottom of the iPad and you’ll find your computer name in the list under Airplay. Mirroring also works in the same way by selecting it under the computer name.

Video and Sound
Just like a normal Apple TV, Airserver outputs up to full 1080p HD video and 5.1 surround sound. What you actually gets does depend on your computer system and what app/video you are playing on the iPad. I’ve not had any lag issues with Airserver and if you have a slow network there is a an option to allow for this in the settings ensuring the connection doesn’t drop.

Other Features
Airserver works by displaying the iPad in a normal window. This means you can resize the output to fit with your work. Airserver also allows your to connect multiple iPads at one time. Airserver doesn’t have any recording features built in, however there are many free programs on the Internet allowing you to do this.

To find out more visit the Airserver website here.

Transferring Photos and Videos from Computer to iPad, iPad to iPad, iPad to Computer using SimplTransfer. How To?

Today a teacher asked how she could get a video file from her computer to the class iPads. You may think just use YouTube but due to the age of the children the school filters YouTube for her class.
So here we go.

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1. First you’ll need a free app called SimplTransfer. You can upgrade this via in app purchase to get more features or to support the developer.

2. Now you need to load the app. On first load it will ask you to allow access to photos and videos. Accept this otherwise the app won’t work. You should now be presented with a screen like this.

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3. If you want to transfer between computer and ipad please read on otherwise goto step 6 for using it between iPad and iPad or iPhone. Leave the app open and running. On the computer you need to open you web browser.

4. In the address bar type the web site address given to you on the iPad screen. It will be something like http://000.000.000.000 (the 0s will be numbers relating to your device . Tell the browser to go.

5a. Now you will be browsing your photos and videos from the iPad on your computer screen. To upload a video or photo to the iPad press the upload button on the top left. Browse to your photo/video and open it. It will now be uploaded to your iPad and saved in the camera roll. If you upgrade the app you can upload to any album or create a new album to upload to on the iPad by selecting them from the dropdown menu to the right of the upload button.
5b. To download click into the photos and find the one you want. You can select more than one by clicking the selection box below a photo or you can select all by pressing the select all button in the top left corner. Once you have selected the photos/videos click the download button at the top left.

6. That’s it for transferring between computer and iPad. If you want to transfer between iPad and iPad or iPhone then read on. First you will need the app open and running on each device. Now at the bottom select device.

7. You will get a new screen on the iPad allowing you to select a device from a list. Press the device you want to transfer to.

8. Now you will need to select an album where the photo/video is stored. In the free version you can only send the top 50 items from an album so if your photo is number 51 or above you will need to create a new album in the photo app and add your video/photo to it. Alternatively you can purchase the upgrade.

9. After touching an album you will see all the photos and videos in the album. Touch each photo/video you wish to transfer.

10. Now press send at the bottom left and all the photos/videos you have selected will be transferred to the other device.

11. Job done, good luck transferring photos and videos between devices.

If you like this how to please follow me to keep updated with other how to’s and technology news.

How to stop bing.com popping up when you connect to a network

Over the last few weeks a few people on our network have been getting bing.com popping up whenever they connect to our network. This has been getting very annoying for them so this week I decided to sort it out. It was amazing how simple it was. Basically you need to make a small registry change. As always making registry changes could harm your computer if you change the wrong settings, so proceed with caution. Ok disclaimer out of the way now how to make the change.

1. Goto start and type in ‘regedit’. ( Windows 8 press ‘Windows Key & R’)
2. In the registry editor navigate to ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\NlaSvc\Parameters\Internet\’
3. Now find the key ‘EnableActiveProbing’
4. Right click on the key and select ‘Modify’
5. Change the value from 1 to 0.
6. Press ‘OK’ and close the registry editor.

Your problem should now be solved. This registry key can also be updated via group policy if you wish to set it across your network.

How To Downgrade/Remove Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 7

A common problem at the moment seems to be users machines getting automatically updated to Internet Explorer 10 and this is causing them many compatibility issues. So here is a quick guide on how solve this problem.

1. Goto Start and type programs into the search box. You may get a few options being found but the option you require is under control panel and says programs and features. Click it.

startmenuprograms

2. You should now have the programs and features screen allowing you to remove unwanted programs. On the left hand side click ‘View Installed updates’.

3. After the screen has refreshed (this may take a while depending on the amount of updates) scroll down and find ‘Windows Internet Explorer 10’ under the heading ‘Microsoft Windows’.
uninstallie10

4. Click on ‘Windows Internet Explorer 10’ and click ‘uninstall’ at the top of the screen. Click ‘Yes’ to accept the uninstall.

5. You will then receive a message telling you the update is being uninstalled. After the uninstall is complete you will be asked to restart. Click ‘Restart’.
uninstallmessage

6. After the restart when your machine loads back up you will now have your previous version of internet explorer.

7. If your updates are set to automatic you will now need to prevent Internet Explorer 10 from installing again when your computer next checks for updates. To do this go to Start and type ‘windows update’ into the search box.

8. In the list that appears click ‘Windows Update’.

9. On the next screen on the left hand side click ‘Change Settings’.

10. Under the heading ‘Important Updates’ change the dropdown box to say ‘Download updates but let me choose whether to install them’. Click ‘Ok’.

11. Now you need to hide this update from your computer. Follow the link below for a step by step guide on how to do this.
http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/24376-windows-update-hide-restore-hidden-updates.html

12. If you wish your updates to come through automatically again follow steps 7 through to 10 above but this time change the dropdown box to ‘Download and Install updates’.

Good Luck

Using Apple TV with a Windows Tablet and AirParrot

This week I tasked myself with displaying a Windows 8 tablet on a projector wirelessly. The only problem I had was no money or time to buy anything new and very old projectors. Then I thought to myself I wonder if I could use the Apple TV in the Heads Office to wirelessly connect using Airplay.

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So a quick google search leads me to a piece of software called AirParrot. The first thing to note this software does cost money but you can download a free trial. The free trial gives you 20 mins of airplay time before closing. You then have to open the program again to get a further 20 mins.

After a quick download and install I was ready to give it a try. The program sits in your task bar and when you need to connect you just right click the little AirParrot icon and select the Apple TV you wish to connect to. A few seconds later and bang your windows screen is on your projector via Apple TV. It even lets you connect to an Apple TV which is pass code protected.

To be honest I was very surprised when I started trying different metro apps and programs. I was able to draw on the screen in Fresh Paint and it replicated on the projector without lag. I also tried watching videos and again no lag.

AirParrot also has tools to allow you to alter frame rate etc to improve performance if you do have trouble.

So if you don’t have a modern projector or TV with wireless then this bit of software with an Apple TV may help you out.

Mac OS X Mountain Lion 10.8 – Installing Boot Camp Windows 7

Today I setup a Mac for the first time with Boot camp and installed Windows 7 Pro. The process is fairly straightforward but I did hit a few stumbling blocks along the way. The main reason for this was because the documentation I was using was old and missed out some extra steps. So here is what I did.

1. First I ran the Mac Boot Camp Assistant. This helps guide you through the process of putting Boot Camp onto the Mac and installing Windows. The first screen you are presented with is shown below. Click Continue.

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 15.52.02

2. I was then presented with the screen below. I selected the middle option to download the drivers etc to USB for Windows.

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 15.52.25

3. The download screen then appeared and after a while I had the Windows Support Software on my USB.

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 15.59.34

4. Now I ran the Boot Camp Assistant again and this time at the selection screen I selected the bottom option to install boot camp and Windows 7. I needed to make sure I had the windows disc in the DVD drive before I started this process.

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 15.52.25

5. The next screen is to arrange your partition sizes. Just drag the little dot in between the mac and windows drives to set your size. I went with 32GB for the Windows partition as I didn’t need it to do much. Click install and your partitions will be created.

boot20camp20partition20-271492

6. After the partitions have been created the mac will reboot and start the Windows install process.windows 7 install now

7. Work your way through the Windows install wizard. First select your language and region options.

windows 7 select lang

8. Click install now and agree to the terms. Now you need to select the custom install option.

custom

9. Next you are presented with the partition selection screen. Here you select the partition that was earlier created by Boot Camp. It will normally be the bottom partition and have the words BOOTCAMP in the name.

windows Bootcamp partition

10. You will need to format this partition making it an NTFS partition so windows can be installed. Click Drive Options to find the Format tool. Make sure the BOOTCAMP partition is selected before you do this.

windows Bootcamp partition format

11. After clicking OK your drive will be formatted. Finally click next and let windows install.

windows 7 installing

12. When the install is completed you will need to enter a username, computer name and password. Eventually you will be loaded into Windows.

13. Now you need to install the Boot Camp Windows Support Software from the USB you created earlier. Insert your USB drive and browse to the Boot Camp Folder. Double Click Setup and click Yes if prompted with a User Account Control window.

win 7 bootcamp installer setup

14. You will now see the Boot Camp Windows Support Software installer. Click Next and accept the agreement. The installer will now setup windows to use your Mac’s hardware correctly and install the Boot Camp Control Panel.

15. After a restart you will have Windows working on your Mac.

HINT: To be able to switch between OSX and Windows on startup hold down the ‘Option Key’ while the machine boots and use the arrow keys to select OSX or Windows.

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