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Lowell Heddings

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

If you are the type of person that dislikes those little site specific icons, then this tip is for you. Favicons can be disabled completely in Firefox with a simple config change.

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The new Safari for Windows is a very slick browser that beats the pants off everything else in the speed department, but it crashes so much on Windows Vista that it’s virtually unusable.

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One of the immediate complaints people have had about the new Safari for Windows beta is how “fuzzy” the fonts seem to look in comparison to Internet Explorer or Firefox. There’s a quick solution to this issue, although only partially, since Safari doesn’t use ClearType on Windows for some odd reason.

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I’ve been having a very frustrating issue with Windows Vista on my HP notebook: I put the computer into sleep mode, close the lid, and then unplug the network cable… and the computer wakes back up, typically when it’s already safely in my laptop bag, so I don’t notice until I get to my destination and the battery is nearly dead.

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A very common task for a web developer is uploading a single file from a subdirectory on your development box to the same subdirectory on a remote server. Unfortunately, this always ends up being an annoying manual process involving switching directories on both servers, and wastes a large amount of time.

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Since moving to Windows Vista, a lot of the keyboard shortcuts that I was used to just don’t work quite the same anymore. As a keyboard junkie, I find it imperative to learn the shortcut keys, so it’s good that there is a quick way to enable underlining of all shortcut keys.

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This isn’t for everyone, but you can enable a mouse mode in Windows 7 or Vista where just hovering over a window with the mouse will switch to that window. In the old days, this used to be called the XWindows mode, and was enabled through TweakUI, but now it’s built right into Control Panel for everybody to use.

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As this site has gained popularity, the time required to keep the site running has also grown. For instance, even though Akismet blocks virtually all of the spam comments, I still have to manually filter through hundreds of spam comments per day to see if any valid comments were blocked.

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Firefox has a spooky feature called “Prefetching” that downloads pages that it thinks you are going to click on. (note: this is a good excuse for how those pages ended up in your history). It’s also a waste of CPU and bandwidth that slows Firefox down.

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The Instant Search box in Outlook 2007 is a huge improvement over previous versions of Outlook, but remembering all the search operators can be a little difficult, so here’s a quick one that I use all the time.

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Windows Vista includes an extremely useful utility called Mobility Center, designed for laptop users to give you lightning quick access to all functions that a mobile user would need.

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So you’re in the middle of doing something important on your computer when the “Restart your computer to finish installing important updates” dialog comes up, and asks you to restart your computer.

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When you administrate servers running Windows Server 2000 or 2003, one of the most frustrating experiences is when sessions get cut off but the server still thinks they are active. You’ll get this error message, which you are sure to encounter at some point:

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If you are running a web application using the original ASP technology on Windows Server 2003, you might get this error message once you upgrade to Service Pack 2: “New transaction cannot enlist in the specified transaction coordinator. [-2147168246]“.

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I’ve received a number of emails asking where we got the sweet black theme for Windows XP in most of the screenshots. It’s the Zune theme from Microsoft, which you can get directly from their download site:

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We’ve all seen misspelled article titles (especially on Digg.com) Doesn’t Firefox have built-in spell checking?

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As a command line junkie, I end up doing almost everything from a command prompt. The problem is that Windows Vista doesn’t have a built-in command to launch an application in administrator mode.

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If you use UltraEdit as your text editor and edit a lot of Linux/Unix files, you’ve no doubt encountered the “File is probably not DOS format” message every single time you open a file. So irritating…

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If you’ve got a directory with dozens of zipped or rar’d files, you can run a single command to unzip them all in one step, thanks to the power of the bash shell.

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You’ve got a production database server, and you can’t enable query logging… so how do you see the queries being executed against the database?

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So you’ve got a bunch of .OGM video files and they won’t play in Windows Vista… relax, you just need to install the right codecs in order to play them from within Windows Media Player.

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If you’ve ever wondered how best to kill a few hours, I have the answer. (Yes, I realize this is completely off-topic)

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Google has just released a new experimental search that lets you navigate through search results using the same shortcut keys as Gmail and Google Reader. The problem is that Firefox’s default search box doesn’t default to it.

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Microsoft’s SQL Server has a tool called Profiler that you can use to monitor every SQL query that hits the database. This is extremely useful for programmers as well as database administrators to troubleshoot the exact queries generated by an application.

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Every Geek uses Gmail… it’s pretty much required. And now you can set Gmail as the default client in Ubuntu without any extra software. (Windows requires the Gmail notifier be installed)

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