One of my main reasons for hanging a Synology NAS at home is that it can be a single source of truth to store and organize all the family’s photos over the years. First released in 2007, Adobe Lightroom has come a long way, and it has become the de facto app to manage photos for prosumers and pros alike. I’m sure many more folks out there use those two products for the same reason.
The biggest issue I found with using Adobe Lightroom (classic) is that your photo library will grow. As the year goes by, the size of all your photos and video will only grow. It also does not help as the image resolution increases, and the video codec offers a higher bitrate. The preview cache Lightroom generates also grows. As of 2021, there is yet to be a setting in Lightroom (classic) to limit the size of your preview cache.
There are two cache size settings you can apply, but both are not towards preview storage size. If you choose to enable preview, your user profile storage will grow as your library grows.
That leaves us with only two options, either disable preview altogether or move the preview to another disk where size won’t be an issue. Like most new PC the user profile is default together on the same drive as the OS. This is a problem with a limited SSD storage as your OS.
The solution is to shut down Lightroom and create a symbolic link to another drive. I’ve shared detail on how to do this many years ago, the same solution still applies.
Lastly, as we close this how-to article, I’m also closing a chapter of my career. Kent and I started this over 12 years ago. We never thought we could continue and do this for this long. As of today, this will be my last post for Next of Windows. The site has moved on to a new owner and management group. You can follow us on Twitter.
Windows 11’s most noticeable change is the front and center “in-your-face” taskbar (or dock). If this is the number one thing, you are looking forward to trying. You don’t have to wait for Windows 11. You can do that right on with Windows 10 without any third-party tools to have a centred taskbar.
Here is how:
First, right-click Taskbar > Taskbar Settings
Make sure the taskbar is unlocked, set location to the bottom and always hide the label.
Next, right-click Taskbar again > Toolbars > Tun on Links
Drag Links from right past the icons all the way to the left
Right-click the Links section and find “Show Text” and “Show title” turn both off. Now you can freely drag and position the icons to the center of your screen. Once you are happy, you can lock it down.
The catch here is you will notice the start menu is always on the left. This is the only difference in user experience between this tweak and Windows 11’s out-of-the-box new UX. If this is something you want, give it a try, and show off some unique Windows settings to your friend or colleagues.
Hello August, we have Summer Olympic 2020 playing right now in 2021, nobody would guess that from the last Olympics. While we are still catching up on what we’ve missed in 2020, 2021 summer sure feels more like another summer. As we slowly moving on from this pandemic, the sign of life is flourishing. As usual, we brought you this week’s wallpaper theme from Smashing Magazine, enjoy.
Recently I upgraded my motherboard (to MSI Gaming Plus Max b450) with a newer chipset to have better support my previous upgraded Ryzen 3700X CPU. Obviously, when you ‘upgrade’ a motherboard, it’s rather a full new build again just with existing parts and that the only scenario you are expecting is everything turns back on and hopes it works again. Sadly this isn’t the case, and it is by far the most frustrating build I’ve done!
I hope this tip can save you endless re-tries or hours of reading and watching videos online or even making the wrong decision to RMA your motherboard when things don’t work out.
So what doesn’t work out?
Unlike what this motherboard’s name suggests, I don’t plan to use it for gaming. I need it to speed up my daily work, and my work involves running docker containers and running virtualized OS. And by default, the setting for AMD’s Ryzen virtualization technology (SVM mode) is disabled.
So let’s enable it in the BIOS. But you will soon realize if you follow most other guide out there by going to Advanced > OC > Other Settings > (looking for CPU features). The setting is missing from my motherboard. What?!
Long story short, after more digging and countless BIOS version flash, the answer lies in the above menu. The SVM mode setting has been moved under OC > Overclocking > Advanced CPU Configurations.
This is where you can change the SVM Mode from Disabled to Enabled.
I hope this solves your issue of enabling virtualization with the MSI B450 Gaming Plus Max motherboard. Unfortunately, there are more headaches for me with this motherboard that I have yet to figure out. The board would sometimes think CPU is not detected. As a result, nothing boots up.
Windows 10 introduced Windows Hello to provide a better and faster way to log in to Windows 10 biometrically. There are two main methods to invoke Windows Hello. One is with a biometric fingerprint scanner, and the other uses a compatible webcam to use facial recognition to log in.
We will look at the latter today simply because there are more options out there for you to upgrade and experience on an existing Windows device that lacks this feature. Having said that, there are USB keyboards out there that come with a fingerprint reader, or you can always purchase a dedicated fingerprint reader for that purpose.
The benefit of selecting a webcam with Windows Hello is it has more than one function. The webcam has played a prominent role during the pandemic. Even as we are heading to this post-pandemic area, remote working has been greatly accepted in more industries and companies. That makes it even more important to select a webcam that gives you a great picture quality and additional features like Windows Hello.
Under the hood, Microsoft requires a webcam to have infrared, so it can see your face and unlock Windows even in the pitch dark. The unlock mechanism is a very different implementation (technology) compare to what Apple did since their iPhone 10 lineup. Recently there have been hackers that tricked and bypassed facial recognition with two well-detailed pictures. It’s, in theory, possible by difficult to pull it off in the real world.
To set up Windows Hello, first, you need a compatible webcam that supports this and has a built-in IR. Next, go to Settings > Sign-in options.
Select Windows Hello Face
If you do have a compatible webcam, Windows will detect and walk you through the setup wizard.
Windows Hello Face Login Worth It?
Ever since I started using Windows Hello to log in, I’ve noticed, this is actually way more accurate and way more reliable than a traditional keyboard passphrase. By accurate, I mean less error rate when it comes to typing the wrong password. Even when you’ve done it thousands of times and have them mechanically memorized. There is still a chance you could have the wrong combination or accidentally have the keyboard caps locked. It offers you a slice of convenience, but this can add up and ensure you can have a great start to your day by getting your login to your system promptly and quickly. If you are on the market to add a webcam, worth consider selecting those that support Windows Hello in addition to the picture qualities and other features you might be looking for.
The consumer custom builds markets, especially with new gaming builds; more and more systems are opt-in with an AMD Ryzen based desktop. Little you might not know while it’s best to download and keep your manufacturer’s motherboard’s driver and utilities updated. There is one driver you should get from the AMD website itself that’s the chipset driver.
One of the biggest benefits of installing an AMD chipset driver is it adds a new power plan to your Windows 10 – AMD Ryzen Balanced.
Do not get fooled by the name; you’d think, why would you want a balanced power plan when you can select the High-performance power plan that Microsoft offers in every Windows 10. The fact is AMD’s Ryzen Balanced power plan offers better performance than the built-in Windows 10 high-performance mode.
The type of performance comes in both the power consumption as well as peak outputs. With the AMD Ryzen Balanced power plan, when your PC is idle, it will turn off more cores and keep the cores that are on at a higher clock speed. At the same time, Microsoft’s Balance mode would keep all the cores on but lower each core’s clock speed. The result is both lower power consumption and higher performance when it needs to crank up the power. AMD Ryzen’s Balanced power plan has a faster reaction time when it needs to change the clock speed than the default plan, according to AMD’s source.
If you have an AMD Ryzen CPU, be sure to grab yourself the latest chipset driver from AMD’s website here.
Microsoft still lacks the equivalent of Preview in Windows. As PDF files are more ubiquitous, the need to create PDFs and making minor annotations or arrange orders becomes increasingly desired. Microsoft has yet to create an app that can compete or offer similar features as Apple’s Preview.
One of the most common tasks is combining and merging multiple photos (scanned JPGs) into a single PDF. If you Google, there are plenty of tools out there that provide this functionality, but would it be great if you can achieve those without any additional tools? In fact, you can, natively, with Windows Explorer.
You can merge multiple images into a single PDF in Windows without any third-party tools. To do this, all you need to do is select multiple images and right-click> Print > Microsoft Print to PDF.
You have the option to change rotations, fit to the page or not. As well as the ability to merge multiple pictures into a single-page PDF.
How to arrange the order of photos in PDF
The biggest ‘hidden’ trick to master this technique is that you have to have the photos arranged in the order you want before ‘printing.’ As there is no ability to alter the order of that page once you are prompt with the preview. The order of which page is determined by which first photo you right-click and all subsequent image’s order following that page.
You can either use the built-in Windows explore to sort the list by existing attributes, or you can rename all the files in a way that will satisfy your order. I hope you find this tip useful. I sure learned some tricks when messing with this.
July is a month that we celebrate the birth of two major countries in North American, the place we call home. Canada day (July 1st) and 4th of July, American Independence Day. I’m sure to many of you July means something else, because of that we have fully packed wallpaper themes for your desktop to have a fresh new look. As usual, we brought you this month’s wallpaper themes from Smashing Magazine, enjoy!
PowerToys is getting quite some attention from the rest of the pro consumers and us. We covered new features that are offered from PowerToys that would improve and increase your productivity here before. This next feature is arguably going to be the most requested or used feature since COVID. Now with a set of Windows keyboard shortcuts, you can globally mute and unmute or toggle on or off video for any video conference apps.
The latest version of PowerToys added a new feature to allow you to globally turn on and off audio and video with a single keystroke.
⊞ Win+N to toggle both Audio and Video at the same time
⊞ Win+Shift+A to toggle microphone
⊞ Win+Shift+O to toggle video
Under the hood, Microsoft didn’t bother to make it ‘work’ with Google Meet, Teams, Slack or any other apps that use your webcam and microphone.
Normally if a camera stops working, the application using it tends not to recover until the API does a full reset. To toggle the global privacy camera on and off while using the camera in an application, typically, it will crash and not recover. This is also why you won’t be able sometimes to use your webcam in multiple applications simultaneously.
So, how does PowerToys handle this so you can keep streaming?
Audio: PowerToys uses the global microphone mute API in Windows. Apps should recover when this is toggled on and off.
Video: PowerToys has a virtual driver for the camera. The video is routed through the driver and back to the application. Selecting the Video Conference Mute shortcut key stops video from streaming, but the application still thinks it is receiving video, the video is just replaced with black or the image placeholder you’ve saved in the settings.
For more details checkout this post where it went on for more details how this new trick is going to work. As long as you have a Windows 10 version 1903 (build 18362) or higher this utility will work.
With any new OS, especially Windows, your daily workstation you want to try the new one in a virtual machine environment before upgrading them to replace as your main daily driver. With that said, the only way right now to experience a Windows 11 preview release is by upgrading via a Windows 10 Insider Preview.
If you are on the latest Dev channel of Windows 10 Insider build, you will automatically be updated to this latest Windows 11 build.
Once installed you don’t even need to login with your MS account, I was able to upgrade a local account just fine. All you need to do is keep Windows Update up to date. With any luck you should see “Windows 11 Insider Preview 10.0.22000.51” is installing.
Once that’s done you just need to hit the restart.
Note make sure your VM is running with the basic compatible virtualized hardware. I forgot to have mine setup with the proper number of CPU cores.
With any luck, you should be able to see a new login screen and hear a new boot-up sound. It’s highly recommended to enable virtual graphic acceleration. Whether you are using Virtualbox or Window’s built-in Hyper-V, any existing virtualization platform that runs Windows 10 should be able to run this and does the trick.
What you get from this version of preview as expected comes with bunch of limited functionalities. For instance, you don’t have a way to run Android apps yet, that’s coming later in future version of Windows 11 insider preview. It’s expected that by the end of this year we should see a version of Windows 11 that allows us to run that ‘smoothly’. I’m very much looking forward to that day and can’t wait to test it out.
Microsoft announced Windows 11 last week, and the biggest news isn’t a new version of Windows. We all know that’s coming, but what’s surprising is that Microsoft will allow Android apps to run on Windows 11. They purposely saved this part of the announcement towards the end of the event. Much like Apple’s “one more thing.” The key takeaway is that Windows 11 will come with an Amazon Marketplace to download and install Android apps.
Microsoft has not detailed exactly how Android apps are running in Windows 11. Only have press news referring to Intel’s Bridge technology to help Microsoft realize the ability to run Android apps with Windows 11. It should also be noted that running Android apps is not limited to Intel; AMD also supports it. It will be very interesting to find how if Windows 11 ARM supports the Android app. In theory, it should, but we have not heard any or seen any evidence of that.
What it means
Obviously, the choice of partnering with Amazon instead of Google is deliberate. Given Google created Android OS, Microsoft can run the app that bypasses the android OS platform entirely suggests they still have the ambition to pursue the mobile platform. And they see Google as their direct competitor in this market.
If Microsoft can make Android apps running seamlessly inside Windows 11, this opens the door for it to make a comeback to your phone. Imagine a distant future where your phone runs Windows, and all your apps are just there regardless if it’s a desktop or mobile device running on the palm of your hand.
We know that the Android app in Windows 11 isn’t running under some traditional emulator that runs Android. Because we have emulator apps that allow the user to run Android apps ever since the inception of Android, what Microsoft is offering here has to be something better than that, something more ‘native.’ Much like how Microsoft was able to bring Linux kernel in WSL, the same pattern can be applied with Android. The biggest challenge will be on the CPU instruction set ARM vs x86. As of today, Microsoft has announced ARM64EC new ways to build ‘native’ ARM apps.
Now combine this with all the groundwork Microsoft has laid with WSL/WSL2 with Windows 10. The future of Windows is really a meta OS where you can run any app, just not Apple’s. Windows has a Linux kernel running inside each Windows 10 if WSL is enabled. Microsoft is making improvements to its WSL platform for each release of Windows 10. Just recently, Microsoft introduced WSLg, where you can now add GUI to your Windows Subsystem for Linux.
Where does this take us from here? Microsoft definitely sees what Apple’s M1 enabled them to do with their ecosystem. The ability to run Android apps on Windows 11 is a part of the answerback. But I think this can be a trojan horse whose main goal is to deaminate the Operating System market once and for all.
Ever since WSL and subsequent major improvements with WSL2 in Windows 10. Running Linux apps in Windows has become a reality increasingly. If you are messing with the command line interface, most of the toolchains are now fully functional with WSL2. However, using Linux as a traditional desktop GUI out-of-the-box WSL2 experience does not allow you to have a GUI. I showed you some ways to enable WSL2 GUI with RDP last year. Now there are better and more native ways that you can run GUI apps with WSL2.
Microsoft introduced WSLg (g, stands for graphic interface) where it enables you to run GUI Linux apps straight from WSL2.
You need Windows 10 Insider Preview to build 21362+ or higher to enable and try this out. And because you want to run GUI apps, depends on the type of GUI application, you need supports from your GPU driver.
If you already have WSL2 installed all you need to do is
Once it’s update updating, you need to restart WSL or simply run
This will restart the WSL service.
Depends on the distro you have installed you can try apps like
sudo apt install gedit -y
To launch gedit GUI editor as an example. Below is a full example demonstrating the power of WSLg.
Under the hood it’s running FreeRDP
Weston leverages FreeRDP to implement its backend RDP Server. FreeRDP is used to encode all communications going from the RDP Server (in Weston) to the RDP Client (mstsc on Windows) according to the RDP protocol specifications. It is also used to decode all traffic coming from the RDP Client into the RDP server.
This means if you want to RDP into WSL2 with WSLg upgrade it would be possible as well. For more details check out Microsoft’s dev blog post here.
Summer is here; reopen is around the corner. June will be a busy month, and we will expect some new Windows news in almost 7 years! Will it be called Windows 11 or 10X? Whenever this happens, we will pass the latest and greats findings to you! Father’s day is also happening in June, may all the father enjoy the fruits of your labour being a dad. And last but the least, we bought you this month’s wallpaper theme from Smashing Magazine, enjoy!
In the land of Electron apps dominating your daily computer life. Whether you are using VSCode, Slack, Discord or Microsoft Team, the platform behind the scene and its powers are the basics of a browser. More than anything, the speed of those apps is all depending on how fast a naked browser loads. Another way to put it, they aren’t as fast as they can be if it was created without chromium as the foundation.
Sublime Text, on the other hand, does not build with Electron. They are created with C++/Python that compiles down to native binary that runs on all 3 major OS. I’ve been a fan of the app for over a decade and still use it daily. Today we will go over three new changes in Sublime Text 4 (or just Sublime Text).
Gone are the days you purchase one license for each major version to get more features and more releases. The developer decided to change the license model, and each new purchase of the sublime text will give you 3 years of support and future upgrades. Please help contribute and support those developers behind the scene that made those tools so awesome.
Sublime Text Multi-Select Tabs
Sublime Text always supports multiple tabs, and you can customize the layout any way you want. But the catch is you have to know ahead of time what type of layout you want to use, and new files you open will then fit into the previously defined layouts. This is the case for almost all editors and IDEs. But Sublime Text made a step further. You get auto split views when you select more than one file from the tree. It’s definitely unique to Sublime that I haven’t seen in any other code editor, VScode included.
GPU Rendering Support
This is huge for those of you interested in performance. The new app support comes with GPU rendering support. It’s turned off by default on Windows, but you can turn it on and try it out. OpenGL powers the GPU support as it’s the lowest common denominator that all three OS supports.
// Enables hardware accelerated rendering. This moves rendering to your GPU,
// allowing for faster rendering at higher resolutions. Changing this
// setting requires an application restart to take effect.
// - "none": Performs CPU rendering.
// - "opengl": Uses OpenGL for rendering. Minimum required version is 4.1
// On Mac, this value is overridden in the platform specific settings.
It’s especially the case if you have a high res monitor, 4K or 8K monitors will experience more smooth and faster render for large files.
You can turn it on by going to the settings, finding the option above, and changing the value for hardware acceleration to OpenGL. If the app stops rendering, it might be a sign of issues with Sublime Text not compatible with your driver. You can always turn it off and let it render by the software (i.e. CPU) instead.
If you are a fan of Sublime and want to learn more about what it can do, be sure to check out some of the top features it has to offer.
A regular PC keyboard generally has 3 key locks. They are Caps Lock, Scroll Lock and Num Lock. While more and more keyboard layouts and PC manufacture have started dropping Scroll Lock for some years now, if you don’t have a number pad section, then you also don’t have a Num Lock. This leaves the only lock that’s consistent in almost all keyboards – the Caps Lock.
If for some reason, you press the Caps Lock and the light doesn’t turn off, this might be why. Check if pressing the SHIFT key would turn off the CAPS lock. If that does the trick, then the reason is your Windows setting had the CAPS lock only turned off by pressing a SHIFT key selected. You can fix this by going to Settings > Language > Keyboard.
Under the Keyboard setting, find the Input language hotkeysat the prompt under the “Advanced Key Settings” make sure to turn off Caps Lock is selected with Press the CAPS LOCK key instead of Press the SHIFT key.
Rest assured your CAPS-lock key isn’t stuck, and you can troubleshoot to see if this is a keyboard’s mechanic problem or a software issue.
If your CAPS-lock still not working as you were expecting, try disconnect and plug-in or if you have an option, swap out the keyboard this way. You can find out quickly if this is a software limitation or physical keyboard issue.
If you run into an error with your brand new machine when trying to run any custom scripts like npm, yarn or any node modules you might run into an error similar to below.
yarn : File C:\Program Files\nodejs\yarn.ps1 cannot be loaded because running scripts is disabled on this system. For more information, see about_Execution_Policies at
At line:1 char:1 + yarn + ~~~~ + CategoryInfo : SecurityError: (:) , PSSecurityException + FullyQualifiedErrorId : UnauthorizedAccess
To fix it, open PowerShell as administrator, again make sure to run this in PowerShell, not with the regular command prompt (cmd). Copy and paste the code below and run it.
May is here, and I hope all the moms have a wonderful mother’s day. Let’s all remember their love and their sacrifice in bringing every one of us to this world. This month, as usual, we brought you a wallpaper theme from Smashing Magazine. Enjoy! (ps. I apologize for the delay, of what normally would be the beginning of the month post to over a week later)
If you’ve followed my previous few posts on CPU upgrades, you’ve learned that updating your motherboard’s BIOS is critical to having a successful upgrade. Regardless of your reason for BIOS updates, here are few different ways I want to share with you when it comes to upgrading a Gigabyte motherboard’s BIOS.
Method One: Install Gigabyte App Center and @BIOS app
The most straightforward method that allows you to update BIOS all within Windows and I recommend most folks use this method. All you need to do is download the utility and run the installer. Follow the onboard instruction to update the BIOS. In order to install @BIOS you need to first have the Gigabyte’s App Center installed.
Method Two: BIOS Q-Flash
The traditional method is to go to the BIOS screen and flash the BIOS version from there. For Gigabyte, the flash tool is called Q-Flash. You download the binary and put it on your USB, boot into the BIOS screen and find the version from USB to proceed with the upgrade.
Method Three: Q-Flash via Dedicated USB Plug Directly
Almost all modern Gigabyte supports this; you need to read and check the instruction menu for your specific motherboard. It would help if you looked for a USB that’s dedicated to Q-FLASH to update BIOS. The most recent one, it’s a USB slot with white strips on the tongue.
Unplug everything else and power on the motherboard, and it will proceed with the BIOS upgrade. For this method to work properly, you want to have a USB drive with LED read/write an indicator to tell when the update is finished. This is a good method to proceed if you have lots of hardware need to perform the same update. It requires no supervision, just the right binary for the bios in the root drive of the USB, and it will proceed with the upgrade.
Today, we will walk through one of my frustration when it comes to upgrading my own AMD Ryzen build from a Ryzen 3 1200 CPU (or any Ryzen 1000 series) to Ryzen 7 3700x Zen 2 (3000 series, or 3rd Gen Ryzen) CPU while keeping everything else the same. Some background sets the stage so you can reference if you have trouble upgrading the CPU when it comes with yours. I’m running:
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-AB350M D3H
CPU: Ryzen 3 1200 (was) => Ryzen 7 3700x (new)
4 slots of DDR4-2400 RAM each with 8GB from Samsung (this became important information later on)
The key information here is the B350 chipset. If your motherboard is from another manufacturer (i.e. MSI), you too can follow this guide; it should be very similar, but some specific steps might be different. This chipset, according to AMD, should support up to the Zen2 series of CPUs which is the lineup named with the Ryzen 3000 series. You also want to check with your motherboard to ensure it supports the CPU you wish to upgrade. It is also worth mention that reinstalling Windows is NOT required for this upgrade to work.
Troubleshoot Why CPU Upgrade Didn’t Work
After I followed all the steps were in the previous post. I started up the desktop, and nothing loads. I get a blank screen, and around 10 seconds, the PC would power cycle and continue reboot itself. And the motherboard I have does not have onboard diagnoses LED, so you can’t tell which part of the motherboard panic and didn’t even load the BIOS screen.
What ends up helping me solve the issue is the user manual and Gigabyte Support website. I missed two key steps when it comes to preparing the upgrade. First, I had no recollection of when and how I upgraded the existing motherboard’s BIOS. All I know it’s not running the original, and it’s the second most up-to-date BIOS version, which should support the new CPU that I’m upgrading to. This post a problem as, according to the Gigabyte GA-AB350M-D3H manual, you have to upgrade the BIOS in sequential steps! While you can jump and upgrade the BIOS to the latest, it often doesn’t contain the proper function if you skipped some required version.
The other missteps I made was if you want to use all four RAM slots on the motherboard with the new CPU you need to run the “EC FW update Tool” and this also requires the chipset to be upgraded. Otherwise, you cannot run even if you upgraded the BIOS with the proper step upgrade.
Note: 1. If you are using Q-Flash Utility to update BIOS, make sure you have updated BIOS to F31 before F40. 2. Before update BIOS to F40, you have to install EC FW Update Tool (B19.0517.1 or later version) to avoid 4DIMM DDR compatibility on 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ CPU. 3. Due to BIOS ROM size limited, NO Bristol Ridge (AMD 7th Gen A-series/ Athlon™ X4 series) APU support.
As a result, the EC FW update Tool upgrade triggered the backup BIOS to load and my BIOS was completely reset to the original F version.
So this actually made the upgrade easier as the first required upgrade is F31, the next would be F40 and lastly, the latest upgrade is F51c. That is 3 BIOS upgrades if you wish to upgrade to the latest.
Once you are on the latest then try to swap the new CPU in again. This time it worked after many failed attempts.
I was about to open a return order for the new CPU and thought to give this one more try and this time it paid off. This speaks to how important to read every single instruction and have it well prepared if you want to do a heart surgery for your desktop. It worked for me hopefully it will work for you! I’m counting on this new build to last for another 10 year down the road.