Steve K.

This is my brain on LiveJournal.

Completely Hiding/Removing Microsoft OneDrive from Windows 10
One of my big beefs with Windows 10 is the integration of OneDrive into the operating system without providing an easy removal/disable solution, and certainly not one documented by Microsoft directly. So I've decided to dedicate this page to removing OneDrive. May it forever not be apart of your desktop experience.

Remove The Tray Icon
From the tray icon, you can go into the settings for OneDrive and configure it not to start at startup.  This is the first step in removing OneDrive from your computer.  Reboot, and you shouldn't have a OneDrive icon in your system tray.

Uninstall OneDrive Itself
The next thing I did was uninstall OneDrive itself from the system.  This isn't as simple as going into the programs and features to remove or uninstall a Windows component; no, Microsoft made it harder than that.

  1. Open up a command prompt (Start+R, type "cmd" and click Okay).

  2. Make sure OneDrive is absolutely not running:

    • Run this: taskkill /f /im OneDrive.exe

  3. At the command prompt, run one of these:

    • Windows 10 32-Bit: %SystemRoot%\System32\OneDriveSetup.exe /uninstall

    • Windows 10 64-Bit: %SystemRoot%\SysWOW64\OneDriveSetup.exe /uninstall

Remove OneDrive From The File Explorer Sidebar
In addition to the tray icon, there is also a folder group under the Windows File Explorer sidebar (On the left, after "Network").  There are details on how to remove this on Windows 8/8.1, but they do not address Windows 10 correctly because the CLSID registry key name differs.  So here's how to really find and remove the OneDrive explorer integration/folder group.

First, open registry editor (Press "Start+R", type "regedit", and OKAY, confirm that you want to run it).  Now, browse to the following key (folder):


You will see a number keys with of long numbers called UUIDs underneath this key.  Click each one until you find one that has the following Name/Type/Data pairs in it:

"Name" = "REG_SZ" = "OneDrive"
"RelativePath" = "REG_SZ" = "OneDrive"
"ParsingName" = "REG_SZ" = "shel:::{Another UUID}"

For me (and most users), the ParsingName was "shell:::{018D5C66-4533-4307-9B53-224DE2ED1FE6}".  And this UUID, 018D5C66-4533-4307-9B53-224DE2ED1FE6, is what we are looking for.  This is your OneDrive CLSID UUID.

With that UUID in mind, go all the way back to the top of the key folder tree and browse to the following key folders (substitute your OneDrive CLSID UUID in here):


Under both of these key folders, you should see a name/type/data pair of "System.IsPinnedToNameSpaceTree" = "REG_DWORD" = "0x0000001 (1)".  This means that OneDrive is pinned to the list of trees on the left sidebar in Windows Explorer.

Once you find the key folders, I'd highly recommend you add them to your RegEdit favorites in the Favorites menu.  Name it "OneDrive CLSID" and "OneDrive Wow64" for easy memory.

Now that you have found the right place, and favorited it, change the "System.IsPinnedToNameSpaceTree" value to 0 (False).  Just double-click the "IsPinned..." value, and set the data to 0 and click OKAY.  Leaving the registry editor up in case you have to undo that change, open a new Windows Explorer window to confirm that you changed the correct value.  You should no longer see OneDrive in the sidebar on the left of the Explorer window.

Remove OneDrive From The File Explorer Dropdown
This step is what everyone in the world has been forgetting about, or weren't sure how to solve.  When you open File Explorer, and click the ">" button in the address bar next to the little computer icon, a dropdown list appears, and OneDrive is hiding in there too.

Start right where we were before in RegEdit and let's dig out that little gem as well.  In this case, take a trip into your own current user profile for the explorer desktop settings in here.


Under this key, you will find that oh-so-familiar CLSID UUID we saw before.  Here there will be a key with that UUID {018D5C66-4533-4307-9B53-224DE2ED1FE6} and a default value showing the label "OneDrive".  In order to remove OneDrive from this dropdown list, you have to right-click on that entire key folder, and delete it.

And that's it! Open up file explorer, click the ">" arrow and you shouldn't see "OneDrive" in that list.  If it is, try checking the key below for any keys with a default value of "OneDrive" that might be holding onto that spot.


Stuck In The Motions
I find myself very frequently lately just stuck in a mode of constant consumption, switching from one thing to the next as though I have ADD. But I've never had ADD, and I don't think it's something you can develop over time. Instead, I think it's some kind of mindless desire to discover the next great thing.

I've spoken my gripes about Facebook before, and I'm sure the mentality developed from spending too much time on that site. It's really easy, when your life doesn't feel terribly exciting, to scroll through the endless Facebook feed and discover all the great things that other people are doing. But it goes on beyond Facebook, into other things. News, videos, chat, email all promote this desire to see what the new thing is, and when that thing is consumed, there's this void of wanting something new to arrive and fill it.

It's not even that I want to see new things, but I'd rather not be doing mundane things, even though the mundane is what's helping me reach toward my real goals. It's ironic that I'd think that keeping up with the next piece of news is somehow brining me into the future. In reality, I'm not getting anything done while the world accomplishes what they're reaching toward, and I'm just stuck as the consumer.

This whole thing is reaching a point where I just want to uninstall my web browser because it would cut out every bit of distraction there is. Yet, I need the web browser to complete things I need to get done; the things I'm making to better my life are all written for the web whether public or private. And it's also hard to do this because my friends are on Facebook or Twitter or Google, and it's very easy to keep in touch with them through those mediums. So, instead, it feels a little like being a caged bird.

I think what I desire is complete organic freedom from anything, so I can do what I want to do without worrying whether I'm forgetting or neglecting. I want those good old days where the Internet was a means to something else, and not the destination; I could get online, download what I wanted, and get off the Internet and go be me in the "real world".

I want to quit Facebook and segregate my world. I'm tired of having to have 2 or more services open on screen just to use one of them. I don't need my Facebook feed open to chat with people on Messenger, and I don't need Gmail open to chat with my Google friends. AIM was a great thing in its day, and I still have my account there, and it was great because it was just chat and no email or news feed. I could have it running in the background and not have to check in on it for it to interrupt me, and when I didn't want interruptions I could close the program or use an away message.

I'm going to prune my YouTube subscriptions to cut out all the things I feel are just adding to the noise. There are some great content out there, but there's also a lot of people just adding to the noise by doing stupid stuff or talking an opinion on someone else's opinion that doesn't matter in the first place. So, if I don't have some real-world connection, or find the content to be creatively valuable, and it's just adding to my list of time wasted with little return, it's coming off my subscription list.

I'm also going to unsubscribe from as much email junk as I can. I get get a lot of email that I don't even read, so I really just need to stop receiving stuff that gets in the way and just adds one more decision to my day of whether I should or should not bother opening to read.

I want to get to a point where I can check the many feeds once or twice a day and free up the rest of my time to actually planning and accomplishing my own life goals. Maybe I'll even write a program to keep me on track so I don't have to do all this work to stay on task day in and day out.

At the end of the day, it just comes down to how much I spend following the motions and not thinking for myself. It's like I'm forgetting who I am because I spend so little time paying attention to what I am doing and far too much time seeing what everyone else is doing. I'm not saying I don't care about these friends and people and what they all accomplish; I just feel like I'm doing nobody a service by watching and not investing.

There used to be a day where we could dial into the Internet, communicate for an hour, then leave and go back to the creative explorations we were driven toward. And it's really true that the connected world is gluing us to our devices and not to the people in the rooms we occupy. Even cameras are taking us away from experiencing the things we're watching. It may be great to have something to look back on our memories, but it's also breaking our focus. Where are the services providing pictures to the audience who are more focused on being part of the experience happening on the stage? Why can't I enjoy a show, come home and have an email or something providing me access to a set of photos that sum up the experience that I was fully invested in? Why can't a portion of my ticket go toward hiring a camera/film crew to record what I'm immersing myself into?

I've been part of this Internet for over 20 years, and I think there's something to be said about being too connected to consuming stories online, and not enough creating stories offline; it's the next lost art, and I hope we someday see that there's a balance to be had between telling/hearing stories and creating/living stories. For me, I want to get out of the motions and start living offline. I feel stuck, and I need to get out of the Internet. Funny, I used to have an old DOS program that emulated someone saying, "Help, I'm stuck in the computer, and I can't get out," and that's becoming more and more true in this age.

Reading Galatians: Pride, Grace and Heirs
Now that I've actually managed to read through the whole Bible, which I originally intended to do in a year, but it took closer to two years to complete, I've thought about what and how to read further into God's Word. I could always read through the whole thing again, but it's very obvious to me that doing a once-over every once in a while is not going to stick in my memory. Instead, I've decided that the best option to immerse myself is to read through one part of it multiple times.

I'm not sure what led me to choose Galatians as the first book, but I would say that I've spent a lot of my life reading and listening to discussion on more popular books like Genesis and John and Revelation. I kind of want to understand some of the less talked about books because it's not just the popular books that are useful for teaching, but we should know the whole word in order to have an answer in any situation. Also, Galatians is very short, so reading the whole book can happen multiple times in a month.

At the start of April, I started reading Galatians through over and over. Toward the end of the month, I started to wonder why I chose to read this book. It's very simple to understand and not the most interesting book. Paul writes to the Galatians after witnessing and hearing news about Jews pressuring Gentile believers to be circumcised as well as follow traditional Jewish laws, such as segregation. He then explains trusting in God's grace versus attempting to fulfill the law, why grace precedes the law, the intention of the law, and why we should follow grace instead of the law. Easy to understand; you can read it yourself if you want to know more.

It wasn't until this last read-through for the month that a specific passage finally clicked in my brain. Specifically, Galatians 6:2-5. This is a passage that I've heard people argue as a contradiction, a very weak contradiction, but still two versus that appear to say two opposing things--if you're surface reading and not paying any attention to context.

2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.

I've discussed this passage in study groups before, and generally people have always said that the two statements are completely related to the same "burden". And then the explanation goes that we should, "bear each other's burdens until we can bear our own burdens." That makes sense, but this last time reading through I've realized Paul isn't trying to say that.

I believe Paul was actually addressing the two different crowds (the "circumcision party" and the "non-circumcision" grace party) in this statement. First, go back to Galatians 5:14 where Paul states that the law is fulfilled by loving our neighbor as ourselves. I believe this is at the heart of verse 6:2, and it speaks to the grace party. We are to love one another enough to bear their burdens in love. Certainly, God wants us to lay our burdens entirely on Him, but where we can't, we should be able to trust our brothers and sisters to show us love and lift us up until then. But Paul wasn't trying to say that in verse 6:5.

I believe Paul was speaking to the circumcision party, those who are seeking salvation through following the law. To understand this second statement, step forward to verse 6:13. Here, Paul says that the circumcision party is looking to "have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh." Essentially, the circumcision party isn't perfect, but they are technically following the law better than the grace party; they are Jews, so they do know the law better than the Gentiles. This is something that separated the Jews from anyone else for a very long time, and it's something I'm sure they don't want to throw off easily.

Instead of that element of love that Paul intends in verse 6:2, Paul is expressing in verse 6:5 the element of pride that is plaguing the Jews. Essentially, the circumcision party wants to throw off the burden of fulfilling the law onto the uncircumcised/newly-circumcised Galatians. They can attempt to gain a better position in Heaven by saying, "God, look lightly on my sins for they are small compared to these uncircumcised Gentiles." This is that "I'm better than him" pride mentality, and Paul wants to debunk that by saying we should bear our own burdens before Christ. It also levels the field between the two crowds by pointing out sins that the circumcision party is unaware.

That was one epiphany I had while reading Galatians, and perhaps the hardest to explain. In addition to that it's been drilled into me now that I need to stop relying on following silly laws and live a life under grace, being an equal heir to the promise under Abraham as brothers and sisters in Christ. While following the law is good and righteous, I also need to love God as a father and not as a master.

Over the next month, I'm planning to read through Ephesians. Sure, it comes right after Galatians, but I've also had a lot of other reading lately that has referenced passages in Ephesians.

My Windows 10 (Preview) Experience
I installed the Windows 10 Preview on my old desktop a while ago, but finally started playing around with it a bit.  My initial experience over the last few days hasn't been as pleasant as my Windows 7 experience.  I get that I have to "get used to" the new tile and boxy look and the "charm" idiot controls, but it's not even that.  Microsoft is pushing cloud so much that you can't get rid of it, and I'm trying to kill the cloud--I want my blue sky.  So here is an agrigate of my tips and tricks that I've figured out so far.
[Hopefully this doesn't get goofed up. I'm experiencing inadvertant typing cursor movement while just touching my typing keys.]

Microsoft Account Log-On
Microsoft is trying to make your life easier by unifying your Microsoft online account with your computer's account.  That's great if you're using your Microsoft Account. I stopped using my old Hotmail address years ago, and only keep it around because Microsoft requires you have an account with them if you're doing anything technical.  I'm a software developer, so can't help it.  This news is not so great when you're a little keen on your privacy and segregated systems.  I don't want a corporation to have its fingers in everything I do whether they think themselves trustworthy or not.  Linux is great for avoiding this trap, but I unfortunately have to use Windows.

So my problem here is that the integration of the Microsoft Account is so entagled that it will nag you to convert your local account and almost make you do it by accident.  I don't like accidents, so I found out how to turn off the nag.  I found this post from about disabling account linking that tells you how to do this in a corporate-type environment where you install GPMC and all that.  You don't need GPMC.  You can do this on Windows 10 with your administrator account (the only account you'll ever have, really).

Caution: If you do this before unlinking your account, you may not be able to log into your computer later.  So make sure your account is a local account, and not a Microsoft account.

First, you need to open the local group policy manager.  Run (Start+R) the "mmc" command.  Go to the File menu and select "Add/Remove Snap-in...".  Double-click the "Group Policy Object Editor" on the left.  Select the "Local Computer" (default) and click the Finish button.  Then click "OK".  You now have the local computer policy listed in the console root.

Expand to the path: Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options

Click on the "Security Options" path, if you didn't already.  Near the top of the policy list you will find "Accounts: Block Microsoft accounts".  By default, this is shows "Not Defined" or "This policy is disabled".  Double click the policy.

There's an explain tab if you want to know what this does, but you can just set this to "Users can't add or log on with Microsoft accounts".  To be a little safer, you can try the other option, "Users can't add Microsoft accounts".  So, pick the option and apply or click OK.  Close the console and you should no longer be nagged to convert your local account to a Microsoft account.

Microsoft OneDrive
OneDrive is something I'm not fond of seeing integrated into Windows 10.  I get that it's part of the Microsoft ecosphere, but a good company should provide a general experience that offers non-ecoshere user the option of using one thing without the other.  This is why Internet Explorer had all that legal trouble back in the day, and I don't know why it doesn't have that same legal trouble right now. (Come on EU!! You're slacking.)

Because of how much of an issue this is, I've moved the solution for this to a separate entry just for OneDrive haters to enjoy.

Hope over here for the full solution:

Web Search Merged with Desktop Search
This one here really irks me as well, much like OneDrive.  I don't want to see the world news when I'm looking for a program on my computer.  Bing can live in its own ecosphere in the web browser. Get it off my desktop.  So here's how.

Just like before, open up your local computer policy again in "mmc".

Browse to the following location: Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Search

Find the setting labeled "Don't search the web or display web results in Search".  Double click that, and select "Enabled"; double-negative, so enable the "Don't".  Okay that and now it won't perform or display search results in your search bar.  It will still allow you to go to a web search if you really want to (seems like a nice idea to me).  If you don't want that either, then enable the setting "Do not allow web search".

OR SO I THOUGHT.... I just tried all this, and Cortana seems to violate group policy at this time.  Lovely, Microsoft...

Windows 10 Niceties
There is a lot to appreciate with Windows 10 over 7, if you hunt for it.  So I'm going to list what I love about the new edition, in no particular order.

  • Quick access to system management tools; just right-click on the start button.  You can even shut down the computer here.

  • Awesome Task Manager features: I can finally see what programs are killing my hard drive performance without using the resource monitor program; The ethernet performance monitoring actually shows true transfer rates rather than using bogus percentage values.

  • Charm bar isn't obnoxious as it was in 8/8.1.

  • It boots to the desktop, and the start menu isn't too bad.

No News for Lent
I haven't got a whole lot on my mind lately besides personal projects, but I do have one small observation to make about current events. Ash Wednesday marked the beginning of another Lent season. While I'm not into the ceremony of ashes, I have gotten more into the fasting than I've ever been in the past.

Tom, Maya and the kids have been observing Lent as a family. I'm not sure how long they've done it together, but I've noticed it the last couple years. I don't know if my parents have ever really gotten into Lent. Other friends have been more vocal about observing Lent in recent years as well. My own interest may stem from growing observance of Lent among friends and family, or from being more conscious about my own faith, or perhaps both.

In any case, I've started fasting from my own habitual activities in observance of Lent. It would probably be unwise for me to observe a food fast for forty days, but I do want to start incorporating small food fasts into my own walk in the future. It would be of some spiritual benefit, and I've even heard it has some physical health benefits as well. For now I'm sticking with habit/activity fasts for Lent.

Last year, I would say, was my first real sacrificial Lenten fast. I chose to cut out news websites from my daily routine. I've found it is easy to get tied into keeping up on the news throughout the day at work while taking little breaks here and there. In many cases that habit of news reading follows me home and into the evenings. My previous Lenten fasts were really not challenging enough for me to even remember what they were. I may have fasted from video games one year, but at that point video games really didn't have a huge draw on my attention, so avoiding them was quite easy and not a great trigger for reflection.

When I took out the news from my schedule, I noticed it. I no longer could spend my time reading headlines and digging into thought pieces and technical reports. Whenever I was fed up with work and needing a break, it was immediately obvious that I couldn't draw on my shortlist of news links to distract me from my frustrations. And while I didn't go full bore on my Lenten preparations last year, it did trigger me to reflect on my actions and be conscious of my Lent observation.

The choice of fast made me more conscious of the season, and also shed some light on just how hard it is to cut out something from my life as simple as the news. If I wasn't actively seeking out news sites, I still was inundated by friends posting news articles on Facebook. Obviously, I can't tell all my friends to stop posting news out of respect, and there's no way to turn off the Facebook "news" feed. It's very hard to cut out all the news, almost as hard as doing a food fast (maybe harder at times). On occasion, I'd find myself trying to reason whether something posted was news or just general reading material. By the end of the season it became much easier to keep my focus off of that habit of checking the news, and it helped me to become more conscious of what I was consuming.

Fast forward to this year, I've decided to again fast from reading the news. My news sources have changed over the year, but I still have that draw to check on current events too often. Learning from last year, I've decided to also forgo the "news" feeds of Facebook and Twitter. To keep in touch with friends who I can't just call on the phone, or who have a habit of using Facebook over texting/calling, I've discovered Facebook's little known chat client support. Facebook has an XMPP server (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol), which will work with any standard XMPP client (I like to use Pidgin). I've signed out of Facebook and Twitter, stashed my news bookmarks away from their normal place, and began the fasting season.

While the main reason to sign out of Facebook and Twitter has been to cut out the endless collection of news postings I read every day, it does add some additional challenges. For one, I can't post statuses to either while signed out. Rather than search for an alternative, I've decided to just forgo that as well--not to fast from it, but to just avoid signing in and prancing around the feeds. By doing that, I've made this fast even more front and center in my mind. For example, I've been dying to post statuses about all the snow I've had to deal with today, shoveling out snow for hours. And, now with six more inches on the ground, I've had to break from writing this to shovel out the tractor to deal with a electrical short in the block heater (icicles were forming on top of the power plug).

In a way, this has made me more focused at home than I normally would be. At work, it can be easy to pass a break reading news, but I don't spent very much time writing tweets because I can't talk about work. At home and on the bus rides, I always have little thoughts I want to post, but I don't want to read the news quite so much. As a result, I've got Lent on my mind day and night.

This leads to the second thing: spiritual disciplines. This is the thing I hadn't really been aware of until half way through last year's season. Rather than simple reflection on the meaning of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, many people take the time to reflect on or focus on an area of their walk with Christ. I'm not sure how everyone else observes Lent, but in a lot of cases I see people fasting from one thing so they can focus on God by doing a spiritual thing instead. I can take a break from something, but if I really want to make this season mean something, then I need to add something as well.

I've decided to add (and am still getting the hang of) prayer to my focus this season. I've added a daily study plan on prayer to my bible application, and I want to work toward improving my prayer ethic for Lent. I've been a little lazy/automated with my prayers in recent months, and not taking hardly any time aside to really include prayer in my routine. I'm hoping by the end of Lent I will have a better grasp on a prayer routine with more depth and meaning.

So that's about what I've had in mind for Lent this year. I think I've stated all that I wanted to on the matter for now. Are you making an effort to observe Lent? Why or why not? Maybe it's a bit of an excuse for something we should be doing all year long, but the public observance does help give some motivation to improve our own spiritual walks while we see others doing the same. What discipline could you use to improve? I chose prayer because it's probably the weakest disciplines I have, yet it's also one of the most important for every believer to practice.

Handy Linux Command Wizardry
So I've been cleaning up my server to do a distribution upgrade (operating system upgrade, for those who don't speak Linux). And I figured I'd document a few handy tricks I've learned to make some clean-up work faster and safer.

Package Management

  1. Determining packages that are necessary versus extra/optional. Be sure you know you don't need a package before you go removing it. This command chain gives me the list of installed packages, what their priority is (sorted), and a short description of them. I had to use the */grep * trick to cut out long descriptions due to "binary:Summary" being unavailable for me.

    dpkg-query -Wf '* ${Package;-40}${Priority;-40}${Description}\n' | grep -E "^\* " | sort -b -k3,3 -k2,2 -k1,1 | less

  2. Determine what installed packages depend on a package. Kinda basic, but goes along with the previous list.

    aptitude why {package-name}

  3. Determine what packages a package depends on.

    apt-cache depends {package-name}

Software RAID

  1. Found a good cheat sheet for mdraid administration:

I'll probably add to this list, but I had to document this somewhere.
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Funerals for the Living
Black Cat
The amount of music produced surrounding lost love says a lot about how humans move on from broken, hurting things. I'm not sure of everyone's experience, but in a way, I use music for the same reason sometimes. I'm sure it all fits into the spectrum of grief, probably the depression stage. I never really fully thought about failed relationships passing through the stages of grief. Maybe I'm weird, but I've somehow separated friends-who-break-up from I'm-breaking-up, like one was hard, but two was easy. I could see what stage a friend was in the break-up process, and I thought I could see myself quickly through the same, but I think I was blind to it.

In that consideration...Collapse )

Today has been about thorns, I think. I mostly figured that after spending an hour and a half clearing out about one hundred feet of brier bush branches that have been covering the trail in our woods. The trail is generally not used in the summer thanks to investations of ticks and thorns, but in the winter these trails are quite nice for skiing, if you clear out the underbrush first.

As I spent this time clearing the brush, most of it being thorny briers, I (obviously) got thinking about thorns. I especially made some observations about them that I hadn't noticed or seen before. Some of those are physical and others more spiritual, I guess.

The first thing I noticed...Collapse )

GeoTrust's New(ish) Certificates and Intermediate CAs

In the past year, GeoTrust has stepped up their game on certificate security, possibly because Google has done the same with its Chrome browser security (phasing out the SHA-1 algorithm). But what they forgot to do was tell everyone where the intermediate CAs (certificate authorities) could be found when they emailed out renewed certificates this year. This is probably partly my ISP's fault for not caring too much when renewing client certificates, but I didn't get any instructions, and my recollection of how to install all this was a bit rusty after not touching my configurations for years. So here's a refresher and reminder on what steps to take to install the new certificate and intermediates for a seamless security-alert-free experience.

My current setup as of this writing is this:

  • Ubuntu Linux OS
  • Apache Webserver (Two SSL Ports)
  • Postfix / Dovecot Mail Server (With StartTLS/SSL Configurations)

I'm not going to go into too much detail on how I got this configured initially--it was a massive effort to learn and get it perfect the first time around; the kind where you're about sick of dealing with it when it's finally settled, working and passes most security scans--but I am going to include some basic certificate-related configurations and how to make this an easy install each year you renew your certificate(s).

For me, and any other individual/small business, buying certificates is costly and a lot of time wasted. I'm loving the new efforts by Let's Encrypt to make SSL free, automated and open. It's not there yet, but we need an authority that doesn't cost us tons of money every year. I'm quite sick of how every authority is essentially price-fixing the hell out of the little man.

Anyway, I have a single certificate setup to save me time and money because my websites are a hobby, not money makers (yet). Rather than buying certificates and IP addresses for every service and website, I've issued the same certificate to secure all of them until I can afford to invest more in my projects. So lets get down to how to set these things up.

Starting with Apache...Collapse )

Pro Tip: Speeding Up Windows Media Player (Version 12/Win 7)
Like every old install of Microsoft Windows, my laptop has been running kinda slow lately. The obvious culprit is disk churn. The disk activity light blinks too much for what little I'm doing. Now, if there's disk churn, there is something causing that disk to churn. If you're using fancy new software or playing crazy new games on an old computer, you're kinda out of luck, but this isn't my case.

For me, it seemed to be general resources getting their fingers into too many things. I noticed one thing was certain; Windows Media Player was churning disk like butter. I use it for listening to music on a DLNA host, but I don't use it for very much else. What I failed to notice was that the local library of media kept growing and wasting more resources.

I pulled up some tools I knew would tell me what the fuss was all about. I opened up Process Monitor (sysinterals) and started filtering away. Showing just disk activity for the "wmplayer.exe" process name exposed a constant stream of file information/create/read/close operations. It is continuous and never stops. I understand this to be media library folder monitoring. It seems excessively frequent (Microsoft, you could set a polling frequency), but understandable. So, to cut back on disk activity, I found I could prune where my library scans for new media.

Note: This tip applies to Windows Media Player version 12 (Windows 7), but may work for other versions as well.

In the standard Windows Media Player Library view (Ctrl+1), you've got a list of stuff on the left side including: Music, Videos, Pictures, Recorded TV, and more. It turns out you can manage each of the ones I listed. Right-click on the item in your player and select "Manage ????? Library". This brings up a window of library locations for that type of media. If you don't use media in the specified locations (e.g. the Public folders), remove the undesired location from the list. This will stop Media Player from constantly scanning that location for new music and pictures and so-forth. Repeat that for: Music, Videos, Pictures, Recorded TV. You can also add other folders in the same way.

Once you're done doing that, you'll now have a slightly streamlined Media Player experience. For me, I removed all the Pictures, Recorded TV and Video library locations. I still have what little that's found in my music folders, but I don't need to fuss with video and photos taking up unnecessary resources while I'm just trying to listen to music.

I hope this tip helps you. If you have any suggestions for this tip, leave a comment and I'll make improvements. Happy listening!

Some technical details:

C:\Users\[your name]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Media Player
Windows Media Player puts all its library data in wmdb files over in the above folder. The list of library folders are populated in the wmpfolders.wmdb file, but don't try to edit this manually; use this file to see what your player is scanning--the bigger it is the slower it gets.


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