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

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

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

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.



Profile Photo for Jason Fitzpatrick Jason Fitzpatrick
Jason Fitzpatrick is the Senior Smart Home Editor at How-To Geek. He has over a decade of experience in publishing and has authored thousands of articles at How-To Geek, Review Geek, LifeSavvy, and Lifehacker. Jason served as Lifehacker's Weekend Editor before he joined How-To Geek.
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