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From the Tips Box: Harmonizing Dual Boot Boxes, Upgrading Your Canon Camera, and Easy Keyboard Cleaning

Every week we dip into our tips bag to share some handy reader tips with you. This week we’re looking at tips to help you share folders between Linux and Windows installs, upgrading your Canon’s firmware, a simple way to clean your keyboard.

Harmonizing Dual Boot Systems with Symbolic Links

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Fodaro writes in with his experience dual booting Windows and Fedora:

I read your article on harmonizing a Windows/Ubuntu dual-boot setup before I bought a Dell laptop that I was planning to install Ubuntu on. However, when it came I discovered that it already had two other partitions beside the Windows one (a recovery partition, and one that displayed a license agreement), so I fit in a common partition. I thought I’d share my solution with you, in case some other Linux users find it helpful.

First, I set the Windows partition to auto-mount when I booted up, for which I used the ntfs-config package from the Software Centre.

Then I tried modifying .config/user-dirs.dirs as you showed in your article, but it didn’t work for some reason, so instead I deleted some of the folders in my home directory and replaced them with symbolic links. For example, after deleting the Documents folder (after checking that it was empty, of course), I launched terminal in my home directory and typed:

ln -sf “/media/OS/Users/Fodaro/Documents” Documents

This created a link to my Windows documents folder in place of the Documents folder in my home directory. So if a program tries to save or open a file at ~/Documents/hello.txt, it will still work, but Linux will direct it to /media/OS/Users/Fodaro/Documents/hello.txt instead. I repeated this process for some other folders in my home directory, like Pictures, Music, Videos etc., so that all of my data can be kept in one place.

Thanks for writing in Fodaro; we’re sure other readers have found themselves in a similar situation and will benefit from your tip.

Upgrading Your Canon Camera’s Firmware

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Bill writes in with a great tip for Canon camera users:

This website has software (the Canon Hack Development Kit)for a multitude of Canon cameras that gives them features such as;
RAW, Bracketing, Motion Detection to capture lightning.  Best of All its not permanent and free. It goes along well with HDR, Tilt Shift, and RAW photography.

The CHDK is one of the more compelling reasons to opt for a Canon camera over other DSLR brands. If you have a Canon camera that you’d like to squeeze a little more life/better features out of, we can’t recommend hitting up the CHDK wiki enough. It’s amazing what some third-party firmware can do.

Easy Keyboard Cleaning

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Last week we shared a Tips Box submission regarding software you could use to lock your keyboard down. Leon wrote in with his simple no-software-needed solution:

You do not need to download any software to lock you keyboard for cleaning a Windows machine.  Hold down the Windows key and press the L key.  That will lock you keyboard but allow your mouse to work to unlock it.  First turn the keyboard over and jiggle it on the desk top.  Hold it up a couple of inches above the desk and drop it.  It won’t hurt the key board and will dislodge lots of tiny stuff in between the keys.  Then do your wipe down and use the mouse to turn the keyboard back on.

We’ve used the Win+L trick before, but be forewarned that if you’re vigorously wiping down your keyboard with an alcohol wipe or some such thing it *is* possible to mash the right combination of keys to reboot your computer. Not that we’ve, uh, done that before. Looking for a more in depth cleaning session? Check out our guide here.


Have a tip you’re dying to share? Shoot us an email at tips@howtogeek.com and you might just see it on the front page.

 

 

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/2/11

Comments (5)

  1. Sean

    CHDK works on DSLRs now?!

  2. KayDat

    @Sean
    Nope, just a careless mistake on Jason’s behalf. CHDK is primarily for point and shoots. On the other hand, Magic Lantern *does* work on certain Canon DSLRs, and is worth checking out.

  3. Archie

    I’m trying to manually dual boot two hard drives, instead of making a partition on one drive. my two hard drives: One has Windows Vista and the other one has Windows 7. It was done before by Dell Company, but I want to know how to do it myself, where I turn on my computer and I get the choice of which hard drive I want.

    HELP!!!

    Archie

  4. Kaue

    Yeah i was going to point it out… CHDK is only available for canon point and shoots. BUT Slr have the magic lantern firmware wich also adds up some nice spice =D

    http://magiclantern.wikia.com/wiki/Magic_Lantern_Firmware_Wiki

  5. gene

    lots of great stuff, etc. does anyone know of program, procedure, etc, that will bring a minute or two of video off of youtubr or such andput it on a ppslide. a search turns up some but downloading them is no help since there are no instructions on how to use it. thanks gene

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