Guy’s Best Practice & Litmus Tests Ezine #2
Contents for Ezine #2
At present the world is divided into two camps; those who leave their computers on all the time, and those who always turn off their machines when they are not in use.
NT 4.0 did not support power management, but the rest of the Windows family, provide Power Schemes through an icon in the control panel. Whilst turning off the monitor and hard disk are useful on desktops, power management really comes into its own on laptops. This is because you need all the help you can get to preserve the battery life when the laptop is away from a power socket.
Litmus test: Do you use Power Options on your Laptop?
Amateurs: Let their laptop’s battery go flat quickly
Professionals: Extend the battery life with ‘Hibernate or Standby’.
I challenge you try the Hibernation setting, even on a desktop machine. The way of the future will be managing electricity intelligently through power settings rather than a crude on / off switch. Also Hibernation is spectacular at remembering where you were, so try leaving a document open then going into Hibernation Mode.
Note: You have to be a local administrator to set Hibernation
Control Panel, Power Options, Hibernate (Tab)
Technically, Hibernate saves all of Ram into a file called hiberfil.sys, so you need free space equal to physical memory for it to work. Occasionally with old machines their BIOS does not support Hibernation so there is no tab.
Guy Recommends: The Free IP Address Tracker (IPAT)
Calculating IP Address ranges is a black art, which many network managers solve by creating custom Excel spreadsheets. IPAT cracks this problem of allocating IP addresses in networks in two ways:
For Mr Organized there is a nifty subnet calculator, you enter the network address and the subnet mask, then IPAT works out the usable addresses and their ranges.
For Mr Lazy IPAT discovers and then displays the IP addresses of existing computers. Download the Free IP Address Tracker
Talking of laptops, a well kept secret is Offline Files. Perhaps this feature has not been shouted from the roof tops because it is a descendent of the Briefcase which never caught on in Windows 95. While I did not use the Briefcase, I urge you to give Offline Files a chance. This setting provides a great way for laptop users to work on their files when they are away from their office. When the users return to the network the Synchronization manager keep the copy on the server up-to-date.
Litmus test: Do you configure Offline Files on your laptop?
Amateurs: Copy files from the network share and paste them somewhere locally on their laptop.
Professionals: Master Offline Files and the associated synchronization settings.
To activate Offline files, go to Explorer, Tools menu and select the Offline Files (Tab). Once you have checked the box, take a minute to check out all the synchronization options.
Note: Offline Files does not work with XP’s Remote Desktop. However, you would not often need Remote Desktop on a laptop machine so it’s normally a problem.
Once you have activated the tab from Explorer, the other half of configuring Offline Files is to access the \\server\share\file then right-click and select ‘Make Available Offline’.
Technically, the offline files are actually stored in your user profile under the Documents and Settings folder.
a) Temp variable
Scenario: You wish to install a service pack, but you cannot proceed because there is not enough space in the Temp folder. Solution: move the Temp folder to another partition by modifying the Environmental variable Temp.
This setting is found in the System Icon, the exact tab varies with the Operating System.
Litmus Test: What do you do if a Service Pack says ‘Not enough disk space to generate temporary files’?
Amateurs: Give up if there is not enough disk space to install service pack.
Professionals: Go to the System Icon and modify the environmental variables.
These are devices that you have installed, but are not displaying in the device manager. This can be frustrating if old ‘phantom’ devices are taking up resources that other devices need. Hardware such as printers or scanners causes such headaches.
Fortunately, the information on these phantom devices is held in the registry. All you need is to add the environmental variable ‘devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices’ and any ‘phantom’ objects will be revealed in the device manager.
Instructions to set ‘devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices’
System Icon (Windows Key and Pause)
Environmental Variables (Place varies but try Advanced Tab)
System Variables (Not User Variables)
Value = 1 (Numeric one means on, zero would be off)
When you set environment variable you see a greyed out icon in the Device Manager. Now you can uninstall the device and so cure problems related to ghosting devices.
(If you cannot find the Device Manger on your machine, try the built-in Help, Device Manager, Enabling devices.)
Last tip for this week.
Navigate to the Device Manager, select View (Menu) Show Hidden Devices.
Lots of useful Windows shutdown and hibernate articles