What’s my ip address–from Windows command line (cmd.exe)

If you’re behind a router (and most people are) then ipconfig.com will give your LAN address–local to your building, but not your WAN address–the IP address that websites see you as.

The most common way to find your WAN IP address is http://whatsmyip.net.

But that doesn’t (easily) work from the Windows command line, eg cmd.exe

But, your salvation is here: Here is something that does. Quite simple:

C:\users\YOURNAME> nslookup myip.opendns.com. resolver1.opendns.com

Notice the dot (“.”) after myip.opendns.com. That prevents it getting appended.


The various volumes on an iPhone

Most of the time the volume you set on the iPhone “just works.” But it’s far more complicated than you’d think, and it’s very context dependent. Macworld describes it well.

This article is from 2013, quoted in its entirety here. But things are always changing:

How to control the volume in iOS

By Sharon Zardetto
Macworld | Mar 7, 2013 7:00 AM PT

Most of the time, you hit a volume button on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, and it does what you expect, whether it’s turning up your reminder alarms or turning down your music. And then there are the other times.

different iOS volume icons

But once you understand the different “kinds” of sounds, the interaction between software settings and the volume buttons, and how context overrides the default course of events, you’ll have better control over your device’s volume.

The sound of more than music

The key to mastering volume adjustment is understanding that most of the sounds on your device fall into one of two categories. General audio includes music and other media, and the voice volume on the iPhone and for FaceTime on all devices. The “ringers and alerts” category includes not only the iPhone ringer, but also: FaceTime rings; Clock app alarms; notifications and individual app alerts; keyboard clicks; and miscellaneous app sounds like the whoosh of sending Mail.

IMG:iPhone settings sound

Basically, you can decide which kind of sounds—general audio or the ringers and alerts—your volume buttons control by going to Settings > Sounds and, under Ringers and Alerts, set Change With Buttons to On or Off; if you turn it off, the buttons control the general audio. But your default choice is easily, and often, overridden because what you’re doing at any given moment takes precedence over the default settings

Context is everything

The volume buttons “just work” most of the time because they’re context-sensitive.

If, for instance, you’re in the Music app, the buttons change the media volume even if you’ve set them to control Ringers and Alerts; this happens even if the music controls are merely showing, on a Lock screen or in the multitasking bar, with no music playing. Conversely, when media volume is the default, you can change the Ringer volume when an alarm is playing. These changes affect the overall volume setting for that category, not just temporarily or for the current sound.
The volume settings screen

The volume icon that appears when you use the buttons helpfully indicates what you’re adjusting. With Ringers and Alerts as the default, press a button when you’re on a Home screen with no music playing and the icon is labeled Ringer (on the iPhone) or Sound Effects (on other devices). If Ringer and Alerts is turned off, you get the unlabeled icon that stands for general audio. If you’re using headphones, it’s their volume that’s altered, not the device’s speaker, and the volume icon notes that.

As for controlling the volume in games, that’s complicated. Many games are set to the Ringers and Alerts volume when you first run them; some interact with that setting if you change the game volume. Some newly launched games inherit the volume level from the last game app you used. A game remembers its own volume setting from its previous use if it’s been sitting in the multitasking bar. Luckily, no matter your default setting for the volume buttons, they will always control the volume of the current game.

Want Siri to talk louder, or to lower its voice? Neither general audio nor Ringers and Alerts volume settings affect that. To adjust both the little chirp and the voice volume, start Siri with a press of the Home button, and use the volume buttons while Siri’s open.

Setting limits

While you’re in Settings, you can also set an upper limit for headphone music volume in Music > Volume Limit to protect your—or a child’s—hearing. The setting doesn’t restrict non-headphone volume. (A side effect of setting a lower limit is that each press of a volume button changes it by a smaller increment.)

You can prevent the youngling from upping the volume by locking the level with a passcode. Go to Settings > General > Restrictions; tap Enable Restrictions if necessary, and supply a passcode. Tap Volume Limit and then Don’t Allow Changes.

Mute and other silencers

Volume isn’t the only thing that depends on context. How you mute your device can depend on which device you’re using, the situation, and hardware or software settings.

  • When your iPhone is ringing, hit either volume button to temporarily mute it; this also works for FaceTime rings on any device.
  • On the iPhone, flip the Ring/Silent switch to kill the ringer; it will still ring through headphones. This also mutes Calendar and Reminder alerts, most games, and other sound effects (including the camera shutter) but not alarms—an important point if you’re sitting in the front row for the New York Philharmonic.
  • On an iPad, use the Side Switch to mute button ringers and alerts; it doesn’t affect music or other media. In Settings > General, under Use Side Switch To, tap Mute. To override the setting, or mute the iPad when the Side Switch is set to Orientation Lock, see the details in Lex Friedman’s guide to muting notifications. You can also mute the volume with the volume button: Hold down the lower end for about two seconds.
  • Use Settings > General and turn on Do Not Disturb to silence notifications during the times you specify. This works only when your device is locked, and does not affect alarms.
  • You can mute certain sounds for some individual apps in Settings > Sounds. Tap New Mail in the Sounds list, for instance, and then tap None.

From “How to control the volume in iOS”

Easy keys to “Run as Administrator” from start orb–Windows 7

More common way to start a program as administrator from the Windows 7 Start Menu/Orb is to

  1. click the start orb
  2. type the search text ie part of the command or program you want to start
  3. when you see it found in the list at the top,
  4. RIGHT-click on it and choose ‘Run as administrator’

Mostly mouse.

If you want a way to do it by keys, it’s similar but uses keys strokes on the keyboard (see also image below):

  1. type CTRL+ESC
    • this brings up the start orb via keys on the keyboard; equivalent to clicking on the start orb
  2. type the search text ie part of the command or program you want to start
  3. when you see it found in the list at the top,
    • this will start the program as Administrator, usually prompting you for approval (if UAC is on)

Here’s what it actually looks like.

I hope this tip speeds you through your work day.


Google Drive Private Sharing Requires a Google Account

Everybody says, “It’s easy, just use Google Drive. It’s free.”

And I’m sure Google wants you to think that.

And it is easy except for one type of sharing:

  • Password protected sharing to people who do not have a google account.

To be specific, here are the layers of sharing:

  1. Public. AKA Publish to the web. Everyone can view. Even strangers.
  2. Sharing with people by emailing them a link
    • Good News: do not need to have a google account
    • Bad news: ANYONE who has the link can view the file.
  3. Sharing with specific people only–ie only people who have the password
    • Bad news: REQUIRES a google account. In fact, the password to their google account is what protects the file from unauthorized eyes.

So the premium feature is sharing with ONLY SPECIFIC PEOPLE – WITHOUT a google account.

Box.com can do it with paid subscription only. As little as $10 or $5 / month.

Unlock PDF file

How to unlock a secured/protected PDF file so you can copy and paste or print from it

Option 1 : Ghostscript

Download portable Ghostscript from PortableApps.com :

Install Ghostscript.

  • NOTE: it does not really “install”. It just writes files to a particular folder.
  • TAKE NOTE OF THE FOLDER! You may also change its location and name if you like.
  • We will enter this foldername later.

Start the Windows program Notepad

Copy and paste the following text

  • You will have to CHANGE the names of the input and output files after you paste into Notepad.
  • (You might have to scroll right to see/get/copy all of this)
    gswin32c -dNOPAUSE -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile="OUTPUT PDF" "INPUT PDF"
  • INPUT PDF – this is the full path name to the file you want to unlock by converting
  • OUTPUT PDF – this is the full path name to the new file you want to create (the filename should not exist yet–but the folder should)
  • Example 1 of possible INPUT and OUTPUT PDF files:
    • INPUT: C:\users\johndoe\Downloads\some_file.pdf
    • OUTPUT: C:\users\johndoe\Downloads\some_file_unlocked.pdf
  • Example 2 possible of INPUT and OUTPUT PDF files:
    • INPUT: "C:\users\johndoe\Desktop\another file.pdf"
    • OUTPUT: "C:\users\johndoe\Desktop\another file unlocked.pdf"
  • If the folder path or file name contains spaces, the filename must be in “double quotes” (otherwise the quotes are optional)

Save the file as convert_pdf.bat in the bin sub-folder within the folder where you “installed” Ghostscript

  • Example save location: C:\user\johndoe\Downloads\CommonFiles\Ghostscript\bin\

Navigate to that bin sub-folder and double-click convert_pdf.bat to run it.

  • It should create an unlocked version of your file for you.

Option 2 : Upload to google drive (docs)

Then cut-n-paste from within google drive.

Option 3 : Upload to free zoho docs.

Then cut-n-paste from within zoho docs.

How to show Full Headers of an email message

You occasionally need to show full headers to debug spam or some malware attacks.

Unfortunately, the method to do this varies in every email program.

Here are some examples:

GMAIL (these things keep changing)

reply drop-down has “show original”

OUTLOOK: (these things keep changing)

message right-click has “options”



has several examples of email programs, as does


of all places

windows welcome login/logon screen hacks/tweaks

How to bypass windows logon / welcome screen and log on automatically

Often having just 1 user who has no password will do it.



First (must be done first), select the user who you want to log in automatically.
Then, uncheck the Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer box.

reference: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/377-log-automatically-startup.html

How to hide all accounts but one but require a password for that account (if the account has one)

create the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\.DEFAULT with nothing in it.

Apparently that displays just the most recent user and “Other Users” (did not try it 4/9/2016)


  • http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/182279-logon-screen-fix-showing-only-other-user-last-logged-user.html
    RIPPED TORN comment: http://www.sevenforums.com/2111856-post14.html
    hhaddow990 commet: http://www.sevenforums.com/1738383-post5.html
  • http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-desktop/recent-windows-7-update-change-welcome-screen-not/9539d070-2bac-4144-8dfc-0632aedb8f2b

How to Temporarily Bypass Automatic Logon at Startup and force the windows welcome logon screen to appear (IE, UNDO the above)

Let BIOS complete (or else you might get a “Stuck Key” error)

At the first windows screen (after BIOS done) hold down Shift key until you see the welcome log on screen.

You might want to change the logon background wallpaper image (below) to instruct users about the SHFIT key.

This does NOT display hidden accounts (“SpecialAccounts“).

Hide user from welcome screen (et al)

Put in SpecialAccounts list in registry and set it’s value to 0 (hidden; 1=unhide)

(Note: the ‘NT’ in WindowsNT in this reg key, not the regular ‘Windows’ without the ‘NT’)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\SpecialAccounts\UserList\USERNAME 0 to hide; 1 to unhide

(Note: SpecialAccounts\UserList levels do not usually exist)

Warning: This disables the account in other ways. No way to log in to it temporarily from the login screen without changing the registry back frist. Ie the only way you can use it as a backup account in case your regular account gets corrupted, is to set LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy to 1 (it’s default 0 or missing) and use sysinternals PsTools/psexec to log into it remotely. Command line only.

Reference: https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windows/en-US/16378967-8a39-4aef-85e4-d859a71648d3/hide-user-accounts-on-windows-7-logon?forum=w7itproui


Use Hidden account–Shift click run as

To get a prompt that includes a username and password field from within Windows 7 — even in a Standard (non-Administrator) account follow these steps.

  1. While holding down the Shift key, right-click the program you want to run.
  2. Select “Run as a different user.”
  3. Type the username and password of the hidden account.

Note: this does NOT work for disabled user accounts, like the built-in Administrator account.

This DOES work for hidden (but still enabled) user accounts.

BUT this did not work for me 4/9/2016 from a user account that has no password (the dest acct does have a password)

The following did work:

runas /user:USERNAME "C:\Windows\system32\notepad.exe"

Reference: http://www.sevenforums.com/general-discussion/32109-logging-hidden-administrator-account.html
Reference: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/419-run-different-user.html

“Classic” logon screen where you have to type user AND password

Local Security Policy secpol.msc or gpedit.msc

Local Group Policy editor gpedit.msc

  • Local Computer Policy
    • Computer Configuration
      • Windows Settings
        • Security Settings
          • Local policies
            • Security Options
              • Interactive Logon: Do not display last username : Enabled means classic login; Disabled (or not defined? means classic windows 7 user buttons)

Local Security Policy secpol.msc

  • Security Settings
    • Local policies
      • Security Options
        • Interactive Logon: Do not display last username : Enabled means classic login; Disabled (or not defined? means classic windows 7 user buttons)


regedit HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System\dontdisplaylastusername set to 1

Reference: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/61650-log-user-name-password.html

change windows logon background image

This is not the desktop background wallpaper. It’s only seen during login/logout. It is a similar blue image with swooshes by default in Windows 7. But not the same. The login/out image does not have the MS logo in the middle, eg.

You might use this to instruct to hold SHIFT while logging on (see above).

I found the default login/out background 2 places. Only in winxsx folders–weird, I think:




  1. regedit

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background\OEMBackground 1

    (might not exist; just create it)


  2. gpedit.msc -> Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Logon

    “Always use custom login background.”
    set to “Enabled”

    Put image here:

    must be that exact filename. There are some variations on names using image size numbers I found online.

    oobe folder might not exist; just create it. oobe stands for “Out of Box Experience” ie first time you start up a new Windows PC.

    Reference: https://www.howtogeek.com/112110/how-to-set-a-custom-logon-screen-background-on-windows-7/

    Reference: https://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/5382-log-screen-change.html

Updating Quickbooks

Every couple years, you need to update Intuit’s Quickbooks.

Quick Summary of how-to:

  • make backup using old version
  • install new version
  • move file local to new version (if normally on net share; they’re picking about net access)
  • Let new version convert (will also make a backup)
  • move file back o net location (if normally on net share)

Some key quotes from Intuit Quickbooks support:

When you open your company file in a newer version, QuickBooks asks if you want to update or convert the QuickBooks company file.
Company file compatibility between QuickBooks versions

So, generally Quickbooks handles the compnay file conversion for us.

Before updating or converting a company file, QuickBooks requires you to make a backup of the existing file in case you need to revert back to this file and or to the older version of QuickBooks. We recommend saving this file in a safe location with a name that is recognizable as the pre-conversion backup, for example: John Smith Car Repair - QB2010.QBB. For more information see Update (convert) your company file to a newer version of QuickBooks
Company file compatibility between QuickBooks versions

QB will make the backup for you, but, make one yourself before installing the new version. I concur the backup file should be named to indicate it was pre-NEW VESION.

If you update or convert a company file, enter transactions in the converted file, and then decide to revert back to the old version and old backup file, you will need to be manually re-enter those transactions. There is no way to export the newer transactions into the older file or to merge these files using QuickBooks. Additional solutions may be available at Marketplace.Intuit.com.
Company file compatibility between QuickBooks versions

That’s something to keep in mind.

Do not update over a network.

Be sure the company data file is stored on the same computer you are using to update it. You might need to copy the file from another computer, and then copy it back after you finish updating it.
Update (convert) your company file to a newer version of QuickBooks

With the normal operation of Quickbooks, the network is only a problem if two ppl access simultaneously. Cuz it is not syncing. Or just file syncing which can fail over a network. In this case my guess is they’re just concerned about network dropping out during the company file conversion.


Can i still make an image copy of my system drive if i have bad sectors?


with Macrium Reflect, my favorite disk imaging program. (I pay for it, cuz the free ones are too risky / unsupported, and it’s too important to risk.)

First, you should run chkdsk, perhaps 2 or even 3 times. This can take an hour or more to run. This may mask bad sectors so Macrium Reflect can finish.

Note it would be helpful after restoring to a new drive to run chkdsk /b to re-evaluate those bad sectors, cuz on the new disk, there are none (or at least fewer, we hope, but certainly different ones).

If chkdsk doesnt fix ’em, there is an option in Advanced called “Ignore bad sectors when creating images”



Reference: v5: Imaging disks with bad sectors in the Macrium Reflect KnowledgeBase


What causes Bad Sectors on Hard Disk Drives (HDD)?

What causes Bad Sectors on Hard Disk Drives (HDD)?

There are 2 categories of reasons.

1. You (nothing personal)

If you jar or jolt or jerk or jiggle or strike or shake or bang your pc while it is accessing the disk, you can damage that tiny piece, and cause a bad sector. And your pc is pretty much always accessing the disk, so…

What’s happening is that inside the hard disk drive is a…disk, an actual platter that is spinning fast, really fast. The platter contains all the data. As the platter spins the “head” of the disk (that which reads and writes the disk) floats over the platter on a laminar cushion of air flow with literally a few nanometers of space between them.  That’s about 1 millionth of a millimeter. So, yeah, small.

For an analogy, it’s like a 747 flying 1/32nd of an inch off the ground.

Sudden motions of the disk (or the computer containing the disk) can cause the head to contact the platter and scratch it. Usually this only happens for a fraction of a second and damages just a tiny portion of the disk. Just a sector or few.

2. Entropy

The theory of entropy states that everything in the universe tends towards disorder (or decay).

This is happening right now on your hard drive as you read this 😉

The specific sources of this decay are:

  • original manufacturing defects
  • heat
  • wear over time
  • tiny, tiny specs of dust (that get by the filter)
  • vibrations of the building containing the device
  • electrical disturbances (from the power company, lightening)
  • error in the logic hardware of the drive
  • “overclocking”