Low Volume on my Realtek Acer Laptop

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I’ve always thought the sound volume on my Acer TravelMate 5530G has been very low even if I turned everything up to 100%. It has been ok and only a little bit annoying, but a few days ago we moved to another house for a month (we’re currently travelling in Thailand) with no TV so now the family have to watch movies on the laptop…

Anyway, I found the solution thanks to this post by brielle128 at Notebookreview.com. It seems to be related to Realtek drivers on Windows Vista.

The solution:
– Have song playing so you can here the difference.
– Right click on the speaker icon in the task bar and select Playback Devices (or find it in the Windows Control Panel) The Sound dialog box opens up.
– From the Playback tab select the Playback device being used, in my case Speakers Realtek High Definition Audio (marked with a green checkbox) and click the Properties button. A new dialog box – Speaker Properties – opens up.
– On the Enhancements tab make sure Disable All Sound Effects and Immediate Mode are both unchecked. Check Loudness Equalization (on my setup all other unchecked) and hit Apply.
– Bingo! Sound volume is up a lot, maybe 50%!

I actually think my wife’s Acer Aspire One (also Realtek Sound card) running Windows XP has the same problem but unfortunately I could not find any similar settings there.

Lotus Notes data directory on Windows Vista

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Just installed and old CD with Lotus Notes 7.02 on my Windows Vista laptop.
Could not find notes.ini, names.nsf in the file system, apparently it’s no longer stored in C:\Program Files\Lotus\Notes\Data. After some searching I found it here: C:\Users\[UserName]\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files\lotus\notes\data>

Looking for Credential Tiles hangs Remote Desktop

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On my new Acer TravelMate 5530G I run Windows Vista Home Premium. I use Windows Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) to connect to my server which has been working just fine.

But this weekend after setting up a new Windows 2008 server and trying to connect to it, RDC shows a dialog “Looking for Credential Tiles”. The dialog is up for ever and if I click cancel instead of getting a login screen RDC hangs and I have to shut it down from the Task Manager.

The workaround seems to be to enter the correct credentials into Vistas Advanced User Accounts panel (I later changed password on my server and had the same problem all over again)

This solution is thanks to Denz and can be found as a comment to this Terminal Services Team blog post

1. Type control userpasswords2 into the Start menu search box and hit Enter

2.On the resulting User Accounts screen, click on the Advanced tab and then click the Manage Passwords button

3. On the Stored User Names and Passwords window, click Add button

4. On the Log on to: Type the IP of your server or the Server name, and user name and password

5. Denz instructions says to choose “A Windows Logon Credential” but this option is greyed out for me. However “A web site or program credential” works fine too

Denz and others also have Acer TravelMate laptops (but other models than me) so my theory is that this is a problem with the Acer software that comes with their laptops. Maybe the Bio protection software (fingerprint scanner).

[Update: I can confirm that the problem is related to the Acer fingerprint software. After uninstalling Acer Bio Protection ATU the issue is solved. I had Acer Bio Protection ATU version 6.0.00.16 installed which is the latest version available from Acer at this time]

Copy Outlook Signatures

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I just got a new laptop running Vista so I wanted to backup and transfer all my Outlook signatures from my old XP laptop. Both are running Outlook 2007.

Outlook 2007 Signature file locations in Windows Vista and XP:

Vista:
%USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures
(usually C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures)

XP:
%USERPROFILE%\Application Data\Microsoft\Signatures
(C:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data\Microsoft\Signatures)

From that directory, just copy everything to your new computer.

I also wanted to transfer my POP3 account settings, but as of Outlook 2007 you can no longer do that 🙁 Don’t ask me why Microsoft decided to remove this feature. There seems to be various workarounds and 3rd party tools but I chose to just enter my 10 POP3 accounts all over again.

Things I can and cannot get to work in Vista and Office 2007

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I just upgraded my laptop running XP to Office 2007 and I’ve also started using my new desktop computer running Vista and Office 2007.

These are a few things that have bugged me and how I made them work (or not):

1) I could no longer run my macros in Outlook 2007.
Whenever I went in to Tools – Macro – Macros, selected my macro and hit run I would end up in the Visual Basic editor with an error message saying “The macros in this project are disabled. Please refer to the online help or documentation of the host application to determine how to enable macros.”
I went in to Tools – Macro – Macro Security and first changed from the default “Warnings for signed macros; all unsigned macros are disabled” to “Warnings for all macros” and finally to “No security check for macros” but I still could not get the macros to run.
In spite of a lot of Googling I found nothing. Then I realized I hadn’t tried trick no 1 in the book: Restart Outlook. And of course that was the solution. 😉
(Note to Microsoft: Please add a “Outlook needs to be restarted” message. Note to myself: Don’t be so stupid next time around)

A good thing in Outlook 2007 is that I no longer get the “A program is trying to access e-mail addresses you have stored in Outlook. Do you want to allow this? … Allow for x minutes”. I assume they have gotten rid of this annoying message and replaced with some security feature that does not require user intervention.

2) Desktop Search 3.0 had my hard drive indicator constantly lit up for 24 hours
After installing Office 2007 on my laptop I activated the built-in search functionality which requires me to download and install Windiows Desktop Search (WDS) 3.0.
After installing WDS my hard drive starts working overtime with the hard disk indicator constantly lit. Needless to say working with any programs is very slow or does not work at all.
I Googled the processes searchindexer.exe and searchprotocol.exe and get the advice to shut down the Windows Search service but it restarts after awhile. After trying various things I figure that maybe it just needs to finish indexing and almost 24 hours later the hard drive indiciator finally goes blank and my 85000+ documents (according to the WDS Indexing status window) are indexed.

So the problem was that 1) the indexing is slow, and 2) it takes up too much resources when you’re using the computer (in my case a Celeron laptop running XP with 1.5GB memory).

As I remember it, WDS 2 it only ran when you were not using the computer at all. WDS 3 runs all the time even though the Indexing status window says “Indexing speed is reduced while you use your computer”. There really should be more settings when you want WDS to run.

Big plus for WDS 3 though: It works! 🙂 At least this far. WDS 2 did not (see previous posts).

3) I cannot Copy and Paste files to/from Remote Desktop (RDC) when I’m running Vista
Copy and Paste of text works fine. My remote server is running Windows 2003. My guess is this has to do with some new fancy security setting in Vista but I have not yet found a solution. Any tips are greatly appreciated.
[Update: I got it working, and I think this is actually the way it works in XP too: You need to share a drive to make drag/drop or copy/paste of files work. When you start Remote Desktop, before you connect, click Options – Local Resources – More and then check Drives.]

Regedit – Cannot create value: Error writing to the registry.

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I guess this is your typical newbie mistake on Windows Vista, but even so I had a hard time finding the solution on Google so I thought I’d post about it.

When I was trying to add a key in the Registry Editor, regedit.exe, I got an error message saying “Cannot create value: Error writing to the registry.”
I have never seen this on XP (but then again I don’t edit the registry that often), but since this is Vista with UAC (User Account Control) I thought it might have to do with permissions so I tried to run regedit.exe as Administrator but to no avail.

Finally I figured out that I did not have the right permissions in the registry tree.
The solution is simply to right click on the folder and select Permissions. You may not even have the right to change the permissions, if this is the case then first you have to take ownership – click Advanced and then the Owner tab.

Funny thing about my folder is that the owner was a group called “TrustedInstaller”. After I had taken ownership, I wanted to change it back to the “TrustedInstaller” group but it was nowhere to be found. Apparently you can’t change it back – it is not a group but a service and part of Windows Resource Protection (WRP) as noted by Richard Civil and others in this TechNet post.

Two other useful newbie things I found out – thanks to this post by Tim Sneath of Microsoft – when trying to figure out how to run a regedit.exe as Administrator in Vista was this:

  1. Run from the XP Start menu is now replaced with Start Search bar in Vista. Simply type regedit.exe (or cmd.exe etc.) in the search bar and hit Enter and it will run.
  2. To run an application with Administrator privileges using this method, instead of hitting Enter you hit Ctrl+Shift+Enter.