Off my habitual topics… but this has been bugging me so much, hope someone will find this post useful!

You disabled offline files but never got your GB back ?

No “delete offline files” button anywhere ??

Here is what to do:

  1. Open Control Panel / Sync Center, click on “Manage Offline files” in the left pane and re-enable Offline files in the Offline Files window, then reboot your system.
  2. Go back to Sync Center / Manage Offline files, in the Offline Files window, General tab, click on “View your offline files” button.
  3. In the new window, double click on Computers icon and you will see an icon for the network computer from which you have stored local files.
  4. Right click on the computer icon and select “Delete Offline Copy” option.
  5. Wait and… enjoy your “stolen GB” back…

This is lame UX, and sometimes basic tasks can be so hard and painful…


This one gave me headache so I hope this will help people.

I’m using Windows Home Server (WHS) v1 in network with 2 laptops and after a storm that destroyed my server power supply I haven’t been using it for a long time.

A few weeks later I replaced my power supply, restart the server and then try to log on from both remote laptops but impossible to login! (still able to login physically on the server though).

While trying to login from the Windows Home Server console I always get a “Password is incorrect” error message. And both laptops appear greyed out in the computers list.

But… I am sure of my password and nothing had changed on my remote machines: same hardware, same user, same password, same network, …

At first I found maybe the recent installation of Windows 7 SP1 changed my laptop ID so I did an uninstall/reinstall of the WHS Console but still no luck. And my second laptop was still unchanged without SP1, so….

After some research I finally found that my server’s date and time was wrong (5 years difference… might be a CMOS battery issue). Corrected and then password worked like a charm. Just a bad error message…


IE9

Following my article on IE9 and Windows 7 integration, here is how you could go further by controlling an IE9 hosted Silverlight video from Windows 7 taskbar.

Live demo

If you have IE9 on Windows 7, you can try a live demo by visiting www.runatserver.com and dragging the browser tab to your taskbar, then select “Connected Experience” from the JumpList. (I explain how to create such a list in my previous article).

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This opens IE9 with a web page containing a Silverlight video:

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Note that you get a live preview in the taskbar’s thumbnail, and you can control the video!

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How to build this experience ?

With a bit of JavaScript, and the knowledge to communicate between the browser and Silverlight.

 

Silverlight project

1. In my XAML page I have a MediaElement with x_Name=”MediaPlayer”, so I just need to add 2 methods with the ScriptableMember attribute in code behind:


 

2. Then expose the page instance (as “MyPlayer”) to JavaScript, see line 4 of the following code:


 

With these two steps I am able to call the C# methods from JavaScript.

 

Web Site

1. In the HTML (or aspx) page that hosts Silverlight add the following META tag:


 

2. Add some JavaScript:


 

Line 3: SLObject is the Id of my Silverlight object tag.

Lines 5 and 6: Create 2 buttons

Line 17: Instantiate them

Lines 19 and 20: Set both buttons visible and enabled.

 

Now you will automatically get 2 buttons in the live thumbnail from the Windows 7 taskbar, and be able to play/pause the Silverlight video!

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The only thing I wasn’t able to do is installing the Silverlight app Out-Of-Browser right from the thumbnail.

I think because Application.Current.Install(); must be called from a user initiated event (mouse or keyboard event in Silverlight).

 

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IE9
As you know Internet Explorer 9 is now available in beta and you can download it here:
www.beautyoftheweb.com

Among the new features, you can now integrate your websites with the Windows 7 desktop. Users can pin any website to the Windows 7 Taskbar, Desktop, or Start Menu. Websites can use this experience without having to modify any of their existing content, but as a developer you can extend this and provide customized JumpLists and Notifications by adding Metadata and JavaScript code.

If you run IE9 now (on Windows 7), you can try by pinning www.bing.com website to your taskbar and you’ll get a nice icon with JumpList (links to web pages) like any Windows program:

Bing in taskbar 

Link to the full article on MSDN:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/ie/dd797411.aspx

In this post I want to make a small intro to show you how easy it is.

 

Make your website “Windows 7 aware” (from IE9)

Pinning any website from IE9 (drag a tab to Windows 7 Taskbar) gives you a classic shortcut and a right-click gives you this default menu:

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By adding just a couple of Metadata in your html you can improve the user experience by enabling a nice integration with Windows 7 (Find Metadata description later in this post):


You can try now and pin www.runatserver.com to your Taskbar and you’ll get this:

IE9 Jumplist

In this website we use ASP.NET so I added these Metadata in the MasterPage to get the same experience from any page.

I also use Resource (resx files) to localize the Metadata, so the Jumplist will be in the user’s language (on that website). Pinning again the website in french refresh the Jumplist:

IE9 Jumplist in french

Others website with a similar Windows 7 integration enabled (ironic that MSDN does not use that yet):

 

Metadata description

From the MSDN article:

Name Content
application-name The name of the shortcut. If missing, the document title is used instead.
msapplication-tooltip Optional text that is displayed as a tooltip when the mouse pointer hovers over the pinned site shortcut icon in the Windows Start menu or desktop.
msapplication-starturl The root URL of the application. If missing, the address of the current page is used instead. Only HTTP, HTTPS, or FTP protocols are allowed.
msapplication-navbutton-color The color of the Back and Forward buttons in the pinned site browser window. Any named color, or hex color value as defined by Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Level 3 (CSS3) is valid. For more information, see Color Table. If this meta element is absent, the color is based on the shortcut icon.
msapplication-window The initial size of the pinned site browser window.

  • width=N (minimum 800)
  • height=N (minimum 600)

Note that user action overwrites this value. Windows preserves the user-generated window size when the user changes the size of the window and then closes the instance.

 

Then you can add one or more “tasks” (5 maximum) to populate the Jumplist items:

I encourage you to read the MSDN article to learn more:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/gg131029(VS.85).aspx

 

Conclusion

With IE9 Microsoft wants to integrate websites in your desktop like any Windows app. Pinned sites run in a special branded IE window with no toolbars. It is a good thing as more than just “linked documents” the web is now a collection of applications, and as web developers you know that lot’s of issues comes from… the user (and your bugs)! Browsers are evil to business apps, things like location bar, favorites, Yahoo toolbar, Gooogle toolbar, MSN toolbar, Paypal toolbar, … add distraction and are error prone. I can see a good use of pinned sites for intranet web apps, where the user will launch the app from a taskbar icon or even the start menu and almost won’t notice it is a browser window.

Might be more useful than WebSlice…

 

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Windows 7 allows you to link your online ID with your Windows user account. This will pre-populate your credentials (username/password) each time you use a connected software. Any standards-compliant ID can hook into this feature. For now, only Windows Live ID works.

To add an online ID provider:
Open “User Accounts”, Click “Link online ID”, Click “Add an online ID provider”.

Select your online ID provider from the list and follow the instructions. 

For Windows Live you’ll be asked to download and install Windows Live ID Sign-in Assistant 6.5:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=5e193cfe-f45a-4e29-b6b7-984e7802c639

“The Windows Live ID Sign-in Assistant 6.5 installs the Windows Live ID online provider for Windows 7. This provider enables linking a Windows Live ID to a Windows 7 user account.”

Then go back to the previous screen and the Online ID Provider is now available:

Click “Link online ID” and type your user name and password once.
Now you’ll save time when you open Email, Messenger, Zune, …!

 

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Since I installed Windows 7 beta on my Dell D830 laptop I was not able to get Aero glass as my current driver only support 16-bit color. Moreover the nVidia beta drivers for Windows 7 available on Windows Update refuse to install for me.
So I was stuck for a few days until I found this on a TechNet forum:

Right click on desktop
Select NVIDIA control panel
Select Display / Manage custom resolutions
Click “Create…”, enter 32 for “bits per pixel”
Click test and save it.
The test reports a failure but… it works!

Now I can play with Aero Shake and Aero Snap!

 

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Windows 7 introduces some mouse gestures features: Aero Shake and Aero Snap.

 

Aero Shake

Drag a window and shake your mouse: all background windows instantly become minimized.
Shake again: minimized windows are restored.
(Also available with shortcut: Win + Home)

 

Aero Snap

Aero Snaps allows you to position and resize windows by dragging windows to the edge of the screen.

Note: if you are more a “hotkeys” person here are some shortcuts:

Win + left/right arrow: dock left/right
Win + shift + left/right arrow: same but across multi-screens!
Win + up/down arrow: maximizes and restores / minimizes
Win + shift + up/down arrow: maximizes and restores vertical size

 

Also I noticed that window borders keeps transparency even when maximized (unlike Windows Vista).

And to conclude: no, there is no 3d cube desktop manager in Windows 7, which is something people are very much interested; if I believe my stats this 2 years old page gets more 1000 visitors per month on my blog:

http://weblogs.asp.net/lduveau/archive/2007/03/23/vista-desktop-manager-with-3d-cube-effect.aspx


Windows

I installed Windows 7 beta (build 7000) and I have to say this new version of Windows is lighter than Vista, which is very good news, I was waiting for that and I think most people do, tired of Vista poor performance and anemic file copy.

After startup W7 takes less than 400MB of memory! I have been told Windows 7 should run just fine on a system with 1GB of RAM (good for netbooks!!)

I also noticed boot time is a lot quicker and battery life is improved on my laptop.

The new taskbar is weird at first. The Quick launch toolbar has gone (Boh!) and the “show desktop” button is at the extreme right side… (remember this is beta and subject to change). I like the “2 clicks” shut down experience instead of 3 with Vista. You can customize this in the properties of the taskbar.

No more gadget bar on the desktop… not a bad idea! You can still have gadget on your desktop with right-click “gadgets”.

For sure I’ll show more on Windows 7 later…

If you want to try it for free go and download it there:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/beta-download.aspx

After that do a Windows Update or install the patch to fix the problem with MP3:
https://connect.microsoft.com/windows7/Downloads/DownloadDetails.aspx?DownloadID=15614

Also Windows 7 comes with IE8 so this is your chance to test this new version of the browser.

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