Category Archives: Windows Software

Any of the Windows operating systems and other software not specifically named.

Adding batch files to the Windows Task bar

I use a batch file regularly for connecting to my network and mapping standard drives for my various file shares.

In Windows 7 and 8 there is no simple drag’n’drop of a shortcut that was ok in Windows XP.

While there are numerous options discussed around the web the one that works for me is the simple rename of the batch file extension so that Windows 7 & 8 think it is an executable file.

1. Write your batch file and save it

2. Change the file extension from .bat to .exe or .cmd

3. Right click the file and select the option to Pin to Taskbar (which is not available for batch files)

4. Rename the file extension back to .bat

5. Shift + Right Click your new task bar icon and select Properties

6. Modify the file extension to .bat so that it finds it

7. Optionally, Change Icon and select something appropriate.

It is all ready to go, with the exception that the icon change will not display until the next restart (or possibly just logout / login but I tested with a restart)

Windows 8: the joy, the tears, the remove-myfingernails-with-pliers-is-less-painful……

Ok, I admit I use Windows all day everyday.

I started with Windows when it was version 1 on 5.25″ floppy drives and took 6 hours to install on a 80286 computer…¬† (yep, that old !)

The pain of Windows Me, further failure of Vista, and numerous ‘do not update until Service Pack 1 is tested by others’, the grief with UAC, etc. However, the pain of Windows 8 makes all of that pale into insignificance.

Stupid tiles on a desktop corner settings that require the precision of threading silkworm threads through pinholes, and the assumption that we like the iPad therefore we must like Metro.

Bah, humbug!

Ok. So I have my new Toshiba Kira notebook with touch-screen but I really prefer the old-school desktop. Shades of XP with Windows 7 but not Metro.

So today I embark on ridding myself of the Windows 8 settings that irk me.

First up, the extra picture lock screen that I have to dismiss to get to the login screen on start up.

For this there is a simple group policy edit setting.

1. The group Policy option: from the Start screen (the tiles screen) type ‘gpedit.msc’ (ignore the No apps found message as you type – it will come up when the full filename and extension is complete) and press Enter to run it.

2. Select Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Control Panel -> Personalisation

3. In the Setting list is ‘Do not display the lock screen’, just Enable this Setting option and Apply or OK.

4. Close the gpedit application and the lock screen will no longer appear.

Next I want the desktop to be my default screen with the task bar at the bottom with the apps I need constantly. I might be being old-school but the Start screen with bulky icons is not useful for me. So desktop view, menus, a Start button all led me to Stardock Start8 which installed in 20 seconds, configured in less, and only costs $4.99!

Not sure what I’ll find next that needs fixing in Windows 8 but with these items done, I think I can get back to real work.

Windows 8: Closing unwanted apps

Like on the iPhone and iPad, Windows 8 keeps apps open in memory once they are launched.

Way back when using the Alt-F4 combination to close apps in Windows was the norm and it is still the case for most apps today, but apparently not all apps allow for this. However, the ones I have wanted to close have all worked so far.

References: I did like this article on other methods of closing apps

Windows SBS 2008 and WSUS 3.0 Wizard Object Moved Error

I have done battle with an SBS Server in recent weeks. Some of it was simple fixes, while getting WSUS working and updates generally has been challenging.

The server had not been patched for almost 18 months and the reason was that WSUS was not working and there were some group policies that apparently were disabling connections even for the server.

I have not fully resolved this but one of the key items was this Microsoft TechNet Thread on WSUS Configuration Wizard where I learn that there is a mandated update KB2734608 which resolved the connection issue.

Now that the server is patched and updated, I’ll delve into what the workstations need to get their dose of Windows medicine.