This may be an unusual problem, but I figured I’d post a how-to just in case. Anyways, ever since I installed Microsoft Office 2007 on my copy of Windows Vista Home Premium I have been unable to view recent documents. Normally, there’s a list of documents you’ve opened that shows up in a few places in Windows, including all the Office programs. For me, it has always been grayed out. Why? Apparently, my administrator (a.k.a. me) disallowed recent document history using group policy. Now, since I had done no such thing, it must have been something Windows did on its own. Or something. My copy of Windows is really screwed up.
Anyways, I know all about group policy. On any other version of Windows, you could simply go to your Start men, and type “gpedit.msc” (no quotes) in the Run box. Here’s a short tutorial for this on Windows XP and earlier. It should also work on Vista Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate. Unfortunately, you can’t use gpedit.msc to edit group policy on Vista Home Basic or Home Premium. Instead, you have to directly edit the registry. Don’t panic! I’ll guide you through. But always be sure to make a backup before editing the registry. This is easily done by clicking File>Export… in the Registry Editor and selecting “All” at the bottom of the screen that comes up. Do it now. Do it.
Go ahead and open up the Registry Editor by typing “regedit” (no quotes) in your Start menu search box and pressing enter. Find the following registry key: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer. (HKCU stands for HKEY_CURRENT_USER.) Double-click on the value inside the key labeled “NoRecentDocsHistory”. Change the 1 to 0. If it’s already 0, you don’t even need this tutorial and have wasted five minutes of your life. Way to go.
Anyways, now that you’ve edited this value, you should be able to view recent documents in Office programs and Windows itself. At the very least, you can actually edit the recent documents options in Windows and Office. Hopefully this will be helpful to someone. Maybe I just have strange computer problems that never show up for anyone else… And if I was too technical or confusing in this guide, feel free to leave me a comment.
Finally, if you’re interested in editing more group policy stuff in Vista Home Basic or Home Premium, I suggest downloading this Excel spreadsheet from Microsoft, which lists all the group policy settings and their corresponding registry keys. Very useful, especially without gpedit.msc (which is basically an easier to use interface for these particular registry keys). Or you could spring for Vista Ultimate.
After messing around with a triple-boot configuration on my laptop (Vista, XP, and Ubuntu), I decided to can the Ubuntu installation. It worked fine, but I wasn’t using it for anything. It was taking up valuable space, too, so I deleted it and allocated the space to my XP installation so I could install more games. Games > Linux.
Anyways, I’m not completely done with Linux. I came across a rather interesting-looking project called Linux From Scratch, which is basically a how-to guide on compiling your own distribution of Linux. It looks pretty daunting, but it provides a good in-depth look at how Linux distros actually work in addition to building a custom distro with everything you want in it and nothing you don’t want. Perhaps I’ll be releasing the Mad Rants Linux distro sometime in the future…
I’m a bit worried about breaking my computer again, but I do need an excuse to reinstall everything. My computer is getting gunked up. Heh, perhaps I’ll learn Dvorak while I’m at it…too bad I wouldn’t be able to come up with a sweet name for my computer like my roommate and his DvorMac.
I was planning on writing a how-to on installing a hacked version of Mac OS X on a PC, complete with “DO THIS AND YOU ARE DAMNED TO HELL YOU DIRTY PIRATE” disclaimer and everything.
Upon reflection, I decided not to bother with the how-to. There are already countless guides out there (like the in-depth one at Lifehacker), and it’s pretty much pointless to install Mac OS X on a PC. It most likely won’t work as well as Mac OS X on a real Mac, which makes such an installation good as a proof-of-concept thing, but not really good for much else. Believe me, you’re better off sticking with Windows or Linux, both of which are legal to install on PCs. If you want a Mac, go buy one. Or go find someone who actually had the decency to provide a how-to guide after tempting his readers with one. (On a related note, please don’t hunt me down and shoot me. I don’t think I’d appreciate it very much.)
So, you just got Windows Vista and you’re looking to trick it out as much as you can. If you’re a power user like me, this includes putting some shortcuts in the SendTo folder. In XP, this was easy. You went to Documents and Settings, your user profile folder, and the SendTo folder was right in there. Alas, it’s nowhere as easy as that in Vista. Yes, the folder exists, but it’s deeper in your User folder. Much deeper. But have no fear! I’ve got the perfect solution for you.
1. Make a shortcut by right-clicking on the program you want a shortcut to and selecting Create Shortcut. Rename it as you see fit.
2. Click the Start orb and click in the quick search box. Type in “shell:sendto” (without the quotes). Press enter.
3. Copy the shortcut made in step 1 to the folder that popped up in step 2 and you’re all done.
Now, if you want to send a file to this program (the program I did this for is Emacs), right click on the file, go to Send To, and select your program. How easy was that? (Don’t answer.)
There are quite a few browsers out there, but they are, for the most part, pretty much the same. The only major differences are in their rendering engines, that is, the code that allows them to display web pages. The most popular one is Gecko, which is used by Firefox, Mozilla, and Netscape. Another is Presto, used by Opera. Finally, there is Trident, the layout engine used by Internet Explorer. Of course there are others, but this isn’t a post about layout engines. You’ve got Wikipedia for that.
Anyways, the rendering (or layout) engine of a browser determines how HTML and CSS are displayed. Most browsers display things similarly, but not Internet Explorer. IE has always been the black sheep of the browser family, preferring proprietary functions (such as ActiveX) to standards. Of course, no browser is completely standards-compliant, but IE is as far off as it can get. The most recent version, IE7, has solved quite a few problems, especially with CSS, but it can still be a hassle to code a website that will work perfectly in all browsers. The problem is that IE is still the most used browser. If your site doesn’t work in IE, you’re going to have a lot of people who will steer clear of it.
The answer? Well, you could just eliminate anything in your site that’s causing problems with IE. Or, you could let web surfers know about Firefox. Chances are that the only reason most people are still using IE is that they don’t know about any alternatives. Read on to see an easy way to let IE users know they should switch to Firefox while allowing non-IE users to continue on with no trouble.
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