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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tips for Securing Your Wireless Network

Wireless security

1. Set a Router Password

Failing to set or change the default password of your wireless router or access point is probably one of the most common security holes in home networks. The reason is that even if you take all the other suggested steps with SSID, WEP and WPA settings, wireless transmission of data is not 100% secure. If someone succeeds in accessing your network, the security settings in the router cannot be changed without access to the menus. Changing the password helps prevent someone from granting themselves access to your network, changing your router settings, or worst-case, locking you out of your own equipment.

Wifi router

While most routers and access points require configuring the device through a physical cable connection, some will allow you access to the setup menus through the wireless connection. For this reason, you should make it a point to change both the name (SSID) and password for your router as your first order of business.

2. Change the SSID - (Service Set IDentifier)
Many Operating systems and client applications give you some way to browse available wireless networks. Changing the SSID from the manufacturer's default makes it slightly more difficult to determine "known" information about the router (like its capabilities or default passwords.) But if a router is configured not to broadcast the SSID, then a casual passerby will not be able to connect without manually configuring their client settings. This means they either have to monitor wireless activity and capture network packets to analyze, or know the SSID in advance.

When the SSID broadcast feature is disabled on a router, the list of available wireless networks (on the client) will not display it in the list. To access a wireless network router that has the SSID "hidden" you must create a connection setting that has the SSID entered manually. To do this under Windows XP, click on the option to "Change Advanced Settings" in the Wireless Connection Wizard. From here you can add a new connection, specify the SSID (as it was entered in your router) and specify other settings required for the connection such as WEP and the associated encryption keys.

Changing the name (SSID) helps identify your specific network, which can be useful if there are multiple Wireless networks in your business or immediate neighborhood. Hiding the SSID won't keep "them" out, but it will slow "them" down.

3. Turn On Encryption:

WEP - Wired Equivalent Privacy
Security encryption provides a good layer of you can enable for your wireless network is WEP encryption. Although WEP encrypts your data, people using special network utilities may be able to collect enough information to identify the WEP key that is in use. Once they have the SSID and WEP key, then they can access the network. Like the SSID, WEP won't prevent a determined hacker from accessing your network, but it will prevent or discourage the casual "war drivers" and neighbors.

Choices for WEP security may be presented in several ways, but the core features work out to: no encryption, 64-bit encryption or 128-bit encryption. (Microsoft and some of the wireless vendors may describe this as 40 bit and 104 bit encryption.)

WEP encryption codes can be entered as a hexadecimal string (numbers 0-9 letters a-f), or generated with a text-based pass-phrase. (The pass-phrase is used to create the hexadecimal string.) If the method to generate the string is not consistent between your different clients, you may need to copy or manually enter the resulting hexadecimal string from one device, and then paste or manually enter it into the rest of the network configuration boxes.

The Wireless Networking Wizard that is part of Windows XP Service Pack 2 includes a method of saving this configuration detail to a USB flash drive (or other storage media) to transfer the necessary settings to other XP SP2 systems.

WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access)
Some routers and clients may support enhanced security features that are stronger than WEP encryption. WPA automatically rotates or changes the encryption key, making it more difficult for eavesdroppers to determine the codes necessary to access your network. All of your devices must support the feature to be able to take advantage of this, so check your documentation. If you are using equipment from assorted manufacturers, and one piece does not support WPA, then you must decide whether to use WPA - but not with that adapter, or not to use WPA on your network.

4. Use MAC (Media Access Control) address filtering
Most routers support this feature. To determine the hardware (MAC) address for your wireless network adapter, examine the details of your wireless adapter properties or use the text IP configuration utility with the /ALL switch (IPCONFIG /ALL). You can manually enter this address into a client list through the router's setup menus. Once a list of your known adapters has been entered and the MAC filtering feature is active, only devices with these addresses will have access to the router. Again, there are ways around this, but only if the hacker is really determined to get into your equipment.

MAC filtering must be enabled in the router or access point. Once this has been done, there should be a section to select or enter the MAC Address of the wireless client that you want to have access on the network. Devices that are not in the MAC address list will not be able to connect to the network.

The MAC address for your adapter can be found on a label on the adapter itself in most cases, although if this is a wireless adapter built-in to a notebook computer, you will find it easier to just check the network connection status. To do this, open your Network Connections, either from the Control Panel or by right clicking on "My Network Places" and selecting "Properties". Double click on your wireless connection icon to open the status window. Click the "Details" button to display the current configuration details and the MAC address (Physical Address) at the top of the list.

Most routers will allow you to add MAC address from a list of devices that have recently connected to the router. Verify that the MAC address you select is the one that matches your client computer.

5. Other Network Security
Hiding the SSID, using WEP, WPA and MAC Address filtering are all features of Wireless Networking; In addition to these, you should take general Internet and networking security precautions as well. Standard security measures would include Virus Scanning, Firewalls, and restricting your resources being shared.

[caption id="attachment_218" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Antivirus applications like ESET NOD32 can catch individual threats as they get downloaded to your system."]ESET NOD32 program[/caption]

Virus Scanning
Virus scanners with current definition files will generally scan any file or attachment that gets saved to your computer. Most Anti-Virus programs scan the files as they arrive, even in the background, blocking or deleting threats before they can infect your system. When sharing your hard drive or directory on the network, most will detect infected files as they arrive, even from "trusted" users on the network.

[caption id="attachment_219" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Malware programs can bypass your antivirus application if the bad guys trick you into installing something. Like antivirus apps, anti-malware apps can be used to keep your system clear of threats."]Malwarebytes[/caption]

Unlike viruses, malware can bypass your firewall and even antivirus security because many of these threats are "invited in" by the user. Malware (malicious software) can take several forms, including key-loggers, anti-malware apps, addware, and spyware, just to name some of the more common ones. There has always been a risk to specific programs or browsers, and some malware can target these to attack systems across multiple platforms.

Keep in mind, that any system, Macintosh, PC, or Linux can be infected. Linux is reasonably secure, only because there are so many different versions and implementations available, making it difficult to consturct a program to attack your specific OS. This does not make it invunerable, just less likely to be on the receiving end of most malware.

[caption id="attachment_220" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="A fake security application shows up after users are tricked into installing it - on a Macintosh."]Malware example[/caption]

Macintosh likewise enjoyed a similar status, being based on Unix, and having a much smaller market share. But that has been changing, and we have seen more malware and viruses both on this platform.

Firewalls are software that monitor and block suspicious network activity. Windows XP has a basic firewall that can be enabled for any network connection, including Wireless connections. Starting with Service Pack 2, a more robust version that allows you more configuration options is installed. Vista and Windows 7 both have more aggressive firewalls than XP.

The main feature of the Windows Firewall is to block external threats from accessing your computer over your network. Third party Firewalls can expand on the features to monitor activity generated by the various programs on your computer, alerting you to suspicious behavior as it occurs. This has the advantage of detecting (and blocking) Spyware and Adware types of software, that are attempting to report your activity or sending personal information out to the Internet.

Resource Sharing
As with any network, you can share printers and files on the network. But without some sort of security, anyone connecting to your network can access these resources. For this reason, sharing your files on the network can be a risk to either privacy or the security of the system itself.

If you share your C: drive for example, you are allowing people on the network access to all of the files on the drive, and not just ones that might be in your pictures or documents folder. There would be network access open to your system files, to the hidden boot files, and to your programs and data files as well.

If an unknown someone were to alter or delete one of the critical system files, it is possible that your system would not be able to start the next time you power on. If a program directory were deleted, that application would have to be re-installed before you could use it again. And if you lose the only copy of your report or thesis paper, you could be out of luck in more ways than one.

What can you do to prevent this type of issue? The easiest way to avoid problems like this is not to share printers and files on the network, but if you need to do so, only share the folder that contains files that you want others to be able to access. In simple terms, share individual folders and not drives.

You can also restrict access to files that are being shared by creating a read-only share. When you share a folder, one of the options is to "Allow others to make changes to the files." By leaving this check box blank, others can access your shared folder and the files you place inside, but they cannot delete or change the files themselves.

If you want to get really paranoid under Windows XP Professional (sorry, not supported with the Home version), or you just like the level of control that was standard in Windows NT or Windows 2000, then turn off "Simple File Sharing" under the folder options. When this feature is disabled, you can set security and access permissions for folders or individual files. Additional levels of security can be set, allowing you to allow one user read-only access, and another full-modification access. You can prevent the folder directory from being shown, but allow access to a file if they know the name.

To enable or disable simple file sharing under Windows XP, open My Computer, select "Folder Options" from the Tools menu, select the "View" tab and scroll to the bottom of the checkmark list. To be able to grant permissions to a specific user, you will have to add users from "User Accounts" in the control panel. If you get thoroughly confused after looking at this, change it back by replacing the check mark next to "Use Simple File Sharing".

How to Change Windows Update Notifications from ESET

ESET NOD32 notifies users when Windows updates are available alongside updating its own virus signature database. This guide will walk you through how to change which level of Windows updates ESET will notify you about.

  1. Open the ESET software by clicking Start » All Programs » ESET Folder » ESET NOD32 Antivirus folder » ESET NOD32 Antivirus.

    Open ESET NOD32 program
  2. Press the F5 key to open the Advanced options window.
  3. Select System Updates on the left.

    System updates
  4. From the dropdown menu, select the level of updates you wish to be notified about. These notifications are regarding Windows updates. ESET will still continue to update automatically.

    System update options
  5. Click OK and close the ESET window.

The Quetzalcoatl CaseMod, Part 3

Part 3: Hinged side panels
For the Quetzalcoatl mod, I wanted sloped panels to create a pyramid shape under the head of the feathered serpent cap. To keep the weight down, I used sheets of PVC plastic for the extended side panels, but had to come up with a way to angle the sides uniformly, and to have enough strength to hold up to handling. If I made them stationary, it might make it difficult to access the inside for wiring, lighting, or other purposes. I came up with the idea to hinge the panels, using a strip of continuous piano hinge along the bottom.

Side panel support

A section of piano hinge is cut to the length of the panel, centering the holes as best possible. Angle brackets are riveted to the hinge first. This sets the spacing of the brackets along the panel. Next, mark the holes of where the brackets line up on the panel, and drill holes for rivets. Anchor to the bracket and hinge assembly to the panel with more rivets. (I used pop rivets, and then flattened them with a hammer and anvil to make them extra tight and a lower profile.)

With the hinges anchored to the sides and front, panels of PVC plastic were then riveted to the sections of piano hinge. The hinge creates an adjustable angle between the base and the sides of the case and allows a way to gain access into the cavity as needed. Two sheet metal screws anchor the top of the plastic sheet to the side panels of the case.

Side panel hinges

To allow air flow into the front and sides of the case, I used some pierced sheet metal and pop-riveted it to the brackets and any unused hinge holes along the bottom edges. The pierced sheet is attached in sections so either of the case side panels can be removed for interior access; only the front section is riveted to the case itself.

Front panel modification

Where the angled PVC side panels are attached to the case's panels and can be removed, screws hold the PVC securely to the metal side panel. The front panel is also hinged, but is not removable. Two magnets are hot-glued to the inside of the PVC to keep this panel in place when closed.

Screen placed on top of case

The top of the case has a new radiator fan hole that will need to be able to exhaust the heat somehow. This means an open chamber must be made underneath the head of the feathered serpent. I used pop-rivets to anchor a thin PVC plastic sheet in a curved shell, leaving the back open to vent hot air from the top fan. Over this, I formed a piece of steel hardware cloth, folding the edges under.

Two pieces of adhesive-backed hook-and-loop Velcro hold the hardware cloth to the plastic shell. The self-stick Velcro can be held temporarily in place against the screen, but will pull off the first time the screen is removed. To secure the Velcro more permanently, I added a layer of hot glue right through the mesh onto to the sticky side of the tape.

Water cooling

Open side panel

With the basic foundation complete, all of the components are installed in the case, including the CPU and hard drive cooling blocks, and the two radiators and pump are attached to the case.

New water cooling system

Hoses were cut to move water from the radiator to the CPU block, from the block to the pump, to the hard drive cooler, and then into the radiators again. While almost any order could have been used, this flow should move the cooled water from the radiator across the CPU first, before being pushed on to the hard drives and back into the radiators. A fill-port reservoir was attached outside on the rear of the case, and the hose connected with a "Y" splitter just before the pump's intake.

I connected a drain hose to the lower radiator hose using another "Y" adapter and an aquarium hose valve to easily drain the system if needed. After adding some water and coolant to the reservoir, I used an external power supply to run the pump to check for leaks and to remove as much air from the system as possible.

Next time: Packing foam

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How to Create a Chart in Microsoft Word 2010

Even though Microsoft Word is not designed to manipulate data like Microsoft Excel, you still have the ability to create data chart within a document. This guide will walk-through how to build a chart
using Microsoft Word 2010.

  1. Open Microsoft Word 2010 by clicking Start » All Programs » Microsoft Office » Microsoft Word 2010.

    Open Microsoft Word
  2. Click the Insert tab across the top of the page.

    Insert menu
  3. Click the Chart button.

    Chart button
  4. Select the type of chart on the left.

    Type of chart
  5. Select the style of the chart and click OK.

    Select chart type
  6. Fill out the desired data in the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

    Enter data
  7. Close the Excel Spreadsheet to complete the chart.

  8. Continue creating and save the document.

Windows 7 File Sharing Essentials

You can share files and folders in several different ways. Windows provides two methods for sharing files from your computer, you can share files from any folder on your computer, or from the Public folder. Which method you use depends on where you want to store the shared folders, who you want to share them with, and how much control you want to have over the files. Either method allows you to share files or folders with someone using your computer or another computer on the same network.

Which sharing method to use
There are several factors to consider when deciding whether to share files from any folder or from the Public folder.

Use any folder for sharing if:

  • You prefer to share folders directly from the location where they are stored (typically in your Documents, Pictures, or Music folders) and want to avoid storing them in your Public folder.

  • You want to be able to able to set sharing permissions for individuals rather than everyone on your network, giving some people more or less access (or no access at all).

  • You share a lot of digital pictures, music, or other large files that would be cumbersome to copy to a separate shared folder. You might not want these files taking up space in two different locations on your computer.

  • You frequently create new files or update files that you want to share and don't want to bother copying them to your Public folder.

Use the Public folder for sharing if:

  • You prefer the simplicity of sharing your files and folders from a single location on your computer.

  • You want to be able to quickly see everything you have shared with others, just by looking in your Public folder.

  • You want everything you are sharing kept separate from your own Documents, Music, and Pictures folders.

  • You want to set sharing permissions for everyone on your network and don't need to set sharing permissions for

  • You want all users of your computer to have access to the files without getting involved in network settings.

Share files from any folder on your computer
Follow these steps to share files from their current location without copying them to another location. Using this method, you can choose the people with whom you want to share files, regardless of whether they use this computer or another computer on the network.

Locate the folder with the files you want to share.

Click one or more files or folders that you want to share, and then, on the toolbar, click Share.

In the File Sharing dialog box, do one of the following:

  • Type the name of the person you want to share files with, and then click Add.

  • Click the arrow to the right of the text box, click the person's name in the list, and then click Add.

  • If you don't see the name of the person you want to share files with in the list, click the arrow to the right of the text box, and then click "Create a new user" to create a new user account so that you can share files with the person using this account.

The name of the person or group that you selected appears in the list of people you want to share files with.

  • Note: If password protection is turned on for your computer, the person you are sharing with must have a user account and password on your computer in order to access the files and folders you are sharing. You can turn password protection on or off in the Network and Sharing Center.

Under Permission Level, click the arrow next to each person or group and select sharing permissions:

  • A Reader can view shared files, but not add, alter, or delete them.

  • A Contributor can view or add shared files, but can only alter or delete files he or she has contributed.

  • A Co-owner can view, add, alter or delete any shared file.

  • Note: If you are sharing a file instead of a folder, there is no option to set the permission level to Contributor.

When you are finished choosing the people or groups you want to share files with, click Share. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

After you receive confirmation that your folder is shared, you should send a link to your shared files to the people you are sharing them with, so they know the files are shared and how to access them. Do one of the following:

  • Click e-mail to automatically open a Windows Mail e-mail message containing the link to your shared files.

  • Click copy to automatically copy the link displayed on this screen to the Windows Clipboard. Then open a new e-mail message and paste the link into the message.

  • Manually copy and paste the link displayed on this screen into an e-mail message. Right-click the link and click Copy Link. Then open a new e-mail message and paste the link into the message. You might want to do this if you don't use Windows Mail as your e-mail program.

  • Note: If you change the name of a file or folder after you have shared it with someone, the previous link you sent them will not work. You should send them a link to the new location instead. An easy way to get this link is to share the file or folder by following the preceding steps.

If you don't want to send an e-mail message to the person you are sharing files with, click Done. They won't be able to find the shared files, however, until you give them the network location of the files.

Share files from the Public folder
When you share files from the Public folder, you don't share them with specific people. Anyone with a user account on this computer can access the Public folder, but you decide whether to allow access to people on your network. You can only grant access to everyone or no one on the network.

You can also turn on password-protected sharing. This limits network access to the Public folder to only those people with a user account and password on your computer. By default, network access to the Public folder is turned off unless you enable it.

To share files from the public folder:

  • Copy or move whichever files you want to share to the Public folder or one of its subfolders, such as Public Documents or Public Music.

Your files in the Public folder are now shared with anyone who has access to the Public folder.

What are permissions?

Permissions are rules associated with objects on a computer or network, such as files and folders. Permissions determine if you can access an object and what you can do with it. For example, you might have access to a document on a shared folder on a network but only be able to read the document and not make changes to it. System administrators and users with administrator accounts on computers can assign permissions to individual users or groups.

The following table lists the permission levels that are typically available for files and folders.

Permission level: Description:
Full controlUsers can see the contents of a file or folder, change existing
files and folders, create new files and folders, and run programs in a folder.
ModifyUsers can change existing files and folders but cannot create
new ones.
Read & executeUsers can see the contents of existing files and folders and
can run programs in a folder.
ReadUsers can see the contents of a folder and open files and
WriteUsers can create new files and folders and make changes to
existing files and folders.


  • You can't restrict access to some individual files and folders within the Public Folder but allow access to other files and folders there. If users have access to the Public folder, they will have access to everything in it.

  • Security permissions can only be viewed or set from Safe Mode under Windows XP Home.

  • You may need to disable "Simple File Sharing" in the file options to access security from the file properties menus.

  • When you share files and folders with people using other computers, they can open and view those files and folders just as if they were stored on their own computers. Any changes you allow them to make to a shared file or folder will change the file or folder on your computer. However, you can restrict people to just viewing your shared files, without the ability to change them.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How to Roll Back Drivers in Windows 7

This is a how-to article on rolling back device driver updates in Windows 7. This can be useful if there is a device driver update that causes issues with the system.

  1. Click on the Start button in the bottom left, then right-click on Computer and select Properties.

    Open computer panel
  2. On the new System window, click on Device Manager in the top left.

    Device Manager
  3. Locate the device on the list. In this case, the graphics card will be used.

    Choose device
  4. Right-click on the device and select Properties.

    Properties menu
  5. On the new window that appears, select the Driver tab.

    Driver tab
  6. Select the Roll Back Driver option on the list.
    Roll Back Driver button
  7. When prompted to confirm, click Yes to confirm the driver roll back.

    Driver Package rollback

The Quetzalcoatl CaseMod, Part 2

Part 2: Tear it down to build it up. or Removing parts not needed to make space for the ones that are.

Cover up that window!
This case design does not involve windows and fancy internal lighting, so the side case window and fan are removed and replaced with a solid panel. A piece of thin sheet steel is cut to fit the window opening and attached with sheet metal screws. I probably could have left the window in place, but the steel adds some strength and rigidity to the side panel.

Case side panel

As I mentioned in part 1, I will be mounting two radiators inside the case; one will fit in the front air-intake area, so the 3.5" drive bay assembly had to be removed. The second radiator is too large to fit inside the case where the rear fan is located, so I will mount it to the top of the case between the power supply and the optical drive.

To modify the 3.5" drive bay assembly, I drilled out the pop-rivets holding it into the case. With a diagonal grinder, I cut off the lower portion of this assembly and then folded the sides over to form a new bottom plate under the drives. With the six drive bay frame now shortened to a two-bay version, I reattached the assembly with sheet metal screws. Once drive bay modifications were complete, I mounted the optical and floppy drive, but covered them with paper and masking tape to keep dust, metal filings, and other craft-related debris away from their openings.

A simple 120mm fan template
To position and drill holes for installing a top fan and radiator, I took a 120mm fan and scanned it at 600 dpi, then adjusted the gamma until I could easily identify the mounting-hole positions. While I had the image in my photo editing software, I added white circles in the center of the mounting holes, and drew two diagonal lines between the corners to identify the approximate center point of the fan. After straightening and trimming the image, the result was a ready-made pattern to print out for a drill-hole template.

Click here for a pdf file with my 120mm fan image template. To print this at the correct scale, set your printer page setup for 600 DPI (or so that the image size is about 4.75 inches across on the page). When you go to print from Adobe, be sure to set the page scaling to "none". Check it against your actual fan before drilling.

Fan template

Cutting a new one
A step-by-step process for adding a "blowhole" exhaust fan to the top of a case.

Apply template

Step 1: Print the template.
Position and attach it to your case where you intend to drill and cut. Because I had to center the fan between the power supply and drive bays, these had to be installed to make sure I had clearance around the fan. Before drilling or cutting, remove your drives and PSU to avoid damage!

Drill holes in case

Step 2: Drill starter holes.
Even if you have a metal punch, starter holes will help the drill bit to stay in place when you switch to the larger size. I'm using a 1/8" drill bit for starter holes, and then a larger bit that just fits inside the fan holes for the outside four. (Don't worry about enlarging the center hole, the hole saw has its own drill bit.)

Cut hold into top of case

Step 3: Cut round hole into case.
Using a 4.5" multi-purpose hole saw for the 12cm fan, cut a nice round hole in the middle of your template.

Finished cut hole in case

Step 4: File the sharp edges off with a half-round file.
If you haven't drilled the screw holes larger yet, you can do that now. Vacuum out all of the metal dust you created; you don't want that getting into the drives or where it could short something out.

Fan Hole Cutting Tips:
To mount a fan in a case where you have to cut new holes, scan or make a photocopy of the fan as a template for positioning and drilling the mounting holes. You can use all-purpose or metal hole-saws available from your local hardware store to cut the large opening for air flow:

  • A 120mm fan needs about a 4.5" hole

  • A 80 mm fan needs about a 3" hole.

  • Use a sheet metal deburring tool or a half-round metal file to remove sharp edges left from the cutting process.

  • Mount a fan grill or filter over the hole keeps fingers away from any sharp edges as well as out of the moving fan blades.

  • If you can find it, plastic edge strip can be used to line the sharp edges of hole.

Next time: Hinged panels

Monday, June 27, 2011

How to Create an Equation in Microsoft Word 2010

Creating mathematic equations is a capability of Microsoft Word 2010. There are several pre-set equations that can be entered quickly. This guide will walk-through how to insert an equation into a Microsoft Word 2010 document.

  1. Open Microsoft Word 2010 by clicking Start » All Programs » Microsoft Office » Microsoft Word 2010.

    Open Microsoft Office
  2. Click the Insert tab across the top.

    Insert menu
  3. Click the Equation button.

    Equation button

  4. Use the editing bar across the top for symbols, powers, and scripts to create the equation.

    Equation options
  5. Click the arrow on the right of the equation box and select the justification, or location of the equation box.

    Placement options

  6. Finish creating and save the document.

Windows 7 Developer Shortcuts

[caption id="attachment_179" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Each of the following sixteen lines creates a special pointer to internal system features found in Windows 7."]System features[/caption]

To use these developer shortcuts, create a new folder and copy one of the following items as the folder name. Type or paste the entire line, including the period and data string in the curly braces.The resulting folder name should be just the text that appears before the period. If you want a different name, you can change it as part of the string before copying or just rename it afterwards.

  • All Tasks.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

  • Default Location.{00C6D95F-329C-409a-81D7-C46C66EA7F33}

  • Biometrics.{0142e4d0-fb7a-11dc-ba4a-000ffe7ab428}

  • Power Settings.{025A5937-A6BE-4686-A844-36FE4BEC8B6D}

  • Notification Area.{05d7b0f4-2121-4eff-bf6b-ed3f69b894d9}

  • Manage Credentials.{1206F5F1-0569-412C-8FEC-3204630DFB70}

  • Get New Programs.{15eae92e-f17a-4431-9f28-805e482dafd4}

  • Default Programs.{17cd9488-1228-4b2f-88ce-4298e93e0966}

  • NET Framework Assemblies.{1D2680C9-0E2A-469d-B787-065558BC7D43}

  • Wireless Networks.{1FA9085F-25A2-489B-85D4-86326EEDCD87}

  • Network Neighborhood.{208D2C60-3AEA-1069-A2D7-08002B30309D}

  • My Computer.{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}

  • Printers.{2227A280-3AEA-1069-A2DE-08002B30309D}

  • RemoteApp and Desktop.{241D7C96-F8BF-4F85-B01F-E2B043341A4B}

  • Windows Firewall.{4026492F-2F69-46B8-B9BF-5654FC07E423}

  • Performance.{78F3955E-3B90-4184-BD14-5397C15F1EFC}

Here is the step-by-step process:

  1. Right-click on the location where you want the shortcut. Select NewFolder.

    New folder

  2. Select the shortcut string from above. Include the entire text of the line. Right-click and select Copy.


  3. Select the new folder you created, click to rename or press F2 to edit the exisiting name. Right-click and select Paste.

    Paste item

    NOTE: If the cursor is not immediately following the last curly brace "}" - then use your backspace key to remove any additional lines or blank space that copy captured in your copy process.

    Folder name

  4. Press Enter to complete the rename process. The folder should change into the icon as pictured at the start of this article, and the data between the curly braces should now be hidden.

    All tasks


  • Some of these shortcut features may work under 32-bit Windows Vista, although there are reported issues with 64-bit versions crashing and restarting when you click on the folder.

  • If you type the strings, there are no spaces in the text at all. If you enter the data in the curly braces incorrectly, the shortcut will be just a folder with a weird name. Edit the name to correct the text or remove the spaces and try again.

Friday, June 24, 2011

How to Repair the Outlook Data PST file with the ScanPST tool

This is a how-to document on the topic of repairing the Outlook Data PST file using the ScanPST tool included with Microsoft Office.

Note: This document assumes that the location of the PST file is known. If it is not known, see the www.microcentertech.com document titled "How to Find the PST file in Outlook 2010."

  1. Close Outlook if it is open.
  2. Open up Computer or My Computer.

    Open Computer
  3. Open the Local Disk (C:) drive by double-clicking on it.

    Open Local Disk C
  4. If the Program Files (x86) folder exists, open that folder. Otherwise, open the Program Files folder.

    Program files

  5. Open the Microsoft Office folder.

    Microsoft Office folder
  6. Open the highest numbered Office00 folder. In this example there are Office12 and Office14 folders, so the Office14 folder would be the appropriate folder.
    Note: These are numbered this way due to different versions of Office. Office 2007 was known as Office12, and Office 2010 is Office14.
  7. Locate and open the Scanpst file on the list.

    SCANPST file
  8. Click Browse and select the Outlook Data PST file to be repaired.

    Repair Tool
  9. Click Start to begin the repair process. If prompted to make a backup first, it is recommended to do so.