Selecting a startup disk when you put a firmware password on a Windows single-boot Mac

Usually, when you put a firmware password on a Mac, you can double-check in System Preferences > Startup Disk to see if the proper startup disk (or any startup disk) is selected.

Since the default behavior of the firmware password is you needing to enter the password in order to boot from anything other than the startup disk, you probably want to have a startup disk selected (otherwise, you'll get the folder with a question mark inside of it when you boot up).

In most cases, this isn't that difficult, but if you set up a single-boot Windows installation, you may not always see it available for selection if you boot to recovery mode or boot to macOS from an external drive.

Instead, you may want to just boot into Windows (hold down the option key and enter the firmware password if you need to this one time), and then launch up the Bootcamp Control Panel, and you can set the startup disk there.

Using DVD Flick to create DVDs from video files

DVD Flick is an open source Windows program that allows you to burn various video file types to DVD (as an actual DVD, not as a data file).

It's fairly simple to use, but there are a couple of weird nuances:

  1. By default, it doesn't actually burn to disc when you create the DVD. It creates a DVD-ready set of files in a folder on your computer. In order to actually make the DVD, you have to change the settings in your project by going to Project Settings > Burning > Burn project to disc.
  2. Also by default, there is a weird audio delay (similar to bad dubbing on Bruce Lee movies from the 70s). In order to get rid of that delay, you have to go to Edit title... > Audio tracks > Edit > Ignore audio delay for this track.

Fix Evernote sticky notes for Windows remembering a ton of empty windows

We have a Windows user who uses Evernote Sticky Notes, and a whole bunch of blank notes would appear (at least 20 of them) every time the application was launched (at login), and they would have to be manually closed.

I thought renaming the Evernote folders in C:\Users\username\AppData would fix it, but that did nothing.

Turns out the remembered notes are in the registry. So I copied the contents of the notes temporarily to Notepad, ran regedit.exe and then deleted HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\EDO-Soft\Sticky Notes.

Relaunched Evernote Sticky Notes, created new notes for the legitimate (not blank) notes I'd previously copied to Notepad, and that fixed it. Quitting out of Evernote Sticky Notes and relaunching it brought back only the new notes and not the numerous blank ones.

Freeing up licenses from deactivated users in CrashPlan

If you have CrashPlan PROe licensed for a certain number of users at your organization, but then you run out of licenses, you may think you can just deactivate users, and that's all good, but in Deactivating & Reactivating Users & Devices, Code42 is a little vague on how long it will take for the licenses to free up:

Deactivation stops backup and causes associated archives to be placed into cold storage and eventually deleted. Licenses are not immediately freed by deactivation.
Apparently (thanks, Sean, from the Mac Admins Slack), you have to purge the cold storage (CrashPlan's version of the Trash can or Recycle Bin) in order for the licenses of the deactivated accounts to be freed up. More details at Purging Cold Storage.

Fixing Windows iTunes playing only through speakers and not through headphones

If you notice in your Windows installation that iTunes audio is coming out of the speakers for iTunes even when you plug in headphones, try this tweak, which should fix the behavior to be the normal expected behavior (no headphones, play through speaker; headphones, play through headphones).

itunesaudio01 In iTunes, go to Preferences.

itunesaudio02 Click on the Playback tab.

itunesaudio03 Under Play audio using, select Direct Sound instead of Windows Audio Session.

Restart iTunes after saving your changes.

Big shout-out to my colleague Jerold Malone for finding this fix.

Install firmware using LEGO MindStorms

First, make sure you have EV3 software from LEGO.

Once you have it launched up, go to Tools and select Firmware Update.

Next to Online Updates, click Check.

Then, click Browse.

Select the firmware and then click Open.

Connect (via USB) your LEGO creation.

Under Firmware, click Download.

Watch the progress.

Once it's done, you'll see a message on your computer and also the LEGO creation you made will make an audible beep noise.

Setting a signature line for your SI e-mail – Microsoft Outlook edition

To set up your SI signature in Microsoft Outlook, do the following:

Click on File and select Options.

From the left side, select Mail.

Then, on the right side, select Signatures.

Make sure you're on the E-mail Signature tab. And, if you're creating a new signature (as opposed to editing an existing one), click New, give a name for the signature you're creating, and then click OK.

Once your signature is created (or if you're simply editing a previously existing signature), you can just click into the Edit signature large text box and start editing.

The Communications Office is asking us to standardize on one that looks like this:

Mr./Ms. YourNameHere
St. Ignatius College Preparatory
2001 37th Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94116
(415) 731-7500 ext. YourExtensionHere

Finally, you need to select your account (if you have multiple email accounts in your Outlook client) and then select which signature will populate for New messages and for Replies/forwards.

If you use Apple Mail for your e-mail, there are instructions here.
If you use Gmail's web interface for your e-mail, there are instructions here.

Error 0x80070190 when activating Microsoft Office 2010

Had this happen once on a Windows machine. Microsoft has several solutions outlined at When attempting to activate Office 2010 receive error "An unspecified error has occurred. Your request cannot be processed at this time. Please try again later. (0x80070190)"

The one that worked for me was 3. Change the UserOperations key under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\OfficeSoftwareProtectionPlatform to have a value of 1.

Packaging Adobe Acrobat for Windows from Adobe CS6 Master Collection

It's fairly straightforward to make à la carte packages for Mac using AAMEE if you have a site license. I thought it'd be equally straightforward to do so for Windows as well. There is one exception—Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Every time I tried to install it based on the build, the installer would just die in the middle. After doing some digging online, I found the recommendation to put in some cryptic command to get it to install. That appeared to get it installed, but then the program wouldn't launch because it was missing Adobe Application Manager.

Turns out you have to bundle it with at least one other Creative Suite component in order for the installation to work. In other words, it can't be just Adobe Acrobat Pro. It has to be Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Photoshop (or Illustrator or InDesign). And then you'd have to uninstall the other component later, if you wanted to have only Adobe Acrobat Pro installed.

Very odd, especially since—with the same kind of site license—Mac packaging of Adobe Acrobat Pro by itself works just fine.

Windows Explorer and Disk Management reporting different partition sizes

I ran into an issue with a user running Windows on a Mac. Windows should have taken up the entire drive (which is 250 GB), but Windows Explorer was reporting about 90 GB.

The really odd thing is that within Disk Management itself, it reported 90 GB on top (same as Windows Explorer) but then 250 GB on the bottom... and no empty space after the partition.

I found the solution here:
I Expanded the Disk in Disk Manager but It Doesn't Show in Windows Explorer

Launched up cmd.exe as administrator and then ran

List Volume
select volume 0
extend filesystem
and then it was all good.