You can’t just copy notepade.exe and run it in Windows 10

You might think you can just copy notepad.exe and run it:

PS C:\tmp> copy C:\windows\notepad.exe c:\tmp
PS C:\tmp> dir c:\tmp *

Directory: C:\tmp

Mode    LastWriteTime       Length  Name
—a————    2/20/2021 11:35 PM  181248  notepad.exe

PS C:\tmp> .\notepad.exe
PS C:\tmp> # Nothing happens...

But nothing happens.

What’s wrong? This is a simple operation!

Answer: You need the .\en-US\notepad.exe.mui file

Or, more generally the .\xx-YY\notepad.exe.mui file, for any local “xx-YY”, for any similar built-in Microsoft™ program.

For notepad.exe you can find this file in c:\windows\xx-YY\notepad.exe.mui

PS C:\tmp> mkdir en-US


    Directory: C:\tmp


Mode                LastWriteTime         Length Name
----                -------------         ------ ----
d-----         4/2/2021  11:26 AM                en-US


PS C:\tmp> copy C:\Windows\notepad.exe .\
PS C:\tmp> copy C:\Windows\en-us\notepad.exe.mui .\en-US\
PS C:\tmp> dir


    Directory: C:\tmp


Mode                LastWriteTime         Length Name
----                -------------         ------ ----
d-----         4/2/2021  11:27 AM                en-US
-a----        2/20/2021  11:35 PM         181248 notepad.exe


PS C:\tmp> dir .\en-US\


    Directory: C:\tmp\en-US


Mode                LastWriteTime         Length Name
----                -------------         ------ ----
-a----        3/19/2019   2:18 AM          12288 notepad.exe.mui


PS C:\tmp> .\notepad.exe
PS C:\tmp> # it works!

Other Examples

Not all exe files have the problem. Here are some other famous exe’s that do, however. They’re in C:\Windows\System32 (not C:\Windows\ like notepad.exe):

    Directory: c:\tmp


Mode                LastWriteTime         Length Name                                                                        
----                -------------         ------ ----                                                                        
d-----         4/2/2021   4:21 PM                en-US                                                                       
-a----        3/19/2019  12:45 AM          34816 ipconfig.exe                                                                
-a----        3/19/2019  12:45 AM          21504 ping.exe                                                                    
-a----        3/19/2019  12:45 AM          17920 tracert.exe                                                                 
-a----        3/19/2019  12:45 AM         369152 msinfo32.exe                                                                

And here are their associated .mui files:

    Directory: c:\tmp\en-US


Mode                LastWriteTime         Length Name                                                                        
----                -------------         ------ ----                                                                        
-a----        3/19/2019   2:17 AM          28160 ipconfig.exe.mui                                                            
-a----        3/19/2019   2:17 AM          11264 ping.exe.mui                                                                
-a----        3/19/2019   2:17 AM           6656 tracert.exe.mui                                                             
-a----        3/19/2019   2:17 AM          30720 msinfo32.exe.mui                                                            

Most programs do not have a en-US\*.mui file in the first place. Here’s a few that do, but run fine when you copy them nevertheless:

   Directory: c:\tmp


Mode                LastWriteTime         Length Name                                                                        
----                -------------         ------ ----                                                                        
d-----        4/14/2021   4:55 PM                en-US-not_needed                                                            
-a----        3/19/2019  12:45 AM          14336 HOSTNAME.EXE                                                                
-a----        2/20/2021  11:33 PM         280064 cmd.EXE                                                                     
-a----        3/19/2019  12:44 AM          86528 nslookup.exe                                                                
-a----        3/19/2019  12:43 AM          40448 Netplwiz.exe                                                                
-a----        3/19/2019  12:45 AM          40960 where.exe                                                                   
-a----        3/19/2019  12:45 AM          71168 whoami.exe                                                                  

tasklist.exe is interesting. It partially works when copied. It works without its .mui file, but only if you provide no parameters. If you want to provide parameters, you need the copied .mui file:

    Directory: c:\tmp


Mode                LastWriteTime         Length Name                                                                        
----                -------------         ------ ----                                                                        
d-----        4/14/2021   6:33 PM                en-us                                                                       
-a----        3/19/2019  12:45 AM         101376 tasklist.exe                                                                


    Directory: c:\tmp\en-us


Mode                LastWriteTime         Length Name                                                                        
----                -------------         ------ ----                                                                        
-a----        3/19/2019   2:17 AM          15872 tasklist.exe.mui                                                            

An oddball is mspaint.exe. It has a .mui but copying it still doesnt work. It may be interacting with the Windows 10 “App” interface.

References:

Powershell Versions Corresponding to Windows OS Versions

Powershell Version Relased in Windows OS Version
Powershell 1.0 Windows XP SP2
Powershell 2.0 Windows XP SP3
Windows 7
Powershell 3.0 Windows 8
Powershell 4.0 Windows 8.1
Powershell 5.0 ?
Powershell 5.1 Windows 10 1607 (Anniversary Update)
Powershell 6.0 ?
Powershell 7.0 ?

How to buy a printer. What to look for in purchasing a new printer.

Table of Contents


Printer Cost

Basic overview of the ranges of printer costs. It all changed in 2019 when the Pandemic hit and millions of people bought (or tried to buy) printers to set up a home office.

Pandemic of 2019
Before After
$30 $100 Cheap, basic, low-end printer. Used to cost as much as an ink cartridge.
$80 $150 Mid-range home printer. Low-end office printer.
$150 $250 Quality home printer. Mid-range office printer.

Printers are almost disposable items. Sometimes they only last 3 years. Expected life is 3-7 years. If you get 10, you’re very lucky.


Ink Costs.

To know how much your printer is really going to cost, you have to figure in ink costs.

For each printer you’re looking up, it will tell you which ink it uses.

Look in the store, or online, how much that ink costs.

And how many pages they say it will print.

Pages per ink cartridge can vary from 100 to 2,500 so it’s a huge difference.

If the documentation of the ink cartridge does not say how many pages, that’s a bad sign. Assume 100 pages.

You will have to guess/estimate how many pages you print per month/year.

If you divide Ink Price / Pages it will print, you get cost per page

Worst Best
30¢


Touch Control Panel

Here’s a big, beautiful touch-screen control panel:

touch_screen_big

I suggest a touch control panel, these days. It will cost a little more, but it comes in handy in one specific instance.

You will need to set up your WiFi on the printer so it can communicate wirelessly with your PC and your phone. During that process, you will likely have to supply your WiFi password, or wireless network key.

That could be 10 letters long, or more.

With a touch-screen control panel, you can just touch the letters and numbers you want to enter.

Otherwise you have to scroll up and down to get to the letters. Much more difficult.

Or if the printer does not even have that sophisticated a setup, you might need to connect it to your PC or phone, maybe through the manufacturer’s app, to set up WiFi.

In general, people find the touch control panel more intuitive.

Also, the bigger the better, of course it costs a little more.


Lighted Control Panel

If your control panel is “touch” it is also lighted, so you’re good.

If you’re considering a model that is not touch, that’s ok, but I would still recommend lighted. Ie LED (light emitting diode) rather than LCD (liquid crystal display).

An LCD (non-lighted) control panel screen requires light from the room to illuminate the screen. Depending on your lighting ocnditions, you might even need a flashlight to read the control panel. That’s a pain.

So I recommend a control panel that emits its own light.

Here’s an example of a non-lighted, LCD panel.

non-lighted control panel


Automatic Document Feeder

For faxing and copying, there are 2 ways to feed the page to the printer/copier/fax.

Open the lid and put the paper face down on the glass is the basic way.

(Note: if your printer is not ALSO a scanner, ie multi-function, or All-In-One (AIO), then it might not have a cover and a glass surface in the first place. Only low-end printers don’t have a scanner too.)

The other method is the “automatic document feeder” (ADF) which is a contraption on top of the printer where you place a printed page, usually face up, and it sucks it in and copies it or faxes it.

Most often, if it has an ADF, you also still have the option of opening it up and putting your page on the glass if you want to.

Here’s pictures of 2 very similar Canon printers, one without, and one with, an automatic document feeder.

Without:

no automatic document feeder

With:

with automatic document feeder


Automatic Two-Sided Printing

All printers can print two-sided, also called duplex printing.

The catch is do you have to remove the paper and put it back in, usually upside down, for the printer to print the back page.

I suggest looking for one that does this automatically, meaning, after printing one side of the page, it either keeps the paper inside, or sometimes sucks it back in, and prints the second side for you.

Cheap printers don’t have this, mid-range and up do have it.

You usually have to look deeper, and check the specs to find out if this feature is provided.


Fax

All-In-One printers sometimes have the fax function, sometimes not. I guess “All” doesnt mean what it used to.

Faxing, in Feb 2021 is less popular, but still out there.

If you need it, you will often have to look deeper, and check the specs to find out if it’s included.

Note, you will need to route a phone cable to this printer for faxing to work. That usually means you’ll need a phone jack near the printer. Or you’ll be running many feet of wire around your rooms.

Of course, this assumes you still have land line phone service. If not, then you can’t use “fax”. You’ll need some online service instead. Or scan and email your documents. Or take a picture of them and text or fax them. Or use a friend’s fax. Or go to a staples/fedex type store and have them fax them for you.


Shipping

Especially during the 2019-2020 Pandemic, shipping can be a factor.

Free or cost? How much?

And in a few days, or a few weeks.

Vendors are finding it hard (2019-Feb 2021 at least) to keep printers in stock.

What to look for in buying a new laptop

There’s a lot of features to consider when you’re in the market for a new laptop.

I recommend you read through this. Then go to Best Buy and bring this list up on your phone. Look around at laptops and prices in the store, then go thru this list with an actual device in your hands. That’s the best way. Best Buy last I looked (late-2020) had good prices. Almost as good as Amazon.

So, then, here are my 16 features for you to ponder.

The first one is a word of caution / recommendation.

The next 12 are up to your personal preference.

The last 3 are price-performance.

Table of Contents:

DETAILS


1. No Intel OPTANE Memory

I do not recommend Intel Optane memory. It adds complexity and bugs and provides little benefit.

If you want extra speed, upgrade to an SDD storage drive instead of a HDD disk drive and you’ll get even more benefit.


2. Screen size

Maybe the most important factor is the screen size. It varies greatly.

The most common size is 15.6″.

Next most common is 14″.

A small, “chromebook” like laptop might be 13″, 12″, or even 11″. These are small enough to put in your purse. Highly portable. Easy to carry around. Very light.

The largest common laptop is 17″. Not that common. Hard to fit in a backpack or bag. Heavy. But lots of screen area. Usually high performance too.


3. Touch Screen

Most laptops today have a touch screen. (Macbooks do not.)

It is a feature many use, but I think it’s mostly marketing. Occasionally it’s convenient in every day life. But you’re almost always using your keyboard and your mouse.


4. Display Flip

Many laptops today, especially touchscreens, open all the way up and flip all the way around to flat again. In this configuration, the keyboard is facing down the laptop looks like a tablet.

These are often called “360” or something.

This feature is mostly marketing and not that useful in actual practice. People want to use their keyboards.

Often these laptops have “tent mode”. Again, only occasionally useful.


5. Weight.

An 11″ or 13″ chromebook or similar scaled-down laptop might be as light as 2.5 lb in 2021. Feels as light as a cracker. You’ll feel like you can play frisbee with it (but don’t 😉

A typical laptop will be more like 3-4 lbs.

A higher performce / larger laptop could be 5-6 lbs. You’ll notice carrying this around.

Of course if you want to pay more, you can get a light and yet high performance laptop.


6. Keyboard.

Type some things. How does it feel.

Pay attention to the location of these important keys:

  • ALT
  • SHIFT
  • CTRL
  • ARROW (UP DOWN LEFT RIGHT)

And these keys vary laptop by laptop. Sometimes you need to hit the FN key.

  • HOME
  • END
  • DELETE
  • PG UP
  • PG DOWN

Is the space bar long enough and comfortable to type.

Do you want a number keybad on the right? Only bigger laptops (some 15.6″ and 17″) have them.

A slightly premimum feature is a “lighted keyboard”. It can be helpful when typing in dim environments.


7. Battery

How many hours of battery time does it claim? You’ll get close to that when new, and it will decrease every year you have it.

After about 3 years, it will be 1/2 as long.

Is the battery removable

Most in 2021 are not removable. But I believe it is better if it is. Not a big issue.


8. Touchpad

Is it smooth or sticky as you slide your fingers.

Is it big enough to move around freely.

I do not suggest tapping to click. But if you want that, how does the tap sensitivity feel (it is adjustable a little after you buy it).

How does clicking feel. Not all touchpads click. Most do. If the touchpad doesn’t click, you’ll have to click with the mouse buttons.

If the touchpad itself clicks, what pressure is necessary. How does it feel. Does it click evenly an all areas of the touchpad? Top, bottom, left, right?


9. Touchpad Buttons / Mouse Buttons

Sometimes they’re physical and separate. Sometimes they’re integrated in the touchpad.

Sometimes they’re in the touchpad but not marked in any way.

The bottom right of the touchpad is often Right Click. Often this is selectible in the settings of the laptop after you buy it.


10. Camera

If you can, use the Camera app in windows 10 and see how the image looks.

Too bright / dark?

Good resolution or grainy?


11. WiFi

How many antenna and modes does it have?

1 is low end.

2 is mid-range.

4 antenna is high-end.


12. USB ports / Card REader

Types:

USB-C (smaller and oval. Fast.)

USB 3.0 (large, sandard size. High bandwidth. Good for external drives and flash drives.)

USB 2.0 (large, sandard size. Good for mouse and keyboard.)

How many ports?

Many have just 2. And that is enough for everyday use.

But if you’re pluging in a external drive, and flash drive, or an external mosue or keyboard, then you might run out of ports with just 2. (You can buy a port hub after, but it’s not that convenient.)

4 ports is a nice generous amount.

Card Reader

Most laptops come with a built-in card reader. This reads the memory card from a camera. With a size-adapter, it will read the memory card from a phone. These are very useful for transferring pictures.

If it doesnt have one, you can get a separate card reader device that plugs into a USB port–but it will use up one of your USB ports so keep that in mind.


13. CD/DVD/Optical Drive

These days (2021) an optical drive is uncommon. And there’s not that much reason for one.

If you think you need one, you’ll have to search for it. Larger laptops are more likey to have one.

You can get an external one later if you need it.

The remaining feature tradeoffs are close to pure price/performance not nearly as much personal preference


14. CPU (price performance)

The CPU or processor is the brains of the unit. One of the most expensive pieces (with the display, or hi-perf, gaming graphics), and usually consumes the most power (except for hi-perf, gaming graphics).

AMD processors save you money. They are 98% compatible with everything that’s out there. Most AMD processors are very low performance. If you need service on one 3-8 years down the road, there are fewer options.

I usually buy Intel processors.

I recomend Intel Core i3 or i5 or i7.

Anything else is lower performance. I would characterize their performance this way:

i3 – basic performance. not snappy, but functional.

i5 – pretty fast most of the time.

i7 – snappy, fast and responsive.

However, there are different versions of i3, i5, and i7.

The best bet is find out exactly which variant of the processor is included, and go to cpubenchmark.net and look it up. Hi-end or Hi-mid-range are very good. You can save money by going lower. Lower than mid-range you’ll notice is actually slower.


15. Memory (price performance)

For Windows 10 I recommend a minimum of 8GB.

And you really don’t need more. 16GB is a luxury.


16. Storage size / HDD / SDD (price performance)

In 2021 I recommend almost always an SSD. They cost more but are 2x to 4x faster and are becoming standard.

128GB SDD is small. If you have a lot of pictures it’s not enough.

256GB SDD probably big enough for most people. If you have A TON of pictures, and a bunch of videos, maybe not.

512GB SDD more expensive, but big enough even for a lot of pictures and some videos.

1TB – in 2021, when it says 1TB it almost always means HDD, not SDD because 1TB SDD’s are expensive, still. This will change. The price will go down.

If you have A TON of pictues, and many videos, you will need 1TB, maybe even 2TB. In this case, you might want to splurge and get fast SDD, might add $100-$200 to the price, or you might want to save money and get the lower performance, large HDD.

Windows 10 set network private (defaults to public)

When you are on your home network (not at a coffee shop, or airport, or library) it is safe to set your network to PRIVATE on your Windows 10 PC. You can do this for your WiFi network. There are just you and the people in your building on your network, so it is safe.

To get started doing this, click on the Network icon in the system tray in the lower right of the screen.

 

First double check that you are, in fact, on your HOME network that you are changing. Otherwise it is dangerous to set your network to private. Check that as shown in this picture:

Click on some blank area the background to get out of this.

Now RIGHT click on this same network icon,

 

It should bring up a little context menu. Left click on Open Network & Internet Settings

 

That should open a settings window. Double check here, again, that this is your HOME NETWORK.

If so, click on Change Connection Properties

 

In the resulting settings page, if it is Public, which is often the default, click Private

X out this window, and you should be all set.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware – Installing and Using–what to turn off. (also know by its initials: MBAM)

Install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free. Click here: https://www.malwarebytes.com/mwb-download/thankyou/ (accurate link as of 02/19/2019) to download.

Run the downloaded file (if it does not run automatically) to install Malwarebyates Anti-Malware. It should start running and give you a window automatically after installation.

If not, find it in the start menu and run it.

Malwarebyates Anti-Malware also appears in the “system tray” which is the extreme lower right of your screen, on the right side of the taskbar/icon bar. (This taskbar is the one which has the start menu button on its extreme left.) You can show it through there.

Click OK to get thru the trial notification (we’re going to turn that off soon).

Now there are two (2) settings to change from the defaults.

1. Turn on rootkits

Once Malwarebyates Anti-Malware is running, go into its Settings tab on the left, then the Protection and turn on Scan for rootkits.

2. Deactivate Premium Trial

Back to the Settings tab on the left, this time the Account tab on the top, and then click the Deactivate Premium Trial at the bottom.

Now you have to jump through all their hoops:

1. Confirm Yes

2. Trial Expired Popup–lower right

Now, finally, actually run the scan

You should get a nice window showing it has started. The best anti-malware scanner on the market, and it’s free! 😀

Quarantine any threats

If threats are found, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will show you a screen with them. I trust it. Just Quarantine Selected

Clean up after

After Malwarebytes Anti-Malware finishes, you can go into its system tray icon and right-click and turn off Start with Windows, and also click Quit Malwarebytes. It will probably give a security prompt–just click OK. It doesnt hurt to keep it running, but it’s not really doing anything. Just re-start it when you want to scan again (eg, weekly).

References:

Microsoft Office Version Numbers (two styles)

There are two styles of naming versions of Micrsoft Office software, the Retail name, and the “code name” which matches actual folder name where it’s stored:

  • Retail: Eg: Microsoft Office 2013
  • Code / Folder name: Eg: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15
Retail Code Name / Folder
2003 11
2007 12
2010 13
[skipped] 14
2013 15
2016 16 (They sorta match for the first time)

References:

Reverse Mouse Wheel scroll direction

It used to be easy to reverse mouse wheel scrolling direction. I’m talking mouse wheel, not touchpad:

Now it takes a registry hack.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\HID

In there, find the right key name (eg: “VID_046D&PID_C52F&MI_00“) and under that, Device Parameters\FlipFlopWheel set from 0 to 1.

Reference: ilovefreesoftware.comHow To Reverse Mouse Wheel Scroll Direction In Windows 10

Windows Aero Taskbar Icon Hover Thumbnail Threshold to Show List

Below threshold Windows Aero will show thumbnails. But over threshold, because the thumbnails would be too small, it’ll show list instead.

Set:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Taskband\NumThumbnails

to DWORD(32bit) 10 or whatever number you want.

Reference: tenforums.com : Windows 10: Change Taskbar Thumbnail Threshold to Show List in Windows 10

Windows Client and Server Version Equivalents

test

Windows Client Version Equivalent Windows Server Version
Windows XP Windows Server 2003
Windows Vista Windows Server 2008
Windows 7 Windows Server 2008 R2
Windows 8 Windows Server 2012
Windows 8.1 Windows Server 2012 R2
Windows 8.1 Update 1 Windows Server 2012 ???
Windows 10 Windows Server 2016