Windows 7 Virtual PC Problem Solved

With the loss of my XP box I decided it was time to try out Windows Virtual PC and the XP Mode included in Win 7 Pro. It worked great so now I won’t need to resort to using my very old Win2K box to run a couple old CAD applications that won’t install in Win7.

After playing around with XP Mode a bit I decided to get adventurous and play around with getting other OSs running in Virtual PC. I have no idea how it happened but suddenly the Virtual Machines folder lost all the special buttons. Losing the Settings button was no big deal since I could simply left click and choose settings. However I couldn’t see a workaround for the loss of the Create virtual machine button. Fortunately Ben Armstrong had posted three solutions for the problem back in 2009.

Windows 8 Power User WiFi Tips

I purchased a netbook with Windows 8 last year and started using my WiFi more frequently. Windows 8 does not have the WiFi Profile manager like in previous versions of Windows but The Windows Club has a solution, WiFi Profile Manager 8, it works great.

With my frequent usage I also was getting annoyed with occasional drop outs. I noticed when the drop outs where happening I’d see neighbors access points show up in my listings which slowed me down by cluttering up the network connection list in the charms bar. Using the command line tool netsh I was able to fix both problems. First I used the

netsh wlan show networks mode=bssid

command to examine the connections, sure enough the nearest neighbor was using channel 6 the same as me and when the conditions are right his signal gets strong at my place. The other neighbor was on channel 11 so I changed my access point to use channel 1 and now I never drop out. FYI; there is major overlap in WiFi channels so you need to be five channels apart to eliminate all interference.

The netsh command tool also allowed me to block my neighbors access points from showing up in my WiFi list.

netsh wlan add filter permission=block ssid=neighbors_ssid networktype=infrastructure


Netsh Commands

Showing All Your Neighbor’s WiFi Profile

How To Block A Computer From Accessing To A Specific Wireless Network

USB Drive Letters and Media Center Annoyances

First the Media Center Annoyance, whenever I plug in a thumb drive or flash card, Media Center would start reading it and sometimes would end up blocking me from ejecting the device. I’d been trying to figure out how to stop this from happening for a long time with no luck. One day I decided to search around for a solution and I found it on this page (the third post on the page).

I’ve been switching to USB connected external drives for data backup ever since I started doing a bunch of video editing because the giant files would overwhelm my NAS that holds the backups for my other projects. An annoying problem was that the drive letters assigned by Windows would sometimes vary and other times would get locked in to drive letter. For backup purposes I need to have the drive letters be consistent and I found the Holy Grail of USB drive letter management, USB Drive Letter Manager for Windows (USBDLM) by Uwe Sieber. It is definitely not for the average PC user but if you’ve got the skills it is a fantastic little service. I need to check out the other little utilities and services on the web site. I especially need to check out the COM-Port manager it will likely save me from having to use the COM port deletion technique from my previous blog post (note to self, do this before buying that 8 port adapter).

Windows 7 Desktop Shortcuts and USB COM port problems solved

A while back (I’ve been too busy to blog much for almost a year) I was puzzled to find some of my desktop shortcuts disappearing seemingly randomly. A page in the Microsoft Knowledge base explained why it was happening. In my particular case the shortcuts where pointing to network shares and documents and neither of the proposed solutions was right for me. Then in a flash of inspiration I realized that if I put those shortcuts inside of a folder on the desktop the System Maintenance troubleshooter doesn’t touch them.

My old XP box finally died so I had to move my USB to EIA-232 adaptors to my Win 7 box. Shuffling the devices around between various USB ports and hubs I saw the old problem of new COM port numbers being assigned to the adaptor with each USB port change. This of course rapidly leads to having to deal with COM10+. I vaguely remembered that there was a way to remove the extra ports so that once the adaptors where in their final USB destinations they’d have the low numbers I like. Searching around I found this excellent page with instructions.

See Also:
Device Manager does not display devices that are not connected to the Windows XP-based computer, from Microsfot
How to Find Hidden COM Ports, from Adafruit
USBDeview, from NirSoft

3/16/2015 Update: Updated the URL, added other reference URLS