When composing an email an Outlook there might be a font
Style that you like to apply regularly. I have yet to find a way to create a
style for Outlook messages in Outlook itself. Leaving me with only the styles which come with Outlook. I have discovered a way to create custom styles for Outlook messages.
1. Close Outlook.
2. In File Explorer go to %appdata%\Microsoft\Temples. In that directory there will be a file called
NormalEmail.dotm. Right click to open the context menu and select Open. This should open NormalEmail.dotm in Word.
3. In the Styles part of the Ribbon, bring down the
extra options and select “Create a Style”.
4. Create the style you want.
5. Save the file and close Word.
The next time you compose a message in Outlook, you will see
that your new style is there.
In Windows 8 the Desktop Backgrounds which exist for the first account you link to your Microsoft Account, become your roaming desktop backgrounds. What that means is any other computer you sign into with your Microsoft Account gets those desktop backgrounds too. But there is one caveat; the Microsoft Account will only roam up to 20 pictures. As far as I can tell there’s no way to configure which 20, so it’s crap shoot. Better than nothing, and I suspect that the number will increase as time goes on.
Sadly for me I have roughly 60 pictures as my primary wallpapers, and hope that Microsoft will bump the limit soon.
I know that lots of people heralded Windows 8.1 as an improvement to Windows 8, but I do not share their enthusiasm. I find the update to mainly be a disappointment. The two computers that I primarily use are desktop computers which both originally ran Windows 7, and neither of them have the touch screen. I am a heavy keyboard user and have only found only one scenario where I found using the keyboard to be worse in 8 than in 7 (context menu on start screen items). But upgrading to Windows 8.1 has left me with these disappointments:
- The Start Tip, aka. the return of the Start Button. I really liked getting rid of the start button. I hardly ever used it since Vita, and it took up space on the task bar. When the Start Button isn’t there I would virtually never end up with two rows of icons on the Task Bar, and now that it’s back I occasionally do get two rows of icons (which I find to be very annoying).
- The removal of the Search Contract. This is a big pain for me. I liked the Search Contract; I like the idea of universal search. I was equally disappointed when Microsoft removed it from Windows Phone in 7.5. I love starting an app, start typing and having the app respond. But with the Search contract removed, and I start typing in an app, nothing happens! It’s so frustrating, I’m trying to communicate with the program and the program isn’t listening. In Windows 8 if I start the market place I can start typing and immediately it starts looking for apps. It was awesome. Now, with the removal of the Search Contract I have to click on a search box to start searching; blech!
- Moving items on the Start Screen with a touch screen. This on only affects touch screen systems, and I’m kind of surprised that I missed it. At first I was really frustrated when I tried to move items around, but couldn’t. I just couldn’t do it. My toddlers seemed to have no issue with doing it. So I can see why Microsoft revisited how its done. But I got the hang of it before 8.1 came out, and actually found it to be really smooth once I knew what to do. Now I find myself trying to move an item, and it takes longer, and feels more like I’m using a computer than something that’s smooth and really advanced.
- The Messaging App. I don’t miss the Messaging App too much, but I know my brother does. I understand that Microsoft got rid of it in favor of having everything being done by Skype, but I think that it wasn’t time for that yet. The Skype team is still behaving like it think it’ll get sold off one day, and I still don’t find their apps/service to be superior to what Microsoft had at the time of the acquisition.
- De-emphasis of libraries. Libraries were introduced in Windows 7, and they were very useful. There are places where they were broken (like if you tried to upload files from a library), but I still think they made if feasible for ‘normal’ people to be able to share files on the same computer. Libraries are still there, but you have to have each user turn them on; and in some cases manually add the Public folders back.
- Modifying file properties when viewing the file through a library doesn’t work: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows8_1-files/cant-modify-properties-of-files-when-viewing/22ba1f23-51c0-45c9-8983-5b481b6281c2
- I have ran into weird permissions issue. It’s like the Windows team forgot about the important work they did in Vista to make sure that one can use a computer without having to be the admin. See SettingSyncHost is consuming CPU, and Unable to start some apps after upgrade to Windows 8.1.
Windows 8.1 isn’t all bad; it did fix the stupid Apps vs. Settings search pain point, but I wish that it would have continued on the path that Windows 8 put down more so than what it felt like it did.
After upgrading my parents Windows 8 computer to Windows 8.1 all of the user accounts on the computer didn’t have the Bing Weather app nor the Skype app. It was strange, the live tile for the apps were where they were on the Start Screen before the u;grade, but instead of showing anything they were rectangles with a small x in the lower right hand corner; and launching the resulted in showing just the background color. When I tried to reinstall the apps from the Windows Store the installation process would die with error 0×8004005, which is error code 5 which is Access Denied. That is really strange, because the whole point of WinRT apps is that a standard user should be able to install them to their own profile with no permissions issues at all.
My parents have a great setup on their computer, they have an administrator account that they never log into, and all of the users on the computer are standard users and sign in with their own Microsoft accounts.
I ran Process Monitor and filtered by Result is Access Denied. This showed a couple of entries but the one which looked interesting was one that was trying to access HKEY_USERS\\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Notifications\BackgroundCapability\S-1-15-2-2040986369-264322980-3882385089-1970153872-3662121739-3363227934-2464603330\App.AppX0reyrkpf8fvpmyz1tg3wc7fwjvf2e5c5.wwa. I opened regedit.exe as elevated, and could see the S-1-15-2-2040986369-264322980-3882385089-1970153872-3662121739-3363227934-2464603330 regkey, but I couldn’t expand it. That seems to be by design for every key under BackgroundCapability, so I gave it little heed. I then reopened regedit as the standard user and navigated to S-1-15-2-2040986369-264322980-3882385089-1970153872-3662121739-3363227934-2464603330 under HKEY_CURRENT_USER. I could expand it, but I could not open the App.AppX0reyrkpf8fvpmyz1tg3wc7fwjvf2e5c5.wwa child. This was strange because I could open its siblings. I suspect that the issue was similar to a previous issue that I had with the TrainedDataStore where the owner of a registry key under HKCU isn’t the current user.
I then reopened regedit as elevated and deleted the S-1-15-2-2040986369-264322980-3882385089-1970153872-3662121739-3363227934-2464603330 key. Then I went back to the Windows Store and was able to install the app. So the issue is most likely that sometime during upgrade the Owner of some registry keys under the user profile get reassigned to something other than the user (which is bad).
To fix this issue on your own, open regedit and navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Notifications\BackgroundCapability. Its children will be Windows Security Principles, in my case the interesting one was S-1-15-2-2040986369-264322980-3882385089-1970153872-3662121739-3363227934-2464603330. Find the one where you can not see the values for it’s children (a pop up dialog will open informing you that you do not have permissions). Then reopen regedit with elevated permissions and find that regkey under HKEY_USERS and delete it. The Windows Store should be able to install the apps after that.
I had an issue where the Host Process for Setting Synchronization (SettingSyncHost.exe) process was constantly consuming CPU whenever the computer was connected to a network that wasn’t a metered connection. It would run at around 31% CPU nonstop. The reason why it was running so hard was that it was constantly checking the files in %localappdata%\Microsoft\InputPersonalization\TrainedDataStore\en-us; but that directory had a problem. Instead of having only one or two files like it is designed to have, it had over 100,000 files.
The reason why TrainedDataStore had so many files in it, is that the user account I use didn’t have permissions to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\InputPersonalization\TrainedDataStore\en-US\2 registry key. Which is very strange, the logged in user should always have permissions to everything under HKEY_CURRENT_USER. So what was happening was that the InputPersonalization process was writing a file to TrainedDataStore\en-us, and then checking the registry key, but would get an error, and bail out. Then it would do that over and over again. The Host Process for Setting Synchronization would see that a change happened in that directory (a new file had been created) and then scan the directory over again. This would consume 31% CPU all day. Thankfully it wasn’t constantly uploading the changes to SkyDrive, that would have been really bad.
The crazy thing is that the local user was the owner over the en-US registry, but the local administrators group was the owner of the en-US\2 directory. Given that that key is under HKEY_CURRENT_USER that is really, really weird. I have no idea how it happened, but apparently the first time that InputPersonalization ran as that user, it must have been kicked off with elevated permissions when creating the registry key.
To fix the issue I logged in as the administrator, found the users key under HKEY_USERS, right clicked on the Software\Microsoft\InputPersonalization\TrainedDataStore\en-US\2 key and selected Permissions. I then pressed Advanced and at the top of the dialog window was able to change the owner. Once the owner was changed to the correct user, the %localappdata%\Microsoft\InputPersonalization\TrainedDataStore\en-us directory emptied quickly and the Host Process for Setting Synchronization hasn’t been a bother since.
Below are two screen shots from regedit. They show that en-US has the correct owner, but en-US\2 does not, it has Administrators as the owner.
When I rip a track from a Greatest Hits album, the ripping program (sensibly) adds the metadata of the track for that album. The album in the file is the Greatest Hits album, the year in the file is the year the album was released, etc. The problem is that (most of the time) the track wasn’t originally recorded and released on the Greatest Hits album. After I rip a track I care less about the shiny disk the track was ripped from, and more about the album (and associated metadata) the track was originally released on. If I trip a track from a Greatest Hits album that was released in 2013, but the song is originally from 1970, I’d rather have the song show up as being from 1970, not 2013! Plus having a digital library with all of the original album art, instead of just the Greatest Hits covers, just feels better.
One problem I’ve discovered is that Windows Media Player does a really good job of remembering which tracks came from which shiny disk and assumes that the relationship between the tracks is constant. So if I rip a CD from Media Player and then later try to modify the album for a single track, Media Player will change the album information for all of the tracks which were ripped from the same shiny disk. This can be extremely frustrating, especially when restoring tracks from a mix disk. I understand why Media Player does this; the team optimized for the scenario where somebody ripped an album, didn’t bother to look up album metadata and have a library full of songs with a title of Track 1, Track 2, etc from Unknown Album’s. Once the owner does add album information it’s reasonable to add it for all of the files that came from the shiny disk.
What makes breaking the tracks from the ripped album in Windows Media Player so difficult is that the ripping creates the WM/CollectionID, WM/CollectionGroupID and the WM/UniqueFileIdentifier tags. I wrote a program to wipe out the CollectionID’s, but to write something that would properly remove the UniqueFileIdentifier was going to take more effort than I thought would be worth it. Plus the information is also cached in the %localappdata%\Microsoft\Media Player directory. So Windows Media Player might even restore it, after I would have properly removed it from the file.
A little while ago my Sony Walkman hit a technical issue and in attempt to fix it I factory restored it. Given that my primary way of listening to music was reset I took the opportunity to restart a lot of my music collection from scratch. The Rube Goldberg solution I came up with is as follows:
I deleted all songs from my computer that I had a CD for. Then I ripped the CD’s using AudioGrabber. AudioGrabber was nice, because it didn’t look up too much metadata, and you can easily remove the metadata you won’t want (like album) before ripping. Plus, it didn’t save pointless metadata like track number. I would then look up each song on Wikipedia and enter the Album and Year information in the properties window of the file in Explorer. Then after deleting all references to Zune and Media Player from %localappdata% I opened up Zune and let Zune find the album information. I found Zune to not be as draconian with the metadata as Windows Media Player is, plus it had more information about older albums than Media Player. The one draw back to Zune is that it doesn’t embed the album art into the track file, it stores it as a hidden file in either the directory of the file or in %programdata%\zune\AlbumArt. To embed the album art I would have the songs folder open, showing hidden files, Zune open and Windows Media Player open, and I would drag and drop the album cover files from Explorer to Windows Media Player to embed the art into the files.
Was that a lot of work, yes! But I’ve had fun finding out about where the songs came from. And now I have album art and metadata information from the original albums that the songs were released on (except the Monkees; a bunch of their songs were released as singles only and then years later on Greatest Hits albums). I know I am going to be enjoying my music experience more because of it.