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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.

The start page for Visual Studio 2003 shows only the last 4 projects by default. How that is supposed to make sense is beyond me. The Recent Files and Recent Projects list on the File menu are also extremely limited.

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Visual Studio 2005 includes a great feature that they call Incremental Search, but I like to call “find as you type”, because that’s really what it does.

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The Disk Defragment utility in Windows XP does not include a way to defragment all hard drives at the same time, which is inconvienient when you have more than one hard drive in your computer.

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Visual Studio 2005 has a new feature that lets you automatically save your projects and recover them when the IDE crashes. If you’ve done a lot of programming in Visual Studio, you’ll know that it tends to crash at just the wrong time.

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Ubuntu by default uses the Gnome user interface. Fluxbox is an alternative window manager for Ubuntu that is extremely lightweight and customizable.

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Ubuntu by default includes the Gnome desktop environment, but it’s easy enough to install another window manager. We’ve already covered installing KDE (Kubuntu) on Ubuntu in a prior article.

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The Ubuntu default desktop uses the Gnome window manager, which can be a difficult transition for Windows users. The KDE desktop would be a lot more familiar to Windows users, as KDE has something comparable to the start menu.

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If you are a PocoMail user, you may be irritated by the blinking tray icon that shows up even when there are no new messages in your inbox.

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If you are using Outlook 2003 with a Microsoft Exchange server for your email, typically in a corporate environment, you may be interested to know that you can encrypt all network communications between the Outlook client and the server, to protect against potential hackers sniffing out your email traffic.

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Outlook doesn’t give you an option to export the Exchange Global Address list to any format. You don’t even have the option to sort while searching, which drives me crazy.. If I want to see who works in the Houston office, I don’t want to have to go through the entire list.

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Note: This article is was for the prior version of Analytics

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Note: This article is was for the prior version of Analytics

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I find it very annoying when I go home from work and plug my laptop into my external hard drive… The autoplay window always pops up and asks me what I want to do with the files, which may be fine the first time, but definitely isn’t after a year of that.

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Ubuntu will automatically launch a CD burning tool when you insert a blank data cd or dvd. This can sometimes interfere with something else you are doing right at that moment.

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Ubuntu automatically starts playing audio or video discs when you put them into your computer. If you don’t want this behavior, you can easily turn this off.

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Ubuntu has a cool feature that lets you click and drag a window by clicking anywhere in the window as long as you are holding down either the Control, Alt, or “Win” key while you are dragging.

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When you logout of your computer, Ubuntu can keep track of all the windows that you have opened, and reopen them when you log back in. This is really useful when you always have the same windows open in the same desktops.

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If your Windows XP installation forces you to login every time you reboot, you can automate the login process easily so that you won’t have to login again.

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Ubuntu has a simple way to configure the default browser and mail client. Of course, Firefox is the default application for web browsing, so you shouldn’t ever need to use this screen, but if you insist, here’s how to do it.

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How many times have you been right in the middle of doing a thousand things on your computer and your friend or significant other wants to use the computer to look something up? You are worried that they are going to close the entire browser session when they are done, cause they don’t know what they are doing and won’t just close the tab.

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Since upgrading to XP SP2 a long time ago, I constantly get nagged by a popup message that tells me my computer might be at risk because I don’t have an antivirus software installed. Here’s how to turn off that annoying message.

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When you are using a laptop with Ubuntu, you will probably see a battery icon near the clock, or a power plug icon if you have it plugged in:

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Displays that constantly turn off drive me crazy. I like to be able to walk by my computer and immediately see what is on the screen without it turning blank. Thankfully Ubuntu provides a way to easily configure this setting.

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Enabling remote desktop mode is extremely easy on Ubuntu since Dapper. You can allow other users to access your desktop using the VNC Viewer utility that is bundled with Ubuntu, or offered as a free download for Windows.

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When you have automated backup jobs running on your database server, sometimes you forget that they are even running. Then you forget to check to see if they are running successfully, and don’t realize until your database crashes and you can’t restore it since you don’t have a current backup.

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