Quiet Hours in Windows 10

This article is also available on the Microsoft TechNet Wiki.

Although Quiet Hours was available in Windows 8, Microsoft has made it more prominent within Windows 10 but at the expense of some of its functionality.

Quiet Hours allows you to remove app notifications from your desktop while you are working. Whereas in Windows 8 you could choose certain hours of the day to use Quiet Hours, in Windows 10 it is a manual On/Off feature. When it is on you will not see toast notifications on your screen but they will still queue in your Action Center for later review.

Setting Quiet Hours

Within the taskbar notification area, right click the Action Center icon and toggle Quiet Hours either On or Off from the menu.

QH01 QH02

Alternatively, open the Action Center by clicking it. If the Quiet Hours tile is not visible, click Expand to show all tiles.

QH03

Within the dialog window toggle the Quiet Hours tile between On and Off. When the tile is highlighted Quiet Hours is on.

QH04

Action Center

Once Quiet Hours is on click Action Center to see any received notifications. They will be grouped by app. Click each notification for more info. Dismiss a notification individually (by hovering over it until you see the x), by app group (hover over the app group name until you see the x), or all notifications at once (using the Clear all button).

QH05

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Turn off File Explorer Quick Access view in Windows 10

This article is also available on the Microsoft TechNet Wiki.

When using File Explorer in Windows 10 you will see that it has a new default view. This view is called Quick Access and it allows you to rapidly find frequently used folders and recently accessed files.

QA_01

However, if you prefer the “This PC” view that was the default in Windows 8 then follow these steps:

  1. Click View on the menu bar and click the Options button.QA_02
  2. The Folder Options dialog box will appear. On the General tab, change the Open File Explorer to: dropdown to This PC from Quick access. Click OK to close the dialog. Then close File Explorer. QA_03
  3. Re-open File Explorer to see that your view has now changed to the Windows 8 default. QA_04

How to schedule tweets for a presentation using TweetDeck

In my previous post, I talked about the fact that I started scheduling my tweets well in advance when I speak at conferences. This allows me to plan my social media strategy beforehand so that I can concentrate on prepping for my presentation and networking with other attendees on the day of the talk.

I finished my last article by stating that I will be writing next about the tool I used to schedule my tweets and some of the methods I employed. First, I will talk about the methods and then we will look at TweetDeck, the tool I used for my scheduled tweets.

Strategies

The way I approach the idea of queuing tweets is to focus first on the day before the event. I send out a tweet by announcing that I will be speaking at the conference. I also try to include the hashtag of the technology I am speaking about. I have browsed articles on what the best time to tweet is and that is generally early afternoon. By then most people are thinking about what they will be doing the next day, especially if they are going to a conference.

On the day of my presentation, I send out a tweet saying that I am headed to the conference to give my talk. I then send out a tweet 30 minutes before I speak with the session title and room number. I send another tweet with the same info 10 minutes before the talk. By then, attendees are moving to their next session.

Another strategy to employ is to tweet during meal times. Normally, attendees will have some time to kill before their sessions. If your seminar is upcoming then this is a good time to remind people about it. If you have already spoken, then take this time to share your slides or to thank the conference organizers and sponsors.

Be judicious though in your tweets. This article recommends tweeting once per hour and alternating your tweets each time. Make one tweet about self promotion and then make the next tweet about promoting the event. As always, make sure you use the official conference hashtag when tweeting so that your message appears on the conference twitter stream.

TweetDeck

The tool I use to queue tweets is TweetDeck. It is the official app of Twitter and it is similar to Hootsuite (which can also be used to schedule tweets). When you browse to the TweetDeck website you can log in with your Twitter account. There is also a Google Chrome App that you can use if you prefer.

Once you log into the app you can create your scheduled tweet. To do so, create a tweet as you normally would with TweetDeck by clicking the New Tweet button. The New Tweet flyout will appear.

ScheduledTweets01

Once your tweet has been written, instead of hitting the blue Tweet button to send the tweet immediately you can hit the Schedule Tweet button. Choose the date and time you want the tweet to appear and then click the blue Tweet button. As it says on the screen, “Your scheduled Tweet will send even if TweetDeck is not running at the time”.

ScheduledTweets02

Finally, if you want to see your scheduled tweets you can display them in their own column. To do that, click the + (plus) button to add a new column. Select Scheduled to add the Scheduled column to your app.

ScheduledTweets03

Within this column you can see your scheduled tweets. You can Edit them to change the message or timing, and you can also Delete them..

ScheduledTweets04

If you have tips on how you prep for your talks, or if you prefer another tool to schedule tweets, let me know with a comment below.

Related Article:

How to enable line numbers for C# in Visual Studio 2013

This article is also available on the Microsoft TechNet Wiki.

This article won a bronze medal in The Microsoft TechNet Guru Awards! (June 2015).

Within Visual Studio line numbers are not enabled upon first install. This wiki will show you how to enable them for C# and any other language.

The steps listed are for Visual Studio Community 2013 edition but are transferable to all newer versions of Visual Studio.

  1. Open Visual Studio.
  2. Click Tools > Options.1121.01
  3. In the Options dialog, click Text Editor and then C#. Click the Line numbers check box.5852.02

    Note: Clicking the language name is the same as clicking the General menu item.
  4. If you wish to set line numbers for other languages select the language name and click its Line numbers check box.
  5. To modify every language installed, click Text Editor > All Languages. The Line numbers check box will have a small box inside it. This means that only some languages have their Line numbers check box selected.7737.03
  6. Click the check box once to clear it and once more to place a check in it. It should look like this when finished:1220.04
  7. Now, when you open a .cs file you will have line numbers down the left side.3817.05

As well, since line numbers now appear in the file you can use the Go To feature within Visual Studio. This will enable you to move the cursor to any line by its number. The line number for the current cursor position will be listed in the bottom toolbar (see image above). To enable the Go To option, click Edit > Go To or type the short cut Ctrl + G.

See Also

Publishing scripts to TechNet

I have been experimenting with PowerShell for a while now and I have come to the conclusion that it is a very powerful tool. I like being able to manipulate various objects in the operating system so that I can automate everyday tasks.PowerShell Logo One of the things I do a lot of is search my system for files. Normally I look by name but sometimes I need to search by file extension. So, I thought this would be the perfect candidate for a script. Now, this blog post will not go into great detail on what this script does. If you want to view it or download it you can find it in my . Similarly, I will assume you know how to run scripts in PowerShell. If you have never used PowerShell then now is the time to learn! There are lots of tutorials on the web. You can start with the Windows PowerShell User’s Guide. Instead, this post is about how you can contribute scripts to TechNet on the Microsoft site. If you are unfamiliar with TechNet consider it a portal containing information and technical resources for Microsoft products.

TechNet Galleries

There are two areas on TechNet that you can post to. One is the TechNet Gallery. This space includes scripts as well as resources for all of the current Microsoft operating systems. The other is the TechNet Script Center Repository. This is a section of TechNet dedicated solely to scripts written in VB Script, PowerShell, SQL, JavaScript, or other scripting languages. Upon reading up on the differences between the two it seemed that in previous years you needed to post a script to both sites individually. However, my experience was that posting to the Script Center Repository replicated it to the TechNet Gallery. If you want some background on why it is prudent to have your script in both galleries you can check out this article entitled How to Publish your Script to Both the TechNet Gallery and the TechNet Script Center Repository. Author Craig Lussier says that by “having your script listed in both the Gallery and Script Center Repository you can ensure that there are more access points for your contribution for the community at large. Before you can begin inserting your script you must have a Microsoft account. You can sign up for one on the TechNet site. This account can be used here and is also the same account you would use on the MSDN forums if you have questions. For those of you who have not been using TechNet or MSDN lately you will also see that Microsoft has added a badging system like StackOverflow’s to your profile. You can see an example on my profile below:

How To Upload

Once you are logged into TechNet you will see an area on the left-hand side entitled “Quick Access.” Under this title there will be an “Upload a contribution” link. Click it to begin the process. Use the “File upload” section to browse to your PowerShell (*.ps1) or other script file. Then give your contribution a title that describes your script. For mine I am calling it “Get files by extension within a given path (PowerShell).” I added the script type to the header so that it is clear within the search results what type of script it is. Next, use the “Description” area to provide more information about your contribution. You can add code snippets, screenshots, additional files and even HTML to illustrate your script. To see an excellent example of a description with HTML, images and code snippets check out this highly rated contribution. TechNet Upload area For my description I am adding a summary of what the user should expect when they run the script. I am also adding my full PowerShell file using the “Insert Code Section” button on the description toolbar. To do this I just needed to select my script language and then paste my code into the left-hand side. A preview is automatically generated on the right-hand side for me. If you are happy with the preview click the “Insert” button to add paste it in. TechNet Insert Code Section The “Summary” is what will be displayed in the search results. You can default to using the initial 280 characters of your description or you can write a new one. The site will raise an error if your description has less than 280 characters though. You will also need to set the language of your description. TechNet Upload area Choosing a Category was tricky for me as the script is more of a productivity item. I searched the Script Center Repository for similar scripts to see which category others chose. I eventually went for the Storage category. I then chose the Files sub category. Tip: To find a category you could always browse through the sub categories first to see if a narrower topic can help define your top-level category. TechNet Upload area Now set the “Operating systems” that you have tested the script on. You can then assign tags to the submission so that it is easier to find and categorize. The list is auto-populated so you can type in as many as you need. Again, looking at similar scripts in the repository can help you choose tags that are appropriate. Under “Options” you can then elect to have the Questions and Answers tab on your contribution. One of the benefits of adding your script to TechNet is that people can comment on it and ask questions. I have also seen commenters provide alternate ways of accomplishing the same tasks which allows you to learn even more. Next, choose the “License” that appeals to you and then accept the Terms of use. Take some time to read the terms. If this is proprietary code then this section might be of particular interest:

We do not claim ownership of any Submission unless otherwise agreed to by the parties. However, by providing a Submission, you are irrevocably granting Microsoft and its Affiliates the right to make, use, modify, distribute and otherwise commercialize the Submission in any way and for any purpose (including by granting the general public the right to use your Submissions in accordance with this Agreement, which may change over time).

Finally, if you are happy with the results click “Save and publish.” TechNet Upload area

How The Script Appears

Clicking “Save and publish” makes the script appear instantly in the TechNet Script Center Repository. Once published the contribution URL can be found under “My contributions” in the “Quick Access” area. A quick search of both the script name and of my last name in the TechNet Script Center Repository confirms that the script is now live. A similar search in the TechNet Gallery also displays my script. So, officially my Get files by extension within a given path (PowerShell) script can now be found at . One interesting thing to note is that I now have an additional link under the “Quick Access” area called “Browse script requests.” This link lists scripts that were requested by other community members. This will definitely be a great starting point for future PowerShell project ideas.

Conclusion

As you can now see I have a PowerShell script in both GitHub and the TechNet galleries. The whole process was very intuitive and quick. I encourage you to think about contributing your scripts to TechNet. Please download my script and try to run it on your system. As well, please leave a question or a rating on a TechNet gallery page. Hopefully you have found this blog post useful. If you have any questions or comments please leave me a message below.

Export an ODBC Data Source from the registry

I recently found myself needing to do some Crystal Reports testing on a virtual machine. The tests were successful on my laptop but we use a  virtual machine running Windows Server 2008 R2 and IIS7 as a clean environment for testing. With these tests we were using both ODBC and SQL OLE DB connections to our database. The OLE DB connections were easy enough to replicate but we wanted to make sure our ODBC settings matched my laptop environment. To do this we used the Export feature in the system registry of my Windows 7 laptop.

Before I demonstrate this though I should explain what ODBC is. Open Database Connectivity (ODBC)  is a standard way for connecting to databases. ODBC and the associated driver can connect to a database regardless of the database manufacturer or the operating system on which it runs.

I will demonstrate the steps below on how to run the export.

1. First we need to see which ODBC connections we want to move. To view the existing ODBC connections we can open the ODBC Data Source Administrator. To do this click the Start button and type “ODBC” into “Search programs and files” on the Start Menu. Click “Data Sources (ODBC)” to run the program. It can also be launched from Administrative Tools | Data Sources (ODBC) if it is enabled on your machine. A tabbed dialog box will appear. Most of your ODBC connections should be housed under the User DSN tab.

2. To begin the export process we need to start the Registry Editor. To do this we can search “regedit” from the Start Menu and click Regedit.exe to begin. Another way is to launch the Run Command, enter “regedit” into the dialog and hit OK.

3. You  should now be within the Registry Editor. ODBC Data Sources are stored as keys within the Windows registry. Fortunately they are easy to retrieve. Your DSNs will be housed in two separate spots on Windows 7. (Other operating systems tend to place these in different files so you may need to hunt around.)

    User DSNs: Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ODBC\ODBC.INI

System DSNs: Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\ODBC\ODBC.INI

Registry Editor

4. Once you have found the correct folder you can now export the desired connection(s). Right click the ODBC.INI folder and select Export to copy every ODBC key in the folder. You can also choose a more granular level of exporting by selecting one DSN within the folder at a time. Unfortunately  the CTRL key cannot be used to select multiple files for one export.

Registry Export

A dialog window will appear. You can choose to export it in multiple file types (although .reg is the standard) and where to save the exported file. You can also select what you want included in the file through the Export Range. The option defaults to “Selected branch” which means you only get the DSN properties listed in the key. You can also select “All” and this will export every registry key in your system. A caveat though – when exporting using All within the Export Range it exported a file containing 3, 907, 557 rows of data. (I ran it twice to be sure this was correct). If you do not have many DSNs to move you might be better off to export each DSN individually.

Registry Export Dialog

Once the Export is saved to disk it will create a .reg file. This file can be opened and examined with a text editor like Notepad. Within the file you will see the various properties of a DSN like server and database names, as well as the selected database driver.

Exported Registry File

With the .reg file open you will now need to modify the file. As you have seen above when you export the ODBC Data Source you only get the DSN properties. However, when you insert this code into the registry on the target machine the DSN will be inserted into the registry but will unavailable elsewhere. To ensure you will have access to the DSN within your Crystal Report file, the ODBC Data Source Administrator and other places you are using ODBC Data Sources you will need to prepend the following code to the file:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ODBC\ODBC.INI\ODBC Data Sources]
"DSN name"="SQL Server"

Modify the “DSN name” to match the name of the ODBC Data Source folder you exported.

Modified Exported Registry File

5. You can now copy the .reg file to the destination computer for installation. Before you install though you might want to open the file and compare the DSN properties. It might be possible the target computer contains different settings than the export file. You can edit the .reg file to match before deploying the file.

6. To insert the values on the target computer open the ODBC Data Source Administrator and select File | Import… to browse to the file. Click Open to run the process. You can also simply double-click the .reg file and it will install the values into the correct locales.

Registry Import

7. The last step is to verify the install. Open the Registry Editor on the destination computer and navigate to the correct DSN folder path. Confirm that your ODBC Data Source is listed in the folder. Close the ODBC Data Source Administrator and re-open it to confirm they are accessible there as well. You can then tweak the DSN further by using the Configure button if need be.

ODBC Data Source Administrator

That is it in a nutshell. In this tutorial we have exported ODBC Data Source connections between two computers running different Microsoft operating systems. We saved ourselves time and headaches by ensuring our connections are identical between the two machines.