Online Tech Tips 2016-11-01 10:50:33

As you go about your day logging into various websites in your browser or accessing protected file shares on the network, Windows stealthy works in the background and may or may not store your credentials in various locations within the operating system.

These usernames and passwords may end up in the registry, within credential files, or within the Windows Vault. The credentials are stored in encrypted format, but can easily be decrypted using your Windows password. In this article, I’m going to show several tools you can use to view these hidden passwords on your system.

Windows Credential Manager

To get started, let’s talk about the built-in tool called Credential Manager that is in Windows. Click on Start and type in credential manager to open the program.

credential-manager

You’ll notice there are two categories: Web Credentials and Windows Credentials. The web credentials will have any passwords from sites that you saved while browsing in Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge. Click on the down arrow and then click on the Show link.

show-password

You’ll have to type in your Windows password in order to decrypt the password. I was surprised to see quite a few passwords from various accounts even though I use a password manager and turn off saving passwords in the browser! Also, I had several passwords from other people who I had allowed to use my computer to check their email, etc., and their passwords got saved.

So that’s something you should know when you login to an account while using another person’s computer, even if they are someone you trust. You may not want them to know your login credentials.

If you click on Windows Credentials, you’ll probably see fewer credentials stored here unless you work in a corporate environment. These are credentials when connecting to network shares, different computers on the network, or network devices such as a NAS.

windows-credentials

In the same vein, I’ll also mention how you can view Google Chrome saved passwords. Basically, each browser has the same feature, so you can do the same thing for Firefox, Safari, etc. In Chrome, click on the three dots at the top right and then click on Settings. Scroll down and then click on Show advanced settings.

Under Passwords and forms, click on the Manage saved passwords link next to Offer to save your web passwords.

manage-saved-passwords

Here you’ll see a list of all the passwords that you have stored in Chrome. The list may be quite long if you have the save password feature enabled.

show-passwords

Third-Party Utilities

Even though you can find quite a few passwords using the methods above, there are still more saved in other locations on your system. To get to these, you have to use some third party tools. My favorite site for free and clean tools is Nirsoft. There are basically three tools you can use: EncryptedRegView, CredentialsFileView, and VaultPasswordView.

All of these tools can be downloaded, extracted and run without needing to install them. This is great because it doesn’t mess with your system at all and once you are done, you can just delete the files.

EncryptedRegView

When you run the program, you’ll see a dialog box where the Run as administrator box is checked. You don’t have to do anything, just click on OK. The program will then scan the registry and decrypt any passwords it finds in the registry.

encryptedregview

Just arrow through the list and you’ll probably find a handful of gems. In my case, I found two passwords that were useful. Everything else was encrypted text that wasn’t a password.

CredentialsFileView

Instead of double-clicking on this program, you should right-click and choose Run as Administrator.

run-as-admin

On the main dialog that pops up, you’ll need to type in your Windows password at the bottom before clicking OK.

type-login-password

Now you should see a list of various credentials stored on your system. If you’re on a domain, you’ll see a lot more entries.

credentialsfileview

VaultPasswordView

This one works the same way as CredentialsFileView, but instead looks inside the Windows Vault. This tool is especially useful for Windows 8 and Windows 10 users because these two operating systems store the passwords for Windows Mail, Edge, and IE in the Windows Vault.

vaultpasswordview

If you thought those were the only useful password recovery tools from Nirsoft, you’d be wrong. Make sure to check out their entire page on password recovery tools. If you have ever forgotten a password that you have used before, these tools will help you recover them. Enjoy!

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How to Move and Extract PDF Pages

At some point or another, you probably have had to edit a PDF file by either moving the pages around, deleting a page or extracting a page or set of pages into a separate PDF file. Recently, I had to change the order of a few PDF pages and extract a different set of pages out into a separate PDF file.

In this article, I’m going to talk about how you can do this using Adobe Acrobat Standard or Pro DC. I’ll also mention some free tools you can use to reorganize and extract PDF pages in case you don’t have Adobe Acrobat.

Also, be sure to check out my other articles that talk about extracting images from PDF files, search for text across multiple PDF files, extracting text from PDFs and how to shrink the size of a PDF file.

Move PDF Pages Around

The newest version of Adobe Acrobat Standard or Pro makes it really easy to rearrange the order of pages in a PDF file. First, open your PDF file and then click on Tools.

organize-pages

Under Create & Edit, you’ll see the Organize Pages button. You’ll then see a small thumbnail image of all the pages in the PDF file.

rotate-pdf-page

To rotate a page, you simply click on the left or right rotate button. Deleting a page is as easy as clicking on the trash icon for that page. Now, to move a page around or to reorder the PDF pages, simply click and drag a page to the new location. You’ll see a vertical blue bar appear where the page will be dropped.

reorder-pdf-pages

That’s all there is to moving pages around in the PDF. On this screen, you can also replace PDF pages with another page from a different PDF file, split the PDF file or insert a PDF file anywhere into the current document.

If you don’t have a subscription to Adobe Acrobat Standard or Pro, you can use an online tool from a company called Sejda. Just click on Upload PDF files and you’re good to go. The interface is very similar to the one in Adobe Acrobat. The only limitation is that the file cannot be more than 50 pages or 50 MB in size, but it’s a very generous limit.

sejda-pdf-reorder-pages

Extract Pages from PDF File

On the same screen as above, we can also extract pages from the PDF file. If you click on the Extract button in the menu bar, you’ll see another sub-menu appear with a couple of options.

extract-pdf-pages

First, you’re going to want to select the pages in the PDF that you want to extract. To select more than one page, hold down the SHIFT or CTRL keys. SHIFT will select multiple pages in consecutive order whereas CTRL will allow you to pick and choose pages from anywhere in the document.

Once you have selected the files, you can check Delete Pages after extracting or Extract pages as separate files. If you don’t check either option, the selected pages will be extracted into a single PDF file and the pages will remain in the original file.

If you check both, the pages will be removed from the original file and each page will be saved out as a separate PDF file.

Again, if you need to do this for free, you can again use the Sejda website, but this time use their extract PDF tool. Select the pages by just clicking on them or using SHIFT and then click on the Extract Pages button.

sejda-extract-pdf-pages

The limit on this tool is up to 200 pages per PDF file or 50 MB in size. It’s pretty much the same as Adobe Acrobat, but it doesn’t give you the option to save each page as a separate PDF file. You can also choose to select all odd or all even pages.

Extracting pages and reordering pages in a PDF are two common tasks that hopefully you will now be able to do quickly using the tools mentioned above. If you have any questions, feel free to comment. Enjoy!

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How to Assign a Static IP Address in Windows and OS X

By default, most computers and devices on the network get their IP addresses via DHCP. DHCP is basically a system whereby a host, like a router or server, gives out IP addresses to devices so that they can communicate with the host and with each other over the network.

Each device on the network has to have a unique IP address. The IP address for a device may change over time depending on several factors. This usually doesn’t cause any problem, but there are situations where a static IP address is required.

For example, if your computer is being used as a media server in your home, you might want the IP address to remain the same if you have to connect to the computer via its IP address. In other instances, you need to change the IP address to match the subnet of another device so that you can connect and configure it. There are two ways to set a static IP address on a device.

ip address

One way that I’ve already written about is logging into your router and reserving an IP address for a particular device. The advantage to this method is that all the changes are being made in one location, so it’s easy to see which devices have static IP addresses and what the addresses are. Also, you can easily assign static IP addresses to Windows, Mac, Linux machines or any other device easily.

The disadvantage to this method is that it requires logging into your router, which isn’t the easiest thing to do for some non-techie folks. Secondly, figuring out how to assign static IP addresses on routers can be complicated and there is no one way to do it.

The second way to assign a static IP address is to change the settings on the device itself. The advantage here is that the process is a little bit more straight-forward, but the downside is that each device might have a different method for assigning a static IP.

Either method will work, so choose whichever option is more convenient. This article will explain the second method, but only for Windows and OS X.

Note: When assigning a static IP address, be sure you are not choosing an IP that is in the DHCP range, otherwise you might get a message about an IP address conflict, which is what happens when two devices have the same IP address on the network. 

The best way to avoid this conflict is to log into your router or whichever device is acting as the DHCP server and change the IP address distribution start address.

ip address distribution

If you start the address at something like .10 or .11, then you’ll have several IP addresses free that you can use to assign as static IPs. It’s a little complicated, so I only suggest this option for someone who knows what they are doing.

Assign Static IP Address – Windows

The following procedure will work for Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10. The first thing we want to do is to open the Network and Sharing Center. You can do that by clicking on the Start button and typing in network and sharing.

open network sharing center

In the Network and Sharing Center window, click on Change adapter settings on the left-hand side.

change adapter settings

This will open the Network Connections window where you will see a list of all physical and virtual network devices. Here you will want to right-click on the network connection that is currently being used to connect the computer to the network and choose Properties. If it’s WiFi, use Wireless Network Connection. If you are connecting via cable, use Ethernet.

network adapter properties

Now click on Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) to select it and then click on Properties again.

internet protocol ipv4

Finally, this will bring you to the settings screen where you can assign a static IP address.

assign static ip

You’ll select the Use the following IP address radio button and then type in the IP address, subnet mask and default gateway. By default, when you type in the IP address, it fills out the subnet mask for you. The Default gateway and Preferred DNS server should both be set to the IP address of your router.

I would also check the Validate settings upon exit box to make sure that the new values will work on your network. Click OK and your computer will now have a static IP address assigned to it.

Assign Static IP Address – Mac (OS X)

If you’re using a Mac, you have to go to System Preferences, which is basically the equivalent of Control Panel in Windows. To get there, click on the Apple icon at the top left of the menu bar.

system preferences

Next, click on the Network icon.

system preferences network

This screen is similar to the Network Connections dialog in Windows. You will see a list of network connections on the left. If the connection is green, that means it is active. Click on the connection and then click on the Advanced button at the bottom right.

network advanced

This will bring up all the advanced settings for the network connection. Click on the TCP/IP tab and you’ll see a dropdown next to Configure IPv4.

manual address os x

In the dropdown, you have several choices: Using DHCP, Using DHCP with manual address, Using BootP, Manually and Off. In OS X, you can choose from either DHCP with manual address or Manually. Manually is basically like the default option in Windows where you have to type in all the values yourself. DHCP with manual address will allow you to type in an IP address, but will automatically determine the subnet mask and router (default gateway).

dhcp with manual address

Even though it looks fairly complicated, changing the IP address for your computer is a simple task. The harder part is knowing what IP address to use so that you don’t run into any conflicts, but can connect to the network at the same time. If you have any questions, feel free to comment. Enjoy!

The post How to Assign a Static IP Address in Windows and OS X appeared first on Online Tech Tips.

Online Tech Tips 2016-06-17 12:13:44

So you need to change the boot order on your Windows machine so that you can boot from USB in order to run an offline virus scanner? Or maybe you need to change the boot sequence so that you can boot from a Windows DVD to run a system repair?

Whatever the reason for changing the boot sequence, the process of accessing the BIOS can vary by computer. The difference will depend on whether you have a legacy BIOS or the newer UEFI BIOS on your computer or both.

I won’t go into details on the differences between the two types of BIOS, other than how to access them. Once you have gotten into the BIOS on your computer, you’ll then be able to change the boot order.

Access Legacy & UEFI BIOS

So first let’s talk about getting into the BIOS. If you’re not sure if your computer is using Legacy or UEFI BIOS or Legacy + UEFI, which is a third option actually, then you just have to do some trial and error.

Everyone is probably familiar with the legacy BIOS because that’s the one you access by pressing a certain key like DEL, F2, F8, F12, or ESC when your computer first starts up.

keyboard bios keys

The first thing to do is go ahead and restart your computer and then to keep pressing one of the keys on the keyboard continually while the computer is booting up. Usually, you will see a message quickly appear at the bottom telling you which keys to press. Here are two examples from a Dell machine and a custom built machine I have at home:

boot up bios

The motherboard on my custom PC is from MSI, so the boot up process loads a MSI screen with the option to press DEL to run BIOS setup or press F11 to run the boot menu. Note that if you go into the BIOS setup, you’ll also be able to change the boot order from there too. Since changing the boot order is such a common task, they usually have a separate key just for that (F11 in this case).

dell boot options

On my Dell, I get a different set of keys for accessing the BIOS setup (F2) and Boot Options (F12). Now if you don’t see this type of message popup at all when booting up, it could indicate that your BIOS is setup for UEFI only.

UEFI BIOS cannot be accessed by pressing keys on the keyboard. Instead, you have to restart Windows in a special way and then go through some menu options. To restart Windows, click on Start and then Settings (gear icon)

update and security

Next click on Update & Security.

recovery restart now

Then click on Recovery in the left-hand menu and then click on the Restart now button under Advanced startup. This will restart your computer and load the advanced recovery options screen. Here you want to click on Troubleshoot.

troubleshoot

Under the Troubleshoot heading, go ahead and choose Advanced Options.

advanced options

On this last screen, you should see an option called UEFI Firmware Settings.

uefi firmware settings

If you don’t see this option, that means your computer does not have an UEFI BIOS. You’ll instead have to boot using the legacy method by pressing the keys on startup. Note that if your BIOS is set to UEFI + Legacy BIOS, then you’ll be able to access both BIOS’s.

Change Boot Order

Now that we figured out how to access the BIOS, let’s change the boot order in Windows. If your computer is using legacy BIOS, make sure to press the key for boot options or boot order as that’ll get you right into the boot sequence screen.

For example, on my Dell machine, when I pressed F12 for Boot Options, I got the following screen:

dell boot screen

At the top, it tells me my boot mode is set to UEFI + Legacy and then it gives me Legacy Options and UEFI Options. If you don’t have any UEFI hard drives or devices on your computer, you’ll just see Windows Boot Manager. Now I can just pick which device I want to boot from.

On my custom machine, pressing F11 for the boot menu gets me to the following screen:

select boot device

As mentioned earlier, you can either go directly to the boot options like this or enter setup and then go to the boot section. Sometimes going through setup will give you more options. For example, on my custom PC, I entered BIOS setup, then Settings and then Boot.

bios boot settings

As you can see from the list below, there are a whole lot of options. Basically, the BIOS has all the UEFI and legacy boot options listed. So if you have a UEFI hard drive along with a legacy hard drive, you can choose the boot order for all of the devices.

uefi boot options

When you are in the BIOS boot order screen, you’ll see instructions for how to change the order. Sometimes you use the up and down arrow keys, sometimes the PgUp and PgDown keys, other times you just select Boot Option #1, like above, and pick which device boots first, etc. The method is dependent on the motherboard manufacturer, so follow the on-screen instructions.

Again, if you don’t have the UEFI Firmware Settings option and you don’t see any Press this key for setup message during startup, then just try restarting and pressing one of the keys mentioned above a couple of times while the PC is booting up. Don’t hold the key down, just keep pressing it. If one key doesn’t get you into the BIOS, then restart again and press a different key. If you have any trouble getting into the BIOS or changing the boot order, post a comment and we’ll try to help. Enjoy!

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41 Essential Skills for Windows Users

Recently upgraded to Windows 10? Or still using the all-time favorite Windows 7 on your PC? Whichever version of Windows you are using, there are certain tasks every Windows user should know how to do.

The tasks range from knowing how to restart your computer in safe mode to being able to change the name of your computer. Even if you can’t remember how to do these tasks on your own, you can always bookmark this page and use it as a quick reference.

windows 10 laptop

I’ve written hundreds of articles over the years on Online Tech Tips, so I’m going to be linking to each of my previous articles since they provide detailed step-by-step instructions for each task.

Essential Windows Skills

  1. Restart Windows in Safe Mode – Doesn’t matter which version of Windows you are running, at some point you will run into a problem (like the blue screen of death) where you need to restart your computer in safe mode.
  2. Optimize Windows Boot Times – Windows is a great operating system for anyone who likes to tweak and tinker around. There are lots of ways you can speed of Windows and this articles mentions 14 of them.
  3. Reset Windows User Password – When I did tech support, this was one of the most common requests from clients. Luckily, you can reset an Administrator password in Windows fairly easily.
  4. Using the MSCONFIG Tool – The MSCONFIG tool is kind of like a toolbox for managing various under-the-hood Windows settings. You won’t need to use it often, but it can come in extremely handy for some situations.msconfig windows 7
  5. Disable Startup Programs – As a corollary to the MSCONFIG tool, you can also manage startup items from within the tool. Disabling startup programs can save you a lot of time when first logging into Windows.
  6. Restore Windows to Factory Settings – Unfortunately, restoring Windows to factory settings is required when you can’t get rid of a virus or malware program. It’s also useful in other situations too.
  7. Create, Mount, or Burn an ISO – An ISO file is an image of a CD or DVD. You can copy CDs or DVDs to your computer and store them in ISO format or you can mount an ISO that you downloaded off the Internet.
  8. Find Windows Product Key – Not all computers have that little Windows sticker that tells you the product key. If you’re in that boat, then you can read this article on how to get your product key via software.
  9. View Saved WiFi Passwords – I do this all the time. I have a crazy, long WiFi password written on my router, but am too lazy to go read it. Instead, I can just get the password directly from Windows and share it with someone.
  10. Change Computer Name, Password, Picture – You should definitely know how to change the computer name, the computer password and the account picture in Windows.change account name win 10
  11. Configure AutoPlay – Every time you connect a device to your computer, AutoPlay determines how it is handled. You can take no action, have Windows ask you, automatically import photos and videos, etc.
  12. Install & Delete Fonts – If you like to try out new fonts in Windows, you have to install them first. If you have too many fonts, you can easily remove them.
  13. Customize Windows 10 Taskbar – If you’re using Windows 10, you should know how to customize the Taskbar, Notification Area and Action Center.
  14. Setup Dual Monitors – Dual monitor setups are becoming much more common these days, so it’s a good idea to know how to set them up and what kind of support Windows has for dual monitors.dual monitors
  15. Split Your Screen – If you can’t have two separate monitors, you can still split your screen or desktop into multiple parts using Windows.
  16. Rip DVDs to PC – Got some old DVDs lying around your house that you would rather have stored safely on your computer? HandBrake can help you rip them easily.
  17. Clear the Print Queue – Have you ever printed something and it just got stuck in the queue? If so, clearing the print queue will usually fix the problem.
  18. Command Prompt Basics – The Command Prompt is essential to Windows and it should be something all users know how to use on a basic level: open it, type a few commands, etc.open command prompt
  19. Military Clock Time – If you love the 24-hour format, then you can switch from the 12-hour format to military time very easily in Windows.
  20. Upgrade Windows – Every release of Windows comes in multiple versions and you can pretty much upgrade from within Windows itself to gain access to business or enterprise features.
  21. Burn CDs, DVDs & Blu-ray Discs – Even though I don’t burn that many discs these days, it’s still something a lot of people do and will be doing for a long time to come.
  22. File & Folder Permissions – The entire Windows file system is built around permissions, so it’s pretty essential that you understand permissions, especially if you want to keep sensitive data secured.folder lock
  23. Encrypt USB Flash Drive – Related to permissions is encryption. Here’s an in-depth article on encrypting a flash drive, which is important since they are so popular and easy to lose.
  24. Encrypt Hard Drive – With all the snooping that the government can do, it’s probably a good idea to encrypt your hard drive too if you want to keep your data secure.
  25. Remove a Virus – This article explains how you can use an offline virus scanner to completely remove a virus or malware from your system.
  26. Defrag Windows? – Do you need to defragment Windows anymore? This article explains defragmentation in Windows and related topics like SSDs.
  27. Sync Two Folders – Ever need to keep two folders stored in different locations synchronized without using a cloud service?
  28. Map Network Drive – Mapping network drives in Windows is not necessarily essential, but very convenient if you know how to do it. You can also map a folder to a drive letter in Windows.windows 8 map drive
  29. Enable/Disable System Restore – System restore has saved me many times over and I recommend you keep it enabled for the active partition (where Windows is installed). You can disable it for other drives. Here’s how to use System Restore to restore the Windows Registry too.
  30. Uninstall Java (JRE) – With all the security holes in Java, you should know how to remove it if you are not using it.
  31. Format External Hard Drive – You should also know how to format an external hard drive in FAT32 format, which will make it compatible with pretty much all operating systems.
  32. Change Default Programs – By default, Windows will open files with whatever the default program is. You can change this so that pictures open with Adobe Photoshop rather than the Photos app, etc.windows 8 default programs
  33. Share Internet Connection – Got an Internet connection on your computer, but need to share it with others? Create a virtual wireless network and you’re good to go.
  34. Find Router IP Address – Need to log into your wireless router, but can’t figure out the IP address? This article shows you how to find that information.
  35. Update BIOS? – Not sure if you need to update the BIOS on your computer? This article will explain the advantages and disadvantages.
  36. Scan Network for Devices – You should know what devices you have on your network and this article will explain the ways you can go about doing this.network scan results
  37. Uninstall & Reinstall Windows Updates – There are times when a Windows update will mess up your computer and you will need to uninstall it.
  38. Move Mouse with Keyboard – Though rare, sometimes you may have to use your computer without a mouse. It’s good to know how to move the mouse using your keyboard.
  39. Connect Laptop to TV – Want to get your computer screen to show up on your fancy HDTV? This article explains the different connection methods.
  40. Legally Download Windows – If you have a product key, did you know that you can easily download legal copies of Windows 7, 8 or 10?download microsoft os
  41. Secure Windows 10 – Finally, you should go through Windows and make sure your privacy is being protected by securing Windows 10.

If you have any other essential tips, feel free to post them in the comments. Enjoy!

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