Monday, November 27th, 2017

Clean Up Time! How to find and remove big files

how to find your biggest files so you can delete them without needing extra software - windows quick and easy technique

Go from red to green – Find and Delete Big Files in Windows

I admit it – My computer is a huge mess of files. Which wouldn’t be so bad except that I have little or no room left on my hard drive – when I check it in my C: drive is red! So, I need to get rid of files by deleting them or moving them to an external backup.

All very well but I’ll get the best ‘bangs for my buck’ if I can find and manage the really big files. But how to do this and please don’t tell me I need to install a new program to do that! Well, luckily in Windows, you don’t.

Here’s how to find your biggest files:

  • -Press Windows key + F to launch Windows search dialog.
  • -In the top right corner type size:gigantic and press Enter
  • -Wait
  • -Wait some more

Because I don’t index my drive it takes a little while but the result is an ordered list of your biggest files from biggest to a little less big. You can now delete or move any files you no longer need. BUT beware! If you don’t know what a file is – DON’T delete it! If it is a Windows file you could wind up with a computer that no longer works.

I was really surprised what I found. Heaps and heaps of old backups that I make before I go on holidays each year and which were just sitting there. And a full 22Gb in a single screen recording that I had already edited and rendered and certainly did not need! In just a few minutes my disk is back to a happy green color and, once I’ve finished telling you all about my success, I’m off back to work.

search for and remove oversize files in Windows

Be careful, if you didn’t create a file, don’t delete it. Files like Pagefile.sys shown here belongs to Windows and SHOULD NOT BE DELETED.

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Shake Up Windows

See how to minimize everything on your screen except what you are working on

This tip falls into the category of WTF? Who knew this? I certainly didn’t until I fell over it the other day. It’s a tip for Windows 7 and 8 for hiding everything on the desktop except what you are working on.

Grab the title bar of the current window with your mouse and give it a good shake. When you do, everything that was open except what you are working on disappears and you’re left with just the current window.

Do it again and everything comes back in the position it was in. It’s not a tip that will save you a lot of time, but it works and it’s fun to do – at least the first few times.

Helen Bradley

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Switch between open documents in Excel and Word

Hmmm … I am fussy, I want my cake and I want to eat it too!

I want to have a clean task bar so I don’t want to see lots of files lined up there so I love Windows 7 and its clean task bar. But I find the new panel that opens when I right click an icon on the task bar to be just a little bit too free with information. I really want it to show me a list of currently open files – not everything that I have open or have recently opened. Actually I could live with the information it gives me if I didn’t have to actually use it to switch windows.

So, problem is… how can I switch between open documents in Excel or Word, for example, without having to use the Windows task bar? Solution is to use the Switch Windows button. I add it to the QAT (Quick Access Toolbar) and it totally makes sense to me.

In Excel or Word, click the Customize Quick Access Toolbar button and choose More Commands. From the list which currently shows Popular Commands choose All Commands and scroll to find the Switch Windows button and click Add.

Now it is on the QAT and it will show you all your open files and you can use it to switch between them by just clicking on the one to go to. Repeat the process for both Excel and Word and you’ll be happy – at least until something else bugs you!

Helen Bradley

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Help! Windows can’t find my Camera Card

Lately I have been having all sorts of problems with my camera card in multiple computers in that the computers couldn’t (or wouldn’t) recognize a card when I put it in the card slot.

It got to the stage where it was fairly obvious that the problems were less an issue with the camera cards themselves and more a problem with Windows.

So, if your SD, XD or compact flash card isn’t being recognized by your computer, don’t blame the cards or yourself and, instead blame Windows! And then step through this process to fix the problem:

Step 1 Click the Start button and choose click Settings > Control Panel and open the Device Manager. On Windows Vista you’ll need to have admin status to do this.

Step 2 Locate the Universal Serial Bus Controllers option and open it.

You’ll see some USB mass storage devices listed and these control your USB Mass Storage Devices. You need to disable them so right click each USB Mass Storage Device and choose Disable. Repeat this for all the devices listed – only disable the USB Mass Storage Devices – not anything else and don’t Uninstall them – just disable them.

Step 3 When you do this, you’ll be warned that you need to reboot your computer so do this and Windows will automatically find your mass storage devices when it boots.

In future, it’s best not to use the option to Safely Remove a Storage Device and instead open up My Computer, locate the drive, right click it and choose Eject. This safely ejects the card so that you can remove it and ensures that the storage device isn’t clobbered so it doesn’t work any longer.

Helen Bradley

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Flash movies and Windows 7

Internet Explorer 32 bit browserToday I had a particularly annoying half hour. It was a simple enough scenario, I wanted to play a Flash videos on my 64 Bit Windows 7 computer. Internet Explorer – Nada! Firefox – Nada! My Conclusion – this is not good…

For reasons better known to the folks at Adobe, the company has not yet updated its Flash player to support 64-bit browsers on 64-bit operating systems. The key to the problem is the combination operating system and browser you’re using.

A 64-bit browser on a 64-bit operating system won’t play Flash movies, but a 32-bit browser running on a 64-bit operating system will – with some tweaking.

So what do you do? The solution with a Windows 7 machine is deceptively simple. Select the Start button, choose Programs and then look for Internet Explorer. You will find there are two versions of Internet Explorer installed: Internet Explorer and Internet Explorer (64-Bit). Internet Explorer is the 32-bit browser so, if you run that and not the 64 bit version you’re half way to the solution.

What I’ve done is to replace the link to the Internet Explorer (64-Bit) browser on my system everywhere it appears such as in the Start menu and the Quick Launch Bar with the 32-bit version. I can live without the ‘benefits’ of a 64-bit browser if I can view Flash movies the way I expect them to play.

If you find the movies do not play or stop part way through, as I did, right click the movie and see which version of Flash Player you’re using. If it is version 10 then uninstall it (using Control Panel > Programs), and go find version 9 and install it in its place. You can download version 9 from here: – this is a source of archived older Flash Players.

So, if anyone from Adobe is listening, please can you get us a 64-bit Flash Player? While there is one available at for Linux there is nothing yet available for 64-bit browsers running on 64-bit operating systems for Windows or Mac. Given that so many people are switching to 64-bit operating systems, if only because it allows you to address great wads of memory, it really is time that the big name companies came to the party and provided basic tools compatible with these systems.

Helen Bradley

Monday, March 1st, 2010

How to install fonts in Windows 7


Ok. It should be dead easy to install fonts into Windows if you have been doing it since Windows 3.1. Until Windows 7 you went to the Control Panel, chose Fonts then installed them using the handy dandy dialog. Ok. Not so simple but it worked and it has done so for years.

Fast forward to Windows 7. No Font dialog as I remember it and no font install option. Ok, step backward, think, investigate, light bulb moment encountered.

In Windows 7 there are multiple ways to install fonts but seriously only one I’d bother using. Open the folder containing the font file, unzip it to see the TTF file if it is zipped then double click the font’s ttf file name. A dialog opens showing you what the font looks like and, at the top, you will find an Install button. Click it and seconds later the font is installed. Really? It’s how it always should have been done.

You can drag and drop the .ttf file into the fonts list via the Control Panel but seriously – why bother going to the effort. You can also right click on a font’s .ttf file and choose Install from the menu too but I like to check the font before installing so it is method #1 for me.

Helen Bradley