Scott Hanselman

Fixing the Touch Screen in Windows 8.1 on my old HP TouchSmart with NextWindow Drivers

August 8, '14 Comments [12] Posted in Win8
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HP TouchSmartWe've got an older HP TouchSmart all in one computer that we use as the "Kitchen PC." It's basically a browsing, emails, YouTube, and recipes machine. It's lovely machine, really. I've actually seen them at Goodwill, in fact, for cheap. If you can pick one up inexpensively, I recommend it.

Mine was starting to get sick so I opened it up (a challenge, but OK if you count all the screws) and replaced the Hard Drive. It comes with a 500gig 5400RPM full size SATA drive as I recall, but that was on its last legs. I happen to have a first gen 64G Intel laptop SSD around, so I use some 3M Command double-sided tape and basically taped this tiny hard drive to the inside of the thing and reinstalled Windows. This time, however, instead of the Windows Vista that it came with, I put on Windows 8.1.

You'd think I'd be asking for trouble. In fast, it's amazing. Literally everything worked, first try, with ZERO third party drivers. Blueooth, wireless, graphics, everything. Worked and worked immediately. Nothing was banged out in Device Manager. Even the touch screen worked, but only with 1 point of touch. That meant no pinch to zoom in browsers or maps. Cool, but I wanted to see if I could fix it.

These HP TouchSmarts had touch screens made by a New Zealand company called NextWindow, except they recently went out of business. Their website includes a few drivers, but not the one I needed.

I've mirrored them here because I don't trust that their website will be around long.

Here's the actual driver I needed for the TouchScreen. It doesn't appear to be available anywhere else, so I'm mirroring it here, as-is. It's the "HID Driver" (Human Interface Device) driver for the NextWindow 1900 TouchScreen. It's version 1.4 from May 24th, 2012. It works with NextWindow 2150 and 2700 touchscreens as well and it works under Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, and now Windows 8 and 8.1!

This completely brought my HP TouchSmart new life with proper multitouch. It's paved completely with a new Windows 8.1 installation and just one third party driver and NO HP crapware.

Hope this helps you, random internet visitor.

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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You aren't using Resource Monitor enough

August 5, '14 Comments [21] Posted in Tools
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Most folks learn how to use Task Manager pretty quickly. We've all been on the phone with non-technical-relative and ask them to open up Task Manager.

As we move from user to technical-user we are introduced to SysInternals tools and perhaps Process Monitor for finding out what's happening to a disk. However, I find that for quick questions that using Resource Monitor is faster to access and the information is easier to interpret.

You can bring Task Manager up, of course, by right clicking the Taskbar and clicking Task Manager. Or, hit Ctrl-Alt-ESC as a hotkey for Task Manager.

From Task Manager, you may never have noticed the Open Resource Monitor link at the bottom of the Performance tab.

image

Click that and open up a whole new insight into what's going on.

Disk

This is all great stuff but I find myself exploring the Disk tab the most.

Disk Activity

Remember to sort by Read or Write bytes/sec. I often sort by Total and often find things like DropBox in there.

CPU and the CPU usage of Services

Task Manager is great but it doesn't easily show how much CPU is being used by a Service. Resource Monitor not only lets you easily Filter processes with a checkbox, but you can also sort services by CPU usage.

Service by CPU time

On the CPU tab, is an Associated Handles pane. If Resource Monitor is a well-kept secret, then Associated Handles is a secret within a secret. You can search across all processes for an open file name (or any handle), as well as filter by Process or Service.

Filtered by Chrome

Network Activity

The Network Activity tab is super useful and jam-packed with information. It makes it easy to find a process from a port or TCP connection.

Network Activity

You have this tool and all these views now, and I suspect you might not be using it to the fullest. Perhaps you pull from a number of smaller applets or shareware utilities to pull it all together.

Once I reminded myself that Resource Monitor could be launched directly from the Task Manager (an app that I have open often a lot already) I started using it even more. I may just pin it to the Taskbar!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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How to create a file with a . dot prefix in Windows Explorer

July 30, '14 Comments [30] Posted in Tools
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If you right click in Windows and try to make a new text file with a . period/dot in front of it:

image

Name the file...something like .gitignore, for example.

image

You'll get the "You must type a file name" error.

image

But, rather than typing .gitignore, if you include an ending dot also, like

.gitignore.

Then it works fine.

image

Thanks, Mads, for the tip!

NOTE: We're assuming that you have "File name extensions" turned on, because if you don't, you're likely not a programmer. ;)

image

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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NuGet Package of the Week: MarkdownLog makes log files much prettier

July 30, '14 Comments [11] Posted in NuGet | NuGetPOW
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While I'm not 100% gaga over Markdown as I know many of you are, I definitely appreciate it's usefulness and it's clarity. Some folks would say I shouldn't rest until every binary document on my hard drive has been converted to Markdown. I say, nay nay. That said, I totally dig MarkdownPad and you should use it every day. It's lovely.

If you don't want to install anything, check out http://dillinger.io and quickly edit some Markdown in the browser.

image

But, I digress.

Note: Be sure to check out all the NuGet packages of the week! There's more!

The general idea behind Markdown is that HTML is way too complex for 90% of what you need, so rather than <ul> and <li> and all that, why not just express bullets with asterisks? We can all get behind that. There are many other simple Markdown syntaxes that you can learn in a few minutes. Once you've created some Markdown, you can easily generate PDFs, HTML, Word Documents, whatever you like.

Recently I stumbled upon Stuart Wheelwright's article on Using Markdown for Effective Logging over at CodeProject. Here's the first image borrowed from his excellent article where he clearly shows why Markdown is simpler than HTML:

html-vs-md

Stuart has taken Markdown and created a wonderful little library called MarkdownLog. It's a brilliant little idea that one of us should have come up with first! Kudos to Stuart. ;)

[MarkdownLog] is designed to make it trivial to produce Markdown formatted text from an application's data structures. Using just one line of code, a collection of .NET objects can be output as a table or list. And, because the output is Markdown, it can later be converted to HTML for publishing, if needed.

Even better, MarkdownLog is a Portable Class Library (PCL) and can be used with any .NET platform, including iOS with Xamarin. In fact, it's an iPhone app written with Xamarin that compelled Stuart to write MarkdownLog.

Here's one of his first examples. This C# code:

var myStrings = new[] { "John", "Paul", "Ringo", "George" };
Console.Write(myStrings.ToMarkdownBulletedList());

Gives you this simple Markdown.

   * John
* Paul
* Ringo
* George

At this point, you are likely unimpressed. But wait! There's more! There's a whole series of nice extension methods that make it easy to create templates from objects of any shape. Here's another example of his:

var data = new[]
{
new{Name = "Meryl Streep", Nominations = 18, Awards=3},
new{Name = "Katharine Hepburn", Nominations = 12, Awards=4},
new{Name = "Jack Nicholson", Nominations = 12, Awards=3}
};

Console.Write(data.ToMarkdownTable());

This gives you a Markdown table, of course. This looks nothing like an HTML table, but remember, Markdown is source code that can be translated into other formats like HTML and PDF.

 Name              | Nominations | Awards
----------------- | -----------:| ------:
Meryl Streep | 18 | 3
Katharine Hepburn | 12 | 4
Jack Nicholson | 12 | 3

Be sure to explore the full CodeProject article and the home page for MarkdownLog. Think about how you could add this to your existing logging framework and create better logs for tests, builds, anything. Take a look at the HTML render of one of Stuarts's Test Suite Runs and tell me that you want immediately want to get to work updating your old .LOG files.

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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How to add a keyboard and write in YOUR language in Windows for free

July 25, '14 Comments [25] Posted in Internationalization | Win8
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A lot of people don't realize that Windows supports a LOT of different languages out of the box. After Windows 7 and now with Windows 8 and 8.1, you can add keyboards to dozens of languages without buying or downloading anything. You have non-English keyboards now, today! Even if you just have English Windows out of the box, you can add a Japanese Input Method Editor (IME - a way to enter kanji), or any of a dozen other methods for entering non-English text on an English Keyboard. This is great for writing family back home, letting your teen write reports for Chinese class in Word, and more.

If you know someone who could benefit from knowing this, tell them! I met a woman from Ethiopia who spoke Amharic recently and somehow we got to talking about the unique syllabary (an alphabet of symbols) that one uses to write Amharic/Ge'ez using Fidel (their lettering system). She had used Windows for 10+ years and had NO idea she could write emails, make web pages, and write Word documents in her native language FOR FREE. She had this feature in Windows and never turned it on.

In Windows 8 or 8.1, press the Windows key and type "Add language."

Screenshot (29)

Select one of these options (doesn't really matter which) and then select the language you want to add. There's a lot.

Look how many languages are available!

I'm selecting Amharic. Note that I could also select Tigrinya as well.

Tigrinya

I'm just adding the Keyboard so I can write letters, but many languages also have a Language Pack where I could change the look and feel of Windows itself. This could make Windows more comfortable for the grandparents, so experiment with this and their settings.

Amharic IME

An Input Method Editor lets you type English/Latin letters and output non-Latin characters. For example, I'll L-A-space, and get ላ or H-I-space and get ሂ.

Typically as you type a list of options appears and is narrowed down by your choices. Sometimes these are phonetic (they sound like the language) and sometimes they are just letter combos you'll learn.

 

The Ethiopic IME

The results are awesome though, and it makes Windows just that much more usable for folks who regularly need to switch between languages.

Scott Hanselman

Use the Hotkey "Windows Key + Space" to toggle keyboards, or just press the keyboard that appears in your Taskbar.

Switching languages

Now, go tell your family and setup alternate languages on their PC! I can speak from experience that a great way to make a computer more accessible for a relative (and get a smile) is adding support for their native language(s).

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.