Networks: when one remembers you but it’s changed

Self-tutoring about computer skills: the tutor tells about logging onto a network whose password has changed.

What follows is how I remember the situation. For anyone facing it, the idea might be helpful.

I was trying to get online with a network the laptop has been on before, but whose password has changed. I wondered what the laptop would do.

After a couple of minutes (it seemed a long time), the laptop came back with a message that it couldn’t log on to the network. It didn’t tell why, just that it couldn’t.

I tried again, hoping that it would ask for the new password, but it didn’t. It just said, once again, that it couldn’t log on.

I went to the list of networks and selected the one I was trying to get on. Then, instead of clicking Connect, I clicked Cancel.

I returned to the list of networks, selecting the one I’d just cancelled. Since I’d cancelled it (I’m guessing), the computer treated it as a fresh network, so of course prompted me for the password, which I gave and got online. All good.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Windows command prompt: an example of robocopy

Self-tutoring about copying folders: the tutor mentions robocopy.

robocopy this_dir j:\that_dir /e

As I recall, the above command, from the command prompt, can be used to copy the local directory this_dir to the external location j:\that_dir. The switch /e at the end means to include subdirectories (aka, subfolders) as they are, even if empty.

In my experience, it’s important to mention the destination directory: robocopy doesn’t copy the top level source directory unless you mention it as the destination.

Robocopy lists, at the end, any failures or skips. I’ve used it, in Windows 7, and I’m a fan.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

How to compress a folder or file using 7-Zip, and why you might need to

Self-tutoring about computer skills: the tutor mentions compression using 7-Zip

Here are the steps:

  1. Open 7-Zip.
  2. In the navigation box, find the file or folder you want to compress, then select it with the mouse.
  3. Click Add. A menu box appears with many choices. I select zip for the Archive format and normal for the compression. Leaving everything else as is, I click OK.

One reason compression to zip format might be needed is that some transfer modes will move files, but not folders. In my experience, a file manager can be that way. My understanding is that when 7-Zip compresses a folder to zip format, a file is produced. At the other end, the zip file can be re-inflated, or extracted, or however you see it, back into the folder it was.

There’s a great video to watch about how to use 7-Zip here.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Computer searches: literal search?

For me, refining search techniques leads to constant self-tutoring. The tutor shares a discovery about searching on some sites.

Today I was at a site and entered the search term “triglyceride”, quotes and all. Two articles were offered in reply: the page showed the first paragraph of each. From there, I saw the word “triglyceride” in one.

I clicked the other article and scanned it for “triglyceride”, but couldn’t find it. I then asked the browser to find “triglyceride” on the page: No result found. The article itself was about cholesterol.

As far as I’m aware, entering a word in quotes suggests literal search. Moreover, triglyceride and cholesterol are not equivalent; the terms have different meanings. Even so, within the site I was visiting, the search utility seemed to decide that “cholesterol” is closely enough related to “triglyceride” to return an article about cholesterol to a literal query about triglyceride. Curious.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Computer skills: a search tip

For me, search skills lead to constant self-tutoring. The tutor shares a technique he’s noticed.

“word” ≠ “word ”

Searching my posts for the word fire, I got many results in which it was part of a word – Firefox and fireweed, for two examples. Yet, I wanted to find instances of just fire, but itself.

I wondered if typing in “fire ” instead of “fire” would change the results to give only those where fire stands alone.

What do you know – it worked:)


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Windows, home computer use: command prompt file operations: xcopy

Maintaining a home computer requires frequent self-tutoring. The tutor shares.

This Windows 7 computer no longer performs the COPY command from the mouse, so I use the command prompt to copy files, etc.

Lately I’ve been backing up directories, which contain subdirectories and so on. (Directory can also be thought of as Folder.)

To copy an entire directory, including its subdirectories and the folders contained therein, I use the xcopy command:

xcopy source_directory destination_directory /e


xcopy source_directory destination_directory /s

With /e it copies the empty folders, but not with /s.

In my experience, assigning a destination directory is important, since xcopy doesn’t copy the enclosing directory itself, just its contents. So, for instance, if you want to copy the directory desktop0 to a backup called desktop0, you might key

xcopy the_source_path\desktop0 the_destination_path\desktop0 /e


  1. Although you can use the forward slash to navigate in Windows, it can’t (in my experience) be used in paths in Windows commands. Rather, the backslash must be. For instance, topdir\dir1\dir2 must be used, rather than topdir/dir1/dir2, within a file command such as xcopy. However, for switches such as /s or /e, the forward slash is used.
  2. You can’t use xcopy from within a directory you’re telling it to copy. I typically do it from the one above.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Home computer use, computer maintenance, Windows: disk management: how to use unallocated space on a storage device

Home computer use, for me, leads to constant self-tutoring. The tutor shares a video about Windows disk management that he was lucky to find.

My experience: On an external hard drive, if Windows calls a part of it “unallocated”, you can’t store there.

What if you need the unallocated space? One option is to extend the adjacent partition (assuming it’s functional) so that it annexes the unallocated space for use.

In this video, David shows how to extend a useful partition so that it overtakes the unallocated space, making it, too, available for storage.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Windows: file permissions: what does Bypass Traverse Checking mean?

Researching file permissions can mean self-tutoring. The tutor relays the idea of Bypass Traverse Checking.

Bypass Traverse Checking (file permission)

This permission allows a user to access a specific file that is not protected, but which resides in a folder the user does not have clearance to examine.

Under the Bypass Traverse Checking permission, the user can navigate to that specific file by its full path designation, without the operating system checking the user’s clearance regarding the containing folder. However, without the necessary clearance, the user cannot simply enter the folder.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Windows 7: Am I running in Safe Mode?

Tutoring home computer use, you face all kinds of questions. The tutor shares an answer to “How can I tell if I’m running in Safe Mode?”

My wife pointed out, and I agree, that our desktop has appeared different lately. She asked if we are running in Safe Mode.

I restarted the computer in Safe Mode, and noticed the words

Safe Mode

in the bottom left corner. I next did a normal restart: the words Safe Mode were gone.

Therefore, from my experience, the way to know if you’re in Safe Mode is to look to the bottom left of the desktop: if in Safe Mode, the words

Safe Mode

will be there.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Windows 7: the blue screen with white bird near green branch

Trying to repair a computer this weekend has involved self-tutoring. The tutor mentions the beloved “blue screen with white bird near green branch.”

If you don’t know the screen mentioned in the title, you might be lucky. I’ve encountered it after the repair option from F8 during boot. However, it may not appear immediately after selecting the repair option. Rather, the user may have to wait well over half an hour before it appears.

Likewise, the blue screen with the white bird (near the green branch) may persist another 45 minutes – or longer – with no apparent action. However, it eventually can give way to the Startup Repair window. That process can persist for hours, then possibly offer choices, one of which may be System Restore.

That’s how I remember it, anyway.

With either of those screens (blue screen with white bird or Startup Repair), it’s best the user doesn’t hold their breath.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.