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Run Android OS on your netbook, laptop or personal computer with Android-x86

With all of the talk nowadays about moving from personal computers to smartphones and tablets, I wondered if I could have the best of both worlds. I wanted to know is if I could run a version of the Android OS on my netbook. Having set up both multi-boot computers and virtual machines, I thought that it might be possible. And with the Android-x86 Project, it is.

Android-x86 opening screen running inside of a Oracle VirtualBox
Android-x86 opening screen running inside of an Oracle VirtualBox

The Android-x86 Project is an Apache open-source project working on porting the Android operating system to the x86 hardware architecture. It's the same hardware architecture that is in almost all netbooks/laptops and personal computers. They have a couple of different builds for different systems (32-bit, 64-bit, and UEFI), mainly netbooks, laptops, and tablets.

Android-x86 main screen running inside of a Oracle VirtualBox
Android-x86 main screen running inside of an Oracle VirtualBox

Android-x86 can be run from a cd, installed into a virtual machine like Oracle's VirtualBox, a USB drive, or your computer's hard drive as the primary operating system. You can even set it up to multi-boot with Windows. Here's a quote from the Android-x86 website:

This is a project to port Android open-source project to x86 platform, formerly known as "patch hosting for android x86 support". The original plan is to host different patches for android x86 support from the open-source community. A few months after we created the project, we found out that we could do much more than just hosting patches. So we decide to create our code base to provide support on different x86 platforms, and set up a git server to host it.

For more information on the Android-x86 Project, follow the links below:

Android-x86 Project - Run Android on Your PC

Disable Windows hibernation and free up disk space

If you're a hardcore computer user like me, you have your system running 24/7—no screen saver or power saver options (I turn off the monitors when not in use). I need to be able to walk into my office and have it ready to go. So when I noticed that my version of Windows 7 still had the Hiberfil.sys file and I am not using hibernation, it was time to remove this file and regain that hard drive space back (in my case, 8 Gb)

The Hiberfil.sys is a hidden system file located in the drive's root folder where Windows is installed. The Windows Kernel Power Manager creates this file when you install Windows. This file's size is approximately equal to how much Random Access Memory (RAM) is installed on the computer.

The computer uses the Hiberfil.sys file to store a copy of the system memory on the hard disk when hibernation is turned on. If this file is not present, the computer cannot go into hibernation.

To delete the Hiberfil.sys file and make hibernation unavailable, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, and then type cmd in the Start Search box.
  2. In the search results list, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as Administrator.
  3. If User Account Control prompts you, click Continue.
    Disable Windows Hibernation at the Command Prompt
  4. At the Command Prompt, type powercfg.exe /hibernate off and then press ENTER.
  5. Type exit and then press ENTER to close the Command Prompt window.

To recreate the Hiberfil.sys file and make hibernation available, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, and then type cmd in the Start Search box.
  2. In the search results list, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as Administrator.
  3. If User Account Control prompts you, click Continue.
    Renable Windows Hibernation at the Command Prompt
  4. At the Command Prompt, type powercfg.exe /hibernate on and then press ENTER.
  5. Type exit and then press ENTER to close the Command Prompt window.

Creating web apps and websites for free with Microsoft Web Platform

Have you ever wondered how to create a blog, content management system (CMS), or e-commerce website? You can do just that and more with the Microsoft Web Platform. You can create your own web app using WordPress (blog), DotNetNuke (CMS), or nopCommerce (e-commerce), to name a few. And, best of all, it's all free.

Microsoft Web Platform Installer - Spotlight View
Microsoft Web Platform Installer - Spotlight View

From web server (Internet Information Services), database server (SQL Server Express), programming tools like (Visual Studio Community) and lots of apps to work with, Microsoft Web Platform has it all. And did I mention that they are all free?

Microsoft Web Platform Installer - Products View
Microsoft Web Platform Installer - Products View

You can use Visual Studio Community to customize any free ASP.NET and PHP web apps available in the Windows Web App Gallery. And if your app needs a database, you can install SQL Server Express. There are also tools for Windows Azure.

Microsoft Web Platform Installer - Applications View
Microsoft Web Platform Installer - Applications View

All of the programs included in the Microsoft Web Platform are installed on your local system. You build and test your web app on the Internet Information Services (IIS) installed on your local system and then upload it to your remote IIS server when you're finished. If you don't know the platform of your web server, you will need to contact your hosting company to find out. The IIS is more commonly referred to as the Windows platform.

Here's a quote about the Microsoft Web Platform Installer and some of the programs available from the Microsoft site:

The Microsoft Web Platform Installer (Web PI) is a free tool that makes getting the latest components of the Microsoft Web Platform, including Internet Information Services (IIS), SQL Server Express, .NET Framework, and Visual Studio Community easy. The Web PI also makes it easy to install and run the most popular free web applications for blogging, content management, and more with the built-in Windows Web Application Gallery.

Web Server
Install the latest version of IIS, including the latest IIS Web extensions like IIS Media Services.

Framework
Install the latest version of the .NET Framework. This includes everything you need to work with ASP.NET.

Database
Install the latest version of SQL Server Express. This includes both the database engine and tools.

Tools
Install the latest version of Visual Studio Community, Our full-featured free web development tool.

Web Apps
Install free popular ASP.NET and PHP web apps such as Umbraco and WordPress. Browse the Windows Web Application Gallery.

Extras
Web PI also includes the latest community version of PHP for Windows.

For more information on the Microsoft Web Platform Installer, check out the following link:

Microsoft Web Platform Installer

My favorite left hand Windows keyboard shortcuts

Updated October 16, 2020

One of the most useful items I use daily is keyboard shortcuts. Especially shortcuts that I can perform with just my left hand, allowing me to keep my right hand on the mouse. You can use keyboard shortcuts to open frequently used files, folders, and programs like File Explorer. Windows has a ton of built-in keyboard shortcuts (see links at the bottom of this article), plus you can create your own custom keyboard shortcuts. Here are my favorite left-hand keyboard shortcuts:

Left hand Windows keyboard shortcuts
Press To
Windows logo key + E Open My Computer / File Explorer
Windows logo key + R Open the Run dialog box
Windows logo key + D Display the desktop
Windows logo key + F Search for a file or folder (Windows 7 / 8.1)
Windows logo key + S Search for a file or folder using Cortana (Windows 10)
CTRL + A Select all
CTRL + X Cut
CTRL + C Copy
CTRL+ V Paste
CTRL + ALT + (KEY) Custom keyboard shortcut (see below)

create your own Windows keyboard shortcuts

You can create keyboard shortcuts that use CTRL + ALT + (your choice of a key) for frequently used files, folders, and programs. You will need to have a shortcut to the file, folder, or program you want to open first. You can use an existing shortcut (on your desktop or the Start menu) or create a new one. Once you have a shortcut:

  1. Right-click on the shortcut
  2. From the context menu, click Properties
  3. On the Properties box, select the Shortcut tab
    The shortcut key box inside of a Windows shortcut
  4. Click inside the Shortcut key box and press the key in which you want to combine with CTRL + ALT

Note:
You can not use the following keys for keyboard shortcuts: ESC, ENTER, TAB, SPACEBAR, PRINT SCREEN, SHIFT, or BACKSPACE.

For more information on Windows keyboard shortcuts, follow the links below:

Windows logo key keyboard shortcuts

General keyboard shortcuts

Natural keyboard shortcuts

Dialog box keyboard shortcuts

Accessibility keyboard shortcuts

Windows Explorer keyboard shortcuts

Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts

Stitching panoramic images for the web with Microsoft Research HD View

A while back. I wrote an article about creating panoramic images with Microsoft Image Composite Editor (ICE) and Photosynth. With ICE and Photosynth, you can create panoramic images and then upload them to the Photosynth website. But what if you wanted to upload them to your website? That's where HD View comes into the picture.

Microsoft HD View is a new viewer to display large images (gigapixels) across the internet. It allows you to create panoramic images for web pages that do not take a lot of bandwidth. When someone views the image, they are only downloading what is required for that view. It is only when they pan or zoom that more of the image is downloaded. HD View / Deep Zoom is now included in ICE, also as a stand-alone command-line utility, and (here's the best), a Photoshop plug-in.

HD View / Deep Zoom export in Microsoft Image Composite Editor
HD View / Deep Zoom export in Microsoft Image Composite Editor

HD View / Deep Zoom export in Photoshop plug-in
HD View / Deep Zoom export in Photoshop plug-in

So if you're a Photoshop user, you can now export those panoramic images that Photoshop can create directly to HD View / Deep Zoom format. The Photoshop plug-in is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit. Here's a quote from the HD View website:

About HD View
HD View is a new viewer developed by Microsoft Research's Interactive Visual Media group to aid in the display and interaction with very large images. The HDView development team included Johannes Kopf, Matt Uyttendaele, Howard Good, and Michael Cohen along with Jonathan Fay of the Next Media group.

Recent advances in camera and sensor technology and software for stitching images together has led to the creation of images containing billions of pixels (gigapixels). These images are often panoramic, that is, they cover very wide fields of view. Since monitors typically contain only one to two million pixels, it is only possible to actually see 1/1000th of such image data at once. Also, viewing very wide fields of view require unwrapping of an image projected onto a curved surface (think of a map of the world) which can cause distortions.

HD View leverages current graphics hardware to allow smooth panning and zooming as well as the viewing transformation described below.

HD View was developed with a number of goals in mind. It should:

  • allow smooth panning and zooming on large images,
  • only download enough data to create the current view (and possibly look ahead to the next), and
  • always display the current field of view with an appropriate projection. This means that when zoomed way in you should be presented with a standard perspective projection providing a sense of immersion, and when zoomed out you experience a curved projection so that get a full overview of the scene. In between the projection should smoothly transition.
  • Finally, it should be easy to create your own HD View content and present it to the world via the web.

The HD View plug-in currently supports all major browsers on the Windows platform. The first time that you visit a page with HD View content you will be prompted to install the HD View plug-in.

For more information on HD View / Deep Zoom, follow the links below:

Microsoft Deep Zoom

HD View Utilities (32 bit)

HD View Utilities (64 bit)

Customer service is #1

Here at Geeks in Phoenix, we take pride in providing excellent customer service. We aim to give the highest quality of service  from computer repair, virus removal, and data recovery.

Bring your computer to us and save

Diagnosing PC problems can be time-consuming. From running memory checking software to scanning for viruses, these are processes can take some time. We base our in-shop service on the actual time we work on your computer, not the time it takes your computer to work!

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Geeks in Phoenix
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4722 East Monte Vista Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85008
(602) 795-1111

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Geeks in Phoenix is an IT consulting company specializing in servicing laptop and desktop computers. Since 2008, our expert and knowledgeable technicians have provided excellent computer repair, virus removal, data recovery, photo manipulation, and website support to the greater Phoenix metro area.

At Geeks in Phoenix, we have the most outstanding computer consultants that provide the highest exceptional service in Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, and Tempe, Arizona. We offer in-shop, on-site, and remote (with stable Internet connection) computer support and services.

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