How to Scan your PC for Software Licenses

Missing your License Key for a Windows Application?

We have all had situations where we are missing a license key for a software application we have installed on our PC.

When you try to find the product packaging or email that contains the missing key, you can never find them!

So it would make sense to scan your PC to see if you can locate them?

The only problem is where do you look and how do you extract the information?

Software creators often store the license keys in the Windows Registry, and some such as Adobe even use a special file called an SQLite database.

Scanning the Registry?

You can manually search through the registry if you wish!

But a faster method is to use a special utility like the one from Martin Klinzmann called License Crawler:

http://www.klinzmann.name/licensecrawler.htm

(The utility also has support for searching SQLite too.)

After downloading (use the FREEWareFiles link on the download page) and extracting from the ZIP file, you can then run the program from the folder – no need to actually install it.

License Crawler can discover application product keys and other serial numbers or licenses very quickly and supports all versions of Windows operating system from Windows 95 to Windows 7.

You can also export the information as a .txt file by going to the File menu in the top left hand corner.

This is a handy utility for quickly scanning your computer for software licenses.

As it does not need to be installed on your computer, it can easily be stored on a USB memory key.

Enjoy!

Kind Regards

Marc Liron – Microsoft MVP (2004-2010)
Marc Liron
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How to Check your Hard Drive for Possible Failure

Why do hard Drives Fail?

Since hard drives are mechanical devices, they will all eventually fail. While some may not fail prematurely, many hard drives simply fail because of worn out parts.

Heat, Vibration, Static Electricity, Dust, Power Surges, Friction of Internal Parts, Dropping the PC/Laptop are all culprits behind hard drive failures.

How can you tell when a Hard Drive is Failing?

Here are a few reasons for a failing hard drive:

# You may start to notice intermittent read/write failures
# The hard drive LED light never goes off
# Unexplained crashes of your operating system
# Running CHKDSK shows bad sectors
# The hard drive takes a long time to come up
# Accessing, opening, or saving files are taking an awfully long time

At this point you will want to:

# Make sure you have a BACKUP of your data!
# Perform a test on your hard drive to check for possible failure

I talk about performing backups elsewhere in this website, so let’s look at checking your hard drive for errors….

Checking your Hard Drive

The first point to make here is that NOT ALL odd occurrences mean your hard drive is failing. It could be a virus, file corruption, damaged boot area, hardware conflict or even a power lead coming loose!

The second point is, unless you know what you are doing NEVER remove the hard drive from the computer…

What we are going to do is simply run a small utility to run a “diagnostic” on the physical drive so see if there are any issues you need to be warned about.

You can do this one of 2 ways:

#1 – Use the manufacturers hard drive diagnostic utility

I find these very useful if the hard drive is causing problems loading the operating system and/or keeps crashing after a few minutes of use, as they do not require Windows to be running. (They usually run in DOS and boot from a Floppy or CD Drive.)

You will need to know the manufacturer of your hard drive and download the files needed from their website.

E.g.

Samsung Hard Drive Diagnostic Utility

http://drive.seagate.com/content/samsung-en-us

#2 – Use a 3rd Party Diagnostic Utility

If you are only at the stage of suspecting that you have a possible issue with your hard drive, and windows is stable enough. Then I suggest using a 3rd party utility to inspect your hard drive. This is also the best option for the non-technical user.

There are a few applications on the market. My favourite is HD Tune

There are 2 versions available

HD Tune (The basic version free for personal use.)
HD Tune Pro (The fully featured version with a 15 day trial.)

They are available from:

http://www.hdtune.com/download.html

I suggest you download the Pro version as it has more diagnostics and you get a full 15 days to trial the utility.

Don’t get bogged down in all the tests and results. There is an excellent manual that is in the folder where the utility gets installed (Program Files > HD Tune Pro > hdtunepro.pdf).

I suggest running the following:

Error Scan: scans the surface for physical errors, should be ALL green!

File Benchmark: measures the file performance on your hard drive.

In general the “write” values are going to be higher than the “read” times. If you see any widley varying results then this may be an indicator of potential problems.

Extra Tests: includes several quick tests to show the most important performance parameters (read/write).

The results I would pay attention to are: Sequential read outer / Sequential read middle / Sequential read inner

The “inner” time should be the higher figure. Again if the results vary widley then there may be a potential problem.

You do need to use your judgement when interpreting the results. However if there is any sign of odd results make sure your data is fully backed up and consult a professional PC repair person.

Kind Regards

Marc Liron – Ex-Microsoft MVP (2004-2010)
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Windows Vista Keyboard Shortcuts

The following are a selection of Windows Vista keyboard shortcuts…

Ease of Access Keyboard Shortcuts:

Right SHIFT for eight seconds – Turn Filter Keys on and off
Left ALT+left SHIFT+PRINT SCREEN (or PRTSCRN) – Turn High Contrast on or off
Left ALT+left SHIFT+NUM LOCK – Turn Mouse Keys on or off
SHIFT five times – Turn Sticky Keys on or off
NUM LOCK for five seconds – Turn Toggle Keys on or off
Windows logo key +U – Open the Ease of Access Center

General Keyboard Shortcuts:

F1 – Display Help
CTRL+C – Copy the selected item
CTRL+X – Cut the selected item
CTRL+V – Paste the selected item
CTRL+Z – Undo an action
CTRL+Y – Redo an action
DELETE – Delete the selected item and move it to the Recycle Bin
SHIFT+DELETE – Delete the selected item without moving it to the Recycle Bin first
F2 – Rename the selected item
CTRL+RIGHT ARROW – Move the cursor to the beginning of the next word
CTRL+LEFT ARROW – Move the cursor to the beginning of the previous word
CTRL+DOWN ARROW – Move the cursor to the beginning of the next paragraph
CTRL+UP ARROW – Move the cursor to the beginning of the previous paragraph
CTRL+SHIFT with an arrow key – Select a block of text
SHIFT with any arrow key – Select more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or select text within a document
CTRL with any arrow key+SPACEBAR – Select multiple individual items in a window or on the desktop
CTRL+A – Select all items in a document or window
F3 – Search for a file or folder
ALT+ENTER – Display properties for the selected item
ALT+F4 – Close the active item, or exit the active program
ALT+SPACEBAR – Open the shortcut menu for the active window
CTRL+F4 – Close the active document (in programs that allow you to have multiple documents open simultaneously)
ALT+TAB – Switch between open items
CTRL+ALT+TAB – Use the arrow keys to switch between open items
CTRL+Mouse scroll wheel – Change the size of icons on the desktop
Windows logo key +TAB – Cycle through programs on the taskbar by using Windows Flip 3-D
CTRL+Windows logo key +TAB – Use the arrow keys to cycle through programs on the taskbar by using Windows Flip 3-D
ALT+ESC – Cycle through items in the order in which they were opened
F6 – Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop
F4 – Display the Address bar list in Windows Explorer
SHIFT+F10 – Display the shortcut menu for the selected item
CTRL+ESC – Open the Start menu
ALT+underlined letter – Display the corresponding menu
ALT+underlined letter – Perform the menu command (or other underlined command)
F10 – Activate the menu bar in the active program
RIGHT ARROW – Open the next menu to the right, or open a submenu
LEFT ARROW – Open the next menu to the left, or close a submenu
F5 – Refresh the active window
ALT+UP ARROW – View the folder one level up in Windows Explorer
ESC – Cancel the current task
CTRL+SHIFT+ESC – Open Task Manager
SHIFT when you insert a CD – Prevent the CD from automatically playing

Dialog Box Keyboard Shortcuts:

CTRL+TAB – Move forward through tabs
CTRL+SHIFT+TAB – Move back through tabs
TAB – Move forward through options
SHIFT+TAB – Move back through options
ALT+underlined letter – Perform the command (or select the option) that goes with that letter
ENTER – Replaces clicking the mouse for many selected commands
SPACEBAR – Select or clear the check box if the active option is a check box
Arrow keys – Select a button if the active option is a group of option buttons
F1 – Display Help
F4 – Display the items in the active list

Microsoft Windows Logo Keyboard Shortcuts:

Windows logo key – Open or close the Start menu
Windows logo key +PAUSE – Display the System Properties dialog box
Windows logo key +D – Display the desktop
Windows logo key +M – Minimize all windows
Windows logo key +SHIFT+M – Restore minimized windows to the desktop
Windows logo key +E – Open Computer
Windows logo key +F – Search for a file or folder
CTRL+Windows logo key +F – Search for computers (if you are on a network)
Windows logo key +L – Lock your computer or switch users
Windows logo key +R – Open the Run dialog box
Windows logo key +T – Cycle through programs on the taskbar
Windows logo key +TAB – Cycle through programs on the taskbar by using Windows Flip 3-D
CTRL+Windows logo key +TAB – Use the arrow keys to cycle through programs on the taskbar by using Windows Flip 3-D
Windows logo key +SPACEBAR – Bring all gadgets to the front and select Windows Sidebar
Windows logo key +G – Cycle through Sidebar gadgets
Windows logo key +U – Open Ease of Access Center
Windows logo key +X – Open Windows Mobility Center
Windows logo key with any number key – Open the Quick Launch shortcut that is in the position that corresponds to the number. For example, Windows logo key +1 to launch the first shortcut in the Quick Launch menu.

Windows Explorer Keyboard Shortcuts:

CTRL+N – Open a new window
END – Display the bottom of the active window
HOME – Display the top of the active window
F11 – Maximize or minimize the active window
NUM LOCK+ASTERISK (*) on numeric keypad – Display all subfolders under the selected folder
NUM LOCK+PLUS SIGN (+) on numeric keypad – Display the contents of the selected folder
NUM LOCK+MINUS SIGN (-) on numeric keypad – Collapse the selected folder
LEFT ARROW – Collapse the current selection (if it is expanded), or select the parent folder
ALT+LEFT ARROW – View the previous folder
RIGHT ARROW – Display the current selection (if it is collapsed), or select the first subfolder
ALT+RIGHT ARROW – View the next folder
CTRL+Mouse scroll wheel – Change the size and appearance of file and folder icons
ALT+D – Select the Address bar

Windows Sidebar Keyboard Shortcuts:

Windows logo key +SPACEBAR – Bring all gadgets to the front and select Sidebar
Windows logo key +G – Cycle through Sidebar gadgets
TAB – Cycle through Sidebar controls

Windows Photo Gallery Keyboard Shortcuts:

CTRL+F – Open the Fix pane
CTRL+P – Print the selected picture
ENTER – View the selected picture at a larger size
CTRL+I – Open or close the Details pane
CTRL+PERIOD (.) – Rotate the picture clockwise
CTRL+COMMA (,) – Rotate the picture counter-clockwise
F2 – Rename the selected item
CTRL+E – Search for an item
ALT+LEFT ARROW – Go back
ALT+RIGHT ARROW – Go forward
PLUS SIGN (+) – Zoom in or resize the picture thumbnail
MINUS SIGN (-) – Zoom out or resize the picture thumbnail
CTRL+Mouse scroll wheel – Change the size of the picture thumbnail
CTRL+B – Best fit
LEFT ARROW – Select the previous item
DOWN ARROW – Select the next item or row
UP ARROW – Previous item (Easel) or previous row (Thumbnail)
PAGE UP – Previous screen
PAGE DOWN – Next screen
HOME – Select the first item
END – Select the last item
DELETE – Move the selected item to the Recycle Bin
SHIFT+DELETE – Permanently delete the selected item
LEFT ARROW – Collapse node
RIGHT ARROW – Expand node

Keyboard Shortcuts For Working With Movie Maker Videos:

J – Move back one frame
K – Pause the playback
L – Move forward one frame
I – Set the start trim point
O – Set the end trim point
M – Split a clip
HOME – Stop and rewind all the way back to the start trim point
ALT+RIGHT ARROW – Advance to the next frame
ALT+LEFT ARROW – Go back to the previous frame
CTRL+K – Stop and rewind playback
CTRL+P – Play from the current location
HOME – Move the start trim point
END – Move to the end trim point
PAGE UP – Seek to nearest split point before the current location
PAGE DOWN – Seek to nearest split point after the current location

Windows Help Viewer Keyboard Shortcuts:

ALT+C – Display the Table of Contents
ALT+N – Display the Connection Settings menu
F10 – Display the Options menu
ALT+LEFT ARROW – Move back to the previously viewed topic
ALT+RIGHT ARROW – Move forward to the next (previously viewed) topic
ALT+A – Display the customer support page
ALT+HOME – Display the Help and Support home page
HOME – Move the to beginning of a topic
END – Move to the end of a topic
CTRL+F – Search the current topic
CTRL+P – Print a topic
F3 – Move to the Search box.

Kind Regards

Marc Liron – Ex-Microsoft MVP (2004-2010)
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