I currently work from a 32GB primary SSD. That’s not a lot of space, so I offload as many extraneous programs and data onto a 64GB SD card as I can. That means that most games that I play must go onto this SD card.

Recently, I also reformatted my PC to install Windows 8, meaning I lost much of the registry data associated with programs. The actual program data is there, so I only need to adjust the registry. But what to adjust? Fortunately, some programs can be easily changed, but some cannot be.

The Unreal Tournament series are easy to “reinstall” in the registry. Simply open Notepad, edit the data below to match your system, save as a .reg file, and open the .reg file to add it into your registry (courtesy of WisMerHill at HardwareHeaven).

///
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Unreal Technology]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Unreal Technology\Installed Apps]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Unreal Technology\Installed Apps\UT2004]
"Folder"="d:\\UT\\UT2004"
"Version"="3236"
"CDKey"="XXXX-XXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX"
"ADMIN_RIGHTS"="You need to run this program as an administrator, not as a guest or limited user account."
"NO_DISC"="No disc in drive. Please insert the disc labeled 'Unreal Tournament 2004 Play Disc' to continue."
"NO_DRIVE"="No CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive detected."
"TITLEBAR"="Unreal Tournament 2004"
"WRONG_DISC"="Wrong disc in drive. Please insert the disc labeled 'Unreal Tournament 2004 Play Disc' to continue."
"YEAR"="2004"
///

LifeHacker also suggests that before reformatting a PC, to find and export (backup) registry entries for programs for easy Windows installation.

My suggestion is to backup any registry data for programs ”not” installed onto the main drive or programs with very large installation sizes, such as games. Beyond that, the use of the SysInternals Junction tool can be useful for tricking the system into offloading programs onto non-primary drives, through the following command:

mklink /d "C:\Program Files\ProgramName\" "ExtDrive:\Program Files\ProgramName\"

The Junction tool (mklink) creates symbolic links between files and folders. You can apply this tool before installation of the program or copy the data onto the external drive, delete the original folder, and then create the symbolic link.

You can also use this to offload various other data sources that are not normally used but necessary for the system: the Office MSOCache (C:\MSOCache), the Windows Installer folder (C:\Windows\Installer), and so on. I use DLLArchive to remove unnecessary .dll files from Windows, and I also use mklink to offload the archive onto the SD card.

But be aware that if you use an SD card like I do, that SD cards do not have redundant sectors or error checking like normal drives. Make a backup!

μTorrent has changed significantly after its purchase by BitTorrent. However, it remains the most popular torrent client due to its small size and performance. Its advertising can get very annoying, but there is a way to disable it.

The way to do this is to disable the following settings in the Advanced tab of the Settings menu:

  • offers.left_rail_offer_enabled/left_rail_offer
  • gui.show_plus_upsell
  • offers.sponsored_torrent_offer_enabled/sponsored_torrent_offer_enabled
  • bt.enable_pulse
  • gui.show_notorrents_node
  • offers.content_offer_autoexec

This should take care of some of those ads, although future changes to the uTorrent code may remove this fix.

Thanks to Lifehacker for the tip.

SSDs have limited lifespans due to their write limits. However, some operating systems are better adjusted for SSDs than others, and some tweaks can help. Here are two sites that offer some advice:

Tweakhound advises users not to adjust any settings under Windows 8, as the OS is optimized for SSDs. However, users may need to run the Windows System Assessment Tool to force the OS to recognize the SSD.

For users under Windows 7, it may help to extend the life of the drive by disabling SuperFetch and PreFetch. These may be unnecessary, but definitely disable defragmentation and enable TRIM.

Some more tips can be found at Speedguide.

The Acer W500 is a great little tablet PC. Accessing the BIOS under the default Windows 7 can be difficult due to the speed of the system. Accessing the BIOS under Windows 8’s Hybrid Boot can also be extremely difficult. Here’s how to force the tablet to pause so that you can log into the BIOS or use an external USB drive to boot the device.

First, try the combination of Power + Windows button, then F2.

Second, interrupt Windows with a hard shutdown (hold Power for 5 seconds). Try the Power + Windows + F2 button combination again. This time, you might have extra time since Windows believes there was a system error needing analysis and repair.

Third, disable Hybrid Boot under Windows 8, which can be found under Control Panel> Change what the power buttons do> Change settings that are currently unavailable. Then try the Power + Windows + F2 combination again.

Credits for this fix come from the TabletPCReview Forums.

Does the Windows 8 installation stall at the disk formatting screen? Do you get this error: “We couldn’t create a new partition or locate an existing one.  For more information, see the Setup log files”?

There are a couple of steps to try.

First, disconnect all external HDD, card readers, and take out all SD cards currently in the system. Reboot and try the installation again.

If that does not work, try this process, taken from TechNet:

  1. Once the setup fails to find the partition, just close the setup window (the top-right-hand side red X does the job).
  2. From that point, you should be brought back at the initial setup screen.Choose “Repair” then go to the advanced tools and start the command line.
  3. Start DISKPART.
  4. Type LIST DISK and identify your SSD disk number (from 0 to n disks).
  5. Type SELECT DISK <n> where <n> is your SSD disk number.
  6. Type CLEAN
  7. Type CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY
  8. Type ACTIVE
  9. Type FORMAT FS=NTFS QUICK
  10. Type ASSIGN
  11. Type EXIT twice (one to get out of DiskPart, the other to exit the command line tool)

uTorrent is one of the best BitTorrent clients out there, due to its small size and full features. However, uTorrent has a difficult time following upload limits, which can hurt general internet speeds if not controlled. Here is how to force the limits to work.

There are several places that need to be checked to ensure that BitTorrent is following upload limits.

First, go to Preferences> Bandwidth. Here, three options need to be set:

  1. Maximum upload rate
  2. Alternate upload rate (with box checked)
  3. Use additional upload slots if upload speed < 90% (uncheck box)

Second, go to Preferences> Queuing. You should change the following options to respect your desired upload amount and speed limits:

  1. Seeding Goal> Minimum Ratio
  2. Limit the upload rate to (kB/s)

Third, if uTorrent still does not follow your upload speed limits, which can be a common occurrence, individually set the limits for each torrent by right clicking the torrent name, selecting Bandwidth Allocation> Set Upload Limit> (desired upload speed limit).

Credits for this fix go to CallingAllGeeks

Note: if uTorrent still refuses to respect upload limits, it may be the nature of the uTorrent client and cloud. Seed a less popular torrent or pick another torrent client. uTorrent does not follow upload limits very well.

Looking for a cheap wireless router in Japan that also supports English operation? Many Japanese brands will not have built-in English support, even though some of these routers are sold worldwide. Don’t expect routers from Buffalo, Logitec, or NEC to support English, although the ones from Buffalo might do so with a firmware flash.

To get a router with English support, it’s possible to import one from another country, but it can be costly and there might be some import taxes applicable. The easiest solution is to buy a native router, and Planex is one company that has good, cheap, and English-supporting products.

While the latest 802.11ac format is out, most of the world still uses 802.11n, a format that combines the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands for improved performance. It is important, therefore, to find a router that supports dual band operations, and if possible, to have multiple antennas for each band.

Unfortunately, Planex does not have multiple antenna support, but its routers are extremely compact and inexpensive, making them a good choice for small apartments or traveling. My recommendation is the MF-300D, with a double antenna configuration for dual band operation. It can be found at Amazon Japan for less than 3000 yen, in both Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging or retail boxes (the FFP format may be cheaper). Credits to プラネックスを使ってみた for the router information.

User Experience and Review

Previously, I used a D-Link DGL-4300 802.11g router, which is a full-featured, last generation product. Main selling points about this router are the high-performance processor and GameFuel traffic prioritization technology, which may be standard on newer, higher performing routers.

The Planex MF-300D, on the other hand, is not a high-performance router. The interface can be a little confusing, with each antenna (5GHz and 2.4GHz) having a separate access point name and password. There is a virtual access point option (created by default) which also has AP names and passwords for each antenna. There is also no traffic prioritization technology nor support for more than 2 ethernet clients, although the basic NAT and SPI firewall features are available. It is, however, an IPv6 compatible router, whereas the DGL-4300 is not.

In everyday use, there’s really no difference between the two routers. Both are fairly easy to use once set up, and though the advanced setup on the Planex router is a little more confusing, it is not difficult, especially with the user guide. Traffic prioritization is not necessarily missed, especially when paired with gratuitous amounts of bandwidth.

However, the Planex router is clearly not a top performer. Connection times with the router are a big longer than with the D-Link, often taking over 5 seconds to connect a WiFi-G device to the mixed N+G network. There are some very rare hiccups as well, where the router drops clients and reconnects, leaving users without internet for about ten seconds.

The Planex is, however, a very good multifunction travel router. It can function as access point, router, or USB WiFi adapter, and it only costs 3000 yen. As such, it is a very good product for those needing English-supporting routers in Japan.

 


 

Comments

Thanks for the post, could be just what I need. What kind of English support does this have? I am a new comer to Japan and have only very basic Japanese. So English set up software would be really useful for me.
Cheers. — Mike

This router is translated very well into English–everything that is there is available in both Japanese and English. That said, there is not a lot of explanation for some of the options, one of which is how to turn off having two access points on the same router (Wireless AP and Virtual AP). Besides that, though, the performance is very decent for something 3000 yen, about $30, it is very small and portable, and, of course, the English is well enough done that people familiar with routers will have very little problems. If you are not familiar with routers, you should still be able to set it up fine, if you take the time to do so. — George

Security@Georgeliu.me

CrashPlan is a great data backup service. It has some drawbacks, such as high memory use and slow speeds (being based on Java), but it has some terrific benefits as well. It is about the only program that allows you to store data on multiple computers and on the computers of friends, a free option.

However, I recently ran into a problem with CrashPlan: something was causing CrashPlan to see the folder as 0 bytes instead of several gigabytes. It could not see the data in the folders, and as a result, no data was being backed up.

So what went wrong? I initially thought it was something to do with security settings and file permissions. I searched Google for a while and came up with some hints, such as taking ownership of files and such. For that task, using Ultimate Windows Tweaker allowed me to easily add the correct registry extension to the right-click context menu and take ownership of all files.

That didn’t fix anything. I was still pretty sure it was a file permission error, so I looked at the base drive, and made sure all accounts (Myself and Everyone) had the necessary permissions, with the correct option selected (applying these permissions to “this folder, subfolders, and files”).

It still didn’t work, so I played around in CrashPlan to see what was going on. Only some folders were not capable of being backed up. And as it turns out, the only folders that CrashPlan could not access were the ones being shared with the Windows 7 HomeGroup. Here was a big hint, and I eventually followed these steps:

  1. Disable “Password protected sharing” (Control Panel>All Control Panel Items>Network and Sharing Center>Advanced Sharing Settings\Password protected sharing)
  2. Add “Everyone” account to necessary folders and give them “full control” permissions (Right-click folder, Security\Advanced\Change Permissions\Add\Allow Full Control)

I am not sure that step 1 is necessary, but I believe that because security was enabled, Windows cut down access from Myself and Everyone to just Myself and HomeUsers (HomeGroup). Either way, the most important thing is this: CrashPlan needs to have an Everyone account associated with the folders to back up (and the necessary permissions to read the folder). Otherwise, backups may not work.

But funnily enough, another shared folder that is backed up in CrashPlan has Myself, Administrators, HomeUsers, and SYSTEM user accounts attached to it. Maybe SYSTEM is enough?

 


Comments

Previous comments imported from a different version of this blog.

Hint: use System instead of Everyone for security reasons.

I had this same problem and solved it. I moved an external hard drive from a Win XP to a new pc with Win 7 and found Crashplan saw nothing under a directory with 300 gig. Yet other folders on the same drive did not have the problem. That directory with 300 gig has been shared previously. I found I had to add SYSTEM to the permission so that Crashplan could see the entire directory structure underneath it. After more digging, adding Everyone will have the same effect. — CharlieI didn’t have to give everyone FULL permission, just read permission. But the trick was to disable the Password Protected Sharing. THANK YOU!…saved me a lot of grief! — Steve

I found success by adding SYSTEM account. Not full control and with password protected sharing turned ON. — Sean

It was option 1 for me – the password sharing. Disabled it and crashplan immediately worked again. No idea why this happened or what caused it though. — Nicholas

I had the same problem on Windows Server 2012. CrashPlanPRO wasn’t backing up shares I had changed the security settings on. Adding the SYSTEM user and giving it read and execute rights did the trick. Thanks — Josh

 

 

Solid State Drives (SSDs) have become extremely popular due to their speed, low power use, and reliability. However, they are typically contain much less space than equivalently priced hard-disk drives (HDDs). Windows users can use symbolic links to move some data onto cheaper HDDs. This helps to prolong the useful life of SSDs, since unnecessary data does not take up limited space and since this greater free space on SSDs should result in better write management.

Windows Vista and up supports symbolic links, which can be created using the “mklink” command in cmd.exe. Be sure to run it in Administrator mode, which can be accessed by typing “cmd.exe” into the Start Menu Search bar and right clicking on the “cmd.exe” shortcut.

Some useful things to take off of your SSD are:

  • Microsoft Office’s MSOCache
  • The Windows Installer folder
  • Unnecessary Windows driver DLLs

The MSOCache is generally only useful for updating Office using Microsoft Update, and unnecessary driver DLLs are generally never accessed.

The Windows Installer folder is necessary for installing and uninstalling updates, but it can be offloaded to another drive, as it is not often used.

The MSOCache optimization is easily done, but the DLL optimization requires another program: DLLArchive.

To work with the MSOCache, first copy the MSOCache folder onto another drive and note the location. Then, open cmd.exe in Administrator mode. Input this mklink command:

mklink /D “C:\MSOCache” “D:\New\Folder\For\MSOCache”

The /D option creates a symbolic link joining the two folders and is necessary for working with folders. mklink with no operators only modifies files.

To work with DLL Archive, first download the program here. Next, create a DLLArchive folder on another drive. After you open cmd.exe, run this mklink command:

mklink /D “C:\Windows\DLLArchive” “D:\New\Folder\For\DLLArchive”

When you run DLL Archive, your unnecessary driver DLLs should then be placed on the separate drive. Users may want to run DLL Archive regularly, as Windows updates replace some of the removed DLL files.

By using these two tweaks, users could realize several GBs worth of space savings. I’m sure others will find other creative ways to save space as well. However, be aware that the greater interdependencies between different data volumes results in more complicated data recovery if a drive fails. In essence, don’t go overboard.

For more information on mklink and the /D, /J, and /H options, please visit these sites: MSDN Blog, MSDN, Wikipedia. Credits to this site for the MSOCache tip.

When working with pictures, it’s very easy to be overloaded by the amount of data. Bulk Rename Utility is an easy way to manage file names, dates, and other such data, especially with pictures imported using older programs. But there is one problem with BRU: sometimes the date taken field does not work, and file names may end up with slightly different dates.

The key to fixing this is to 1) enable Administrator mode in BRU, and 2) click on Options>Extract>EXIF data (photos).

Both of these settings are disabled by default for security and to for speed, but it can cause some problems. Credits for the fix to BRU forums.