Author Archives: Gaurav Kale

About Gaurav Kale

Gaurav is a software enthusiast from India and Classic Shell tester & UX consultant. He started with Windows 95 and is good at software usability testing. He firmly believes that user experience is just as important as software code quality and architecture for software to be successful.

How to run Explorer as administrator on Windows 8.1, Windows 8 and Windows 7

As you may know, Windows Vista introduced some major changes to the security model of Windows, including User Account Control. What UAC does is introduce the concept of apps having the least privilege - only enough permissions that apps need to run should be granted to them and not full admin permissions, because if malware or bad apps run as admin, they can pretty much do any damage to your OS.

However, thanks to UAC, the user experience gets spoiled slightly and decades-old Windows users who were not used to this concept or who were not explained why it was introduced were bewildered when they migrated from Windows XP. They didn't understand why they were asked to confirm any action that does system level changes to their PC. One such application that shows considerable amount of UAC prompts if you are running Windows with the highest level of the UAC setting is File Explorer (formerly known as Windows Explorer). While Explorer does not show that many UAC prompts at the default UAC setting, the default UAC setting is not 100% foolproof. It is only secure against apps that assume admin level privileges to do bad things.

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OldNewExplorer: Another cool app from creator of StartIsBack, can move Explorer Details pane to bottom

The developer of the famous Start Menu, StartIsBack, has written another app called OldNewExplorer and as the name indicates, it aims to restore some of the Windows 7 Explorer features to Windows 8's Explorer. The name appears to be a play on the famous blog, OldNewThing, by Microsoft's Shell developer, Raymond Chen. OldNewExplorer brings a couple of very interesting features back to Windows 8 Explorer. Let's see which.

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Change Google+ Hangouts volume and more with Hangout Toolbox

In our earlier post, you were introduced to Google+ Hangouts and why it's one of the best video calling experience currently on the web. Well that doesn't mean that it's perfect. Hangouts currently leaves a lot to be desired in terms of features.

One of the most basic tasks you would want to do when you are in a video call is to adjust the volume. But you will find no such feature by default in Google+ Hangouts. Ridiculous, isn't it? It's because Hangouts controls the volume automatically depending on your microphone input volume, background noise etc. But fear not, it's possible to manually adjust the volume. In this article, I will show you how.

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Introduction to Google+ Hangouts – free, high quality video calls!

Today, I would like to introduce you to one useful, free and cool service we have on the web, courtesy of Google - Google+ Hangouts. Now you may wonder what is special about Hangouts when you have literally hundreds of free solutions - Facebook video chat, Microsoft's Skype, Yahoo! Messenger, Apple's FaceTime and several dozen others. Well, let's see what makes Hangouts great.

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Exclusive: How to start a Modern app from desktop without going to the Metro Start Screen

Today, we have an exclusive tip for Winaero readers which you are sure to find useful if you use Modern apps. Do you know that both Windows 8.1 and Windows 8 can natively launch any Modern app directly from the desktop, without the use of third party tools? You can also easily create a shortcut for any installed Modern app and pin it to the Taskbar or put it on the Desktop.

Wouldn't it be convenient to create a shortcut to launch the modern Mail, Skype, SkyDrive, Photos, Camera or any Modern app without using third party tools? Well, this is very easy, but not quite obvious! Let's discover this hidden secret feature right now.
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Introducing Winaero’s exclusive Skin Pack for Classic Shell

Update: A newer Winaero Skin, version 2.0 is now available for Classic Shell 4!  Get it here.

After applying the Winaero Skin Pack 1.0 for Classic Shell

Today, Winaero has something special for you, our readers. We are going to share with you an awesome looking Skin Pack for Classic Shell on Windows 8 that makes its massively popular Start Menu look closer to the original Windows Start Menu. It is free for you and exclusively for Classic Shell on Windows 8 only. Continue reading

How to add any Ribbon command to the right click menu in Windows 8

In Windows 8, Microsoft has introduced the Ribbon in Windows Explorer so that the numerous Explorer commands can be more prominently displayed when you need them. But the Ribbon commands are still split across many tabs unnecessarily making you go through all of the tabs to find the command you need to use. There is the Quick Access Toolbar at the top where you can add custom commands but the problem is that it has only tiny 16 x 16 sized icons and no textual description. You need to hover over each of the tiny icons to see their description. Also, Desktop has no Ribbon, and most of the useful commands are inaccessible via right click.

In contrast, the right-click/context menu is a better option as it has icons as well as textual description, excellent keyboard usability and you don't need to remember which Ribbon tab a particular command is located on. Also, the Ribbon takes a huge amount of vertical space, so once you added the command to the context menu, you can keep the Ribbon minimized or disable it entirely with our Ribbon Disabler. ;)

Today I am going to share with you a cool trick which will let you add any Ribbon commands of your choice directly to the right click (context) menu of files and folders. Let us see how.

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How to open a new window of a desktop app from the Start screen

In Windows 8, whenever you launch a second instance (new window) of an already running desktop app, the Start screen does not launch a new instance of that app. It merely switches to the already running desktop app's window. This can be highly annoying.

To open another window of the same program, you have to either Shift+click on the Desktop app's tile or right click and choose "Open new window". The behavior in earlier Windows versions which had the Start Menu was different. The Start menu always always launched a new instance of an app.

Luckily, there exists a way to allow us to control this behavior. Let's see how.

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How to pin any Modern (Metro) App to the Taskbar or the Desktop

One of the most anticipated and highly desired features lacking in Windows 8 is the ability to pin Modern (Metro) apps to the taskbar. Microsoft did not make this possible out of the box. There have been a few articles written by various websites covering how to do this but they only deal with the built-in Modern Apps. The method didn't work for additional  Store-installed apps.  Here's how you can do it easily with the help of a free third party tool, called OblyTile. OblyTile is a little tool that allows you to do two things:

- OblyTile lets you pin a shortcut to anything you want on the Start screen with a custom image of your choice. Even Desktop apps can have a custom static tile image instead of just a regular icon.

- OblyTile includes a launcher lets you launch Modern (Metro) apps from anywhere on the Desktop. Modern (Metro) apps have an AppID, stored in their shortcut (the AppID concept was introduced in Windows 7).  OblyTile lets you create a shortcut to a Modern app on your desktop that you can move or pin anywhere like the Taskbar or inside your favorite Start Menu replacement.

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