Re-map the Calculator keyboard key to Play/Pause on Windows 10

Here’s how to re-map the default Calculator keyboard “shortcut key” to instead send the Play/Pause media command under Windows 10; alot more useful!

This guide is aimed at the Amazonbasics Wired Keyboard but applies to any keyboard making use of the standard Windows media/shortcut key codes. A requirement is that you are using a supported media player including iTunes, Spotify, Windows Media Player or VLC.

  1. Download Command Line Media Controller (it’s free) and copy it to the Program Files (x86) directory
  2. Open up the Registry Editor (regedit64.exe) by clicking the Start button and typing regedit into the search bar
  3. Expand Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\AppKey\18
  4. Create a new String with the Value name: ShellExecute
  5. Set the String Value data to: “C:\Program Files (x86)\Command Line Media Controller\CLMControl.exe” Spotify -pp
  6. Click OK

That’s it! Hit the Calculator keyboard shortcut with Spotify open and it will toggle play/pause. Happy listening! 🙂

Recovering from a “dead” hard disk on the XPS 15 9550

I brought my XPS 15 9550’s hard disk back from the brink today. I hope this will help other affected XPS 15 9550 users or just Windows users in general.

The XPS 15 9550 was powered down as usual and on reboot would go directly from the Dell POST logo to the Dell diagnostic software (Enhanced Pre-Boot System Assessment). That’s not a good sign.

After running through common diagnostic steps with Dell Support a new hard drive was ordered and installation scheduled for the following day (unit was covered under a Next Business Day support contract). As Dell Support put it the hard disk was dead without any chance of recovery… or was there? 😉

Here’s how to recover your Windows instance in the case where the hard disk hardware is still being detected and simply has no UEFI boot entries:

  1. Open BIOS Setup by powering up the XPS 15 and tapping F12
  2. Open the Settings > General > Boot Sequence screen
  3. Ensure that UEFI is selected under Boot List Option
  4. Click Add Boot Option
  5. Provide a Boot Order Name (it can be anything, I used Bootx64)
  6. Select the available File System List
  7. Set the File Name to: \EFI\Boot\bootx64.efi or click the ‘…’ button and expand the EFI > Boot directory and select bootx64.efi before pressing OK
  8. Click OK to create the new EFI boot entry
  9. Select the new EFI boot entry
  10. Click Apply
  11. Click Exit

Fingers crossed! That’s it, I hope you’re back up and running again. 🙂

Hiding the Filezilla “Transfer Complete” notification in Windows 10

Here’s how to hide FileZilla’s pesky “Transfer complete” notification that appears after each file upload/download on Windows 10. I assumed you could toggle it off within FileZilla itself but it didn’t stick.

  1. Right click the Windows taskbar
  2. Select Properties to open the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog 
  3. Beside Notification area click the Customise… button to open the Settings > System > Notifications  & actions panel
  4. Scroll down to application entries under the Show notifications from these apps
  5. Beside FileZilla hit the toggler

That’s it!

I put up with this way too long before I did anything about it!

Fix for stuttering, lag in Bluetooth mouse on Windows 10

Here’s how I fixed the stuttering and lag issue with my Logitech MX Master working with Windows 10 Home and Pro:

  1. Open up the System screen within the Control Panel (keyboard shortcut: Win+Pause/Break)
  2. Open Device Manager from the list of links on the left panel
  3. Expand the Network adapters section to list your network adapters (e.g. WiFi, Bluetooth, VPN, etc.)
  4. Double click your WiFi network adapter to open the Device Properties dialog (in my case this is a Dell Wireless 1830 802.11ac)
  5. Switch to the Advanced tab (if you cannot see an Advanced tab then close this dialog and double click the other Network Adapters until you find one that has it)
  6. Within the Property list select Bluetooth Collaboration
  7. Change the Value of the dropdown list from Auto to Disabled
  8. Click OK to save changes

That’s it!

[codex_nas_adsense]

The WiFi network adapter will restart the device so expect to lose network access for a moment before network access is restored. Happy days.

Update 1: Yeah the above helped but didn’t fix it entirely, somehow unticking the Enable pointer shadow option within the Mouse Properties dialog (open Start then type in Mouse) makes a big difference, I do still notice some stutter when copying files or using Google Photos.

Update 2: Uninstalling the Realtek AC’97 software from Add/Remove Software and restarting did wonders on-top of the above steps. No more stutter!

Pausing automatic Windows Updates in Windows

Today I noticed my internet speed running slower that usual when running an internet speed test over the wireless network, I isolated the network usage to automatic Windows Update downloads that were in progress yet frustratingly there was no way to stop the Windows Update session.

Here’s how to pause/suspend an in-progress Windows Update session in Windows 10 as a local Administrator (by default for personal computers):

  1. Click the Start menu
  2. Type cmd to open the Windows search dialog with Command Prompt appearing as the Best Match
  3. Right click Command Prompt and from the dropdown menu select Run as Administrator
  4. The Command Prompt window will appear
  5. Enter the following Windows command:

    net stop wuauserv

  6. If successful the following response will be given:

    The Windows Update service was stopped successfully.

  7. Close the Command Prompt window

That’s it! 🙂

To resume your Windows Update session either open Windows Update from Settings > Update & Security and click the Retry button, open another Command Prompt window using the above instructions and replace net stop wuauserv with net start wuauserv, or simply restart Windows from the Start > Power menu.