How to Reset Your Forgotten Windows Password the Easy Way

padlockForgetting your password is never any fun, but luckily there’s a really easy way to reset the password. All you need is a copy of the Windows installation disk and one simple command line trick.

Basically, the plan is to temporarily replace the Sticky Keys utility with a command shell which we can launch from the login screen.

  1. Boot from your Windows install disk and choose the “Repair your computer” option.
  2. Choose “Command Prompt”
  3. Move to the System32 directory:
    cd c:\windows\system32
  4. Backup the Sticky Keys file:
    copy sethc.exe sethc.old
  5. Copy our shell to replace Sticky Keys:
    copy cmd.exe sethc.exe and confirm the file being overwritten
  6. Reboot
  7. On the login screen, repeatedly press the [Shift] key until the command window appears.
  8. Change the password as desired:
    Substituting the caps for your username and new password
  9. Login with your new password.

>Once you successfully login, remember to replace the Sticky Keys file!


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Firefox for Power Users – Search [Part 2]

FirefoxThe second part of our series showing you how to take using Firefox to the next level. This week, we’re taking a look at how to make searching quicker and more effective.

Search Plugins
A search engine plugin allows you to access a search engine directly from your browser. In Firefox, this is the box up in the top right corner. You can add your own choice of search engines my visiting the Mycroft Project as we covered in a a previous post: Make your browser’s search box more useful.

Tip: Quickly jump to the search box with the shortcut [Ctrl] + [K] (think K for keyword).

Quick Searches
Firefox has a great feature called Quick Searches which allows you to search directly from the address bar. This is a great alternative when there isn’t a search plugin available for the site you’d like to search. This isn’t quite as simple to set up but is well worth it for sites you often use.
The quick way:

  1. Visit the site you want to search and find the search box.
  2. Right click inside the search box and choose ‘Add a keyword for this search’.
  3. Enter a title for the search and choose a keyword you’ll use to execute it.
  4. Once you press Add, your search is set up and you can use it by typing your keyword followed by your search term into the address bar (e.g: flickr nasa).

The long way:

  1. First you need to do a little investigation. Head over to the site you wish to add (we’ll use WhoCallsMe in this example) and search for the term TEST.
  2. Bookmark the results page but before you click the ‘Done’ button, look at the URL that will be saved and find the word TEST.
  3. Replace the word TEST with %s (percent symbol and a lowercase s) and save the bookmark to the Quick Searches folder (you can save it anywhere but it’s a good idea to keep these all together).
  4. Find your new Quick Search bookmark, right click on it and choose Properties.
  5. Add something short and memorable to the Keyword field (wcm is ideal in this case).
  6. The Quick Search is now set up and you can search WhoCallsMe directly from the address bar like so: wcm 01953451231

More about Quick Searches.

Keyword bookmarking
You’ve seen above how adding something to the Keyword field of a bookmark makes getting to that site easy via the address bar. This doesn’t just apply to search, you can use this for any site. For example, you could bookmark our blog, give it the keyword blog, and get here simply by typing blog into the address bar. Keywords can be as short as 1 letter which is great for sites you use every day.

Tip: Quickly jump to the address bar with the shortcut [Ctrl] + [L] (think L for location).

It’s a bit annoying that you can’t enter keyword when you bookmark a page (you currently have to go to the properties of the bookmark once it’s saved). This is where the OpenBook addon comes in but there is a catch – it hasn’t been updated in some years and you’ll have to do a little hacking to get it to work. Follow the instructions in the reviews as it’s well worth having as it makes adding keywords easy, meaning that you’ll be much more likely to set them up.

Let us know what you think in the comments here or on Facebook and remember to share this post with your networks.

Google-Fu – The art of effective search

SearchFed up with having to wade through lots of junk in your Google search results? We’ll show you a few tips to quickly find exactly what you’re looking for. You can start with the Google Advanced Search but there are quicker ways to get the same results.

Consider your search…
To begin with, you need to spend a moment thinking about the most accurate term to describe what it is that you’re searching for. The key is to start out as specific as possible, then widen the search if you’re not getting the results you expect. This is the single most important point of this whole guide.

For example, you might be looking for information about a particular Family Guy episode. If you simply searched for family guy, you would be swamped with results (143 million to be precise). OK, some of them will lead you to the information you’re looking for but that’s a few clicks away. A better search would be family guy episode guide which is more specific and yields the wikipedia page List of Family Guy Episodes as the top result.

Quote me…
Sometimes, especially when searching for common words, your results can appear totally unrelated to your search. This is often because the words appear separately on the same page. The search dyson manual would show any pages that contain the word dyson and the word manual. To further narrow your search, enclose it in quotation marks; “dyson manual” and only results that contain that exact phrase will be returned.

I know about the quotes already…
OK, so you’ve sussed the quotes. Let’s get down with some more advanced “switches” as they are known.

  • OR – Search for either one, such as “price high OR low” searches for “price” with “high” or “low”.
  • ” – Search while excluding a word, such as “apple -tree” searches where word “tree” is not used.
  • +” – Force inclusion of a word, such as “Name +of +the Game” to require the words “of” & “the” to appear on a matching page.
  • *” – Wildcard operator to match any words between other specific words.

Some of the query options are as follows:

  • define: – The query prefix “define:” will provide a definition of the words listed after it.
  • stocks: – After “stocks:” the query terms are treated as stock ticker symbols for lookup.
  • site: – Restrict the results to those websites in the given domain, such as, The option “site:com” will search all domain URLs named with “.com” (no space after “site:”).
  • allintitle: – Only the page titles are searched (not the remaining text on each webpage).
  • intitle: – Prefix to search in a webpage title, such as “intitle:google search” will list pages with word “google” in the title, and word “search” anywhere (no space after “intitle:”).
  • allinurl: – Only the page URL address lines are searched (not the text inside each webpage).
  • inurl: – Prefix for each word to be found in the URL; others words are matched anywhere, such as “inurl:acme search” matches “acme” in a URL, but matches “search” anywhere (no space after “inurl:”).

The page-display options (or query types) are:

  • cache: – Highlights the search-words within the cached document, such as “ xxx” shows cached content with word “xxx” highlighted.
  • link: – The prefix “link:” will list webpages that have links to the specified webpage, such as “” lists webpages linking to the Google homepage.
  • related: – The prefix “related:” will list webpages that are “similar” to a specified web page.
  • info: – The prefix “info:” will display some background information about one specified webpage, such as, Typically, the info is the first text (160 bytes, about 23 words) contained in the page, displayed in the style of a results entry (for just the 1 page as matching the search).
  • filetype: – results will only show files of the desired type (ex filetype:pdf will return pdf files)

More info…

It’s not just Google that has switches, the Twitter advanced search is pretty nifty too:
a list of twitter search operators

Let us know your search tips in the comments here or on Twitter and remember to share this post of you found it useful.

Prolong the life of your gadget batteries

batteryWe all have lots of gadgets these days, most using Lithium-Ion (Li-On) batteries. Read this short guide and learn how to prolong their life.

Battery University presents detailed test and technical information about Lithium-ion batteries. Here is some of their advice and recommendations:

  • Avoid frequent full discharges and charge more often between uses.
  • There is no memory and the battery does not need periodic full discharge cycles other than to calibrate the fuel gauge on a smart battery.
  • Exposing the battery to high temperature and being at full state-of-charge for an extended time can be more damaging than cycling.
  • The worst condition is keeping a fully charged battery at elevated temperatures, which is the case when running a laptop on the power grid.
  • Placing a cellular phone on the heat generating (wireless) charging mat stresses the battery more than if charged on a designated charger.
  • When not in use, store the battery in a cool place. For long-term storage, manufacturers recommend a 40 percent charge. This allows for some self-discharge while still retaining sufficient charge to keep the protection circuit active.
  • Heat buildup is always a concern and running a laptop in bed or on a pillow may contribute to this by restricting airflow. Not only will heat stress electronic components, elevated temperature causes the electrodes in the battery to react with the electrolyte and this will permanently lower the capacity. Placing a ruler or other object under the laptop to increase floor clearance improves air circulation around the enclosure and keeps the unit cooler.
  • A Li-ion battery can also fail because of undercharge. This occurs if a Li-ion pack is stored in a discharged condition. Self-discharge gradually lowers the voltage of the already discharged battery and the protection circuit cuts off between 2.20 and 2.90V/cell.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

Get notifications on Firefox 4’s App Tabs

Firefox logoThe new App Tabs feature in Firefox 4 is great at saving you some screen space but notifications from sites like Facebook or Gmail no longer appear. Here’s how to get them back (sort of).

Now your App Tabs will highlight when you have a new notification. They still don’t show the number of notifications but it’s better than nothing. We’ll update this post if we hear of a better solution.

Let us know what you think in the comments.