Program Recommendation: Input Director – control multiple computers with the same keyboard and mouse

Have you ever found one of those little programs that is incredibly simple, but you find incredibly useful and it works just the way you want it to? Oh, and that’s free? I have found Input Director to be just such a program for me.

What this program allows you to do is control a second computer (or more than two) with the keyboard and mouse from your primary computer. My primary system is a laptop, and I also have a desktop attached to the monitor on the side (so that I can always leave the desktop on and connect to it remotely if needed). I wanted to be able to control that desktop with my main computer as if was attached as a third monitor. This does exactly that. Your mouse will continue over to the other computer as another screen, and you can also control the computer with your keyboard. (I don’t even have a KB & mouse attached to that secondary computer). It works just the way you’d want it to as well. It is a wonderful program and I highly recommend it.

The only recommendation I would have if you do use it is, make sure you are using static IP addresses in your networking, and use the IP addresses as the computer names. I’ve found this gives the best seamless & problem-free operation.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s free? Check it out today.

Input Director

Chrome Application Shortcuts Windows 7 Taskbar icon fix icon resolution / size (and prevent Chrome from changing it back)

One of the great features of Google Chrome are “Application Shortcuts”. If you haven’t used these, they are a nice, convenient way to launch frequently used web apps from your desktop/taskbar in their own window. To create a new Application Shortcut, in Chrome click the wrench that expands options, then choose “Tools” and “Create Application Shortcuts…” from the tools sub-menu.

Here is a sample of 3 application shortcuts on my taskbar on Windows 7 (I outlined the shortcuts in red):

Although Application Shortcuts are a convenient feature, one of the annoyances of them is that they use low-resolution 32×32 icons. So, when you add them to your Windows 7 taskbar they appear pixelated and look bad. To further add frustration, if you change the icon, Google Chrome will often change it back automatically when you re-launch the program.

Here is how to change your Google Chrome application shortcut to use a high-resolution icon and preserve it so Chrome doesn’t automatically change it back.

  1. First, you need to find a higher-resolution icon of the application you are adding. You’ll want an icon at least 40px by 40px. I would recommend at least 64×64 or larger. The tricky part is you need an icon with the extension .ico. You can search on to find a hi-rez image of what you want (just search for your program with ‘icon’ after it). However, most images online are .jpg or .png. You must convert the image to .ico. The fastest, easiest way to do this is to use an online converter such as ( NOTE: I do not endorse this particular site–use at your own risk. It’s just an example, but it worked well for me. You can also convert it using a standard Windows Editing program such as PhotoShop as long as you have the right plug-in.
  2. Once you have your .ico image, \save it to a folder in your computer you can keep…perhaps in My Documents somewhere, or possibly even in the Google Chrome folder (somewhere you can leave it and it won’t get deleted).
  3. Create an application shortcut on your desktop for the application you want to change the icon.
  4. Find the icon on your desktop, right-click and choose properties. Then, choose “Change Icon…” and change the icon to the .ico image you downloaded in step 2.
  5. Click OK twice to close out and save.
    KEY: This next step (step 6) is critical to prevent Google Chrome from changing the icon back. It is a workaround, but it works for me and is the only way I could find to keep the icons the same:
  6. Now, right-click on the icon and click “Properties” again (yes, you do have to close and re-open the properties window).  Click the “General” tab and then click the checkbox next to “Read-only” near the bottom. Click OK.
  7. Now, drag the icon down to your taskbar and you are done! You should now have a high-resolution image on your taskbar that will stay that way.

Gmail IMAP Outlook error “Cannot move the items. The server responded: ‘No Folder Inbox/Sub (Failure)’.”

An interesting feature of using Gmail with Outlook is the ability to create nested folders as sub-folders of the Inbox (see this post for more).

One problem, however, is if the Inbox portion of the label isn’t formatted correctly, you will see this error:

“Cannot move the items. The server responded: ‘No Folder Inbox/Sub (Failure)’.”

The solution for this is quite simple, actually. The portion of the label called Inbox must be in ALL CAPS.

So, for the above, simply re-name it to INBOX/Sub (from Inbox/Sub)

Basically, Outlook is looking for an ALL CAPS folder name for Inbox.

Using Gmail IMAP with Outlook: labels as sub-folders of Inbox (Make sub-folders work in Outlook)

I started using a new Gmail account with Outlook 2007. One of the things I wanted to do was create multiple nested sub-folders in Outlook. By default, Gmail just uses labels which will only give you one layer of folders in Outlook. I also wanted them to be sub-folders of the Inbox.

The trick is fairly simple, actually…in Gmail, just create labels using the forward Slash /

For example, let’s say you want a folder set-up like this in Outlook:

ACME Consulting

In GMail, simply set-up a new label that looks like this:


That’s all there is to it!

Important point: You need to use ALL CAPS for the INBOX portion of the label. Otherwise, it will not work correctly.

Network File Transfers – Fix for Windows Security prompt “These files might be harmful to your computer”

This is a quick and easy fix for an error that appears every time you try and copy/move files within a Network Share (or from your desktop to a network).

This applies to you if you’re in a Network Environment (I.e.: You have a server you try and copy files from/to). You also must have permissions to modify your Internet Explorer settings. If you don’t have such permissions, you need to contact your Network Admin.

This is a screenshot of the error:

TO FIX THIS: You must add your Server’s name or IP address in IE settings. To do this:

1. Go to Control Panel
2. Click on or search for and find “Internet Options”
3.  Click the Security Tab
4.  Click Local intranet

5. Click the “Sites” button right below and to the right.
6. Click “Advanced”  in the menu that appears
7. You will get a new menu that says, “Add this website to the zone:”
What you want to do is type in the server name and\or IP address of whatever server you want to add. If you aren’t sure, look at the network share under “Computer” (from the desktop). If you have a network share drive, it should list the IP address or server name after a double backslash, for example:

Type that name in the box, click “Add”

8. When you are done, just click “Close” and/or “OK” out of everything. If it doesn’t work right away, I suggest rebooting.

NOTE: Make sure you only add the names/IP Addresses of servers you trust!  I bear no responsibility if you “trust” a site or server that is questionable.

Outlook calendar invitation shows up in Deleted Items with 12/31/1974 date – occurs hundreds of times per day (Google Calendar Sync)

That’s a long post title, but I wasn’t sure how to briefly state the problem. Here’s a summary of symptoms you may have:

  • You have Google Calendar Sync installed
  • You use Outlook and sync Outlook with Google Calendar
  • In Outlook, you notice under “Deleted Items” there are hundreds of entries for the same Calendar Event, or Calendar Invitation
  • In my case, the date was always 12/31/1974
  • It possibly causes slow-down in accessing your Outlook calendar

I do not have a guaranteed fix for this, I can just tell you what worked for me. What seems to be occurring is there is an outstanding invitation in Google Calendar, and for some reason it pops into Outlook over and over.

Here is the fix that worked for me:

1. Find the title of the entry that occurs over-and-over (in your Outlook Deleted Items)
2. Go to your Google Calendar, and search for the title of the entry (or part of the title). In my case, it found an invitation with a Question Mark (?) indicating that I had not replied
3. DELETE the offending calendar entry in Google Calendar, so there is nothing left in Google Calendar about that particular event
4. Permanently delete all the  entries in Outlook Deleted Items
5. Force another Google Calendar Sync, and see if that resolves the issue

Worked for me…let me know if it solves your problem!

Fix for Outlook error “Cannot create file: message.wav. Right-click the folder you want to create the file in, and then click Properties on the shortcut menu to check your permissions for the folder.”

All of my voicemails go into my Outlook email. Every once in a while I receive this error, shown below. This occurs because Outlook saves all the voicemails to a temporary folder in your system. All the files have the same name with a number after it: (I.e.: “voicemail (1).wav”). Once it reaches a certain number–100, to be exact–it can’t save any more so it throws an error.

Here is a screenshot of the error:

The fix is fairly straightforward. You need to find the folder Outlook stores those files in, then delete the messages.

1. To find the folder, open up Registry Editor (RegEdit.exe). Navigate to this path:
[NOTE: The number 12.0 may vary with your version of Outlook]

2. Once you find the path, you’re looking for a section called “OutlookSecureTempFolder”

3. Double-click OutlookSecureTempFolder, and then highlight the path under “Value data” and copy it by pressing Ctrl-C on your keyboard. You can now click “Cancel” because you don’t want to edit anything.
4.  Now, go to My Computer or Windows Explorer, and paste that path into the title bar.
5. You will now see a folder full of all your temporary files. Find the appropriate Voicemail messages and delete them all.

You will now be good for another 100 messages.

Thanks to this post for sending me in the right direction:

Outlook 2007 Exchange Re-sort contacts to First Name Last Name

I was having some trouble re-sorting contacts to First Name, Last Name. The “typical” method was not working for me, but I found a VB Script that did it.

Here are the symptoms I was having: The normal way of fixing this was not working. Typically, you should be able to re-sort contacts this way:
1. Click Tools, Account Settings, go to the “Address Books” Tab, then click “Change…”
2. Change “Show names by” to “First Last (John Smith)”
3. Re-start Outlook

For some reason, this didn’t do anything for me.

You can run the macro listed in this post to change the way Outlook sorts contacts:

First, you’ll want to set the sort order for new contacts, then use the macro to change it for existing contacts.

If you have no idea what I mean by “VB Macro”, I suggest you don’t try doing this.

SOLUTION: Windows 7 / Windows 8 / Windows 10 iTunes 12 (iTunes 8, 9, 10, 11) iPhone / iTouch / iPad “software is not installed” error (Apple Mobile Device service missing) 32bit/64bit

Updated 11/12/2016: Added files for iTunes 12.5.3, + Drivers, 64-bit. I no longer have access to a 32-bit computer. If you don’t have the latest version of iTunes, you can download it here.

***NOTICE*** It seems every new version of iTunes breaks this fix. If this fix has worked for you, then I recommend you stay on the iTunes version you have and don’t upgrade. You can see the Release Notes of each version of iTunes and see if there is a feature that you need. Typically I have found the upgrades aren’t all that needed (except major versions like 11 to 12, of course).


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After searching the net and lots of forums and trying lots of things, I thought I’d post the solution that actually worked for me. I owe a great deal of thanks to Chris123nt for this post (link removed, blog post no longer exists) for pointing me in the right direction.

First off, you will know if the solution below will work for you if you have the following set-up and symptoms:

  • Windows 7 (or Windows 8, Windows 10) and iTunes 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12 (I tried all versions, and many commenters have indicated this issue still exists in iTunes 12)
  • An iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad
  • You receive the following error when you plug in your iPhone: “This iPhone cannot be used because the required software is not installed. Run the iTunes installer to remove iTunes, then re-install iTunes.”
  • The Apple Mobile Device Service was not installed (to check this, click Start, Run, then type “services.msc” Look for “Apple Mobile Device”. If it doesn’t exist, keep reading. If it does, you have a different problem.)
  • You have tried installing and re-installing iTunes already and it didn’t work
  • According to other forums / posts, you might have tried extracting the Apple Mobile Device Software install files separately from the iTunes installer and installing manually that way, and it still didn’t work

The problem is, for some reason, iTunes won’t install the Apple Mobile Device software or service. Even if you extract out the AMDS installation files, it still fails. The SOLUTION is to take the software and service from a working machine for AMDS and manually install it. Then, it will work!

Luckily for you, I have provided the files you will need and installation instructions. This is a bit technical, but obviously worth it to get your iPhone,  iTouch or iPad working on Windows. These instructions are for both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7, 8 or 10 and the latest version of iTunes 12. Depending on whether you have 32-bit or 64-bit Windows, make sure you select the appropriate files and follow the right instructions, otherwise it won’t work.

If you don’t know whether you have 32-bit or 64-bit Windows, right-click on “Computer”, click Properties, then look under “System type”.

Good luck!

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  1. First of all, make sure you have the latest version of iTunes installed. You can download it from here. These instructions will NOT work for iTunes 8, 9, 10 or 11 anymore. If you’re unsure, just uninstall iTunes then re-install with the latest files.
  2. Next, you need to manually copy the Mobile Device Support directory from a working machine to your Windows 7 computer. Luckily, I have conveniently provided these files for you. You can download them here:
    64-Bit iTunes 12.5.3: Please click here to download this directory for 64-bit Windows.
    iTunes 11.1.5: Please click here to download this directory for 32-bit Windows.

  3. Once you download that file, you need to Unzip it to this directory. IMPORTANT: Make sure you unzip the CONTENTS of the zip file, don’t just copy over the zip file:
    32-Bit: Unzip to C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple
    64-Bit: Unzip to C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Apple
    There are a large number of files in that directory, so it may take a little time, please be patient.
    So, after unzipping, you should have a new folder “Mobile Device Support” in the Apple folder
  4. 64-BIT ONLY STEP: If you have 32-bit Windows, skip this step. It seems that Apple has put the “Drivers” in a separate location (don’t know why). You will need to download the drivers separately. Please click here to download the files for 64-bit Windows.
    Once downloaded, you need to Unzip it to this directory. IMPORTANT: Make sure you unzip the CONTENTS of the zip file, don’t just copy over the zip file:
    Unzip to: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple
    So, after unzipping, you should have a new folder “Mobile Device Support” in the Apple folder
  5. Next, we have to merge the registry entries that will install the Apple Mobile Device service.
  6. First, download the registry entries that I have provided for you here:
    64-bit iTunes 12.5.3: Click here to download the registry entries for 64-bit Windows.
    iTunes 11.1.5: Click here to download the registry entries for 32-bit Windows.
    After you download the registry entries ZIP file, unzip it to your desktop and double-click each to install it. Say “Yes” to any prompts or confirmations about adding it to the registry. There are 2 entries, make sure you click BOTH and add BOTH to the registry.
  7. Now, we need to install the correct driver for your iPhone / iTouch. Windows 7 incorrectly identifies the device  as a digital camera. To fix this:
    – Plug in your iPhone / iTouch (don’t have iTunes loaded at this time)
    – Go to Device Manager (Click Start, right-click Computer,  then click Properties. In the window that appears choose “Device Manager” on the left)
    – Scroll down and find “Apple iPod” or “Apple iPhone” or “Apple iTouch”. It will likely be under the “Portable Devices” category.IMPORTANT NOTE: If your device is already listed under “Universal serial Bus Controllers” and not Portable Devices, you can skip these steps and go to Step 7.
    –  Right-click the Apple device and choose “Update Driver Software…”
    – Choose “Browse my computer for driver software” in the window that appears
    –  It will ask you for a location; you want to Browse to this folder (location is the same in 32 and 64 bit Windows):
    32-bit and 64-bit: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\Drivers
    – Click Next
    – It should find the driver for your device; let it install that driver
  8. Once you complete these steps, reboot your computer. Once you reboot everything should work exactly as expected!

***NOTICE*** It seems every new version of iTunes breaks this fix. If this fix has worked for you, then I recommend you stay on the iTunes version you have and don’t upgrade. You can see the Release Notes of each version of iTunes and see if there is a feature that you need. Typically I have found the upgrades aren’t all that needed (except major versions like 10 to 11, of course).

Please write in the comments and let me know if this worked for you.

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Windows 7 Clean install with Upgrade license key Error Code 0xC004F061

I purchased a Windows 7 upgrade recently (my computer came with a full version of Vista). I got a new hard drive and did a clean install of Windows 7. When I attempted to use the key in the installation process, it told me the product key I was using was not valid. From the MS site it looked like I might have to install Vista first. Turns out this is not the case, it’s actually fairly easy around this.

*NOTE: Only follow these steps if you have a VALID Upgrade (I.e.: You legitimately own the previous full version you’re upgrading from)

This is what I did to solve the problem:

1. Do a clean install of Windows and do a keyless installation (I.e.: When it asks you to put in the key, just uncheck the “Validate Windows when I’m online” box and don’t enter the key; click “Next”)

Once you’re in Windows, you’re going to have to do some tweaking to “trick” it into letting you active Windows with the Upgrade key. To do this:
2. Once you’re at your desktop, run Command Prompt as Administrator (click Start, then type ‘command‘ in the Search box. You should see Command prompt on the list. Right-click it and click “Run as Administrator”. Click “Yes” on the Security Prompt).
3. At the command prompt, type: regedit
4. Once in Registry Editor, navigate to this key:
In that folder, look for the item MediaBootInstall
5. Double-click it and change the value to 0
6. Close out of Registry Editor. You should still have the Command Prompt open. Now, at the Command Prompt, type the following:
slmgr /rearm
7. It should show something that tells you the command was successful.
8. Restart the computer. Then, go to the Activation screen (Click Start, Right-click Computer then click Properties. Scroll to the bottom and choose “Activate my copy of Windows”)
9. Enter your Upgrade product key and it should activate successfully!