General How-to Microsoft

Adding Artistic Effects to an Image in Office 2010

Office 2010 offers an excellent image editing feature, which would help us do a lot of stuffs with images. In the previous post, we saw how to remove the background from a picture and create a Portable Network Graphics (PNG) image. In this short tip, we will look at how to add Artistic Effects to an Image.

Step 1: Insert an image into any of the office Suite products. In this example, I will use the Word 2010.

Step 2: Double-click on the image; this will give you a separate picture Editing Menu Bar (as shown below)

Step 3: Click on the Artistic Effects button. This will give you all the shades and effects available for the image; When you hover the mouse over each of the effect, you can have a preview of the effect as applied on the image.
Artistic Effects on an Image - Office 2010
Step 4: Just select the effect and click on it. The desired effect would’ve applied on the image.
Applied Artistic Effects on an Image - Office 2010

To know how to remove the background of a picture and create a PNG image, do read this article!

You also have other image options to set the color tones and saturation in the Color menu (as shown below)
Color Menu in Image editing - Office 2010
You can also increase the sharpness, brightness and contrast of the image with the live preview.
Image Correction Menu in Image editing - Office 2010

If you have not tried the Office 2010 Version yet, Download it and Give it a shot. I’m sure, you would love it!

How-to Microsoft

Windows Phone 7 – Application Submission and Certification Process

When your application is developed and ready for publication, it must go through the certification process before it is eligible for listing in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

The certification process involves static validation and automated testing of the application to verify that it meets all the policies and requirements. A Simplified Illustration of the Windows Phone 7 Application Submission and Certification Process is shown below.

This Document provides the policies and technical requirements that a Windows Phone 7 Application or Game must meet to pass certification and to be eligible for listing in Windows Phone Marketplace.

For further information on Documentation and Softwares for Developing for Windows Phone 7 Series, Read this article

How-to Microsoft

Free ebook – Windows PowerShell v2: The Administrator Crash Course

Microsoft is adding PowerShell to more and more products, and going forward, the company’s plan is to incorporate PowerShell throughout all of its business products as a baseline administrative layer.

The Administrator Crash Course: Windows PowerShell v2For windows administrators who are new to PowerShell, Microsoft MVP Don Jones offers a new book from Realtime Publishers entitled The Administrator Crash Course: Windows PowerShell v2. Covering the most crucial elements of PowerShell v2, Don has constructed a set of practical tips and practice exercises that will get you up to speed in a matter of weeks. Each course section is designed to be reviewed in under an hour, so it’s a perfect way to quickly learn how to begin using PowerShell v2!

Download this Free ebook Guide to start your learning with PowerShell.

If you’re ready to get started in PowerShell, and have no experience, this is the crash course for you!

Note: You will need to create a profile in Realtime Nexus (The Digital Library for IT Pros) when you click the above link.

Courtesy: Realtime Nexus Windows Administration

You would also be interested in downloading these e-books:

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How to get an Inventory of all the Installed Device Drivers in a Machine?

Consider a scenario, where you need to take an inventory of all the Device drivers installed on your machine. This information will be very essential to identify the vendor details, Driver files and other important stats. Driverquery command will exactly help us in this purpose.

Running the Driverquery command in the Command Prompt will list out all the drivers installed on the machine. (Run the Command Prompt in Administrator Context)

Driverquery Command - Listing all the Drivers in a machine

If you want a compact record of installed drivers in a reporting format, use this command with appropriate switches. As we saw above, DriverQuery command gives all the information; You can modify the output of the command with a variety of switches, and you can redirect the output of the command to a file so that you can load it in another program.

You can use the /v switch to produce a detailed verbose information, and add the /Fo switch with the CSV parameter to generate the output in the csv (Comma Seperated Value) format. – driverquery /v /fo csv > drvlist.csv

Inventory of Installed Drivers in a Machine

Further, Opening this file Driverlist.csv in Excel will give you a highly detailed list of all your hardware. (as shown below – Click the image for ful size)

List of Installed Drivers in CSV Format - Driverquery

Similarly, using the /SI switch to get all the information on the signed drivers installed on the machine.

Inventory of Installed Signed Drivers - DriverQuery

Signed Device Drivers Information

DriverStore is a new and a central location in Windows Vista and Windows 7 where all the driver files will be stored., before they are copied to their final destination during the device driver installation. – Read more to Understand better

For a full list of the switches available for the Driverquery command., run the driverquery with a /? switch.

Driverquery with Help Syntax

You would also be interested in reading –

Enterprise Tech How-to Microsoft Tools

How to Enable Data Collection (RACTask) for Reliability Monitor Tool

Reliability Monitor is an advanced tool that measures hardware and software problems and other changes to your computer. Reliability Analysis Component (RAC) aggregates, analyzes and correlates problems at the operating system and application levels. The location of Reliability Monitor data files is stored in the registry. If the monitor does not show data to you, then you will need to Enable the Data Collection Task.

To learn more on How you can measure Hardware and Software problems using Reliability Monitor in Windows 7 – Read this article

Reliability Monitor uses data provided by the RACTask scheduled task. Reliability Monitor will start displaying a Stability Index rating and specific event information 24 hours after system installation.

The RACTask scheduled task runs by default after the operating system is installed. If it is disabled, it must be enabled manually from the Task Scheduler snap-in for Microsoft Management Console (MMC).

Step 1: Start the Task Scheduler. you can run taskschd.msc in the searchbox, and then press ENTER (or) Right click on the My Computer, and then select the Manage option. Choose Task Scheduler.

Computer Management

Step 2: In the navigation pane, expand Task Scheduler Library, expand Microsoft, expand Windows, and click RAC.
Choose RAC in Task Scheduler
Step 3: Right-click RAC, click View, and click Show Hidden Tasks.
Show Hidden Tasks for RAC - Task Scheduler
Step 4: Click RACtask in the results pane. On the Action menu, click Enable.
How to Enable Data Collection for Reliability Monitor Tool

To learn more on How you can measure Hardware and Software problems using Reliability Monitor in Windows 7 – Read this article

Enterprise Tech How-to Microsoft Tools

Analyze Hardware and Software problems in Windows 7

Reliability Monitor is an advanced tool that measures hardware and software problems and other changes to your computer. This helps IT professionals better manage the stability of machines in their organization. Reliability Analysis Component (RAC) aggregates, analyzes, and correlates problems at the operating system and application levels. It calculates a stability index that indicates overall system stability over time. RAC also keeps track of any important changes to the system that are likely to affect stability, such as Windows updates, application installations, and driver installations.

The Reliability Monitor is intended for advanced computer users, such as software developers and network administrators.

You can Invoke Reliability Monitor perfmon /rel and pressing ENTER in the command prompt.

Invoking Reliability Monitor in Windows 7 using Command Prompt

You can also search for Reliability monitor in the Control Panel.

When you click on the ‘View Reliability history’, you will get this below dialog. This is actually refreshing and generating the report.

Reliability Monitor in Windows 7 - Report Being Generated

This will open the Reliability Monitor. Users can view RAC data via the Reliability Monitor, which displays data collected from RAC in a stability chart and correlates the computer’s stability index with important events that are likely to affect stability, such as driver failures and software installation.

Reliability Monitor in Windows 7

When you double click on any of the events, it would give you the detailed information on how that event occured. For eg: I  see a WindowsExplorer event, which gives the Summary information that the ‘User canceled a hung navigation’. When I double-click it, you can see this below detailed information.

WindowsExplorer Hung Error Information

Another example for an Successful Message – Let us look the details of the VirtualBox USB Driver Installation message.

Reliability Monitor in Windows 7 - View Technical Details and Summary

Reliability Monitor in Windows 7 - View Technical Details of Virtual Box ErrorIf some applications events triggers an error, you can check for a solution online and also send the report to Microsoft. If the solution is not found online, they will appear in the Action Center when the information in available later.

In Windows 7, Reliability Monitor uses data provided by the RACTask (Reliability Analysis Component scheduled task). Once enabled, This tool will start displaying a Stability Index rating and specific event information 24 hours after system installation. Find the detailed instruction on how to enable this task.

Enterprise Tech How-to Microsoft

Open Command Window (cmd) / Program as an Administrator in Windows 7

Consider you have a situation where, you need to work with applications which needs administrator privileges. Just invoking the application shortcut / command window will not help in Windows 7, as you will be running in as a Standard User. (Read User Account Control to understand more in detail). You will need to launch the program in an elevated context to run it as an administrator. A simple right-click on the program/shortcut and choose ‘Run As Administrator’.

However, you cannot follow this method all-time. Especially, when you need to this more frequent. Here is a simple technique (using Application Shortcuts) which will help you in elevating programs.

If you want to implement this alongside the executable itself, you will need to create a RunasAdmin or RunAsInvoker Shim for this purpose. – Read this Article for more information.

Step 1: Create a Shortcut for the application. You can either use Pinning feature, where you can pin an application to the start-menu or the task-bar. You can also create it on the desktop.  In this example, Let’s choose a Command Window (cmd). (You can use this technique for any application)

Step 2: Right Click and goto the properties of the Command Prompt, Select the ‘Shortcut’ tab.

Step 3: Goto Advanced Tab, And select the ‘Run As Administrator’ checkbox in the Advanced Properties.

This will ensure that, this shortcut will run the program in elevated context all the time. You can always invoke the other default shortcut from the start menu, to launch the application in the standard User mode (if you really need to).

How-to Microsoft

Download Windows 7 Training Kit For Developers

Windows 7 LogoThe Windows 7 Training Kit for Developers includes presentations, hands-on labs, and demos. This content is based on Windows 7 RTM and it is designed to help you learn how to build applications that are compatible with and shine on Windows 7 by utilizing key Windows 7 features such as Taskbar, Libraries, Multi Touch, Sensors and Location, Ribbon, Trigger Start Services, Instrumentation and ETW.

And Application Compatibility topics such as Version Checking, Installer Detection, UAC Data Redirection, User Interface Privilege Isolation,  Session 0 Isolation and High DPI.

Download the Windows 7 Training Kit for Developers here (Courtesy – MSDN)

System Requirements

  • Supported Operating Systems: Windows 7
  • Windows 7 SDK
  • Visual Studio 2008
  • Windows Code Pack API for .NET Framework
  • Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 (or higher)

Also read – Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 Guides / How To Tutorials

General Google How-to

Avoid / Stop Google Analytics Script Monitor your Browser

Few days back, I was talking to one of my friend about how powerful and useful Analytics tool is. I was explaining on the capabilities it provides me (as a webmaster) on analyzing my readers and statistics. That’s when, i could feel a sense on un-comfort in him. When asked, he was not comfortable revealing about the activities on the web no matter how anonymous the data is!

Well, Google Analytics is a web analytics tool that helps website owners understand how visitors engage with their website. Google Analytics customers can view a variety of reports about how visitors interact with their website so they can improve it. Google Analytics collects information anonymously. It reports website trends without identifying individual visitors!

These statistics are very vital for a webmaster. For example: If most of the readers are from India, then it would make sense for the webmaster/author to even include Indian Rupees currency when he writes about a product in his article. i.e.,  Product x – 100 USD (Rs. 5000/- approx)

Google Analytics - Overview
A sample Google Analytics Report - Image Source: Google Analytics About page

Analytics  is a static piece of javascript that tells your visitors browsers to report back to Google that they’ve visited your site. Google Analytics uses first-party cookies to track visitor interactions. These cookies are used to store information, such as what time the current visit occurred, whether the visitor has been to the site before, and what site referred the visitor to the web page. Browsers do not share first-party cookies across domains.

Google Analytics only has access to what your visitors web browser has access to. For eg: If a user is looking at or updating their bank account details none of that info would actually be sent back to Google. Just a record of the pages they visited to complete that transaction.

Google understands that not all readers want to be part of this program and they are making it easier by releasing a tool which would opt out your Browser from monitoring. This web browser add-on can be installed on your browser to disable getting tracked by third party websites.

Download the Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on plugin here

Once you install the Addon, you will get this below confirmation message –

Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on

The Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on is available for Internet Explorer (versions 7 and 8), Google Chrome (4.x and higher), and Mozilla Firefox (3.5 and higher).

To understand more on Google Analytics – Have a look at this video here

How-to Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 Guides, How To Tutorials

Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit is a lifecycle management tool that assists in assessing compatibility issues in your overall application/device/computer portfolio.  This tool helps in,

  1. Gathering Inventory for software, hardware, and device assets
  2. Compatibility evaluation and Get Vendor Support Statements
  3. Recommendations for fixing applications
  4. Tools to apply compatibility fixes or “shims” to applications

The Application Compatiblity process can be easily defined in 3 Steps – Collect-Analyze and Mitigate.

To facilitate Readers/ People who plan their first steps towards Application Compatibility, I have written these 6 Part Series on various tools which are a part of the ACT. These articles will provide information on how to start the appcompat process in an organization (or even as an individual) and fix applications!

Application Compatibility Process (ACT 5.5)

Install and Setup the Application Compatibility Environment

This article will give you detailed instructions on how you can setup up the ACT 5.5 Environment, configure the Application Compatibility Manager and start the AppCompat Process. This is the first step towards solving Application Compatibility Issues with Windows 7.

Creating and Deploying a Data Collection Package (DCP)

In this article, we will look at how to Create and Deploy a Data Collection Package (DCP) to gather inventory for software, hardware, and device assets. This package will start the ACT Data Collector Service to monitor the machine State. You will also learn options to schedule the Data Collection.

How to Analyze the Application Reports Collected?

In this article, we will look at how to categorize and prioritize applications in the ACT report which we get from the Data Collection Packages. We will also look at how to send/receive reports to get hints and support from the Community on solving AppCompat Issues.

Testing your applications as a Standard User

During Develop / Deploy phase of an application, its very important to test the functionality of an app as a Standard User. Especially when the organization has a locked-down environment. Standard User Analyzer tool exactly helps you in this purpose!

Identify Website Issues with Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool

This Tool collects your Web-based issues from Internet Explorer 7 / Internet Explorer 8, uploads the data to the ACT Log Processing Service, and gives the details about discovered compatibility issues. It also provides you links for more information about each of this compatibility issues.

Creating Shims to Fix Broken Applications

This article explains the Compatibility Administrator tool which enables you to resolve many of your potential application compatibility issues. It also explains you on how to create customized compatibility fixes, modes, AppHelp messages, and compatibility databases.

Shims for Specific scenarios:

Do lemme’ know your comments and Thoughts.!