The 21st of Diduary: Did you know that you can stop your mouse from interrupting sleep mode?

Today is the twenty-first day of Diduary. You can see links to all of the published articles in the series here.

I don’t know how much you’ll need this at work, but for my home PC, this has become an invaluable tip. Every time I walk past my home office, I apparently shake the floor enough to move my mouse slightly, which in turn wakes up my machine.

So every time I walk past my office, my machine spins up. Which turns my monitors back on, which makes the room light up. When I’m on my way to bed, that’s an annoying feature. I actually got to the point where I was unplugging my mouse at the end of the day. That is, until I discovered this little tip.

You can actually disable this nice little “feature” in the properties of your mouse.

Start with your mouse properties, by opening your Windows search box and typing “mouse.”

Once you’ve done that, you need to choose the properties for the mouse you’re working with. When you do that, you’ll need to choose the “Power Management” tab. (Some of you may find that you don’t have this tab. Blame it on your drivers. Try updating those.) Here’s a look at the Power Management tab:

By checking the box that reads “Allow the device to wake this computer,” you’re all set! Keep in mind, this will mean you need to tap your keyboard to wake your machine. I recommend the Shift key. Many other keys could effect the application that had focus before your machine fell asleep. (Thanks to a commenter for the recommendation.)

Happy sleeping!

The 20th of Diduary: Did you know you can create custom labels that link to websites?


Today is the twentieth day of Diduary. You can see links to all of the published articles in the series here.

Yes, I’m talking about Microsoft Tag. No, I’m not just introducing it. I did that just over a year ago, with my article: “Tag, You’re It!

In short, Microsoft Tag is a simple way to connect the offline world with the online one. By using your phone to “scan” these Tag images, you can give your users/customers/employees more information about the thing they scanned.

What’s cool about these, however, is that they are completely customizable. So, instead of the standard collection of multi-colored triangles, you can create tags with rich imagery, and they still work.

After you create your Tag data, you are given the option to “Render” your Tag. At this step, you want to choose “Custom,” which gives you a tag with dots rather than triangles.

Once you have this dotted tag, you can customize it by creating an image that utilizes the colored dots, in their appropriate locations. Here’s an example of a custom tag being created:

This is an incredibly simple way to engage your customers in a new way. For some of my ideas on how you can accomplish this, check out “Tag, You’re It!

The 19th of Diduary: Did you know that you can “Run as administrator” by default?

Today is the nineteenth day of Diduary. You can see links to all of the published articles in the series here.

I’m sure many of you have been frustrated by the age-old (OK, it’s not that old) problem of needing to run your application as an administrator in Vista or Windows 7. Commonly, that application MIGHT ask for elevated priveleges, but in some cases (old software), the application just fails. This is because it doesn’t know it needs to ask for those priveleges, and ends up erroring because it can’t access your file system, or registry, or something like that.

If you’ve started looking around, you may have discovered that you can right-click on the application’s icon (or shortcut), and there’s an item that reads:

Having this option available is great, because I can run any application “as administrator” whenever I think of it. That’s the problem I have with this solution, however. I have to remember EVERY TIME that I open this application that I need to right-click and choose “Run as Administrator” from the menu. Nearly every time I’ve needed to do this, I end up double-clicking the icon, starting the application, and THEN remembering that this is the one that needs elevated priveleges. Annoying.

If you dive a little deeper, however, you’ll find some amazing options for compatibility with your application. Right-click again, and choose Properties. From there, choose the “Compatibility” tab. Here’s what mine looks like:

You’ll find that there is a checkbox at the bottom for “Priveleges,” which makes it possible for you to mark that program to run as an administrator by default. This way, you don’t have to remember each time you launch your app.

There’s plenty of other compatibility options in there, but make sure you only choose the ones you need. No need to run in some crazy small resolution unless you really need it.

The 18th of Diduary: Did you know you can manage multiple items in your clipboard?

Today is the eighteenth day of Diduary. You can see links to all of the published articles in the series here.

If you’re not aware of today’s tip, don’t feel bad. Natively, Windows only has the one clipboard. You copy something to it, and you erase the thing you previously copied to it. Simple as that. There are plenty of utilities that will expand that functionality for you, but if you’re running Visual Studio, you’ve already got it.

There’s not much of a screenshot I can show you here. This is probably better suited for a quick video, but I don’t have the capabilities to make that happen in short order either. So, follow my steps, and prepare to be amazed.

1. Copy a few things to your clipboard

Do it the way you normally would. I use Ctrl + C, but you can always highlight and right-click, or even go so far as to use the command from the Edit menu. Just go ahead and copy 4 or 5 things to the clipboard.

2. Cycle through those items in the “clipboard ring”

Instead of Ctrl + V to paste your text, however, you use a slightly modified version of it. The keystrokes to cycle through the clipboard ring are:

Ctrl + Shift + V

Give that a try. Hit it more than once. You’ll see that Visual Studio cycles through the items that you just copied. You can also access this from the Edit menu, of you’d prefer.

The 17th of Diduary: Did you know you can now control the behavior of the Start Page in Visual Studio?

Today is the seventeenth day of Diduary. You can see links to all of the published articles in the series here.

We’ve all come to expect that friendly-looking Start page in Visual Studio, haven’t we? Some of you probably hate it, and others of us rely on it for starting up our projects. In Visual Studio 2010, you now have the option to make it go away forever, or bring it back from the dead (once you’ve gotten rid of it.) Here’s how:

There are two new checkboxes ON the Start page itself. Look in the lower left-hard corner.

These boxes allow you to toggle making the start page disappear when you start a project, and also toggle whether the Start page shows up when you open Visual Studio at all. If you make these choices, and then regret your decision, there’s an easy way to bring it back. Just open the View menu in Visual Studio, and make it appear again, like magic.

If you’d like more helpful tips about Visual Studio 2010, check out my friend Zain Naboulsi’s blog. He’s writing a “Tip of the Day” for VS 2010 every day!

The 16th of Diduary: Did you know Intellisense has different modes?

Today is the sixteenth day of Diduary. You can see links to all of the published articles in the series here.

I only recently discovered this tip, but it has changed the way that I work in Visual Studio 2010. If you’ve ever started typing something that doesn’t exist yet, it can be quite a difficult challenge to get that text into your code. For example, if I wanted to refer to a class, Area, before I’ve created that class. (Those of you using TDD know this happens often.) Here’s what traditional Intellisense does for me:

When I press the Space key, it will automatically fill in the selected value, even if that’s not what I want. Frustrating AND annoying. In Visual Studio 2010, you can change how this works!

There’s a new mode for Intellisense, called Completion Mode. You can change it here (or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + Space):

Instead of having to use the Intellisense recommendations, I also have the ability to just use the stuff that I typed. Here’s my example from earlier with Completion Mode on:

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Hopefully this little tip will save you some time and frustration. I know it has for me.

If you’d like more helpful tips about Visual Studio 2010, check out my friend Zain Naboulsi’s blog. He’s writing a “Tip of the Day” for VS 2010 every day!

The 15th of Diduary: Did you know that you can share your desktop with others for free?

Today is the fifteenth day of Diduary. You can see links to all of the published articles in the series here.

I’m sure many of you have found numerous ways around the age-old problem of showing someone your screen from a remote location. Perhaps you want to give a Powerpoint presentation. Or just show them something you’ve created, but don’t want to package up and send. Most importantly, maybe you need their help fixing something on your computer.

In any case, I wanted to make sure you were aware of Microsoft SharedView. If you haven’t heard of it, it solves the problem listed above. You can grant access to your machine to someone remote, or just share your screen if you want them to see something.

There are some limitations, but they are minimal: you can only share your desktop with up to 15 people. No more. Second, they must each have a Windows Live ID. After that, however, you’re free to use it as you see fit.

I recently used this with my mom, to see if it would provide a reliable way for me to do tech support remotely on her machine. It worked incredibly well, allowed me to even fix a problem she was having, and seemed very secure. She had to grant me access before I could start using her machine, and she had the ability to revoke that permission at any time. She was also able to share her whole desktop, or just specific applications.

Give this one a try. I think it will make that next two hour drive for a meeting a little less necessary.