Tag Archives: Windows 7

Increase the number of pinned items allowed in the Windows 7 taskbar jump lists

If you right-click a program on the Windows 7 taskbar, a box pops up with a list of actions.  This is the “jump list” for the program.  If your app stores history or “recent items”, you can right-click an item and pin it.

You may notice that there is a limit to the total number of items in the “recent” and “pinned” lists.  If you start pinning things and reach this limit, you won’t see the recent items anymore.  For me, I was running into this limit at 15 items in the pinned list.

It turns out that the number of items allowed in the list is determined by the height of your Start Menu (for some reason).  To increase the number of items, increase the height of the Start Menu.  You can do this by right-clicking the Start Menu and choosing “Properties”, and then the “Customize” button.  Increase the “number of recent programs to display” to make the Start Menu taller.

Once this is done, you can add more items to the “pinned” section of the jump list.  If you pin more items and then go back and reduce the height of the Start Menu, the pinned items will remain (but you won’t be able to add any more without repeating this trick).

Unable to enable BitLocker on Windows 8 – “Element not found”

I’ve ran into this a few times.  When trying to enable BitLocker in Windows 8, it starts out working but the vague error message “Element not found” quickly appears and it is not possible to proceed with the encryption.

For me, this happens after cloning the Windows install onto a new drive.  According to Microsoft, when using a TPM module to store the keys, using UEFI to boot, and the boot drive has changed, this error will appear.  It’s most likely the same with Windows 7 as well.

Fortunately, the solution is simple.

Open an administrative command prompt and run this command to reinitialize the boot loader:

bcdboot %systemdrive%\Windows

Then reboot the machine and try to start BitLocker again.

“Sharing” tab missing from folder properties in Windows 7

This morning, I noticed that the “Sharing” tab was missing from my folder “Properties” windows.  I have no idea how long this has been the case, but it’s something that I need to be available when I need it.

There was also no “Share With” option on the right-click context menu for folders.

Searching the Internet lead to a lot of suggestions that did nothing to fix my issue, but this thread provided the critical hint.  Someone else with the same problem figured out that ntshrui.dll is the library that provides the sharing functionality, and somehow it was not being called.  The solution was to look in the registry of a fresh, working Windows 7 install for references to this library and copy them over to the install with the missing “Sharing” tab.

Although he reports success, he doesn’t give the registry entries.  So, I booted up my Windows 7 VM, looked for entries that seem to tie ntshrui.dll to sharing functionality, and exported them all.  I imported the registry file on my main Windows install, which was having the problem.  After logging off and logging back on, I found the “Sharing” tab to be back.

Here is the registry file that I ended up with.  If you have this problem, try importing the file (don’t worry if you get an error that not all entries could be written), and then log off and on again.  It might work, but it’s possible that there are other things that could cause this as well.

Move a Windows install from one machine to another using in-place upgrade

Update, May 17, 2016: With Windows 10, and maybe Windows 8/8.1 as well, you don’t need to jump through these hoops.  Just move or clone a drive to your new system and boot it up.  Windows detects that it has been moved and does a new device scan.  If your new system needs a disk controller driver that is not built into Windows (i.e. some kind of RAID device), you’ll want to make sure that the driver is installed before the move.

Windows usually isn’t very happy when you try to move it to a different PC. If you were to take the hard drive out of one PC, install it in a different PC, and try to boot it up, unless the system components were identical or very similar, you would probably be presented with a BSOD right after the boot begins.

There are a few different ways to prepare your Windows installation to be moved to a different machine. One way is to use Sysprep to generalize your installation. This will make it forget about a lot of the hardware-specific information that it has and allow it to be booted on different hardware. The downside is that it loses a lot of your personalizations.

I’m writing about the in-place upgrade method because I didn’t find another article explaining it in detail. This method isn’t necessarily better than the Sysprep method, but it will keep all of your settings and programs. You will lose some installed Windows updates, which you will have to install again after the switch is complete.

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Crappy Desktop Wallpaper Compression in Windows 7

This is a problem I noticed many months ago, but did not seriously look in to until just now.

I like to use the monthly Mozilla Foxkeh desktop wallpaper.  Right now, I have the January 2011 wallpaper — this nice, large, lossless PNG.  (By the way, the word that he is in the progress of writing is “火狐”, which literally means “fire fox.”  How cool!)

Anyway, I noticed that there is crappy compression on the image shown on my desktop, particularly around the numbers that make of the calendar.  This has been occurring in the wallpapers for past months as well.  If I open up the PNG (that I told Windows to use!!) and zoom way in, the image is crystal clear.  But on the desktop, it is junk.  Take a look, I zoomed in on the “2011” at the top-left of the calendar.  On the left is the data from the PNG as viewed in any decent graphics application, and on the right is what appears on my desktop.


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WSD printers crashing Print Spooler service in Windows 7

For a while now, I’ve been noticing that my Windows printer list would come up empty in the control panel, or when I tried to print something, I’d get an error that indicates that the Print Spooler service is not running.  Going and manually starting the Print Spooler service fixes the problem, but that’s silly, why should I have to do it?  Why is the Print Spooler service stopping at all?

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The User Profile Service service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded.

…How’s that for good grammar?

Anyway, this error popped up for me in Windows 7 the other day.  After the computer boots up, you click on your user icon, type in your password, and BAM!  “The User Profile Service service failed the logon.  User profile cannot be loaded.”  And then you are logged off, and stuck back at the user select screen.

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Disable remote UAC in Windows Vista and Windows 7

In earlier versions of Windows, if you had files or folders with NTFS permissions assigned to the “Administrators” group (i.e., “Administrators” are allowed to edit the files but other users are not), they applied to all users in the Administrators group like you would expect.  In Windows Vista and Windows 7 (with UAC enabled), a process must be elevated and be running as a user in the Administrators group to be given these permissions.  This is fine when you’re dealing with stuff on your local machine… when you try to do something with a file that you need administrative permission to do, Windows just prompts you to elevate, and you may get a UAC prompt depending on your system settings.

But if you are dealing with stuff on a different machine, perhaps by Windows file sharing, there’s no way to elevate yourself.  So, if you are trying to access a shared folder that only “Administrators” are allowed to access, even if you are a member of the “Administrators” group, you will not be able to access it.

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Create a Windows 7 “all in one” DVD

One of the cool things about Windows Vista is that, if you have an installation DVD for Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate, you can use it to install any of those editions — which one you get just depends on which product key you enter at the beginning of the installation.  For some reason, Microsoft took this cool tidbit away from Windows 7.  The disc you get only lets you install one edition.

However, there’s an easy way to turn such a “locked” disc into a disc that will install any edition again, just like with Windows Vista.

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