Freewares File Unlocker: Lock Hunter

Lock Hunter

Lock Hunter

Lock Hunter is a must have for me. It helps to find which process is locking a file that you want to, e.g.: remove, replace or edit...

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I used to use Unlocker but moved to Lock Hunter when I first started with a x64 version of Windows, not supported at that time by Unlocker. Both are freewares.

Once installed, Lock Hunter add a contextual menu "What is locking this file/folder" on the files and folders in the Windows Explorer. This menu open Lock Hunter to:

  • View the processes locking the file/folder and all its DLLs
  • Kill the locking processes or unload its DLLs
  • Unlock, delete, copy or rename the locked file/folder
  • Delete the locking processes from the PC

The deleted items are move into the recycle bin's, so it's quite "safe"...

Details: http://lockhunter.com/

Download: http://lockhunter.com/download.htm

If you like it, the same company has developed another piece of software (not free) to safely remove Usb devices which are "locked" (and throwing the error "device cannot be stopped" when you try to eject it via the native windows "Safely Remove Hardware" systray icon) : http://safelyremove.com/download.htm

Freewares Startup Manager: CodeStuff Starter

CodeStuff Starter

CodeStuff Starter

CodeStuff Starter is the simplest and most efficient piece of software I found to manage the programs that starts automatically whenever windows is loading, as well as all the running services and processes (although I usually use respectively the native "Services Administration Tool" of Windows and "Process Explorer" of SysInternals to manage those). It's also a freeware

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It enumerates usually much more that the native System Configuration's startup pane (press Start key-R and type msconfig to open this one) and from the following sources:

  • the hidden registry entries used to start a soft once or each time windows boot.
  • the startup folders' items (accessible via the menu: Start > All Programs > Startup)
  • some of the initialization files inherited from the old windows versions (E.g.: Win.ini)
The two first sources are grouped by Current User, All Users and Default User (the profile used to create new users). Notice that the native "System Configuration" only shows the sources for the current user...

Using Starter, the user could choose to disable selected entries, edit them, create new, or delete them permanently (while they can only be disabled via the native "System Configuration" tool of Windows). You have also various interesting contextual menu available on each item, like "search on internet", "Launch", "File Properties", "Explore file folder" and the whole "System context menu"...

Details: http://codestuff.obninsk.ru/products_starter.html

Download: http://codestuff.obninsk.ru/products_starter.html

Found Issue: on Windows 7 x64, CodeStuff starter is not showing entries from "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run" (local machine) but only from "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run" (current user) and "HKLM\Wow6432Node\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run". The native "System Configuration" is therefore still usefull as it's showing those entries!

Tips Samsung Kies licence agreement: "Accept" button not visible

I am starting to hate Samsung's softwares as much as those of HP (I experience too many issues with their softs on my PC, mainly due to my atypical hardware, I admit) !

I have been stuck on the "licence agreement" dialog window of the latest Samsung Kies update for a while because this stupid window does not auto-resize on PC with small display (e.g.: Mini-Laptop). As a consequence, the "accept" button is not visible. And no, it's not possible to move the window, it's a fixed size not movable dialog box :(

Fortunately, you can accept the licence agreement with the keyboard.

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  1. Click on the licence agreement screen to give it the focus.
  2. Press on "Tab" and "Enter" successively until you get a message "do you really want to cancel" ("Tab" move the focus to the next control in the screen. You get the message when the focus reach the "accept" button).
  3. Click "No" (The focus goes back to the "accept" button).
  4. Press "Shift-Tab" to go back to the previous control. This one is the checkbox "I agree" (I guess :))
  5. Press the "Space Bar" to check the checkbox.
  6. Press "Tab" and "Enter" to accept the licence agreement

That's it.

Tips Galaxy S2: Hardware ID Missing

Since a recent Kies update, my Galaxy S2 started to throw the exception "Hardware ID Missing" every time it was plugged into my PC.

The reason is a "bug" in the version of the SAMSUNG USB Driver for Mobile Phones installed with the Kies update. Fortunately, there is a elementary solution.

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This solution consists in installing an older version of the Samsung Driver. E.g.:  v1.4.8.0 available here, or 1.4.103 available here. I did use the 1.4.103 with success. No need to uninstall first the version currently installed. You will simply have to confirm during the setup that you want to install that version although another one is already installed.

This issue prevents Kies to connect with the phone via USB. Concretely you see the "connecting" message for a while as well as a spinning icon looping indefinitely.

Tips Samsung Kies error: PDLR has stopped working

After a recent update, Kies started to throw the exception "PDLR has stopped working".

If you are looking how to solve that issue, I did google on that too and found a radical solution.

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A solution often mentioned on the web is to remove the following line from the config file (or to completely delete the file) :

This config file is located in "%programfiles%\Samsung\Kies\External\FirmwareUpdate\KiesPDLR.exe.config" (on x64 platform: "%programfiles% (x86)").

This fix didn't work for me. But another one did the trick: I did an "advanced" uninstall of Kies using the free "Revo Uninstaller" and did next a fresh re-install.

Wordpress Expand/Collapse content in WordPress

I am using the plugin "JQuery Collapse-O-Matic" to let the reader expand or collapse parts of my posts...

The documentation is available on the author's website. As you can see, there are a lot of options to manage groups, scrolling, colors, pictures, etc, etc, etc...

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I mainly use the basic options to display a title to show the content and one to hide it:

[expand title="Click to Read More" swaptitle="Click to Close"]

some content

[/expand]

I found, so far, once issue with the "WordPress 2012" theme I am using:

  • When there is no content anymore after the closing tag, there is no space left between the collapsed block and the bottom line of the post.
  • If there is one blank line after the closing tag, there is a huge space (several lines) displayed between the collapsed block and the bottom line of the post.
However, if you apply the "Align Full" style on the opening tag (only), one blank line will be kept between collapsed block and the bottom line of the post, which makes it more readable. Otherwise, the "link" to expand the block is barely visible.
This issue does also not occur
  • if the opening tag to expand/collapse the block is not at the beginning of the line, i.e.: if there are some text in front of it.
  • if the previous line is not the last one of a paragraph. I.e.: if it ends with a simple line break (Shift-Enter) instead of a end-of-paragraph (Enter).

Copy the code here above and paste it into your post with Ctrl-Shift-V, to paste-in-plain-text (without formatting!)

TipsWordpress Syntax highlighting in WordPress

I am using the plugin "Syntax Highlighter Evolved" to color the code samples embedded in my posts.

This one is based, as many others, on the code syntax highlighter developed in java-script by Alex Gorbatchev.

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Here is the list of supported syntaxes [syntax name: tag]:

ActionScript3: as3, actionscript3
Bash/shell: bash, shell
ColdFusion: cf, coldfusion
C#: c-sharp, csharp
C++: cpp, c
CSS: css
Delphi: delphi, pas, pascal
Diff: diff, patch
Erlang: erl, erlang
Groovy: groovy
JavaScript: js, jscript, javascript
Java: java
JavaFX: jfx, javafx
Perl: perl, pl
PHP: php
Plain Text: plain, text
PowerShell: ps, powershell
Python: py, python
Ruby: rails, ror, ruby
Scala: scala
SQL: sql
Visual Basic: vb, vbnet
XML: xml, xhtml, xslt, html, xhtml

The easiest it to use the tags here above as shortcode around your "code", like this: [tag]my code[/tag] where tag can be php, vb, shell, ....

Here is a sample from Alex G.'s website using the tag "php" as a shortcode:

// SyntaxHighlighter makes your code snippets
// beautiful without tiring your servers.
// http://alexgorbatchev.com
var setArray = function(elems) {
 this.length = 0;
 push.apply(this, elems);
 return this;
}

There are various options than can be set using parameters: [tag parameter="value"]my code[/tag]. Those options are listed in the "settings" page of the plugin (See via the WordPress admin dashboard).

The various issues I found are:

  1. Although using the parameter gutter="true", I cannot remove the line numbering but keep the toolbar.
  2. Copy/Paste code from an IDE does not provide a nice output:
    • The indentation is lost,
    • some lines of code become formatted as "paragraphs" and extra blank lines appears therefore
There is however a trick to keep the original formatting of the code when copy/pasting this one.
  1. Copy first your code from the IDE
  2. Next, in your post, select the HTML view
  3. Then, in this view, add your tags [tag][/tag]
  4. Finally, paste your code between those tags and switch back to the Visual view

If you prefer to convert your code into HTML+CSS, the best online tool I found is Pygments (Python Syntax Highlighter) which supports for free much more languages than most others, has a simple interface and display not  advertisement.

Tips Synchronize with an array of disks

Months ago, I did backup a very large disk of my PC (E:\) to multiple smaller disks connected one after one, using a e-sata cradle (G:\).

Recently one of those small backup disk started to experience NTFS Errors and I did lost its content. To avoid restarting a complete backup of E:\, I had to find which data were lost to redo a backup of those only.

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First, I did recreate the complete folder structure (i.e.: without the files) of the remaining backup disks in one folder of my PC (C:\Temp\Backups). I did reconnect the disks one after one via the e-sata Cradle and did execute each time the following command in a MS-DOS console:

MkDir C:\Temp\Backups
XCopy G:\ C:\Temp\Backups /T /E

More details typing "XCopy /?" in your console:

/T Creates directory structure, but does not copy files. Does not include empty directories or subdirectories. /T /E includes empty directories and subdirectories.

The result was 22.036 folders - 0 bytes.

Notice that the target folder (C:\Temp\Backups) must exists !

Next, using BeyondCompare, I did a "Folder Compare" between "C:\Temp\Backups" and "E:\".

I did first select the option to see only the orphans, via the menu "View/Show Orphans".

And I did next add a "Filter" to "Exclude files"  with a name "*.*", via the "glasses" icon (i.e.: I did exclude all the files - in order to only compare the directory structure and backup the missing ones. Otherwise, no folder in C:\Temp\Backups would have appeared as orphans as they are all empty while their equivalent folders on E:\ have content).

Finally, in BeyondCompare, I did select all the orphan folders on E:\ and used the contextual menu "Copy To Folder...". In the "Action" field of the "Copy to Folder" dialog box, I did pick G:\ as a destination folder.

Et voilà.

Freewares Image Browser: FastStone

Faststone Image Viewer

Faststone Image Viewer

FastStone is from far my favorite Image Browser (since ACDSee started to become a monster pointlessly full over overkill features). It's also a Freeware for non-commercial use.

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As an Image Browser, FastStone is really light and fast while supporting many graphic formats, including obvious ones (gif, jpeg, png, pcx, tiff) but also ico, camera raw files, ...

It comes with some other small pieces of software that I use each time I transfer photos from my camera to my NAS.

  • An ultra light and quick Image Viewer. I like this one as it opens in seconds (full screen or windowed, as configured) when double clicking an image in Windows Explorer. Next, moving the mouse to screen edges, menu appears with the most common actions such as cropping, resizing, opening the image with an external tools (ex.: Paint.Net :)), ...
  • a batch Image Renamer supporting "expressions", search & replace, renaming preview, ...
  • a batch Image Converter supporting resizing, Lossless JPEG rotations, color adjustments, auto-rotate based on EXIF information...

FastStone also offers Side-by-side Image Comparison, Red-Eye removal, musical slideshow with transitions, ...

Details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FastStone_Image_Viewer

Download: http://www.faststone.org

Freewares Photo Editor: Paint.net

Paint.Net

Paint.Net

Just as notepad++ is a must-have to replace notepad, Paint.net is not only THE mandatory replacement for Paint, it's also IMHO the little "free" brother of all those well known professional editors. It's a indeed a freeware (Creative Commons License).

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I dislike to use "pro" editors as they are usually too complex for my needs, i.e.: full of over-killing features for a end-user like me. On the opposite, Paint.net offers a clear, pro but still simple interface with all the required powerful tools such the Magic Wand for selecting regions of similar color (ex.: grab clouds in order to remove them), and the Clone Stamp for copying or erasing portions of an image (ex.: rebuild a collapsed wall).

I really use Paint.net a lot to completely remove elements from photos or rebuild their background as well as to simply make pictures' background  transparent...

I like also how simple I can replace a color with another one in a picture using the Recolor Tool.

Tip: I was recently trying several free tools to determine the code of colors seen in web pages. Actually, the most stupid simple solution to get a color code is to take a screenshot (Using the "Prt Scr" key), to paste this screenshot in Paint.Net and grab Hex Codes using the Color Picker tool.

Also, to automatically edit all images with Paint.Net instead of MS Paint, I did set "C:\Program Files\Paint.NET\PaintDotNet.exe" "%1" as Default value for the registry entry: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT > SystemFileAssociations > image > shell > edit > command. Find attached to this post the reg file that can be used to update the registry.

Details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paint.NET

Download: http://www.getpaint.net