Windows Media Player Error Message


I got this error message, “Windows Media Player cannot play this DVD because there is a problem with digital copy protection between your DVD drive, decoder, and video card. Try installing an updated driver for your video card.” Anything I can do?


Well, Myron, I hate to sound obvious, but did you try installing an updated driver for your video card?  If you did this and it didn’t work, please let me know in comments.  But really, this should solve your problem.


The first thing that I’d recommend is that you uninstall your existing video driver.  The reason that I’d suggest this is that you’re just starting fresh.  Sometimes updating doesn’t go like it should, so it’s good to just start from scratch.  You do this by opening your device manager.  The easiest way is to click on the Windows icon in the lower left of the screen and type “device manager” (you’ll type all of these phrases minus the quotation marks) into your search box.  Select the first one under Control Panel.



Once your device manager is open, select your video driver.  This will usually be found by expanding display adapters.  I’ll show you mine without even asking to see yours.



Right-click on the video driver and click “uninstall”.  Then reboot your computer.  When it boots back up you should have a fairly rudimentary display, but your “found new hardware” wizard should come up.  If it doesn’t, just repeat the process above, but click “update driver software” instead of uninstall.  Windows should then find your new driver and install it.  That should fix your problem.  If it doesn’t, let me know in comments and we’ll try something else.


Hope this helps.


Show Empty Drives in Windows 7

Show Empty Drives in Windows 7

By default Windows 7 doesn’t show empty drives like card readers and what-not in the explorer window. As far as I know there isn’t really a good reason for this, so I keep it so everything shows up no matter what.

Here’s how:

Click Start, and in the SearchBox (Located above the Start button) type “Change search options”. In the results that will appear above, you’ll see a selection at the top that says “Change search options for files and folders”. Click it.


Now select the
View tab and scroll down until you see the selection that says “Hide empty drives in the Computer folder” and un-check it. Hit Apply, then OK and you’re all set! Now whenever you insert media into your computer it’ll show up regardless!


Shrink Start Menu Icons

Shrink Start Menu Icons

Maybe you’ve got a whole bunch of stuff you want to see on your Start menu, or perhaps it’s a matter of personal preference. Either way, today’s tip is going to show you how to shrink your Start Menu icons in Windows Vista and 7.


Let’s give it a try!

First, Right-Click on a blank area of your Taskbar and select “Properties”. A window will pop up. Select the StartMenuTab and click the
Customize” button. Once in this window, scroll the list all the way down to the bottom. You should see something that looks like this:


Just un-check the check-box that says “
Use Large Icons” and hit OK, then Apply then OK again. You’ve just gone to Lilliput! If you don’t like what you see, then follow the same steps and re-check the box

Create a Windows 7 System Repair Disk

Create a Windows 7 System Repair Disk

Did you know that Windows 7 has a utility that allows you to
create a system repair disk? If you’ve ever turned on your computer and found
you can’t get into Windows, this is a great thing to have, because it contains
a suite of recovery tools that will help you recover from a serious system
error or restore your computer from a system image.

Here’s how you do it:

Click Start, then in the Search Box, type Create a System Repair Disk.
An icon should appear in the list above. Click on it.

A wizard will open up. Put a
imageblank CD/DVD in your CD/DVD Writer and follow the on-screen instructions.


That’s all there is to it! If
you ever find your computer in an un-bootable state, just pop this baby in and
you’ll be on your way back to good!

Note: You may need to go into your system’s
BIOS to change the boot order of your devices so your CD-RW or DVD-RW is the
first boot device.

Changing Your Windows 7 Taskbar

Changing Your Windows 7 Taskbar

If you liked XP, Windows 7 offers many XP interface options. It also allows you to pick and choose from several individual options. For example, if you liked the XP taskbar, you can quickly adjust the Windows 7 taskbar to give it that XP appearance.

Just right click on an open space of the taskbar and select Properties.


In the
Taskbar and Start Menu Properties window, click the Taskbar tab.

Check the
Use small icons box.


Click on the button, next to
Taskbar buttons:, and select Never combine.

OK or Apply, and your taskbar will become the more familiar looking XP version. As an added benefit, it retains one of the nicer Windows 7 features. If you hover your cursor over the buttons, they will show thumbnail images of open applications, rather than just the names that XP offered.

The best of both worlds.

Keyboard Issues

I have a one year old HP laptop. It will skip letters and pop back up to the beginning when I am typing. Sometimes it just types gibberish or runs all the words together.


Nothing is worse than sitting down at your computer to type out an important e-mail, only to find your carefully crafted words missing key letters, numbers, spaces, punctuation, etc. When such an occurrence happens randomly, the gibberish looking results can be absolutely maddening. While your first instinct may be to bash your keyboard and/or monitor with your fist, doing so (probably) won’t do you or your computer any good. So where do you start when troubleshooting a troublesome keyboard? By updating the software which controls your keyboard: the hardware drivers.


To update your HP keyboard drivers follow these steps:
(Note: In this example we will be updating drivers for an HP Laptop keyboard, however the steps outlined here will work for the majority of keyboards on the market, regardless of manufacturer.)


Step 1. Go to and click on the “Support & Drivers” link; the Support & Drivers wizard will appear.



Step 2. In the “Enter a product name/number” form field, enter the model number of your laptop (typically found on the bottom of your computer) and click “Submit.”


If you are having trouble locating your model number, click the “how do I find the product name/number?” link and follow the instructions which appear.



Step 3. Select your operating system from the “Select your operating system” drop down menu and click Next.



Step 4. Click “Driver – Keyboard, Mouse and Input Devices” from the “Select a download” category, and download any relevant keyboard drivers available.



Step 5. Once downloaded, find and run the keyboard driver installer by double clicking on the downloaded .exe file and following the installation prompts which appear.


Step 6. After your updated drivers have been installed, shut down and restart your computer to ensure the drivers install completely.


If updating your keyboard drivers still does not resolve your issue, uninstall and re-install your keyboard via these steps:


Step 1. Open your “Start” menu, right click the “Computer” button, and select “Properties” from the context menu which appears. The Computer Information window will appear.



Step 2. Click “Device Manager” from the left hand menu to initiate the Device Manager.



Step 3. In the Device Manager, find the “Keyboards” Category, open it, and find your HP Laptop keyboard in the list.



Step 4. Right click on your keyboard and select “Uninstall.”



Step 5. In the “Confirm Device Uninstall” box which appears, click “OK” to uninstall the keyboard from your system.



Step 6. Reboot your computer.


Once your computer has restarted, it will take a moment to re-register your keyboard. Windows will notify you once re-registration is complete.


Step 7. Follow Steps 1-3 above, this time selecting the “Update Driver Software” selection from the context menu.



Step 8. In the “Update Driver Software” dialog which appears, click “Search Automatically for updated driver software” to have Windows search for and install any new keyboard drivers it finds.



If, once again, your keyboard issues are not resolved, follow Steps 1-5 above, but select the “Delete the driver software for this device” check box prior to clicking the “Ok button, then proceed with Steps 6-8 as normal.



If, after performing the above methods, your keyboard still refuses to work properly, you may have a physically faulty, defective, or damaged keyboard on your hands. While most keyboards can handle a fair amount of use on a daily basis, a few common conditions can cause a keyboard to fail quickly and without notice. Chief among these conditions: the introduction of a foreign liquid such as water, juice, soda, coffee, etc. Even the smallest spillage can cause near complete failure of a keyboard, typically exhibited by the erratic gibberish inducing behavior mentioned at the beginning of this article. If you suspect your keyboard hardware to be damaged, you generally have two options to fix it:


1. Contact HP to order and install a new HP keyboard in your laptop. This is the ideal option for those looking to get their HP laptop keyboard running like new again. However, unless your laptop is still under warranty, a keyboard replacement can be quite costly in both parts and labor charges.


2. Buy an external USB or Bluetooth keyboard. While this method is by far the cheapest way to “fix” a broken laptop keyboard, it is also the most cumbersome as an external keyboard means having to carry around yet more stuff in your laptop bag. For ultimate portability, look into water resistant, roll up keyboards with a Bluetooth connection.


Utilizing the above steps will have your HP (and many non-HP) laptop up and running again in no time; with the possible side effect of improving your overall typing experience as well!


Free up space on your C Drive.


Is there an easy way to free up some space on my hard drive? It’s getting awfully crowded in there!

Windows is a cool operating system. It sure has pitfalls and annoyances, but once you look at it from a novice point of view, Windows does away with all the geeky stuff that most people won’t want to bother themselves with. It has a huge array of software to do various tasks and it forms an excellent computing environment for the home user.


However, Windows comes with its own pitfalls and shortcomings. The most common of them are evident slowdown as compared to a fresh installation of Windows and the second one is lack of free space. Many of us face the second problem; because our C drive (the drive on which people usually install Windows) runs out of space. Here is a quick solution to the problem.

Note: If you are unsure of your ability to complete the following tip, please consult a professional. You have been warned.


The C drive hosts our entire operating system, but some other files are also created on the C drive, which eat up additional space. One of them is the pagefile. The pagefile is essential for Windows to perform optimally, but once the C drive runs out of space, we are already losing performance. Therefore, the obvious solution is to move the pagefile to a physical disk with more space.


Step 1: Click on the Windows orb on the bottom left corner. Alternatively you can hit the Windows button on your keyboard. Once the start menu comes up, go to “My Computer” and right click. You will get the right click context menu for My Computer. Now, click on “properties”.




Step 2: Once you get the window as shown below, click on the “Advanced system settings” link on the left.


Step 3: The system properties window has an “Advanced” tab, which has options divided into three sections. In the performance section, click on the “Settings” button.




Step 4: Once you get the “Performance options” window, click on the “Advanced” tab as shown below.




Step 5: In the advanced tab, you will find a section for Virtual Memory. In that section, there is a button to change paging size and locations. Click on the “Change” button.




Step 6: This is where the real action is. Uncheck the option which says “Automatically manage paging file size”.


Notice how the C drive has a system managed paging set for itself. The pagefile can occupy as much as 2 GB of space at times and it is best to move this file out of the C drive to save valuable space.



Select the C drive, select the “no paging” option and click on the “Set” button as shown below.



A window appears telling us about the potential threats of having no paging on the system. Click on “Yes” to continue, because in the next step, we are just moving the pagefile to a new location and not disabling it all together.


Step 7: Select a drive you want to use for paging, select the “System managed” option and click on the “Set” button. Make sure the drive has enough of free space(at least as much as the recommended free space). Once you are done with that, click on OK.


Reboot your system to finally set the paging. You will notice additional free space on your C drive.

Sorting Favorites Alphabetically.


I would like to alphabetize my Favorites. Is there a way to do that?

Yes, there is, it’s really easy, and I’m glad you asked. Now – don’t laugh – but when I first wanted to alphabetize my favorites I tried to drag each folder to its place, all the while trying to keep track (I had 64 folders and 50+links that I hadn’t alphabetized). After a half an hour of being very frustrated I decided that it really wasn’t that important (but of course it was).


You didn’t mention what browser you had, so I’m going to show you four of the top browsers used.


For Internet Explorer 7, 8 and 9:

#1: Open Internet Explorer.
#2. Click on Favorites (in Internet Explorer 9, click the star icon on the right-hand side).
Right-click on any folder or link.




#4. After you right-click, a menu pops up with a list of tasks. Left-click on Sort by Name.




Your Favorites are now alphabetized.




For Mozilla Firefox:


#1. Open Firefox.
#2. Left-click on View, then Sidebar, then Bookmarks.




#3. Now in your sidebar you see (along with other items) Bookmarks Menu. Right-click on that and a menu will pop up with a list of tasks, one of them being Sort by Name. Left-click on it.






#4. Expand the Bookmarks Menu (click on the + sign to the left of Bookmarks Menu.)




Your bookmarks are now sorted alphabetically.


For Google Chrome:


It’s a little different for Chrome, but the principle is the same.


#1. Open Chrome.
#2. At the very right of your page at the top is a little wrench. Left-click on that and then left-click on Bookmark Manager.




#3. This has opened a new tab. At the left of the tab you now have a sidebar. Right-click on Bookmark Manager and then left-click on Reorder Items.




Your bookmarks are now alphabetized.


There you go! A few clicks and you can now see what you actually have in your list.


Thanks for writing!


Windows 7 Troubleshooter.

If you’re having a computer problem, Windows 7 offers a quick route to a possible solution.


Just type the word Troubleshoot in the Start search box, and hit the Enter key, or select Troubleshooting from the list.


This will bring up the Windows 7 Troubleshooter. From there, you can choose from a list of potential problem areas and, with any luck, find the solution to your problem. For this example, I searched for problems with programs made for previous versions of Windows, which brought up the Program Compatibility window. I wasn’t having this problem (or any others), but I wanted to try the troubleshooter.


After clicking the Next button, a list of installed programs appeared, and I was asked to identify the troublesome program.


Since there were no actual problems with any programs, one was selected at random.


From the 2 options, Troubleshoot program was selected, which brought up a checklist of possible problems. I checked an item on the list and clicked Next, but since no actual problems existed, none were found. Although in my experience, troubleshooters installed in earlier Windows operating systems never found problems that certainly did exist. I’m pretty sure the phrase “This device is working properly” is the only one Windows furnished in those earlier troubleshooters.


If the Windows 7 troubleshooter works as well when it’s needed, as it did during this trial run, those of us in the computer tips business might have to start looking for real jobs.

Desktop Icon Cleanup Wizard in Windows 7.


In Windows XP there is the Desktop Icon Cleanup Wizard. Is there an equivalent in Windows 7?


The Desktop Cleanup wizard was last featured as a standalone utility in Windows XP. It does not appear in Windows 7, at least not in the same form. Its functionality was maintained, but it was integrated into a broader System Maintenance wizard. Usually, this utility will run automatically, but if you would like to run it manually, follow the directions below.


1. Open the Troubleshooting menu by clicking on the Start button and typing ‘troubleshooting‘ in the search box. Select the first search result by clicking on it.




2. In the next window, locate the System and Security options and click on Run Maintenance Tasks.


Run Maintenance


3. This opens a System Maintenance window. Click Next to proceed.




4. The wizard will then run through a series of tasks to try and detect any problems with your Windows 7 installation. One of these tasks includes a desktop shortcut cleanup.


If this fails to solve any issues you are having with redundant, or underused shortcuts, then you can always use the ever popular CCleaner. It is a free download from Piriform and is designed to help tune up your PC in all kinds of good ways.


Simply launch the program, and make sure that the box next to Desktop Shortcuts is checked under the System menu.




Now take a look at the other options you have in both the Windows and the Applications tabs. Then, click the Analyze button to see how many junk files CCleaner finds. All that is left to do now, is to click the Run Cleaner button and in a matter of just a few seconds, your PC will be free of invalid desktop shortcuts, plus a whole lot more besides!