Ajit Monteiro

Weekly Tip: Network Media Folders Tip (Vista)

Posted in Vista, Weekly Tip by amonteiro on September 18, 2008

A lot of people these days store their media content(Pictures, Music, Videos) on a networked drive or server. This becomes a challenge to handle from client computers, due to having to always find the folder in Network Places or by typing in the path.

A little known fact is that Vista gives you a built in way to manage these folders.

  1. Click Start -> Your Login Name (in my case it is Owner)
  2. This brings you to a general directory with all your personal folders. Right Click Pictures and click Properties
  3. Now click the Location Tab image
  4. Here you can change the location to where your pictures are located on the network drive
  5. Click Ok, you will be prompted with with “Do you want to move all the files from the old location to the new location?”  – You should say Yes to this or you will end up with multiple Pictures folders.
  6. Now repeat steps 1 through 5 for Videos and Music.

You should do this by default on all computers used in your house and everyone will be adding and managing media in the same place. This makes things a lot easier to manage and backup.

Bonus Tip: I would also recommend creating a shortcut to these folders in the windows explorer Favorite Links. You can do this by dragging and dropping them there.

image

Most programs that manage your media are defaulted to look at these directories, so they’ll be pointed at the right place automatically.

How to Enable Concurrent Users/Sessions in Windows Vista

Posted in Microsoft, Vista, Windows Media Center by amonteiro on March 13, 2007

My MCE computer is used completely for home theater purposes, and so it is very rarely used outside of the MCE environment. It also does not have a keyboard and mouse hooked up to it. This makes it very hard to accomplish any maintenance tasks without using remote desktop.

Unfortunately, by default Vista does not allow concurrent users logging in at the same time. So, until recently, if I wanted to rearrange some files on the computer, I would have to log in using remote desktop (which logs out the MCE user), rearrange the files, log out, connect a keyboard to the MCE computer so I can enter the password, and re-login with the MCE user.

Fortunately, the relentless folks at The Green Button have put in a lot of effort to find a work around. After some clever hacking you can log on with multiple users to the same Vista machine. Here is a link to the discussion so you can see the progress they have made.

And finally a how to taken from Missing Remote

  1. Download Sunmorgus’ hacked Termsrv.dll file HERE (If you’re using Vista HOME PREMIUM, use this link and follow the reg instructions below.)
  2. Now, Vista’s security needs a little massaging to allow you to modify the original termsrv.dll file, found in C:\Windows\System32, so….
  3. Click Start, then type “cmd” in the search box & hit enter. This will launch the Command prompt
  4. Type the following & hit enter: takeown /f C:\Windows\System32\termsrv.dll
  5. Then type this & hit enter (NOTE: Replace USERNAME with YOUR USERNAME!! If your name has a space in it, enclose it with quotes, like “Mike Garcen”): cacls C:\Windows\System32\termsrv.dll /G USERNAME:F
  6. Then go to your Windows Explorer, and go to C:\Windows\System32
  7. Rename the original termsrv.dll to something else, like “termsrv.dll.ORIGINAL”, just in case
  8. *NOTE* If you are unable to do the above, try rebooting into SAFE MODE
  9. Then copy & paste the Hacked DLL you downloaded in Step 1 into the C:\Windows\System32 folder
  10. And voila!

More details at Missing Remote and at Ricky’s Web Review

DreamScene (Preview) Released

Posted in Microsoft, Random Thoughts, UI, Video, Vista by amonteiro on February 14, 2007

DreamScene (Preview) was available for Vista Ultimate users yesterday. For those who don’t know, its a Windows Vista Ultimate Extra that allows users to use a video as their desktp background.

I have been playing with it a bit, and I’m glad its still a preview, not a full release. It still needs some work; The one video that is included with it crashes for me.

Other video’s however do work, and my CPU utilization hovers at about 35% with most of them. This isn’t bad considering my computer is only a Dell Inspiron 6000, 1.6Ghz with 1GB of RAM. I could see it being worth it on a faster computer, however I’m still not convinced I want my wallpaper moving, seems like it would be too distracting; Maybe on a secondary computer.

If you have had the chance to install it, here are some additional scenes to download. Unfortunately they are all on Rapidshare.

Here’s the DreamScene demo that’s been going around…

Windows Vista Tips

Posted in Microsoft, Vista by amonteiro on February 14, 2007

the How-To Geek has a list of Windows Vista tips that might be found useful.

My Exposé (for Vista)

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, OSX, UI, Vista by amonteiro on February 12, 2007

My Exposé (for Vista)

Here’s is an interesting app that gives you OSX’s Exposé functionality, in Windows Vista. If you press F9, or swipe your mouse to the top left corner of the screen, you get to see all your windows side by side. You can then click which window you want and that will be the selected one. You can also customize what button or which corner is used.

A nice alternative to Flip3d and Alt + Tab. It is also open source in case you wanted to learn how its done or improve on it.

My Exposé ( – Via the How-To Geek)

Note: I had to download and install the Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable Package to get it working.


How To Use Google Widgets On The Vista Sidebar

Posted in Gadget, Microsoft, Vista by amonteiro on February 7, 2007

Since Vista has only been out for only a couple of weeks, its Sidebar gallery is fairly limited. However using Amnesty Generator you can now add Google Widgets to your desktop. Although not all of Google’s Widgets work well, you now have access to most web widgets created in its library. Besides its really easy…

1. Download and install the Amnesty Generator.

2. Open your favorite web browser and goto http://www.google.com/ig/directory?synd=open.

3. After picking a widget and configuring it. Click “Add to Webpage”.

4. Then click “Get the Code”

5. Copy and Paste the code into the Amnesty Generator window like below.

Amnesty Generator

6. Click “Generate…” and it will add the Widget/Gadget to your Sidebar Gadgets List.

Below is an example of the Google Maps Gadget used on my desktop

Google Maps Widget on Desktop

My Work/Play Environment

Posted in Cool stuff, Microsoft, Random Thoughts, Vista, Windows Media Center by amonteiro on February 7, 2007

Over at Channel9 they have a post called “Vista Desktops – Post yours“. Since I talk about Vista a lot, I thought some of my readers might be interested in seeing what my system(s) look like.

DesktopThis is the main computer I use, a Dell Inspiron 6000, 1.6Ghz with 1GB of RAM. Not a powerhouse by any means but its proof that Vista doesn’t need a high end computer to run smoothly. Aero is turned on and it runs very similarly to XP, although I don’t game on it at all.

  1. The background image is from Mandolux – The left half is another laptop (more on this later)
  2. The top two gadgets are clocks that come with Vista for India and Chicago since I have to keep track of both time zones
  3. The third is the custom gadget I wrote to control winamp
  4. I also use Microsoft OneNote a lot, whose file is store on the server so that all computers are automatically up-to-date. It works better than I anticipated. I can press the windows key + N, write a note and its immediately updated on all computers. More on how to do this here…

The other computers in the network I get to by using a program called Synergy. It allows me to control them using the same keyboard and mouse over WiFi (without a KVM).

So if I move my mouse passed the edge of the screen left, it moves on the desktop of my Windows XP computer. It is a work computer so I can’t post any screenshots; however I use that for all my work related tasks.

HTPC DesktopIf I move the mouse up passed the edge of the screen I end up on my server/HTPC computer across the room. This also uses Windows Vista but is always in Media Center mode. It is an older custom built Athlon 3000+ 64bit with 1.5GB RAM (although it runs Vistas 32bit version). It can also be accessed using the windows media center remote or keyboard.

There is also an XBox 360 in the network that gathers media from the HTPC. Here is a full network diagram (note the XP computer doesn’t show up on it for some reason)

Network Map

Go Beyond Vista. Apple starts spamming!

Posted in Apple, Humor, Microsoft, OSX, Random Thoughts, Vista by amonteiro on February 6, 2007

I am trying really hard to keep an open/unbiased opinion on the Apple vs Microsoft debate. Going beyond their regular smearing ad campaigns, they have graduated to spamming peoples inboxes (mine included). Here’s an email I received on the 4th of February.

Go Beyond Vista

For my skeptical readers, I’d like to first point out that this email was definetely received from Apple, and not some third party. I can say this, because the images that make up the email, http://images.apple.com/chatterbox/us/2007/02/3906/img/ttl.gif and http://images.apple.com/chatterbox/us/2007/02/3906/img/mainimage.jpg are clearly off the apple.com servers.

Apple does have some very slick products, including OSX, the iPod and hopefully the iPhone soon. Why not show these off, instead of playing dirty with their competitors. I have watched a lot of videos on on10 and Channel9 and Microsoft employees very rarely (if ever) mention their competitors, let alone speak badly of them.

Sorry Steve, but I’ve already upgraded to Vista, its simpler, more secure and way more fun”. Not to mention it works with all my stuff like my printer, camera, xBox 360, home theater system and phone.

Doing some looking around on the subject I came to Paul Smith’s blog which had this rather humorous response…

Beyond Mac OS


Vista Faster Than OSX on a Mac

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, OSX, Vista by amonteiro on January 30, 2007

Although I hate the Vista vs OSX debate, its hard for me to let this article slide, without being guilty of fueling it myself. lkahney at Cult of Mac has a write up on Vista running on a Mac. The synopsis is “[It] really flies on this beast, and feels like it’s faster than OS X – it boots faster, folders burst open and apps launch instantly.”

I know this won’t squash the which is better debate (even though it came from a Macblog) but if it convinces a few people to give Vista a chance, that’s good enough for me.

On to the full article…

Microsoft Norway Uses an iMac to Show Off Windows Vista

Posted in Apple, Video, Vista by amonteiro on January 26, 2007

Here’s a video of Microsoft Norway showing off Vista on an iMac; it has created quite a buzz on the blogosphere. I don’t really understand what all the fuss is about, Microsoft is a software company, and contrary to popular belief they don’t make PC’s. If people bought their operating system for a Mac that would expand their market.

On to the video…

UPDATE: The inquirer has another Apple on an iMac sighting, with pictures 🙂

“There were several Apple computers on display, but the most prominent one, an iMac with a 24-inch didn’t run Mac OS X, but rather soon-to-be-released Windows Vista, in its Ultimate Edition.