Author Archives: James

Change Google’s Glaring White Home Page Background

In Chrome and New Edge install Custom Style Script add-on to override Google’s home page background colour

In Custom Style Script select Open options Page and add the following URL and CSS

URL: or country of choice, e.g.,
CSS: body { background-color: lightgray !important; } or colour of choice

In Firefox Install the Stylus extension

Go to the Google home page, click the toolbar icon and choose Manage > Write a new style. Enter Google as  name for the Style, then enter the same CSS in the Code box

Add following CSS to Code section

body { background-color: lightgray !important; }

Add  URL of the Google home page in the “Applies to” section at the bottom. e.g.

Click Save (top left) to save changes

Mac Show Hidden Files

In Finder to display of Hidden files by type Cmd + Shift + . (dot)

To turn on globally type the following command in Terminal:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool true

To revert back to hidden append false:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -bool false

To make the Finder change effective type:

killall Finder

Windows 10 Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcut Action
Ctrl + A Select all content.
Ctrl + C (or Ctrl + Insert) Copy selected items to clipboard.
Ctrl + X Cut selected items to clipboard.
Ctrl + V (or Shift + Insert) Paste content from clipboard.
Ctrl + Z Undo an action, including undelete files (limited).
Ctrl + Y Redo an action.
Ctrl + Shift + N Create new folder on desktop or File Explorer.
Alt + F4 Close active window. (If no active window present, then shutdown box appears.)
Ctrl + D (Del) Delete selected item to the Recycle Bin.
Shift + Delete Delete selected item permanently skipping Recycle Bin.
F2 Rename selected item.
ESC Close current task.
Alt + Tab Switch between open apps.
PrtScn Take screenshot and stores it in clipboard.
Windows key + I Open Settings app.
Windows key + E Open File Explorer.
Windows key + A Open Action center.
Windows key + D Display and hide the desktop.
Windows key + L Lock device.
Windows key + V Open Clipboard bin.
Windows key + Period (.) or semicolon (;) Open emoji panel.
Windows key + PrtScn Capture full screenshot in the “Screenshots” folder.
Windows key + Shift + S Capture part of the screen with Snip & Sketch.
Windows key + Left arrow key Snap app or window left.
Windows key + Right arrow key Snap app or window right.

Thunderbird 60 gcontactsync Blocked after enabling OAuth2

These notes apply to Kubuntu 18.04 and Thunderbird 60.9.1.

After Google restricted access for LSA’s (Less Secure Apps) it was necessary to change the Gmail account authentication method from “Normal Password” to OAuth2. After this gcontactsync failed – after logging into Google and successfully allowing access to Contacts it was blocked. After extensively trawling the net for a solution one was found. This said the problem was due to Thunderbird being corrupted and the solution offered was a complete rebuild – drastic but it worked!

The rebuild steps are follows:

Save Update History

Save version history, using apt policy,, which might be needed to rollback later, e.g. when TB automatically updates when not desired.

$ sudo apt policy thunderbird
  Installed: 1:60.2.1+build1-0ubuntu0.18.04.2
  Candidate: 1:60.2.1+build1-0ubuntu0.18.04.2
  Version table:
 *** 1:60.2.1+build1-0ubuntu0.18.04.2 500
        500 bionic-updates/main amd64 Packages
        500 bionic-security/main amd64 Packages
     1:52.7.0+build1-0ubuntu1 500
        500 bionic/main amd64 Packages<<

Example rollback

$ sudo apt install thunderbird=1:52.7.0+build1-0ubuntu1

Backup Address Books

In Address Book export each address book in LDIF format to Desktop\Contacts. The exported files names take the same name as the address book, e.g. Personal Address Book = Personal Address Book.ldif

Exit Thunderbird

Ensure all Thunderbird windows are closed

Uninstall Thunderbird

Using Synaptic Package Manager search for “thunderbird” and mark for complete removal and apply

Rename Thunderbird data folders

mv /home/user/.thunderbird /home/user/.thunderbird 60.9.1 backup
mv /home/user/.cache/.thunderbird /home/user/.cache/.thunderbird 60.9.1 backup

This effectively wipes all traces of Thunderbird data.

Install Thunderbird

Using Synaptic Package Manager search for “thunderbird” and Mark for installation and Apply

Launch Thunderbird

Search for Thunderbird and launch. From launchpad right-click Thunderbird and pin it to Desktop icons and Search and Launch.

  1. Add Google account by following the installation wizard
  2. In Config Editor Edit > Preferences > Advanced > Config Editor set the following:
    • Set “app.update.enabled” to false to disable automatic updates!!!
    • Set “general.useragent.compatMode.firefox” set to true to prevent Google Calendar continually asking for passwords and allow gcontactsync to display Google contacts lists to sync with
  3. Restore contacts in Address Book by importing saved address books
  4. Add gcontactsync and setup sync’ing of required address books with respective Google contact lists – should work now
  5. Add Provider for Google Calendar to synchronise calendars
  6. Add other email accounts as required

Notes for installing Thunderbird manually

Download required version from Thunderbird Releases

Install as follows

$ tar -zxvf thunderbird-60.9.1.tar.bz2  #creates thunderbird folder off Downloads
$ sudo su
# mkdir /opt/thunderbird
# cp thunderbird /opt
# exit

Create Thunderbird launcher

$ kate ~/Desktop/Thunderbird.desktop
[Desktop Entry]
Comment[en_GB]=Thunderbird email client
Comment=Thunderbird email client

Fix Windows 10 Update Failures, e.g. Error 0x800f081f

Try running DISM and SFC commands to repair Windows system files. Once complete reboot and try running the update again.

DISM /Online /Cleanup-image /RestoreHealth

SFC /Scannow

DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) manages both Windows Online and Offline Images and repairs system files

  • /Online switch instructs DISM to target the running Operating System instead of an offline Windows image (.wim) file or virtual hard disk (.vhd or .vhdx)
  • /Cleanup-Image switch performs cleanup and recovery operations on the running Operating System
  • /Restorehealth switch scans the running Operating System for corrupt files and attempts to fix them

SFC (System File Checker)

  • /Scannow will scan all protected system files, and replace corrupted files with a cached copy that is located in a compressed folder at %WinDir%\System32\dllcache

The above procedure also fixes Windows Defrag not running properly due to corrupt system files.

Change Windows 10 Users Folder Name

  1. Run ‘command prompt’ as administrator” and enter following
  2. net user Administrator /active:yes
  3. Sign out
  4. Log in with “Administrator” account. If newly activated wait up until Windows sets up the account
  5. From Start Menu right-click on Start Menu icon and select ‘Computer Management’
  6. If “Local users and groups” not listed run steps below to install Local User and Group Management (lusrmgr.exe) Console for Windows 10 Home
  7. Click on “Local users and groups”
  8. Click ‘Users’. Right-click on the Windows user name you want to rename and rename to the new name
  9. Close ‘Computer Management’ or lusrmgr program
  10. Open File explorer and go to ‘users’ folder. Right-click on the user folder and choose ‘rename’ and rename it to the new name
  11. Run ‘regedit’
  12. Select HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\ Windows NT\ CurrentVersion\ ProfileList
  13. Find the new named profile and double click on ‘ProfileImagePath’ and rename it to the new name
  14. Close ‘regedit’
  15. Signout and log in with new named account
  16. Open ‘File Explorer’
  17. Go to the ‘users’ folder to see ‘users’ folder has the new named user home folder
  18. Disable the Administrator account (note this does not delete the account)
    1. Run ‘command prompt’ as administrator” and enter following
    2. ‘net user Administrator /active:no ‘
    3. Close ‘command prompt’

Install Local User and Group Management (lusrmgr.exe) Console for Windows 10 Home

Download and install lusrmgr.exe program from Itectics and launch to get access to Windows Local User and Group management console. Continue from step 7 above.

Disclaimer: operations above run at the users own risk with no guarantees or responsibilities

Add .wps and .xlr Works associations to Office 2010 Starter Edition

Do the following (with Admin account) to associate .wps (Works document) and .xlr (Works spreadsheet) file types to Word and Excel.

  1. Create Restore point to roll-back in case you make a mistake editing the Registry
  2. Run Regedit
  3. Locate HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \ .doc
  4. Right-click .doc key and select Export and save to Desktop file as, e.g. docassoc.reg. The contents should look like the sample below.
  5. Repeat steps 3-4 for .xls
  6. Exit regedit
  7. In file File Explorer Copy & Paste docassoc.reg renaming the target file to wpsassoc.reg
  8. Similarly create xlrassoc.reg using xlsassoc.reg as source
  9. Edit wpsassoc.reg and replace .doc with .wps and save
  10. Edit xlrassoc.reg and replace .xls with .xlr and save
  11. Double-click wpsassoc.reg and xlrassoc.reg to add the new keys to the Registry under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT
  12. That’s it  – double-clicking .wps or .xlr files in File Explorer  will now open them in Word or Excel automatically. Also the file icons will change to recognisable Word and Excel files

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

"Content Type"="application/msword"




Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

"Content Type"="application/msword"




Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

"Content Type"="application/"




Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

"Content Type"="application/"




  • In order to edit .wps or .xlr files in Office 2010 Starter Edition you have to first add the Works file converter. Later versions have this built in.

Disclaimer: The above procedure is carried out at your own risk and offer no guarantees

Add Suspend icon to the KDE Application Menu

To add the Suspend icon to the KDE Application Menu

  1. Click the KDE icon (bottom left hand corner) to bring up the Application Menu
  2. Click “Power/Session” on right-hand list to bring up list of Shutdown Options
  3. Right-click Suspend and select Add to Favorites

Similarly you can add or remove other shutdown icons.



HP 7520 WiFi scanning not working Mac OS High Sierra

If when installing an HP 7520 WiFi printer with HP Easy Start you get a warning that the scanner does not support “Bonjour” then you end up with a working printer but no scanner!

In most cases this happens because you have a dual band router advertising 2.4GHz and 5GHz on the same SSIDs. In short the HP 7420 scanner only works with a 2.4GHz network.

The solution is to disable the 5GHz network or rename it and only connect the printer to  the 2.4GHz SSID. This may have to be done manually. Once WiFi connected uninstall the HP printer software using HP Uninstaller and reinstall the printer using HP Easy Start. This time you get no scanner warning message and have both printer and scanner working.