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Posts Tagged ‘Windows’

The Search bar in Firefox – which many still look at as the “Google bar”, even though it lists other search engines – is extremely useful, but you can make it even more so by adding your own localised version of Google. This is handy for many reasons, like being able to search for products/prices in your own country, ignoring overseas stores.

For the purpose of this article, we’ll look at how to add Google Australia to the list of search engines, but you can apply this to your own country (as long as it is one of those supported).

Now, if you go to the Firefox Add-ons site, you’ll probably find there is nothing for your country’s version of Google, but you can find Google add-ons here.

Once you’ve located one you want to add, simply click its link. You will then be asked:

Add “Google Australia – from Australia” to the list of engines available in the search bar?

… so just click the Add button, and you’ll find the new Google entry in the Search pull-down menu.

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Whenever you freshly install an OS – be it Ubuntu or Windows – your previous collection of fonts can’t be expected to just suddenly appear there. But it’s really quick and simple to get them back, and you won’t even need to reboot before you can start using them.

All you will be doing is copying files from a source folder to a destination folder, which is just a basic bit of file management. First, locate your original fonts folder on your Windows partition, which should be C:\Windows\Fonts\. Next, you will need to create a hidden folder in your home folder on your Ubuntu partition, which you can do by entering the following command into a terminal:

mkdir ~/.fonts

If you’re wondering why a folder had to be created, especially since the system has fonts installed (so they have to be residing somewhere already), the short answer is just to make things easier for you. Fonts that come with the system, and a few that get installed by programs, are found in /usr/share/fonts – which, being a protected system folder, means you’ll need to ask for permission before you can do anything with it (like copy files into it).

The new .fonts folder, while being hidden (denoted by it starting with a period), is owned by you, so you can drag files in and out without being told you don’t have the appropriate permissions for that task. And of course Ubuntu will immediately recognise that you have a fonts folder of your own, and incorporate those with the ones already installed.

Once you have a folder window open for both source and destination, simply select your fonts and drag them from your Windows partition to the new fonts folder, and copies will be placed there. At this point, you can either choose to be selective, dragging over only those you will actually use from the collection that has accumulated over the years, or just select them all with Ctrl+A.

If you’re not sure about certain fonts, as filenames are shown, not font names, you can double-click those for a preview, then click the Install Font button at the bottom right.

Once you’re finished, the fonts are ready to use. If you had a word processor or similar open while doing this, the fonts won’t be recognised yet, so simply close and reopen it, and you’ll see all your fonts there. Note that this will also work with Windows programs running under Wine, meaning next time you run Adobe Photoshop or what have you, all the fonts accessible in Ubuntu will be available to it.

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If you’d like to do all this the easiest way – via the terminal – a command like the following will do the trick:

mkdir ~/.fonts && cp -rT /media/Windows/Windows/Fonts/ ~/.fonts

You will probably need to change the path of the source, depending on where it is mounted (in this example, it assumes your Windows partition is mounted as /media/Windows). Also, if there are spaces in the path (like if the mount point is /media/Windows XP), you will need to enclose that path in single quotes, and make note of any case issues (if C:\Windows is actually C:\WINDOWS, you will need to put it as such). Here is a revised command taking all those into consideration:

mkdir ~/.fonts && cp -rT '/media/Windows XP/WINDOWS/Fonts/' ~/.fonts

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How to Show Hidden Files & Folders

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“Failed to eject media; one or more volumes on the media are busy.”

That is an error message you may come across from time to time, and of course the obvious thing to do is make sure no programs are still trying to access a CD or DVD in your disc drive. And this includes programs that aren’t actively using the device, but are nonetheless keeping it “busy”, like if you have a media player open with files or titles from the disc still in its playlist. But once you have ruled all that out, you still might be left with the inability to eject the disc and get on with things, so hopefully some information here will be of use to you.

In most cases, the following command run in a terminal or via Alt+F2 will successfully unmount the disc, and then eject the tray:

sudo umount -l /media/cdrom0 && eject

Please note: since Ubuntu now automagically creates mount points for discs based on the label, /media/cdrom0 may not work for you, so you may need to ascertain the correct path for the current disc with this command:

mount|grep ^'/dev'

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If you’ve ever installed any Windows programs in Ubuntu, you’d know Wine takes care of extracting the program’s icon (usually in the ancient .ico format) for use in Ubuntu. But, for whatever reason it may be, you may need to recreate those, but you don’t have the reinstall your programs just to do so.

In my case, copying over the entire .wine folder to a freshly-installed system gave me all my old Windows programs in perfect working order (gotta love Linux!), but the launchers no longer have the familiar icons. While I copied over a hidden folder with panel launchers, I’d have to do some digging in my old system to restore those icons to what they were, but probably a less time-consuming answer would be to just extract those icons, have them converted to .png, and put them somewhere safe for use with the associated program.

Another scenario for why you would want to extract icons is that the default icon for one of your programs is horridly pixellated, yet you know the .exe actually contains a bunch of higher resolution icons, and wish to change it to one of those, simply to make it look better.

Now, there are a bunch of apps available for this, mostly command-line solutions but a few little GUI apps as well, but the easiest to use is gExtractWinIcons. All you have to do is open a resource file (like an executable .exe or .dll library), pick a destination to save to, select the desired icon(s) for extraction, and click Save.

If the file contains a lot of images, click Deselect All, and manually mark those you want for extraction. Once you’re finished, move your icons somewhere safe, and assign them to your Wine programs’ launchers.

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Ubuntu is pretty awesome when it comes to automounting your drives and USB devices; in my experience, it is miles ahead of Windows, and it keeps getting better with each release. But for a greater level of control, you can’t beat the old-fashioned way: mounting your drives via fstab at boot.

While Ubuntu now mounts drives and partitions in folders with names based on the labels, which includes spaces in the names, fstab is a tad more touchy when it comes to this. If you try mounting a drive in fstab to a mount-point with a path name like /media/Windows XP, the mounting will fail because of the space. Usual methods to get around this, like close the path off with / (ie: /media/Windows XP/) or put it in quotes (ie: ‘/media/Windows XP’ or “/media/Windows XP”), will fail – but there is a solution other than replacing spaces with hypens or underscores.

Simply replace any spaces with \040, so your line in fstab should look something like:

UUID=1D666EVIL6661D /media/Windows\040XP

The drive will mount in the appropriate folder from then onwards (ie: /media/Windows XP), and there’s no need to reboot if you’re urgently trying to access a drive – simply open a terminal and run sudo mount -a to mount all devices in fstab.

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Just in case you are unfamiliar with fstab, the way you edit it is sudo gedit /etc/fstab. However, if you needed that bit of info, chances are you really shouldn’t be doing so, unless you’ve first read a little of the abundant info available out there on the subject of fstab and mounting drives in Ubuntu (and other Linux distros). The last thing you would want to do is render your system unbootable because you made an error in editing fstab. While this guide is just for how to deal with spaces in paths, still exercise caution if this is all new to you.

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Here is a Wine “error” that appears to be fairly new, and if you’ve been upgrading your system (and Wine along with it), you probably haven’t encountered it yet. However, if you’ve recently installed Ubuntu (10.04 – not sure if this affects any earlier versions), you would have noticed it won’t let you run any Windows .exe files:

Blocked: wine start /unix
The file ‘/home/user/Downloads/program_name.exe’ is not marked as executable. If this was downloaded or copied form an untrusted source, it may be dangerous to run. For more details, read about the executable bit.

If, like me, you decided to do a fresh install, but copied your old .wine folder over so all your Windows programs work as they had in the old system you’ve migrated from, you probably have no problems opening those previously installed, only new .exe files that Wine hasn’t dealt with before.

But this isn’t a bug or an error, just an overly-cautious default setting, and it is actually really easy to disable. Open a terminal and enter the following command:

gksu gedit /usr/share/applications/wine.desktop

Located the line Exec=cautious-launcher %f wine start /unix and change it to Exec=wine start /unix %f

Save and exit the file, and Wine will now behave as you want when it comes across new Windows programs.

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If you prefer to leave this cautious setting as the default, you can always exclude individual Windows programs or, rather, bypass this security measure for individual .exe files. Simply right-click the .exe file in question, select Properties, and in the Permissions tab check “Allow executing file as program“. Click Close and that particular .exe will open as normal when you double-click it.

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Nautilus is a great file manager, and you can make it even better with a few tricks and outright hacks. Many changes will take place immediately, like if you change the window background or add emblems to files and folders, but others require Nautilus to restart.

Sometimes, merely closing any open Nautilus windows will do the trick, and when you open a folder window again, your changes have taken place. But more often than not, a proper restart of Nautilus is required, as even when there are no folder windows open, if you look in System Monitor you will see that Nautilus is indeed still running. This is because Nautilus handles more than just file browsing, and is responsible for drawing the desktop, so it is constantly running. You can always reboot your computer, but there is a quicker way to view your changes.

To force Nautilus to close and restart, use Alt+F2 to open the Run Application box (or open a terminal) and enter the following command:

killall nautilus

You will probably notice in your bottom panel notification that Nautilus is restarting; note that if you had any open folder windows they will not be restarted – just Nautilus running in the background again, taking care of things like the desktop. But when you open a folder window again, your hack will have been implemented (as long as all went well, of course).

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PLEASE NOTE: This article is for earlier versions of Nautilus File Manager (2.x) found in earlier Ubuntu releases running on  Gnome 2.x, so will not work in Unity (the default desktop environment) or Gnome Shell, both of which are based on Gnome 3.

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Nautilus can be cosmetically customised quite easily, so it’s a simple matter to replace the blank window background with either a picture, colour or gradient, as well as make important files and folders stick out from the rest.

Simply go to Edit > Backgrounds and Emblems… and you can choose to change the background image (via Patterns), background colour (via Colours), as well as designate emblems to files and folders of your choosing (via Emblems).

To make a pattern or image the background for folder windows, simply drag-and-drop it onto an empty area of Nautilus, and it’s done. And if you want to revert to a blank background, drag the Reset option at the top instead of an image.

Similarly, if you just want a different colour as the background, in the Colours section you can drag a new background colour to Nautilus, and it will immediately change. Note that if you drop the colour in the corner or near the edge of the window, rather than closer to the centre, it will create a gradient of that colour blending into the previous one.

Assigning an emblem to a file or folder, for the purpose of making it stick out, is likewise a very simple matter. Once again, all you need to do is drag one of the emblems, then drop it onto the file or folder in question.

You might notice that there is no option for resetting an object to have no emblem, but all you have to do should you want to remove one is right-click the file or folder, choose Properties, go to the Emblems tab, and untick the emblem that is being used.

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Guide to Customising & Enhancing Nautilus

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Nautilus – the default file manager for Gnome, and therefore Ubuntu – is feature-rich and easy-to-use, but you can make it even more powerful, and with very little effort.

With Windows or Mac OS X, if there are features missing in the built-in file browser, the only option is to install another, usually at some expense (software developers in those worlds haven’t quite embraced the concept of open-source). In Ubuntu and other Linux distributions, other file managers – like Thunar (Xfce), Dolphin (KDE) and Konqueror (KDE) – can easily be installed (for free), even if they were made for a desktop environment other than Gnome.

But another way to get some of the features you might find lacking in Nautilus is to install some plugins or “extensions“, most of which are in the official repos and easily installed via Synaptic Package Manager.

Here I’ll feature the most popular and useful ones, but there are others out there, from adding more integration with messaging to technical tasks most of us don’t need (or understand). While I’ll be keeping this post up to date as new extensions are created, a Google search for “nautilus plugin extension” will reveal those I have left out (or missed). And don’t forget that you can also open Synaptic, paste the word “nautilus” into the Quick search bar, and all extensions available in the repositories will be displayed.

Essential Extensions:

Nautilus Open Terminal: Command-Line in the Current Folder

Nautilus GKSU: Open Files & Folders with Administrative Privileges

More Cool Plugins:

Nautilus Image Converter: Easily Resize & Rotate Pictures

Nautilus Pastebin: Send Text Clips to the Web

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Other Nautilus Enhancements:

Add Buttons for New Folder, Cut, Copy, Paste & Trash/Delete to the Nautilus Toolbar

Add a File/Folder “Properties” Button to the Nautilus Toolbar

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Guide to Customising & Enhancing Nautilus

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Please note that this is for the “legacy” version of GRUB still widely in use, not the next-generation GRUB 2. If unsure, check out this guide on how to find out which version of GRUB you are using.

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You can quite simply change GRUB‘s preference for Ubuntu being the default operating system (the one it boots to after the countdown has finished) to that of whichever was used last. It will then boot to that when you press Enter or the countdown finishes. Simply open menu.lst for editing as superuser by pasting the following into a terminal:

sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst

and when you see right near the top:

default 0

simply edit it to this:

default saved

Close and save menu.lst and GRUB will automatically boot the last used OS from then onwards. Note that you will still be able to choose other OSes from the boot menu, and that whenever you boot to another, it will become the new default (until you boot another).

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Related Guides:

Make GRUB (Legacy) Boot Into Your Windows System by Default Instead of Ubuntu

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Did this information make your day? Did it rescue you from hours of headache? Then please consider making a donation via PayPal, to buy me a donut, beer, or some fish’n’chips for my time and effort! Many thanks!

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