How to change drive letters in Windows

Windows 7 logoAfter plugging in external drives or after adding optical drives and hard drives, Windows automatically assigns a drive letter to them. Usually, the system drive is assigned the letter C: and other drives are assigned subsequent incremented letters.

It is possible to change this auto-assigned drive letter in Windows 7/ Vista/XP. Right-click on My Computer and select “Manage”. Under Computer Management, select “Disk Management”. The right pane will contain the list of drives with the “CD-ROM” drives listed at the bottom.

Assign Drive Letter

Now, right-click on the drive whose letter needs to be changed and select “Change drive letters and paths…”. Click on “Change”, select “Assign the following drive letter” and select the required drive letter.

Note that the system drive letter cannot be changed.

Turn on Topic Reply Notification by default in phpBB

In phpBB3, topic reply notification is set to “Off” by default. Unlike vBulletin, where you are automatically subscribed to threads which you reply to, in phpBB, you have to manually check “Notify me when a reply is posted” from the “Post reply” page to subscribe.

However, there is an easy file edit that will keep “Notify me when a reply is posted” checked by default when posting a reply.

Open ‘includes/functions_user.php’:

Find :

[code language=”php”] ‘user_notify’         => 0,[/code]

Replace with :

[code language=”php”] ‘user_notify’         => 1,[/code]

After this edit, users will be automatically subscribed to threads while replying.

Enable display of older help files in Windows 7 and Vista

Windows Help

Ever since Windows 3.1, Microsoft has included the Windows Help program (WinHlp32.exe) with new releases. Starting with Windows Vista, Microsoft doesn’t bundle the Windows Help program used to view .HLP files meant for older Windows programs with the OS. Apparently, Microsoft made this decision because the program hasn’t had a major update for many years, and it did not meet their standards for new Microsoft programs. But for customers who still rely on 32 bit .HLP files, Microsoft offers this as a separate download.*

Download links :

After installing the program, Windows should be able to correctly display .HLP files.

Note: Sometimes, due to an error in the macro commands, a lock is activated on the application. To unlock it, navigate to ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WinHelp’ and create a new DWORDValue. Enter the name as ‘AllowProgrammaticMacros’ and set the value to 1. The application will be unlocked.

* You need to undergo genuine Microsoft validation to download the files.

Essential custom BBCodes for phpBB

phpBB comes with a multitude of BBCodes that perform various functions. While most of these are sufficient for day-to-day forum activity, power users who crave for mre functionality on their boards, need custom-made BBCodes to satisfy their needs. Here is a list of most commonly used bbcodes on phpBB boards.

Video sharing

YouTube

BBCode usage :

[plain][/plain]

HTML replacement :

[html]<object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/{SIMPLETEXT2}&hl=en"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/{SIMPLETEXT2}&hl=en" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>[/html]

Help line :

[plain]Usage:[/plain]

Google Video

BBCode usage :

[plain]<code></code>[/plain]

HTML replacement :

[html]<code><object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" data="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=-{NUMBER}" width="400" height="326">
<param name="movie" value="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=-{NUMBER}" />
<param name="allowScriptAcess" value="sameDomain" />
<param name="quality" value="best" />
<param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF" />
<param name="scale" value="noScale" />
<param name="salign" value="TL" />
<param name="FlashVars" value="playerMode=embedded" />
</object></code>[/html]

Help line :

[plain]<code>Enter the video ID number — the video ID is a 18 digit number is after docid=- in the URL</code>[/plain]

Text Alignment

Left
BBCode usage :

[plain][left]{TEXT}[/left][/plain]

HTML replacement :

[html]<div align="left">{TEXT}</div>[/html]

Right
BBCode usage :

[plain][right]{TEXT}[/right][/plain]

HTML replacement :

[html]<div align="right">{TEXT}</div>[/html]

Center
BBCode usage :

[plain][center]{TEXT}[/center][/plain]

HTML replacement :

[html]<div align="center">{TEXT}</div>[/html]

Spoiler

The spoiler BBCode can be used to hide spoilers from unsuspecting users. There are many ways to go about it, using Javascript or otherwise.

Without Javascript :
This BBCode adds a black background color to the text between the tags, making it unreadable unless highlighted.
Example :
This is a spoiler.
BBCode usage :

[plain][spoiler]{TEXT}[/spoiler][/plain]

HTML replacement :

[html]<span style="background:#000000">{TEXT}</span>[/html]

Using Javascript :
This creates a “Show” button which expands to reveal the spoiler when clicked.
Example :

Spoiler:

This is a spoiler.

BBCode usage :

[plain][spoiler2]{TEXT}[/spoiler2][/plain]

HTML replacement :

[html]<div style="margin:20px; margin-top:5px"><div class="quotetitle"><b>Spoiler:</b> <input type="button" value="Show" style="width:45px;font-size:10px;margin:0px;padding:0px;" onclick="if (this.parentNode.parentNode.getElementsByTagName(‘div’)[1].getElementsByTagName(‘div’)[0].style.display != ”) { this.parentNode.parentNode.getElementsByTagName(‘div’)[1].getElementsByTagName(‘div’)[0].style.display = ”; this.innerText = ”; this.value = ‘Hide’; } else { this.parentNode.parentNode.getElementsByTagName(‘div’)[1].getElementsByTagName(‘div’)[0].style.display = ‘none’; this.innerText = ”; this.value = ‘Show’; }" /></div><div class="quotecontent"><div style="display: none;">{TEXT}</div></div></div>[/html]

Another version :

This creates a spoiler which reveals itself on mousever.
Example :

This is a spoiler.

BBCode usage :

[plain][spoiler3]{TEXT}[/spoiler3][/plain]

HTML replacement :

[html]<span title="spoiler" style="color: #000000; background-color: #000000;" class="spoiler" onmouseover="this.style.color=’#FFFFFF’;" onmouseout="this.style.color=this.style.backgroundColor=’#000000’">{TEXT}</span>[/html]

Strikethrough

Creates strike-through text.
Example :

Strike-through text.

BBCode usage :

[plain][strike]{TEXT}[/strike][/plain]

HTML replacement :

[html]<span style="text-decoration: line-through;">{TEXT}</span>[/html]

Specify font
Specifies the font to be used in the text.
Example :

This is written in Arial.

BBCode usage :

[plain][font={SIMPLETEXT}]{TEXT}[/font][/plain]

HTML replacement :

[html]<span style="font-family: {SIMPLETEXT};">{TEXT}</span>[/html]

Pre tag

Text enclosed by these tags will retain their formatting.

[plain][pre]{TEXT}[/pre][/plain]

HTML replacement :

[html]<pre>{TEXT}</pre>[/html]

Background colour

Changes the background to the specified colour.
BBCode usage :

[plain][bgcolor={COLOR}]{TEXT}[/bgcolor][/plain]

HTML replacement :

[html]<span style="background-color: {COLOR};">{TEXT}</span>[/html]

Horizontal line

Adds a horizontal line after text.

[plain][hr][/hr][/plain]

HTML replacement :

[html]<hr />[/html]

Subscript

For writing subscripted text.
Example :

Oleum – H2S2O7

BBCode usage :

[plain][sub]{TEXT}[/sub][/plain]

HTML replacement :

[html]<span style="vertical-align: sub;">{TEXT}</span>[/html]

Superscript

For writing superscripted text.
Example :

(a+b)2 = a2+b2+2ab

BBCode usage :

[plain][super]{TEXT}[/super][/plain]

HTML replacement :

[html]<span style="vertical-align: super;">{TEXT}</span>[/html]

Google Public DNS – An alternative to OpenDNS?

Google has recently launched Google Public DNS, a public DNS resolver service  with an aim to make web browsing faster and secure. OpenDNS, providing the same services and more, has been in the market since 2006. So, which one is better, and is it beneficial to switch from using OpenDNS to Google Public DNS? We will find out.

Features :

  • Performance – Both GPDNS and OpenDNS employ quite a number of tweaks to increase performance of the end users. Both load balance user traffic and implement “smart” caching techniques to speed up domain resolution.
    While this does not directly affect performance, OpenDNS has a nifty tool called CacheCheck, which can be used to check the status of a domain in OpenDNS’s cache and optionally update the domain’s DNS records in the cache. This does score some brownie points for OpenDNS.
  • Security – Even though Google Public DNS has protection against cache-poisoning, DOS and amplification attacks, it blandly admits that it doesn’t provide any content-filtering/anti-phishing/anti-malware protection.  Google says :

    Google Public DNS is not a malware-blocking service. Google Public DNS does not perform blocking or filtering of any kind

    However, OpenDNS delivers a lot in this sector. In addition to protection against cache-poisoning and other vulnerabilities, it offers web-content filtering, “PhishTank” anti-phishing, malware-protection and whitelisting/blacklisting of domains, all though a web-based dashboard. In addition to this, OpenDNS also features a community based domain tagging system, where users can tag domains into appropriate categories and check the status of an already-tagged domain.

Real-world Performance

I used Namebench to perform DNS benchmarks. The results are as follows:

Mean Response Duration

Mean Duration Graph

Fastest Individual Response Duration

Fastest Response Graph

The tests proved that Google Public DNS resolver is 5% faster than the OpenDNS resolver.

Conclusion

Even thoughthe real world test found Google Public DNS to be 5% faster than OpenDNS, it actually makes a very little difference in speed. Considering the advanced features like anti-phishing, anti-malware, content-filtering and custom-error pages, OpenDNS is recommended for both network administrators and end users.

Special Note :

Google says that it shows correct results for NXDOMAIN results, ie, due to mistyping or otherwise, if a non-existent domain is tried to be resolved, it will return an error message. OpenDNS, however, redirects such requests to it’s search page where it shows similar domains along with some sponsored links. I couldn’t decide whether this is a good or a bad move, so I didn’t include this in the evaluation process.