February 3, 2009

Windows Defender

Just For Vista?

I received a phone call yesterday morning from a fellow newsletter reader who was wondering if the Windows Defender security package only works with Windows Vista. At first, I told him yes, because from what I understood from articles I've read in the past, that's how it's set up. He then asked me to double check on it and I gladly said I would. Well, let me tell you, I'm really glad I did! I have been wrong this whole time and I'm not too proud to admit it. Here's the scoop!

After doing some more research, I found out that Windows Defender automatically comes along with Vista, but you can also download a free version of it for earlier Windows operating systems. Wow, who knew?! The free version of Windows Defender is available for Windows XP SP2, as well as, Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003. (It will only work with the last two if you validate it through the Windows Genuine Advantage program first though).

Now, I know you're probably wondering how the free version stacks up next to the Vista version, right? Well, as far as I can see, it seems to work just as well. If you download Windows Defender to an earlier operating system, it will run through all the same scans, etc. that it does for Vista. generic cialis fast delivery It's obviously going to work a little better for Vista, because it's the security program that was made specifically for it, but if you're looking for something new for an older Windows computer, the free download will do the trick! So, if you're not using Vista and would like to download the free version of Windows Defender, you can do so right here. I hope you enjoy it!

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February 2, 2009

Do you use the “Windows” Key?

January 2nd, 2009

Posted by Jason Perlow

20070529-windowskey-f1.jpgIn round two of Perlow gets a Bott Beating, I am educated by our esteemed Windows expert that you don’t need a “Run” function in the Windows Vista or Windows 7 Start Menu because “The Windows Key” combined with “R” is the same function. Wow, I didn’t know that. Really.

I have to admit here, this is probably not something that is unique to actual computer experts who have been using PC’s prior to 1981.  I’m sure plenty of people have no idea what the Windows Key does.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.


The Windows key was introduced by Microsoft in Windows 95. At the time, most PC’s used the IBM AT 101 key layout. It was only a few years later that many keyboard manufacturers and PC makers started to license its use and that it became standard. Still,  many of us never got into the use of the Windows Key. I informally polled a number of real veterans this cialis soft tablets morning — most of which have been using PCs 20 years or more — and most of them don’t use the Windows key. Some of them, like former PC Magazine Editor In Chief Bill Machrone, use CTRL-ESC instead.

I personally own a number of keyboards manufactured by UNICOMP, which is the company that bought the rights to produce the original IBM buckling-spring AT keyboards. They aren’t cheap, their basic model, which is a 101-key model which has no “Windows” key, is  $69. They do also make a model with the Windows Key, but I don’t own any. They are incedibly durable keyboards, and if you are someone who writes a great deal or who lusts after a good-ol style IBM keyboard, I highly reccomend them.

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November 9, 2008

How do I… turn off the Caps Lock key?

  • Date: September 9th, 2008
  • Author: Mark Kaelin

This blog post is also available in PDF format as a cialis dosages target=”_blank”>TechRepublic download.

Sometimes, depending on the manufacturer and on the particular layout, your keyboard can be a great source of frustration. For TechRepublic reader Frank Reeves, the Caps Lock key is the one that drives him crazy. After seeing the TechRepublic How do I… about how to disable the Insert key in Word, he asked for information on how to similarly disable the Caps Lock key.

There are several ways to accomplish this task. One way is to discover the scan code for the Caps Lock key and for the key you want to map it to and then edit the Windows registry. The folks at Annoyances.org explain this method. However, their explanation is more complicated than it needs to be, and there are easier and safer ways to accomplish the same thing.

Third-party keyboard layout and mapping tools are available that will allow you to change the behavior of the Caps Lock key, but many of these really boil down to a .reg file, which edits the Windows registry for you. In general, these .reg files are fine and come from people and organizations just trying to help make your life easier, but it still involves a stranger editing your Windows registry files. That makes me uncomfortable.

The best way to remap the Caps Lock key or any key on your keyboard is with a free utility from Microsoft called remapkey.exe. This little utility is available in the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools. It is one of many utilities included in the kit and works with Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and Windows Vista. This TechRepublic How do I… shows you how to use the remapkey.exe utility to remap the Caps Lock key.


Once you download and run the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools file, you will have a long laundry list of utilities located in a single directory. I used the default location (Figure A):



Figure A


When you start the remapkey utility, it presents a screen displaying two keyboards, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

Remapkey utility

The top keyboard is the standard base keyboard layout. To remap the Caps Lock key, in the top keyboard, click on the key you would like the Caps Lock to be remapped to, drag it to the bottom keyboard, and drop it on the Caps Lock key there. In my example, I am remapping the Caps Lock key to the left Shift key. (Note the red key in Figure C.)

Figure C

Caps Lock is now left Shift.

When you are satisfied with your remapping choices, click the Save And Exit icon to implement the change (Figure D). A reboot of the operating system will be required for the change to take effect.

Figure D

Save your settings and exit.

As you can see in Figure E, the remapkey utility is writing to the Windows registry, just like the methods mentioned earlier were going to do, but this gives you more control over that delicate editing process.

Figure E

Remapkey writes to the Windows registry.

Note: For Windows Vista, you will have to run the remapkey utility in administrator mode.

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September 30, 2008

Alt + Tab

Back by popular demand. You asked for it, so here it is!

Let's say you have about four different programs running on your PC all at the same time. For instance, maybe you have your e-mail up and running, a Web browser window open, a Word document ready for review and your music player playing your favorite song. With all of that going on, have you ever wondered if there was a quick way to pull each of those programs up as you need them, without the rest of them getting in your way? For example, maybe you're working on your Word document, but you want to bring your music player up to change songs. So, how can you do that quickly and painlessly?

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Well, all you have to do is press Alt + Tab together one time. Once you do that, it will bring up a little box that has all of your open programs listed. Then while continuing to hold the Alt key down, just press the Tab key to scroll your way across the programs. Highlight the one you want and then release the Alt key to pull that program up. Want to change programs again? Just repeat the process as many times as you need. It's so simple and it also helps you to keep track of everything you have running on your PC at one time. Pretty cool, huh? Give it a try today!

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August 13, 2008

Poll: Which of the following Windows versions is the most prevalent among your end users?

  • Date: July 8th, 2008
  • Author: Bill Detwiler

As I recently wrote, propecia dosing color=”#003399″>Dell and HP are selling select, business computers loaded with Windows XP Professional. Customers can have Windows XP preinstalled and get a DVD to upgrade to Vista when they are ready.

Dell and HP’s decision to continue selling a nearly seven-year-old operating system, got me thinking about which Windows version TechRepublic members most often support.

Answer the following poll and let us know which Windows version is the most prevalent among your end users.

Which of the following Windows versions is the most prevalent among your end users?

  • Windows XP (92%)
  • Windows Vista (4%)
  • Windows 2000 (3%)
  • Windows 98 (1%)
  • Windows Me (0%)
  • Windows 95 or earlier (0%)
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