How to recognize/identify a keypress on Windows 10

A keyboard will have a few essential keys; numbers and letters, and modifiers like Ctrl, Shift, and Alt. Keys like the Home, Insert, Delete key, and even the Windows key are all optional. You might even find keyboards that do not have a row of function keys, though those will be rare. Regardless of which keys you have, they will definitely be labeled. Unconventional keys are normally a problem when an OS fails to recognize them, or they do not act as intended by the keyboard manufacturer. In order to troubleshoot problems with keyboard keys, you need to figure out which key is being tapped/pressed. Here’s how you can identify a keypress on Windows 10.

Since keys vary in their nature, we’re going to recommend a few different tools for you to try out. They’re all free but you should try each one when you’re trying to identify a key’s function.

Sharpkeys

Sharpkeys is an app for modifying or remapping keyboard keys on Windows 10. It has a built-in tool for recognizing keys that are pressed. Download, install and run the app. Click the Add button on the app’s main interface. On the ‘Add New Key Mapping’ window, click the ‘Type Key’ button and then type the key you want to identify. The app will return the name and scancode for the key.

Keyboard checker

This tool is more meant to check if a key is actually working or not. It doesn’t always identify the key but if you suspect a keypress isn’t being recognized for a key that should be easy to identify for Windows 10, use this app to test it. Visit Keyboard Checker and tap the key you want to test. If a key on the on-screen keyboard turns green, that means the keypress is being recognized however, the keyboard you see is NOT going to be an accurate representation of the keyboard you’re using. For keys that aren’t on the keyboard, scroll down and it will tell you which was the last key pressed.

If you’re running anything that will intercept the keypress before the app is able to read it, you should disable it first. A common example is an AutoHotKey script that’s written to remap keys. Disable all such scripts and then use KeyboardChecker.

Keycodes

This is a tool that I found when trying to remap the special keys on my keyboard. These special keys are as unconventional as they get. Many keyboards have them and there is no standardization when it comes to their function or how they will interact with an OS. That makes it particularly hard to figure out what a key does. Visit Keycodes and tap the key. The app will not tell you which key is pressed. Instead, it will tell you what event was triggered, among other things, when you tapped a key. It is going to take a little work to figure out what the key is doing with the information that Keycodes gives you but for particularly obscure keys, this is the app for the job.

These three tools should do the job when it comes to identifying a keypress. If all three fail to identify a key, it is possible that the key is either not working or that it isn’t sending any sort of input to Windows 10. In this case, it is likely impossible to map or customize the key. If the key is a common one then it is broken. You can have it repaired or you can try using a different keyboard with the same key on it and see if Windows 10 is able to receive input from it. If it is, then it will confirm that the key is indeed broken on your keyboard.

Windows 10 has an on-screen keyboard which can also highlight the key that’s pressed. If you feel the key you’re trying to identify is basic, you can try the on-screen keyboard first.

Read How to recognize/identify a keypress on Windows 10 by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to disable ‘Complete your timeline’ alerts from Google Maps

Google Maps actively accesses location data when you use the app on your mobile. It’s no secret and the app obviously cannot function unless it has this information. The app also continues to use your location when it is no longer running or in the background. This allows it to always show you your updated location and to help you navigate if you’re using it for directions. The only annoying part is that even if you never access the app, it still knows when you’ve visited a place. It will send you alerts to add these locations to your history and ‘Complete your timeline’.

Google Maps detects that you’ve visited a place when you travel from one location to another, make an extended stop, and then leave said location. It’s simple enough to figure out and since it has exact location data, it can also tell very accurately where you went. On the app’s part, it is being pro-active but if you’d rather not get these alerts, you will have to disable location history to do so. Here’s how.

Disable location history

You can disable location history from any web browser though you might have a better time of it if you do it from your desktop. Visit the Location History settings for your Google Account at this link. Sign in to your Google account, and then turn off Location History.

You will see a prompt asking if you really want to turn off location history, and what you stand to lose if you choose to disable it. You will basically stop seeing location-based recommendations which, depending on how often you got them and how useful they were to you, might be a trade-off you have to make.

The setting is applied across all your devices and all apps that are using the same Google account.

Google does not share this location history with anyone. It tells you as much in the confirmation prompt you get when you disable location history but, it still has a lot of information, in fact, every single bit of location information for you. You don’t even have to check-in to a location for the app to know you were there. That isn’t going to go away when you turn location history off but Google will not be able to keep a record of it.

If you find the recommendations useful, or you have your own reasons for keeping location history on, you’re going to have to put up with the alerts asking you to add locations you’ve visited to your timeline. You might want to look into how you can periodically delete Google account data.

Read How to disable ‘Complete your timeline’ alerts from Google Maps by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to uninstall a portable app on Windows 10

Portable apps, by their very definition, are not installed. They can run as stand-alone files though that doesn’t necessarily mean you can run them without admin rights. Portable apps may not need to be installed but, they do still create a few additional files on your system when you run them. In some cases, they might create more than one folder though as a user, you will normally have the option to choose where the folder is created. If you suspect a portable app that you ran on your system has left residual files, here’s how you can remove them.

Uninstall a portable app

The key to uninstalling a portable app is simple; quit the app, delete the EXE. That is enough. Even if residual files remain, they won’t be able to run in the absence of the EXE that was coded to run/read them. Now you just have junk files on your system that you need to get rid of.

Check app folder

When you run a portable app, it is located in a folder like any other file on your system. This may be the desktop folder, the Downloads folder, or any other folder e.g., the one that you extracted or moved the app to. This is the first place to check for residual files. If you see any files or folders related to the portable app you deleted, go ahead and delete them all.

Startup folder

With portable apps, it is assumed that certain features such as running at startup or storing user preferences will not be available. That is not the case. Many portable apps are able to run at startup but when you remove them, their startup folder entries remain. Thankfully, since they’re portable apps, the startup folder entry is made for just the one user, and not all users.

To check for and delete such an entry, open the run box with the Win+R keyboard shortcut and enter the following.

shell:startup

In the startup folder that opens, look for any shortcut files that are for the portable app that you’ve removed.

Check AppData

Finally, more complex portable apps such as portable browsers will create folders inside the AppData folder. Again, when you first run the portable app, it will show you or ask you where it can create a folder to run from and store essential files. If it doesn’t, and you suspect that there are still files for the app remaining, open the run box with the Win+R keyboard shortcut. Enter the following, and tap the Enter key.

%appdata%

You will see three folders in the AppData folder. Go through all of them and check if any residual files remain for the portable app.

Registry entries

It is extremely rare for a portable app to make additions or changes to the Windows Registry. The apps that need to do so will prompt you, and you will need to authorize the edit with admin rights. The unfortunate thing is that when you remove the portable app, the registry edits still remain. If you suspect an app has made modifications to the registry, you can run two tools to help you figure out where those entries are, and delete them. The first tool is Autoruns. The second tool is MalwareBytes.

It goes without saying that tracking down registry entries isn’t easy. You can Google if a particular app modifies the registry and it might help you narrow down which key or value to look for and remove.

Read How to uninstall a portable app on Windows 10 by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to set up Bluemail on Linux

Bluemail is a free, universal email app for Windows, Linux, and Android. It allows users to manage multiple email accounts in the same app, from numerous mail providers. It’s an excellent email app, and in this guide, we’ll show you how to get started with it on Linux.

Install Bluemail on Linux

Bluemail is an application that does not come pre-installed on any modern Linux operating system. As a result, before we can show you how to set up email accounts on the app, we must demonstrate how to install it on Linux.

The Bluemail application can be installed on Linux in three different ways: via the Arch Linux AUR, the Snap app store, or via Wine. To get the app working on your system, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard and follow along with the command-line instructions below.

Arch Linux AUR

The Bluemail application is available for installation via the Arch Linux AUR. So, if you’re using Arch, you will have an easy time getting it working. The first step in the AUR installation for Bluemail is to install the “Base-devel” and “Git” packages. Using the Pacman command, get them installed.

sudo pacman -S git base-devel

Following the installation of “Git” and “Base-devel,” use the git clone command to download the latest version of the Trizen AUR helper.

git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/trizen.git

Move into the “trizen” folder and install it with makepkg.

cd trizen
makepkg -sri

Once the Trizen AUR helper is set up on your Linux PC, you can use it to install the Bluemail program on your Arch system with ease.

trizen -S bluemail

Snap app

The developers behind the Bluemail application have brought their software to the Snap app store and think this is the best way for users to get the app up and running on their Linux system. Currently, the Snap store is the only place you can officially install it. Everywhere else is not officially supported.

Since Bluemail is available as a Snap, installing it is very simple. However, you must have the Snapd runtime enabled before attempting to install anything. To get Snapd working, follow this guide here.

When you’ve got the Snapd runtime working on your Linux system, you can easily install the Bluemail app from the Snap store with the following snap install command.

sudo snap install bluemail

Windows version via Wine

The Snap version of Bluemail is excellent, and it’s nice to see the app have a native Linux release. However, some Linux users cannot run Snap packages, as their distribution does not have support for Snapd. In this case, the only way to use Bluemail it through Wine.

To get Bluemail working in Wine, start out by following this guide here to install and set up the Wine runtime on your Linux PC. Then, when you’ve finished installing Wine, use a terminal window to download the latest Windows version of Bluemail.

wget https://download.bluemail.me/BlueMail-Desktop-Installer.exe

When the Windows installer is done downloading, start it up inside of Wine with the wine command in a terminal.

wine BlueMail-Desktop-Installer.exe

Use the Windows Bluemail installer to get the app set up. Once the installation is finished, you will be able to access Bluemail via Wine in your app menu.

Set up Bluemail

Setting up Bluemail on Linux is refreshingly simple, thanks to the app’s user interface. To get started, launch the app on the Linux desktop. You can launch it by finding “Bluemail” in the app menu. Or by pressing Alt + F2, opening the quick launcher, and entering the command below.

bluemail

With the Bluemail application open on your Linux PC, the set up can begin. Follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: When Bluemail opens, you will see a message on the screen. This message welcomes you to the app and instructs you to “add your account.” Click the blue button to do so.

Step 2: In the “Add your account” section of Bluemail, you will see a box that says “Email Address,” followed by several different “@” types.

Enter your email address in the box, and select the “@” address that matches your account. Then, click the “submit” button.

Step 3: After “submitting” your email address, a login screen will appear that corresponds with your email account. Enter your login information and click the login button to proceed.

Step 4: Once your account is logged into Bluemail, you will see a “You’re almost done” window. In this window, you’ll see a name for your account, followed by a description (usually Gmail, or whatever provider you choose).

At this point, select “Done” to continue with just this email account. Or, if you have another email account to add, select the “Add another account” button.

Read How to set up Bluemail on Linux by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

The 10 Best Online Shopping Sites for Cheap Electronics

Buying electronics can be a very expensive endeavor, especially if you prefer to stick to new products.

Getting a good deal can feel impossible sometimes, but if you know where to shop online shopping sites for cheap electronics, you can get some amazing deals that you’ve never imagined.

The following are 10 of the best online shopping sites where you can find electronics cheaper than anywhere you may shop in person.

Amazon

You may be surprised to see Amazon in a list of online shopping sites for cheap electronics. But if you’re a frequent Amazon shopper, then you’re probably already fully aware of the amazing deals on electronics that you can find there, if you know where to look.

If you only superficially browse the Electronics section of Amazon, you’d think that all you can find there are brand new products at roughly retail prices.

But the reality is that there are a couple of interesting ways you can find unbelievable deals on those same products.

The first is to scroll down the left navigation pane until you find the Condition section. Under here, selecting either Used or Renewed will bring you to the same electronics but at much cheaper prices.

The second method is to select one of the new items that you’re interested in. As you scroll down the item page, you’ll see a Used & new link where you can find the same product at a fraction of the cost of buying new.

Many of these “used” products are listed in new or almost new condition. Many of them are also Prime certified and include free shipping.

Another approach is to search Amazon for that product, but add the word “renewed” at the end. You’ll see those products listed at anything from 50% down to even 25% of the cost of buying it brand new.

What is Amazon “renewed”? It’s Amazon’s term for refurbished items. These are usually returned items that have been fully repaired, cleaned up, and look and perform just like new. They often even include a short term warranty through Amazon.

These products will arrive in a plain box rather than in the retail box, and include basic accessories. However, just reading the reviews for these items you’ll see that many buyers have been thrilled at the quality of these items. 

The “renewed” deals you can find on Amazon are nothing short of amazing.

eBay

eBay is a well-known name in the world of used products, but in recent years more and more retailers of new electronics have established stores on the platform.

The first place to look for the best deals on eBay is by clicking on the Deals link at the top of the main page. The featured deals page is filled with all kinds of exciting deals – anything ranging from 40% up to 75% off retail prices on new products.

When you select the Electronics top level category in the left menu on the main page, you’ll usually see a link to the best deals in a banner at the top of the category page.

Further down the page, you’ll see all of the categories. One of those categories is Certified Refurbished

Select this to browse all of the refurbished electronics you can buy at similar prices as you’d find in the list of Amazon “renewed” products.

In these listings, you’ll find some of the hottest electronics at rock-bottom prices. $820 laptops for $599.99. $1,160 camera lenses for $599. And much more.

Best Buy

Best Buy is another large retailer that deserves to be on this list. Facing stiff competition from sites like Amazon, Best Buy instituted a Price Match guarantee.

All you have to do is take the listing for a product with the same brand, model number, and color to your store (or online!), and Best Buy will match the price.

This doesn’t exactly get you a better price, but it does give you peace of mind knowing that you can go into the actual store to test drive a product, and still get a price that’s as good as the one you found online.

Another reason to look for cheap electronics at the Best Buy site are the Top Deals and Deal of the Day links at the top of the main page.

Some of these are smaller deals of 10% to 20% off, but often you’ll find some pretty significant deals like hundreds of dollars off the price of a laptop or a tablet.

Another good place to find cheap electronics on the Best Buy site is on the individual item pages. Look closely under the bold price and you will likely see an alternative price next to Open-Box.

This price is often even lower than any discounted sales price that’s currently active on that product. You may not get the original box or a device in mint, unused condition, but it will be almost new and for a price far below what you’d pay for new.

Another section to check out is by selecting the Deal menu item on the main page, and selecting Best Buy Outlet from the dropdown menu.

This is where you’ll see a collection of just about every single deal throughout the site. They’re organized by open-box, discount, and best of all refurbished items.

In fact, if you scroll down to the bottom of this page, you’ll see a section describing Refurbished items, and a Shop refurbished link below it. 

Refurbished electronics are some of the best deals you’ll find on the latest, top-of-the-line electronics that you could never afford new.

These are products that have been repaired and certified by the Geek Squad as in like-new and working condition. Many of these are only available for local pickup, so make sure you read the fine print before you buy!

Micro Center

When you shop Micro Center, you’ll find that most of the products listed have some sort of discount off retail price.

In many cases that discount is pretty significant. But if you want even steeper discounts, explore the left navigation menu for three links:

  • Refurbished Deals: Like-new, repaired items across all of the site’s categories.
  • Clearance: Includes both closeouts and open box items.
  • Hot Ad Deals: These are short-term doorbuster deals throughout the site.

To save a few extra bucks, don’t forget to select the Rebate Center link in the footer of the site. This is where you’ll find manufacturer rebates that can save you even more on select electronics.

Newegg

Newegg is a well-known source of all sorts of products, not only cheap electronics. However, the product deals are plentiful there. 

You don’t have to look far either. Right on the main page you’ll see a section for Today’s Best Deals

Some of these deals are remarkable, with markdowns off retail as much as 75% off or more. Just select See All Deals under this section to see all of the current deals that are available.

Another opportunity to find cheap electronics while you’re browsing products on the site is to look for a Used price under any of the products.

This is an opportunity to buy the same product from people selling slightly used version at a steeply discounted price. Just select View Details to learn more.

Also, while you’re browsing categories, you’ll notice in the left navigation pane, under the Condition section, there are checkboxes for Refurbished, Used, or Open Box.

Refurbished in particular provides a really good opportunity to get expensive electronics very cheaply from one of the Newegg reseller partner companies. 

TechBargains

TechBargains is a bit of a unique site to find cheap electronics in that it isn’t strictly a retailer site. It’s run more like a blog, with an entire team of “BargainMeisters” who constantly search for the best deals on gadgets and electronics. They use a very large team on-staff, but also take input and feedback from their user base as well. 

Following the blog-like theme, the main page lists the main updates of newly found deals under Latest Deals. However, along the right navigation pane you’ll also find Trending Deals and special events like Cyber Monday.

If you click on any category, like Electronics, you don’t have to hunt around for the deals, because every single item posted on this site is a special, discounted deal.

Be sure to check out the special event listings, like Cyber Monday, because these are often larger posts with a long list of deals listed out in each update.

If you find yourself looking for discounted and clearance electronics often, TechBargains is one site you should bookmark immediately.

Fry’s

There isn’t a Fry’s location in as many areas of the country as there are Best Buys, but if you live near a Fry’s then you know just how often you can find some amazing deals there. The Fry’s website is no exception. 

On the main page you’ll see sections like Daily Deals, Weekly Deals, and Shop Today’s Deals

Most of these discounts are remarkable; sometimes up to 50% off retail price or more.

If you scroll to the bottom of the page and select Fry’s Deals in the footer, you’ll see a page that includes ad listings for deals across major categories like audio, cameras, televisions, and more.

Another easy way to quickly find cheap electronics on the site is to pick any category you’re interested in. Then, under All Items in the left navigation pane, check the box for Clearance Items.

This will filter out all of the listings except for those electronics that are available at clearance prices.

TigerDirect

If you’ve ever purchased electronics for your company, you’ve probably heard of TigerDirect. It’s a site used by most businesses to order their printers, laptops, and more. You can also shop TigerDirect for steeply discounted electronics.

These deals start right on the main page, under the Featured Deals section.

Some of these are remarkable discounts of 60% to 70% off retail.

There aren’t any refurbished or open box items to be found at TigerDirect, but if you select Daily Deal Slasher at the top of the page, you’ll see very short term deals you can grab.

These are so short term that you’ll see a timer counting down beside the deal. If you check back daily, you’re likely to catch discounts that you wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else.

SlickDeals

The SlickDeals website is a little different than any of the others listed here. Instead of providing its own products, SlickDeals aggregates the best deals from around the internet into a single website.

You’ll see featured deals on the main page, pulled in from major online retailers like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and more.

On top of these aggregated deals, at the bottom of the page you’ll see a section for Coupons & Discounts that will offer you some extra savings on top of the regular deals you’ll find.

Individual item pages will give you the discounted price and other details about the deal. When you select the See Deal button, it’ll take you to the retailer’s website. 

It’s an affiliate link for SlickDeals, but if you want to support an aggregate site that provides you these deals in one place, it’s a great site to support.

BuyDig

The final listing of the best online shopping sites for cheap electronics is BuyDig. This is another direct retailer of electronics, but it also offers up some pretty good savings on brand new electronics. 

Right on the main page you’ll see a frequently updated section called This Week’s Deals.

In the footer, under Explore, select Coupons to see a list of the current coupon codes you can use to get cash back on prices or save on shipping.

While you won’t find refurbished items here, you can get open box items. To find these, just browse any category, and select Open Box under Product Condition in the left navigation pane. 

Most of these open box deals offer steep discounts off retail prices, and it’s a great way to grab expensive electronics you normally may not be able to afford.