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File format recognition hard mode

In a old old inherited MS SQL Server database, in a column named 'Image' of type TEXT we've discovered an encoded image (we assume). And even if its not critical to the work we are doing, its damnably intriguing. Can you help me crack its provenance ? [more inside]
posted by handybitesize on Feb 12, 2014 - 3 answers

"Nah, boss; I'm just a speedreader"

Before building my own... does this software exist? I need to search a collection of PDF & Word files for key phrases, and dump the surrounding lines (x-m to x+n characters/lines, where x is the found phrase) into text files. I occasionally need to search a few dozen files for a few dozen data items, which usually have some identifying text nearby. This needs to be automated. Big bonus if it implements OCR, but that's not essential. Freeware, or cheapware, obviously is best. Windows-based is preferable, but I can do Linux.
posted by IAmBroom on Feb 12, 2014 - 9 answers

New Windows 7 install on SSD needs tweaking

How do I obtain or find the necessary files/drivers etc. to make the new O/S connect to the internet (and generally play nice from day one)? [more inside]
posted by peacay on Feb 10, 2014 - 12 answers

My dad would have known the answer

My dad passed away on Friday, and my mom is eager to get into his computer (Song Vaio running Windows 7) and Blackberry (Bold). Both are password protected. Is there any way to change the password on each without wiping the data? I'm fairly computer literate, and my father will have every software disk he's ever received. We also have access to his email if that helps with the Blackberry. Thanks.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta on Feb 9, 2014 - 9 answers

Laser Jet 1000, we miss you so

Anyone have a good/safe source for a driver for the HP Laser Jet 1000 - difficulty Windows 8.1? The printer is a workhorse but my dad just "upgraded" to a new computer with 8.1 and I'd like to find him a way to use this printer. It's an ancient printer and HP long ago stopped supporting it (of course, because HP).
posted by mrs. taters on Feb 7, 2014 - 8 answers

Battlestation: Multiple desktops and monitors but 1 keyboard and 1 mouse

Hi, I have 1 keyboard, 1 mouse, and two desktop computers to use with a 3-monitor setup. I would like to know the best way to use a triple monitor setup where I can click a button and switch back and forth between desktop A and desktop B for the single keyboard/mouse and the monitors. Consolidating files onto one machine is not an option. Are there devices or hubs I could plug the keyboard/mouse/monitors and desktops into that can do this? Amazon links would be great.
posted by furious on Feb 5, 2014 - 14 answers

How can I make my Windows backup real simple?

I use Windows.. XP then 7 and now 8.1. I usually backup by dragging and copying to an external hard drive because, the last time I checked, the Windows backup app creates a weird huge file with a strange proprietary extension. I'd like to find a simple backup app which copies my folders and files to an external drive without compression or conversion, with the capability to do incremental backups. Recommendations?
posted by mono blanco on Feb 4, 2014 - 9 answers

Mac emulator for Windows?

I need to give some video files to an editor who needs a Mac-formatted drive. I only run Windows. Happy to (have my producer) pay a reasonable amount for the privilege. What are your favorite programs for this purpose?
posted by Shotgun Shakespeare on Feb 3, 2014 - 7 answers

Devil Computer, Stop Updating Yourself

This morning I was working on my computer, and stopped to take a break for lunch. I left my computer on--it generally goes to sleep after 10 minutes of inactivity. When I returned from lunch, my computer had unexpectedly shut down and had to be rebooted. Once it restarted, I noticed that it had updated several programs that have been prompting me for updates, like iTunes and Firefox. (I had purposefully not been updating them.) My computer requires permission from me to update programs like this, and it has never updated programs without that permission. Any thoughts as to what might have happened this time? [more inside]
posted by Bella Sebastian on Jan 29, 2014 - 5 answers

Laptop Acting Up

Entry Point Errors... ASN1BEREncBool... MSASN1.dll... Something has clearly gone wrong with my Windows laptop, but I'm not sure what. Can you help me out? [more inside]
posted by NotMyselfRightNow on Jan 26, 2014 - 12 answers

Windows 7 (x64) freezes during file transfer between disks

My Windows 7 PC (HP H8-1300z) has been working quite fine for the past 2 years but it recently began acting up and I can't figure out why. Everytime I attempt to do a copy/paste (backup) with large volume of folders from one drive to another (external) the PC freezes. The fan also randomly goes crazy for a minute or two and then stops. [more inside]
posted by bostonhill on Jan 26, 2014 - 6 answers

Last PC user on earth seeks new desktop PC for fun tasks together

I want to buy a new desktop PC, but there is a distinct lack of resources available. What should I be looking for in a desktop machine? Please don't say "a Macintosh." [more inside]
posted by alicetiara on Jan 25, 2014 - 13 answers

Windows 8 Internet Connection so slow- how to manage?

I have DSL internet connection. But upon purchasing a new laptop this past month, and trying to work with Windows 8 - I feel that my internet connection has become very slow using the mozilla browser, or the internet explorer browser. I have tried using also the opera browser and it's still slower. I read on the internet to try to configure my computer to my adaptor connections to allow my internet speed to run faster. But there are too many forums and too many people saying to do xyz or abc. I have a DELL computer, and Windows 8, along with Windows Office professional 2013. If anyone can direct me to how to get to my control panel to configure a faster internet connection that would be greatly appreciated. One thing I read was to do a run: with Windows + R and to type in "gpedit.msc" but that command isn't recognized on my computer. Please help! Thanks in advance for any advice.
posted by proficiency101 on Jan 20, 2014 - 5 answers

Winterizing with cats

I live in a drafty old house and have recently winterized the windows using a kit from Home Depot. It works pretty well! But these bad cats really, really like to claw through the plastic. Is there a more cat-proof option?
posted by munyeca on Jan 12, 2014 - 12 answers

Cyberlink PowerDVD stopped working on my (Windows 8) computer.

My computer won't play a dvd using Cyberlink PowerDVD which seems to be my only option in Windows 8. I've tried turning the computer off and on again, using a different dvd, updating the program itself and the graphics driver and nothing has helped. When I put a DVD in the drive the drive makes noise, PowerDVD automatically starts, and the program displays the disc name at the top of the window. So, the program in starting up and recognizes the DVD. However, the DVD won't play and I have to forcibly shut down the program as it gets stuck. Ideas? I've also tried right-clicking on the DVD icon to get to the "Open With" command and use another player but that doesn't seem to be an option in Windows 8. Thanks!
posted by ticketmaster10 on Jan 11, 2014 - 6 answers

Datamining of my local filesystem

I would like to harvest file-system activity from my operating system on an ongoing basis so that in the future I can look back on the data to see what files I was working on at a given time. I'm using windows 7. Basically something like the web history in a browser, but for my local files and applications. [more inside]
posted by Popcorn on Jan 5, 2014 - 5 answers

windows live mail stopped working

My windows live mail stopped working two days ago. When I start the program the message says "windows live mail has stopped working and will search the web for a solution." I have searched the web to find a solution and have tried what I found was suggested: going to the windows live essentials file and repairing it. I tried this three times and it still won't work. I am running what I assume is the latest version of explorer and windows live essentials 2011. Everything was fine until two days ago. For what it is worth the latest windows update version is KB2913152 as of 12-12-13. But everything worked until the 1st of January. Assuming I could download an updated version of the essentials, and assuming it would fix the problem, I am concerned about losing my contact list, as I can't get to them at the moment.
posted by jtexman1 on Jan 4, 2014 - 3 answers

One False Keystroke

What am I doing that makes my computer suddenly read all inputs as though the Shift key were pressed, and how do I make it stop? [more inside]
posted by koucha on Dec 26, 2013 - 5 answers

What is cb9465.msi?

This is a second-hand office computer, running Windows 7. Every time I turn it on, a box pops up asking to install C:\Windows\Installer\cb9465.msi. What is this file, what is it trying to do, and how do I make it stop? The folder C:\Windows\Installer must be hidden, because I can't see it, and Google turns up nothing for the name.
posted by Faint of Butt on Dec 23, 2013 - 8 answers

Glass Block or Insulated Replacement Window

So I have been working on my house and making it energy efficient. It is now time to replace the basement windows in my split level. One double wide window needs to be replaced with one that opens to meet code, but the other three single wide windows do not. Would I be better installing glass blocks in those three, not vented, or installing either a picture, slider, or another type of insulated vinyl replacement window? If I should do a replacement window, which type should I use? [more inside]
posted by Nackt on Dec 19, 2013 - 6 answers

Large scale web applications running on Windows

As a long time Linux Engineer I enjoy reading about the technologies used by sites like Twitter, Facebook, Etsy, Yahoo (for things like Flickr) and other large sites to build things out to scale. I often lend a hand with Windows customers at work and it recently occurred to me that I've never seen a website or blog posts that relate to scaling on Windows. [more inside]
posted by togdon on Dec 17, 2013 - 6 answers

How to sync bookmarks across 2 browsers and a tablet

I'd like to like to sync bookmarks between Chrome and Firefox on a computer AND with the Android version of either Chrome or Firefox (doesn't matter which). [more inside]
posted by matildatakesovertheworld on Dec 15, 2013 - 4 answers

Help me find a good exteranl hard drive

The current external hard drive I have is "WD' brand that I got at best buy and I'm not happy with it. I am looking for a external hard drive that is easy to use for someone not that great with computers and I can back up my computer with it, that has the ability to be encrypted, is reliable, is ideally available locally at a place like best buy, must have a metal case, not a plastic one (the one I have now heats up and smells like burning plastic) Also bonus points if it has a fan in it. I have a PC not a mac, so it should be for a PC. Also I am not sure if I want to but one of those large external hard drives you leave attached or the smaller pocket sized one so any pro's and con's of both would be great.
posted by john123357 on Dec 6, 2013 - 15 answers

One Music Library to Rule Them All

I currently use approximately four+ computers with all major OS'es (Mac, Windows, Linux-Ubuntu) between work and home. Plus an Ipod Classic for portable music listening. Problem is keeping my music library up to date on all machines, or synced together. If I create a playlist, or change ratings, genre, etc. the results also aren't propagated to the other machines. On Windows and Mac I've been using Itunes but I'm not necessarily tied to it, but it does work on 2 of the 3 OS'es. Any suggestions? There are some previous similar questions, but all look several years old.
posted by aarondesk on Dec 3, 2013 - 8 answers

Which version of Vista for game-playing in Boot Camp?

I'm a late adaptor. After much happy gaming in Windows XP (via Boot Camp on my Mac), I am finally getting around to Vista-only games like Assassin's Creed III. So it's time to take the plunge and buy a copy of Vista on eBay. But which version? 64-bit or 32-bit? Service pack 1, 2, or 3? Starter, basic, or ultimate? Home or business? As somebody who isn't well-versed in Windows to begin with, I'm finding the choice a little overwhelming. I will be using Windows exclusively for gaming and don't care about any other features. Also, note that Windows Vista is the latest Windows my 2006 Mac Pro will support, so unfortunately "Skip straight to Windows 7 or 8" isn't an option. [more inside]
posted by yankeefog on Dec 2, 2013 - 13 answers

How to make Windows 7 find all files. Like Mac program Easyfind.

Hi everyone. Sometimes I'm trying to find an obscure system or game file, and it is actually very difficult to get Windows 7 to understand that, yes, I want it to search through ALL files on a disk. [more inside]
posted by Alaska Jack on Nov 30, 2013 - 5 answers

Find me my perfect PDF organizer!

In my line of work (doctoring), there are a lot of PDF files that I use, for example, handouts for patients, copies of guidelines, referral forms for particular clinics, etc. I'd love to be able to organize them hierarchically but also access them in a way that lets me search for keywords or tags and returns results quickly and dynamically, with the ability to easily print said PDF results. Are there any programs (for Windows) or cloud-based sites that might make this easy? Ideally it would be great to have a little search bar that could just sit on my desktop, but that would just be icing on the cake. Oh, and I've tried Mendeley - it works somewhat well for this, but it's a hassle to print files unless you open them up in Acrobat Reader or another external program.
posted by greatgefilte on Nov 28, 2013 - 6 answers

Samsung NC20 Laptop Slow, Malware--Should I just reinstall Windows?

I have a Samsung NC20 laptop that I bought 4 or 5 years ago. It runs Windows XP and has some sort of malware, IRP Hook, that AVG has found but cannot remove. In addition, it runs significantly slower than I would like, and cannot play most videos at all--the sound plays fine, but the image just staggers and jumps. [more inside]
posted by Slinga on Nov 15, 2013 - 9 answers

How about a little Mefi interior design?

I have an awkward window and I don't know what to do with it in terms of covering it up. It's in a baby's room. Please help. [more inside]
posted by CrazyLemonade on Nov 14, 2013 - 22 answers

Help needed with nvidia works with Parallels Desktop 9 in MS Windows 8.1

I have an Apple MacBook Pro Retina display with NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M I use Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac and I installed Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro with success, however windows does not recognize that I have nvidia installed in my system. My question is: How to let Parallels Desktop 9 to enable NVIDIA work in windows 8.1 pro? If it does not support it, what other tools or software to make nvidia work in windows 8.1 pro? Thank you.
posted by omaralareefi on Nov 13, 2013 - 8 answers

Remote file management

I've been tasked to find a solution for the following: We make software for different kinds of machines. The machines are all controlled from Windows PCs connected to each machine individually. Every developer who has to test something copies their newly built software on a flash drive, walks out to the lab, makes a backup of what was running on the PC connected to that particular machine, puts in their own software, runs the tests, and in the end copies everything back like it was before. [more inside]
posted by Harald74 on Nov 6, 2013 - 6 answers

How can I get synctoy to work or find a good alternative?

I'm having problems with microsoft synctoy and would like advice on how to troubleshoot it or find an alternative. [more inside]
posted by medusa on Oct 29, 2013 - 3 answers

I got your Charms.

How best to get Windows 7 on a new laptop? [more inside]
posted by LonnieK on Oct 28, 2013 - 10 answers

Need help downloading drivers for my Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

I have a Samsung Galaxy Nexus and I'm trying to install drivers other than the ones Windows 7 auto-installs. I've unchecked auto-install drivers, but from the googling I've done it appears this solution only prevents Windows from downloading drivers. It will still auto-install ones previously existing on the computer. [more inside]
posted by Autumn on Oct 25, 2013 - 4 answers

Chrome on Windows: hotkey to open a specific bookmark while in Chrome

Is there a way to open a specific bookmark in Chrome using a hotkey (e.g., Alt-1)? I do not want to use a bookmark keyword or Windows shortcut's shortcut keys. I've found some extensions, more inside, but each has some sort of limitation. [more inside]
posted by n81acc on Oct 23, 2013 - 6 answers

Remapping Mac right alt --> Windows right ctrl

Running Windows 7 in VMware Fusion on OS X Mountain Lion. Is there a way to remap my right alt/option key so that it behaves like a right ctrl key in Windows, especially in Office? In other words, can I remap my Mac right command key to be an alt key in Windows and the Mac right alt/option key to be a ctrl key? [more inside]
posted by andrewesque on Oct 23, 2013 - 5 answers

How to transfer files between PCs in the new remote PC app in win 8.1?

Is there a way to transfer files using the remote PC app in windows 8.1? If not, what is the best way to transfer files flawlessly and fast? Thank you. [more inside]
posted by omaralarifi on Oct 21, 2013 - 4 answers

Upgraded my laptop to Windows 8.1, now it's stuck in a reboot loop!

I upgraded my Samsung laptop to Windows 8.1. It is now stuck in a reboot loop. I cannot enter recovery mode. How can I fix this? [more inside]
posted by Tevin on Oct 18, 2013 - 5 answers

Being forced to use Windows DVD maker. New software is not an option.

Windows DVD Maker squishes 16:9 videos to 4:3. Please make it stop. [more inside]
posted by sandra_s on Oct 14, 2013 - 7 answers

Serving Mediamonkey

How can I use an old laptop and a MyBook NAS drive to develop a music setup suitable for my modest needs? [more inside]
posted by tavegyl on Oct 12, 2013 - 1 answer

Windows 8 lockout predicament

On my Win 8 Pro box, I had just one user: sandettie. That was in the Administrators group, of course. I made a new user, sandettieadmin, to split off admin privs to that user. I then took sandettie OUT of the admin group. I logged out, and now it only shows sandettieadmin as an available user. Problem: I immediately forgot the password for sandettieadmin. There is no <-- arrow next to the sandettieadmin user in the login screen. How do I force windows to let me log on as the other user?
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic on Oct 11, 2013 - 6 answers

Old computer running XP - Windows Task Manager shows 100% CPU usage.

Does flash show as flash in Windows task manager in XP? - It's invisible even when I play videos which are obviously using flash. Are the resources consumed by flash 'lumped in' with the CPU utilization consumed by my browser as I see it in Task Manager? [more inside]
posted by vapidave on Oct 9, 2013 - 5 answers

Help get my head in the cloud

My company has about 40 employees and five Windows based in-house servers. About half our staff work remotely (using a terminal server) and we have redundant Internet connections. Over the years we have built up a decent data center involving battery backup and tape archival. As I look to the 2014 budget, which would involve upgrading two servers, I have been asked if we should go to the cloud. I'm honestly finding it hard to evaluate this and hope some others may be able to help me improve my pro/con listing. Extra credit for suggestions to evaluate the costs. [more inside]
posted by dgran on Oct 8, 2013 - 5 answers

Repair Master Boot Record?

I have a Windows 7 HTPC that serves as our family's TV/entertainment hub. Recently, the cooling fan on it died a slow death while I wasn't home. The other folks in my home kept re-sarting the machine frantically, until I ended up with multiple drives with (I believe) damaged Master Boot Records. How do I fix this? [more inside]
posted by DirtyOldTown on Oct 6, 2013 - 3 answers

What's a good email checking-and-handling program for Windows?

I use Digsby for checking a bunch of old and secondary email accounts on my Windows system, but that program seems to be defunct and several email accounts no longer work with it. Anyone know a good alternative? [more inside]
posted by aerotive on Oct 4, 2013 - 10 answers

Spooky ghost menus in Windows~~~

WindowsExorcismFilter: Seemingly out of the blue, I've started having an issue wherein elements from dropdown/contextual menus in Windows 7 sometimes graphically "hang around" like little Windows ghosts (see bottom right corner). I haven't been able to determine any clear pattern that explains why they sometimes appear. For some reason, they go away if I switch between my monitor and my laptop screen. I've tried installing newer graphics drivers, updating Windows, checking for viruses/trojans, et cetera, but have obviously not solved the issue yet. What's going on here, and how do I get rid of it?
posted by Keter on Oct 2, 2013 - 7 answers

Curtain fabric for maximum light, minimum visibility?

Moving into a new apartment (yay!) with big windows, and I love me some sunlight. The problem is that the apartment is on the first floor and located in a pretty busy area where people will be walking and driving right by my windows a lot. Thus, I want curtains and I'd like to make them myself. My question: what fabric would allow the most light to enter the windows but also provide me with some decent privacy? [more inside]
posted by RingerChopChop on Sep 27, 2013 - 11 answers

Windows Macro Recorder

The macro recorder in Microsoft Excel allows me to automate repetitive tasks with relative ease. Is there something similar that would allow me to do the same thing outside of Microsoft Excel? I'd like to be able to record my keystrokes and mouse movements in a similar way, regardless of which program I'm using. I'm using Windows 7.
posted by Proginoskes on Sep 24, 2013 - 7 answers

Probem synching Outlook, Gmail, Windows 8

Probem synching Outlook, Gmail, Windows 8 hey all, I'm having trouble synching Gmail with Outlook 2007 on Windows 8. It may be because Windows 8 has a mini Outlook app that syncs with Gmail already. I have connected the Gmail account with Outlook, and it is sending and receiving, but strangely about 50% of the messages that go to Gmail online don't go to Outlook, so I'm at only a 50% sync rate. This is quite strange - does anyone know how this may be?
posted by earthwalker7 on Sep 23, 2013 - 1 answer

Windows program that thumbnails photos and videos?

Can anyone recommend a program that reliably thumbnails photos and videos? [more inside]
posted by aerotive on Sep 19, 2013 - 5 answers

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