22 September, 2010

Use Google Search from Windows 7 Start Menu Instant Search Box

This is a very cool idea. Think about it, you want to search for something on Google, usualy you would click on your browser’s icon, go to Google’s web page and finaly you can type in Google’s search box what you are looking for! It’s a very short process for some users but for some powerusers, this can be unacceptable on these days. Yes there are Google desktop or Windows Search, but the problem with this kind of software on your computer is it can decrease the performance of your daily tasks! By just indexing and re-indexing every single file on your hard drive! All these troubles don’t worth when all you want to do is search Google as quickly as possible. What if I tell you that you can use your Windows 7 or Windows Vista’s “Start Menu Instant Search Box” to search on Google? What about Yahoo or Wikipedia? You can find the step-by-step instructions below…

Step-by-Step Configuring a Custom Search Engine in Start Menu Instant Search Box

1- Hit the “Windows   + R” on your keyboard and type “gpedit.msc”. Click “OK”

2- From the “Local Group Policy Editor” window, browse under

User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Instant Search

3- From the right pane of the window, you should see a setting called “Custom instant search internet search provider”. Double-click on the setting or right click and select “Edit”.

4- From the configuration window, select the “Enabled” checkbox. From the options, in the “The string or DLL resource from which to load the string shown in the Instant Search menu.” Type the name of the selection that appears in the Start Menu Instant Search Box. Example “Search Goole”

5- “The URL to use when invoking the custom Internet search, with the search term indicated by “%w”. Type “http://www.google.com/search?q=%w”. Click “OK”

6- Try to search anything in your Start Menu Search Box and see if “Search Google” option appears…

Note: You can use Yahoo, Wikipedia, Bing, any search provider that you like… Just find the search web adress of these search engines and add “%w” at the end of the URL. Here you can find a couple of them…

http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=%w YAHOO

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%w WIKIPEDIA


Kubilay Elmas

07 September, 2010



Windows 7 Ultimate can mount a .VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) file as a hard disk. So you can browse the files in the vhd file. You can also use virtual hard disks to boot your computer. This is called native vhd support for Windows 7. This means, you can create vhd files by command line, you can boot your computer to a vhd file without a hyper-visor. This method can be used as a backup system, all depending to the situations. In this tutorial, I will only show you how to mount a VHD file. The file that I'm going to use is coming from one of my old Server 2008 backup. So, if you are using the "Backup & Restore" feature of Windows 7 (all versions of Windows 7 has that feature), you might want to go back in your backup files and find just a little Word document that you deleted last week! Windows 7 built in feature can only back-up or restore. It cannot browse the backup files. It's right here that I'm going to help you. Just to be clear, this option is available only in Windows 7 Ultimate versions.


  1. From Windows menu, right click on "Computer", from the drop down menu, click on "Manage" or simply press the "Windows" + "r" (Run) and type "compmgmt.msc" than click "OK".
  2. In the left pane of the "Computer Management" window, click to choose the "Disk Management" item under the "Storage" menu. Here you can see all the (virtual & physical) disks attached to your computer.

  3. From the main menu on the top of the Computer Management window, click on "Action" and choose "Attach VHD" option. As shown in the following picture.

  4. This will open up the "Attach Virtual Hard Disk" window and you have to browse to your vhd file and choose it in order to mount it. As shown in the following picture. You can even check the "Read-only" checkbox to make sure that you don't modify anything in the vhd file. If you do so you may be unable to initialize the disk or explore the file with "Explorer" additional procedure may be required with this option selected.

  5. After choosing your VHD file and clicking the "OK" button, you will see that a new drive will appear in your "Disk Management" console. The disk will have a blue hard disk icon to show you that this is a virtual disk! Usually this icon is gray.

  6. Your disk is mounted and ready for you to explore and copy your files from your backup file (.VHD) or from one of your existing Microsoft virtual machines. Simply open a Windows "Explorer" window and you will see the newly added disk. You can even make changes on the disk and saved them to the vhd file.

  7. To detach the vhd file, return to the "Disk Management" console and right click to the area of the blue hard disk icon (previously explained), from the menu, select "Detach VHD". This will open the "Detach Virtual Hard Disk" window. Just click the "OK" button with the default settings and this will be enough to unmount the VHD. Be careful with the "Delete the virtual hard disk after removing the disk." checkbox. Selecting this option will delete your mounted vhd file after the unmount process. As shown in the following picture.

    If you experience any kind of problems or if you have better/other methods of doing these operations, please contact me or leave me comments.

Kubilay Elmas

01 September, 2010

Easy Way to Enable DreamScene in Windows 7

If you want to enable the greatest feature of Windows Vista Ultimate on Windows 7, you must read this article if you want to activate the “DreamScene” feature in Windows 7.


NTP (Network Time Protocol) Related Problems - Update Your Computer’s Date and Time!

Lately, I had a problem with my computers graphics card. It was making too much noise that it was unacceptable to work on a computer that is as noisy as your drill! So I had an RMA (Return Material Authorization) from XFX and I did a couple of days without my computer. Than remember that I bought an "Nvidia GeForce 9500 GT" video card for an old motherboard that used to be a test machine. So, after 3 days of being offline I changed the video card from a "ATI HD 4970" to a "Nvidia GeForce 9500 GT" and the problems starts right after the first boot with the new card! Windows asks me to restart… Windows will ask you this kind of questions only if there is really a need. I restarted the computer and my new graphics card driver was already installed and it took all my settings (because I'm using a monitor and an LCD television as a display). This is very nice of Windows 7… 

But for some reason my "Windows Update" wasn't working, my "BitDefender Anti-Virus" system wasn't able to update! I am using an application (it's more a service) called "Dropbox" where I can have a folder located on my computer and sync this folder with an online server and from there you can sync to all of your computers… It's very useful if you are dealing with more than 1 computer like most of the people today. This service wasn't able to get connections and start the sync process! Then, when I tried to open a web page from two different browsers (Windows Explorer, Mozilla FireFox), I was getting a "Internet Security" message trying to tell me that it couldn't find the certificate for the web page (www.dropbox.com a very trusted one). I was familiar with this kind of "certificate" messages but when it comes from a good source that you really trust, than you start to ask questions about it! By this time, I realize that one of my FireFox plug-ins doesn't sync my bookmarks! I smell a complicated problem but I'm putting this problem away too for now and I'm lunching my "Microsoft Outlook 2010". And as I was thinking, this one gives me a certificate issue message with my gmail account. 

I started to look around in "Control Panel" and in my firewall settings… Actually I was all around that the problem might come from. Then I realized that my pc's time was set to 15:34 pm and while my watch and the "mother nature" tell me that it's 20:34 pm… Instead of changing the clock manually by myself from "Date and Time Settings", I went a little bit far in the "NTP Server" settings and I tried to sync the time with the Windows 7's default "NTP Server" which is "time.windows.com" and time didn't sync. When I tried to ping this ntp server from command prompt, I wasn't able to reach the destination by ping. So, I googled for "free ntp server lists" and I found myself on a great project's web page that has a lots of lists for ntp servers from all around the world! http://www.pool.ntp.org

After changing the ntp server with the one that I got from the "NTP Pool Project", everything was waking up! My FireFox Sync, Anti-Virus, DropBox, Windows Update, Certificates and Outlook… Everything was working perfectly. So, as I you can see that even updating your time on your computer with a functional "ntp server" can help to solve lots of problems. 

Procedure of changing NTP Server on a Windows 7 computer:

  1. Open "Control Panel" and click on "Date and Time"

  2. Click on the "Internet Time" tab from the "Date and Time" window and click on "Change Settings…" button.

  3. You are now in the "Internet Time Settings" window. Make sure that this "synchronize with an internet time server" checkbox is checked. You can than enter your ntp server address in the "server" field and click on "Update" button as shown on the following picture. If your ntp server address is valid than your computer's time must adjust with whatever the time zone that you are in and the synchronization will do every time that your computer needs to do it!

    Kubilay Elmas