Archive for the 'guides' Category


iPad website applications using Chrome Application Shortcuts (Windows)

Screenshots to Start us Off

image image


Should work with V4 and who knows what other versions. The feature has been out for more than a year now.

Some Background Info

If you want to just do this, skip to the next section.

This is kind of pointless in my opinion, but sometimes you might prefer a more touch friendly interface. Then this would be the guide to follow.

This can be done for any webpage in Chrome (or Firefox), simply by spoofing the user-agent string. Note that not all webpages have had the iPad touches made to them yet. Remember to add quotes.

You can also skip directly to the iPad editions if you don’t like the application shortcuts. Skip to to the second last section and just use your browser. For Gmail you need the user-agent spoof.

The user-agent string for iPad is:

Mozilla/5.0 (iPad; U; CPU OS 3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/531.21.10 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.4 Mobile/7B334b Safari/531.21.10

You ‘could’ just change all your Chrome user-agent strings to the iPad one to browse all sites in iPad mode, but I wouldn’t recommend it. So let’s just use Application Shortcuts.

How to Make an iPad Application Shortcut to Gmail

Step 1) Go into Gmail and make yourself an application shortcut

As shown below. You will need to modify these shortcuts later!

(my screenshot looks a bit different because my Chrome is already running under the iPad user-agent)



Step 2) Modify the shortcut(s) you just made

You’ll need to do this to every shortcut you made just now.

Right click on the application shortcut you have created with Chrome, and in the “Target” text field, input. We need to trim this because the user agent string is too long and you can just paste the ‘user-agent’ parameter as is without Windows cutting it off. If you replace the Gmail url ( in the “Target” text field within the ‘app’ string to anything else you will launcher a different webpage as a web application:

"chrome.exe" --app="" --user-agent="Mozilla/5.0 (iPad; U; CPU OS 3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/531.21.10 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.4 Mobile/7B334b Safari/531.21.10"


Now in “Start in” text field, make sure the the target location of Google Chrome is correct. Mine is:



Step 3) Launch!

Now just click that shortcut you modified.

If you did everything correctly, you will have the iPad version of Gmail!

More Links Mobile Edition

Some of these are just iPhone editions. Anyways I’m not here to make an extensive list.


Google Reader


Google Buzz


Google Calendar



Note that you can do this easily with Firefox via Addons, and can create applications in the same way. I’m not writing up another guide for that, but look up ‘user agent switcher’ and ‘firefox prism’. Might be a bit more complicated to get it working the same way.

User Agent Switcher Addon

Firefox Prism Addon (web apps for Firefox)


iPad User Agent String

User Agent Switch Discussion on Google Chrome Groups


Windows 7 Aero Glass Color Tweaksend


This is an extension of the glass streak tweak for Windows 7 I posted earlier. While I don’t understand all the settings, I decided to write this up anyways to show my config.

These are settings found in:


Again, you will need to run the following commands to see the changes apply:


Settings for Maximum Usable Transparency

ColorizationAfterglowBalance: 0

ColorizationBlurBalance: 64

ColorizationColorBalance: 0

ColorizationGlassReflectionIntensity: 0

ColorizationOpaqueBlend: 0

Settings for Fully Opaque Black Start Menu and Active Window Frame and Inactive Window Translucent, Glowless

ColorizationAfterglowBalance: 0

ColorizationBlurBalance: 0

ColorizationColor: ff000000

(change “000000” to any RGB color you wish)

ColorizationColorBalance: 64

ColorizationGlassReflectionIntensity: 0

ColorizationOpaqueBlend: 0

Known settings

Composition: 0 = disable Aero, 1 = enable Aero

ColorizationOpaqueBlend: 1 = forces all window titles opaque, same as unchecking “Enable Transparency” in settings

ColorizationAfterglow: ARGB glow color for all windows after first two digits. Glow appears when frame overlays any color, where it adds the color defined in ColorizationAfterglow as a bright glow. Has no effect on solid color backgrounds.

ColorizationColor: ARGB base color for all windows after first two digits. Opacity is higher on active window by default.

(ARGB is alpha-rgb color in hexadecimal form, for a total of 8 hex digits)

More unknown settings

Couldn’t quite figure out these settings. Posting them here anyways so someone else can figure it out.

ColorizationAfterglowBalance: 0-64h range: makes all window frames and start menu glow layer more opaque

ColorizationBlurBalance: 0-64h range: makes active window frame and start menu more opaque with lower values. Setting to 0 makes active window and start menu completely opaque. Max value makes active windows look the same as inactive windows, where glow and base colors are mixed together.

ColorizationColorBalance: 0-64h range: makes all window frame and start menu base color layer more opaque, more effect on active window

ColorizationAfterglowBalance + ColorizationBlurBalance + ColorizationColorBalance = 100 (decimal number) with Personalization panel settings

Changing the Alpha value in the ARGB doesn’t seem to have much effect

Final notes

I found the glow to be useless and a little unpredictable, so I disabled it completely.


Tips for Dual Booting Windows 7 with Windows 7

I was unable to locate a good guide on dual-booting Windows 7 with another copy of Windows 7.

Turns out it was really easy, but you can do some things that will result in unexpected behavior.

The proper way to install Windows 7 on another Windows 7 is to INSTALL IT FROM WITHIN YOUR ORIGINAL WINDOWS INSTALL!

You need to choose a ‘Custom’ in the following Window, then choose your partition to install it on. Make sure you choose a different partition than the one you are installing from if you want to retain a dual boot.


After your new Windows 7 install is completed, you may want to run the command “msconfig” or the program “EasyBCD” to change your boot order and waiting times.

The nice thing with EasyBCD is the ability to rename the OS display name in the boot menu. You can also reduce the timeout to less than 3 seconds. I found anything less than 2 impractical.



After your install, you should find that your new Windows 7 is on ‘D:’ drive, and your original Windows 7 is on the ‘C:’ drive


If I install Windows 7 from Boot?

In my install of Windows 7 from boot, it did the following:

  • removed the original Windows 7 from the startup boot menu
  • moves master boot record to the partition of the new Windows 7 install and marks it as the boot partition (verified with UBCD)
  • can break your rescue and recovery partition options from your computer manufacturer (tested on my Lenovo SL410)
  • original Windows 7 partition becomes ‘D:’ drive, but is unbootable until you perform a startup repair from the Windows 7 setup disc

Conclusion: to save yourself some trouble, just do it from within Windows!


Windows Vista or 7 Repair from Setup Disk, Thinkpad Drive Letter Wrong Workaround

I was cloning my hard drive on my Thinkpad laptop to upgrade the factory 250GB 5400 rpm drive to my 320GB 7200 rpm drive.

After I finished cloning my hard drive using Acronis True Image (latest boot CD available to me at the time), I knew from experience that Windows will not boot until you perform the startup repair from a Windows installation CD. This has been the case with Windows Vista and 7. Not doing so results in a bluescreen that says something to the effect of ‘unmountable boot volume’.

The default factory install of Windows 7 comes with 3 NTFS partitions, and for some reason my Windows 7 is on the 2nd partition, with the 1st partition reserved for the Lenovo system recovery software labeled “SYSTEM_DRV”. Upon booting to the setup CD, the CD reported my Windows 7 operating system as being on “D:” drive, which was incorrect.

I did not proceed with the repair install at this point because I wasn’t sure if it was going to work properly with the wrong drive letter. Instead, I booted to UBCD and opened Cute Partition Manager. From there, I modified the partition type of the first partition so Windows would not recognize it. In my case, I chose hNTFS (hidden NTFS).

After saving and rebooting, my Windows 7 startup recover tool correctly reported my boot drive letter as “C:”. I allowed Windows 7 to run its repair, and then upon reboot re-enabled the first partition by changing it back from hNTFS to NTFS using UBCD again.

Booting into Windows 7 after this process was successful, with all drive letters retained as per the cloned hard drive.


Daemon Tools Stops Functioning After Upgrade from Windows Vista to 7

Upon upgrading from Windows Vista to Windows 7, Daemon tools (4) has stopped working for each of my upgrades. To correct this problem, the SPTD driver needs to be updated. Alternately you must download and install a new Windows 7 compatible version of Daemon Tools (with a Windows 7 compatible SPTD driver).

You can download the newest SPTD driver directly from the DuplexSecure webpage for free:


Windows 7 Aero Glass Streak Tweak

This small tweak removes the faint glass steaklines in Windows Aero in all glassed areas including the taskbar.

Expected Results







Go to your registry and edit the DWORD32-bit entry:



Set the value to “0”, then restart your Aero. (Default hex value 32, decimal value 50)

To do that, I switched to Vista basic and switch back to my Aero theme. Alternately type these run the following lines in a command prompt (not case sensitive):


Other Notes

My window color sliders


From reading comments at AskVG:


Fixing MP3 Metadata (id3 tags) on Windows

I have had a lot of issues with MP3 metadata (title, artist, album) not displaying properly in Foobar2000 and Windows XP. Either it would not read at all, or the tag would be unreadable characters (in the case of alternate language MP3 tags such as Japanese tags on my English Windows installation). For example, sometimes it turns weird like this (Foobar2000 screwed this up in my case):



This ‘metadata’ stored in id3 format. From Wikipedia:

ID3 is a metadata container most often used in conjunction with the MP3 audio file format. It allows information such as the title, artist, album, track number, and other information about the file to be stored in the file itself.

Windows (even Windows 7) and Window Media Player don’t handle id3v2.4 tags. If you have any MP3 that is written in 2.4, Windows has troubles reading it. More information on Wikipedia here. You also have different encodings you can save the tag in, which messes with tags saved in different languages.


To fix the problem of MP3 metadata not displaying properly, download MP3tag to rewrite the mp3 ID3 tags. MP3tag is a MP3 metadata editor that does this very well.

MP3Tag Usage and Settings

You have to make sure you have the following settings in MP3tag Options:



After applying these settings, navigate to the directory with the MP3s with the bad ID3 tags. You will then see something similar to the following screen:


Now you simply need to save over the tags for every file. You can either do it one by one, or just hit ‘Edit –> Select All’ (Ctrl-A)


Notice that the save icon on the left of the toolbar (just below the File menu) is now clickable. Click it (keyboard Ctrl-S) to save the tags. Now you can see the tags in Windows and most of your other applications. Here is everything working in Windows Explorer and Foobar2000:




(Demonstrated under Windows XP English with Foobar2000 v0.9.6.9 and MP3tag 2.4.4)

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