Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Opening Network Folders in Command Prompt from Windows Explorer

A favorite Windows shortcut of mine is to open a specific folder in a Command Prompt, by typing "cmd" in the address bar of a Windows Explorer window.

This saves a little time, and a serious number of keystrokes, compared to opening a Command Prompt, and using "cd" to navigate down to the desired folder, which may be deeply buried in the folder hierarchy and contains long foldernames that are a pain to type, even with "tab-completion".

However, by default, this shortcut does not work with UNC (Universal Naming Convention) paths. Or in plain English, you cannot jump to a "Network folder" like that, resulting in the following error.

However, this is easily fixed by modifying a registry key, as per Microsoft Knowledge Base number 156262.

  1. Open Registry Editor (Start -> Run -> regedit)
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER -> Software -> Microsoft -> Command Processor
  3. Add a new the DWORD value with the name DisableUNCCheck 
  4. Set the value to 1 (Hexadecimal)

What the article does not say are:

  • It works with Windows 7 64-bit.

    By extension, I believe it should also work in Windows Vista 32-bit and 64-bit, Windows 7 32-bit.

    (Please comment if you have tested it working in those versions, or in Windows 8. Thanks!)
  • It works in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Command Processor

    I personally find it makes more sense for me to apply this setting in "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\", as I would prefer it to apply to all the accounts I use, rather than in "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\", where it will only apply to the current user.

    My use case is where I have multiple accounts on a personal Windows laptop. If this is applied to a multi-user system (eg. Windows Server), applying a per-user setting in "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\" definitely makes more sense.
  • It works (close to) immediately, without needing a reboot or re-login.

    In my case, the first time I tried using the shortcut, which as a few seconds after modifying the registry, the error message occured.

    But my subsequent attempt succeeded, so there appears to be a number of seconds before the registry change took effect. YMMV!
I am now a happy user!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

iTunes hangs at "Processing Album Artwork" *solved*

I hit a problem where iTunes hangs at "Processing Album Artwork".

While it is still possible to play music, other important functions like sync'ing your iPhone/iPad does not work.

I initially tried rebooting, then re-installing iTunes, but that didn't work.

Then I took the lazy way out, and simply Google'd. Surprising, as of Aug 2014, there were no solutions within the first two pages.


  • there was someone who claims to get a new top-of-the-line iPhone 5s free by complaining to Tim Cook. Feel free to try it!)
  • there were the usual long/complicated/convoluted steps that may appear to have helped one or two but didn't fix the problem for (most) others.

So I started my "hard-work" of finding a solution on my own. And the "hard-work" took all of 5 minutes before I lucked-out on the solution that worked for me. And it was really really simple.

  1. Close iTunes (it may hang or refuse to close, in which case you need to "End Process" using Task Manager if you're using Windows, or "Quit Process" using Activity Monitor if you're using Mac OS.)
  2. Delete your album artwork cache folder. (Or back it up by renaming the folder.)
  3. Start iTunes

That's it!

The location of your album artwork cache folder depends where your iTunes files are, which in turn depends on your Operating System. You can refer to the official knowledge base article from Apple on how to find your iTunes folder. But unless you used customized settings, it can usually be found at:

  • Mac OS X: /Users/username/Music/iTunes/Album Artwork/Cache
  • Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\Album Artwork\Cache
  • Windows Vista: C:\Users\username\Music\iTunes\Album Artwork\Cache
  • Windows 7: C:\Users\username\My Music\iTunes\Album Artwork\Cache
  • Windows 8: C:\Users\username\My Music\iTunes\Album Artwork\Cache

Remember to substitute "username" with the appropriate name you used, eg. "C:\Users\smith\My Music\iTunes\".

Hope this helps!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Windows Server 2012 R2 on VirtualBox

Just a quick note on the CMPXCHG16B VirtualBox issue.

It's supposed to be fixed, according to https://www.virtualbox.org/ticket/11899.

But as of Mar 2014, when installing Windows Server 2012 R2 guest, on VirtualBox 4.3.8, on a Windows 7 64-bit host, it still failed very early in the initial boot process with the 0x000000C4 error.

I still needed to run the following command
"C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox>VBoxManage setextradata VM_name VBoxInte
where "VM_name" is whatever your VM is named as.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Open links in Google Chrome Incognito mode from other programs by default

For various reasons (mainly security and cross-site-scripting), I didn't want to open links from various programs in Google Chrome, which typically has me signed in to various accounts.

Instead, I wanted unknown URLs to open in Incognito mode.

Assuming Chrome is already configured as your default browser, the following registry change will open links in Chrome's Incognito mode from other programs by default.

Run Windows Registry Editor

  1. Start -> Run (or Win-R)
  2. Type “regedit”
  3. Hit "Enter" key

Allow Registry Editor to make changes

  1. By default, Windows UAC will pop-up a precautionary dialog box "Do you will to allow the following program to make changes to this computer".
  2. Click "Yes".

Find the registry key Windows uses to start Chrome

  1. "Edit" -> "Find" or (CTRL-F).
  2. Type "HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\ChromeHTML\shell\open\command".
  3. Uncheck the "Values" and "Data" checkboxes.
  4. Click "Find Next".

Edit the command used to run Chrome to run Chrome in Incognito Mode by default

  1. On the right hand pane, double-click "(Default)".
  2. Add " -incognito" just after "chrome.exe"".
  3. The tail end of the string should look like "\chrome.exe" -incognito -- "%1""
  4. Click "OK".

Quit Registry Editor

  1. File -> Exit
That's it. Now any links from other programs will open URLs in Google Chrome's Incognito Mode.

If my article helped you, please leave a comment so that others know that it works.

If it didn't work or is factually inaccurate, do leave a comment as well so that I can do further research or add a caveat.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

how to upgrade Dexpot Portable (without rebooting)

I use the portable version of Dexpot, sync'ed across my many computers using SugarSync.

When new versions are released, I will upgrade Dexpot Portable using the following steps:

  1. Download Dexpot Portable
  2. Unzip the download file
  3. Copying the expanded contents into my Dexpot folder, overwriting existing files, EXCEPT FOR the "portable.ini" config file

However, two files often cannot be over-written. These two files are:

  • hooxpot.dll
  • hooxpot64.dll

One possible solution is simple. Restart Windows in Safe Mode and the files will now be over-writable.

However, I find that simply closing the "bigger" apps (and Dexpot of course) is sufficient. In my case, that would be Microsoft Outlook and Google Chrome.

Look out for large programs hiding in the system tray as well. iTunes is one such possibility.

If my article helped you, please leave a comment so that others know that it works.

If it didn't work or is factually inaccurate, do leave a comment as well so that I can do further research or add a caveat.