Although it is relatively easy to assign a drive letter to a physical or removable drive, or to a network path for that matter, it isn’t quite as obvious how one goes about mapping a drive letter to a folder in Windows. Funnily enough, this ability has existed in Windows via the subst command for quite a while now, going all the way back to Windows XP! If you are a keyboard ninja then you would of course jump straight to a command line and start banging away with the subst command, but for the rest of us out there the easiest method by far is to make use of a simple utility called Visual Subst, which gives you a nice graphical interface to assign drive letters, but also does something that the command line version can’t – you can set your virtual drives to apply again at startup. Once you’ve downloaded the utility, simply run it, use the browse button to select the path you want to map to, and click the green plus symbol to choose enforce the chosen drive letter. As simple as that. If you want to save your mapping so that it is more permanent, hit the “Apply virtual drives on Windows startup” option. Nifty. Related Link: http://www.ntwind.com/software/utilities/visual-subst.html
Here’s a nifty Windows keyboard shortcut which I was not aware of until recently. My version of Vista tends to freeze a lot, meaning a lot of sluggish trips through to the Open Task Manager button on the Control+Alt+Delete screen. However, with this particular keyboard shortcut, you can launch Task Manager directly, which is pretty awesome if your machine is about to keel over and you don’t want the poor thing struggling to draw new and unnecessary windows! To launch, simply press Control+Shift+Escape, which will quick launch task manager in the blink of an eye. Nifty!
Microsoft Word likes converting single and double quotes into it’s so-called smart quotes representation, which can be annoying when you are trying to display the string on a device that doesn’t support smart quotes (the curly ones in case you were wondering). The easiest way to clean out these curly smart or fancy quotes is to run a simple search and replace on your string:
Although Microsoft Windows smart quotes are the usual culprits for web developers who need to display strings on devices powered by operating systems other than Windows, there are in fact a number of other Windows-only special characters that can potentially rear their heads every now and then.
If on opening a command line prompt and trying to run something like ipconfig or ping, you receive an error message reading something like ‘ipconfig’ is not recognised as an internal or external command, chances are pretty good that you somehow messed up your PATH system environment variable.
If you already have a web development environment set up on your machine and don’t necessarily want to run the whole Zend Server package and instead just want to create Zend projects using the Zend Framework, then this simple how to install Zend Framework tutorial should be perfect for you.
Now for those of you who would like to use something like this little robust, command line and self terminating application for a scheduled task on your great big Windows Server or desktop machine, rejoice because someone has gone to the effort and created a great little port project that offers you a complete wget package for Windows, even going so far as giving you a proper installer to drop everything in its right place.
So enter GSplit, a great little reliable, free file splitter application that can split large files like disk images, video files, zip archives into a whole lot of smaller chunks and then provide you with a handy little executable file to sew all those pieces back up again when you need to.
This little app then allows you to essentially force close these open files by either closing the handle via its own interface or alternatively killing the process it indicates is currently locking that annoying file.
Now restoring your Windows XP or Vista installation to the original set of installed fonts turns out not to be a particularly easy manual task, based on the way in which font handling and manipulation is executed on the Windows Explorer platform.
Yes, there are a number of ways of controlling which applications get launched on Windows startup, ranging from editing the registry or deleting shortcuts from the windows startup folder, but in a nice stroke of genius, Microsoft allows you to quickly and efficiently control which startup applications get to run by adding a useful Startup tab to their System Configuration utility.
I know designing for accessibility is important, but nuts, nothing is more annoying than accidentally enabling Microsofts StickyKey functionality. It gets enabled if you hold down the shift key too long or press it five times in a row. Basically it makes life easier if you can’t press more than one button at once, but to be honest, its still a long way off before I’m not able to do that anymore.
Craig Lotter is an established web developer and application programmer, with strong creative urges (which keep bursting out at the most inopportune moments) and a seemingly insatiable need to love all things animated. Living in the beautiful coastal town of Gordon's Bay in South Africa, he games, develops, takes in animated fare, trains under whichever martial arts dojo is closest at the time, and for the most part, simply enjoys life with his amazing wife and daughter.
Oh, and he draws ever now and then too.
This is a collection of things that he has managed to find the time to scribble down since 2007.
Looking for Something?
Jump to Category: