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Type without using the keyboard with On-Screen Keyboard in Windows Vista

Instead of relying on the physical keyboard to type and enter data, you can use On-Screen Keyboard. On-Screen Keyboard displays a visual keyboard with all the standard keys. You can select keys using the mouse or another pointing device, or you can use a single key or group of keys to cycle through the keys on the screen.

To open the On-Screen Keyboard:

  • Click on the Start button, then All Programs, then Accessories, then Ease of Access, then click on On-Screen Keyboard.

Select a layout for On-Screen Keyboard

You can adjust the layout, alignment, or number of keys that appear on the On-Screen Keyboard.

To change the keyboard layout

You can display On-Screen Keyboard in two different views (Standard Keyboard or Enhanced Keyboard) to promote faster typing or maximize the number of available keys.

  • Click Keyboard, and then select Enhanced Keyboard or Standard Keyboard.

To organize keys either in rows or like a keyboard

Block layout displays the keys in vertical and horizontal rows, which can make selecting the keys easier. The regular layout displays the keys in overlapping rows, simulating a physical keyboard.

  • Click Keyboard, and then select Regular Layout or Block Layout.

To add extra keys to the keyboard

When using the regular layout, you can add extra keys to your keyboard layout by selecting the number of keys you want from the Keyboard menu.

Select the number of keys from the Keyboard menu:

  • 101 keys displays a standard keyboard.
  • 102 keys displays an extra backslash (\) next to the SHIFT key in the lower left.
  • 106 keys displays extra characters useful for typing Japanese.

Change how information is entered into On-Screen Keyboard

There are three ways to enter data in On-Screen Keyboard:

  • Clicking mode.
    In clicking mode, you click the on-screen keys to type text.
  • Hovering mode.
    In hovering mode, you use a mouse or joystick to point to a key for a predefined period of time, and the selected character is typed automatically.
  • Scanning mode.
    In scanning mode, On-Screen Keyboard continually scans the keyboard and highlights areas where you can type keyboard characters by pressing a hot key or using a switch-input device. Use scanning mode to select keys with a single button or key.

To change the On-Screen Keyboard input mode

  • Click Settings, click Typing Mode, and then select the mode you want:
  • To use clicking mode, click Click to select.
  • To use hovering mode, click Hover to select.
    You can change how long the On-Screen Keyboard waits before it selects the key on the Minimum time to hover menu.
  • To use scanning mode, click Joystick or key to select.
    You can set the speed for how quickly the keys are scanned on the Scan interval menu.

Tips:

  • To use a mouse, joystick, or other pointing device instead of a keyboard key, click Advanced. In the Scanning Options dialog box, select the Serial, parallel, or game port checkbox. Plug in a joystick, gamepad, or other pointing device, and On-Screen Keyboard will work with it.
  • To change the key you use to select keys in On-Screen Keyboard, click Advanced. In the Scanning Options dialog box, select the Keyboard key checkbox, and then click the key you want to use in the drop-down menu.

Change the font for On-Screen Keyboard keys

The On-Screen Keyboard might be more comfortable to use if you change the font used to illustrate the screen's keys. The fonts that most people find easiest to see on the screen are Verdana and Arial.

  • Click the Settings menu, and then click Font.
  • In the Font box, select a font, and then click OK.

Set On-Screen Keyboard to use audible clicks

You can have On-Screen Keyboard make an audible click when a key is pressed.

  • Click Settings, and then select Use Click Sound to hear clicks when you select keys using On-Screen Keyboard.

Beta testing Windows 7 - Part 2

Since my last post, Windows 7 RC1 has been released. I am now assembling a production system to use for the installation of RC1. I have changed my mind on how I wanted to test this new OS from Microsoft. My original idea was to use a typical system with widely available components.

I then thought back on all of the new technology that has come out since Windows XP was released. I think everyone will agree that Windows Vista was somewhat of a stepping stone. Just like Windows Millennium was to Windows 98SE.

We now have hard drives over one terabyte, Quad-core processors, and 64-bit computers. And quite a bit of these are now out in production systems, like yours. 64-bit enabled motherboards have been out for years now. If your computer’s motherboard was manufactured within the last few years, your computer is probably 64-bit compatible.

With that said, I started to look at some of the features of Windows 7 and what hardware I would need to run them. As I stated before, 64-bit enabled computers are pretty much mainstream now, and with the memory limit of 128 gigabytes, opposed to 4 gigabyte memory limit on 32-bit, I think this is the way to go.

Note:
You cannot do an in-place upgrade of a 32-bit operating system to a 64-bit operating system. To do this, you have to backup your files and settings and then restore them to the new installation.

Microsoft has had two different versions (32-bit & 64-bit) of their Windows operating systems (XP & Vista) that support x86-64 architecture since 2005. So I will use the 64-bit for this installation. I also want to use the Windows XP mode for Windows 7. This requires a processor that has Virtualization Technology (VT). The Intel E6600 processor in my system has VT. So the VT processors are out there, you have to check with the manufacturer to see if it is compatible.

So with all of that information, I will put together a production system in the next few days from standard parts from my favorite vendors. I already have a parts list, and it’s time to see how cheaply I can put this together (I have a big surprise for what I use as a monitor).

How to reset Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) in Windows XP

One of the components of the Internet connection on your computer is a built-in set of TCP/IP instructions. TCP/IP can sometimes become corrupted. If your connection to the Internet is really slow or you cannot connect to the Internet, and you have tried all other methods to resolve the problem, TCP/IP might be causing it.

Because TCP/IP is a core component of Windows, you cannot remove it. However, you can reset TCP/IP to its original state. If you have any custom settings (default gateway, DNS server, etc.), you will need to set these again manually.

Use an automatic method to reset TCP/IP

Revised 10/7/2020. The Microsoft Fix It application to automatically reset the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) in Windows XP initially referenced in this article is no longer available for download.

Use a manual method to reset TCP/IP

Note This section is intended for advanced computer users. If you are not comfortable with advanced troubleshooting, ask someone for help. In Windows XP, a reset command is available in the IP context of the NetShell utility. Follow these steps to use the reset command to reset TCP/IP manually:

  1. To open a command prompt, click Start and then click Run. Copy and paste (or type) the following command in the Open box and then press ENTER:
    cmd
  2. At the command prompt, copy and paste (or type) the following command and then press ENTER:
    netsh int ip reset c:\resetlog.txt
    Note: If you do not want to specify a directory path for the log file, use the following command:
    netsh int ip reset resetlog.txt

When you run the reset command, it rewrites two registry keys used by TCP/IP. This has the same result as removing and reinstalling the protocol. The reset command rewrites the following two registry keys:

SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters\
SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\DHCP\Parameters\

To run the manual command successfully, you must specify a file name for the log, in which the actions that netsh takes will be recorded. When you run the manual command, TCP/IP is reset, and the actions taken are recorded in the log file, known as resetlog.txt in this article.

The first example, c:\resetlog.txt, creates a path where the log will reside. The second example, resetlog.txt, creates the log file in the current directory. In either case, if the specified log file already exists, the new log will be appended to the end of the existing file.

Using Scheduled Tasks in Windows XP

With Scheduled Tasks, you can schedule any script, program, or document to run at a time that is most convenient for you. Scheduled Tasks starts each time you start Windows XP and runs in the background.

With Scheduled Tasks, you can also:

  • Schedule a task to run daily, weekly, monthly, or at certain times (such as system startup).
  • Change the schedule for a task.
  • Stop a scheduled task.
  • Customize how a task will run at a scheduled time.

Common tasks

Some of the tasks you may want to schedule are Disk Defragmenter or Backup.

Create a scheduled task

Before a task can be scheduled to run, one or more tasks must be created.

To schedule a new task

  1. Open Scheduled Tasks.
  2. Double-click Add Scheduled Task.
  3. Follow the instructions in the Scheduled Task Wizard.

Notes:

  • To open Scheduled Tasks, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Scheduled Tasks.
  • If you want to configure advanced settings for the task, select the Open advanced properties for this task when I click Finish check box on the wizard's final page.
  • Confirm that your computer's system date and time are accurate because Scheduled Tasks relies on this information to run scheduled tasks. To verify or change this information, double-click the time indicator on the taskbar.
  • If you leave the password blank and want the task to run when you log in, open the task. On the Task tab, select the Run only if logged on check box. The task will run at its scheduled time when the user who created the task is logged on to the computer.

Modify a scheduled task

Created scheduled tasks can be modified. You can change the program, the schedule, or the specifics of a particular task.

To modify a scheduled task

  1. Open Scheduled Tasks.
  2. Right-click the task you want to modify, and then click Properties.
  3. Do one or more of the following:
    • To change a program being run, in Run, type the path for the new program.
    • To change the schedule for the task, click the Schedule tab.
    • To customize the task settings, such as maximum run time, idle time requirements, and power management options, click the Settings tab.
    • To set security for the task, click the Security tab.

Notes:

  • To open Scheduled Tasks, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Scheduled Tasks.
  • If you change the user account or the program that is being run, you must supply the user account's password.
  • If the task program requires command-line options, type them in Run, after the task path.
  • If the path to the task program includes spaces, type double quotation marks ("") around the entire task path. For example:
    "C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player\Mplayer2.exe"
  • Confirm that your computer's system date and time are accurate because Scheduled Tasks relies on this information to run scheduled tasks. To verify or change this information, double-click the time indicator on the taskbar.

Remove a scheduled task

For scheduled tasks that are no longer needed, you can remove them entirely.

To remove a scheduled task

  1. Open Scheduled Tasks
  2. Right-click the task that you want to remove, and then click Delete.

Notes:

  • To open Scheduled Tasks, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Scheduled Tasks.
  • Removing a scheduled task only removes the task from the schedule. The program file the task runs is not removed from the hard disk.
  • You can also remove a scheduled task by selecting it and then pressing DELETE.

Stop a scheduled task that is running

In the event that a task starts while you are using your computer, you can stop the task and then restart it later.

To stop a scheduled task that is running

  1. Open Scheduled Tasks.
  2. Right-click the task that you want to stop, and then click End Task.

Notes:

  • To open Scheduled Tasks, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Scheduled Tasks.
  • If a scheduled task is started and then stopped, End Task does not stop all other programs that the scheduled task might have started.
  • If you stop a scheduled task currently running, you might experience a delay (up to three minutes) before the task shuts down.
  • To restart a stopped task, right-click the task, and then click Run.

Temporarily turn off all scheduled tasks

You can temporarily turn off or pause all scheduled tasks from running and then turn on the tasks later.

To pause Scheduled Tasks

  1. Open Scheduled Tasks.
  2. On the Advanced menu, click Pause Task Scheduler.

Notes:

  • To open Scheduled Tasks, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Scheduled Tasks.
  • The Pause Task Scheduler command is useful if you do not want scheduled tasks to run at the same time as you are installing software or running another program (such as a game).
  • Tasks scheduled to run while Scheduled Tasks are paused are not run until their next scheduled time.
  • To resume the schedules for all tasks, on the Advanced menu, click Continue Task Scheduler.

Track free space on your computer with SpaceMonger

One of the software tools I use quite often client systems is SpaceMonger. SpaceMonger is a tool for keeping track of the free space on your computer. It shows graphically the size of each folder and file on your computer.

SpaceMonger

Each file or folder on a given drive is displayed in a box in the main window whose size is a relative comparison to all the other files in your system. So, for example, if the "Windows" box takes up 90% of the screen, the "C:\Windows" folder and all its sub-folders and files are taking up 90% of your "C:" drive.

SpaceMonger runs on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

Click here to download the latest version

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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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Phoenix, Arizona 85008
(602) 795-1111

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